A little bit about this scene: Jack obviously is sexually attracted to Zola, but there’s a conflict within him as to whether or not he should have sex with her. The conflict stems from a situation in his personal life which I can’t allude to here since that is a part of the story I don’t wish to prematurely reveal. At the end of this scene they mention Corey Loch, who is a friend of Jack’s, another A-lister. “Little Billy Babcock” is a character that Corey portrayed on a television show when he was a child.
For those who didn’t read yesterday’s deleted scene: This is an excerpt taken from my novel The Opera. The character Zola no longer exists in the story, but I like her so now she lives on my blog. Prior to posting this I eliminated all reference to the plot. Jack Mariano is an A-list actor, so when she comments that she’s never seen him without his hat and sunglasses, that refers to his always being in “disguise.”
Either later today or tomorrow morning I will post part 3 which will pick up directly from where this scene ends.
Zola part 2
Zola opens the door, dressed the same as she was at work, but she seems fresher, more exuberant. She lets Jack in and tells him that they’re going to make a casserole, but not to scoff because it’s the best damn casserole he’ll ever have. Besides, it’s quick and easy, and she’s starving, so she doesn’t want to wait for a complicated meal. Jack agrees, accommodated to eating an earlier dinner. She leads him in, pours him a glass of wine, “Coteaux du Languedoc Famille de Janiny,” she says, then laughs at her horrible pronunciation. Jack takes off his sunglasses and hat and she comments that she has never seen him without them, his eyes are so beautiful and he has a beautiful smile. Jack can tell she is nervous and excited but she’s trying to play it cool. She’s never presented in a self-conscious manner before, but it’s ok with Jack. He recognizes her as human and her sexual prowess is less otherworldly, less powerful, enabling him to have more control over himself, the situation, and a higher level of esteem as his ego is boosted. He appreciates her trying to treat him like a real person, but it’s one of the things about women that turns him on, their nervous laughter, the way they play with their hair, the sinuous way they open and close their eyes as they are speaking, the arousal that surfaces from being in the presence of Jack Mariano. It’s one of the select types of occasions that he acknowledges his status, the way women turn to jelly when they’re around him. He tries to ignore it, not wanting to be vain, but he loves it, loves it, loves it. It turns him on, and his own philandering tendencies steal more from that energy of their attraction.
He likes Zola, respects her, and therefore draws a conclusion based on a lesson he learned a long time ago. Never have sex with a woman if it wouldn’t be respectful of her. Perhaps he wouldn’t have learned this lesson had he been an everyday man. But as an A-lister with ceaseless opportunities for sex with multiple partners, Jack had to create rules and boundaries. Otherwise, having avoided various opportunities for addiction throughout his career, sex could have become such a culprit. Hence, no sex with Zola since it would be disrespectful; this is what he determines. But he has another process of thought driven by hormones, and if he’s drinking wine, one kingdom may soon rule over the other.
As they prepare dinner, Jack drinks a lot of wine.
During dinner, Zola congratulates Jack on being voted the sexiest male celeb veg two years in a row now, telling him she votes for him every year. In response to his inquiries, she tells him about her childhood growing up in Western Massachusetts, in a rural town. Her family had a house with lots of land that they got at a reduced rate for keeping livestock. Her parents didn’t own livestock when they bought the land, though they guaranteed that they would. They got pigs, which were never intended for slaughter, rather, they were family pets. Zola recalls running and playing with the pigs. She says they are sweet and friendly and smarter than dogs. She says that contrary to popular belief, they prefer a clean pen. Their skin is sensitive to the sun, so they like to roll in mud because it protects them from the sun. They prefer fresh food, especially fruits, and not garbage. They tend to keep their feces as far from their food as possible. Zola says pigs are sensitive animals; they miss their owners when they’re away and they get excited to see them when they return. They are good mothers and protect their babies and Zola swears they cry if their babies are hurt or sick. Pigs can get depressed and they need a lot of love. Zola says they also enjoy music and that they used to dance with her. She says mostly they love to play, they run and play like children, and she is convinced that they smile.
Jack, if it weren’t for his situation, would fall in love with her from this context alone. He tells her that everything she said is beautiful and he loves to hear people talk like that about animals. He asks her more questions, ruling the conversation as usual, not letting too much information out about himself. Jack is so warm and genuine and friendly by nature, that people don’t realize how private he is. You can walk away from a conversation with Jack feeling like you’ve just made yourself a new, intimate best friend, until you realize, he told you absolutely nothing about himself. That is, unless he’s been drinking a bit too much, another reason he only drinks around trusted company. As they move from the table to the sofa, the room pulsating with candle flames and Billie Holiday, they leave the casserole to congeal. Both are too enwrapped in dialogue to concern themselves with it, which is dually uncharacteristic since neither of them have the tendency to ever waste food. Once settled together amongst all the cushions, Jack tells her it’s hard to trust people, what they’re really thinking, what their motivations are, wondering why he trusts her. Then he realizes by saying that, it means he’s already had too much to drink.
“I don’t think I’ve ever given you a reason not to trust me. I could’ve completely exploited you by now.”
“You still could. There are those people who work to get as close to you as they possibly can, then bam, completely betray you. That’s happened to me too many times. I see the good in people, trust too quickly. I’ve had to learn that it’s hard to trust people who aren’t…you know, in the business and have nothing to gain, but still, there is always something to gain in the business too, and some reason to use someone.”
“Wow, do they actually say bam?”
Jack laughs, “that’s something Corey would say, you know Corey Loch?”
“Oh yeah! Little Billy Babcock.”
Jack laughs harder, “The one and only.”