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Persuasion for Dummies

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"You know what we should do?" Ellen says on the phone. "We should have sex."

"Aren't you a little old to be a skanky teenager?"

"Okay, one: I'm legal, and two: we're gonna screw up the whole movie if we have sexual tension all the time. I'm just saying we get that over with and move on."

Jason takes a second to think it over.

"Aren't you a little young to be so jaded?"

"I'm not jaded," Ellen replies. "I'm rational."

"You're not. We're supposed to have sexual tension."

"No, we're not. You are supposed to perv over me while I think of you as the father figure I'm missing."

"So it works for you but it doesn't for me?"

"Yes."

"I'm not convinced."

"Uh, you're a male. I'm offering to keep you company in this cold, cold night of Canadian winter. What's there to be convinced about?"

"I don't know, Ellen. You tell me."

Ellen glares through the phone.

"Is that all?"

"No," Ellen states. "You're attracted to me, correct? I mean, I'm not totally making it up. I like to think I have a good handle of reality even when I have a stupid crush."

"You have a crush on me?"

"Shut up."

"I didn't know you had a crush on me."

"Keep talking and I'm going to crush you instead."

"That's appealing."

"Well, what about this: I'm spread out on my bed," Ellen attempts, "naked."

"You're not very good at this."

"Well, I am naked. Half naked, anyway. And standing next to the window, where anyone could see--"

"You're terrible at this. Also, I've been in your hotel room and there's an enormous table in front of the window, there's no way anyone could see you unless you were sitting on it."

"Well I am."

"You just said you were standing."

"Whatever," Ellen concludes. "I'm just saying, rationally, if we don't do it now we're gonna end up falling over each other at some fucking party in front of your wife, and she may be encouraging about the two of you screwing around, but I don't think she wants to see it."

"Doesn't seem like the kind of thing, no."

"So?"

"Are you sober?"

"Do I sound drunk?"

"You always sound kind of halfway there."

"Fuck you." She adds, "I could use an answer."

"Do I have to say no?" he asks, and he sounds to Ellen like he doesn't want to.

"Yes."

"No."

"No-you-don't-want-to-say-no no, or no-I'm-not-sleeping-with-you-even-though-I-spend-most-of-my-scenes-undressing-you-with-my-eyes no?"

"No as in I don't think you've thought this through."

"Course I have. I thought it all the way through while I watched all three seasons of that — show, the one where you played the dickish guy who slept with a blind lady?"

"Arrested Development?"

"Right. Right. See, I was too busy staring at you to remember the name."

"That's the worst lie ever. You're an awful liar."

"I'm an awesome liar, dude. I'm an actress."

Jason sighs. "Why don't you sleep on this whole thing and call me tomorrow?"

Ellen complies. "Fine. But I will be calling you tomorrow."

"Or the day after."

"Probably tomorrow."

"Go to sleep," Jason says, and hangs up.

*

She calls the day after tomorrow.

"You know what?" she says.

"What?"

"I've been thinking about it, and I can tell you in detail what's going to happen if we don't have sex right this second. Jason?"

"Yeah?"

"Listen to this carefully."

"Okay."

"We're gonna keep putting it off. Because, even if you say no, we'll both know it's a lie, so. And one day, possibly next week, possibly next month, possibly when the movie comes out and we have to go and promote it, you're gonna look at me, and I'm gonna look at you, and I don't know about you, but I'm gonna be really wet, and keep sneaking glances at you while I shift on my seat. And then, when there's a break, I'm gonna sit next to you. And I'm gonna run my hand up your thigh, and grab your hand, and get it down my pants. It's gonna be really obvious, because I suck at lying, right? And then I'm gonna think, hey, maybe I should jerk him off, for his trouble, but then I'm gonna think, hey, you know what? He said no."

"You have issues," Jason says hoarsely.

Ellen snorts. "Open the door."

"You're—"

"Open the door."

"Seriously, where—"

"Will you just open the fucking door?"

Jason thinks about it for a second, then says, "Okay."