Chapter Seven: Hope for Zoe
"Wow, this place is impressive."
Zoe sat down in one of the big black seats in the editing suite, casting
her cousin a grin. "This is the big time, huh? Proper movie studio and everything."
"Definitely." Vivien returned the grin with one of her own. "And before
long it'll be just as chaotic, I promise you. We start with a vengeance
today - I've been gathering up all the film extracts and past interview
material I can find on this film, and I want you to run over it with me
before I do anything else this morning. It'll give you an idea of what you're
interviewing about, and what you're up against, too. I don't want to just
rehash the old film I did. I've dug up all of my old outtakes from my original
videos, as well as the stuff left in. It'll take you most of the day, but
I'd like you to go through it if you can."
"Sure. Going through video is familiar territory to me." Zoe dimpled.
"In truth I'd like to see it. After all, well, Mom's told me the story of
what happened with the film, but I want to see these folk for myself."
"I know you do." Vivien's tone softened. "That's another reason why I
chose you to do this job, rather than me. I'm going to be dealing with people
most of today, by the way. If you need me, page me - I'll have my pager on.
But I trust you to edit up anything you think is useful, and to use anything
else as background research for what we're going to produce. Tomorrow I'll
want you on set meeting people, so this is pretty much your only time to
"Understood." Zoe nodded, reaching for the control handset. "I'll see
you at lunch, then?"
"Yes, for sure." Vivien agreed. "Have fun!"
Once she was gone, Zoe pressed play, waiting as the big screen flickered
into life. Despite herself, her heart pounded in her chest. She had seen
her mother's photos of her father, but this was different.
"Vivien said she videotaped everyone back then. He must be on here somewhere."
She decided, settling herself more comfortably to watch. "I wonder..."
"C'mon, Viv, give it a break with that thing!"
The guy with the sandy hair laughed, making a playful swipe for the video
camera. "You're always filming us - you can't put everything into this film
of yours, surely?"
"As much as they'll let me." Vivien responded coolly. "I know you're an
artist at not being noticed by the camera, Jeff, but this is one film you're
not going to escape."
"Some might call it favouritism." The man's companion bantered, winking
at the camera. "Spending all the time on Jeff's ugly mug. I'm the real stunt
talent - didn't you get that memo?"
"You need your head deflating, Power." Jeff told him, punching him amiably
on the arm. "Besides, Viv knows full well that the real talent of the movie
lies in the people you don't see at all except on the credits."
"Yeah, and it takes some ego to know it." A fresh voice interrupted, and
the camera swung around, focusing in on a young woman, aged about twenty
or twenty one. Her thick wavy hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and there
was mischief in her blue eyes. "Hey, Viv, filming a real star now? LinZ said
I should be in front of the camera and not behind it. How do I look?"
She struck a pose.
"You look like you want to be fined for not getting the props ready on
time." Jeff put in pointedly. "Leave us alone, Clash...Viv has a film to
make, and she'll be interviewing everyone with this gogglebox of hers. Wait
your turn, huh?"
"Oh, screw off, Jeff Wright."Clash poked out her tongue. "You're no fun.
No wonder Kimber dumped you! If you're too dull for even a Hologram, you
oughta give up now!"
"Hey, time out, you people!" The dark haired man said, laughingly. "Connie,
how about you and I head over to props and you show me what we've got lined
up for this scene later on? You and Alexa have been in cahoots about it for
way too long and I need to know what you're going to do about my costume."
"With pleasure, Andrew." Clash linked her arm in Andrew's very pointedly,
turning to send Jeff another grimace, which the camera picked up perfectly.
"Well, I never said she'd be tamed in a day." She said at length. "Give
her some slack, Jeff. She'll come good, I promise. She does care about this
production. And I better stop wasting tape...I have to go interview our
prima donna in a moment, and no doubt that'll take several takes..."
Zoe paused the video, her eyes bright with tears.
"I've seen pictures of Mom as a kid, and I know she was kinda wild, but
I never imagined her so sparky or mischievous." She mused. "And so rude
to...to Dad. But I don't understand - Mom said they were friends. And that
guy - Andrew Power. Mom's fiance that died...he looks so happy and full of
life there. So young...I don't know how old he was, but he can't have been
more than I am now. I'm starting to understand why Mom never got Dad involved
in our lives. After all, if one split second mistake can cost you your life
in stunt-work, we'd have spent all our time worrying about him and what he's
doing. I guess I can see it from that point of view. But they all look
so young...Mom looks like just a kid, still. And what was all that about Kimber?
Does she mean Kimber Harrison? Was Dad involved with her, then, before he
got wound up with Mom? But looking at this tape, I can't imagine them even
being on good terms, let alone..."
She shook her head, reaching for the handset again, and pressing the fast-forward
as she skimmed through the footage of Vivien's interview with the female
lead, Cheryl Black Lewis - then Cheryl Black. Then the picture changed abruptly,
and she pressed play, recognising Andrew once more.
"So what drives you on to the next dangerous attraction? Is it just
the adrenalin or is there more to it than that?"
"I dunno, Viv. Its always been in me." Andrew cast the camera a sheepish
smile. "When I was a baby I was trying to climb out of my crib before I knew
what was happening. I've always wanted to be in on the action. It's a buzz,
I suppose that's the most of it. Why would you want a boring, nine to five
job, if you can do something like this?"
"Rather you than me." Vivien assured him. "What about the cast? Are you
getting on well with them?"
"Jeff and I have been best pals since High School, and more so in this
crazy business." Andrew grinned. "The interesting bit of a film is the people
working on it - especially those of us the audience never gets to see. They
miss out on a lot, you know. I hope you're going to video some of the backstage
"It's on my list." Vivien assured him. "And now, off the record, Andy,
what exactly is going on with you and my cousin?"
"Going on?" Andrew looked startled. "Are you going to out your own relative's
private affairs on this documentary?"
"Not at all." The camera was lowered. "I'm just curious, that's all. I
feel responsible for Connie, and she tends to be impulsive and crazy on occasion."
"I know. That's what I like about her." Andrew admitted. There was the
sound of the lens cap clicking on, and the screen went dark, but still the
"Well, don't mess her about, okay?" Vivien warned. "I know you stunt types
- you like to live fast and you'll drag her along with you."
"Connie doesn't need any dragging." Came the reply. "It's cool, Viv. I
know what I'm doing." There was a pause, then, "Is that thing off? It's flashing
a light at me."
"Oh, dammit." Vivien cursed. "The switch keeps doing that. Hang on..."
Despite herself, Zoe giggled. She could not imagine her experienced,
professional cousin allowing something so simple to go wrong now.
"But it gave me some insight into things with Mom and Andrew. I remember
Mom saying it was a whirlwind romance." She reflected. "I guess I can see
why. Mom was impetuous and he was into doing things the wildest way possible.
I wonder what would have happened if they ever had got married."
She returned her attention to the screen, carefully fast forwarding through
sundry interviews with other stars. She would come back to them later, but
for now she wanted to know about her mother, her father, and the drama that
had unfolded all those years earlier. The next bit of footage was filming
from the wings, as Vivien taped the initial takes of various scenes, capturing
for posterity one of Cheryl's patent tantrums when her co-star spoke his
lines in the wrong order. Then the scene changed to outside, and the focus
zoomed in on the top of an old building, where a solitary figure stood, awaiting
his next command. Zoe's breath caught in her throat. Could this be...that
scene? The one that had changed her mother's life forever?
The day was blustery and the director's shout was muffled by the blow
of the wind. Waving his arms frantically, John Garram managed to indicate
that filming had begun, and the camera angle returned once more to the old
building, catching a different view of it to the one that would form the
main thrust of the movie. On the top of the ramshackle old house, clinging
on to the window frame carefully, Andrew prepared to make his jump. Below
him, on the ground, the camera zoomed in on the safety crew, with the inflatable
safety precautions all set up ready for the jump.
"The real action behind the movie." A voice came from beside the video
"Shut up, Connie, I'm filming." The camerawoman hissed.
"Yeah, but you'll dub it after. Besides, they'll do more than one take,
and Andrew's much more fun to waste film on than the rest."
"You wouldn't be biased?" Vivien was amused.
"Viv, if you're going to lay into me again about accepting his proposal,
I'm gonna remind you of what I said last night. You're own relationships
aren't so squeaky and clean and at least my man is mine and mine alone."
"Okay, I got the picture. I was just teasing." Vivien sounded impatient.
"Now, can it, will you? I want to focus on your fiance. If this comes out
well, it'll go in the documentary, so pipe down, huh?"
The camera focused in once more on Andrew's face, showing his concentration,
despite the wind whipping his hair in all directions. At a signal from the
ground, he leapt from the building, and Vivien's camera followed him down
onto the safety nets below.
"Too fast!" Garram shouted through the wind. "Can you get up there again,
Andrew? The take was no good - the wind's playing havoc with the camera angle
and you came down too fast. We need to make more of it - you think you can?"
"Not a problem!" Andrew yelled back. "I'll be up there in a second!"
"I told you there'd be multiple takes." Connie's voice cut over the film,
and Vivien sighed.
"Shut up, will you?" She begged. "Can't you and Alexa go sort out props
for the next scene?"
"And miss Andrew's big deal jump as the villain?" There was a snort. "Not
on your life."
By this time, Andrew had resumed his station at the top of the old building,
and the camera panned across, showing the rest of the crew as the director
anxiously barked out directions. Then he raised his hand, and Vivien swung
her focus back to the jumper, ready to film.
A shout from the ground below was the signal, and, with a moment of hesitation,
Andrew leapt once more into the abyss. There was a gasp, and a shriek from
somewhere out of shot. Vivien's camera swung wildly as she realised what
was going on, and then all was still. The camera was momentarily forgotten
as Connie dashed into shot, followed almost immediately by her cousin and
various of the crew. As they converged on the scene, it became clear what
had caused their dismay. Lying on the concrete, still and quiet, was the stuntman.
"Andrew!" There was no mistaking Connie's voice this time, as a dismayed
cry pierced through the bluster of the wind and the melee of technicians.
"Call an ambulance!" Someone shouted.
"He's not breathing." A third voice reported gravely.
"Dammit, someone call an ambulance!"
Zoe paused the tape once more, clicking it off and sitting in silence
for a moment, taking in all she had seen.
"Viv didn't tell me she had it all on tape." She whispered. "Maybe she
doesn't know. She did say that she had reams of tape when she did her documentary.
Oh, but Mom...I never heard her sound like that before."
She closed her eyes, rerunning the scene in her head. The camera had been
tilted at an odd angle, for Vivien had shoved it down on a nearby box when
she had hurried to help, but she had seen enough.
"How awful, to see someone die like that." She realised at length. "It's
awful for me watching the tape, and I never knew him. But for Mom...oh...poor
A voice from the doorway startled her, and she turned, offering her cousin
a wan smile.
"Hi...I thought you were tied up." She said. "What's up?"
"I left some of my notes in here." Vivien scooped up the notes, eying
the fair girl keenly. "What's wrong? You've been crying."
"I...I guess I've been reliving some of Mom's past. Understanding it."
Zoe murmured. "Viv, can I ask you some things? I don't want to upset Mom
with them, not now I...I've seen what happened to Andrew. But..."
"Seen....?" Vivien's eyes opened wide. "But...are you telling me that's
on the video? His jump?"
Zoe nodded her head slowly.
"I just saw it." She admitted brokenly. "It upset me, Viv...because I
saw how wrecked Mom was, and I know that he died that day. I know that it
changed everything, him jumping like that. Now I...I guess I understand
better what Mom told me when she was telling me about Dad."
"I'm sorry. I didn't realise - I wouldn't have given you the tape if I'd
known." Vivien frowned. "I didn't use anything from that video-tape. I had
enough from the rest, and I didn't want to use too much footage of Andrew,
considering what had happened. John Garram asked me not to, out of respect,
so that video's been gathering dust somewhere for the last twenty five years
"It's all right." Zoe assured her. "It's not your fault."
"What was the question you wanted to ask me?"
"A couple of things, really." Zoe glanced at her hands. "Mom mentions
Kimber - Did Dad have a fling with Kimber Harrison before he took up with
"Yes. They were engaged, but they mutually broke it off before they could
tie the knot properly. They left it late." Video nodded. "But they both did
the right thing. Kimber's happy with Shaun, and Jeff was always a lone wolf.
Zoe, your father and mother were never an item, as such. They comforted each
other in the time after Andrew's death, that's all. I did often wonder how
close they had gotten, but I couldn't really ask that kind of thing of your
Mom when she'd been so emotional and upset by it all. And then, when she
told me she was pregnant..."
She sighed, rubbing her temples.
"LinZ and I did everything in our power to help her, when she was expecting
you." She said at length. "We neither one of us knew how to handle it, because
she was so young, and everything had occured so suddenly. LinZ and I did
discuss the possibility that Jeff was your father, but again, we couldn't
really ask the question. You seemed to...heal something, when you were born.
I never saw anyone change or grow up so quickly as I did your mother when
she had someone else to worry about. It might have been that she was hiding
what she felt in looking after you, but whatever it was, she soon proved how
good a mother she really could be. LinZ helped her with her on screen career
- well, you know that - and everything grew from there. At the time we worried,
but you were a blessing in disguise, Zoe. You were better for Connie than
any of the rest of us had managed to be."
"Mom said she loved Dad, but she didn't realise until she'd let him go."
Zoe turned her gaze back to the screen. "That's why she doesn't want to see
him - it's been so long, and she doesn't know how she'd handle it. Seeing
this video, I've realised how much Mom has changed. She confided in me about
how she'd had Jerrica and Pizzazz kidnapped, but I just couldn't see it.
But watching her on here...I can imagine it happening. She's so different."
"Grief and responsibility change people." Vivien bit her lip. "I don't
know who she grieved for more, Zoe. Losing Andrew or losing your father.
She never spoke about it, you see. Not even to us."
"I feel like I'm getting closer to the truth." Zoe mused. "Closer to understanding
how I came to be, and about Dad and stuff. I just wish I knew if he was going
to come and be a part of all of this, that's all."
"Oh!" Vivien looked startled at this. "Oh, I didn't tell you? The studio
heard from him last night - he's going to be in California tomorrow. He's
game to take part."
"What?" Zoe's eyes widened. "For real? He's coming? I'm gonna meet him?"
"Yes, you are." Vivien smiled. "I only hope that it brings what you want
it to, that's all. If things were difficult between Connie and him when they
"I know." Zoe nodded. "But I'm game to take the risk, Viv. I...I have
to know. Either way, I have to do this. I have to know my father."