Vin blew out the smoke of his joint as he stared at the framed picture of Luna and him that Luna had placed on one of the shelves. She had been gone for only fifteen minutes and he was already missing her. Vin couldn’t believe that he had let his wife go without even giving her a good bye kiss. But he had been so angry and upset that he just couldn’t bring himself to face her. He hadn’t even been there when she had packed her suitcase.
Growling under his breath, his eyes wandered around, noticing that Luna had taken with her every single personal thing she had brought to Alabama, leaving behind just that picture, as a reminder for him of who he was married to.
Sighing heavily, Vin put the joint out and sat, leaning backward against the headboard of the bed. His head hurt like a bitch; all those Coronita beers hadn’t been the best choice and he was now dealing with a fucker of a hangover.
Looking absently around, Vin realized Luna wasn’t coming back to Alabama any time soon and the realization caused his guts to turn into painful knots. Luna had gone even if she hadn’t done it consciously. His wife had packed everything, absolutely everything valuable to her. Her books, her CDs, even her DVDs. Funny thing was, all her jewels were still there, inside one wooden box. With the exception of her wedding ring and the black star, everything else was still there.
She’s not coming back, Vin said silently, rubbing his forehead. He almost couldn’t think clearly with such a hell of a headache.
A new heavy sigh passed his lips and Vin glanced at the clock. She had to be boarding the jet now, maybe even on her way to the airport.
A crazy idea crossed his mind. To join her. If he called the pilot, they’d wait for him. He didn’t even need to pack; he could buy whatever he might need once they were in New York.
Pressing his lips together, Vin narrowed his eyes. He should go after his wife but then again his wife should have been there with him in first place. Why did he have to be the one giving in? Why did it have to be him who went after her and not the other way around?
Vin closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Why did Luna have to be so damn stubborn? He could understand her career was important for her but what about their marriage? Wasn’t that important enough to leave aside everything else?
At the end there was his career too, which was what was supporting them both and not the other way around. It was his money that was paying for the bills and not the other damn way around. Her book could be published any time but his movie had to be shot now, that couldn’t wait. What was with her anyway? She had been the one pushing him to shoot the movie now and she was backing out.
Opening his eyes, Vin picked up his cell phone and dialed Luna’s number. His jaw set hard as soon as he found it disconnected. “It figures.” Vin muttered under his breath. Letting out a heavy sigh, he dialed Renee’s number.
“What’s up, Vin?” Renee replied coldly.
Vin knit a brow at the tone of her voice but decided to ignore it. He wasn’t in the mood for a second round just yet.
“Find me the number of a flower shop that delivers in New York.” Vin matched Renee’s tone of voice and hung up the phone.
Luna boarded the jet wearing sunglasses to cover her puffed eyes. She didn’t want anybody asking her what was going on. Not that she really expected someone to ask her at all. Everybody around was on Vin Diesel’s payroll, they wouldn’t dare to say anything.
From Mike to the pilot right down to the stewardess, they were Vin’s employees. Some of them, like Mike, full time employees and others occasional employees or simply part time employees. The result was the same. All of them were around but never interfering directly in anything linked with their bosses’ life.
Luna had learnt in record time to live surrounded by people, pretending they weren’t really there. With the exception of the time they were both at ‘Black Star’, the rest of the time Vin was always surrounded by people and as soon as the shooting had started, things had gone even further.
Not only were Renee and Valentino, or Mike and Steve, around, but also a little crowd at his beck and call that were constantly coming and going. A personal trainer, a hair and fashion stylist, which always made Luna giggle madly since Vin didn’t have hair and he never followed the guy’s advices regarding clothing, ever. A chef, a driver, two assistants to help Renee and even one guy who took care of Roman’s needs, not to mention Vin’s extra security staff.
The pilot and the stewardess gave Luna a welcome on board and after making sure that everything was ready, the jet finally took off, to Luna’s relief. She couldn’t wait to get out of Alabama, the sooner the better.
She didn’t have anything against the place; in fact Luna loved it. The people of Montgomery had been more than just nice to her, giving Luna a warm welcome, but the situation had turned into a living hell really fast. She wondered from what she was running away from exactly. From Alabama or from Vin? Luna wasn’t sure anymore and the painful doubts were silently killing her.
At least she was on her way home and that was what mattered. Luna had a little more than one hour until they land in JFK airport. So she made herself comfortable and, closing her eyes, she started crying silently while Mike and the stewardess pretended that they weren’t there.
Luna hadn’t said good-bye to Vin because he wasn’t there. He once more had vanished the night before and didn’t show up when she was packing her things. So enraged, Luna had packed everything. She would go back to LA, back to ‘Black Star’, once her meeting with the publishing house was done.
She was not going back to that shooting set and if Vin wanted to shoot that damn sex scene with Miss Harley, he could be Luna’s guest for all that she cared. She wouldn’t say anything else about the matter. That was one thing Luna was done with. She refused to have something, anything else to do with that movie.
Luna jumped out of the SUV before Mike had time to open her door and rushed out almost blindly; throwing herself into Delora’s waiting open arms.
“Ma…” Luna breathed, unable to stop her tears anymore as she hugged Delora tightly. Vin’s mom didn’t wait a second and she hugged Luna back, shushing her.
Delora noticed that Luna had called her ‘mom’ and her heart almost burst out from her chest. She could only imagine how alone and lost Luna felt at that very moment.
“Shhh, it’s okay, sweetheart, you’re at home now.” Delora soothed her daughter in law, fighting back her own tears as she shared a knowing look with Irving.
Vin’s dad shook his head, sighing hard and turned around, ushering the kids inside before they could see their Aunt Luna crying her eyes out. But it was too late, they had already seen her.
“Grandpa, why is Aunt Luna crying?” Chris asked, chewing his bottom lip.
Irving took the little boy’s hand in his and, squeezing lightly, he padded towards the salon.
“You remember when you went visit Uncle Mark and you were all tired and grumpy after the flight?” Irving asked the little boy, glancing at Luna. Chris nodded ‘yes’ but narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He didn’t remember crying for being tired. “Well, Luna is a little tired, that’s all. You don’t worry, okay?”
“Aunt Luna…she’ll be fine, right?” Adiana moved forward a little, her eyes showing that she wasn’t buying it at all.
“Maybe I could kiss her to make it better?” Chris asked shyly, knotting his little fingers. That always worked with him.
Nila smiled warmly and kneeled in front of her son, stroking his cheek. “Let’s give her a few minutes and then you can kiss her all you want, okay?” Chris smiled widely and nodded ‘yes’ eagerly. Nila smiled sadly and got to her feet, turning her attention to her daughter. “How about you and Chris draw something really nice for your Aunt Luna?”
Both kids nodded ‘yes’ and ran out of the salon and to the back porch where they got busy, pulling out pencils, markers and cards to draw the most wonderful drawing for their Aunt Luna.
After several minutes Luna managed to pull herself together long enough so that Delora could steer her inside the house and upstairs to one of the guestrooms. Mike would occupy the other.
Vin’s bodyguard followed the women, not saying a word, and after leaving Luna’s cases inside the room, he returned downstairs and headed towards the back porch to say ‘hi’ to Irving and the rest of Vin’s family members.
Delora closed the door and took a deep look at Luna. Damn, her daughter in law was a mess. She was shaking and hiccupping like a little girl. Her eyes were red and puffed and her nose was running like the Mississippi river. Nevertheless, it was her gaze that caused Delora’s breath to falter for a second.
She had seen that very same gaze too many times to keep track over the years while she was a social worker. And even on herself when she had found from one day to the next that she was pregnant and abandoned.
Luna was lost and scared, as if she had been thrown out of her house into the middle of the street by her parents on a stormy night. It hurt Delora to unthinkable limits to know that Luna’s current situation wasn’t that far from that painful comparison.
Delora forced herself to breathe deeply, fighting back the sudden anger directed at her own son and took a seat at Luna’s side.
“I should have switched off the TV before watching that damned movie.” Luna whispered absently, cleaning her cheeks with the back of her hand.
Delora blinked, confused for a second. “What movie, sweetheart?”
“Pitch Black—I should have been sleeping instead of staying up to watch ‘Pitch Black’.” Luna replied, sniffling loudly. “I searched for ‘Riddick’ on the Internet.”
“Oh.” Delora smiled sadly. “The very first time that you saw the so called Vin Diesel, right?” Luna nodded. “A pity that Mr. Riddick doesn’t exist in real life. We could send him to smack Mark around.” Delora winked and Luna smiled a little. “What’s going on, Luna?”
Luna’s lower lip quivered and she closed her eyes. “My marriage is going south.” She breathed out shakily.
“And you are letting that happen?” Delora’s voice sounded serious yet tinted with concern.
“No!” Luna shook her head eagerly. “But I…I don’t know what to do. I’m so—this is not what I thought. Marriage is not how I…expected it would be.” She sighed, frustrated. Luna couldn’t find the right words to express what she felt; how she felt.
“What exactly did you expect, Luna?” Delora took Luna’s hand in hers. In response, Luna shrugged her shoulders, defeated. She had no damn clue but definitely not what she had gotten. Delora sighed heavily. “An eternal honeymoon, maybe?” Vin’s mom ventured to add.
Luna chewed on her lower lip. “I know it’s childish and immature to wish for the fairy tale, but…this is turning into a nightmare…” She trailed off, taking a ragged breath. “I’m not asking for that much. At least I don’t think I’m doing it. I just want to have some stability for once, a real home, a man who shows me that loves me and that respects me.” Luna met Delora’s concerned gaze. “Am I asking for too much?”
Delora squeezed Luna’s hand with warm affection. “Listen, Luna, I don’t think you’re asking for too much, maybe it’s just that you’re asking for such things of the wrong man.” Luna’s eyes widened completed as her breath hitched in her throat. Delora nodded ‘yes’, then elaborated. “It’s really hard for me to be objective because even though I love Mark, I love you too.”
“Delora…” Luna started but Vin’s mom didn’t let her finish.
“Luna, let me finish, sweetheart.” She replied patiently. “I do know that you love Mark with everything in you. I saw it in your eyes the first time we met and I can still see it. That love hasn’t changed; if anything, it has grown deeper, stronger.” Delora paused for a few seconds and her expression hardened visibly. “I can only imagine the living hell you have gone through and are still going through because of him; because he’s a selfish, immature kid that refuses to grow up.”
Luna felt fresh tears rising fast and even though she fought them back, she knew it was a lost battle. Delora lifted her hand and gently, she cleaned Luna’s cheeks, not realizing that she was crying silently too.
“You can’t imagine how happy I felt knowing that you and Mark married, even if I wasn’t there. I know you’re good for him. I know you are perfect for him, but I also know that….” Delora swallowed hard and continued. “Mark will destroy you, Luna. He will tear you apart, and the saddest part is that he won’t be conscious of it; Mark won’t be aware until it’s too late.”
Luna whimpered. “I know he loves me.” She breathed weakly. “I know Mark is in love with me.”
“Of course he is, Luna.” Delora replied firmly. “Mark loves you more than any other woman he’s crossed paths with over the years, and surely more than he will love any other woman in the future.” She cupped Luna’s face in her hand, stroking her cheek. “But, my damn son loves himself even more, and that’s something you cannot change, sweetheart.”
Montgomery. Alabama. Shooting set of ‘SETH’
“And to think there was a time when I was jealous of Luna because she was with Vin.” Sandra sighed heavily and sipped from her iced tea.
“I think almost every single one of his fans was jealous of her, anyway.” Lorraine said sadly.
“Well, I don’t envy her anymore, you know? To be in the spotlight 24/7 is not that cool.” Sandra shook her head and took a bite of her sandwich. “You should have heard her crying, Lorraine. It was heartbreaking.”
Lorraine frowned a little but said nothing. She had heard them fighting too, just like everyone around their trailer.
“She left early this morning with one of his bodyguards.” Sandra whispered. “I asked Niko and he told me Luna went to New York to visit Vin’s parents, but I don’t buy it. I think she left him.”
“I don’t think so.” Lorraine whispered absently, playing with her plastic fork. “I saw them together in LA and you should have seen the way Vin was looking at her. They are in love with each other.”
Sandra shrugged her shoulders. “Whatever.”
Both girls were sitting with their backs to the entrance of the huge tent that served as the canteen and they didn’t see Renee and Valentino entering and taking a seat right behind them. It was lunch break and most of the crewmembers were there.
“She must feel very lonely.” Lorraine broke the silence.
“No wonder. Not even her so called ‘sister’ has been around her at all.” She said, chewing on her sandwich. “Did you know that when we moved here she and Vin’s PA looked like Siamese sisters? They looked like they were glued.”
Renee tensed and looked at Val. Her face paled all of a sudden.
“Then, when all that shit with the abortion and her bulimia hit the media. Poof. Renee doesn’t talk to her anymore.” Sandra whispered. “Wonder if they were as close friends as they looked.”
“I think it’s in the real tough times when you realize who your true friends are.” Lorraine sighed.
Renee pushed her plate forward. She wasn’t hungry anymore. Val pressed his lips together and took Renee’s hand in his, squeezing softly.
“I read somewhere that she was one of her bridesmaids.” Lorraine continued. “I think there are pictures showing the four of them together.”
Sandra nodded ‘yes’, sipping from her drink. “Yep. Luna was wearing a gorgeous lavender dress and boy, Vin looked damn good in his tuxedo.” She grinned.
Val glanced at Renee and found her eyes brimming with unshed tears.
Slowly, Renee got to her feet and headed towards the entrance, followed by Val. They both knew that the girls were right and felt ashamed of their behavior, especially Renee since she was supposed to be Luna’s best friend.
Renee couldn’t believe that her own pain had blinded her to the point of projecting over Luna her own frustration and fears. She cursed herself silently and hurried her steps. She had done it once again; she had turned her back on Luna, her best friend, her sister, just when Luna needed her most.
Val felt even worse. His own guilt and shame about not being able to get Renee pregnant had gotten in the way, clouding his mind from thinking clearly enough to see their friends weren’t the one’s to be blamed about Renee and his own misfortune.
Renee and Valentino had been so consumed in their own pain, that they didn’t think about Vin’s and Luna’s pain about deciding to not have that baby. It had been so unfair to assume that their best friends had done it for the hell of it, and it was only now when they realized that surely Vin and Luna would be forever carrying that painful decision upon their shoulders.
“She’s stronger than most people think.” Lorraine whispered as she looked around, watching the shooting crew chatting in murmurs.
It wasn’t that hard to figure out what they were talking about. Everybody knew that Vin’s wife had left the shooting early that morning. It was difficult to keep a secret on set, especially if it was something linked with Vin Diesel in any way.
“Well, she’s going to need more than just her strength to keep her husband at her side.” Sandra pointed out. “Especially since that trashy piece of skank Sheila will come out to play now that Luna’s gone.”
Lorraine returned her attention to Sandra. “You really think Vin would cheat on Luna?”
Sandra shrugged her shoulders. “I only know that bad habits die hard.”
“Sheila is not able to hold a candle to Luna. Vin’s wife is too much of a woman.” Lorraine said firmly.
Sandra snorted. “Luna’s pussy is miles away, Lorraine, and Sheila’s pussy is here and available.”
Lorraine shook her head in denial. “Still, I don’t think Vin would cheat on her. He loves his wife too much, Sandra.”
“Wanna bet?” The blonde replied.
“Sandra!” Lorraine gasped. “That’s awful!”
Once more Sandra shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah, whatever, but just so you know, the bets are 1 to 6 against Luna.”
Lorraine gasped, horrified. She couldn’t believe that people were betting about that. As if Luna and Vin weren’t real people, made of flesh and bones, and with blood running through their veins.
“Oh my God! I can’t believe people are so thoughtless.” Lorraine mumbled, indignant. “They are both real people with feelings. Christ! This is horrible!”
Sandra rolled her eyes. “Like people give a damn. Come on, Lorraine. Most people love it when the rich and famous fall apart.” She sighed hard. “It makes them feel like their lives are less pathetic knowing that even those who have everything can end up losing it too.”
Sandra didn’t like it, but it wasn’t as if she could change the way things were. She was just stating facts.
Lorraine narrowed her eyes. “You’re not betting, are you?” Sandra averted her eyes. “Sandra!”
“What? May as well get something from all this mess.” She replied in her defense.
Lorraine shook her head in disapproval. “At least tell me you’re betting for Luna.” She begged Sandra. In response the blonde shook her head ‘no’.
“Sorry, girl, I only bet if I’m sure I’m gonna win.”
New York (later that day)
Luna grabbed her sides, laughing out loud. Tears prickling down her cheeks. “Oh, my God, you’re such a comedian.”
Chris giggled, blushing a little. “I know another one. Wanna hear it?” He grinned wickedly.
“Yeah, go ahead.” Luna grinned, taking a deep breath. Chris has been sharing with his Aunt Luna all the jokes that he knew.
“Ok, but don’t tell mommy; she doesn’t like this one.” Chris got serious but his eyes were sparkling with a mischievous gaze.
Luna giggled. “My lips are sealed.” She replied firmly even though she was fighting back her laughter.
“Ok. Mommy, farts have weight? No. Geez! I shit my pants again.” Chris clasped his hand against his mouth as he started giggling madly and Luna broke into a fit of hysterical giggles.
She was having the best time in weeks just playing, chatting and drawing with Adiana and Chris. Kids had the power to heal things no one else would be able to. Luna loved them. They were damn sweet.
“What’s so funny, guys?” Nila emerged from inside the house with a huge bouquet of dark red roses tied up with a turquoise velvet lace. The exact variety Luna loved most.
“Nothing.” Chris and Luna replied at once, still giggling.
Nila narrowed her eyes but smiled. “Look what I got here, Luna.” She said, watching how Luna’s giggles died on her lips as soon as her sister in law saw the roses. Nila turned her attention to Chris. “Chris, dinner is ready, honey. Go wash your hands.”
“But I’m not hungry yet.” He pouted a little. “I want to keep playing with Aunt Luna.”
“Yeah, I know, but now it’s time for dinner.” Nila answered firmly, the bouquet of roses still in her hands.
“But I am not hungry!” Chris stomped his feet, crossing his arms over his chest.
Nila rolled her eyes, sighing, exasperated. Luna forced a smile on her lips and pulled the little boy to her.
“How about this?” Luna whispered. “You go have dinner and later I’ll tell you a great story, okay?”
Chris narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “You promise?”
“I promise.” Luna replied solemnly, tickling Chris.
The little boy squealed, giggling, and tried to release himself from Luna’s arms, but she kept tickling him a little more.
“Okay, okay!” Chris squealed breathlessly and kissing Luna’s cheek, he ran inside the house, calling for his sister Adiana.
Nila snorted, shaking her head. “You know, Chris has you wrapped around his little finger, don’t you?” She asked Luna leaving the bouquet onto the table.
“Yep.” Luna smiled and then glanced at the flowers. Nila followed Luna’s line of vision.
“I’d say someone is feeling sorry?” She asked Luna carefully, not wanting her sister in law to feel she was getting in her business.
Luna chuckled sadly and picked up the attached note, reading silently.
I’m sorry, Luna. Please forgive me.
“You’re gonna have to do better than this shit, Mr. Vincent.” Luna whispered as she grabbed the bouquet and headed towards a big garbage can Vin’s parents had set in one of the corners within the back yard.
Nila frowned a little when she saw Luna unceremoniously throwing the beautiful bouquet of dark red roses inside the garbage can along with the handwritten note. Then Luna pulled out her cell phone and took a picture, sending it to Vin’s cell phone.
“Way to go, girl!” Nila laughed wickedly, causing Luna to giggle.
Montgomery (Alabama) Shooting set of ‘SETH’
“What? You’re kidding, right?” Niko blinked, sighing hard. In response Sandra shook her head ‘no’.
“Vin’s PA told me he’s not in the mood.” She whispered, glancing around, watching part of the shooting crew roll their eyes, shaking their heads in disbelief while others cursed aloud.
“Can’t fucking believe the balls he has, shit!” Niko muttered under his breath and stormed out, marching towards his trailer.
The young director was going to get wasted as fast as he could. Niko was now suspecting that this shooting was going to go south without remission.
Sheila smiled evilly and without wasting time, she headed towards Vin’s trailer. As soon as she got closer, Sheila rearranged her revealing outfit, pushing her perfect breasts up her generous low-neck top and greeted Vin’s local bodyguards with a seductive smile. Both men gave Sheila the once over and kept talking with each other as she knocked on Vin’s trailer door.
A few seconds passed and Steve opened the door.
“Hi, Steve, I need to talk with Vin.” Sheila said in her sweetest tone of voice. In response, Vin’s bodyguard looked at her from head to toe.
“Vin is resting, Miss Harley.” He replied politely, blocking the entrance.
“It’s okay, Steve.” Vin’s voice said from inside, staring at the picture that Luna had sent him showing his flowers thrown in the basket.
Sheila smiled in triumph as Steve reluctantly moved to one side, letting the young actress in.