The man had been watching the beautiful, blond haired woman tossing and turning in her seat. At one time he almost reached out to touch her arm and try to wake her, thinking better of it he decided to watch. Hower Mendell was traveling back to his home in New Zealand. He had completed his business trip and now had merged the business with a large corporation in the states. He had a lot to celebrate, and was looking forward to touching home ground once more.
As he eyed the fair skinned beauty he had to admit she was striking. Although the sheilas in New Zealand were beautiful he felt that this young lady could hold her own. Any lad would be delighted to escort her to any of the functions. The woman groaned and mumbled, "Worried--so worried." He had glanced out the window and knew it wouldn't be long before the plane would begin it's final descent. He reached over and gently touched the woman's right arm and softly said, "Miss, We are almost here."
Jennie heard the voice coming to her as in a fog and she fought to open her eyes. Slowly she glanced over and upon seeing his smiling face she said, "I didn't do anything stupid did I?"
"No, Miss, thought you might like to know we are about to approach Auckland."
Jennie adjusted the seat and was now in a sitting position as she strained to look out the window.
"Are you just visiting?"
Jennie tuned her gaze to him and answered, "I really don't know, I hope to be staying for awhile. This is all new to me."
He reached out and patted her right hand and said, "You'll do just fine. I hope you have someone waiting for you."
Jennie closed her eyes and said, "I really didn't contact anyone, they have taxis don't they?"
He smiled. "If it's a taxi you will be needing forget it, I would be happy to have my chauffeur drive you wherever you want to go."
The stewardess's voice had come over the speaker. She told them to make sure their trays were up and their seats were in their
up right positions and to make sure all had their seat belts on. Jennie glanced around and said, "Check."
He asked, "Are you in the service?"
She laughed and said, "Oh no, it's just a habit of mine. I always like to make sure everything has been taken checked."
As the plane taxied to a stop Jennie stood up and he stepped out into the aisle asking, "Do you have anything in the overhead?"
She said, "No, everything I brought is in the luggage compartment." As the plane was making its descent, she had taken in the beauty of the blue water as it met the beaches. She marveled at the buildings and her mouth fell open when she saw the traffic.
"They are driving on the wrong side of the highway."
He smiled with delight. "That's the way we drive here. Better get used to it if you're going to be doing any driving."
As she stepped down the ladder leading to the ground, she paused for a moment, and took in a deep breath, then she started to slowly step down. As her feet touched pavement she became aware of the things that were going on around her. People were running to greet loved ones, and although their language was different than what she was used to, she knew they were conversations filled with joy. Jennie glanced up at the blue sky, shrugged her shoulders and started to walk toward the airport terminal entrance. She felt a tear start to form in her eyes and squeezed them, hoping to stop the panic that was beginning to set in.
When she had auditioned for the role of Diedre, friend of Sharae in the pilot that was being filmed called, " Sharae, and the secret of Thassos," she really didn't think she had a chance to get the part. Jennie had been to many auditions and was well aware of the red tape that was always involved. Sometimes she got the part she read for and sometimes she didn't. Her friends had teased her when they found out she was going to read for a part in a country that was so far away. After all, it was the time when actors stayed in Hollywood and tried out for all the shows. Only a dummy would give all that up to travel to such a far away land, and for a pilot at that.
She fumbled in her purse for the luggage tag and while she was doing this, the strap broke and her purse crashed to the floor sending its contents in many directions. She fell to her knees and began to to pick up the scattered contents. By this time the tears were flowing and she muttered, "Stupid, stupid, stupid! You should have listened to your friends, here you are in a strange land all alone and making a fool of yourself."
A warm yet throaty voice came from behind her as a very delicate, graceful hand reached out and touched her on the shoulder, "You're not alone, you have me." Jennie was stunned for a moment and turned to see who was talking to her. Her eyes stopped when they gazed into he beautiful crystal blue eyes that were twinkling back at her. "Don't tell me you have become speechless."
Jennie stuttered, "Lacey, I--where did you come from? I mean I didn't tell anyone I was coming in today." Lacey Lawton smiled down at the very distraught young woman and said, "In case you haven't noticed yet, I have many skills. Actually I talked with Pete and he told me that you had been hired and that you would be here to shoot the pilot. Have to say I danced a jig on that one." She reached out her right hand as her long graceful fingers wiped the tears from Jennie's face. "Now, we'll have none of that, accidents do happen and always in the most unlikely spots. Lets get this up and go pick up your luggage." A young boy had walked up to them and said, "I think I got most of it." He held out his hands and Jennie accepted the items. "Let me pay you for your help."
Lacey grabbed her hand and said, "Blimin' are you trying to get us in trouble your first day, you don't offer pay for that, want to hurt the lad's feelings?"
Jennie shook her head and Lacey said, "Well I believe we have it all, come on lets go get the luggage, hey what." Jennie smiled and nodded, Lacey was just the same as she remembered her that dreary day in Los Angeles when she walked into Roger Ramaier's office. She had not eaten anything that morning and had filled up on black coffee. She wanted to be wide awake for this reading. Jennie had been in New Zealand once before to film a part in one of the studios motion pictures. She hadn't stayed very long and was really in and out so when this opportunity came up she went with her feelings, and they were telling her to make the audition because it just might be
her lucky day.
When she approached the office his secretary smiled up at her and said, "They are all in Mr. Ramaier's office. Lacey just arrived so you will have time to meet her before you read."
Jennie's stomach hit bottom as she said, "Lacey? You don't mean Lacey Lawton, do you?"
"Of course, Miss Lawton just arrived here from New Zealand twenty minutes ago."
Jennie mumbled something and headed for the ladies room. Closing the door behind her, she began to pace, as she muttered, "Gods, what am I doing here?" Lacey Lawton the famous motion picture star, was here. The Lacey Lawton that had received an academy award last year for her portrayal of "Belle Star." She walked over to the mirror and checked her make-up, combed her hair. And then ran the cold water, as she cupped it in her hands and splashed it onto her face. Rarely had she ever been nervous over a reading but she had never met anyone as dynamic and professional like Lacey Lawton.
She paced for a few minutes, took in a deep breath turned and winked at herself in the mirror and said, "Well actually, Miss. Lawton has never met anyone like me so look out Lacey cause here comes Arizona."
Jennie approached the door and knocked, she heard Roger Ramaier's voice yell, "It's open, come in and if that's you Jennie, you're late!"
Jennie brushed her sweaty palms on her jeans and opened the door. Entering she could see several men sitting on chairs and the back of a rather tall woman who had strikingly long flaming hair.
Roger got up and walked over to her as he shook her hand he said, "Jennie, so glad you could make it. You are the last reading for the part and we were beginning to think you had changed your mind."
Jennie smiled and said, "Oh no, I fully intend to read, that is if I'm not too late."
The woman who had been setting with her back to Jennie stood up, turned and walked toward her as she held out her right hand and said, "So very nice of you to take time from your schedule to come and read with me."
Jennie felt her hand grasp the woman's delicate hold and she said, "A pleasure to meet you Miss Lawton. Read? Did you say with you?" At this time Jennie could feel a slight pressure on her hand as the woman said, "I look forward to it. Don't look so ghastly, it will be fun."
Jennie stared at the woman's hand which was holding her's in a warm grip as she said, "I would be privileged if you even consider that I could read with you."
Lacey released her hand and said, "Someone has to keep these blokes on their toes. What better than two sheilas. Let's give it a go." That morning, started a change in Jennie's life a shift she wasn't even aware of. Lacey was a tall statuesque woman, she had a shape most woman work hard to try to achieve but most never do. Her skin was fair and creamy, Jennie wasn't sure until Lacey held her gaze during one of the run throughs and she found herself lost in the woman's crystal blue eyes, they were mesmerizing. Jennie had seen many beautiful women and they all had pretty eyes, but there were none that could compare with the woman who was joking with her at that moment. Her eyes talked, and it was then that Jennie decided never to fully look into those translucent eyes, because she forgot everything except them. She was now sure that she had never met such a remarkable woman in her life. "Earth to Jennie, come in." Roger's voice boomed at her and she shook her head and said, "Sorry, it's just I've never seen anyone with eyes like you have Miss Lawton."
Lacey laughed and said, "Well I hope that they have captivated you enough to get you to travel all the way to New Zealand, to shoot a pilot with me."
Lacey had everyone rolling on the floor laughing at her outlandish comedic timing. She also found out as soon as Jennie was more at ease around her she could give as good as she received. Roger finally threw up his hands and said, "Enough, you two have my sides hurting from the laughter. Jennie, I think we have heard enough, and I must say the two of you get along like best of friends or even sisters.
Jennie walked over to Roger's desk and said, "How was I?"
He glanced over to Lacey who winked at him and he said, "I believe you have won over Miss. Lawton and that is a very big start."
We'll be casting the role this week so we will let you know our decision and thanks for coming in." Jennie thanked them and as she turned to leave the room Lacey stepped up to her and said, "I bloody well hope to see you down under, and remember it may be far away but you will have a friend." She smiled warmly as she shook Jennie's hand. Jennie thanked her as she turned and walked out of the room. She felt like dancing and that is exactly what she did. Rogers secretary smiled and shook her head as Jennie tap danced down the hall she muttered, "Actors..."
That was Jennie's first meeting with the profound actress and she loved it, Lacey Lawton lived up to her name and was one of the most gracious women she had ever met. Even if she didn't get the part she felt she had won, because she was able to meet her and interact with the woman. Even though she had been in the profession for a number of years, Jennie still found she could become star struck just like everyone else. She had heard the names of a few others that had read for the part and Jennie had crossed off the audition on her calendar and said, "Oh well, it was something I soon won't forget." That afternoon the phone rang and it was her agent, Danny Vatrin, he was calling to tell her she had been picked for the part and she needed to get things together because of readings, costume fittings and studio scheduling. Jennie screamed so loud they could probably hear her in New Zealand. She danced around the room, she was so happy as she begun to go through her closet taking out clothes to pack. Still dazed, it was all happening so quickly.
Lacey reached out and took the luggage tags that Jennie was holding and said, "Why don't you sit down, I will get the luggage. Probably not too many pieces from the states." Jennie smiled and said, "Probably not too many pieces that look like mine, anyway. You can't miss them, they're two of them, they are light blue and they have happy faces on them." Lacey laughed as she turned and walked away. Jennie stood watching and she marveled at this woman who seemed to have it all, and the best part was she was also very nice. Jennie was starting to feel better about coming to New Zealand at least now, she had someone she could talk to.
"Pardon me Miss, are you still looking for that ride? My chauffeur is outside and I'd be happy to get your luggage for you" Jennie turned as she looked into the face of the man who had been sitting by her on the plane and said, "Oh thank you so much sir, but my friend went to get the luggage."
He seemed perplexed as she said, "I know, I told you I didn't have anyone waiting, well I didn't think I did but a friend showed up."
He smiled and said, "Good, you should not be in a strange land without friends." He tipped his hat, turned and walked away.
Jennie walked over to a chair and sat down. She began to examine the purse strap as she muttered, "Hmm, looks like I'm going to have to get a new one. Oh well, what else can go wrong?" It didn't seem like it was't very long before Lacey had returned with two pieces of luggage in hand. Smiling as she approached Jennie she said, "If you are ready, follow me mate my mini is in the park." Jennie got to her feet and reached out for the luggage and said, "Can't have you carrying my luggage. Mini? Park?"
Lacey released her hold on one and said, "Sorry, we need to get you a dictionary for Yanks, mini is my auto and park is the auto lot. Now, I'll carry the other. Let's get moving."
Jennie grasped the handle as she said, "I won't argue, and I really thank you for doing this. I hate to admit it but before you showed up, I was pretty lonely." Lacey smiled down at her. "Well, while you are here, you don't need to feel alone, because I will do everything I can to make you feel welcome. Come on, we still have a ways to go." Walking beside her out the door way, Jennie had been amazed at the number of people in the terminal and even more amazed that not even one seemed to notice Miss. Lawton.
She had glanced toward the sky, once they were outside and could see that there were clouds forming. "Is that a sign of something?"
Lacey answered, Looks like it might rain, we get quite a bit of soggy weather here you know."
Jennie skipped as she struggled with her suitcase trying to keep up with Lacey's stride and said, "Hopefully they won't be doing any filming in the rain."
Lacey suddenly stopped and Jennie found herself bumping into the woman as she said, "You need to warn people of your sudden stops."
Lacey laughed and replied, "Sorry mate, just wanted to give you time to catch up. I always forget, not everyone steps off like I do. You will get used to it and I can guarantee you that a little rain will not keep the crews from working. Sides, you won't melt, promise."
After they had settled the luggage into the vehicle and Lacey had walked around to the passenger side, Jennie said, "I don't drive, you are getting in the wrong side."
Lacey said, "Right oh, forgot, over here, the steering wheel is on this side of the car and passenger is the other." Jennie shook her head and said, "Gods and they drive on the wrong side of the highway too, what have I gotten myself into?" Lacey laughed. "Never fret, Lace will help you." Jennie opened the door and got into the car as she said, "I don't know if I can get used to this, no steering wheel over here. Lacey glanced over and said, "But you do have a good view don't you think? Especially since I washed the windscreen off." Noticing Jennie's perplexed look she added, "In the States you call them windshields." They both laughed and Jennie said, "Bet I can get in a whole lot of trouble here, I think we may have a communication problem. Seems like you use a totally different language."
I feel after you are here awhile, you will get used to it. That is hoping I don't have to pick you up off the ground a few times because you get some person's knickers in a twist."
Jennie looked out the side window and said, "Just take me to a hotel, surely there is one here?"
Laughing, Lacey said, "Yes, we have places where one can stay, but I can guarantee you, that you will have a better time at my place." Jennie said, "Oh, Oh no, I've already put you out too much. A hotel will be fine."
"Got lots of room, just me and my dog and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have decided I had better take you under my wing so to speak. I'm going to show you how to live and breathe as a Kiwi. And no it's not a fruit, well it is a fruit, but here, it is the name of the people. So if someone calls you a Kiwi don't feel the need to punch them out."
Leaning back on the seat Jennie said, "Well I know one thing for sure, I can hardly wait to take a shower." Lacey glanced in her direction and said, "Sorry mate, no shower but there is a bath. Down here when you ask for a bathroom that is what you get, a room with a sink and a tub for bathing. If you are asking for the facility then you ask for the dunny. The house has both and in the same room, shh don't tell anyone." Jennie crooked her head as she watched Lacey's lips stretch out into a 'gotcha' smile and she said, "Sounds good to me, I was afraid for a minute you were going to tell me I had to go down to the ocean and bathe."
Lacey smiled as Jennie said, "I can't believe it, I'm actually going to be staying at Lacey Lawton's home, don't pinch me, I don't want to wake up."
Lacey chuckled. "The home of Lacey Lawton, it's just like any other home, nothing spectacular but I have added a few conveniences. I'm glad you will be staying, It will make it easier for the two of us to get to the shoot on time. We can run through lines and help one another if there seems to be a problem. I believe we have signed onto the best of both worlds."
Jennie asked, "Do you think the pilot has a chance?"
"Don't know but I have good vibes about it. Now tell me where in the States can you get a major role and at the same time kick--" Jennie laughed and said, "I think this can really be a learning experience"
Lacey said, "Flaming good way to get those frustrations out."
They had been traveling for some time and had left the metropolitan area and were now on a small road that was close to the ocean. Jennie said, "Where do you live?"
Smiling Lacey answered, "Down the beach abit. We are almost there.
Jennie sighed in happiness as she whispered to herself, "Right you are, Lacey, the best of both worlds and I can't wait."