Simon had never been a fan of the fame part of acting. He’d said as much in many, many interviews. Not that it had really been an issue in the early part of his career, when he was mostly getting hired to do low budget indie or lower budget sci-fi movies. The occasional times he’d been recognized, the fans were either art students who thought they were above making a scene about an actor and instead set about asking him all sorts of questions about the industry he was in no way qualified to answer, or they were that unsocialized kind of nerd who might blurt out a few unrelated syllables but mostly just widened their eyes in fear before running off. It wasn’t a bad way of living.
Everything had changed last summer. He’d only taken the role in Space Punks to finally make a little money. Just buy a bigger place. A nicer car, maybe. Take the roles he wanted to take without worrying about bills for a while. It wasn’t even the starring role. No one could have predicted his character, Sandy Dunes, was going to be a fan favorite. Now they were talking about increasing his screen time in the sequel, and there was some discussion of a spin-off. Not precisely what he wanted, but he wasn’t going to turn it down. It wasn’t his fault he was so charming on screen.
He got recognized everywhere. Out on dates. Shopping. Just walking down the street. He’d taken so many pictures with fans he’d perfected his selfie-face. He was getting so much fan mail he had to start directing it to his agent. Paparazzi had even started following him around downtown. It was…terrible. Just terrible. And now, he couldn’t even be at his cousin’s wedding without having people approach him at the reception. He’d told his cousin he could just skip it, afraid of taking the spotlight away, but Corinne had just laughed. She didn’t know how bad it had gotten. The family he’d known all his life hadn’t really seemed to care, but friends of Corinne and her new husband had all found the time to sidle up to him and it had barely been half an hour.
So, Simon had picked a corner of the bar and hid there, his back to the crowd and Corinne’s brother Freddy standing next to him, leaning against the bar, almost acting like a bouncer just for him.
“It’s not like everyone formed a line to see you,” Freddy said, taking a sip of his beer.
“I’m still taking attention away from Corinne,” Simon said.
Freddy snorted. “If she didn’t want you here, she would have said so. Corinne’s doesn’t exactly pussyfoot around what she wants, you know?”
Before Simon could argue he heard the distinct sound of high heels clicking across parquet in quick steps. Coming directly toward them. He hunched down and put his face in his highball.
“Have you seen him yet?” asked a voice.
Simon inwardly groaned. Whoever she was, she was looking for him. Asking for him. Not realizing that he was right there. She was going to be embarrassed when she found out. Might as well rip that band-aid off quick like. He threw back the rest of his drink and turned around.
Standing a couple feet from Freddy was a woman about their age with black hair in an updo and a pale yellow dress that washed out her complexion. She was still looking around for him, not realizing he was sitting right in front of her. He cleared his throat.
“Hi,” he said.
She looked at him and blinked. “Hi.”
And then she turned her attention back to Freddy. “So, have you seen him?”
“I saw him during the ceremony. I know he’s still here, he wouldn’t bounce.”
Simon tried to hide his confusion. Of course Freddy knew where he was. He was right here. Apparently he didn’t keep his face blank enough, as Freddy took one look at him and nodded.
“Sorry. Simon, this is my friend Janet. Janet, this is my cousin Simon.”
Janet stopped her frantic searching to look at him again. Then did a double take. Finally, Simon thought. Then tried to pretend he didn’t think that.
“Oh, yeah, you’re that actor. Freddy’s mentioned you a couple of times. I liked you in that thing.”
But Janet had already turned back to the crowd. “If he left I’m going to kill him.”
“He didn’t leave, he’s probably outside. Looking for you.” Freddy nudged Simon. “Her and this other dude we know, Leon, have been dancing around each other for months now.”
“Every wedding we’ve been to we keep getting closer to it. Small talk, then flirting, then dancing, then finally making out in Chris and Kylie’s photo booth.”
Simon looked between the two of them. “How many weddings have there been?”
Freddy shrugged. “Eh, I’ve lost count.”
Janet turned back to them, hands on her hips. “Five since January. Three more this year. Everybody’s getting married.”
“And you want to get in line?” Simon asked.
Janet wrinkled her nose. “Ew, no. Leon and I have, like, nothing in common. It’s just this weird wedding thing we’ve developed. And today, we’re going to finish it. Actually, Corinne is going to be tossing the bouquet soon, I was kind of hoping to be ‘finishing it’ while that happened.”
“Jesus, Janet,” Freddy said.
“I’m going to check outside. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck,” Simon said. But she was already walking away, heels clicking again, head turning furiously to look at every face she passed. “She didn’t care about me at all, huh?”
“She doesn’t even care about Corinne. Today, she’s only got eyes for Leon. But, that’s what you wanted, right?”
“Huh? Oh. Right. Of course.”
If he tried really hard, he could tell himself he meant it.
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