"Well I'm not exactly a fan either, but regardless of the actress, the script must be good. And I refuse to have a show under my production, sideline a female character like Melanie Walsh."
"I am the writer, and I have the vision for the show."
"Well I prefer to have a collective vision between all creative staff, and I want you to work collaboratively with the rest of the group!" I finished. He glared at me, and huffed. "You will not sideline Melanie just because of Aaliyah, or Alfreda or whatever her name is. You will write her a good part or we are going to have problems."
"I cannot be controlled. I am award winning..."
"And so am I, more so than you. So get back to the room and stop terrorising the other writers, because if I hear one more terrified little complaint from them before the series is finished, I will not hesitate in having you removed."
"You can't do that."
Caine stood up and left the trailer, face contorted in a red anger. There was a delicate knock on the door, not long after it had slammed.
"WHAT?" Kate appeared through the door, looking a little terrified herself. "Kate, if this is another crisis..."
"No, Ms. Anderson. Alex Kensington is waiting to see you." I sighed and rubbed my temples.
"Send her in."
When Alex appeared, she was smirking.
"Well, you told him."
"It's difficult not to hear a loud argument like that one when you're just outside."
I grimaced and sat down behind my desk, glaring at the 'new' pilot script that I'd just refused.
"He made her completely inconsequential. She's a strong female character, with a high intelligence and fight training, and he made her completely useless. Something pretty to look at for the men."
"Well I suppose if that's his view on women, he's not going to enjoy working with either of us much." She was grinning, and I suspected she was trying to cheer me up, but I was fuming.
"Was there something you needed Ms. Kensington?" I arched an eyebrow. Alex completely ignored my attitude and perched on the desk corner, next to me. "Oh please, make yourself at home." I added, sarcastically.
"Thanks, I will."
"Look, I'm very busy and-"
"I just wanted to tell you that, since we're on hold script wise, I took the opportunity to get a few 'sweeping shots'. We can CGI the city, but I think we've got some lovely ones for the beginning, just like you wanted."
I paused, surprised.
"Thank you, Ms.-"
"-And, since we're working together, I think you should call me Alex."
"I don't like to become unprofessional."
"Nothing unprofessional about using first names. Besides, if you're too distant, people will think you're corporate, and I think you're far too creative for that."
I considered her for a moment.
"Alright... Alex. I'll give it a shot."
"Great. I guess that means I can call you Helena?" I almost choked on the coffee I had just been about to take a gulp of. "Well it's only fair." She winked.
"Fine. Fine." I waved at her, still trying to get my breath back.
"Watch yourself. Can't have our fearless leader choking on the coffee that's become so famous."
"You know; 'don't speak to me before this cup is empty'?" She laughed. "Very scary."
"I get the impression that I should double my 'ice queen' efforts on you Ms... Alex."
"Then I'll just double my attempts to get through the cold exterior." She warned, standing up. I was almost smiling when my phone rang, AGAIN, and I saw the this was my mother's third time calling. "Go on, take it. I can leave."
"I have to discuss... just, stay, It won't take a minute." I said, harassed, before taking the call. "Hi, look, I'm right in the middle of-"
"Helena! What are you doing this Thursday?"
"Probably killing myself." I muttered. I saw Alex chuckle.
"What? Speak up, you know I hate it when you mutter."
"I'll be very busy mother." I saw Alex glance over, intrigued, but pretended not to notice. She'd been peering at all my photos, and I had been trying not to let her know I'd been watching her do that, either.
"But darling, I've set up that date for you."
"What?" I felt the rush of anger that my mother so often brought out in me, building.
"Well he's such a lovely man darling, and I think he'd do ever so well with you. I mean imagine, what a power couple!"
"I told you that I didn't want to go on a date..." I glanced at Alex and lowered my voice. She was pretending she wasn't listening, suddenly very intent on the photographs. "You know it won't work mother."
"You know why not."
"But darling, if you'd just give him a chance..."
"I certainly will not!"
"Young lady, I am your mother and-"
"So you go and date him mother! Stop throwing men at me!" I hung up and laid down my phone, resisting the urge to throw it instead.
"Your mum sounds... difficult." I glared at her and she raised her hands in surrender. "Look, you could've asked me to leave. I'm just saying."
"I try to keep my private and professional lives separate," I said, pressing ignore when my mother tried to call again.
"Well, I could give you my opinion, if you want it."
"I have a feeling you'll give it anyway," I sighed.
"If your mum is so intent on getting you a date, maybe just tell her you're already dating someone?"
"She'd want to meet them."
"I have a hard time believing that you can't get a date, even if it's just to fool your mother."
"Maybe you've forgotten my ice queen reputation?"
"Ever heard of a bar?" She laughed. "It doesn't have to be someone from the industry."
"Oh, trust me, it does." Why was I talking to her about this? Personal/Professional; always separate. "Thank you for trying to help, but this is between my mother and I. Now if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to get back to work? We need to discuss the changes that he seems to be making. I need you prepared."
"...Alright." She shrugged, and sat down, this time on the chair in front of me.
Melanie Walsh led the way through the dark building, lit only by dim orange lights that seemed distant no matter where they walked.
"How long have you been on the outskirts?" Randall asked.
"Couple of years." Melanie shrugged. "Someone had to do it, and they're not so bad."
Randall stared at her in disbelief as they got closer to the exit.
"Oh please. It's not like you've been there. You don't even know what you're surprised about."
Aaliyah looked up from her script.
"I don't have as many lines this time!" She moaned.
"You're lucky you've got lines at all," Caine shot back.
"Enough!" I warned. Alex shot a grin at me which I ignored. "Carry on with the read through. We have to start shooting in two days."