You Call It Madness

Chapter Four

"Hi," Will said to a young man wearing a radio headset. "I'm- I'm supposed to be filming today."

"You an actor? What's your name?" the young Latin man asked. He didn't wait for a response before he said into his microphone, "Hey, Dana, I have an actor here who doesn't know where to go."

"I- I'm Will Ember," Will told the P.A., looking around nervously.

"Yeah," the P.A. said into his microphone, "his name is Will Ember. - Roger that. You are needed in costumes over... there. And then go to hair and makeup over there. Filming begins in forty. Calvin! Dana needs the rest of those on set!"

Will took in a deep breath to calm his nerves, and exhaled just as slowly. He then walked in the direction the P.A. told him.

"Hi," Will greeted the costumes assistant. "I'm Will. I'm playing Thomas Figuero."

"Hello," the middle-aged lady said back, looking over a list of names through her reading glasses. "High school basketball star. This way. Pant size?"

Following the woman to a rack of clothing, Will answered, "Uhh- thirty-four waist and length."

The woman checked a pair of pants, but they weren't the right size, so she grabbed another. That pair of blue jeans she handed to Will before she grabbed a baby blue tee and held it up against Will's body, checking its size on him.

Now grabbing a navy blue and ivory letterman jacket, she told the blonde, "Change into these there. Here's a garment bag for your clothes. Write your name on it."

After changing into the jeans and tee, Will opened the curtain and stepped out of the changing room, the letterman jacket draped over his forearm.

"Looks good," the costumes lady said, observing Will's outfit.

Will looked himself in the mirror as he replied, "Don't you think the shirt is a little snug?"

"No," the lady said simply. "You're a cocky basketball star at a party. And you'll be wearing the jacket anyway. Now hand over your bag and get to makeup."


"Music!" the director shouted, to which a fast-paced song began playing. "Action!"

Standing by the staircase with a red cup in his hands, Will brushed a lock of long black hair behind the girl's ear as he told her, "Well, in that case, at our next game I'll dedicate the winning goal to you, Loren."

Smiling bashfully, the girl asked, "Really?"

Smiling back at the girl, Will replied, "I promise. But you have to do something for me."

"Girl is blushing," the director directed.

"Yeah?" the girl asked, smirking. "What's that, Tommy?"

"CUT!" the director shouted. "It's 'Thomas'! The boy's name is 'Thomas'!"

Rose Wells, the very young woman playing Loren, rolled her brown eyes and shouted back, "We're playing high school students! And they're flirting! It seems fitting to give him a nickname!"

"Fine!" the directed agreed. "Good thinking! Carry on from 'for me'! Roll camera."

Will and Rose offered each other small smiles as they repositioned themselves and the crew reset.

"Action!"

Smiling sultrily again, Rose asked, "Yeah? What's that, Tommy?"

"You, Loren," Will said, making his smile reappear, "have to go on a date with me first."

"Shy giggle."

"Mm," Rose giggled cutely. "Wha'didju have in mind?"

"Well, one of such beauty as you are deserves a night to remember forever," Will responded sultrily. "How--"

"Cue phone call. Thomas, take your phone out of your jacket pocket."

Will took his cell phone out of the jacket pocket. He looked down at the (blank) screen for a moment, before smiling at Rose and putting his phone back into his pocket, ignoring the 'call from his mom'.

"Ignore the call. Resume flirtatious tone."

He carried on, "How about dinner on Friday? At the Purple Cafe? And then--"

Will, once again took his phone out of the jacket pocket. He looked at the blank screen, which post production would add an incoming call screen.

"Accept the phone call. Excuse yourself."

Will said to Rose, "Sorry, must be an emergency. Hey, mom."

"Play recording."

A recording of another actress then played, her voice distressed, "Thomas, where are you?"

"Thomas, you are now worried."

Trying his best to sound apprehensive, Will said his line, "I- I'm at... I'm at Austin's. Playing COD with the guys."

The recording played again, "Is that why I hear blaringly loud music? There was a fire at the house."

"What!?" Will demanded, shocked. "Is everyone okay?"

"Yeah, we're fine. It was just the kitchen, and it happened while we were out taking Scarlett to Little Mitchell's birthday party. Now tell me where you are so I can pick you up. We'll be staying at the Four Seasons tonight, and tomorrow we're moving to a townhouse until the house is renovated."

"Aaand CUT!" the director shouted, not unhappily. "Let's do one more take. Umm... girl... Loren, or whatever your name is! Smile a bit more shyly! A bit more bashful. And boy- Thomas! More anxiety in your voice when your mother informs you that your house was on fire! From the top! Roll camera!"


"Mom, you're disappointed," the director instructed. "And slightly angry."

"How drunk are you?" Monica Benson demanded, 'driving' the prop car.

"Thomas, exasperation."

Will sighed and answered, "I had three beers, mom. I'm barely buzzed."

Monica replied, "Yeah, well, you're grounded for two weeks."

"Anger, Thomas. Go for shocked anger."

"What!?" Will demanded, shocked. "Mom, how old were you when you started drinking!?"

"And my mom was right to worry and ground me," Monica said calmly. "Two weeks grounding. Give me your phone. Yeah, hand it over."

Will protested, "But Mon--"

Knowing he'd just made a mistake, almost calling the actress by her real name, Will smiled sheepishly. After a moment, both he and Monica laughed softly.

"Cut!" the director shouted.

"Sorry," Will said in his laughter. "Sorry."

The director then shouted, "From the top! Mom! A little more anger! Thomas! A little more shock! Roll camera!"

"Camera rolling."

"Go for sound."

"Aaand "ACTION!"

Monica once again demanded, "How drunk are you?"

"I had three beers, mom," Will replied with a heavy sigh. "I'm barely buzzed."

"Yeah, well, you're grounded, Mister. For two weeks."

"What!? Mom! You can't do that! How old were you when you started drinking!?"

"And my mother was right to worry and ground me! Two weeks grounding. Deal with it. Gimme your phone. Nuh! Hand it over."

Will huffed childishly, but removed his phone from the jacket pocket and handed it to Monica.

After pocketing the boy's cell phone, Monica carried, "You're also not playing the next game. You'll be benched, I'll make sure of it."

"You ca--!" Will cried, scandalized.

"Car!" the director cried, to which a light shone from the right of the 'vehicle' followed by a blaring car horn.

"Mo--" Will screamed, eyes wide, but was cut off by the 'vehicle' jerking to the left, imitating a collision.

"CUT!" the director shouted before laughing happily. "That was great! Magnificent! One more take!? Reset, people!"


Sitting in a more or less real vehicle, one of makeup ladies worked studiously on Will, making him look damaged, bloody. Red syrup was smeared on his face and clothes, wet and dripping. The moistness of it was cooling in the night of Los Angeles, but not uncomfortably so.

"God," Monica complained, sitting in the very much damaged driver's seat. "I hope we don't have to stay on this too long tonight."

"I dunno," Will said with a steaming smile. "You grounded me yesterday, so I'm enjoying seeing you broken and bloody."

Though amused, Monica grabbed dripping 'blood' from her cheek and flicked the liquid at Will. Both laughed boisterously.

After the makeup artist fled from the set, the director cried, "Quiet on set! Actors in position! Roll camera!"

Monica slackened her position, leaning sideways as if unconscious. Will laid back against the backrest of the car seat.

"Action!"

Feigning disorientation, Will blinked slowly, turning his head blearily.

"Ow," Will said weakly, looking down at his legs.

Seeing the damage done to the SUV, Will looked to his right. Acting panicked, Will schooled his features to look scared, and teary.

"Mom?" Will asked, his voice raspy and thick with emotion.

Monica remained leaning sideways, 'unconscious', and she squeezed the air bulb that pumped 'blood out of her head' and down her cheek.

"Mom!" Will cried louder, more fearful.

Will tried to unbuckle the seatbelt, feigning trouble, jigging the metal. After another moment, Will got the seatbelt undone and ripped it away from his body. He hastily, and clumsily, opened the passenger side door. He had to carefully exit the vehicle due to his 'broken' leg, the prop fibula sticking out of the calf of the jeans.

"Car back up!" the director shouted.

Will held onto the hood of the broken SUV as he hopped on the undamaged leg, and the truck that 'rammed' into the side of their car reversed out.

Genuinely teary, crying, Will shouted, "Mom!"

The 'drunk driver' exited the truck, staggering slightly as he walked.

"An ambulance is on its way!" another female actor cried, panicked.

Another middle-aged male actor stopped Will from getting to the driver's side and told him, "Just sit down, son."

Mom!" Will screamed, full-out bawling.

The man told the blonde, "I'll check on your mom, son. Just get off your broken leg."

"Sonuva!" the 'drunk driver' shouted, angry and scared.

"Cut!" the director cried, sounding happy. "That was fantastic! Reset! Five minutes! Let's do another take!"

Will inhaled deeply, trying to school his emotions. He wiped the tears from his eyes, still sitting on the pavement of the closed-off road.

"You okay?" one of the PA's asked, standing beside Will and holding out a water bottle for him.

Will offered the young girl a smile as he answered, "Yeah, I'm fine. Emotional scenes are- emotional, for lack of a better word."

Monica came out of the prop SUV and said loudly, "Will! You sounded so broken! Got me a little broken, too! Oh my god!"

Both Will and Monica laughed softly, both wiping at their eyes.


"She okay?" Will demanded of the actors portraying emergency medical personnel, crying, as the male one cut his jeans with scissors. "Is she okay!?"

The task of removing Will's jeans undeterred, the male 'EMT' replied, "Lara is doing all she can to help your mother. I need you to--"

"Dave!" the female 'EMT' cried with urgency, a machine beeping. "She's flatlining. Cut open her shirt for me."

"Mom!" Will screamed, sounding completely and utterly broken. "Mom! Help her! Bring her back! Please! MOM!"

"CUT!" the director shouted with frustration. "Mom! You're dead! You can't be crying!"

"Sorry!" Monica called back, dabbing gently at her 'bloody' face and teary eyes. "Sorry! Will, you're playing the broken teen a little too well."

Will laughed while wiping his own tears and the actors reset.

"Mom! Try not to cry! PLEASE! Camera! ACTION!"

Crying a little softer, Will demanded, "She okay!? Answer me! Is she okay!?"

The male actor replied, "Just stay calm, sir. Lara is doing all she can to help your mother. I need you to--"

The heart rate monitor began ringing and the female actor cried "Dave! She's flatlining! Cut open her shirt for me!"

"Mom!" Will shouted, crying his heart out as the male used scissors on Monica's shirt and the female prepped the defibrillator. "Mom! Help her! Bring her back! Please! MOM!"

With Monica's shirt now cut open and adhesive electrodes stuck to Monica's body, the female EMT said, "Clear!"

The male EMT gently pushed Will to lie back down as the female manned the machine.

"Mom!" Will screamed in his tears as the male held him down and Monica tensed her muscles and her body jumped with the illusion of an electrical current.

"Unresponsive," the female said with a tinge of worry. "Second charge ready. CLEAR!"

Bawling like there was no tomorrow, Will screamed, "Mom! Please! Wake up! PLEASE!"

Monica once again tensed her body and jumped slightly. And the heart rate monitor continued its annoying and ominous ring, signifying no beating of Monica's heart.

"Unresponsive," the female said solemnly, defeated. "I'm calling it."

"Mom!" Will screamed, sounding the most broken anybody had ever heard. "Wake up! Help her!"

The female EMT continued, "Time of death, twenty-one-sixteen."

Will screamed, "Bring her back! Please!"


Will, lying in a hospital bed, laid with his head turned slightly to look out the window. A lone tear fell from his eye, but his face was blank, stoic. And then a knock rang through the air.

"Hello, Thomas," Jessica said softly when Will looked to the door. "May I call you that?"

Will just stared at the blonde woman blankly. He didn't move a single muscle. He didn't even blink. It was silent for a moment, the only sound in the room was the steady beeping of the heart rate monitor.

Jessica continued, "My name is Dr. Robbins. About twenty minutes ago I called your dad and--"

"--Thomas?" Adam Rilen, the man portraying Thomas' dad, asked softly from behind Jessica.

Will, as expected, scrunched his features and a flood of tears escaped his eyes. He cried, his throat giving a tight squeak as he held his arms out. Adam cried softly as he grabbed Will into a warm embrace and kissed the blonde hair stop Will's head,

Will said in between sobs, "Dad, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry! I'm sorry. If I- If I had- hadn't gone to that party--"

"--Sshhhh," Adam gently shushed the young man and rubbed the back of his neck soothingly. "S'not your fault, Thomas. It's not your fault, my boy. The police arrested the man. He had a blood alcohol level of point-one-three."

Jessica's voice then asked gently, "Mr. Figuero?"

Will felt the man kiss the top of his head again before he turned his body out of the embrace and responded, "Yes?"

The very young blonde girl playing Thomas' kid sister sat on the hospital bed then, and Will put his arm around her in comfort.

"Hi, my name is Dr. Robbins. I was just about to tell Thomas here that I'd like to keep him here overnight. He's sustained quite the blow to the head. See he's got a nasty bruise on his forehead. I'm comfortable that he has no concussion, but we have to be sure. I- umm- I am also so very sorry for your loss, Mr. Figuero. You have my condolences."

And with that, Jessica watched with despair as Adam approached the other side of the bed and embraced his two 'children'. And then she exited the room just as Adam once again pressed a kiss to Will's temple.

Crying silently, Will asked with a very heavy voice, "Dad? Wh-what are we gonna do?"

Adam sighed heavily and replied, "I don't know, son. But... we'll figure it out. We'll get through this."

"Silence, silence, silence. Aaand cut!" the director shouted happily. "That was great! Fantastic! We'll do another take! Five minutes to reset!"


"Hello?" Nick's voice came through the entrance speaker.

Will smiled and said back into the speaker, "Yeah, hey, handsome."

"Come on up. Door's unlocked. Lock it when you're in."

The line went dead for a moment before the entrance door buzzed, signalling its unlocking. So Will opened it and entered the apartment complex.

Up in the twenty-sixth floor, Will opened the door to apartment 26D and comfortably walked in.

"Hey," Will said, looking around the apartment while turning the latch to set the deadbolt.

Nick's voice called back, "On the couch. There's leftover pizza on the counter and beer in the fridge."

"Thank god!" Will said huskily as he opened the refrigerator to grab a bottle of Stella Artois. "I'm starved! How was your evening?"

Nick, around a yawn, answered, "It was good. A few came over to watch the baseball game. The Dodgers beat the Padres ten to four. Wasn't expecting you tonight."

"Oh," Will replied awkwardly as he sat on the sofa in which the brunette laid. "Sorry. I ca--"

Nick smiled sweetly, albeit tiredly, and responded, "Nah, don't be sorry. Pleasantly surprised. You spending the night?"

While chewing pizza, Will answered, "Wasn't planning on it. Just wanted to come say hi."

Will, having previously sat his beer on the coffee table, reached his free hand over. He gently scraped his fingernails over the faint ridges of Nick's abs as he ate. And Nick loved the sensations. Nick laid his calves and feet on Will's lap.

"I wish ya would," Nick said softly, affectionately.

"Yeah?" Will asked with a gentle smile. "I don't have a toothbrush."

Nick offered his own dazzling smile, this one teasing, and replied, "Well, I'll still kiss you. Even if you have gritty teeth."

Will laughed inside a bite of pizza and responded, "That's sweet. And disgusting."

The two guys shared a soft yet mirthful laugh. Will continued to eat his pizza and stroke his thumb on the soft and warm skin of Nick's stomach.

"So?" Nick asked. "How was your last day of work?"

Will swallowed his last bite of pizza and then replied, "It was great! I'm loving being an actor so far. I just hope it lasts."

Nick smiled affectionately at the blonde and replied, "It will. I know it will. My dad was impressed with you. And he convinced the Casey Jacobs to represent you. She doesn't represent just anyone. You're crazy talented, Will. I mean you'll be starring in a romance-drama alongside MacKenzie Foy. That's great! The roles will keep coming."

"Think so?" Will asked shyly.

Nick smiled once again and answered, "I know so. Now I'm exhausted. You can either sleep on top of me here or carry me to my bedroom."

Will laughed softly, finding his new boyfriend ridiculously cute. "Okay. You stay here if you want. I'll be sleeping in a soft, luxurious bed."

Nick quickly stood from his couch and caught up with Will. In Nick's bedroom, both men undressed down to their underwear and climbed onto the platform which held the queen-sized bed.

"I have tomorrow free," Nick stated as he laid his head on Will's firm, warm chest. "I was thinking we could go to the Original Farmer's Market, tan at Venice Beach, and check out Griffith Park."

Will sighed in contentment and responded, "Sounds like a great day. Touristy and sweet."

Neither Will nor Nick spoke further. Both had their eyes closed, ready for sleep to wash over their minds. Will had his arm softly holding Nick that much closer, nearly falling asleep. Until Nick turned his head minutely, planting a kiss to Will's pectoral, distracting the blonde.

Will tapped his finger on Nick's back and whispered, "Go to sleep."

"Kay," Nick whispered back with a smile.

Will felt Nick slide his leg over his lap and tighten his hold around his middle. This caused Will to smile slightly before he rolled his neck slightly, making himself more comfortable.

Will was once again on the edge, just rounding the corner from consciousness to sleep when Nick pressed another kiss to Will's pectoral.

Will smiled to himself, slightly annoyed but mostly amused. He then grabbed Nick's bicep and made the man turned over. With Nick now lying on his left side, Will sidled right up to him, big-spooning the brunette.

"Now sleep," Will said huskily. "We have a big day together tomorrow."

But I Call It Love

To Be Continued...

I love hearing back from readers! Email me whether you liked this story or not. Have some criticism? I take criticism well!

Stories located here on The Story Lover's Home:

High School - 'Near Wild Heaven'

Relationships - 'Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking'

College - 'You Don't Mean To Hurt Me'

Science Fiction, High School - 'Connected'

High School - 'Do Not Go Gentle'

College - 'A Quick Fall'

College - 'The Other Half of Me Unknown'

College - 'You Call It Madness'

Comments and suggestions appreciated at Tyler Christopher