Dom was in the middle of getting his arse kicked by Grand Theft Auto when the phone rang.
“Triangle, triangle, ah, fuck!” Pausing the game, he reached behind him and flipped open his mobile. “Yeah?”
“My face just drove past me on Hollywood Boulevard,” a stunned voice responded.
“Orlando?” Dom asked. “That you?”
“’Course it's me,” Orlando said. “Can we get back to my face being on the side of every bus in LA?”
“Here, too,” Dom said. “You cut me off on the way to work the other day, you bastard.”
Orlando laughed but Dom could tell that his heart wasn’t in it.
“You’re on a thousand mag covers this month, too,” Dom said. “Why the meltdown today?”
He heard Orlando sigh and could picture his friend running his hand through his hair in frustration. “I've gotten used to magazines, as insane as that is,” Orlando said finally. “But this? Just me, no costars, all alone, plastered on billboards and posters and buses? I’m looking at me driving past the corner of Hollywood and fucking Vine. This is a whole other level.”
Dom looked out the window, watched the palm trees wave in the breeze and wished he could come up with something useful to say.
Orlando continued. “The pressure, you know? What if the movie is crap?” His voice softened. “I figured you could talk me down.”
Dom snorted. “A thousand numbers in your mobile, including people who have actually starred in a movie and had their faces plastered all over creation, and you ring me?”
“Brad’s a little busy, Johnny’s on set, and Vig’s off being a method actor in Spain,” Orlando said. “I tried ringing him yesterday, but when he picked up the phone he would only speak Spanish, which wasn’t all that helpful.”
Dom nodded, and then realized that Orlando wouldn’t be able to see that over the phone. “Viggo’d probably write you a poem or send you a two-ton sculpture made out of sporks called ‘Stage Fright’ or something,” he said.
Orlando snickered. “Nah. Sporks aren’t biodegradable.”
“Let’s see what I can do to be as helpful as Viggo’d be,” Dom said. He cleared his throat, and in his best Viggo rasp recited:
“There once was this blighter from Kent
Whose career was, well, heaven sent
His last movie did fail
‘Spite swords and chain mail
And he had to ask Dom to make rent.”
On the other end of the line, he could hear Orlando choking. “That was very useful, Sblomie. Thanks,” Orlando finally managed. “I should’ve rung Billy instead.”
Dom blew a raspberry into the phone. “I’m just here to help,” he replied. “Why don’t you visit Doodle? He’s actually, you know, in LA, and I’m sure he’s not busy. Hell, I have to talk with him anyway, so I’ll just tell him you’re heading over.” He leaned his head into the cushions of his sofa. “My flight comes in tomorrow, so I’ll see you before you head off to London for the premiere. Just two questions for you, then I’ll ring off so you don’t cause a wreck driving on the wrong side of the road while talking on your mobile.”
“Go ahead,” Orlando said. “And, also, fuck you. I’m a fantastic driver.”
“Don’t bullshit me, Orli, I’ve been in a car with you. Here’s the question: when you were filming, did you show up every day and work your arse off?”
“Yes,” Orlando replied.
“Did you learn anything?”
“Loads,” Orlando said, his voice brightening.
“Then screw the rest of it,” Dom said. “You did your job. Everything else is out of your hands.”
He heard Orlando breathe out slowly. “Thanks, man. That’s what I needed to hear.”
“Any time. Poetry, Zen philosophy, talking A-listers off cliffs, I’m here for it all. ” Dom grinned. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Love you, brother. It’ll be fine.”
“Love you, too.”
Dom clicked the phone shut, and rested it against his lips for a moment, thinking. Then he smiled, flipped it open and began dialing.
“Right, left, A, B, fuck!” Pausing the game, he reached behind him and flipped open his cell phone. “Yeah?”
“Dominic Monaghan!” Elijah tossed the controller off the couch and stretched out. “Checking that I haven’t forgotten to pick you up tomorrow?”
“Something like that.” Dom laughed. “What’re you up to?”
“A little Super Mario,” Elijah replied. “The original. You know, kicking it old school.”
Dom groaned. “I’ll pay you to never say ‘kicking it old school’ again.”
“You’re just jealous that I’m so much cooler than you are.”
“I refuse to dignify that with a response.” On the other end of the line, Elijah could hear Dom banging pots and pans around. “Oh, and other than making sure you pick me up tomorrow before I’m smothered by the considerable affection of fans I’m sure to meet at the airport--an Elf who’s scared a bit shitless’ll be knocking on your door soon.”
“New movie jitters?” Elijah asked, reaching into the pocket of his jeans for his crumpled pack of cigarettes.
“His face drove past him on the side of a bus,” Dom replied with a chuckle. “Not even our little Buddhist was quite prepared to deal with that. I figured a member of the Fellowship’d be able to distract him.”
“So you’re calling in the hobbit mafia, huh? Billy and I’ll descend on the Elf with our hairy feet and bad hair, bringing him beer and porn?” Elijah grinned as he lit his cigarette. “Porn and chocolate?” He giggled. “Perhaps even beer and porn and chocolate? Seanwise’ll be sorry he missed it.”
“I’ll bet. Go crazy,” Dom said. “Take Orli out, get him pissed, point him at something skinny and blonde.”
“Oh, so we’ll take him to a bar and buy him one single fucking beer,” Elijah said. He groaned. “Fuck. And I’ll have to watch him try to hit on people the rest of the night.”
Dom laughed. “Is his chat up line still, ‘Hi, I’m Orlando Bloom?’”
Elijah rolled his eyes. “Yeah. And it’s fucking sad how many people go for it.”
“It helps that he is Orlando Bloom, though,” Dom said. “I didn’t pull much when I tried it.”
Elijah snickered. “You tried picking up people at a bar by saying you were Orlando Bloom?”
“In my defense, there was a bet and some alcohol involved.” Dom paused. “And a wily Scotsman.”
“Would that same wily Scotsman be the one currently asleep in my guest room?” Elijah asked. “And if it is, what are you going to give me so I don’t ask him for his version of this story?”
“Fuck,” Dom said. “Forget I said anything about this, will you, mate? I think I still owe him.”
“Money?” Elijah asked, tapping off the ash from his cigarette.
The phone went silent.
“Money. Yeah. Let’s go with that.” Dom finally replied. He cleared his throat. “I had this idea, and tell me if you think it’s insane, especially after you see Orli. Bills’ll be in London in time for the premiere and Astin’s already there. You think maybe Orli’d be up for some hobbit support on the red carpet?”
Elijah thought for a moment. “You know, I think he might. I mean, it’d be Sean and Billy—not like it’s you.”
“Ta for that.”
“I mean, of course, that the throngs of women who would be lining up to throw their panties at Orlando won’t be distracted from him by your amazing sex appeal.”
“Of course you did, Lij.” Dom said. “Of course, this only works if Sean and Billy don’t have other plans, but I know Bill would rearrange if Orlando’s as nervous about this as he seemed on the phone.”
“And Sean’s the big brother none of us ever wanted, so he’d be there in a heartbeat if he thought it would help.” Elijah said. “I’ll see how the Elf’s doing, but I think it’s a good idea. Wish I could be there, too.”
There was a hesitant knock at his front door. “Speaking of the devil,” Elijah said, crushing out his cigarette. “Looks like Orli’s here. See you tomorrow, man.”
Elijah hung up the phone and swung open the door. Orlando, his hair tumbling down from under a knit cap, smiled down at him. He looked tired, Elijah thought, and in need of a drink. It wouldn’t do to start cooing over him like some grandmother, though--when the Fellowship got together, there were customs to be followed. First there was mocking, then there was drinking, and only then could there be any sort of serious discussion.
“Sblomie said he was going to ring you to say I was coming over, ” Orlando said.
Elijah stared at him blankly. Orlando squeezed his eyes closed “Shit. Dom didn’t call, did he?”
Elijah couldn’t hold a straight face any longer and burst into a fit of giggles. Orlando glared at him for a second, then smiled. “Wanker.”
“Man, you’re always welcome. You should know that,” Elijah said, giving him a back-thumping hug and dragging him into the living room. “You’re coming with Billy and me tonight and we’re going to get hammered. If that doesn’t take your mind off of things, you’re not the guy I remember from New Zealand.”
“Stuck as Sam forever, the fuck?” He reached beside him and flipped open his cell phone. “Yes?”
“Seanwise!” a slightly slurred voice shouted into his ear.
“Elijah?” Sean winced and turned the volume down on his phone. “That you?”
“Yeah, it’s me,” Elijah chirped. “I went out with Orli and Billy tonight and things have gotten kinda out of control.”
“If you’re in prison, I can’t help you, Lij. I’m in London.”
“Jesus fuck, dude, give us some credit,” Elijah said. “We didn’t get that crazy. No peeing in public fountains, I swear. We just wanted to call and say we miss you.”
“We miss you!” Orlando yelled in the background.
“We took Orli out and got him drunk because he’s totally terrified his new movie will suck ass,” Elijah continued over Orlando’s sputtering protests. Sean could hear Billy saying “You’re scared shitless” and Orlando responding “Am not,” in a petulant voice. The escalating sound of their scuffling drowned out whatever Elijah was saying.
Sean smiled in spite of himself. It was only a matter of time until someone got pushed off of a chair.
There was a crash on the other end of the line. “Sorry, Orli,” he heard. Billy didn’t sound all that sorry. Sean laughed.
“Other than calling to tell you we miss you—“ Elijah began.
“We miss you!” Orlando echoed.
“We’ve done that already, Orli,” Billy scolded. “Here, have another beer.”
“Other than calling to tell me you miss me,” Sean prompted.
“Oh, sorry. Orlando wants you to come to the London premiere if you’re still going to be in town.”
Sean sat up. “Really?”
“Really!” Elijah said. “Billy’s going to be there, too. Give the poor Elf some backup from the hobbit mafia in his first starring role and all that shit. I’d have you talk to Orli himself but he’s a bit plastered.” Elijah paused. “And still sitting on the floor.”
Over the music playing in the bar, Sean could make out Billy’s voice, then an outraged squeal from Orlando.
Elijah giggled something indecipherable into the phone.
“Sorry, didn’t catch that,” Sean said.
“Billy just said that Orli invited the entire bar to the premiere earlier.” There was a muffled conversation, and then Elijah’s voice came back onto the phone. “Orli says you’re at least as important to him as a room full of drunk strangers.” There was the sound of banging, a quiet “ow, fucker” from Elijah, and Orlando’s voice was suddenly loud in Sean’s ear.
“Sean, man, Doodle’s an arse and I didn’t say that. Well, I might’ve invited the pub—I don’t really remember—but you’ve got to come. It’s going to be crazy and I want people I know there. I mean, I’ll know the guys from the movie, of course, and Ridley’ll be there, and my mum, and Sam, and my gran and oh, shit, man, my gran’s gonna watch me have sex on a huge movie screen.” Orlando’s voice turned pleading. “You’ve gotta come. Tell me you’ll come.”
“Of course I’ll come,” Sean said. “In the spirit of the Fellowship, and all that we went through making those movies, and the friendships that have lasted far longer than I’d ever dreamed, I would be honored to come to your premiere, Orlando. I’ve always wanted to meet Ridley Scott, and I’m very excited to see how he’s tackled a subject as touchy as religion in the Middle East. I’d be pleased to represent the hobbit mafia, as Elijah has apparently taken to calling us, in London. I have no interest in watching you have sex.”
“Who’d say I’d even invite you to watch me have sex, you kinky hobbit bastard?” Billy’s voice, full of laughter, responded.
Sean blushed. “I thought I was still talking to Orlando.”
“You know how he is when he’s been drinking, Sean. Easily distracted by shiny objects. He saw something skinny and blonde at the bar and had to go chat her up.”
“Holy fuck!” Elijah shouted. “That’s totally a dude Orli’s hitting on!” Billy’s voice came back through the phone. “Sean, we’re going to go now. Orlando has apparently been chatting up the guy who played Anakin Skywalker, and Anakin’s not all that amused.” Sean heard one more “Holy fuck!” from Elijah before the line went dead.
Sean stared at the phone for a moment before putting it back down on the nightstand. Transatlantic drunk dials from Lij, Orli, and Billy—a hell of a way to wake up. They were completely insane.
He stared down at his feet as he padded towards the shower. If he was representing the hobbit mafia at the premiere, shoes would be optional, right?