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The Conversation

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Henry Hellrung's existence ceased the first day on the set. On that day, it was Henry who stepped aside and Tony Stark who took over on screen and off camera as he stumbled through his life from party to the Paramount lot with little more than a shower between. It didn't help that the real Tony seemed to jones over the fact that he had a carbon copy running around with him, a mirror image to use as bait to lure gorgeous models into their beds.

For a long time this game worked.

And then one day, it didn't anymore.

He was still in his chair after the room had emptied of fellow disgraced and fallen members of society who had come to terms with their addiction. He held a cup of coffee that had gotten cold long before he'd even taken a sip. His mind had not been on Alcoholics Anonymous tonight because he had a huge step in front of him.

"You need to distance yourself from the negative influences. The friends you have that engage in the lifestyle you're trying to leave behind, you can't stay friends with them unless they clean up their acts too."

That was the advice Henry had gotten from Kerryn, who led the meeting tonight. It didn't feel right. Tony had given him everything. Tony had given him a career because he'd loaned his name and his face and his life to the cameras. Without Tony, he was nothing.

But without Tony, you wouldn't be a drunk.

"If I convinced him to come to AA, then I wouldn't need to make that distance. We could do this together right?" He'd asked her.

"Well, yes. But you know how it works Henry. You can't just make someone come to AA. The first step--"

"Is admitting you have a problem."

Henry sighed heavily. He headed back to his apartment, his car slowly cruising down Hollywood Boulevard where starlets mingled in the streets with tourists as they spilled out of the Roosevelt Hotel's Teddy's club. Neon signs lit up the sky and the spotlights of Grauman's burned holes in the atmosphere. A week ago, this is where he would have been until the wee hours of the morning.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change," Henry held the wheel tighter as he chanted, a drunk girl stumbling, through the crosswalk, bracing herself on the hood of his car to regain stability on five inch Louboutins. "Courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference..."

He hit the speed dial on the car phone keypad and it dialed, the sound of the ringing phone filling the silent car cabin. Five rings. Voicemail.

"Too busy for you, leave a message." Beep.

"Tony, it's Henry. We have to talk... it's important. Call me."

The light changed from red to green. Henry continued his gauntlet journey home.

I just need a little time so I can find myself again. 'Cause I get buried underneath all the things they think you are...