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vince
Title: Get It Together
Fandom: Entourage
Pairing: Vince/Eric
Series: Yeah, this is comes right after If We Were Anybody. Part of the Here's Us Together series of stories.
Rating: R for the cursing.
Warnings: Nah. Well, I mean, Ari.
Length: 16,000 words. Complete. Dear God.
Spoilers: Through the finale of Season 2 (though this happens post-current, after Season 4 or 8 or something).
Summary: Vince tries to get over E.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, and my intention is not to make any money.
Notes: Mucho thanks go out to shoshannagold for her beta work and encouragement as this got torn up and rebuilt.



Get It Together


The night they get back from Seattle, Vince gets drunk with Turtle playing Madden while Eric sulks in his bedroom. When Turtle gives him a weird look, Vince hints that they’re having a work-related disagreement and lets Turtle draw his own conclusions. It’s close enough to the truth. Vince ended things mostly because he figured they could either stay friends and stay in business or they could fuck each other up something fierce, and a little bit because he’d started wanting Eric all the time, and that wasn’t good for business at all.

When Turtle heads to bed, Vince does, too, only he somehow ends up in Eric’s room, holding a highball glass full of gin. Eric’s in the bathroom, brushing his teeth, and Vince can see only his shoulder reflected in the mirror. His bed is neatly made and there are two piles of clothes on the floor, some of which Vince recognizes as his own. It’s like the trip never happened, except for the part where Vince can’t seem to move out of the doorway or any closer to Eric.

Eric walks out of the bathroom and jumps. “Jesus,” he says. He shakes his head. “What are you doing?” Vince hears the missing word: what are you doing here, and he takes a sip of his drink, then shrugs.

“You have my stuff,” he says, even though he hasn’t thought about it until now.

Eric nods. “I put your shaving kit in your room already,” he says. He sits on the bed. “I figured I’d get the clothes out for laundry tomorrow.”

Vince nods. He feels weird, standing in Eric’s room. He’s conscious of the door being closed behind him, of the light being dim, of Eric being in his boxers and a T-shirt. These aren’t things he’s ever been bothered by before. He clears his throat and takes a sip of his gin. “OK,” he says. “Uh, good night, then.”

“Yeah,” Eric says. Vince is in the hallway before he remembers he had a point, he was going to go in and ask for the painting he picked up in Seattle. He stops at the door, though, and doesn’t feel like he can just open it. He doesn’t want to knock, either, because that’s just too weird, too formal for a guy who two nights ago gave him a killer blowjob. So instead he goes to bed and finishes half of the drink before he passes out on top of the covers.

Vince wakes up the next morning with a headache and a neck ache and a dull pain in his chest that he wants to believe is also related to the hangover. He drags himself out of bed and down to the kitchen, doesn’t say anything until he’s drunk half of the hangover shake Johnny’s cooked up. “You and E have a fight?” Johnny asks.

“What are you talking about?” Vince asks, looking up and around. It’s just him and Johnny in the kitchen, no sign of Eric or Turtle.

“You seemed a little weird last night,” Johnny says. “And you look a little fucked up.”

Johnny has an idea that there is — was — more than friendship between Vince and Eric. They’ve talked about it obliquely, before, but Vince has never confirmed anything. And now, there’s nothing to talk about, because it’s over, it’s over for good. His shirt smells like scotch and sweat. He rubs his neck. “Nothing happened,” Vince says.

Johnny grunts. “You want, I could kick him around a little.”

Vince looks up, but he doesn’t see anything on Johnny’s face but brotherly bravado, so he shakes his head. “It’s cool,” he says. “We’re cool, don’t worry about it.”

“You just let me know,” Johnny says. He sits at the table, in front of a stack of printed papers.

Vince sips his drink, then reaches over and snags the top page. “What is this, you reading for something?”

“It’s for that anger management class,” he says.

Vince glances at the page. “Step one, remove yourself from the situation,” he reads. Johnny has been in court-mandated anger management since an incident with the security guards on the Universal lot. Vince isn’t sure it will do much good, but it’s keeping Johnny busy and out of trouble. He slides the paper back across the table. “That sounds like good advice, man.”

“I’m learning,” Johnny says. “I think this whole thing, it’s been for the best. I mean, I’m starting to understand, with Dr. Linda’s help, that I’ve really had a lot of negative energy holding me down.”

“Hearing a negative answer from every girl in Hollywood’ll do that to ya,” Turtle says, shuffling into the kitchen. “E called. Said he’d meet us at Ari’s later.”

“Fuck me,” Vince says, “I forgot we had that today.”

“Yeah? Big meeting?”

Vince shrugs. He has no idea, really. Every meeting with Ari is probably a big deal, but he usually has Eric there to remind him of exactly what needs to be said. Today, he has a feeling he’ll be flying blind. “I’m gonna get a shower,” Vince says, and pushes away from the table.

He showers, dries off, and takes a look at himself in the mirror. His eyes are a little bloodshot, but he’s OK, otherwise. He pulls on clean jeans and a shirt and then sits on his bed. The meeting with Ari shouldn’t be a big deal, but he’s nervous anyway, because he’s not sure if things are going to be weird with him and Eric. So he walks down the hall and knocks on Turtle’s door. “Turtle, man, you carrying?” he asks.

“Jesus, Vince, it’s like 10 in the morning.”

“It’s practically noon,” Vince says, and takes the joint back to his room.

He goes stoned and hungry. He can’t remember the exact time of the meeting so they show up half an hour early and sit on the couch just outside of Ari’s office, waiting for him to finish some kind of telephone conference. Usually, Vince would just swing into the office, but today it seems all right to hang out watching Turtle and Drama fight over their new GameBoy Advance Super X. Lloyd brings him a bottle of water and asks, “Where’s your fabulous manager?”

“You know, I’m not even sure,” Vince says, and tries to smile.

Eric shows up right on time. He looks fine, Vince notes, not a hair out of place. He has on slacks and a blue button-down shirt, a little dressed up, and Vince starts to wonder if this really is an important meeting. He rubs his mouth and watches Eric look down. Nothing between them has changed, Vince tells himself, and he’s glad for the buzz because it makes it seem true.

“You can go in, now,” Lloyd says, grinning, and Vince smiles back and follows Eric inside. He makes himself sit on the couch next to Eric and keeps his face blank. Usually, he’d be able to meet Eric’s eye and understand what’s going on, but Eric isn’t looking at him. Eric is, instead, studying Ari’s windows like he’s never seen them before, like he’s thinking about installing some himself.

“So what’s the word, Ari?” Vince says. Eric is sitting up so stiffly that Vince thinks he could maybe tip over and break him, shatter him into tiny sharp Eric pieces. There’s at least two feet of space between them. The meeting is a nothing meeting, which is good, because Vince sits next to Eric and feels like hell the whole time. Ari wants them to settle on a script. Vince hasn’t read shit in the last month, but he doesn’t want to say that, so instead he says, “It’s not like you’ve sent anything good over.”

Vince sees Eric wince. Usually, in these meetings, Eric backs him up. Usually, Eric doesn’t let him walk into Ari’s traps, either. Today, though, Vince glances over and sees Eric pinch the bridge of his nose as Ari whirls on Eric.

“I haven’t sent anything good, E?” Ari asks, and Vince stares at Eric.

Eric sighs, and for a minute Vince thinks he’s going to throw him under the bus, he’s going to make him look dumb in front of Ari. But E says, “It has been pretty shitty lately.”

“Oh ho, you asked for it. I’ll send you a mother-fucking cartload. You’ll have so many scripts you’ll need oxen to haul the fucking wagon around. Do they still make oxen, like are they still around? Jesus Christ, you’d better hope so.” Ari slams his hands down on the desk. “Lloyd, get me every script that’s out there, no, get me two of every script that’s out there. If you run out of paper, call E and he’ll help you chop down the trees himself.”

“All right, all right,” Eric says. “It’s not volume we need, Ari, it’s quality. Ease off.”

“Ease — your entire fucking job is to help him get a project, and you have a backlog? You want me to get you Hooked on Phonics, E, will that help? Or is the reading getting in the way of your jerking off? You need to cut back to ten hours a day, there, save your eyesight?”

“I get off just fine on thinking about firing you,” Eric says. “Remember that time? That’s lasted me this long, but I could always use a refresher.”

Vince looks between them, and he can’t tell if he should step in. He can’t tell if Eric wants his help, and Eric isn’t looking at him. Eric won’t look at him. Vince stares at his hands and barely listens to the two of them tossing insults back and forth. By the end of the meeting, he’s pretty sure all that’s been established is they still need a new project. He shakes Ari’s hand as they leave, anyway, and keeps his head down, hoping his pupils aren’t too dilated.

In the hall, he says, “Am I in trouble?”

Eric looks startled. “With Ari?”

“With you,” Vince says, and Eric looks away.

“It’s fine,” Eric says.

They step into the garage and the valet pulls Eric’s car up first, and Vince starts toward it out of habit. “Actually, I’ve got a meeting,” Eric says, and Vince stops with his hand on the door handle.

“E,” Vince starts, but Eric waves him off.

“Look, we’re cool,” Eric says, and he pats Vince’s shoulder. It should be comforting, but as Vince watches him drive away, he feels a little bit like he’s been brushed off.

The next morning, when Vince tries to catch Eric after breakfast, he has to run to the office to pick up something he forgot. That evening, Eric calls Turtle’s phone to say he’s got a dinner meeting and they should go out without him. He keeps it up until Vince doesn’t want to talk to him, anymore, until he’s so tired of trying that he’s actually glad Eric’s avoiding him. Things are too weird.

It’s not like they don’t see each other, because Eric makes it home for meals, and they hang out with the other guys and go to meetings together and all of that. They just don’t spend any time together. Vince tells himself this is for the best, that maybe they need a sort-of clean break to get back to a normal friendship, after all this time. This is what he wanted, after all; this is what he asked for. And less time with Eric makes it easier not to think about him all the time, so really, everything’s going according to plan.

Then, one day at lunch, Turtle says, “So what’s up, E, where you been recently, anyway? I know you’re all Hollywood business mogul now, but seriously, man.”

“Yeah,” Eric says. He’s sitting on the opposite side of the table from Vince, in the opposite corner, and when he talks he seems to be addressing Turtle. Par for the course. “About that, look, guys, I’m sorry. I just – I should’ve mentioned this before now. You remember Gillian?”

Vince stares at his plate. “Ari’s new client?”

“Red hair, nice tits?” Johnny says.

“Yeah,” Eric says. “She’s running that new drama on Showtime.”

“You think there’s something there for me?” Johnny asks.

“You fucking her?” Turtle asks.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time together,” Eric says. It’s painful, the information just dribbling out of him. Like the time Eric broke the window at Vince’s place playing street baseball when they were ten. Took him half an hour in the kitchen just to get it out, and that was just telling Vince’s mom.

Vince sighs and puts his hands on either side of his plate. “Jesus, E, just spit it out.”

“She didn’t have a manager,” he says. “Her old one quit, moved back to New Mexico.” Vince feels a real flare of panic and pain, and he looks up. Eric’s still facing Turtle. “So I told her I’d do it.”

It’s like acting: Vince keeps his breathing even, keeps his eyes very still, doesn’t move his mouth at all. He can take anything, he can go through this weird avoidance, the awkwardness, all of that so long as he knows Eric’s going to be around at the end. As long as he knows they can still be friends, right back where they started. If Eric quits, he doesn’t know what he’ll do; he’s never considered it until right now.

“So what, you’re like a real manager, again?” Eric glares at Johnny. “What, I mean, like a company.”

“Yeah,” Eric says, and he looks over at Vince just briefly. “It doesn’t change anything, really.” Vince looks away, at the counter. There’s a pie sitting under a glass cover, and Vince squints, tries to imagine what it would taste like. He does this when he acts, too, looks for something in the background to notice. It makes him seem contemplative. “I’m just gonna be a little busier.”

“Are. You. Fucking. Her?” Turtle says, leaning forward, which draws Vince’s attention away from the pie.

Eric shrugs. That means yes, and Vince sits back. He puts his hands on his abs and tightens them and holds very still.

“Well, at least we know this is going to end in disaster,” Turtle says, and Eric laughs and Vince makes himself do the same. But it comes out wrong, he thinks, because he doesn’t relax his abs, so the sound is high, forced; he’d like a second take on it.

Eric spends the weekend with Gillian, and every time Vince sees him for the next week or so, he’s on the phone with her. Vince doesn’t care. He really doesn’t. He doesn’t care so much that he brings two girls to dinner on the night that Eric brings Gillian, and he takes them both home and they make enough noise that even Turtle is angry with him in the morning.

“A little consideration is all I’m asking,” he says when Vince sits at the table. He picks up his plate and walks out, which leaves Vince in the last place in the world he wants to be: alone with Eric.

For once, Eric doesn’t cut and run, probably because Vince wants him to. Instead, Eric has his hands folded over the morning’s copy of Variety. His eyes are flat, his face pulled into that perfect chastising smirk. “Is this how it’s gonna be, now?” he asks.

Vince leans back and spreads his hands. “I’m just moving on, E,” he says. “You’ve done it, so I can, too, right?”

“Right,” Eric says. “Right. You could.” He stands up, takes his coffee cup in one calm hand. For a minute, Vince watches just that, just the steady way Eric’s holding his mug, and he sees the tension in his arm and knows – absolutely fucking knows – that Eric wants to throw it at him. He wishes for it. He pictures the shattering sounds in his mind, almost closes his eyes, almost misses hearing Eric clear his throat. “Jesus, Vince, I wish that was true,” he says, and then walks out of the kitchen.

They have a meeting with Ari that morning. Eric leaves the house early, saying he needs to talk to someone about Gillian’s contract, which Vince is pretty sure is a bullshit excuse to make sure they don’t have to ride together. Which is fine, except Vince wishes he would have thought of something first. Instead, he hits Turtle up again and is nicely mellowed out when they arrive at MGA.

Ari is hyper-active and a good distraction from the fact that Eric won’t sit on the couch with Vince, and won’t even look at him directly. Vince is only half-listening to the conversation, but he tunes back in when Ari starts yelling.

“We signed a contract, E! They get to do this. There’s a clause and they’re exercising it!”

“You said this would never be an issue,” Eric says, leaning forward. “Goddammit, Ari, who expects a nude scene in a fucking action movie?”

“Uh, hello, everyone,” Ari says. “Tits and ass, baby, and since Vince’s only got one of the two, guess which one they want to put on screen.”

Vince shakes his head. “What?”

“Welcome back,” Ari says. “I was starting to wonder what planet Turtle’s getting his crop from. Jesus Christ, tune in, we’re literally talking about saving your ass.”

“They’re exercising the clause in the contract,” Eric says. “They add 300 K, they get one ass shot.”

“I signed that?” Vince says, sitting up. He’s done a nude scene before, for Head On, but it wound up getting cut and Vince was relieved. “Fuck, E, why did you let me sign that?”

“We talked about this,” Eric says, and he manages not to look at Vince even while speaking to him. “It’s a standard clause, and Ari said there was no fucking chance –“

“I never say never,” Ari says.

“I thought the whole point of this was that it’s high class action,” Vince says.

“Yeah,” Ari says, “and your ass is going to add a certain cachet.”

Vince groans. “So what are my options?”

“Options? I don’t think you even get to choose between boxers or briefs, Vin,” Ari says. “You do the fucking shot, you take the money, and you hope the movie sells so well that you never have to do one again.”

“Or,” Eric says, “you drop out.”

Vince looks over, and for a moment, Eric meets his eyes. The usual mix of fuck it, whatever you want, is there, and Vince feels comforted, he feels like Eric’s back, like everything is going to be OK.

Then Ari says, “You need this movie,” and Eric turns to him, and instead of growling he shrugs. “E, you know this. You both know. You drop out of this project and the only offer we’ll have left will be Full Frontal Cocksucking 2, Vinnie and Rob Schneider.” His hands explode outward like stars. “You’re getting a reputation, Vince, and it’s not the one you want. You have to do this movie.”

Vince swallows. He hates nothing more than being backed into a corner. Usually, at this point, he’d be able to sit back and listen to Eric chew on Ari for a while, but when he looks over he sees exhaustion, Eric’s hands clasped together between his knees.

“He’s probably right,” Eric says, and shrugs again. Vince feels desperate and worried, and suddenly all he wants is to get out of the room. All he wants is not to think about this. He wants things back to where they were before, where he could just count on Eric to take care of him. He closes his eyes, and hears Eric’s voice go higher. “But you could threaten, couldn’t you?”

“E, when I say I’ve done everything, do you think I mean that I’ve simply exhausted the words in the Amish dictionary? Are you fucking kidding me, I was a lion on this. I was a fucking mama bear protecting her favorite cub’s virgin ass from fucking poachers.” Vince hears the crinkle of Ari’s suit and looks up to see him sitting on the arm of the couch, his hands outstretched as if pleading. “I have done everything I can,” he says. “Vince, you’ve got to do this.”

Vince nods. He doesn’t look over at Eric, because he knows there’s no help to be had. “All right,” he says.

“I’m sorry, kid.”

Vince shrugs. He stands up; his head feels loose, his shoulders feel heavy. “Whatever, I signed it,” he says. “But see if you can get 500, OK? That’ll sound like a better excuse when my mom asks.”

“Money I can do,” Ari says. He claps Vince on the shoulder, almost a consoling clap, as he leaves. Vince keeps his head down, doesn’t talk to the other guys, doesn’t join in when Turtle starts quizzing Eric over the meeting and Johnny joins in with his own experiences.

“Of course they had to cut it, what with the V-chip ratings and all,” Johnny says, and Turtle snorts.

“Yeah, and those studio concerns over not wanting to blind anyone by showing your pasty white ass.”

Outside, Eric walks to his own car, while Johnny and Turtle head the other way. “We goin’ to lunch, or what?” Turtle calls, standing with the driver’s door open.

He can picture that meal precisely. Vince not talking to Eric, Eric not talking to him, the guys trying to cover, Johnny saying it’s no big deal, Turtle telling him how it’ll just mean more pussy in the future, all of it stupid and awkward. He shakes his head. “You guys go ahead,” he says, waving them all off, not looking at Eric. “I’m gonna call Julie.”

He does call Julie. And then Jessica. Then Rita, then Claire, then Becki and Becky and Betsy. He calls everyone he knows, over the course of a month. In between girls, he takes calls from Ari and lets Eric leave voice mails, agrees to a script rewrite without reading it, has lunch with the boys every day, and develops a real affection for a smoky brand of single-malt scotch. After a particularly amorous night with the scotch and girl whose name starts, he’s pretty sure, with a V, he wakes up to a call from Turtle.

“E’s fucking moving out,” he says as a greeting.

“What?”

“He’s moving his shit to some crap-ass place off Wilshire. When the fuck you coming home, Vin, to fix this?”

Vince looks over at the empty bottle and full bed beside him. “I’ll be there tonight.”




When he walks in, Turtle and Johnny are sitting on the couch, watching some reality show. Eric is perched on the edge of an armchair. Vince stops in the doorway. “So I’m here,” he says.

Turtle and Johnny both turn around, then look at each other in a way that would usually make Vince roll his eyes at Eric. Instead, he looks straight ahead. “What shit are you watching?”

“Total shit,” Johnny says. His performance is, as always, stilted, overdrawn. Pure drama. “I mean. We should be watching a movie.”

“Yeah,” Turtle chimes in, scrambling to his feet. “Look, we’ll go get one. You two stay here.”

He and Johnny are out the door before Turtle’s words are complete. Vince shakes his head and takes a few steps in. “What’s their deal?”

“Their deal is they think you and I are about to kill each other,” Eric says. His voice is even, but it has the gravel in it that Vince recognizes from the neighborhood.

“Are we?” he asks, looking Eric over. He has on a jersey shirt and jeans, hair slicked into perfect order, black shoes spit-shined, silver watch – which he bought with his second major paycheck – sparking on his wrist. Perfectly organized and ordered, just like always. This is the same Eric who’s been scheduling his life for the past five years, the same Eric who’s been laying down the laws of when Vince is allowed to want him and when he isn’t.

Vince makes his steps forward as uneven as possible, which isn’t hard, because he had a quickie with a new bottle before he left Vanessa’s house. This is good, he thinks. Eric should see how fucking messy he can be. Eric should be afraid.

“I told them it’s about a girl,” Eric says. He hasn’t moved.

Vince snorts. “What, so they wouldn’t think you were my girl?” He falls back onto the couch, full length, sprawled out, then lifts himself up on one elbow, perfect for filming. This is his kind of order. “Or was I yours?”

Eric’s eyes are dead cold. “You’re a fucking mess,” he says. “What’d you do, challenge a bottle of gin to a duel?”

“Scotch,” Vince said. “Single-malt, thousand-dollars-a-bottle scotch. What you see here, this is like two hundred dollars’ worth.”

“Yeah, glad you’re getting your money out of it.” Eric stands up and smoothes his shirt, like it needs it, like anything ever moves on this guy. Like he ever unfreezes for even a second. He grabs a jacket off the back of the chair and starts around the couch.

“E,” Vince calls, and sure enough, Eric stops. “You really moving out?”

“Yeah.”

“Jesus,” Vince says. “Cut and run, huh?”

Eric turns. The jacket crumples in his arms. “You fucking ran out on me,” he says. “You ended things, Vince. I’m just trying to make sure that something survives.”

“How, by getting a place in Westwood?”

“If I’m not here, maybe you’ll come home, once in a while. Or is that coincidence, you being out all night, every night?” Eric’s arms are crossed tight. “You want some space, Vince, I’ll give you space. Maybe we both need it. We been wound up too tight in this since we were fifteen.” Eric rubs one hand through his gelled up hair, and Vince feels a flare of painful want tingle through his chest, down to his fingers. He sits up and feels how unsteady he really is, so he keeps his head down.

“E,” he says, but he’s not sure what else to say. He’s sorry, he wants him back, he’s tired and a little scared. He just needs Eric to come back to him, to cave. “I’ve been thinking, I might fuck another guy.”

Eric takes a sharp breath. “What the fuck -”

“I did before, you know,” Vince says. “Before you came out here. Maybe I’ll -”

“Fine,” Eric says. “You wanna ruin your goddamned career, you fucking go ahead. Fuck every guy in WeHo, blow your director on camera, whatever, Vince. You’re gonna do what you want to do, that’s pretty damn clear.” Vince laughs. He can hear Eric getting angrier; he’s yelling, now, and that’s something, at least. That’s better than the coldness, that’s better than the silence. “What is this, you’re bored? You’re gay now?”

“Did you think it was just you?” Vince says, looking up, not laughing now. Eric steps back. He shakes his head, presses his fist to his mouth. Vince gets it, he’s crossed some line he didn’t mean to, but there’s no going back. “Everyone wants to fuck me,” Vince says. “Even you.”

Eric shakes his head. “Not me,” he says. “Not anymore.”

“Yeah,” Vince says, “yeah, you do.”

“No,” Eric says, and the way he looks, angry and serious, Vince believes him. “I’m fucking done with this, Vince. I am at the end.”

“Are you quitting?” Vince asks.

“Do you want me to?”

Yes is on the tip of his tongue, but he looks away from Eric for just a second and starts to feel bad. He starts to feel sick. “I don’t know,” he whispers. “Oh, fuck, E.” Vince tips over onto the couch, presses his face into one of the throw pillows. “Maybe I was wrong,” he says.

“You weren’t,” Eric says. “That’s the worst part.”

Vince shakes his head and the room swirls. It’s over. That sinks in fast, in a hard nauseating wave, and suddenly he thinks he might cry. “Fuck, I can’t believe you’re leaving.”

Eric’s voice is gentle, which makes Vince’s stomach hurt. “I won’t go far,” he says. Vince hears a rustle of fabric, and glances over, sees Eric sitting on the coffee table beside him. Eric doesn’t touch him, but at least he’s closer. “Look, this way, things can get back to normal, all right?”

“Sure,” Vince says, but normal sounds terrible. Normal sounds like hell. They haven’t been normal since high school. He looks up at Eric’s face, leans a little bit toward him, and Eric pulls back. Vince looks at him, waiting for something in Eric’s face to change, waiting for Eric to apologize or get angry or just to want him. Instead, Eric looks tired, and a little sad, so Vince nods. “I think I need to sleep this off,” he says, rolling onto his back so he doesn’t have to look across at Eric anymore.

“All right, yeah,” Eric says. He pats Vince’s shoulder as he leaves, but it feels wrong, awkward, nothing like it should be. By the time the guys come back, he’s closer to a 300 dollar investment in the scotch.

“You fix things?” Turtle asks.

“He’s not going far,” Vince says. “Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine.”

Eric spends most of the next day carrying boxes out of the house, and Vince spends most of it smoking up in his room, watching ESPN, and not thinking about it. It’s easier. Eric says things can go back to normal, but Vince isn’t ready for that. Not yet. Not where normal includes Eric talking sweetly to his girlfriend on the phone, or where it means that Eric doesn’t want him. Which, Vince is convinced, he’s sold, Eric’s over it. Eric, who loves being in love, Eric is through with him, and Vince can’t quite get over that.

After Eric’s packed up his last box, he knocks on Vince’s door and stands just inside. “Listen,” he says, “there’s, uh, under my bed, there’s that painting from Seattle. If you want it.”

Vince stands up and brushes past him without a word. He’s afraid to touch Eric, afraid to be in the same room with him. The only way things are tolerable is if he’s had enough to drink or smoke that he can relax, or if he can be somewhere that Eric’s not. That’s painful, too, because Eric’s been Vince’s guy since they were kids. He’s got no one else to turn to, no one else who understands.

He grabs a fresh beer from the fridge and walks out to the pool. No touching good-bye, he thinks, no fucking way. He doesn’t come inside, even when Turtle yells that Eric’s leaving, it’s time to say good-bye.




The next weekend is a holiday weekend. Eric spends it with Gillian, and Vince spends it getting wasted. July 6th he gets arrested for DUI coming home from a party that started with fireworks and multi-colored pills on the third. He’s got no license, which adds another charge, and the cop is not impressed with his attempts to grin his way out of it. So he spends a few hours in an isolation cell at the Brentwood Jail before Eric gets him bailed out. He’s still buzzed.

Eric hands him a black baseball cap and sunglasses and hustles him out into the waiting car. He doesn’t say anything until the flashbulbs die off behind them.

“Good party?” he asks, turning from the front seat to face him.

“Not bad,” Vince says. “What I remember.”

“You asshole,” Eric says. There’s no affection in his voice. Vince tries to open the window, finds it’s locked, and closes his eyes.

At the house, more flashbulbs pop outside the gate. When Vince waves at them, Eric curses. “Go sleep it off,” he says, yanking open Vince’s door when they stop.

“You ordering me around again?” Vince asks. “E, I didn’t think you cared.”

Eric grabs his arm and propels him into the living room. “You have got to get it together,” Eric says.

“Fuck you,” Vince says, and he shakes Eric off. He spreads his arms like he’s giving a speech. “Fuck you all!” It feels good to slam his bedroom door.

He wakes up six hours later, showers, and sits at the kitchen table to drink one of Johnny's concoctions. This one is pink. “Where is everybody?” he asks.

“Turtle went to get the car from impound,” he says.

“E?”

“Not sure you want to face him, yet,” Johnny says. “He was spitting fire this morning.” He slides a plate of hash browns in front of Vince; the grease glistening on top is their oldest hangover cure. “Think you interrupted something with Gillian last night.”

“So what’s new,” Vince mutters. He takes his plate to the living room and turns on the television, checks the TiVo to see what he’s been missing. There are three episodes of Gillian’s show recorded. It’s a popular show, getting some notice around town, so Vince makes himself watch two while he spices up Johnny’s shake with whatever’s on hand in the bar. The show is endlessly sad, about a bunch of women getting fucked over by men, families, bosses, the world, and worst of all, each other. He can’t see anything but heartbreak at the end of this for Eric, except possibly some kind of lawsuit. He mentions this to Johnny, when he comes in.

“Fuck yeah,” he says. “Girl’s gonna have his balls framed.”

Vince changes to ESPN and switches to beer.

Eric resurfaces that evening, slamming the front door. “You’re on house arrest,” he says, pointing at Vince.

“What, like with the ankle bracelet?” Vince says.

“No, like Shauna’s gonna kick your ass if you get caught on film anywhere in the next week.”

“Oh, whatever,” he says, stretching out on the couch. “Jesus, what’s the big deal? I got stopped for driving too slow, E, not for running a red light or hitting a school bus or something.”

“You got arrested for having a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit, in a school zone, without a license, asshole,” Eric snaps. “You shouldn’t even be driving when you’re sober.”

“He’s got a point there, bro,” Johnny says.

“I’ll never do it again,” Vince says. He looks up at Eric through his lashes, puts on his best penitent face. “Come on, man, you know I’m sorry.”

“No,” Eric says, “but you’re gonna be. You think New Line wants to market their big Oscar bet around a guy that’s plowing around the suburbs drunk?

“Whatever, Nicholson drinks,” Vince says, and he rolls over to end the conversation.

He stays home for a week, then breaks curfew going to a party at Scarlett’s place. Eric stops speaking to him except to deliver messages from Shauna and Ari, and Vince decides he doesn’t care and spends two weeks trying to get Turtle laid at every club in L.A., mostly getting himself laid instead. The girls aren’t any good, but they’re a nice distraction, and they make the time pass. Plus Eric won’t talk business in front of them, and Eric won’t say anything else to him, so days go by where Eric doesn’t exist. That’s a great break.

He goes to court six weeks after the arrest. Ari hires him the most expensive lawyer in the world, and Vince wears a sober gray suit along with the same penitent expression. The judge frowns at him but has a look in his eyes like well, we’ve all been there, and hands him a hundred hours of community service, two years’ probation, and a $1000 fine.

Afterwards, Ari and Eric and Shauna take him to lunch at a place in Beverly Hills. Everyone looks very serious, so Vince signals the waitress and orders a bottle of champagne.

Ari says, “Hold off on that, sweetheart, champagne gives me a hard-on and I’ve already been to court once today,” and orders Vince an orange juice instead.

“What the hell?” he says. “I thought we were celebrating. Problem over.”

“Problem over? Problem’s just starting, Vincent,” Shauna says. “You think just because you aren’t on a chain gang everyone’s gonna forget this? Unless you’ve suddenly decided the bad boy rep is good for you.”

“Oh, come on. Probation, that’s not so bad,” Vince says, leaning forward. “Hell, everyone’s on probation. Aren’t the Olsen twins on probation? It’s not like I shot a hooker for some blow.”

The waitress sets his orange juice down. Eric rests his head in his hands. Vince takes a defiant sip, barely refrains from voicing his wish for a splash of vodka.

“The Olsens have a billion dollars and employ an entire Polynesian nation to do their press,” Ari said. “They could become hookers and shoot you for blow and still make the cover of People as America’s Sweethearts. You, on the other hand, have your whole career riding on a dressed up romantic comedy produced by a company that depends on soccer moms driving to the theater.”

Vince rubs his face. “What do you want me to do, Ari? Apologize? Fine, I’m sorry.”

“Vince, I don’t care if you’re sorry, because ours is a relationship without judgment, baby,” Ari says. “You hang out with midgets and retards and I say nothing. You party with skanks that couldn’t get a table at the K-Mart cafeteria, and I say nothing. You wanna get drunk and drive four miles an hour over the bodies of kindergarteners, I will loan you my car, I am up for the ride, man, right until the point that it endangers your career.”

“Just tell me what you want,” Vince says. “I get it, fine, it’s very bad. What do I do?”

“You go to rehab,” Shauna says.

Vince laughs. “Rehab? Seriously? Guys, it was one night.”

“One night at the end of four months, maybe,” Shauna says. “I’ve been bending over backward trying to squash stories about you tearing shit up at every party west of the Mississippi since the end of filming. Jesus, you’re giving me a drinking problem, Vince.”

Vince rolls his eyes. It’s summer. He has nothing going on, for once, just a few completely blank months in which to enjoy himself with his friends. They scheduled it this way, at the beginning of the year, when Vince went right from pulling all-nighters on the set of Solo straight to location for Park Place. They even got the damn thing in on time so he and Eric would see their returns, so it would be ready for Oscar release in November. Now they’re supposed to be resting on their laurels. Just for a while. He deserves this break.

He turns to Eric, who’s staring at his iced tea. “E, you think I have a problem?”

“I think you have a PR problem,” Eric says. He looks up, at Shauna, not at Vince. “Tell him about the place.”

“It’s basically a resort,” she says. She slides a brochure across the table. Greenfields, it says across the top, and the brochure is mostly pictures: an eternity pool, a white-sand beachfront, a long, low building overlooking the ocean, a regulation basketball court. It looks like summer camp for the rich and famous. “You go for 21 days. You swim, you lay around, and when you get out, everything’s forgiven. That’s the deal.”

Ari’s drinking his water like he wishes it was gin. “You remember when Hilary Swank went to rehab?”

“No,” Vince says.

“Exactly. This place is quiet and it’s hooked in to the right people. You do three weeks here, the rumors dry up, everyone will understand you’re sorry, good karma is restored, blah blah blah.”

“I’m gonna look like a dick,” Vince says.

Eric clears his throat. “Vince, you got arrested driving drunk in someone else’s Mercedes outside of a grade school on a Wednesday morning. You already look like a dick.” Vince hears the end of that sentence – because you are a dick – and looks down.

Twenty-one days is three weeks. He’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy himself before they hustle off to Austria to start filming. And maybe three weeks will be enough space between him and Eric that every conversation won’t make him feel like his heart is trying to tunnel its way out through his throat. “All right,” he says, folding the brochure and tucking it into his back pocket. “Let’s go to rehab.”




The morning Eric is supposed to drive him to Greenfields, Vince wakes up with a brick in his stomach. He calls Eric to say he’s not going, he’s changed his mind.

“You’re going, jerkoff, it’s a done deal. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes and I already packed your bag,” he says, before Vince even says a word, and then hangs up.

Vince knocks on Turtle’s door and gets a joint for the road, then thinks about what Eric’s eyes will look like if he lights up in the car. He smokes it on the back porch, instead, until Eric catches him and throws it off the deck.

“Fuck, you could start a wildfire,” Vince says.

“Jesus fuck, Vince,” Eric says. He walks back into the house, and when Vince gets in the car, Turtle is in the driver’s seat, Johnny in the back, and Eric nowhere to be seen.

“Fuck him, huh?” he says as they take off.

“This is gonna be fine, you’ll see,” Johnny says.

“Rehab’s real in right now,” Turtle agrees.

“Yeah, I’d fucking kill to go to rehab.”

Vince closes his eyes. He misses, as he has all summer, Eric’s dark funny commentary under it all. “Don’t kill my buzz, all right, it’s the last one I get for a while.”

Johnny gets teary-eyed when they leave Vince at the front door to the Greenfields main building. “Geez, man, we ain’t been apart for this long forever,” Turtle says.

“It’s three weeks, it’ll be fine,” Vince says. “Hey, look, uh, will you guys tell E I’m sorry? About this morning.”

“Sure, man,” Turtle says.

“Don’t worry about E, bro, you just take care of you,” Johnny says.

Vince watches them pull away and his stomach flips. He puts on his best I-don’t-give-a-fuck face and walks up the marble stairs, carrying the duffle bag Eric packed for him.

Greenfields is just as resort-like as Shauna described it, but it has a definite rehab creepiness to it. A tan, toned blonde wearing a black swim-suit cover-up over a green bikini introduces herself at the front desk as “Elissa, your field assistant,” and shows him to his room.

The bedroom is on the second floor, with a balcony facing the water and expensive art on the walls and a good-sized attached bathroom. It would be a nice room, except there’s no TV, and there are two beds. “I have a roommate?” Vince asks.

“Yes, you’re with Todd,” she says. “You’ll meet him at dinner.”

Vince hasn’t had a roommate, for real, since his first year out in L.A. when he’d shared Johnny’s living room with Turtle for six months. He’s done close quarters since then with other people – well, mostly with Eric. OK, exclusively with Eric, he realizes, setting his bag on the bed. He hasn’t had to bunk with a stranger (well, unless they were fucking) since he left New York.

“Aren’t there any other rooms free?” Vince asks, turning on his smile.

“All of the rooms at Greenfields are shared,” she says. “We find it really helps to build a feeling of community.” She smiles, bright and wide and guileless. Vince starts to hate her. “I’ll let you settle in, then come get you for dinner.”

Vince watches her leave, and only then realizes there are no doors on the bedroom. “Oh, fuck,” he mutters, sitting on the bed. Worst resort ever, he thinks. He looks around his room and feels very, very far from home. His first impulse is to call Eric, tell him to get him the fuck out of here, but they took his phone away when he checked in. Eric probably wouldn’t take the call, anyway.

“Nothing about this doesn’t suck,” he mutters, then starts unpacking.





He lays low the first night and meets his roommate, Todd, just before bed time. He’s thirty-something, fit and sheepish looking, an executive at an electronics company. Vince recognizes him vaguely. Eric would be able to place him in a second, he’s sure. “So, how is it?” he asks. “You been here long?”

“A week,” Todd says, shrugging. “Everyone’s pretty chill.”

“Which step are you on?”

“Nah, man, it’s nothing like that,” Todd says. “It’s pretty easy. They give you a schedule, and you follow it.”

That sounds like every day on every set. He’s used to trusting others with directions — no, really, he’s used to trusting Eric. Things have been too out of whack for them, since Seattle, so he’s been off schedule and, maybe, off track this summer. But he can do this, easy. He goes to bed feeling pretty sure the three weeks will fly by after all, and with such ease that he’ll be able to rub it in Eric’s face when he gets out.

He wakes up on his first full day at 7, as scheduled, and follows Todd to breakfast. No one seems surprised to see him, and Vince wonders if they were briefed. Then again, there are a few faces he recognizes around the table – which is nice, a large, family-style dining table with about 16 chairs around it – so maybe everyone here is really just immune to fame. Fine by him. He eats a stack of pancakes and has two glasses of pomegranate juice, which, Todd informs him, is fresh-squeezed, and makes idle conversation with a woman who played the mother on a sitcom for four years when Vince was a kid.

After breakfast they have an hour off to shower and get dressed for the day. The bathroom, Vince is pleased to find, has a door, though no lock. They have Kiehl’s products and an electric razor, which is good, because either they weren’t allowed to bring any of that or Eric wanted him to go three weeks without washing. When he comes out, he dresses in a T-shirt and jeans and wanders out to the main living room, where some of the guys are watching a tennis match. There’s a fridge in the kitchen that they have free access to, a huge plasma television with a solid DVD library, a good selection of games and gaming consoles, and the pool is always open. At ten and three and eight, there are Pilates classes in the basement, with cardio equipment available the rest of the time. Vince decides this will be better than easy.

After lunch, though, Elissa takes him to the south end of the house, which is still nicely decorated but distinctly more office-feeling. She leads him to the far door and knocks twice, then says, “I’ll see you at dinner,” and leaves.

Vince walks in. A woman with black hair, cut bluntly just above the shoulders, looks up from her desk. He guesses her at around forty, and gauges his smile accordingly. “I was told to come see you?” he says, stepping inside.

“Vincent, of course,” she says, extending her hand. When he shakes it, she has a firm grip. “I’m Margot, I’ll be your counselor. Please, take a seat.”

He shakes his head but does as he’s told. “Counselor? That’s fine, Margot, but I should let you know something up front. I don’t actually have a problem.”

“Then why are you here, Vincent?”

He shrugs. “My people said I needed some time away.” He takes a little pleasure in not saying Eric’s name.

“I see.” She folds her hands on the desk. Her face is as cool and blank as ever. “Why would they say that?”

He shrugs again, takes more time with it. “They worry, it’s their job. I pay them pretty damn well for it, too.”

“You pay people to worry about you?”

“To take care of me,” he says.

Now the corner of her mouth lifts. “You aren’t capable of taking care of yourself?”

He rolls his eyes. “I do all right,” he says. “But the point is, I don’t have to. I’m a multi-million dollar business, you know? It’s good to have some help with that.”

“Yes, help can be a valuable thing,” she says. She smiles, a bland, meaningless smile. “Well, Vincent, I think we’re going to do fine, here.”

“So I can go?”

She nods. “Whenever you’d like. But come back tomorrow at the same time.”

Part 2

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
dancinbutterfly
Sep. 9th, 2007 09:12 am (UTC)
“Are. You. Fucking. Her?” Turtle says, leaning forward, which draws Vince’s attention away from the pie.

Eric shrugs. That means yes, and Vince sits back. He puts his hands on his abs and tightens them and holds very still.


Oh my god VINCE! *breaks into tiny pieces and shatters. I...I cant...it hurts. I hurt.

“Jesus, Vince, I wish that was true,” And now I hurt for them more. ITs like a galleria of pain and angst and I cant help but adore it.

“Hell, everyone’s on probation. Aren’t the Olsen twins on probation? It’s not like I shot a hooker for some blow.”

*giggles* That is so horrible and tragic and he's turned into such a sad alcoholic and he cant see how badly hurt he is and yet that and then E's reaction is just so funny. I love it. It's killing me.

*sigh* Oh Vince.

I'm so pleased you wrote this sequel. I dont know about everyone else, but I've really needed.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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