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“Cut and print it,” the booming voice of the Director carried across the sound stage.
The four actors on the set, a depiction of a typical mid-American household, froze in place. They had been at it for over an hour now, trying to finish a scene that seemed plagued by one glitch after another. The Director paused for a moment more, then said to their relief, “Okay people, that’s a wrap for today.”
“Thank God,” Brooke Hudson said to herself, thankful to get out from under the hot lights.
As the thirty-nine year old star of “Dear Prudence” walked off the set toward her trailer, her twenty-two year old assistant, Joyce, met her halfway.
“You’ve had a few calls while you were on the set,” the short brunette said as she held up a half dozen pages from a message pad.
Smiling back at the younger girl, the taller redhead flipped through the sheets, deciding that the first three didn’t need answering. The fourth was from her agent reminding her that she had a Monday morning meeting to sit down and discuss her career.
In three more episodes, after a five-year run, “Dear Prudence” would fold its tent for good. The ratings had begun to slip badly this year, as the show seemed to run out of steam. All of the star’s contracts were coming up for renewal, and with the expected demands for salary increases balanced against the expected even lower ratings next year, the Network had decided to pull the plug.
Still, it had been a good run, one a lot longer than Brooke had ever thought it would be when her agent had first brought her the pilot script six years before. It was just another silly sitcom, he’d told her. Not great, but something that would give her a little exposure. Something that her career could really use at that point. Despite fifteen years of guest shots and minor roles, she still hadn’t made that jump to the first string.
The show was originally supposed to be entered around her character, Prudence Greer, a mid-western wife and mother who wrote an advice column for a local paper. Also signed on for the cast had been Harry Hamilton, a respected actor who played her husband, George. The story line called for Prudence to have married her college professor and it was felt an older actor would be more believable. With his salt and pepper hair and rugged good looks, the six-foot actor had been the first choice for the role.
There had been an open call for the roles of Prudence’s teenage children, Carter and his older sister, Jade. After what was termed in the trades as fierce competition, the parts went to two new child actors, Gregg Newman and Paige Harrison.
A mid-summer replacement, Brooke really hadn’t expected it to run beyond the Network’s six-show commitment. To everyone’s surprise, “Dear Prudence” became one of those surprise hits that seemed to come out of nowhere. The ratings grew even larger as the public fell in love with the junior members of the cast.
Gregg Newman had a natural charm and sense of comic timing that was both rare and irresistible. As fans watched him grow to young manhood on the TV screen, his fan mail, mostly from teenage girls, grew to star proportions.
Paige Harrison also developed her own fan base, one that almost doubled in a year as the long haired redhead experienced a growth spurt that seemed to be centered in her breasts. Teenage boys became fascinated by her development in a way that TV Guide described as not seen since the days of the original Mickey Mouse Club.
“Damn,” Brooke said as she looked at the next note.
Joyce didn’t need to look up from the notebook she was jotting some notes in to know which note had generated that particular response. Jim Parkes, a friend who was supposed to be her escort to the National People’s Awards Dinner tonight had called to say that he’d come down with a sore throat and wouldn’t be able to go.
Brooke had been looking forward to the Awards Dinner for weeks. She had been glad when Jim had agreed to go with her because aside from being an old friend, he was also quite safely gay. The twice-divorced star had her fill of men recently, especially those who looked upon dating her as a good career move. A chance to be seen by all the right people.
“Should I call the people at the award dinner and tell them that you won’t be going after all?” Joyce asked.
“No, not yet,” Brooke replied as she ran the names of a few other men she know who might be willing to go on such short notice. “I’ll let you know a little later.”
The last note was a matter she turned over to Joyce to handle. Collecting her notes, the Assistant went off to take care of it.
“Something wrong, Brooke?” a voice behind her asked.
The five foot seven actress turned to find her teenage co-star standing there. He had seen the hurt look on her from across the stage and had walked over to see if there was anything he could do.
Brooke just smiled at the young man who played her teenage son. Many times over the last few years, she had told herself that if she’d had a son of her own, she hoped he was güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri as nice as Gregg was. Over the last five years, she’d watched him grow to manhood and had also become his friend. Gregg had just hit his teens when they’d shot the pilot, two weeks ago he had celebrated his eighteenth birthday.
“Nothing’s wrong,” she smiled, thanking him for his concern and explaining that she had lost her date for the dinner.”
“You’re still going to go, aren’t you?” Gregg said expectantly.
“Well, I’m not sure yet,” she replied. “I still have to come up with someone to go with on really short notice.”
Before becoming a certified star, Brooke could’ve gotten away with going to a function with a girlfriend or even solo. Going alone was no longer an option with her now a high profile star and all. Showing up with a girlfriend could quickly generate a different sort of rumor in the tabloids, one that she would rather not have to deal with.
“You really should still go, Brooke” Gregg said. “I know you were looking forward to it.”
The older Actress just smiled in response. It was an automatic response whenever Gregg used her name. For the longest time, she had always been Miss Hudson, but soon after he’d turned seventeen she had finally got him to call her by her first name. It was a sign of his new adulthood that she knew he enjoyed.
“We’ll see,” the redhead finally answered as she again reviewed her list of possible dates for the evening, discarding those that she knew already had plans.
“I have an idea,” the young man said, unwilling to let the subject go without a definite answer.
“And what would that be?” Brooke asked curiously.
“You could go with me.” he said with a wide grin.
“With you?” she repeated, wanting to be sure she had heard him right.
“Yes, I’d love to take you,” the slightly taller young man went on.
Brooke wasn’t sure if she should’ve been amused, honored, or maybe a little of both. True, Gregg was a quite handsome young man, one that any woman would have to be blind not to appreciate and pretty stupid not to jump at the chance to date. That was if she wasn’t twice his age. Unlike some of her contemporaries, Brooke didn’t make a habit out of dating men young enough to be … well young enough to be her son.
“I would’ve thought a handsome young man like you would have his choice of young starlets to go with,” Brooke said, deferring a response to his suggestion.
Gregg paused for a moment, then gave a non-verbal reply to her observation. Brooke followed his gaze over his shoulder to a man and woman still on the set, involved in an animated discussion. The man was Larry Prince, the show’s Director, the woman Juliet Newman – Gregg’s agent and mother. No further words needed to be said. It was obvious that Juliet Newman planned to go to the dinner as her son’s escort. Brooke hadn’t met Juliet before they all showed up on day one some years back, at least not officially, but it was dislike at first sight on Juliet’s part.
Interestingly enough, both women had come to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune a few months apart back in late ’79. Juliet Newman still showed the beauty she’s exhibited in those early years, and if Brooke wanted to be totally truthful, she’d admit that the dark-haired woman had been the better looking of the two. However, looks only got you so far, especially in a city where even fast food restaurants were filled with beautiful women behind the counters.
Someone who had known Juliet back in those days, once confided to Brooke that many of the tall brunette’s early roles had been gained more by sexual willingness than acting skill. That was something that Brooke never actually held against her. Looking back on her own beginnings, the redhead could remember a few occasions when she’d awaken to find men sharing her bed that normally wouldn’t have gotten past the front door. In fact, she could recall a morning when it had even been a woman she found on the other side of the bed.
No, she wouldn’t judge the woman for things that she had done herself. Juliet’s problem was that once she got those first breaks, she hadn’t had the talent to capitalize on them. At least acting talent. To hear her tell the tale, it was her unplanned pregnancy that had brought a sudden end to what she was sure would’ve been an exceptional career. Never quite sure who the father had been, Juliet had found some guy to be married with just about long enough to give her and her son his name.
Brooke’s real first encounter with Juliet, the one the latter would rather forget, had come during the tryouts for the roles of Carter and Jade. Originally, the Producers hadn’t been all that impressed with young Gregg’s screen test. They were leaning toward giving the role to another young actor. Before the final decision could be made, Juliet had managed an appointment with Tom Carver, the show’s Executive Producer.
The appointment had been during what was normally lunch hour for Carver’s secretary. So, when Brooke had stopped güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri by to ask Tom a question about the planned production schedule, there had been no one to prevent her from walking in to the inner office. Before she could announce herself, she saw that Juliet’s discussion of her son’s merits for the role had far more to do with something going into her mouth rather than any words coming out of it. Without a word, the star to be had quickly gone the way she had come, hoping that neither of them had noticed her. When she had been introduced to Juliet a week later at the press introduction of the cast, it quickly became obvious that at least one of them had indeed noticed her entry.
That Juliet had used what Brooke was sure were considerable oral arguments to get Gregg the role didn’t bother Brooke either. What did, however, was the fact that she seemed to be living her lost stardom through her son. Controlling every aspect of his life with an iron hand. Even at the expense of his childhood.
Brooke remembered an incident the day after Gregg’s recent birthday when Juliet couldn’t find her son and began searching the dressing room trailers for him. People heard her yells clear across the sound stage when she walked into one of the trailers and found Gregg in a close embrace with his co-star Paige. Both were shirtless and the blonde had her bra open and down around her waist. The large mounds that had become a point of interest for so many other teenage boys now rested in Gregg’s hands.
Juliet had been furious, spending nearly a half-hour yelling at her son. Didn’t he realize, she’d told him, what a disaster it would be if anyone found out about the two of them. It could ruin the show if people thought the actors playing brother and sister were involved. At no time in that lecture, did Juliet express any though as to what her son needed outside of his career. From that day on, she had tried to keep him under her watchful eye every minute of the day.
“You and your Mom huh,” Brooke said, confirming that Juliet was indeed planning to be her son’s ‘date’ at the dinner.
Brooke looked again at her young friend. He really was a good kid, the sort of potential son-in-law that any mother might dream about. The only problem was that Juliet kept him on such a choke chain, he was never going to meet anyone.
If she did go with him to the dinner, no one would really think anything of it. She was pretty sure of that. They would think it was something the studio had set up. That sort of thing happened all the time. It wasn’t like it would be a real date.
If nothing else, it would give Gregg a chance to meet a nice girl. Well maybe not a nice girl, considering that it was an industry party, but a girl anyway. That would be a good first step.
The final thought Brooke had before answering, was that the invitation to the dinner had been in Gregg’s name only. If he were taking someone else, Juliet would have no excuse to go. That was unless she found someone else willing to take her on their invitation. A possibility that Brooke considered remote. From comments made by a few men who had first hand knowledge of the subject, Brooke had heard that while Juliet Newman was a truly awesome fuck, she was a real bitch out of the bed. Few men, or women for that matter, really wanted anything to do with her outside that arena.
Not being able to go to the Awards would really piss Juliet off, and for no other reason, that was enough for Brooke to say yes. Everything else was just a bonus.
“I’d love to have you take me to the dinner,” she told a very happy Gregg.
“Great,” he bubbled, his excitement filling the air. “I’ll pick you up around seven o’clock.”
“Gregg, the Studio does supply us with cars and drivers for this sort of thing,” she replied.
“I’d really rather pick you up myself,” Gregg said, glancing over his shoulder to see that his mother was finishing her own discussion.
“All right,” Brooke relented. “you can pick me up at seven. You remember the address, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do,” Gregg said, remembering the parties Brooke had made sure he had received an invitation to. Parties in which Juliet had always tagged along.
“Then I’ll see you then,” Brooke smiled as she walked off the stage, just a few steps ahead of Juliet catching up to her son.
As interesting as she was sure that discussion between mother and son was going to be, the veteran actress wanted to be far away when it happened.
The hours seemed to fly by in what was left of the afternoon as Brooke took care of a few personal errands that she couldn’t leave to Joyce. Then she headed home to dress for the evening.
On her arrival to the luxury apartment she had gotten as part of her last divorced settlement, Brooke was only mildly surprised when her housekeeper, June, said that Gregg Newman had called. Undoubtedly, his mother had won what she knew had to have been a loud argument and Gregg was calling to apologize for now not being able to take her to the dinner. güvenilir bahis şirketleri
To her surprise, the message June had taken said nothing of the sort. It just confirmed that he would be there at seven and that he was looking forward to taking her to the ceremony.
“How bout that,” she laughed as she crumpled up the paper and dropped. “He finally won an argument with that bitch! Good for him.”
A smile filled Brooke’s face, the result of a small amount of delight that Gregg had stood up for himself, as well as the knowledge that Juliet had to be pissed off beyond compare right now. No matter, the show was scheduled to finish production on the last episode by next month and that would be the last she would ever see of Juliet Newman.
“Well if I’m going to be going to the Awards after all, I’d better start getting ready,” she said to herself.
One advantage to having short hair, Brooke reminded herself, was that she didn’t have to spend half the afternoon at the beauty salon being done by whoever was the rage of the month. It wasn’t common knowledge among her fans, but she wore a longer haired wig as Prudence Greer. The Producers nearly had a heart attack two seasons ago when she’d cut her hair for a movie role. They’d spent a small fortune having a wigmaker come up with an undetectable copy of Prudence’s hairstyle. A quick wash and dry was enough to get her natural hair the way she liked it.
Stepping out of the large stand-alone shower, Brooke exited the bathroom into the walk in closet she’d had converted to a small dressing room. June had already laid out her clothes for the evening, so that saved even more time.
Standing nude in front of the large vanity mirror, the thirty-nine year old took a few moments to look at herself. Good diet and an almost obsessive devotion to physical fitness had left her with a body that was actually in better shape than when she’d gotten her first role. True, there were a few lines in her face that hadn’t been there a few years back, but there were just enough to give her character, as her mother used to say.
Her breasts had stood the test of time as well, she liked to say. Another result of a daily exercise regiment. Running her open hands across her chest, she wondered if anyone of the show’s fans ever noticed that both she and Paige Harrison had the same size breasts. Probably not, she told herself. Paige’s were always on display while hers were usually hidden under the conservative outfits the scripts called for Prudence to wear.
Last year, Brooke had appeared in a Broadway show, subbing for the lead during the sitcom’s off months. The outfits she’d worn in the show had given a much more demonstrative view of her assets. A view uncommon enough for one reviewer to wonder in his column if she’d had implants. The veteran actress was quick to fire off a note to his paper, by special messenger no less, that everything on her body, with the exception of a few capped teeth, were what she’d been born with.
The evening gown she’d picked for this evening was definitely not part of Prudence’s wardrobe. Jet-black and strapless, it had a built in bra. They not only supporting her mounds but put them on prominent display as well. The dress also had long open slits up her legs, giving her full freedom of movement and displaying her legs as much as her breasts.
A pair of small diamond earrings followed, along with a matching pendent that hung in the soft valley of her chest. Just a touch of make up finished the image, the reflection in the mirror showing the real Brooke Hudson and not the fictitious Prudence Greer.
“Excuse me, Miss Hudson,” June said as she stood in the doorway. “but the young man is here.”
“Already?” Brooke said, then looking up at the wall clock realized that sure enough, it was five after seven. “Tell him I’ll be down in a few minutes, would you please.”
“Of course,” the sixty something housekeeper said. ” Might I say that you look quite lovely in that dress.”
“Thank you, June,” Brooke replied. “but you know you don’t have to compliment me all the time. It’s hardly part of your job.”
“I know,” she smiled just before disappearing down the hall. “That’s why I like to do it.”
“Good evening, Gregg,” Brooke said as she stepped out of the bedroom into the living room.
Gregg had been looking out the bay window at the empty beach beneath the condo, sipping from a soft drink June had gotten him. Dressed in a black tuxedo that added to his new image of young manhood, Brooke had to say the five foot nine teen really looked good in it.
“Wow!” Gregg exclaimed when he turned and saw Brooke’s outfit. “You look so, so …”
“Different?” Brooke completed his sentence as she walked over to him and gave him a friendly kiss hello on the cheek.
“Yeah, different,” Gregg repeated.
“I don’t know why,” Brooke said as she picked up the drink June had left out for her, taking a sip. “After all, you’ve seen me dressed up countless time before.”
As the liquid hit her mouth, Brooke was surprised to find it was the same soda that had been served to her guest. It was the housekeepers’ way of reminding her that the young man couldn’t legally drink yet and that maybe she shouldn’t either. Thinking about it for a second, Brooke decided it might not be bad advice and took a second sip of the cola.
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