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#outofhatboxes
theheadlessgroom · 19 hours ago
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https://beatingheart-bride.tumblr.com/post/653958859735662592/beatingheart-bride-theheadlessgroom
@beatingheart-bride
Randall had been able to speak when Emily’s lips suddenly collided with his: In that moment, he wanted to try to apologize, having been seized by the sudden fear that he’d been too forward with her, and that he’d made her uncomfortable with this very abrupt and unplanned confession. He kicked himself for it, mentally chastising himself for dropping the ball yet again, and had been in the midst of wondering whether or not she would really want to see him again after tonight when those soft, plump lips landed on his.
In that moment, all time stopped. He became deaf to the world, blind to anything and everything around him, all of his attention solely focused on just how soft and warm and sweet Emily’s lips were as she kissed him, the soft violet scent of her perfume dancing in his nose, as well as the pounding of his heart in his chest, which seemed to drown out any and every other noise in the park. There was nothing but him and Emily in that moment, and it was wonderful.
When they parted, Randall was sure he looked positively stunned, standing there as still as a statue, eyes blown wide and at an almost-complete loss for words as he stared at her in wonder, the taste of her lipstick dancing on the tip of his tongue as he finally managed to say a single word. The only word that came to mind, in fact, as he tried to pull himself together after this surprise kiss:
“Wow...”
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theheadlessgroom · 19 hours ago
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@lovely-lotte
“No, no,” he said quickly, shaking his head before replying, “I’m sorry, lass, I...didn’t mean to stare at you so long, I...I guess it’s just, well...you remind me a bit of Miss Melanie, actually-if you don’t mind me saying. There’s just...something about you that makes me think of her.”
Again, it came down not just to appearances, but just the very air Christine had about her, that sweet but sad atmosphere around her, giving Randall the impression that she knew what it was like to be heartbroken. Again, it made his heart go out to her, and he hoped he hadn’t discomforted her with either his staring or his comparison to Melanie.
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theheadlessgroom · 2 days ago
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@beatingheart-bride
Although Randall was able to concentrate on The Unholy Three (which was really a fine picture, with suspense aplenty as the crime caper unfolded and the love triangle began to unravel), he was still very much aware of the sensation of Emily’s hand entwined with his; the feeling of her soft, slender fingers and warm palm resting so sweetly against his making his face burn white-hot, and his heart to pound against his chest, as though it would beat its way right out. And that didn’t even get into those words which swirled around in his brain, words he repeated over and over, as though he wanted to make sure he’d heard her correctly:
“I think that this might be the best time I’ve had in a while, and…I wouldn’t mind doing this again.”
The night wasn’t even over yet, and she already wanted to go out with him again! Again! Even with his fumble at the restaurant, she had told him she wanted to see him again! And to really drive this point home, she had taken his hand in hers! It was enough to render him speechless, and yet fill him with an undeniable excitement, a sort of anticipation for next time-and the night was still young! Who knew what would happen?
And as he both ruminated on these exciting thoughts and enjoyed the film, Randall happily held Emily’s hand all through the runtime.
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theheadlessgroom · 2 days ago
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“It’s not as big!” someone called, having overheard the conversation, as Randall replied, “Sort of. It used to be Monsieur Ravenswood’s house...when he was alive, that is. His daughter, Melanie, inherited after her old man bit it during an earthquake, but in death, he hung around, the old bastard, tormenting his poor girl long after she passed. He and all his rotten demonic pals, they’re always terrorizing poor Miss Melanie.”
He shook his head in shame at that-a woman as kind and sweet as her didn’t deserve to have such a monster for a father. He and the others at Gracey Manor tried to convince her to come stay with them, but she refused. She was still waiting for her groom.
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theheadlessgroom · 4 days ago
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“My favorite to make is the top hat,” Randall smiled. “They look so simple, but they’re so...so...”
For a moment, he struggled to think of the word he was looking for, and his cheeks flushed pink as he wracked his brain before finally coming upon it, saying, “V-Versatile! That was the word I was looking for! There’s just...so much variety to them!” The width of the brim, the height of the hat overall, the different fabrics, the colors he could use for the band around it, they were a delight to make in his opinion.
“Um...m-most popular when I worked at the haberdashery was p-probably the boater hat for the men,” he continued, rubbing his chin in contemplation. “I-I had a lot of men come in looking f-for those, y-y’know, it’s good to wear when you’re o-out boating and in the sun all day...um, the women mostly wanted sunhats, l-like those ones with wide, floppy brims, y’know?” He made both kinds very often, particularly for those planning on attending a garden party or cotillion in the summertime.
“B-But I made all kinds,” Randall chuckled, as he drained the water from his glass, the cubes clinking together as he set it back on the table. “Cloches, fedoras, newsboy caps...y-you name it, I-I probably made it at least once!” He’d even made a veil or two, hence his familiarity with them when it came to handling Emily’s on the set. 
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theheadlessgroom · 4 days ago
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@lovely-lotte
“Hmmm...” Randall hummed, stroking his bony chin: He did suppose there being only a handful of opera houses in the States narrowed things down a bit, but again, some opera houses (and other kinds of theaters, for that matter) were already haunted by other spirits, spirits who might not take kindly to an interloper encroaching on their territory. He supposed it was still possible he was on the move, and that whatever was happening in Tampa was the work of another ghost, but still...
Sighing softly, he looked to Christine sympathetically, saying, “I’m sorry, Miss Daae. I wish we had a way of...tracking him specifically, if we could find...I don’t know, any sort of calling card, any sort of sign of where he might go next!”
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theheadlessgroom · 5 days ago
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@lovely-lotte
“I’m sure,” he assured her warmly, offering her a smile. “There’s always room for one more at Gracey Manor!”
Although his heart ached for the young woman (largely because he knew better than most what it felt like to be constantly in search of someone you love), Randall hoped that she wouldn’t give up in her quest to find Erik-even if, as she speculated, he didn’t want to be found. Perhaps his mind would change if he saw a friendly face like hers, a face he recognized. From what little she’d told him, he seemed to care a great deal about Christine, and perhaps that caring would bring him out of hiding.
“After all, as our dear Ghost Host says, there’s room for a thousand!” Randall chuckled, adding, “We’ve got nine hundred and ninety-nine spirits under this roof, believe it or not!”
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theheadlessgroom · 6 days ago
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Randall’s cheeks flushed pink again (what was it, the millionth time they’d done so in her presence?) at her well-wishes for his career, a gesture that made him smile. He hadn’t told many about his plans to move to California, outside of perhaps his old boss, who had scoffed at his dream of costuming movie stars, and sarcastically wished him good luck on his last day of work. It warmed his heart to know that Emily genuinely wished to see him succeed, that she truly wished to see him happy here in his new home.
“Th-Thank you,” he replied, before adding earnestly, “I...I’m very happy th-that you’re happy too, a-and th-that you get to do what you l-love! Y-You’re a-a wonderful actress, and I-I don’t think it was just luck th-that got you t-to where you are now.”
There was no doubt that she was one of the brightest stars to light up the screen, he felt-graceful, charming, capable, she could do anything a role asked of her. She undoubtedly lit up the lights of Broadway, and so it didn’t seem so surprising that she did the same with the silver screen. He just hoped that her parents warmed to her career choice-but something told him he shouldn’t hold his breath...
“Wh-What was it like?” he asked her, as he picked up a pepper that had fallen out of his sandwich to toss into his mouth. “D-Dancing on Broadway, I-I mean.”
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theheadlessgroom · 7 days ago
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Not wanting to give up on the young woman yet, Randall asked curiously, “Say, what did this fella look like?”
Some spirits had very memorable appearances post-mortem (he supposed he could count himself in that category, having been a staple of many a mortal nightmare for many years), with some sticking out even amongst the colorful residents of Gracey Manor. If there was something about this Erik character that might stick out in people’s minds, perhaps some of the others might’ve remembered if he passed through? It was a long shot, sure, but worth trying, he felt. 
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theheadlessgroom · 7 days ago
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“I-I never go to the pictures without getting popcorn,” Randall confessed with a little smile, relief sweeping him as they moved on from his previous embarrassment to much happier topics. “A-A bag of popcorn, and a Coca-Cola.” If he was feeling particularly flush with cash (which was a rarity), he would occasionally buy himself a Baby Ruth bar (or buy a Sherbert Fountain to bring home to his mother, seeing as it was her favorite candy), but generally, a bag of buttery popcorn and a Coke was all he needed.
“I-I haven’t been t-to the theater s-since I came to California,” he added, as he took a bite of his po’ boy, lighting up a little at the taste of shrimp and Cajun spices (reminding him very much of the sandwiches his mother would make, one large po’ boy that would be split into two so that both of them could take a half each to work). Though he was lost in this little taste of home, he finished, “I-I think th-the last time I went was a-a day or two b-before I made the trip out here.”
In his letters, Dorian would occasionally make mention of the pictures he went to see when he was off from work, advising Randall on which ones he should see, and which ones he should avoid (”don’t see The Wizard of Oz!” one letter boldly advised, on a day Randall had in fact been considering see the movie. “it’s rotten!”) The letters always made him miss going to the movies with Dori (who would always, in addition to popcorn, either get an orange or grape soda and a Charleston Chew), as well as making him look forward to seeing what the Hollywood theaters were like. The old theater in New Orleans was a bit on the rundown side (but was still full of charm nonetheless), but he imagined the ones here in Hollywood were beautifully lit and decorated. Dorian had sent him photos of the Grauman Egyptian movie palace, and it made Randall excited to go there one day.
#((yeah! in nearly every other au randall has been burdened by society's poor view of him and his efforts to combat that))#((trying to 'compensate' like you said while in 'you'll be in my heart' he wasn't privy to society's harsh standards!))#((he was easily at his most free and untroubled honestly! he lived the way he wanted and didn't think twice about how others))#((might perceive him-even if he didn't perfectly fit in with the snakes he was still all in all pretty happy!))#((it is defidently sad to think that randall constantly feels like he needs to somehow compensate for his heritage))#((and even though it hasn't been wholly touched on yet in this au i think it's defidently something that's holding him back))#((when it comes to being with emily; i think it's always a huge hurdle for him to overcome in nearly every au))#((it's already hard enough being lower-class but also being of irish blood to boot: it makes him somehow 'beneath' everyone else))#((according to society and because he's internalized a lot of this racism he feels it makes him considerably less loveable))#((less acceptable somehow! and that is just heartbreaking to think-he's a genuinely good man by all accounts))#((but society just can't seem to look beyond that largely!))#((at least emily and their friends can though-and if they love and accept him then he doesn't care what society thinks!))#((he's just gotta reach that point first; where he stops caring about what society thinks and what those nearest and dearest to him do!))#outofhatboxes#beatingheart-bride#V:Sweethearts of the Silver Screen
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theheadlessgroom · 8 days ago
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@lovely-lotte
“Oh, yes,” Randall chuckled, glancing up at her to offer her a smile. “Very much so-you never know what’s gonna happen in the ballroom, believe me. Whether it’s Pickwick falling off the chandelier again, or the Duelists shooting at each other, or Dori throwing another big masked ball, it keeps you on your toes. Never a dull moment here at Gracey Manor!”
As he searched through the records, scanning for any reference to anyone by the name of ‘Erik’, he decided to make conversation, asking, “So, who is this Erik gent to you, if you don’t mind my asking?” A part of him always liked to know about the spirits who passed through the Mansion’s halls, and Miss Daae seemed like she had a story to tell.
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theheadlessgroom · 9 days ago
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“Y-Yeah!” Randall smiled, having not seen it that way until now, having heard this excellent point. “Th-That...that makes sense!”
It was an escape, wasn’t it? At least, he himself had long found film to be an escape, a way of leaving behind all of his worldly woes for an hour or so, losing himself in that silver screen world. Maybe it was because everything just seemed to go right in the end, in the pictures: Even in a horror movie, things worked out; the terror would eventually dissipate, and the heroes would be alright in the end. He found something comforting about that, seeing a sort of message that everything will turn out okay in the very end. It was a sense of comfort he could carry home and hold onto, long after he’d left the theater.
“B-Before you became an actress,” he ventured curiously, momentarily feeling a little uncertain about asking her this question, but daring to do so anyways. “D-Did you find horror to be...an escape?”
Like me? his mind mentally added on, but once more, he kept that thought to himself.
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theheadlessgroom · 10 days ago
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“Well, I’m terrible sorry to hear that,” Randall frowned softly: Clearly, this ‘Phantom’, whoever he was, was terribly important to her, and it stung to think that she had thought she was getting somewhere with her pursuit of Monsieur Ravenswood, only to find that he wasn’t who she was searching for. He knew how that felt, looking for someone important to you, and having no luck in finding them...
“Have you, uh, happened to check our relations department?” he ventured to suggest to her. “The Ghost Host does a good job of keeping track of the ghosts that come and go from here, so, maybe, there’s a record of your Phantom passing through!” He supposed, if she knew his name (Erik, she said), that might help narrow the search down a little bit.
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theheadlessgroom · 10 days ago
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“Dracula has left the castle, and is sailing to Whitby as we speak!” he reported once he’d taken a sip of his water, excited to share with her his progress thus far. “I doubt the crew of the Demeter will fair any better than those poor souls who carried Count Orlok to land-I’ve only gotten a little into the captain’s log, but it’s certainly terrifying!
B-But the brides!” Randall continued, eyes widening as he remembered reading that particular part of the story: He’d been reading in bed, staying up late to continue reading, only to encounter the terrifying trio of vampiric women, who attacked Jonathan, only to be frightened away by their master. “I-I don’t remember Orlok having brides, d-do you? Oh, they’re...horrifying! That scene made me want to sleep with the lights on, I swear it!”
If he’d thought the scene with the Count crawling down the side of the castle was unsettling, then it was practically a tea party in comparison to the introduction of these strange women, seemingly driven solely by a thirst for blood...just thinking about it made him shudder a little, but he still gave Emily a grin as he added brightly, “I’m loving it so far-I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Did, uh...did the brides scare you, when you first read it?” he then asked, as he took another sip of water: He loved trading off stories of their reading experiences, especially when she recounted how she felt during the most harrowing parts of the story. There was just something he loved about listening to her, in all honesty-he could listen to her talk all day, really, he could!
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theheadlessgroom · 12 days ago
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Randall was pleasantly surprised when they breezed by all those glittering, five-star restaurants-the likes of which he had quietly assumed they would be dining at. He didn’t say anything about it, but was nonetheless a little grateful: He wasn’t sure he was cut out for the fine dining experience anyways (after all, he didn’t even know what spoon was for soup, and what fork was for salad!)
Le Coeur was a much more welcome sight, with its humbler appearance and quieter ambiance, reminding him of some of the smaller restaurants back home in New Orleans, the kinds that he and his mother would pool money together to dine at, a way of celebrating a holiday or special occasion. He wasn’t sure what the name of the establishment translated to, though-it looked French to him, but what it said, he wasn’t sure.
“O-Oh, I-I’m sure I will,” he smiled at her as he climbed out of the Rolls Royce and observed the brick building with quiet interest, as the heavenly aroma drifted out to tickle his nose and cause his stomach to growl (he hadn’t eat much today, on account of nerves). Looking to Emily as he followed her to the door, he asked, “Wh-What sort of food do they serve here?”
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theheadlessgroom · 13 days ago
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“R-Really?”
Now that he wasn’t expecting. At all. Had he even heard her right? Did she really say she wouldn’t mind getting to know him better, or had he somehow misheard her? No, no, he hadn’t misheard her-if he didn’t know any better, he would almost say that she was... …asking him out?
The very thought made Randall’s heart skip several beats (to say nothing of the way his stomach flipped), and he was certain that he stood there for a minute or two with a mouth hanging open (he could just hear his mother gently chiding him for this, saying with amusement, close your mouth, dear) before finally shaking himself out of his stupor and replying, “I-I wouldn’t mind that either...I-I mean, getting to know you, getting t-to know you better too! I-I wouldn’t mind that!”
Heart pounding against his chest, he smiled at her before asking, “D-Did you, uh, did you have, um, s-something in mind? I-I mean, not when we’re working, obviously, but, um...something afterwards?” 
Did she want to go somewhere after work tonight? Tomorrow night? Over the weekend? A hundred different questions popped into Randall’s mind as he said this, wondering to himself just what her answer would be. 
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theheadlessgroom · 15 days ago
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Seeing the discomfort in her eyes broke Randall’s heart, and he suddenly felt like a heel for asking this question, one that (however unintentionally) had dredged up some awful old feelings for her. His heart went out to her, hearing how she struggled with that strange transition from stage to screen, and how discouraged she felt, to the point that it brought her to tears at times.
“W-Well, I can assure you,” he said gently, resisting the urge to take her hand in his to pat, wanting to comfort her, but not get too personal in doing so. “It was not a mistake to leave Broadway for Hollywood, Emily, not at all. Y-You’re such a wonderful actress! I-I never had a chance to ever see you on the stage, b-but I’ve seen you on the screen, and...i-it gives me a very good idea of what you were like back then. E-Even if you struggled, i-it didn’t show in your performance: Y-You’re so...natural!” She was effortlessly natural in her expressions, her body language, how she carried herself on the screen, and it was one of the (many) reasons Randall found her such a delight to watch.
“I-I’m just sorry to hear that you felt so stressed out w-when you were making Poor Cinderella,” he finished gently, fully prepared to offer her his handkerchief should she need it. “I...I’m terrible sorry, Emily.”
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theheadlessgroom · 17 days ago
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“I don’t know,” Randall admitted: How would Harker escape Castle Dracula? Would he ever get back to his bride Mina, who was waiting so loyally for him back home? He liked to think that since Harker’s film equivalent, Hutter, made it back, so would he. 
“I suppose he’ll have to find some way of escaping without the Count knowing about it,” he guessed-though surely that would be a challenge; it seemed like Dracula was keeping a close eye on his guest, and would likely not so easily let him escape. “But I just wonder why he’s kept Harker alive as long as he has-I’m just waiting for him to show up in his room one night, looking to turn him into a midnight snack!”
That was easily one of the most frightening parts of the film: The figure of Count Orlok, standing there in the doorway of Hutter’s room, a walking nightmate of a creature, staring unblinkingly at his human captive. Randall didn’t know how in the world Orlok’s actor, Max Schreck, made himself up to look so utterly terrifying, but he had!
“When you first read the book,” he asked curiously. “Who was your favorite character?” He himself already liked the Harker’s and Miss Lucy, and he wondered if Emily liked them just as much, or if there was another character within its pages that she preferred. 
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theheadlessgroom · 18 days ago
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“Oh, you’re very welcome,” Dorian smiled as he handed Emily a small bag containing a few goodies, having sent similar ones home with Beau and Leota and Elizabeth, a sort of party favor he liked to give out. Nothing fancy, just some recipe cards he copied down should the guests want to recreate the dishes at a later date, as well as a small container of fresh beignets-a small taste of New Orleans he always liked to offer.
“We should absolutely this again soon,” he continued, clapping a hand on Randall’s shoulder as the actor continued, “Maybe next time, we could see about going to your place? You’ve got that little pool out back, and I think with the heat wave the papers are all talking about, we’ll all want to take a swim!”
At the suggestion of a pool party, Randall felt his face go pale (positively mortified by the notion of the others seeing him in swimwear), but that sensation didn’t last too long, the blood quickly rushing back to his cheeks when Emily had turned back to face him, smiling so sweetly as she told him there was no need for formalities between the two of them.
“O-Oh, o-of course!” he stuttered, stomach full of butterflies at the prospect of addressing her by her first name. “U-Uh, i-if that’s the case, um, p-please, feel free to call me Randall!” Again, his heart fluttered at the notion, but he still managed a smile to her before she departed, and Dorian shut the door, leaving the two of them to finish cleaning up before bed.
“Now, was that so bad?” he asked his roommate as the two of them scrubbed the dishes down, a question that Randall shot him a withering glare in response to, provoking a laugh to escape Dorian’s lips, as he said, “Well, I think it went really very well-you and Emily hit it off in no time!”
“Y-Yeah...we did...” Randall remarked, unable to keep from smiling softly at this-they really had, hadn’t they? They hit it off, they were able to talk about their favorite genre, they danced, they dined...all in all, he had to admit, it really was a wonderful night.
Dorian didn’t miss that smile, in fact mirroring it himself as he returned to dish duty, pleased as punch that the night had been a success. 
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theheadlessgroom · 20 days ago
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“And then he has the unmitigated gall to complain that the production is taking too long!” Dorian groaned in frustration, as he downed the rest of his glass. “He’s the one wasting everybody’s time with his antics, sleeping around in his dressing room and throwing temper tantrums on set every day, and then he turns right around and says we’re the ones dragging the shoot out!”
It was outrageous, how easily forgiven Nicholas was for his actions: If Dorian or any of the others in the room did half the things their costar had, they would’ve been fired from the production so fast it would’ve made their head spun. But time and time again, the producers made excuses for Nicholas, giving him a slap on the wrist for everything he pulled, largely because he, along with Emily, were their biggest box-office draws, and they didn’t want to lose such a bankable star for anything. It made life extremely frustrating for everyone else, however, seeing as they couldn’t complain to the higher-ups, knowing they’d take Nicholas’s side every time.
“H-How behind schedule is it?” Randall asked, furrowing his brow as Leota answered, “Almost two months. At this rate, I’ll be amazed if we’re a week late when it comes to meeting the release date this fall.” It was very nearly July, and the film was scheduled to come out in October, a week before Halloween, but she and the others had their doubts that they’d reach that date in time with how the shoot was going.
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