Not my guys, not my pics.
Not my retirement income.
Alternating POV Jake/Tobey.
Late fall, mid-semester:
Jake: First time I saw him he was student director of some fucking play, some stupid fucked up drama club I got mandated to go to for showing up drunk one too many times at school.
Fuck him, and fuck the school. and fuck you too. I don't fucking care any more. This is too fucking hard, and I'm not going to do it. Stupid play. Stupid school. Stupid life. You can all go to hell.
Not going into the auditorium, watching him audition the other 80 brats, say nice things to bad kids as though one polite word makes it all go away. Fuck him. Little shit-eating grin 'come get me if it's so important to you', daring him to leave all of them for me. I dare you, director-boy. Show me why I should care.
Tobey: First time I saw him he was a punk kid from some other part of LA, Dad a failed professor, mom a failed screenwriter, sister off in New York disowning the whole family. Leaning against a wall, pants down around his hips, 'Fuck You' written all over his face. Holding a rock in one hand, all the frustration in the world in his eyes. Sent in for drinking, acting out. Puppy fat still rounding his palms. his shoulders, but man-trail showing where his shirt didn't meet his jeans. Nearly raped on the set by some grip, some cameraman, everything downhill since then. Poor kid. Something in his eyes catches my eye, and I see he is tired. Tired like I am, of pretending it's all ok, he doesn't care, won't be hurt again. I wipe my tired eyes, stubbly face, with one hand, use the other to indicate 'Take five' to the kids and my assistant, and shade my eyes when I step out into the sunlight to greet him.
"Tobey Maguire. Welcome to City College Santa Monica."
"Jake Gyllenhall. Fuck you, asshole."
"Round one to you then, Jake." Rub my hand over my tired face again and smile. "Come on it anyway, even if I won't fuck you, hmm?"
"Right. You won't." Throw the rock down and step away from the wall, trying not to notice: he's exhausted. Looks like I feel.
Tobey: Week later I sat him down in the office. "Look, Jake. You're here instead of juvie. Make the most of it. You can play out everything here, act it all out, without the bad shit coming into your life." Bad shit. Getting thrown out of bars, given lesser parts. Dying in front of a fucking club like River.
"And as much as I'm trying to be reasonable here, I don't really feel reasonable. It's one thing for you to come in and sulk around, it's another for you to try and scare the younger, smaller kids. Do you think I don't know what happened to you? Do you think I don't care?"
He left, then. Didn't see him for a week. Got a call from someone-he's down at the Travelodge on Pico. well, fuck. That only means one thing. Fuck.
Jake: "Door's not locked. Come in." Easier to let the john lock the door behind him. Makes him feel like he's not really paying for sex, but coming to take care of some important business. Or something. They seem to like it, these business types, the cheesy room, bright colors, me open-legged on the corner of the bed, just waiting for their stinking hard cocks and 100$ bills.
"Oh, fuck, what are you doing here?" Hard look right in the eyes. "It's only been a week. Don't you have real work to do?" Start un-buttoning my shirt. Might as well give him the whole show. Not really ready when instead he sits across from me, in the cheap chair, and starts to cry. What the fuck is this?
"What-get out! You're wasting my time. Take your guilt and your tears and get out." Fall back on the bed, exhausted really. This is real acting, acting like you want it, like you need some flabby cock, some stringy piece of meat that's seen better days.
He looks off in the distance, looks back. "You don't understand, do you." Statement of fact. "No, and I don't fucking need to. Fuck you, and get out." Instead he takes two deep breaths, wipes his fucking crybaby eyes, and looks away again.
Jake: "I started in this room," he says. "When I ran out of money, couldn't get a gig, didn't have a place, a flop, I came here. What do you get, 100$? and you keep 45$? Hasn't gone up much. Been hit yet?" It doesn't show, yet, not badly, but by tomorrow my arm's gonna be a mess where that last bastard held me down. "No, I haven't been hit. Not going to be, either."
"Ah, Jake," he says, and the sadness in his voice makes me hate him. He reaches in his pocket, gets his wallet. Takes out a hundred dollars, and his card. "Buy food. Get checked. Call me when you can't do it anymore. I know a safe place, and people who've gotten out."
He stands, goes to the door, looks back. "Don't wait too long." Turns the knob, goes our, shuts the door behind him, cutting the bright sky off from the welcome gloom of this perfectly set room.
Good. There's 20 minutes left. I'm taking a nap. Fuck all of them.
Jake: I don't remember being found in the hotel room, or the first days after the beating, or even the first weeks of treatment. I don't remember when he found out about it, came to see me, cried to see the old yellow bruises and the cast on my arm. Fuck you, I said, although it didn't have the same intensity, the same resentment in it. Fuck you, and leave me alone.
No, he said, I won't. You were fucked, and left alone, and fucked again, and beaten to nearly dead, and left. No, I won't leave you alone.
He didn't answer the other part. Just looked at me where I sat, shamefaced, embarrassed, crying silently for the pain and horror of the life I'd made myself.
I want you released to me, to my care, he said.
Why would you want that? I asked him, thinking he'd get his little fuck in yet.
Someone did it for me, and it saved my life, he said.
Oh, I said. Oh.
June, before graduation.
Tobey: He looked so shy, so unsure, sitting in the lobby after the show. A real turnaround, once the arm was out of the cast, showing up for classes, making rehearsals, going to meetings, appointments, getting a life back to live in, his own life.
Not a big part, not lead, but pivotal, relating to four of the main characters, on stage in every act, and he did it all.
Jake: After the show, the graduation party, after everything, I came back to see what I could do to help. The backdrop from the photoshoot-photoshoot? I guess this is City College Santa Monica- was still up, still lit. He was moving things, taking stuff down, cleaning up the last bits of party and play, when he turned around and looked at me. Just...looked at me.
No-one's ever looked at me like that, with pride, with humanity. With...with love.
"I mean about before."
"I know. It's ok."
He came over then, and put his hands on my shoulders, and said, "Someone did it for me, and it saved my life. How could I not?"
I put my head on his shoulder, and started to cry, and said, "I'm glad you did. Thank you."
"You're welcome," he said, and patted my back.
So, I kissed him.
Best. Present, Ever.