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It was brutal.

I couldn’t do it without crying. I couldn’t do it without taking breaks in between, needing space to gather my wits. I couldn’t do it without his hand reaching out for me, letting me know he was okay, that we were okay.

It was brutal, watching him lay there, on his stomach on the cold wooden surface, backside up and head to his side. It was brutal how he couldn’t say anything. He had no lines this time around. He had to just lay there but it was enough.

I was taken aback by the tension in the room as I watched the production crew prepare the closed set. Only fifteen people, just like the wedding scene but this time it was different. This was taken to a different level and I honestly felt uncomfortable.

Sam and I haven’t talked about the scene for days now. We didn’t work on choreography like we use to with the rest of our other scenes.   The writers and director spoke to us separately this time. It wasn’t about scheduling conflicts. It was about setting the scene right they said. Jamie and Claire haven’t seen each other for weeks now they said. This was the first time in a while and they wanted us, Sam and I, to go through the motions of what our characters were thinking and feeling as we go through the scene.

I would have thought it was in a way manipulative because I’m sitting here watching them prepare and it’s hard. No one is talking, only soft whispers of where things needed to be set up. It’s like everyone knows what’s going to happen, how important this scene is for me.

The clapper board snaps me out of my element and the director pulls me aside. I am congratulated and praised for my performance, but still I stand there watching him. And still, he doesn’t look at me.

I leave the set and head to my trailer, waiting for him to finish but it’s my assistant who tells me. They need to do more shots with Sam so it’ll be a while. I look up and see the clock near my makeshift bed. It’s nearly eleven o’clock in the evening and I am exhausted, mentally and physically exhausted. We glance over my schedule, hoping to stall a bit, and notice my early day tomorrow and sigh.

I make it to my tiny apartment close to midnight, glancing at my phone every now and then, waiting. He always text, especially after a scene like tonight. He always makes sure we’re okay. I am ashamed to admit it’s something I look forward to- his late night texts, his encouraging words and playful banter.

But somehow this is different. I sit here on my couch, after a shower and getting ready for bed, hoping for the soft ding on my phone, desperately waiting for it. I find myself, pacing back and forth, to and from the kitchen to the living room, keeping my hands busy, flipping through magazines left on my side table. Still no texts.

I’m afraid to go to my bedroom, afraid of surrounding myself with the eerie silence and the memories of what had happened just two hours ago. I’m more afraid, my body will succumb to sheer exhaustion and missing him altogether.

I have a hard time getting Sam out of my head, laying there in the middle of a room, dim lighting surrounding him, motionless and in pain at the same time. How whenever I touched him he flinched with my every touch, how he whispered his lines to leave him be, how he cried all at the same time.

It’s beginning to become hard to separate him from Jamie. It’s the same way between Claire and I. We were becoming our own characters, allowing ourselves to take certain traits and personalities. Sam is Jamie more so than I am Claire. Their personalities are nearly the same: honorable, sweet, strong, and charming. We joke on set how he is the king of men but sometimes it not that far from the truth. This is why this scene was so brutal.

It’s so hard to watch him lay there and do nothing, say nothing. No jokes, no conversation, nothing. I admit I found myself getting mad at times, sitting beside him, and knowing he wouldn’t look at me. How he won’t talk to me. I had to remind myself why he needed to do it. Sam’s a great actor and he wants to stay in character. He wants to make it easier for me. What he didn’t know was how much my heart was literally breaking.

It’s nearly one o’clock in the morning and there’s no text. I want desperately to text him, to make the first move, but I’m too much of a coward to do so. I make excuses for myself. He could be on set still, even though I know they wouldn’t keep him too long after letting me go. I’m sure he has an early morning as I do. I’m too much of a coward to think he doesn’t want to talk to me at the moment- wanting the need to separate himself from what happened a few hours ago.

I resign to the idea that Sam won’t text this time and I am left heartbroken in a way. I stand to walk toward my bedroom when I heard my doorbell ring. I peek in the peep hole and it’s him, standing there outside my door, hair wet and disheveled. I open the door and look at him.

His eyes look up and meets mine.

“I’m exhausted,” he whispers.

I offer him a small smile and grab hold of his hand. I gently walk him to my bedroom, where the covers had been pulled back earlier in preparation for my own sleep. I let go and find myself getting in, waiting. I hear the soft whoosh of boots coming off and clothes falling to the floor.

I pull the covers over me as I feel the weight of him in my bed. He pulls me closer, wrapping his arms around my midsection. I fight the urge to turn around to face him, only to find myself losing to the battle of my own will. I turn around to face him, allowing my eyes to adjust to his features. We look at each other for a moment, our eyes conversing on their own. I sigh as he pulls me closer, my face nestling against the fabric of his shirt, our legs interlocking with one another.

“We’re okay,” he whispers and brings his large hands to caress my head.

It’s like he knows what I’m asking from him without speaking. I close my eyes and relish the proximity of his warmth, his strong embrace, and a small kiss on my forehead.

I swallow then let out a large sigh, whispering my own words of assurance to him, “we’re okay.”