The whole studio was buzzing with the news of Aiden and Vivianne’s announcement and everyone agreed that they made as cute a couple as King Arthur and Guinevere did. The crew members were not the only ones excited about the engagement, Cosmopolitan were calling them the new Brangelina and the National Enquirer said that they were the ‘It Couple’ of the decade. The film had even reached new popularity and early critics were giving them five stars. It could not have been going any better.
Apart from the divide between her and the rest of the crew seemed to be growing. Vivianne had taken a strong dislike to Eleanor after the talk about her not being allowed to wear her ring whilst filming, and had started to turn up her nose at any advice that Eleanor gave her during shooting. Vivianne seemed to have also convinced other crew and cast members to ignore her and she had begun to feel left out and isolated. Eleanor tried to get Aiden to talk Vivianne out of her resentment but nothing seemed to change her mind. This caused unnecessary strain in Eleanor’s life and she began to dread her days at work, feeling like a bullied child at school again. But the thing that hurt the most was that Russell seemed to be ignoring her too.
Frequently, Eleanor had bumped into Russell and tried to talk to him but he simply shrugged his shoulders noncommittally and walked off, leaving Eleanor to feel downcast and disappointed. Eleanor had believed that their friendship had been blossoming and he was the only person in the studio that she had felt she had any sort of closeness with.
The most unpleasant thing had happened when she had accidently knocked into him in the corridor and he had muttered, ‘So sorry, Ms Astolat.”
Her head reeled at the change in his behaviour and she could not imagine what had caused it. It could not have just been because of the incident with Vivianne and her engagement ring; she doubted that Russell would have cared that much. However, Eleanor realised once she got home why she was so upset. The reason why Russell ignoring her hurt her so much was because she had feelings for him, strong feelings that she had only just recognized. She had had these feelings for him from the very start, from the moment she had seen him walking out of the seedy Golden Treasure Theatre, with his smooth tan skin, dark curls and glimmering eyes. Her heart throbbed painfully just thinking about him but then sagged when she thought of his new unresponsive attitude. She fell onto her bed and prayed that the next day would be better.
Unfortunately, no such change happened. In fact, it only got worse. Eleanor had planned to find out what was wrong with Russell and had waited for him to wander to the buffet table before joining him.
“Hello, Russell,” she greeted happily, when inside her heart was hammering against her chest.
“Ms Astolat,” he acknowledged. Eleanor frowned at his curt greeting but still tried to engage him in conversation.
“Did you read the article in Empire Magazine? It says that Avalon’s Knights is going to be the biggest hit since Titanic.”
Russell’s only reply was a smile but it lacked any of the friendliness it had once possessed. Exasperated, Eleanor gave up her subtlety and just asked him straight out.
“Have I done something to offend you?” she demanded to know, her heart beating a mile a minute. Russell looked at her, and this time Eleanor saw some of the Russell she once knew.
“No,” he started sounding awkward, “It’s just...well...” but before he could finish an artificially sweet voice interrupted.
“Oh, Russell. Hey,” Vivianne sauntered over, sweeping her hair over one shoulder whilst simultaneously flashing her engagement ring. “I thought we could go over some lines together, over there,” she said raising her eyebrows and indicating to an empty room. Russell looked confused for a second before Vivianne sent him an annoyed look.
“Oh! Of course, over there.” He agreed, “Goodbye El – I mean, Ms Astolat.” His lapse was not missed by either of the women, Vivianne’s emerald eyes narrowed but Eleanor glowed inside. Maybe not all was lost after all. Eleanor watched Vivianne drag him into the unused room and close the door.
Except the door did not close all the way and she could hear Vivianne’s raised voice come from within. Out of curiosity, Eleanor slowly crept towards the opened door and listened in.
“Why were you talking to her?” Vivianne’s voice demanded.
“Look, she was talking to me first and I don’t see what the problem is. Just because you don’t like her doesn’t mean everyone else has to hate her. You’re only a queen in the film, you know.” Russell argued back.
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that!” Vivianne spat in anger. Eleanor was surprised by the sharp sound of a palm on skin. There was a tense silence and Eleanor was worried that the two people inside would hear her unsteady breathing from the opposite side of the door. Eventually, Vivianne spoke:
“Look, I’m sorry, Russell. I’m so sorry, Baby,” she crooned soothingly. Eleanor froze. Baby? What did Vivianne mean? She heard Russell’s heavy sigh.
“I’m sorry too; it’s just stressful sneaking around like this. I’m worried someone’s going to find out about us.”
“Don’t worry, Baby, no one even suspects us. And it’s just till the end of the film and I promise to break it off with Aiden.” Vivianne murmured reassuringly and Eleanor heard the sound of a kiss.
“I know, after filming because otherwise it would be too awkward to work with him, I understand.” Russell agreed and more kissing sounds followed.
Eleanor backed away from door, sickened. Her first impressions of Vivianne had been right, she was selfish, and not only did she have no brain, she had no heart. How could she do this to Aiden? It was obvious that he loved her dearly and she had used the think that Vivianne had loved him in return. Obviously, she was mistaken. Eleanor could not cope with all this new information and ran to the toilet sort out her head. While she was there she splashed some water on her face.
Vivianne and Russell.
Russell and Vivianne.
It just did not make any sense. Though, in a way, she could see this coming from Vivianne, but not from Russell. Obviously, the irony was not lost on Eleanor. This was turning out to be just like the movie; beautiful Guinevere leaving noble King Arthur for his bravest knight, Lancelot. An illicit affair going on behind the good King’s back.
Her sick feeling quickly turned to anger. How dare they do this! Did they not realise the damage this could do to the film or Aiden? If they were found out Aiden would be heartbroken, Eleanor doubted whether he would want to work with either Vivianne or Russell again. Not only that, their reputations would be ruined. All that work Eleanor put in making Russell something in the world of Hollywood would have been for nothing. She could not believe how ungrateful they were being. There was no way she could let this go on. She would have to talk to them in private, tell them to break it off before it got out of hand; before Aiden found out.