"Nekofurenzu" (Feline Friends)
I’d never been on a set before. Thankfully, when Natalie introduced me to the tech managers, my place would be far from a set. I could even put headphones on and block out the set to keep the computers working. First they wanted me to troubleshoot a computer problem, which I guess Natalie knew about before, and I fixed it within a matter of minutes. The men were impressed.
Then they upped the ante. They asked me to try my hand at a green-screening program. I nearly laughed as I started working on it. I did that as a hobby once I was out of college, taking a summer to experiment in integrating computer science with movie-making. It felt like I was a kid again, playing with some very sophisticated and expensive toys.
After a couple hours, the head tech, a skinny blond man with even thinner glasses shook my hand and said they’d get back to me. I figured that meant I was as good as hired. Then I got to sit and watch the movie being filmed. I have to admit, it got boring pretty quick. There were several dozen takes for some of those pieces. It felt like the lottery as I sat there, hoping they’d get the whole scene perfect, then someone would come up and they’d start all over.
Then I saw Natalie act. Immediately, I could see her face showed her seriousness for her role, which happened to be the supporting actress, amazingly enough. I felt awful that I made fun of her about playing a supporting role earlier that week. But if there was anyone who really loved to act, I could see it was Natalie. I could see she was nervous, and showed that when they’d stop a scene, re-apply makeup, or start a new scene, but when the director called ‘action’, it was go time.
After about five or six hours later (and about four free cups of coffee for me from the refreshment table), the director called Natalie aside and told her she was done for the day. Natalie smiled, thanking the man for his time, then started to leave when he stopped her. I couldn’t hear what they talked about, but it made Natalie’s face change a bit. She seemed, reflective, looking puzzled sort of as she walked from the director to me. When she reached me, she smiled and said ‘hey’.
“Hey! Way to go out there. You were amazing!” I said, smiling, then whisked my hand towards the parking lot. “Let’s go, you can tell me what it was like on the way home.”
“But I want to hear about you! How did it go with the tech guys?”
“I’m practically hired.” I said with a grin.
“I always get nervous. I’ve never known an actress who doesn’t get that way. The trick is to not let anyone know once the camera is rolling.” I nodded, agreeing.
“You could have fooled me, though. It looked like you were born to be up there.”
“Thanks.” Natalie said, smiling.
That night was another night of Natalie turning in early. Midnight came over to stay with us so Natalie could get some sleep. The girls turned on the Discovery Channel while I answered emails. I got a couple sick leave days from the boss; I would be in the office tomorrow.
“Hey Matthew.” Midnight asked over the commotion of the TV.
“Hmm?” I said, looking up from my computer.
“Do you like my owner, Natalie?”
I paused, feeling caught off guard but peaceful non-the-less.
“I guess I do, yeah. In what way though?”
“Well, you know,” Natalie said, turning around to face me, taking her attention off the screen, “like liking her. Like a girlfriend.” I could see Mewsy join beside Natalie, both of their focuses off the Discovery Channel now. I sighed, turning in my chair to the two.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been in a relationship, and I’d hate to ruin a good friendship with Natalie over trying to make it something more, you see what I mean?”
“But, what if it wasn’t as hard as you’d think?” Midnight said, sounding really inquisitive.
“What do you mean?” I asked Midnight.
Midnight got a big smile on her face. “What if Natalie likes you?!”
“And what if she doesn’t?” I replied. “How do I know she likes me without going out on a limb and maybe getting hurt over it?”
Midnight looked down for a second, then answered. “Because I heard her talking to herself.”
“What?” I asked.
“Well, she was talking about how the movie shot went, and something the director said, then went off talking to herself.”
“What did she say?” I asked.
“She asked herself if she likes you like a boyfriend, because the director assumed you were.” Midnight said, smiling.
I raised an eyebrow. Seemed a little strange to say the least. I think Midnight might have been fabricating a little; the reason was obvious. The girls wanted me and Natalie to be together, which was really out of my control. It was a group effort, this relationship stuff, and if Natalie didn’t want it… well, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted either. It seemed very plausible that the director assumed I was Natalie’s boyfriend since I accompanied her to the movie, but it was entirely another to assume she kept talking to herself about it since then. So, I turned around back to my computer and didn’t give it a second thought.