Caemembert and Candlewax


* * * * *

"I'm not showing you!"

"Oh, come on, Liv, we want to know what you're reading.  It must be good if you're being so secretive about it."

"It's private."

"Hmm,"  Dom frowned.  "It's private, and it's a red velvet covered book.  Bet you it's Victorian porn."

Liv spluttered.  "What?  Why?"

"Just an idea."  Dom grinned.  "It's a big, fat book full of engravings of ladies in corsets.  I bet."

Elijah gave a snort.  "Dom, that so tells us more about you than it does about Liv's reading habits."

Dom coughed.  "Porn."

"It's not porn!"  Liv said, flushing.  "It's just embarrassing.  That's all."

"I'd be embarrassed too, if I were reading porn in a room full of my co-stars."

Billy made a strange little noise at this, but Dom diplomatically ignored him.

"Guys, it's not porn."  

"Aw, come on,"  Billy said, "It can't possibly be more embarrassing than Elijah's "How To Act, Part One" book."

"It was a history of Method acting!"  Elijah protested.

"Step one:  put on hobbit feet.  Step two:  put on hobbit wig.  Step three; pull scared face.  Repeat as necessary."  

"Fuck off, Billy."

"So what is it?"  Dom shouted.

"It was a history of..."

"Not you, dickhead.  Liv."



"Shut up, Dominic."

"I am not listening to this madness any longer."  Billy stood up.  Dom tugged at his jumper.  "Down, you."

Orlando looked up from his script.  "Hey, guys, I'm trying to read."

"Hey, Orlando,"  Dom said, "I'm trying to look at Liv's porn, but she won't let me.  Life's a shithouse sometimes."

"Fuck you, Monaghan."

Dom shook his head.  "All of you, quiet.  Liv, what the hell is it?  I'm dying here."

Liv sighed and put the book down.  "It's a book of spells."

A sceptical silence fell.

"Spells?"  Orlando said.

"I thought you were trying to read."  Dom said.

"Well, you've distracted me."

"It was an early Christmas present from a friend."  Liv said.  "They're supposed to help you find peace and harmony.  And love."

"What, does it have recipes for love potions in it?"  Billy laughed.  "Eye of newt and tongue of badger, and all that?"

"It tells you how to bring love into your life, yes.  Only without quite so many animal body parts."

"Give it us."  Dom made a grab for the book, snatching it off the cushion just as Liv's hand came down on it.  "Too slow!"  He flicked through the glossy pages.  "'A spell to promote inner confidence.'  Hmm.  'A spell for satisfying relationships'.  Wahey!  Oh, here we are, 'A spell to bring true love'."  His finger swished down the page.  "Don't suppose anyone has a pink candle and two feet of golden thread on them, do they?"

  "Sorry, Dom,"  Elijah said, patting his trouser pockets.  "I'm all out of pink candles.  And I used the last of my gold thread taking up the hem on my Elton John costume."

  "Yes, yes, be sarcastic,"  Dom said, "But I tell you what.  In the spirit of scientific enquiry, I'm going to cast a spell on two people in this room."

"It doesn't work like that!"  Liv interjected.

  "Ahem, Liv, I shall be the judge of that.  Anyway, yes, two people.  In this room.  Will be in love by the end of this week, if this book really works.  Except they won't, and we will have proved, <i>scientifically</I>, that this book is a load of bollocks."

  "Which two people?"  Orlando asked.

  "Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?  It has to be a fair test, after all.  Liv, I am borrowing this book."

  She shrugged.  "When have I ever been able to stop you 'borrowing' things?  Which reminds me, you still have my 'Princess' t-shirt."

  "You'll get it back one day."  Dom leant over conspiratorally.  "And, <i>do</I> you have any Victorian porn?"  He dodged a swipe and slammed the book shut.  "Anyway, let's just wait and see if this works.  Watch this space."

<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

  The cornflakes slurped soggily around the bowl.  Billy sighed, let a spoonful fall with an unappetising squelch, and picked the bowl up to scrape the contents into the bin.

  He was getting used to this sort of thing:  for a few days now half-eaten plates of food had been piling up in his kitchen.  He seemed to spend an awful lot of time making mashed potatoes into strange shapes, spearing salad leaves on his fork then letting them fall limply, nibbling on single mushrooms picked out of pasta sauce.  It had become a talking point, and Billy was getting sick of it.

  "I'm just not hungry, OK?"  Billy had said indignantly, when Elijah, noticing the barely-touched sandwiches by Billy's side, had made some stupid remark about Billy being off his food.  This, according to Elijah, meant that Billy 'has to be in love!  Off his food!  Smitten!'.  Billy had glared and slunk off on his own, leaving his sandwiches to dry and curl in the sun.

  In love.


  There wasn't even anyone to be in love <i>with</I>.

  Billy sighed, scratched his head, and glanced at the clock, making rapid calculations.  He would go to feet, he would go to make-up, he would make himself eat a bacon roll, and then, in 3 hours and 23 minutes, he would be able to go and talk to Orlando, and he could tell him the really funny joke he'd heard on the radio that he'd been saving specially, and Orlando would laugh, and then he'd feel better.

  He smiled to himself, thinking about it, then reached for his jacket.

  In love.


<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

  "I don't for a minute believe you really did it,"  Liv said.  "You expect me to think you went to the store and bought pink candles and gold thread and said that lame poem?"

 "Well, you should, because I did."

  "You did not."

  "Excuse me,"  Dom said, reaching in his bag.  "Look!"

  "Oh, Dom, honestly, look at that."  Liv took the book and scraped at the wax splashes on the cover.  "This is brand new!"

  "Oh, but, but, if it works, wouldn't it be worth it?"

  "I swear, if you've done anything involving me..."

  "Nah, too easy,"  Dom said.  "Everyone loves <i>you</i> already, y'know?  I think such powerful magic needs a challenge."

  "Oh God."  Liv shook her head.  "I really do not want to know."

  "But you do, you do.  Oh, I really hope it does work now.  It would be well funny."

  "Dom, I despair of you, really I do."

  "I'm just waiting to see what happens.  I think this should be fun."

<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

  It really did feel to Orlando like everywhere he went, Billy followed.  He'd suspected himself of being slightly paranoid at first, but soon he'd realised that every time he sat down, Billy sat next to him, even in an empty room.  Every time he went to queue for lunch, Billy was behind him, heaping his plate with food he never ate.  When Orlando slipped off to the loo in the pub, Billy would be in thirty seconds later.  It was like having a three-dimensional shadow.  Everywhere Orlando went, there he was.  Billy.


  Orlando raised his eyebrows at the sight of Billy appearing, breathless, round the corner.  "Orlando!  Mate!"

  "What a surprise to see you."

  Billy's forehead wrinkled.  "But I always come and see you."

  "Oh <i>yes</i>.  Well, what is it now?"

  "I heard this great joke on the radio this morning and I thought you'd like to hear it.  But I've only got...two minutes before I have to be back on set."

  "You ran all the way over here to tell me a joke?"

  "It's a good joke.  You'll like it."

  "Spit it out then."

  "Just let me get my breath back."  Billy yawned.  "Oh."



  "Oh shit, that's me.  Er, a man walks into a pub..."

  "You've got to go, haven't you?"

  "And he says, two, sorry, he says, I'll have a, oh god, I can't remember."


  "And so the barman gives him a plate, chips.  No, a bag of crisps.  Oh, fuck."

  "Mate, I think you should go."

  "And he says 'No, I asked for a <i>snack</I>, not a..."

  "Billy, I don't get it."

  "<I>Boyd?  Where are you?</i>"

  "It's...I'll...I'll tell you later."  Billy's hobbit feet slapped against the ground as he ran off.  Orlando blinked after him.

  "Bye."  he said vaguely, watching Pippin's curls bounce as Billy ran.

<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

    He didn't entirely know what it was, but whatever it was, it was getting worse.  Billy knew there had to be some good reason why he couldn't stop thinking about Orlando.  There had to be.  And it really couldn't have anything to do with <i>fancying</I> him.  Billy wrinkled his nose.  Stupid idea, that.

  Maybe it was because of the film; after all, everyone knew that the deep, abiding bond between Legolas and Pippin was the *real* heart of the trilogy...

  No, Billy realised, that wouldn't wash.

  He set himself a target.  Five minutes without thinking about Orlando.  Five minutes wasn't a very long time.  Five minutes was supremely doable.

    Thirty seconds later, he opened the fridge and the odour of some especially smelly cheese brought a vision of Orlando swimming before him.

  "Cheese?"  Billy thought, prodding his Caemebert.  "Orlando doesn't smell like cheese."

  Clearly, though, his subconscious inexplicably and irredeemably associated Orlando Bloom with the fragrance of the finest French dairy products, because a sudden wave of melancholy hit Billy, and he looked morosely at the cheese wrapper.

   Billy took a deep breath.  He tried to translate the packaging to distract himself, but he only got as far as 'Produit de Normandie' before he needed another deep breath.  A deep, deep, practically-a-sigh breath.   An I-think-I-might-die-if-I-don't-see-him-soon breath.  But most definitely not a I-must-be-in-love-with-him sigh.  Billy felt most confident on that subject.  You can't be in love with someone who reminds you of cheese.

<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

  Orlando dumped a flaky mountain of parmesan onto his pasta and stirred it in.  He was having a little trouble forgetting the sight of Billy's face as he'd turned to leave.  Billy had looked...heartbroken.  Of course he hadn't been, thought, because hearts weren't coming into this at all.

  He wound spaghetti around his fork methodically and thought about it all.  Why <i>was</I> Billy following him around?  Ruling out the possibility that there was an invisible piece of string holding them together - intriguing though it was - Orlando could only really think of two reasons.  One:  Billy had fallen out with the other hobbits, was desperately lonely and needed company.  Like the donkey in <i>Shrek</I>.  Two:  Billy fancied him. Well, that was just absurd, and absolutely not the kind of thing Orlando wanted to happen at all.  He really, really didn't like the thought of Billy dreaming about him, of waking up in the night to sigh about him, of thinking about him every minute of the day, of thinking about him a bit too much and giving a little groan and putting his hand in his pants and OHMYGODwhatwashethinking?  "Ugh!"  Orlando said, laughing to himself at the utter absurdity of the thought.

  The doorbell rang.  Orlando knew that if this were a story then that would be Billy, and his whole 'does Billy fancy me?' crisis would be neatly resolved one way or the another, and they would all live happily ever after.  It seemed a shame that it wasn't a story.

  He answered the door, still holding a forkful of spaghetti.


  "Orlando!"  Billy cried.  "I really fancy you.  You remind me of cheese."

  Orlando was confused, so he ate the pasta he was holding to clear his mind.

  "You've got a bit of basil on your cheek,"  Billy said, wiping it off.  "Do you fancy me?"

  "This is bizarre,"  Orlando said, swallowing his food.  "I think I need to sit down."  He sat down.  "Cheese?"  he said.

  "French cheese,"  Billy said in a tone that suggested this should explain it all.  "Nice French cheese."

  Orlando scrunched his eyes shut, but when he opened them again, Billy was still perched on the edge of the chair, grinning across at him.  His toes were jiggling slightly.  "And?"

  "I don't know.  Honestly I don't. Why would I?"

  "Because you, Mr Bloom, are in love with me."

  The moment called for dramatic spluttering and emphatic denial, but spluttering is hard to produce on demand, so Orlando settled for an open-mouthed stare.  

  "And what makes you think that?"

  "While I was looking at my cheese, I worked it all out.  Dom's spell! It was on us."

  The mouth opened a fraction more.


  "With the candles, aye."

  "He didn't <i>really</I> cast that spell, you know.  He was only taking the piss, man.  I mean, fuck.  Come on."

  "He fucking <i>did</I>.  Ask Liv."

  "Yeah, man, Liv.  Like, yeah, she'll know."

  "It's her book."

  "'re just freaking me out here, Billy.  No, I'm not in love with you."

  Billy picked at his ear.  "Not even a little bit?"

  "Not even. And especially not when you're doing that.  Fuck, man.  That's gross."

  "It's only glue.  But.  I do, though."

  "You what?"

  "I...oh fuck, I..."

  "Do not finish that sentence.  Jesus.  Where's the fucking hidden camera?"

  "I am!"

  "Not you're not!"

 "You are too!"

  "No I'm not!"

  Billy stood up and pointed at Orlando.  "You 're in love with me and it's all because of the spell Dom cast!"  He stopped and looked thoughtful.  "You know, when I say that out loud, it sounds wee bit absurd."

  "You think?"

  " else can I explain what's going on?"

  Orlando groaned.  "What's going on?  Do I really want to know?"

  "I've been off my food.  And that's not like me."

 "Maybe it's a stomach bug.  Or food poisoning.  Did you have the prawn stir-fry on Wednesday?"
 "Yeah.  Oh."

  "There's your mysterious loss of appetite."

  "And I keep thinking about you.  And following you about."

  "Who do you normally hang about with?"

  "Dom and Elijah.  But they keep sneaking off places and I have no one to talk to so I have to come and"


  "Cheese made me think of you!"

 "I gave you that cheese!"

  Billy fished in his pocket and pulled out the Camembert.  He looked at it.  "Oh <i>yeah</I>. " he said.  "Why did you give me cheese, though?"

 "It was a joke!  About your feet!"


  They looked at each other.  

  "You mean I'm not in love with you?"  Billy said.  "That's kind of sad."


  "Because, well, I don't know.  There could have been kissing and all sorts."

  "Kissing?  You?  You must be kidding."

  "Hey, at least I don't have basil in my teeth."

  "Maybe I should kiss you then.  Just for a punishment."  Orlando said.

  "Maybe you should."

  "Well, I will then."

  "Go on then."

  Orlando did.

  "OK, so not so bad."  Billy admitted.

  "If this were a story, there'd be a steamy sex scene here."  Orlando said, picking basil out of his teeth.

  "It's not a story,"  said Billy, taking his pants off and tossing his Camembert to one side in a carefree manner.  "Guess we'll have to make do."

<P ALIGN="center">* * * * * </P>

On the other side of town, the wick of a pink candle fizzed into flame.  "I told you, Lijah, my spells always work,"  Dom said, blowing out the match he held.  

  "How do you know?"

  Dom winked.  "You're here, aren't you?"

  The light flickered against the wall.  Melted wax fell onto the bedside table as it shook.