Twice in a Blue Moon

Page 86

I believe it’s early enough for you to back out if you wish; no announcements have been made yet, and Gwen tells me we are still a few weeks out from making one.

I’m sitting here, wondering if it’s worth saying all of the things I’ve stored up for the past fourteen years, but in truth I’d be crazy to think you’d want to hear any of it.

As much as I’d love for you to play Ellen, I understand if you back out.

I wish you nothing but the best in life, Tate.

All my love,


To: Tate Butler <[email protected]>

From: S. B. Hill <[email protected]>

Subject: RE: Milkweed

Date: Thursday, March 14

Hi Tate,

Things have gone along in the development of the film; the cast is coming together, the crew and location are being finalized. For all I knew, you were still involved. But when I saw the announcement in Variety today, I panicked, wondering whether you’d seen my first email. I’m not sure if it’s too late for you to back out; contractually, I don’t know how these things work. But the idea that you wouldn’t know about the film, and the backstory, before coming on set makes me feel nauseated.

I need to tell you a little bit about Luther and Roberta. My life with them was good. Better than good, it was the best kind of life. Free-range, bottomless love. Wisdom and commitment to community. Anyone who crossed paths with them was lucky to have known them—I was by far the luckiest for having been raised by them.

I think of this sometimes and wonder whether my decision made your life better or worse in the long run. It’s impossible for me to know. I carry the weight of my guilt with me every day, every step. I don’t say that to mean it should be a concern on your end; more that we’ve both had these inflection points in our lives where, unbeknownst to us, someone is making an enormous decision that will impact us forever. I’ve thought about this in hindsight quite often. What an arrogant kid I was.

It’s important to me that you know that none of it was premeditated. What I felt for you—to be honest, what I still feel for you—was genuine. I made the call on impulse, in a panic.

That phone call got me ten more years with Luther. I’ve examined it from every angle, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

When we see each other on set, I’m sure it will be strange at first. If I am especially strange, I’m sorry for that, too. I’ll do everything I can to respect your wishes, whatever they may be. If you’d like to have your manager or publicist send along a note to me with a response from you, I’d appreciate knowing that you’ve seen this email.

With love,


To: Tate Butler <[email protected]>

From: S. B. Hill <[email protected]>

Subject: RE: Milkweed

Date: Wednesday, July 24

Dear Tate,

We are two months out from filming, and I haven’t heard from your manager or your PR representative (Marco?). I still have no idea if you’ve even seen these. Should I tell Gwen? Should I contact Marco? I don’t want to betray your privacy. I don’t want to mess up your official PR story. You have a right to control the narrative, and I don’t know who knows.

I am an absolute fucking mess over this. I can’t wait to see you but am terrified that it’s going to be awful for you to see me.

I want to crawl out of my skin thinking about it.

If I could move past this, it would be easier. But I can’t. It looks like you have, and I’m glad for that, Tate, I really am.

I’m still in love with you (the real you, not the television version, not the magazine version. I’m in love with the girl who wanted to take charge of her life—fuck, the irony—who wanted to grab the world by the balls). You’re the reason I still feel like my life hasn’t started yet. It’s like I’m waiting for you to release me.

I can’t wait to be near you, and I just need to know that you’re seeing these.

I’ve loved you for so long, and I just need to know that you know.


To: Tate Butler <[email protected]>

From: S. B. Hill <[email protected]>

Subject: RE: Milkweed

Date: Thursday, July 25

Dear Tate,

I’m sorry about that last email. I’d been out late with some friends, had one too many drinks. It won’t happen again. I promise that I will be nothing but professional on set.

I am, as I’ve always been, yours,

Sam Brandis

It’s really only when I look up that I feel the tears running down my face. Marco is on the phone, pacing a few feet away. Mom is standing on the back porch with her arm around Nana’s shoulders; they’re both watching me intently.

“Two?” Marco says, pulling my attention back up to him. “That works. Business or better.”

“Two what?” I mouth when he looks at me.

“Thank you.” He hangs up and ignores me, looking up at the house. “Emma,” he calls. “Can you get some clothes packed for—”

“They’re all clean and folded,” Mom interrupts with a laugh, turning to head back inside. “I’ll put them in a bag.”

“Marco?” I ask, confused.

He looks down at me, blue eyes softening. “You don’t even need to say it, Tate. It’s written all over your face.” He grins. “But don’t worry. I just booked your ticket.”

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