Disclaimer: Johnny and Sonya aren’t mine. (SOB!) But all the other characters are. Doesn’t that make me special?
This story is based on an idea taken from the novelization of the movie. I consider it to be a rather dark tale, as I’ve come to find those to be the most interesting and the most angsty. Be warned, dear reader, that this is no light hearted story, and should not be taken as such. Shock is something I hope for, and confusion is expected. But most of all, I want to entertain you with the twists and turns hidden within the dark heart of man. Enjoy.
Note: Italics are used for accent and for memories.
‘~’ these quote marks mean a person’s thoughts.
Johnny leaned against the balcony; around him the music climbed the walls in sweet mellow tones of romance and adventure. Below, the streets moved with the grace of a colorful serpent, bodies pressed into each other to the beat of the music as performers did magic tricks, juggled with swords and various fruits, or swallowed fire. The crowds gasped and laughed with delight; Johnny’s envy grew as each moment passed.
In his fingers, a small object twirled carelessly in circles and figure eights. Sometimes, when moved to just the perfect angle, a burst of light would flow like white fire from the small diamond. Then it would move again, the flash would disappear, and only the small thread of spun gold would reflect in the dancing flames around the balcony.
Despite the cheerfulness of the festival below and the clear sparkling heavens above, Johnny couldn’t even bring himself to smile. No mischief tonight, no wining and dinning in an expensive Italian restaurant with a cocky smile and adoring fans shoving pads and pens into his face. No desire to even look into his girlfriend’s eyes and drown there as he swept her up into the music and danced the night away.
Instead, the young actor was too busy sorting his past, reliving the moments that he had tried to banish, but now couldn’t keep locked away. And he was glad she wasn’t there to see it. To see the hardness in his eyes, the cruel curve of his mouth. The only time his body hinted at relaxation was when the ring caught the light and shimmered in his eyes.
…Know what happens to drifters…
…No, please don’t…
…You are a dead man…
He sighed heavily, shoulders dropping and hands covering his face. All he kept seeing was her face…
“Hey, handsome.” Johnny stiffened as warm arms laced around his waist and a feminine figure pressed into his back. He made no move to acknowledge her presence, except to quickly tuck the ring into his pocket. “Why do you have your suitcase out?”
Johnny took a deep breath before turning around and putting a smile upon his face. “Sonya.” He gripped her arms lightly, leaned down and kissed each cheek. Her smile was dazzling, and he noticed that she was wearing the azure silk gown he bought for her not a week ago, the one she declared she would not wear unless it was for a dire cause… like being held at gun point with while dangling from a rope off the Empire State Building in the middle of an electrical storm while a silver key dangled from her neck, and even then she would have to be persuaded. Johnny chuckled inwardly. Bribed is more like it. “I’m glad you caught me before I left. I was just out here to get some fresh air before I finished packing.” His cocky smile never left even when he drifted away from her and glided into the room with ease.
Sonya stood in confused shock. “Packing?” She followed him into the large suite. “Why are you packing? We don’t leave for another two weeks!”
Johnny heaved a weighty sigh. “I know, I know. But there’s a new script I just received, and they’re begging for me to play the lead,” he commented with a haughty tone. His back turned to her so he could pack while talking. “It’s bound to be the biggest blockbuster movie since Sudden Death, and that will boost my stardom enough to hopefully get over this lame idea that I’m fake.” He paused as he walked into the bathroom. “Only problem with the film is, they start shootingtwo days from now,” he continued. “So I need to get outta here and back to the States ASAP.”
Sonya stood speechless for a moment. “Wha… And what about m--the vacation?”
Johnny turned with a look of sudden recognition. “Oh, you don’t need to worry. Stay the rest of the time; enjoy it here. I’ve still got the expenses.” He grinned like he was doing her a favor and then carried on with his packing like everything was splendid.
Sonya, however, was not splendid. Her face was taut and flushed, her eyes wide. “You’re just going to leave me here? After you promised we’d spend time together, you’re up and gone at the call of a stupid movie?!”
“Sonya,” Johnny said in exasperation. “It’s my life. I need to do these movies! They’re what I live for!”
“I thought I…” Sonya didn’t finish. Instead, she curled her hands into fists and marched for the door.
She froze, turning only when the actor jogged over to her.
“Here.” He was reaching into his pocket for something. When removed, she noticed it was an envelope. He reached in and pulled out a wad of money, put the envelope onto the small night table with the lovely floral vase and roses, and handed the cash to her.
“What’s this?” she asked suspiciously. In her hand was over $3000 in crisp bills.
“To cover any and all variable expenses. I don’t think I’ll be in touch much, what with the movie and all, but I’ll call you if I can, and maybe we can meet up somewhere. But anyway, thanks for the good time. It was worth every minute.” He smiled with a relaxed posture and a comfortable demeanor, like he was giving a child a compliment.
The cash fell in a graceful flutter of green paper and ink. “You may regard me as some bar beaten hooker, but I won’t be paid like one,” she responded. Without another word, without an argument, without killing him, she walked out.
As soon as she was gone, Johnny’s smile rotted away and his appearance became melancholy again. A hand ran through his hair, he took a deep breath. His eyes drifted around the too quiet room, over the mute fireplace and black television, to the small coffee table next to the couch where the newspaper laid limply on the edge.
The vase shattered into a thousand pieces, the projected force causing the wood table to become dented and scratched, but the jagged pieces could not shred the article in print, or the cold, devious eyes of the picture that stared off into the night.