Maxine in Ruins
By R.J. Sullivan
(A newly composed bonus scene related to Haunting Obsession written specially for Beauty in Ruins)
The tall wiry man on the other side looked taken aback, but only for the moment. "Oh, now all of a sudden you care where I've been? Because you didn't care at all this morning." He tried, and failed, to step steadily, but Allen Goodwin's stumbling gait betrayed his intoxication with every step.
"Allen, don't be that way. I was worried sick, you know I was." She knew her normally devastating gaze was tainted from bloodshot eyes and dark circles. She knew this because she' d spent the last six hours crying and rubbing her eyes, then examining herself in the mirror.
At first, she tried to fix herself, make herself the beautiful Hollywood starlet he'd fallen in love with three years ago. Then she decided tears and a look of distress might just serve as her best weapons.
Allen shook his head. "Don't tell me how you care so damn much, Maxine. You were supposed to report to the set this morning. I couldn't even rouse you. Then when I did...."
Maxine bowed her head. "I wasn't very nice about it, I know. I’m sorry, Allen."
"Oh, sure, you can apologize to me just fine, but who the hell had to call the studio? Who had to lie to the director? Again? Food poisoning, three times in one week? Did you really think they'd believed that?"
"Well, it could have been...."
Allen's scoff cut her off. "It was poisoning, alright. Poisoning by champagne and pills."
"What do you know about it?"
"I know it wasn't professional."
His anger took Maxine aback. "Oh, I'm so sorry. Allen Goody-Goody Goodwin, famous award-winning screenwriter. Always so professional and elegant. What do you know? You sit back here on your little typewriter and write your professional little words. Then you hand them to the actors who have to actually go out in front of the camera and perform them."
Behind his glasses, Allen closed his eyes and he drew a deep breath. "I can't believe you just said that."
"Oh, what's the matter, is Allen Goody-Goody offended? Was that too unprofessional for you?" Maxine put a sway in her step as she approached him. "You didn't mind me being so unprofessional three years ago." She extended her arms and clasped her hands around his neck. "Your wife sure didn't know what Goody-Goody was doing with me for all those weeks, did she?"
"Stop it." Allen unclasped her hands and stepped to the side. "This isn't what I wanted. I wanted to write great stories for you. I wanted us to be partners. I wanted to turn you into a great actress."
"Oh, really? Me?" Now she saw red. She couldn't keep the mocking tone out of her voice. "You'll spare precious pages of you amazing writing just so you can transform me into a great actress? Oh! Thank you so much, Mister Goody! I'm so grateful to you for turning me into a great actress."
"That's not what I meant."
"Are you done?"
"I haven't even started, Mister."
"Fine, but I am. I'm finished. I've carried both of us for years. I can't manage my own career, and yours. I can't lie for you anymore."
"You’re a coward." She tipped the bottle toward the glass and poured herself another.
Allen shrugged. "Well, maybe. Maybe I tried to mold you into something you couldn't be. Maybe I wanted to save you, but you don't want saving. Not really. I don't know what you need, but it's not me."
Maxine turned toward him, glass in her hand. "You don't mean that. We've both been drinking. It's brought out your mean side. It’s brought out my mean side, too."
"Don't be a child."
"What!" She turned on him, and before either of them knew what happened, she flung the glass at him. It hit him square in the chest, thumping off him like a missile, leaving a foamy splash across his jacket as it ricochet and shattered on the floor.
He drew in a breath and bent at his hip, but said nothing.
Maxine screamed. "Don't you call me that! Don't ever call me that."
Allen shook his head and stepped toward the door. "I'll be back for my things later."
"Wait. Allen,, you don't mean it."
But he was already gone.
She slumped to the floor. Alone, defeated, humiliated, at first, unable to speak. For a long time, she cried into her hands, "I'm not a child, I'm not a child."
Hours later, she lay on the bed. Alone. Lonely. It wasn't fair. She'd slept all afternoon, and now she'd be awake all night.
Her gaze fell to the new, full bottle of champagne still chilling in a bucket on the nightstand, right next to her prescription tranquilizers. "I'll never get to sleep. What can I do?"
She knew what she'd do. She'd learned this trick. Pop a pill, sip a drink. She'd be out, and before she knew it, the sun would be shining through the blinds and she could start over with a brand-new day. Then she could think about Allen Goody Goody, and plot how she'd get her revenge.
But first, a pill. Then a drink.
Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan
Daryl Beasley collects all things Maxine Marie, whose famous curves and fast lifestyle made her a Hollywood icon for decades after her tragic death. Daryl’s girlfriend, Loretta Stevens, knew about his geeky lifestyle when they started dating, but she loves him, quirks and all.
Then one day Daryl chooses to buy a particularly tacky piece of memorabilia instead of Loretta’s birthday present. Daryl ends up in the doghouse, not only with Loretta, but with Maxine Marie herself. The legendary blonde returns from the dead to give Daryl a piece of her mind—and a haunting obsession he’ll never forget.