"I want to be . . . Gary Oldman," Grant told her as he twisted the stem of his wine glass self-consciously. It seemed insane to be vocalizing these things, these deep and secret wishes. "That's the career I want. Full of lots of different roles and . . . What?" He'd snuck a glance at her from under the flop of his hair and she was smiling in a way he didn't entirely like. It was as if she knew something, or maybe knew better, and was trying not to laugh.
"But you can't be Gary Oldman," she told him, and her tone was surprisingly kind. "You can only be you. Even when you're playing a part, all you have to bring to the role is yourself. Your experiences. And whatever imagination you have. Which is, in and of itself, circumscribed by your personal background and limitations. I'm not saying you can't have that kind of career," she added, "but there's no use pinning your aspirations to anyone else's work. Focus on your own path and the rest will follow."
"That's it?" Grant demanded. "This is your great advice? I thought you had, like, power or something."
He was immediately sorry for his outburst as Genevieve's face went as blank and cold as a statue's. "Good advice is a kind of power," she told him, her voice tight with what Grant guessed might be carefully leashed fury. "But if you don't want it—" She turned and the server seemed to appear out of thin air. "The bill, please," she requested, and the server bowed and disappeared again.
Panic crawled up Grant's throat; David had warned him not to cross Genevieve. "No, really," he pleaded, "I do want it! I just . . . I thought . . ."
"That I would wave a magic wand and make it all happen?" Her green eyes flashed in the candlelight. "There are no shortcuts, Mr. Owen. I can back you and lay out a path for you, but you cannot just skip to the end."