I'm in Hollywood

Chapter 20

While everyone in the theater, including Aniston who hadn’t been a part of the shooting, were all clearly aware of the Home Alone’s contents, with the progress of the story, especially when Kevin pranked the two robbers, everyone couldn’t help but burst out of laughter, and even Jeffrey who was in his mid-fifties was roaring.

The one hour forty minutes film unwittingly ended, and once the last line of the ending titles disappeared, everyone stood up and applauded together.

“I really have to admit, this movie is really too great. Eric, I think I should congratulate you in advance.” Jeffrey Hanson patted Eric on the shoulder, and seriously said.

“Thank you, Jeffrey, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without your help. At least, I wouldn’t be able to complete Home Alone in about two weeks of time.”

People greeted each other for a while, then they gradually dispersed, after all, everyone there had things to do. They had intended to throw a small party to celebrate, but seeing Eric’s unshaven and tired face, they very consciously gave up on the idea. Their director had overexerted himself for half a month, they were all aware that he needed to rest.

The next step was to plan the film’s release. Since he’d have to go to the 17 Again preview screening tomorrow, Eric thought it would be a good opportunity to partner up with the 20th Century Fox’s Distribution Department, he believed that as long as the executives watched the movie, they would agree to get it out on schedule. Although he’d have to share some of the profits, he didn’t really have a choice as he was without any foundation at all.

Perhaps waiting after the 17 Again release would have made things easier for Home Alone, but by that time, even the New Year would have passed. As a Christmas comedy, it had to naturally be released at that period, and Eric didn’t want to wait another year to release it as they had put so much efforts into this.

Annie had obtained a temporary license, she drove Eric in his car back to his home, and the tired young man put the copy of the movie away, and dove on his bed, unwilling to open a single eye.

Aniston had planned for Eric to shower before going to sleep, but seeing him plunge head first in his sheets and noticing his tired looking face, she only uttered a sigh before taking his clothes and shoes off, covering him up with a blanket and getting out of the room.

Eric hadn’t been home for over half a month, and since there was no one to clean up, the place was already full of dust. Aniston rolled up her sleeves and went to find some cleaning tools. Unlike her Friends alter-ego “Rachel”, a spoiled girl who didn’t even know how a washing machine worked, the real Annie had long since been self-reliant.

On the desk in the study, Aniston found a variety of books on the subject of “basic music theory”. She picked some up and used a rag to wipe the dust when a document suddenly slipped out of one of the books. Aniston curiously picked it up and found out it was a mortgage agreement.


He didn’t know how long had passed, but it was probably noon when Annie had asked him if he wanted something to eat. Eric had groggily refused and fell asleep once more. When he woke up again, it was already dark.

Eric turned on the lights and looked at his watch; it was way past nine.

He thought that Annie had left, but as he dressed and got out of the bedroom, he could faintly hear the sounds of the TV coming from the living room.

Downstairs, he saw her curled up on the sofa, her arms hugging a pillow as she watched TV.

“Hey, Annie, good evening.” Eric walked over, and kissed her cheek.

“Eric, you woke up. Go take shower, I’ll fix you something to eat.”

Eric didn’t notice the strange look Aniston was giving him, he turned towards the bathroom, showered for half an hour, shaved, and when he got out and went to the living room again, Annie was back on the sofa and dinner was ready.

“Wow Annie, that really surprised me, you even made such a delicious Chinese fried rice.” Eric tasted and praised.

“You said you liked it, so I deliberately learned.” Aniston had a smile on her face as she looked at her beloved eating so voraciously. She waited patiently until he had finished before saying: “Eric, did you… did you take a mortgage on your house ?”

Eric was about to go to the kitchen to do the dishes when he heard Annie, he couldn’t help but look at her puzzled. He hadn’t told anyone about it, so how did she know ?

“When I helped clean the study, this fell out from a book.” Seeing Eric’s inquiring look, Aniston took out a document from the coffee table.

Eric put down the cutlery, took the file and looked at it before nodding: “I was short of 200,000$ for the Home Alone filming, so I had to take a mortgage on the house.”

“Then, the piano in the study you also…” Aniston had come to Eric’s home a few times, so she had seen the Strauss before.

Eric nodded again.

Aniston frowned in distress as she said: “Eric, I think you were too impulsive, although everyone thought that today’s screening of Home Alone was very good, you never know if it might end up in failure and lead you to bankruptcy.”

“Don’t worry, Annie. You see, a few months ago, I was just a broke high school student, and now only a few months have passed and I have successfully published a novel, written a screenplay as well as starred as the main lead, and now even made movie. How many people my age can do this ? So, even if I failed this time, I believe that I’ll easily be able to stand up again. We are still so young, we ought to enjoy life and strive whole-hardheartedly for success, failure isn’t a bad thing, it’ll help us grow, happy times do not come without some tear shedding. I don’t want to become an old fossil that looks back at his life, dully and placidly gazing at the sun in the sky, full of regrets towards his younger days. That would be too miserable.”

“Oh, Eric, when you say it like this, it sounds so amazing…. You think I don’t know you’re trying to trick me ?! You damn rascal !”


The morning sun hit her face, as her eyelashes shook and Aniston who subconsciously turned to avoid the disturbing light, soon woke up. Eric came in the bedroom holding a tray, to see his already awake girlfriend, he smiled and said: “Hey baby, good morning.”

Aniston pouted and said: “Well not a good one to you, you bastard.”

“Come on look, I even spent an hour making this delicious ribs soup as an apology.”

“Don’t want it, I’m dieting.”

“Make an exception for today, you won’t gain weight just because of this, come one, taste it, how’s the flavor ?”

“Wait, don’t I need to brush my teeth first ?”

“… I’ll take you to the bathroom.”

“Hateful !”

After a warm breakfast, because of mobility issues, Aniston could only ask for a leave to the convenience store owner once more. Regarding this matter, the boss was really accustomed to it as there were many people who dreamed of stardom in L.A and needed time to go to auditions or be on set earlier, and he knew that Annie was one of them. When she had looked for the job, the owner and her had reached a mutual understanding.

The two lovers lazed for a while before Eric drove his car away as today happened to be the 17 Again movie preview. He wanted to try and be done with the Home Alone issue at the same time.

Ten o’clock in the morning, in one of the 20th Century Fox luxury theater’s, the Publicity Department, film-makers and a dozen of other representatives, as well as the 17 Again crew, were all present.

Before the start of the screening, Eric came to James Brooks and Penny Marshall’s side as he wanted the both of them to introduce him to the ones from the 20th Century Fox Distribution Department.

“Eric, you’re saying that you want to release your movie in time for Christmas ?” James Brooks was startled, he also knew about Eric making a movie as soon as he had wrapped up 17 Again, but he didn’t expect that he would have completed it so fast.

“Yes, James, it’s a Christmas comedy, so it would be best if it was available in theater during that period, as it wouldn’t have the same impact if the release date was off.”

James Brooks held some disdain in his heart, while he recognized Eric’s talent as a screenwriter and actor, but he absolutely wouldn’t believe that he could produce an interesting comedy. Directing a movie required years of experience after all, however, he had to at least give him face, so he promised he would help introduce him to some people.

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