|16th December 2016, 22:38|
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A Movie Called Crazy -Part 1- (Short Story)
Word count: 6,952
-Ten years ago-
Tony's peers tossed weird looks that sent weird vibes throughout the Jemarcus household when he relayed the news that he'd be traveling to LA to become an actor. From their standpoint, why leave when everyone else stays? People often remained in Whitehaven, even though the crime rate was significantly high - to many, it was the only life they knew. But to Tony, something had to be done about his life or he would remain in poverty and possibly, turn to something even worse. He knew his brothers wouldn't stop clowning him from this point forward, but it would all be worth it in the end.
If anything, his mom pushed him into this state of mind by constantly bringing up his good looks, but she just assumed he would settle down with someone nearby and be a laborer just like his father. He was often the strongest amongst his brothers, but Tony felt that shouldn't necessarily translate to manual labor. Every time he brought that up around his dad, he'd just receive a death glare as though the job was being belittled; which wasn't the case at all, but Tony's father wasn't the kind of man to be reasoned with. Tony felt as though stubbornness ran in the male side of the family, which made sense to him, because even when he was dead wrong about certain topics; he felt the need to argue. This was a habit he intended to break, as it was one more aspect of himself that he felt would come across as a weakness to agents and directors.
At any rate, Tony didn't intend on listening to any of the toxic views bubbling around him at home, dead set on moving out as soon as he could. Whether or not his family wanted him moving away, his grades would be the deciding factor; whether they liked it or not. Until then, he would have to dedicate all of his time and effort to pursuing this dream.
-Ten years later-
Staring at an all too familiar picture frame sat on his nightstand, Tony peered into his past and pondered as to what would have become of his life had he listened to his parents. His dad could barely walk after the accident he sustained and his brothers were developing in such a way that would cause even the slightest misstep to result in a life-ending injury. Should Tony have remained in Whitehaven, would that have been his destiny? He much preferred the cushy life out in LA, the life he felt as though he had earned with years of hard work and dedication. As far as he was concerned, they deserved the life they chose, just as he did; for better or for worse.
But now wasn't the time for wallowing in hypotheticals, as Tony had just landed a role in an independent film, thanks to his agent. He hadn't heard much about it going in, even the role he auditioned for was rather scant on details. And even though Tony had become quite well known amongst the Hollywood brass, he hadn't become too big to turn down indie films. The last thing he wanted was a snobbish reputation around people that could very well direct blockbusters later in their career. Nary an individual in his line of work would, but Tony was willing to act for movies that wouldn't even make it to theaters; it was simply part of his dedication.
Tony stretched until all six feet and two inches of him were bridged to meet with the ceiling of his apartment. When the casting call specifically asked for a black person, he was reticent to jump at the chance; especially when the part required him to be somewhat tall. A slave role? He initially thought. But even then, he would have given it the same level of dedication delivered with every other role, it just would have been awkward the whole time.
Meandering over to his closet, he picked out a white t-shirt and some typical looking jeans, as he was told wardrobe would have everything ready for him on arrival and as such, saw no point in dressing up. Just as he touched the outside world, his hazel eyes erupted into a piercing shade of orange, which still caught him by surprise to this day. It appeared as though he was just on time, considering his Uber driver had arrived mere seconds after he stepped out. Tony was often the one to initiate conversation, never understanding the malice thrown toward Uber drivers for being chatty. He could see how such a job would become dull, so conversation not only lifted one's spirit but made the day go by a little quicker.
"You havin' a good day, man?" Tony extended a friendly greeting, having not met with the driver's facial expression quite yet, so he couldn't see the semblance of grim death written all over it. "Does it look like I'm havin' a good day?! First, my daughter didn't want to eat her toast! And then, my son..." He carried on in an inaudible manner, progressively getting louder and more upset the further they distanced themselves from Tony's home. He couldn't help but laugh inside, knowing that his mom and dad must have gone through the same thing when he was younger. Under no circumstances was he belittling the man for complaining, for even he managed to slip in a complaint or two on any given day, but initiating a conversation in such a manner when he could he graded poorly was comical. Tony didn't see any point in doing so, as he would just have the same done to him in the process, so it wasn't entirely worth it...unless the man turned out to be a poor driver.
Often enough, this was the case for drivers he experienced in LA. Tony wasn't a spectacular driver, but he at least knew about hydroplaning, which was apparently fictitious in this area...depending on who you talked to. Now that Tony had finally tuned out his driver's nonsensical rambling, he simply looked ahead and smiled in anticipation for his role.
"Have a good day, man!" Tony remarked, casually closing the passenger side door without looking back. It was muffled, but there was definitely chatter taking place inside but Tony hadn't any interest in hearing it out.
"Tony?" A small lady whispered, what little sleep she did get clearly affecting her ability to project. She stood at a threatening five feet and was clearly sent by the director without much information about the person she was meant to be seeking out. She held in her hand a folded series of papers stapled together, potentially being Tony's script. "Uh...yeah. I'm..I'm sorry?" Tony returned, unsure of what to make of this short, puzzled emissary. "I'm Debra! I'm just here to show you around and give you your script!" She chimed, slowly but surely letting her personality show.
"Oh, ok...cool!" Tony stated, extending his hand to meet with the script. After thumbing through said script, it appeared as though the first page contained highlights peppered throughout it - identifying which parts Tony would be required to read for the day. "Guess we ain't workin' long today, huh?" He humbly inquired while reading through scenes. Debra reciprocated with laughter, having to force herself to stop before she answered. "Hah...heh...well, first and foremost...the director wants everyone to get acquainted with one another." Flashing a large smile, it blurred as she spun around to lead him toward the warehouse sat behind them.
"Just follow me, I'll show you where your costume is!" A costume? He hadn't properly read the script yet, but judging by the few lines he did scan..none alluded to a costume of any sort. Even still, Tony marched on behind Debra until two large metal doors were positioned directly ahead. A few feet to the right, a smaller door with a push-bar was sat, this being the only door which allowed entry. "Just right inside!" She politely exclaimed, eager to get things started.
As soon as Tony entered the warehouse, his eyes marveled at the scenery laid out before him. As big as it was, the staff involved did a fine job at soundproofing everything from within, as a large number of people were milling about and shouting at the top of their lungs. Artists communicated over set design, costume designers communicated regarding which outfits would be appropriate for which scenes, various individuals ensured catering was running smoothly, and actors could be seen through a glasss door leading into another room reading their scripts. Tony was under the impression that this was to be independent, but everything looked so professional - it was almost intimidating.
"...." Tried as she might to be heard over all the commotion, Debra's voice was no match. Realizing this, she quickly gestured for Tony to back up and outside of the warehouse; which Tony took, initially, as means for rejection. Immediately understanding this to be a mistake, he backed up, allowing Debra to close the door behind them as they stood outside once more. "I said...you'll wanna head over to the table where everyone is reading from that.." She paused to point at his script. "And I'll tell the director you're here!" Her voice picked up once more as she couldn't help but open the door mid-sentence.
"...." Tony meant to say 'sounds good!' but given that they were, again, engulfed in the madness that was happening inside, nothing came out. But no matter, he made a beeline for the room witnessed earlier and tightly held his script due to overwhelming nerves. Considering his attire, several confused glances were tossed his way. Tony couldn't help but lob a smile their way, often enough lighting the mood. If they didn't know him now, they certainly would as time went on, so he didn't mind this kind of attention at all.
Now face to face with his destination, all that was left was for him to open the door and introduce himself in a friendly manner - automatically gaining the trust of his new co-workers. But as soon as his hand clasped the doorknob, his heart skipped a beat; this feeling being somewhat alien to the Tennessee native. And now he suddenly felt immobile, was he having a heart attack? Now of all times for something like this to happen! Maybe this was karma for having isolated himself from his family all those years ago...
But suddenly the door opened from the other side, revealing a small woman with rather large glasses and a pointed nose; her eyebrow raised and mouth agape. "It wasn't locked, he just couldn't open it." She expressed to the group behind her, some of them hiding laughter. "Hi, I'm Tony!" He spritely exuded, only for her to retreat back to her seat in a disgruntled manner. Were his nerves reason enough to cause such a person to be upset? "Take a seat, Tony!" One of the readers shouted, motioning to an empty seat; which was, unfortunately, next to the annoyed woman he barely interacted with previously.
Someone so small was intimidating enough for Tony to etch himself into this picture slowly, expecting her at any moment to lurch forward and tear a chunk out of his throat. Fortunately, this wasn't the case as Tony slid into his seat, allowing the script Debra handed him to plop onto the table in front of him. "Hi, Tony. We're just getting everyone introduced right now and in so doing, getting familiar with the script and everything going on. I believe some of us have heard about you from other stuff, so it's great to have you here!" As soon as the pale man with brown, curly hair spoke, several others chimed in, giving various forms of introductions; at least, everyone except for the social butterfly sat next to him. Noticing she hadn't done so, someone on the opposite side of her coughed and gave her a death stare. "Oh...I'm Anna." She softly spoke, evidently numb to everything going on around here.
The man from before gave Anna a rather disappointed grimace, unsure as to why she held within her such disdain for the day's events. Since having opened the door, Anna barely made any progress to even return eye contact with Tony; instead, propping her elbow on the table to hold her head as though she hadn't gotten a wink of sleep.
"Well, it's...nice to meet you all!" Tony briefly thanked them, eager to focus his attention on the reading required for the day and less so on Anna. "Sure thing! The director's name is Mr. Casava, though he doesn't mind being referred to as Casa; he's a pretty laid back kind of guy" He assured while cleaning his rounded glasses. "Heh, well...considering I'm new to this crowd..I'll probably just go with Mr. Casava unless he says otherwise." This brought out a chorus of laughter from those around him, save for Anna, who retorted by rolling her eyes. She did so with such intensity that it was surprising they didn't roll in the back of her head, prompting her to finally express that she was possessed the whole time. "Heh, that's smart on your part!" The man huffed, seemingly struggling for air as he laughed.
Luckily, attention would be taken away from his embarrassment as the door swiftly opened to reveal Mr. Casava standing before them in blue jeans, a black overcoat, and white t-shirt.
"So, who's ready to read some lines today?" He enthusiastically queried, adjusting his teal scarf while retrieving a copy of the script from his assistant, Debra. "And Tony, I don't believe we've met." Mr. Casava extended his hand forward, expecting a handshake as Tony reciprocated. "I'm glad you could make it, I assume you've been properly introduced to everyone, then?" He asked, motioning for an extra seat to be brought in. "Yeah, we just talked. Thanks for giving me the chance to work on this, by the way, Mr. Casava." Tony tested the man's prior statement, eyes glinting in anticipation for how he handled this. "Oh, no problem! And just Casa, alright? The 'mister' part makes me feel old." Casa fished for laughs as he caressed his newly shaven face, not looking a day over forty.
Casa's statement prompted a grin from Tony and a sly wink from the hefty individual from before. A great deal of the remaining actors also chuckled at the development, aside from Anna who bit her lower lip as though she was trying to tear it off, giving her an excuse to leave.
"Ah, thanks." Casa issued at Debra for arriving with a chair. "Anything else?" Her voice was postured with a pen click. "No, that's all. Thanks, Debra." Casa's voice became lower as he sat down, then holding the film's script in front of his face. "Alllllright, so...we're opening on Anna and then we'll just go down the line until the next scene change. So, Anna?" The rustling of papers could be heard in every direction as everyone prepared to read along, even Anna proved she was, in fact, alive by sitting up straight in her chair for once. Tony noticed his dialogue followed hers, so he breathed in and out to eradicate any nerves and awaited her delivery.
"Mr. Oaks doesn't even know how to read, I bet he doesn't anyway." Anna recited, her dialogue though dry, was exactly as the script required. "He's a professor, I'm sure he can at least read at a twelfth-grade level." Tony returned, giving his performance life and enthusiasm, but Anna didn't see fit to welcome his delivery with open arms. "Ugh..I'm sorry, Casa..could we run through that again?" She requested, only for Casa to nod and adjust his eyes. "Sure thing, Anna. Alright, from the top." Tony looked rather dumbfounded, unsure as to why she had initiated a redo - maybe she had suddenly gotten a different idea for her part, that must have been it. "Mr. Oaks doesn't even know how to read, I bet he doesn't anyway." She stated in the exact same, droll manner as before.
Perhaps Tony wasn't inquisitive enough with his previous delivery, so he amped it up this time.
"He's a professor, I'm sure he can at least read at a twelfth-grade level." Feeling rather chuffed with his performance that time, a smile crept onto his face then disappeared as Anna raised her voice once more. "Casa, I'm sorry but...I'm just into it. He isn't saying it like I'd want him to." She glared at Casa as though Tony wasn't even in the same room. "I liked it, Anna. So, how about next time we only stop things if I say so, cool?" Casa shut her down immediately as she acted up, then pointing his pen in her direction. "Fine..." She pouted. "Alright. Come on, from the top again." His patience began to wear thin, with that famous smile he flashed initially become less intact. Tony didn't want to see the director angry on the first day, so he now grew a little nervous as a result.
"Mr. Oaks doesn't even know how to read, I bet he doesn't anyway," Anna repeated. "He's a professor, I'm sure he can at least read at a twelfth-grade level." Tony sweated, though his voice didn't depict any trace of his nerves. "Ya sure? The other day he said 'bigly,' who the hell says that if not someone that can't read?" Anna's tone became more volatile with her next statement. "Maybe he wanted to say 'Big League Chew' but got cut off..and...sounded weird at the 'League' part." Tony's heart felt as though it was going to bust out, expecting Anna to revert back to her old ways at any time. Casa's laser-like focus on Anna didn't leave, fully expecting the same.
Unfortunately, they were both caught off guard when someone at the table sneezed and interrupted Anna before she started.
"I just lost all of my focus." She moaned, then banging her wrists against the surface of the table. This caught everyone off guard, save for Casa who refrained from jumping as everyone else did. "Anna, I don't know why you're so sour on this gentlemen and given your prowess as an actress, I would expect better. Now act like a professional and read your lines!" The way Casa enunciated with his voice raising with every syllable was far beyond intimidating, as though he was capable of verbally assaulting someone in a profound way. She chose not to respond, instead of frowning at her script as though it refused to go to the prom with her. Tony simply held attention on his own script, anxiously awaiting Anna to continue so that this session would just end.
The awkward vibes emanating from that room carried into the greater warehouse, as those that were constantly chattering slowed their pace to listen in; anxious to see if Casa would storm out and demolish the sets they had worked so hard on. He wasn't often this angry, simply getting riled up whenever actors believed themselves to be privileged. Anna had a storied history as a child actor, which gave her a wealth of opportunities in the acting landscape and evidently, created for herself a big head. Nary one of the crew members assembled for Casa's movie had ever worked alongside her, but tales of her intimidating personality floated about and were often distilled as simple rumors. But now everyone was seeing young Akana for the person she really was and it didn't bode well for any potential future roles.
Back inside the room, Casa appeared to still be on edge as Anna simply sat in silence.
"Are you going to read your lines, Anna?" He softly inquired, this somehow coming across as far more intimidating than his shouting from earlier. But she didn't budge, still staring into her script as though she was staring through it and toward a project that was more fitting of her attention. Tony glanced over at her for a half-second, then tearing it away faster than snatching off a bandage - and more or less with the same result. "Because if you aren't going to continue, I'll simply get someone to replace you. Nobody is forcing you to be here, but if you want to be here, you're going to read the script as written; understand?" His voice progressively became more aggressive, laying into her like a disappointed father figure. Was this going to be Tony's first and only interaction with the most famous person in the room?
A slight breath exuded from Anna as her mouth became agape, everyone sat in suspense waiting and salivating for what her answer might be. She simply sat on that suspense for a good ten seconds before finally lurching back in her seat, seemingly ready to speak at this time.
"Sure...I'll read it." Anna's voice had quieted to a dull whisper, her tone even lower than that of Casa's at this point. "Good." He replied promptly, then reverting his attention back to his copy of the script. Tony's attention remained on his as well, but any second now he expected Anna to jolt up and bash his head in with her chair. But she did nothing of the sort, rather, resorting to simply carrying on with her script as Casa asked her to. She didn't raise her voice, or yell, or even complain in the slightest when Tony's turn came around, it was as if a parent had threatened to take away her cell phone for a month if she didn't act straight. The reading for that day went by without any further interruptions or distractions, and the warehouse continued their work; albeit rather disappointed, initially hoping to see an argument or tussle of some sort.
Once the day's script reading was finished, Tony meandered to the catering table in exhausted fashion. He could overhear many of the same people from before now gossiping about Anna and how they, too, wished the ordeal with Casa had come to blows.
"She knows martial arts, ya know. She woulda killed him." One of them said, with a mouth half full of donuts and various other pastries. "Nah, Casa would have kicked her ass out of here and let the cops deal with her." Another chimed in, not at all interested in food but still wanting to see the drama unfold. Tony hadn't any particular opinion of it, simply wanting to steer clear of a hard opinion while eating to try and take his mind off it. Every now and then a glance would get thrown his way, but he looked away just in time so that nobody questioned him. Since the room had disbanded, Anna was nowhere to be seen, disappearing in a sea of costumes and potentially outside of the warehouse altogether.
Starting with the Uber driver, that set the stage for an interesting day that Tony wouldn't soon forget. He had participated in his fair share of script readings, but none were quite as memorable as the small girl from hell edition. But what exactly sent her off was a mystery...it couldn't have been Tony, as he had only met her minutes prior. And he always tried his best to go out of his way in order to ensure that nobody in which he interacted with left the conversation offended. Perhaps she had a vendetta against people that couldn't open doors, but surely this couldn't drive anyone to behave in such a manner unless they were off their meds.
Whatever the case, Tony had another day of script reading ahead of him and knew he would need his fair share of sleep to eradicate the negative images from the day. Alcohol wasn't his thing, so the next best thing was a sleep coma brought about by a gigantic sleeping pill. Maybe Anna wouldn't even return, but if she did show up, hopefully, her attitude mirrored the one in the last part of their reading session. It may have been a lot for Tony to hope for, but he could dream.
The next day was already off to a better start, as the Uber driver Tony had previously encountered was no longer in the business; this time, he dealt with someone far more humble and appreciative. He didn't try to force small talk, there was no complaining; simply driving and chatting about current events, but only if Tony felt up for it. It was such a polar realization for Tony, that perhaps everything would actually play out better for both him and all parties involved with his acting team. Maybe the good news would even be mirrored, maybe Anna actually dropped out, only to be replaced with someone that was actually nice and patient with everyone. This pursuit would potentially yield absolutely no fruit, but Tony realized that...even so, the idea of Anna being absent today would have been akin to nirvana.
Pulling up to the warehouse, Tony waved goodbye to the pleasant Uber driver and held his script firmly in hand while marching forward. It was as if he had tunnel vision because for the longest time he didn't realize Anna was stood on lingering under a shadow cast by the side of the warehouse, arms crossed with a familiar look on her face. But she wasn't glaring at the ground, rather, her eyes were focused on Tony like he was a target to be taken out. This is it, he thought, this will be the moment that she finally decides to snap and gun me down. Though her size wasn't much to sniff at, her expression alone was intimidating to such a point that Tony felt uneasy about getting closer to the warehouse.
She was only a good five to ten feet away now, and the closer she got, the angrier she became...or at least that's how it looked from such an obtuse angle. Anna didn't at all appear to be hiding her grimace, or the fact that she was clearly visible; which made her all the more frightening. Taking a few more steps forward, Tony's heart jumped at hearing his name shouted at him, by none other than you know who.
"TONY!!" Anna screamed, as though if she said his name loud enough, he would just disappear. Instinctively, Tony felt like dropping his script and running; but he couldn't let such an encounter play out like that, after all, he would have to work with her in the future and he wouldn't want people to question whether or not he was actually scared of working with a small woman. So instead, he froze and pointed at himself as though he was hard of hearing; which was impossible at this juncture, considering a good number of people inside the warehouse probably heard such a shrill, high-pitched yell. "Uh...huh?" Tony couldn't form words, rather, he simply made a noise to give the impression that he was confused; which wasn't entirely off base. "Come here...right now." Sure enough, he was sure she had palmed a knife and was ready to slit his throat should he come anywhere near her vicinity. Tony would be crazy to listen to her demands but to ignore her wouldn't have boded well for any future endeavors, so he soldiered onward.
"Did you have fun yesterday? Making me look like an idiot in front of Casa?" She urgently inquired, her tone was much smaller than before but still carrying with it a certain level of gravitas. He wasn't entirely sure of what scenario she was referring to, as she did all of that to herself. "Uh...what..what do you mean, exactly?" His glance darted away from her as soon as they made eye contact, with fear that if he maintained a shared gaze for too long he would turn to stone. "You're kidding, right? I knew exactly how to play my part, but you come in like such an amateur...are you sure you've acted before? Sure your past directors didn't just put you in parts to make fun of you?" Tony was now convinced that she was possessed, by what, he hadn't thought that far ahead yet. "I'm...uh...are you sure you didn't bump your head? I'm sorry that you're displeased with my line delivery, but.." Immediately as he intended to carry on, he was cut off.
"WHAT ARE YOU EVEN FUCKING SAYING?!?" She roared, now stood next to him in a napoleon complex fit of rage. "Do you even know who I am? I'm Anna Ariana! Nobody even knows who you are! Anyone that said otherwise was just doing so to make you feel better!" She continued, not even pausing to give Tony a chance to defend himself or speak up. "Do you honestly think Casa thought your part was fine? That drivel, fine? I've been acting for a hell of a lot longer than you, so don't pretend as though you know more than me. If you try to cut me off from the knees today, I swear, I will see to it that you never act in this town again. Do you fucking understand?!?" She looked up at him, but her rage made her at least five feet taller. To end this altercation, Tony had no other choice but to nod and hope that she progressed inside. Luckily, she did so but with far more stomping than he had intended.
Shaking his head and realizing that beads of sweat were starting to form on his head, Tony followed suit and entered the warehouse - several eyes darted toward him after Anna escaped into the room from before. Many carried with them a worried look, as though this would be the last day Tony would spend on the planet. Some got a chuckle out of it, and others didn't care for such a scenario at all and simply went about their day. Tony hoped to mirror their attitudes and walked toward the room, hoping that Casa was already present. As he approached the door, he could see Anna through the glass and noticed that her gaze met with his even still, as though she was waiting for him to arrive the whole time.
He didn't quite experience the anxiety from yesterday, but it mirrored it in almost every way to the point where Tony almost felt hopeless when grabbing the doorknob. Everyone else in the room was talking amongst themselves, so they didn't notice him struggling to accomplish the simplest of tasks. No, the only one aware of his misgiving was Anna, who looked as though she dared him to open the door. And slowly but surely, he regained life in his once dead arm and managed to turn the knob, but as he did so the pain surged throughout his body like an unknowing child sticking a fork in an electrical outlet. Would this door be the end of Tony and his acting career?
As if sent down from the heavens above, Casa leered out from the shadows and snapped Tony back into reality.
"Hey there, Tony! Ready to get some work done?" He jested, ambling his cup of coffee out of harm's way. This soothing voice instantly remedied Tony's petrified condition, giving him the mobility to successfully open the door. Anna's dog faced grimace melted into confusion as Casa appeared directly behind the man she loathed in every conceivable way. Now it was as if she held a vendetta against him as well, but Tony couldn't be sure. All he knew was that meandering over to his familiar seat was a nightmare, as his nerves just couldn't take being near her for even a second longer.
"Okay, everybody! I believe we were ready to move onto the second page, yeah?" Casa queried, though he knew full well where they left off, he just wanted to test everyone else's knowledge of their progress. But seemingly out of nowhere, Anna popped up the conversation. "Yeah, Casa. And may I just say that I am deeply sorry for my actions yesterday...and..." she stood up mid-sentence, only to place one hand on Tony's shoulder. "mostly, I want to personally apologize to Tony...because he didn't bring this on himself." Tony became wide-eyed and readily scanned the room to see that everyone else's reactions paralleled his own. Casa, however, looked reluctant, to say the least.
"Fair enough, Anna. That took a lot, I'm sure." He nodded in approval, though his immediate attention being refocused onto his script gave her less than stellar hope. "Thanks, Casa! And Tony, do you accept my apology?" She inquired, looking directly into his eyes with a grin that was as wide as the day is long. It was at this time that Tony realized everyone had their eyes on him and that Anna knew exactly what she was doing. At some point from having chewed him out earlier to the walk inside, she realized that if Tony succumbed to enough anxiety, he would leave. She wouldn't get the best of him, in fact, he would play her own game and see how she dealt with it.
"It's no problem, Anna. And hey, you did a really good job on your reading yesterday - don't worry, stress gets the best of us from time to time, heh heh!" Tony returned, wearing the same grin while patting her on the shoulder. Anna tried so fervently to hide the disappointment she felt at that moment, realizing her plan wasn't working. But it didn't matter, as Casa had already initiated the next scene and now Anna would have to put that past her to do her job. "I'm just saying, why don't they make scarecrows that actually look scary?" Anna remorse, still doing her best to hold this mask up in front of her face. "I don't know, why change a design for something if it has clearly been working for years?" Tony's enthusiasm hadn't died, but he could sense shreds of life deteriorating from Anna's delivery.
But in surprising fashion once more, Anna leaped to her feet and began to channel her inner Shakespeare. "Because it could be working better! That's why!" Her emotion now carried with it so much fervor that everyone around her suddenly got into it, but she couldn't fool Tony. Not to be outdone, he jumped up as well. "But have you ever heard 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'?" He propped one leg on his chair, evoking a pleasant chuckle out of Casa, realizing who he needed to be playing to. Anna's gaze sifted back and forth between the two, understanding what she needed to do to save her performance.
She stepped on her own chair, but used that as a stepping stool to walk on the top of the table everyone was surrounding. Gasps and queries peppered the room, many often glancing at the door as though they intended on leaving - except for Casa. He fell right into her trap hook, line, and sinker, his prior suspicions having dissipated almost immediately. "Have YOU ever heard 'if it can go faster, make it so'?" She bent over to stare at Tony right in his face, this being the only opportunity Anna would have to look down at him. But this caused something inside of him to leap out, something that was hidden for quite a while.
"NO!" He yelled at the top of his lungs, causing Anna to become shaken to the point where she began wobbling and almost immediately afterward, fell down toward Tony's direction. Using nothing but instinct, Tony dropped his script and caught her, preventing any damage to her whatsoever. "Because you just made that up.." Tony finished, staring into her eyes with the look of a man that had just bested his rival. Following his heroic effort, the room broke out into applause; save for Anna, who simply stared at him dumbfounded. She then quickly regained her stance and marched out of the room, hiding her face as best she could with her script.
"That was amazing!" Casa cheered, wiping tears from his eyes at the excess elation he began feeling. Rather than responding appropriately, Tony nodded and sat back down in his chair - though his eyes wandered toward the glass pane to see that Anna had exited the warehouse. As relieved as anyone nearby expected Tony to be, a small part of him was kind of disappointed.
"No problem, cya tomorrow!" Tony's attitude, for the most part, had shifted toward positivity since Anna stormed out earlier. He took longer strides when walking out of the warehouse, he breathed easier knowing Anna wasn't there to breathe down his back - ultimately, everything came together for a better experience overall. Exiting the warehouse, he inhaled and exhaled as though he had just won a million dollars, then proceeded to walk to his car until an all too familiar voice rang in his ear. Anna? No, it sounded like crying...but she was nowhere to be seen.
Further investigation revealed her to be in the exact same spot as earlier, but she was slouched on the ground with head in hand. It appeared as though she hadn't noticed him yet, so he hid up against the side of the building, pressing himself as tightly as possible.
"I...I know you're there.." She sobbed, then clumsily rising to her feet to reveal running mascara. What would Tony do? Would he console the woman that tried her best to break his spirit? "Uh..he...hey, Anna." Tony whimpered, unwilling to make any sudden moves in case she transformed into a Tiger to then claw his face off. "Look...I...there's something I wanna say..." She sounded sincere all of a sudden, as though she had enough of her own fun and games.
"I'm really sorry...you...you didn't deserve that, hell...nobody deserved that. I just...I haven't been getting a lot of work lately and..I...guess I just picked you to take it out on...please don't think of me as the woman you saw in there...that's not who I am." She wiped her eyes, embarrassed to share a glance with Tony in such a state. "It's ok, we can just pretend it didn't happen. You're a really good actor, what little time we've shared together. I was impressed with what I saw today." He complimented, patting her on the shoulder just as she did with him earlier. "A semblance of a smile popped up on her face as he did so, finally giving her the bravery to look at him and share her dismantled state. He returned his own smile, though still maintained an eagerness to return home. "Oh, um...I have a meeting to go to, could you...wipe away anything that looks bad?" She pointed at her eyes and the nightmare that now lay underneath them. "Uh, sure." Tony, thinking this to be an odd request, still wanted to remain on her good side so he bent over to get a better look, but just as he did so Anna leered in and planted her lips firmly on his.
She had spent the past two days all but writing his name in blood to sacrifice him to the underworld and now she was kissing him? This didn't make any sense at all...but for some reason, Tony couldn't bring himself to pull away. He...liked it? The two lingered in that spot for a few more seconds until Anna ran off as though she heard her mom calling. Tony was dumbfounded, it was as if she did her best impression of the door from earlier as he couldn't move a muscle.