As far as writing went, 42 year-old John Dunham had gone as far as he could go as a screenwriter. He had won countless local and State awards. He was divorced 14 years earlier and had lived alone ever since. He bothered nobody & nobody bothered him. He could choose when & what he wrote. He was quite content with his lot.
This changed when he received a letter one day. He had been nominated for Best Screenwriter by The Writers Academy. It was for the Movie ‘Ten Fingers’ which was a blockbuster. He’d written global blockbusters before but received no mention. This didn’t phase John. He was a cool customer. Combined with this, some people (who hadn’t met him) thought he was arrogant. He wasn’t. He liked deep conversation & had a sharp but dry sense of humour. He rarely smiled.
Top American journalist, Cheryl Hanson, had flown from the States to interview John in what was considered a scoop as John had become jaded by interviews several years ago. The only reason she got the interview was that he was quite taken by Cheryl & after spending some time together Cheryl became quite attracted to John. She made him laugh like he hadn’t done for quite some time, in fact they spent a lot of time leading up to the interview chatting & laughing. Cheryl was taken by Johns intellect & brutally honest outlook on life.
Their eyes locked at one point & they both awkwardly thought of something to do or say. Cheryl, thinking on her feet, reached into her handbag & sat her digital recorder. “Shall we do this, the?” she asked John. John had to clear his throat before saying, “Sure.”
John was pleased with the way the interview was going. Cheryl was asking all the right questions & a lot of questions that he hadn’t been asked before. It went for 2 hours but felt like 10 minutes. The pair kept staring then looking awkwardly away from each other.
At the end of the interview Cheryl said that she’d like to play John the interview & ask if there’s anything that needs adding or taken out. John was thrilled at this. As they listened, John kept mimicking himself. The more he did it the more Cheryl laughed. She ended up falling on the floor. John went to help her up but lost his footing & fell on her. They looked closely then embraced.
When they eventually finished, the got up John casually made another coffee. They sat there for a few moments & John said, “When do you have to go back to the States?” Cheryl said, “Tomorrow but I’ve got to get a photo of you. Know any good spots?” John suggested the nearby park. he grabbed a copy of his book & put his Ray Bans on.
The park was only 5 minutes away & was practically empty. “Go sit there,” said Cheryl, pointing at a bench. John sat on the bench, crossed his legs & held the book across his chest. He’d done it all before. Cheryl took about 8 shots and said, “That should do nicely.”
On the way back to the car, Cheryl lost her footing. John grabbed her hand to stop her from falling. They walked back to the car continuing to hold hands & smiling. John said it’s a shame you’re going back tomorrow.” Cheryl agreed. A few moments later Cheryl said, “I have annual leave due in 2 weeks. I could visit you then.” John almost choked on his coffee. “I’d like that,”” he spluttered, losing his cool for a moment. “Would you like to go out for tea tonight?” John asked. Cheryl agreed.
Cheryl went back to her hotel room, got dressed up & was back at Johns, who was struggling with his tie. They went out for tea & spent the night trying not to laugh too loudly. Later they went to Johns. John kept going to the bedroom to pamper it up. Cheryl said it was time to leave. John said she could stay there. Cheryl agreed.
After an uncomfortable night on a single bed, Cheryl had to leave early to catch her flight. As they waited they tried (badly) to cheer each other up. Cheryl began crying as John embraced her & whispered, “I’ll see you in two weeks.” Cheryl said she would email John the review before it went to print. Sure enough, the following night it arrived. It was a full 2-page glowing review. They rang each other daily, becoming closer & closer.
Cheryl arrived back in England 2 weeks later with a huge suitcase. The pair would go sightseeing each day & eat out each night. After 3 weeks Cheryl dropped a bombshell. “What would you think if I stayed, John? I’ve got dual citizenship.” John couldn’t contain himself & embraced her like he wouldn’t let go. “That’d be great!” exclaimed John. Cheryl, with a mock stern look said, “On one condition. We get a double bed.” John replied, “Done!” & they both laughed.
Cheryl resigned by email & became a freelance literary journalist, submitting reviews on new releases by email under a false name. This way she didn’t have to go through the hassle of the red carpet & backstage gigs.
John continued to write away & knock back invites from the local literary societies. He didn’t need the promotion or money any more. He was writing purely for pleasure now. Within 6 months, Cheryls false name was now a household name & was held in the highest regard in Britain.