Date: April 13, 2010
After catching Hallis in the arms of another man, Sydney gives the young woman a freebie.
"Life is a Parkway"
Sawmill River Parkway - NY
Since she'd uttered George's name back in Westchester, Sydney has said nothing. Literally nothing to Hallis. She's been driving the celebutante's car for several minutes now and is still in a state of shock. She's focused on the road even as the beautiful trees hover above them and off to the side, she's staring at the road, her jaw set tightly as she quietly contemplates what or how to say what's on her mind. She has barely looked at Hallis since the incident, but she's processing. It takes a lot of energy just to process something like that.
Neither has Hallis, really, she doesn't know what to say, what she can say. It was awful, what she did. Turning her head from the passenger window, the young actress carefully eyes the therapist driving the car. She's miserable. She really has no idea what happened, actually how it happened. She knows exactly what happened.
"Sydney… You have to believe me. We were reading lines. Then, the script it…" They were reading lines, there was no reason to actually play out the scene. Not at all, especially not going as far as they did. "I didn't… I would never… I just…"
Then she looks over at her former therapist, the tears welling in her eyes despite the fact that she's trying to blink them away. "Do you think I should quit the show?"
The questions don't fall on deaf ears. No, Sydney is listening even if she's oddly quietly, even eerily so. Her eyebrows furrow as her lips curl into a distinct frown. She tightly grips the steering wheel — her knuckles turning white with her grip. When she finally speaks, her voice is even — it's her therapist voice, a mode that she pushes into under circumstances such as these. "It was awkward. And uncomfortable. And you're better than that."
She's not yelling, but it is a reprimand, regardless of the even tone. "George. Hallis, what if George had walked in? Or one of your friends? What would any of them have said or thought?" She watches the road, not her cohort before she sighs. "Do you want to quit the show? I haven't seen you this happy about something in ages… I just… boundaries… you know?" Her tone isn't even anymore.
"I know!! I don't even know how it happened!!" Hallis gulps back her tears and grips her phone. Still no call from George, though right now it really wouldn't be as welcome as it would have been less than an hour ago. The ring on her finger is a heavy reminder of everything that she promised to him. Even though it's fake. "Sydney, what do I tell him? What do I do? I mean… We're supposed to be engaged, and he's… He's got that press conference. I just. What do I do?"
Sydney nods a little, she's still listening. But she's also still processing. "Did it mean anything? Do you feel anything for this other fellow?" Who Sydney has to admit was amazingly handsome, but she doesn't say this. "And what do you mean supposed to be engaged? Do you not want to be engaged? Because this seems like your unconsciousness screaming out for some air — " She frowns as she stares at the road. "I normally tell the truth… what press conference?" her eyebrows furrow, she's so confused.
"No! It didn't mean anything… I swear it didn't." Even though he's ravashingly good looking and his arms felt like absolute heaven around her. She doesn't admit it, but she's sure that Sydney can feel the flood of emotion running through her, if she's even paying attention. Hallis takes a deep breath and finally manages to blink away her tears before they spill over and run down her cheeks. At this point they would definitely be crocodile tears; fat, sloppy ones that come with a running nose and drool
Turning to the other blonde, Hallis swallows and rubs the ring around her fniger. "Sydney, can I tell you a secret and you promise that you won't tell anyone?"
And sure enough Sydney can feel those emotions which causes her to twitch just a little. Still staring at the road, she takes her right hand off the steering wheel and reaches over to squeeze Hallis' hand. "Just let it all out." What? Sydney really has no idea, but she's here to be supportive — a supportive friend in her time of need.
"I'm a professional secret-keeper. I can keep a secret and I won't tell anyone… what's going on?"
"My engagement is fake," Hallis admits lowly, she's looking at the pro and her eyes are practically screaming for advice. "George needed me to pretend to be his fiance, until some press conference he called. I don't actually know why. I — I just said okay." Because that's what girlfriends do, supportive ones anyway. "He needed the tabloids and newspapers to focus on something else for a while… I did the right thing by saying yes, didn't I?"
Now this is shocking information. Sydney twitches behind the wheel. There is little to say, and even less to do. Finally she takes her eyes off the road, but only for a few moments to look at Hallis. "Do you think you did the right thing? I don't know anything about this press conference or what happened." She sighs heavily. "If you feel it was the right thing, it was. Just go with your instincts, you know?" A flicker of a smile edges her lips, but just a flicker. It's quickly returned back to a frown.
"I'm sure it's important, George wouldn't ask me to look like a fool in front of the whole country for nothing… Would he?" Of course he wouldn't, and if it's not handled properly, Hallis is definitely going to look like an idiot. It's only then that it occurs to her that maybe she should have asked more questions about it. She was mostly concerned about the ring and being agreeable with George. After everything she'd put him through over the past few months, he was owed at least that. "I haven't been the best girlfriend, at all." This situation really isn't helping.
"No. No, he wouldn't. He cares about you," Sydney agrees. Although it's rather curious that he convinced her to be fake-engaged — begs the question as to what he really intends to reveal to the world. Her eyes narrow a little at the last statement, "Other than the current situation, how haven't you been a good girlfriend? I don't think you give yourself credit."
"I got in a car crash, I disappeared into the hospital for weeks because I thought I was dead. Then I went to Haiti… and didn't come back from that forever." The young blonde sighs heavily and sinks in her chair as she turns to gaze out the window. Hallis sniffles deeply and her lips downturn to an extremely sad face as she leans her forehead against the cool glass. "I do love him, I really do…"
"I think we oftentimes forget that love isn't just a feeling, it's a choice," Sydney had been told this months earlier, way back in October when she'd been fretting about her ability. "The car crash wasn't your fault. Your mental state certainly wasn't your fault, and I don't really now what happened with Haiti, but I'm guessing you didn't make it happen in the way you think you did." She keeps staring at the road. "Not many people go off on joy rides to Haiti." She returns her right hand to the steering wheel and drums her fingers against it. "But right now, today, this was — I don't know what to tell you. Honestly, if we were in my office and you'd told me, I'd call it a cry for help. Yes, it's you cheated — kind of, but people don't just cheat randomly. Generally there are circumstances that lead up to that."
"Do you think I'm choosing not to love George?" Her tone has an innocent, almost childlike quality to it. It's a new thing to her, the level of commitment that she has to the congressman. Certainly she's been doing the best she can with it, Hallis lets off a sigh and thins her lips into a flat line.
"Stuart was paying attention to me, talking to me about things that mattered to me." The young woman begins, now her voice is a little shakey as the full realization of what she's done hits her. "He… I've just been lonely, Sydney, for George."
"No. I'm saying sometimes love isn't easy. That's what I'm saying. And when it's hard, it becomes a choice. When it's easy, it's just… easy." Sydney issues Hallis a small half-smile. "You just need to refocus yourself and figure out what's most important to you. If that's George, then go out of your way to love him. Remind yourself of your love for him. Do things for him that are untypical or out of the routine."
"And the loneliness is understandable. It's not easy doing the long distance thing like you both do. But that makes your time together that much more important. It means you need to make and keep phone dates and show up to support one another. And you have to remember relationships are a two-way street." She continues to keep her eyes on the road.
Again, Hallis stares down at the phone. Then she glances over at Sydney and gives her a small smile. "Thanks Sydney… You almost always know exactly what to say." Almost. There've been those times where Hallis has drunk herself into a coma due to their fights, but (hopefully) those are over now. "I hope you don't mind, I'm going to be a little bit rude right now."
Then she begins typing off a message on her phone and presses send. What is it? Sydney will never know because the screen of the jPhone is pointed away from her and the young celebrity is giggling practically the entire time she's typing it.