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Chapter One: First Impressions



“This is a chance too good to just piss away.” Adam warned her, not so much angry with her as he was frustrated. “You’ve been handed the chance to work on the set of something that’s making movie history; you cant just take it so lightly.”

“I know, I know,” Sophie ran a hand through her slightly tousled auburn hair and struggled to pull her wits about her. “And it won’t happen again I promise. I don’t know what happened to the alarm, I set it last night but I must have set it for P.M.; sorry.”

Sophie had always bee remarkably bad by first impressions. Whether it be first time meetings with people or job interviews or anything else for that matter, she just didn’t seem to be the type of person that came out of them smelling like a rose; either nerves or some subconscious sabotage would always kick in and she hated it. This time, however, she had sworn she was going to pull through; this time it was more important than ever that she make a good showing on her first day.

Most people believe that in many aspects of life, who a person knew often was key in forging outstanding opportunities and now that she had been given the chance to work on what was in all likely hood going to be one of the most memorable trilogies in film history, Sophie was beginning to buy into the theory herself. She hadn’t been out of film school all that long, not even a year by her count, when she got the call from her brother, who also was in the film industry but where as Sophie had honed her skills as a make up artist, he had ventured down the path of set design. It was rare for him to actually call her being that for the past three months he had been on location in New Zealand designing and constructing set after set for Peter Jackson during the filming of Lord of the Rings; when she realized what exactly he was calling her in regards too, Sophie was just about over the moon. One of the makeup artists that was also working on the project had suddenly been hit with some sort of family emergency that would leave her unable to work for the better part of what remained of the shoot. Despite frantic efforts, the vacant position had yet to be filled and being short one artist in the wardrobe/makeup department was putting a kink in the production seeing as now it was taking an extra two and a half hours to get the actors ready for shooting. This was exactly the opportunity Sophie had been waiting for; she had worked on a handful of TV and commercial sets in the months after her graduation, but to be given the chance to work on the set of a movie of such epic proportions was something that could secure her future in the industry; whether or not the movie flopped at the box office or not, which Sophie didn’t think would be the case, didn’t really matter all that much in regards to her field, if the make up effects were spectacularly done, there was no telling how much it would boost her resume.

Though it seemed her bad first impression bug was finally shaken seeing as she had won over Peter Jackson over and gotten the job, the first day she was to be on set, bad luck struck again. At this point, Sophie was fully under the impression that this was all some sort of karma biting her in the ass over something stupidly petty she had done to someone in the past, but she wasn’t about to let anything ruin this chance for her and if she had to set her alarm three hours early just to make sure she got there on time every day following the first, she would do it. Sophie was going to make the most of this opportunity even if she died trying.

“Sometimes sorry just doesn’t cut it.” Adam continued, glancing at his watch to make sure he wasn’t running late now himself. “You can’t keep counting on me to pull your ass out of the fire all the time.”

“I’m not doing that at all Adam!” Sophie protested, folding her own arms over her chest and feeling a surge of heat wash over her face, as she grew more aggravated with her brother. “Jesus Christ, you think I don’t know that I’ve fucked up more times than not and you’ve always come to the rescue?”

“But this time it’s my ass on the line too Sophie!” He shot back at her. “You might not see it now but if it gets around that I recommended a flake of a make up artist for a job so unbelievably exceptional it’s going to reflect on me too.”

“I know.” Sophie spat

“Just please try and take this seriously Soph; it’s not a free ride.”

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Adam…”

A quiet knock on the trailer door preceded the quiet metallic screech of the hinges cut Sophie off and a dark haired fully costumed figured shuffled into the trailer awkwardly. “Hi!” He said brightly, flicking shockingly blue eyes at Adam and then towards Sophie. “You’re the new make up girl right?”

“Sophie,” She introduced herself with a warm smile and extended her hand. “But yes.”

“Sophie,” He echoed her, returning the friendly gesture with a smile of his own. “I’m Elijah.”

Sophie’s smile grew wider and her cheeks took on a faint pink hue. “Oh trust me you don’t need any introduction.” Her best friend Lisa was bordering on being flat out obsessed with Elijah Wood and while Sophie hadn’t seen a ton of his work, he was quite instantly recognizable even when sporting prosthetics and a shabby dirtied look.

Elijah chuckled and scratched behind one of his prosthetic ears carefully. “I know…” He shook his head, realizing his reply must have made him sound slightly egotistical. “I mean not like I know, I know…it’s just fun to pretend sometimes; plus it’s the polite thing to do.” He trailed off slightly and fiddled with the cuffs of his shirt, noting the slightly amused look that was painted on Sophie’s face as she witness his sudden flurry of flustered words. “I’ll shut up now.”

Sophie giggled. “It’s okay, I understood what you meant.”

“I’ll talk to you later Soph.” Adam cut into the conversation, noticing that his presence in the trailer had suddenly been forgotten. “Call me if you need anything okay?”

“Huh? Say what now?” Sophie pried her eyes from Elijah and focused her attention on her brother again.

Adam smiled and ruffled her hair. “Just call me later okay?”

Sophie backhanded him in the shoulder and smoothed her hair. “Yeah…whatever.”

“I wasn’t interrupting anything was I?” Elijah asked, motioning towards the door. “I can go bug one of the others to fix my little foot problem if you want.” He lifted his left foot off of the ground and wiggled it around a little to show Sophie how it was able to slid almost completely free from his foot.

Sophie scoffed and waved her hand dismissively. “Naw, Adam’s just my brother,” She explained. “Just a little sibling argument that’s all; everyone’s taking their lunch break at the moment anyways so you’ll have to settle for me if you don’t mind.”

Elijah smiled again and shook his head. “Not at all.”

“Good stuff.” She nodded and motioned towards a chair for Elijah to sit in so she could take a better look at the issue and decide how she was going to fix it back on to his foot. “Alrighty, let’s get this done shall we?”

Elijah sighed and stretched his leg out so Sophie could gently pull the prosthetic the rest of the way free from his foot. “I swear I’m just going to have these surgically attached.”

“Ah, the hairy footed look,” Sophie laughed and searched among the tools in the tall storage container for a paintbrush to apply the glue with. “Now that’s attractive.” She grabbed a new latex hobbit foot from the box marked ‘Frodo’ and slipped the front half of his foot into it before motioning him to his feet. “Quite the fashion statement on the red carpet too.”

He sighed and let loose a faint chuckle of his own. “I’m sure it’d be worth the trouble.” He squirmed slightly as Sophie began to spread a thin yet adequate layer of glue over the sole of his foot.

“Sorry.” She mumbled absently as she dipped the paintbrush into the pot of glue.

“Nothing to be sorry about.” He assured her. “It’s just a little cold that’s all; I’ll live.”

“If it was me getting goop painted on the bottoms of my feet I’d be jumping out of my skin right about now.” Sophie laughed, shifting her weight slightly so as to have a better angle on the foot.

Elijah nodded. “The first few times getting it done were a bit iffy.” He shrugged and pressed his palm against the upper storage shelf of the trailer, trying to relax a little and take the pressure off of his other foot. “It’s like anything though you get used to it; not much choice really.”

“Mmm hmmm.” Sophie nodded again and continued to work away, letting a sizable silence take hold of the conversation as she slid the back part of the foot over Elijah’s heel, her brow slightly furrowed in concentration.

Though the procedure wasn’t taking any longer than it had on the first go around of the day, in part due to the slight awkward atmosphere that was filling the trailer, Elijah couldn’t help but feel like an eternity had just passed by in the time it took to adhere the prosthetic. He was sure it wasn’t any less awkward for Sophie, being that her first experience wasn’t anything what it was supposed to be. She was supposed to have been in a trailer filled with three other make up artists and four actors and instead she had been thrust into a one on one prosthetic repair session. Elijah wasn’t sure but if he had to make a guess, he was sure that was the last thing she was expecting.

“So where are you from exactly?” He asked, shifting his weight slightly as Sophie began to put the finishing touches on the seam between prosthetic and skin. “There’s a little something in your voice, its not an accent per say but I cant quite pick it out.”

“You’re the first one to pick up on it though actually.” She smiled up at him. “I’m Canadian, but if you do happen to call it an accent I will have to kick your ass just keep that in mind; any time anyone hears ‘Canadian’ and ‘Accent’ in the same sentence they automatically think of some cheesy SCTV skit with two guys sitting around in ski toques rambling on about nothing with every other word somehow being ‘Eh’ or ‘Aboot’”

Elijah held made a cross over his heart. “I swear I’ll never even think of calling it an accent again.”

“I will hold you to that you know.” She quipped, dabbing a little more flesh colored paint around his ankle.

“I’m sure you will.” He chuckled. “Frankly though, cheesy accents are the last thing anyone would think of when face to face with someone as lovely as yourself.”

Sophie’s cheeks flushed slightly and she poked her tongue between her teeth. “If I didn’t know better I’d say you were flirting with me.”

“Ahh, flirting…small talk…” He shrugged. “It’s all the same in my books.”

Sophie chuckled and rocked back on her heels. “Well, whatever you wanna call it, we should wrap it up cause we’re two quick brushstrokes away from being done.” She flashed him a quick smile and trailed the finely pointed brush over the top of his foot before screwing the lids back on her little jars of paint. “One brand new Hobbit foot ready for the long trek to Mordor.”

“Beautiful.” Elijah lowered his eyes to his feet. “Thank you muchly.”

Sophie shrugged. “No problem.”

Elijah inspected her handy work again and smiled. “See you in a few hours then?”

“Barring any major mishaps with the other foot.” She nodded.

“Great!” Elijah grinned as he pushed the door to the trailer open. “Removals always my favorite part of the day.”

Sophie chuckled. “Wish I could say the same but scrubbing feet isn’t exactly my idea of fun.”

“That’s cause you haven’t scrubbed my feet yet!”

Sophie flung her paintbrush at Elijah just as he exited the trailer and quickly swung the door shut behind him. Grinning to herself, she wasn’t exactly sure what had just gone on between the two of them. By nature it seemed that she was never going to be good at making friends; never before in a first encounter with someone had she felt like there was already a friendship there beneath the surface of the initial shy awkwardness. She liked Elijah, though only time would tell if it was all just an act on his part again on the premise of first impressions, but as she moved about the trailer once he was gone, the familiar reminder of how getting close to anyone only ever wound up biting her in the ass gnawed at the back of her mind. What was to come out of everything, Sophie couldn’t say, all she knew was that she was tired of running from emotion and attachment of any kind. She was tired of getting hurt yes, but the way she had conditioned herself to constantly shut everyone out at the first glimmer of something even of the most minor degree going wrong was something she couldn’t live with anymore; she had to learn to let people in again and unfortunately the risk of getting hurt was something she was going to have to deal with.
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