I'm in Hollywood - Chapter 32[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:13:28]
Back home, Eric’s door was still besieged by a sea of reporters. He didn’t go out again but decided to call his lawyers in so that they could help him look at the compensation agreement instead. Although he had seen through Columbia’s trap, he didn’t dare let his guard down.
Once done, Eric finally remembered the call Aniston, and dialed her number several times in a row to no avail. At this time, Annie should still be at home, so Eric started to feel concerned and was about to dial again when the phone suddenly rang.
“Williams’ residence ?” Eric picked up.
“Eric, it’s me.” Jennifer Aniston’s voice sounded on the other line.
Eric happily said: “Annie, are you okay ? I’ve been calling your apartment, but no one answered.”
“I moved in with my dad, Eric. Don’t you know ? The paparazzi have found out about our relationship and started tracking me everywhere, even pretending to be couriers and knocking on my apartment door, I was terrified.” Annie’s voice held a tinge of fear.
Eric concernedly asked: “Annie, are you alright ? Wait, then when I called you yesterday before taking the plane, were things also like that ?”
“I’m fine, Eric. It started this morning, I don’t know how the paparazzi found out, anyway in the morning newspaper they said…….” Aniston’s voices felt down, Eric realized it was certainly not anything good, he could only comfort: “Okay Annie, it’s good that you’re alright, you should stay at your father’s for some time, and don’t go to the convenience store anymore.”
Aniston unhappily complained: “Eric, it won’t always be like this, right ? How am I supposed to live then ?”
Eric said: “Of course not, it will die down over time, right now my house is also completely surrounded. Give me your dad’s address, I’ll come visit you when I have some free time.”
Aniston dictated while Eric noted down, then he comforted her briefly before hanging up.
In a villa in Beverly Hills, Aniston unhappily hung up the phone. She glanced at the pile of newspapers scattered on the ground, picked up a pillow and started hammering the sofa mercilessly.
In those articles, Eric and her relationship had turned into a modern version of Prince Charming and Cinderella, emphasizing on Eric’s good points while disparaging her. Almost all the newspapers were giving the couple’s future a death sentence, while some even compared her to Drew, stating that she would be more suitable to be Eric’s girlfriend.
Seeing this, Aniston couldn’t help but become anxious as her self-esteem hit rock bottom. Compared to her outstanding boyfriend, she was just plain ordinary.
Now, he was about to become one of Hollywood’s youngest millionaires, while the newspapers referred to her as the ‘convenience store clerk’; the gap between them was getting larger.
Eric didn’t know anything about Annie’s insecurities, the lawyer he had called for half an hour earlier had already arrived in a rush.
“Hello, Mr. Edward, thank you for coming in person.” Eric said as he let the attorney in charge of the gambling agreement, Edward Lewis, and his aide, into the house.
Edward Lewis hastily shook hands with Eric, and said with a slightly respectful tone: “Eric, congratulations on Home Alone’s success, this is my assistant, Carter.”
The three people sat on the sofa, Eric took out the compensation agreement that Columbia had given him, and told them about everything that had transpired.
Edward Lewis quietly listened to Eric, once the latter was done, he picked up the compensation agreement and carefully looked at it for a few minutes before stating: “Eric, this contract is without any problems, you can rest assured when it comes to signing it.”
“That’s good.” Eric nodded, he took out his pen and directly signed the document.
Edward Lewis looked at the young man in front of him, he hesitated for a moment, before saying: “Eric, I think that you may be in need of a dedicated team of lawyers that would be in charge of your routine legal matters.”
“Oh ?” When Eric heard Edward Lewis’ statement, he raised his head with a smile.
Edward Lewis looked at Eric’s smile, and no longer beat around the bush: “I think that my firm has enough strength to handle this. Eric, from what you have just told us, if it hadn’t been for your vigilance, you might have been duped. So if you let my law firm represent you in the future, we will be take over the next negotiations with Columbia, and if they dare breach the contract, we will fight for your interests in court.”
From the time they had helped him draft the gambling agreement, Eric knew about Edward and his team’s professionalism. He was also aware that he needed someone to represent him full-time, so after a few words, the two quickly reached an understanding. Edward took out a prepared power of attorney form, and Eric readily signed it.
“Then I’ll let you handle everything else Edward, I really don’t want to deal with Columbia in person anymore.”
“No problem Eric. If there’s nothing else, then we’ll take our leave.”
Bidding farewell to Edward and his assistant, Eric breathed a sigh of relief, he could finally focus on his career.
He was very comfortable leaving those matters to Edward, after all, as his personal team of attorneys, they would have to fight for Eric’s interests. He wasn’t the slightest bit worried, because even if they conspired with Columbia against him, once discovered, they would receive the scorn of the entire nation, and their entire careers would be destroyed. Besides, Columbia wouldn’t be able to afford making that kind of mistake now.
His deduction was spot on; Columbia was caught in the public’s opinion whirlpool.
After Eric’s statement, many reporters had rethought their headlines completely, this news was just too hot. That evening, the young man’s speech condemning Columbia appeared in all the newspapers. A variety of speculations started to pop up everywhere, some had even started fanning the flames in order to further expand their sales.
Eric’s words had been transcribed verbatim, and after brainstorming for a time, reporters had quickly made up their assumptions.
Some newspapers weren’t sure how Michael Eisner’s was linked to his statement. Before speaking, Eric had declared that he and Eisner got along well and that he would be very happy to work with him in the future. This allowed some others to speculate that Disney’s CEO might have played a hand in exposing Columbia’s ‘poor means’.
Michael Eisner had been hesitant about telling his old friend how Eric had foiled their plans, but when he saw the newspaper, he quickly called Blount Cohen to explain what had happened, to no avail as the latter clearly didn’t believe him.
Eisner could only bitterly smile, he was also aware of Blount Cohen’s suspicious character, it seemed like their friendship was done for. However, he didn’t feel resentful towards Eric, what he felt was closer to appreciation.
A bunch of reporters had also found out that Home Alone’s screens had only reached 1500 this week, which was even less than 17 Again who was number two at the box office and whose number of screens had already reached 1600. This discovery made them all rave about Columbia, blatantly questioning the company’s integrity.
The other studios who had close relations with the media, and had already been jealous of Columbia for pocketing Home Alone, had a field day. They condemned them with full force, some tabloids had even called on fans to boycott them, inciting them to stop watching movies produced by the giant.
As soon as those articles appeared in the newspapers, Columbia’s public hotline directly exploded. The people’s sense of justice wouldn’t let them off the hook, some of the female staff responsible for answering the phone were in tears after having been insulted for hours, and two of them submitted their resignation letters the next day.
After Blount Cohen had smashed everything he could in his office, he immediately set up a meeting with the public relations department to discuss coping strategies.
In the evening, the television station under Columbia’s control issued a statement. They said that the number of screens for Home Alone had already been dealt with as they had signed a compensation agreement instead, at the same time suggesting that Eric’s claim about Columbia plotting against him were ridiculous, that he was just dissatisfied by the number of screens they had added and so this was his way to retaliate.
However, since Eric hadn’t responded, the media and the general public didn’t believe any of it.