"…And tell Ilaria I loved the jacket she sent, oh and say thanks for the advice, but I'm keeping my hats."
Lucie, Bradley's assistant, nodded along as she furiously composed an email on her BlackBerry to her boss's stylist .
Bradley's part had just wrapped for the day and the two were walking back to his trailer, his home in "Bagdanada" as the cast and crew jokingly called it, for the duration of The A-Team shoot. His trailer was the farthest away from the main set, but he didn't really mind it -- even if he thought Joe secretly ordered it on purpose to make sure he stayed fit. It gave him time to think about everything he tuned out when he was in character and on this night he needed it: the shoot had gone later than usual because they were shooting one of the major scenes of the film that needed to be filmed night-for-night. It was stressful; there were lots of effects that had to be timed just right and every time someone's timing wasn't right it had to be staged all over again, which cost the production both time and money. He'd pushed it hard, wanting never to be the reason they had to do it twice, but he was feeling it now. It was way past his bedtime and his body was killing him after sprinting in the sand over and over and over again. Longing for his bed, he used the precious moments of his walk to think: I should call Renée tonight; should I send my mom some flowers?
"Lucie, can you call up that florist in Philly we used before?" Bradley stretched out his leg to avoid a puddle, "Get them to do something blue or maybe --"
"Purple?" Lucie finished for Bradley, already flipping through her contacts looking for the florist. "Your mom likes purple, right?" she asked again when Bradley hadn't responded.
But Bradley couldn't say anything, because the previously aching muscle in his leg had just transformed into a fiery pain, flaring from the back of his knee all the way up his ass.
"Fu-uck…" he brokenly breathed out and tried to take a step, but his knee felt totally unstable and the back of his thigh burned hot.
Lucie quickly slipped her BlackBerry into her pocket slipped her arm around Bradley's waist, helping him hobble to lean against a nearby trailer. "What happened?!" she asked, completely shocked by the sudden turn of events.
"Motherfucker!" Bradley shouted and slammed his head back against the trailer. Eyes wet, he blinked up at the night sky a few times to gain his composure before meeting his assistant's dismayed stare. "I'm sorry Lucie, I just, I don't know, but," he clutched his painful thigh protectively, "I-I think it's bad" he finished fearfully.
"Hey Michael, can I ring you back?"
Bradley's head swivelled at the unexpected sound of a deep gravely voice. Fuck, of course he'd had to collapse against Liam's trailer. And there was the man, standing there, Hannibal wig discarded, without a shirt, ice pack strapped to his shoulder, concerned look worn on his face. Whatever composure Bradley had regained was lost at the sight of Liam's long and broad chest looking down at him from the steps of the trailer.
And suddenly everything was crumbling. He'd ruined everything: Liam's night, Renée's night… if she even fucking cared if he called or not…, Lucie's night, hell, the entire fucking movie. All those months of gruelling total body workouts everyday, all the fucking sandwiches made out of grapes and almonds instead of bread and meat… it was all for shit. What was the point in having a weapon for a body if you were acting from an arm chair? Joe was going to kill him. He'd never get a shot at an action flick again. They'd probably have to replace him, put the shoot on hiatus till they found someone new, totally mess up all the guys' schedules… Sharlto and Rampage… they were counting on this to help them break out… and he'd be lying if he said he didn't need it too, to show everyone that he was more than "the hot one" in the The Hangover…. and Liam, living legend, whom he'd developed a completely inappropriate crush on, standing right in front of him watching him unravel, forever disappointed in Bradley Cooper who couldn't even walk to his trailer without screwing something up. Fuck, fuck, fuck, he'd ruined everything with one stupid misstep.
Bradley let out a bitter laugh and threw his head back, sliding down the trailer wall, "I'm such an idiot." His cheeks were damp with his failure, but it didn't even matter anymore.
"Find the medic" Liam commanded Lucie, who held up a finger already putting things in motion on her phone.
"Bradley," Liam said, massive hand landing on Bradley's shoulder in an attempt to ground the man who was obviously shaken up. "Hey now, what's the matter? What've you hurt?" Liam grabbed him by the hand and supported his weight as he led him to sit on the steps of his trailer to wait for Lucie to return with some first aid.
Bradley pushed himself up a bit, squirming, trying to find a more comfortable position on the steps. "My leg… I was just walking and suddenly… I mean shit, I was fine with all the running and like the.. and then."
"Hush, it will all be all right. Let me see."
Bradley couldn't help his gasp of excitement when Liam laid his hands on his leg… with Liam's hands on his thigh Bradley's body was dangerously close to an embarrassing betrayal. You just had to leave your shirt inside... Bradley cursed. But then Liam, gentle though he was, straightened Bradley's leg. He hissed at the pain from the manipulation of his enflamed muscles and the blood stopped rushing to his crotch.
"There, that's not so bad, is it?" Liam said, seemingly oblivious to Bradley's near-situation. "Now, what's got you so upset?"
"Joe's going to kill me. I messed up the whole film."
"'Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Bradley. What do you mean? Since you're hurt, you've messed up the film?"
"Well, yeah. I'm fucking useless like this."
"And me? Am I useless too?" Liam pointed to his own shoulder receiving ice therapy.
"No! No way, of course not! But I mean... you're Liam fucking Neeson and me, what am I? I'm nothing I'm - I'm just… I'm just…"
"Hey," Liam said, halting Bradley's babbling and tilting his chin up. Bradley's wet eyes met Liam's serious steel gaze. "You're just in pain," Liam finished for him. "You're not thinking straight. It'll all work out. Promise."
Bradley nodded solemnly and wiped at his face, "God, I can be so stupid sometimes." He grabbed one of Liam's hands with both of his and tried to put on a warm smile, "Thank you."
Liam tried to lighten the younger man up with some self-deprecating humour: "You might be forgetting how I tore my shoulder apart…? Opening a door…? On the first day on set?"
Bradley's smile got a little more genuine, a little closer to reaching his eyes and Liam chuckled back warmly, crinkles collecting at the corner. "Now, walking to a trailer? That's a real war wound." He squeezed Bradley's hand and the two sat in silence, smiling at one another for a moment.
Bradley dropped his head, breaking the eye contact and then the silence, "Liam, I…"
But just then, Bradley's assistant returned with medic in tow, and a series of questions and the range of motion tests the medic put Bradley through interrupted what Bradley had been trying to say.
The medic declared Bradley had probably suffered a grade-two strain of his hamstring. He popped an instant ice pack and wrapped it around Bradley's thigh with an ace bandage. "Rest, ice, compression, elevation -- the usual," he said, tossing the remnants of his supplies back in his bag, but not before handing Bradley a couple pills of pain relief. "You should see a doctor tomorrow to be sure you haven't torn it worse than it seems."
Bradley swallowed, that meant no work tomorrow -- at least -- and he knew they were supposed to have an early start. "Thanks," Bradley said, "Sorry, for making you stay late."
"Not a problem, since you guys managed not to blow yourselves up earlier, I've got to find some way to earn my pay. You okay to get back to your trailer?"
"I'll make sure he's all right," Liam piped up, and shook the medic's hand in departure.
"I'll call Mr. Carnahan and let him know what's going on," said Bradley's assistant.
"Thanks Lucie, I'll see you tomorrow. Sorry for messing up your night too."
"Hey, it's my job," Lucie smiled and patted Bradley on his arm, "I hope you feel better tomorrow."
"Me too," Bradley said, it was going to be harder to feel any worse, anyway. Bradley was exhausted: he'd usually be all tucked up by now, not facing what seemed like a marathon limp back to his bed.
And then it was just Liam and Bradley again.
"Well, lad, shall we?"
"Listen Liam," Bradley started, "You really don't have to, I can make it on my own."
"Don't be silly," Liam protested, "I'm not going to let you hop on one leg back there, only to find you've slipped and slept face down in the mud all night."
Liam's help was definitely welcomed, but Bradley, embarrassed by his near confession earlier, didn't trust himself this strung-out in such close proximity to a half naked Liam Neeson.
"But… your boys, weren't you talking to them?"
"Sure, but I'll just text them good night -- they like that better than talking, anyway."
"No, it's settled," Liam said, patting Bradley on his uninjured leg, "I'll just grab a shirt and we'll be off."
As Liam stepped around him to pop back in his trailer, Bradley leaned back with a deep sigh. How was it possible to want and not want something so much at the same time?
A second later, Liam was locking up his cabin, unbuttoned shirt thrown on loosely. Jesus, and people said Bradley was the tease?
Bradley managed to get himself standing, all his weight on his good leg and flung his arm around Liam's shoulder.
"Ah, ah ah," Liam hissed and sidestepped Bradley, "Other side, lad."
"Mother fucker, I'm so sorry Liam."
Liam softly chuckled, "We sure make quite a pair, don't we?"
"Yeah…" Bradley said, as the two slowly ambled toward his trailer. He let himself nearly drift off against Liam's shoulder, taking in his strong masculine scent, silently wishing the pair they were was something more than an injured duo.
Three days later, Bradley was back, limping, on set, restless from having been away so long, hating that he still needed to take it easy.
And Joe had an interesting idea of what 'taking it easy' entailed.
"Bradley, my man, it's good to have you back. So, I talked to your trainer, and we're going to put you on a major core focused regimen -- you fucking your leg made me realize Face has got to have crazy abs. You can still do that kind of shit, right?"
"Yeah, bro, yeah, for sure," Bradley said, a little overwhelmed.
"Great, here, check out this re-write of the first scene, all you have to do now is sit in a lawn chair and look hot, you're going to kill it. Oh and wait till you see what we're doing after lunch," Joe ran off somewhere and held up some kind of roller skate contraption, gesturing excitedly. "We'll just load you up on this and, fuck, it's going to be awesome!" Joe shouted across the set.
Liam suddenly appeared laughing at Bradley's side, "I'm glad that's not for me." He slid his arm around Bradley's waist and helped to deposit him in the lawn chair for his scene. "You see lad, I told you everything would be just fine."
"Thanks, Liam, for everything," Bradley said. "Can't believe I was such a wreck the other night."
"It was nothing, Bradley. I was glad to do it," Liam said. "Now, I hear you've found some magic epsom salts. You can make it up to me by drawing me a bath tonight after we wrap." Liam rolled his sore shoulder, "I sure could use it."
The twinkle in Liam's eyes as he mentioned the bath, put butterflies in Bradley's stomach. Maybe, just maybe, there might be a mutual attraction.
"We'll talk details later," Liam said to the slightly dumbfounded Bradley. "Now 'sit here and look hot'… shouldn't be much trouble for you," he said with a wink, leaving Bradley to sit with his mouth agape, as crew members dressed the set around him.
"Oh, sweetheart aren't you lucky!" a crew member said as she draped a sarong around his legs, effectively covering his bruised thigh, "I hear he's got a massive dong!"
Bradley laughed self-consciously, "Yeah… yeah, I guess I am lucky."