Some people call you Virgo. That always amuses you, much the same way that your particular brand of fame now does because it's inherently ridiculous. People know your face and have only a vague recollection of your name. Some people yell it now when you're on the street. "Hey Virgo! Wicked movie, man!" You smile and wave absently at them, grin tightly at others, depending on your mood.
Some people don't call you at all. You remember the premiere of A Perfect Murder, when almost everyone was calling Michael or Gwyneth. They were bigger stars than you, not that you ever paid mind to such things. It was a paycheck, and what you remember most from the shoot for A Perfect Murder was how uncomfortable you felt around Gwyneth and Michael, who were like niece and uncle to each other but had to pretend they were married for the movie.
Some people stretch or shorten your name when they call. Elijah called you "Vig-goooh!" before every rescue scene he had to film with you, stretching out the last syllable of your name mischievously. He giggled along with his hobbit cohorts, who were so bored with the long process of putting on their hobbit feet that anything amused them. Liv called you Vig, but you forgave her that, no matter how much it actually annoyed you. Someone with a name like Liv has to repeat the mistake of her parents with other people's names you think, and you immediately rebuke yourself for thinking it. You still think her name is a crime against the name Olivia.
Orlando always called you Viggo though. Never Virgo, never Vig, never Vig-goh! He was used to the miniature burdens of having an unusual name. People always called him Orli or Lando. You remember him telling you that he pretty much didn't like anyone who suggested the nickname Lando for him. "Lando, for Chrissake!" he said with a grimace on his face.
He calls you Viggo, the accent on the first syllable, the second syllable a brush of breath near your ear when he wants your attention, and only your attention.
It's in London when you see him again, and you feel your throat constrict. Even after all this time, even without the long blonde hair that has now been replaced by stubble, something in him always robbed you of breath.
He smiles at you and you effortlessly smile back. He jogs over to you and takes you in a bear hug. "Been a while, Viggo."
You thump him on the back as he thumps you in return. "It's good to see you again."
"So we finally get to see the pictures?" he asks while stepping back.
"Yes, you do."
He squints at you, a smirk on his lips. "Still can't say yeah after all this time, huh? Not that hard, mate. Yeah," he says slowly, drawing it out in the middle. Like a bowstring being drawn back, you think, and you chastise yourself for thinking such silly things that smacked of cheap romance. He finishes saying it and grins at you.
"It's hard to escape formal English lessons, Orlando."
His smile turns wry for a moment before he speaks. "So what's all this then? Just Rings stuff, or is it something else?"
"People I like mainly, some landscapes I took in New Zealand."
"I better have a full wall then," he says playfully.
"You're lucky if you get the bottom corner of a wall. I make it a point to only photograph visually pleasing things."
He laughs at that, his full guffaw echoing in the gallery. He looks around curiously and asks, "Why pick this place, Viggo? Tons of other galleries in London with bigger spaces and better lighting you know."
You look around at the rather minimalist look of the gallery, which is all white paint, track lighting and shiny hard wood with diamond patterns. "I know. They're old friends. Just, they were about to be closed if I remember correctly. Permanently, I might add, without an influx of cash. This helps them out a little bit, whatever I can show here."
"Aragorn on and off the set." He looks at you with his head tilted a bit, a smile on his lips, a glint in his eye. You squint a little and it almost looks like desire.
"Seen Elijah and the others yet?" he asks, interrupting your moment.
Some pictures you take are of landscapes. In New Zealand, there was ample opportunity to take pictures of treetop canopies, of harsh rocks and white crests of waters rushing swiftly. There was something so intrinsically beautiful about the places you saw there that something in you is made speechless by it when you remember, your sense of wonder still overwhelmed. You love taking pictures like that, of landscapes that evolved with geologic pace and natural timing.
Some pictures you don't take at all except in your mind's eye, a quick snapshot when you try to remember everything photographically. The moment you saw a wild kiwi (a kiwi, your mind still shouts, a wild kiwi!) retreat into a bush. Ian as Gandalf giving the finger, something that still amuses you endlessly up to this day. Elijah, Sean, Dom and Billy with one foot human and one foot hobbit, grinning like madmen.
Some pictures you take are rehearsed and carefully planned. You love the one you took of Elijah with a cigarette in his hand, his dark pants and sweater a stark contrast to all the light. His porcelain face looking up, trepidation, anticipation mingling in those clear eyes made into black and white.
With Orlando, you just take pictures. In repose, fully aware, fully unconscious. He gave you permission to take photos any time you wanted. There's one you love of him putting on his contacts, his Legolas hair pulled back. It was such an unguarded, vulnerable moment that seemed almost invasive when you looked at the developed picture.
Or the one where he's a blur of motion captured in a background of skeletal trees at sunset. At first, you didn't know it was Orlando until you looked closely. It was his eyes that gave away his identity. You don't really know why, and you've exhausted yourself thinking of all the reasons you know those eyes are his.
Orlando whoops when he sees Elijah enter the gallery. He leaves your side, and only then do you notice that the room has a sizable crowd in it. It makes you flush, you feel the blood pounding and warming your face like embarrassment.
Elijah and Orlando greet each other boisterously, their voices echoing in the uncluttered space of the gallery. The people stare at them with smiles on their faces beneath their lashes, through the rims of their glasses, as they eat hors d'oeuvres. You stare at them too, and wish you had a camera with you then because they had energy between them, something circular and flowing.
You pause to think about that, and when you blink out of your reverie, Elijah is looking up at you questioningly.
"You must be psyched, V!" he says, his face pale and luminescent.
You helplessly smile at him as he charges into your arms held wide open. There's a bit of height difference between you and you have to bend your knees a little to rest your chin on his shoulder as he thumps you on the back. You wonder what it is with men and the thumping of backs, if it's some sort of holdover from the past, a relic of your shared caveman history.
"It's good seeing you again Elijah."
All three of you talk of business for a while, Orlando pacing between you. He had a hard time keeping still, a stark contrast to Elijah who had an innate meditative sense to him. Something in him was always still, while Orlando with all his daring sports seemed full of adrenaline.
Elijah reaches out and grabs Orlando by his shoulder and Orlando immediately stills.
"Stop pacing, you're making me dizzy," Elijah says.
Orlando smiles and relaxes. His left hand touches Elijah's briefly before going into his pocket.
You don't like this at all.
Sometimes, you think the lyric is pierce right through me. It's from a song you heard ages ago, or so it seems. All I ever wanted, all I ever needed you remember as the chorus or refrain, but in your head the melody behind the word switches from new wave to a simple piano piece. You can never place the song, but you love it the same for all its vagueness in your head. Pierce sounds right to you, because the song always had a somberness to it, and pierce seems accurate. Something swift and clean, a quick swoosh you only feel when it's penetrated.
Sometimes, you think the lyric is peers right through me. Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm the song goes, and that makes sense to you too. What use are words when his eyes can see everything and discern all the secrets you hide, therefore reducing you to nothing? People are made of secrets you think, of those deep and dark thoughts they keep hidden from the rest of the world, and you are no exception.
Sometimes, you think the lyric is tears right through me. It insinuates itself in your head, the song. Vows are spoken to be broken. You're all too aware of the implications of those words, how promises to other people as well as to yourself are so easily broken, so tempting to break, to rip into shreds.
With Orlando, all the lyrics fit. They fit with a rightness that seems inviolable.
It was Orlando who told you, finally, that the song was Enjoy the Silence.
You must have missed some prompting because there's a thread of impatience in his voice when Orlando says, "Let's see the pictures already." He walks off, his fingers reaching back, grabbing a part of Elijah's sleeve. Something in you steels itself in preparation of what you know is coming. You know how the pictures are arranged, how you had driven the gallery mad with frustration as you kept switching their arrangements. You regret it now; the style that seemed best then now seems obvious and ridiculous.
How fitting that Orlando's part is so readily visible. The gallery is composed of two big rooms. The first room was where you all waited and chatted for a little while, an informal room with a few chairs. The main room was a maze of walls, and you don't really wonder why this gallery is on its way to bankruptcy considering how badly it is made, but there are many walls, enough for each wall to have a theme running through it. Orlando's is a huge wall that spans diagonally, one of the first walls on the left.
Orlando and Elijah go first, saying murmured excuses and pardons. You trail behind, not really wanting to see but compelled to be there nonetheless.
"These are great Viggo!" Orlando says, his pleasure obvious in his voice. You can't help but be warmed by that. "Hey, look at that! I remember that! We were on a break while filming the council meeting, and you and Ian kept laughing at the way I first said 'I will give you my bow.' Bastards!" He turns back to you, his grin a streak of white. Elijah laughs beside him.
"And that one!" He punches you on the arm jokingly. "I wasn't that good with the bow yet." He punches you again.
You happen to look at Elijah and he has a look of absolute concentration on his face. His face then clears and he looks up at you. A mingling of emotions goes through his incredibly expressive face, compassion and sympathy and regret you see flit one by one until it's masked by something still and placid.
"I'm just going to the loo," he says. "Be right back."
"You aren't English, Lij, just in case you've forgotten," Orlando banters. Elijah smiles and walks away with his hands in his pockets.
You look down and wait.
Orlando keeps pointing each picture out, and you hear the delight in his voice. You hear it trickle away slowly as he keeps pointing out the picture. You can almost hear the pictures reassemble in his head, forming something new. You hear nothing in a few minutes except the mill of people around you.
He turns to look at you and you call yourself a fool a thousand times over as you raise your head to meet his eyes.
"I didn't know." His voice was subdued. You hate hearing it.
"You weren't supposed to. Not until today anyway."
He turns to look at the photos again. He looks at the picture of him putting on his contact lens for a good long while.
"Don't be." You feel something collapsing in you in minute degrees.
You step up beside him and point to the picture you love the most, the one where his face isn't even that visible except for his eyes, the blur of motion photo, one that's lacking in detail yet intrinsically him in ways you still can't define.
It kills you to say it. "Elijah would like this one, don't you think?"
Sometimes, it's violent and swirling, like gale force winds sweeping around you. A maelstrom that puts you topsy-turvy, upside down and wrong side out.
Sometimes, it's like a glacier, massively adrift, secure in its path as it goes on its way to melt.
Sometimes, it's the bliss of dewy morning air, a cool and smooth aura against your skin.
With Orlando, it was like the trajectory of a comet, something you were sure you would approach one day after decades of travel.
As it turns out, he has his own orbit, his own planet to seek. It was love, but you were just meant to pass each other. You were never meant to collide.