Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(2)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(2)
Kasie West

“I see,” Dad said, even though it didn’t seem like he understood at all. “So how did things go today? Do you want to quit yet?”

I scrunched my nose at him. “You will be the first to know if I ever want to quit. Try not to gloat too much if that happens.”

He put his hand on his chest as though deeply offended. “You know I would never gloat.”

“No, you’d just be so happy that your head might explode.”

“You know it’s not about me.”

“I know, I know. It’s about your deep concern for my fragile ego.”

“I just think there’s nothing wrong with being a kid before you have to grow up. This industry can do crazy things to people.”

“Those people don’t have you, Dad.” I wrapped him in a hug. The only one driving me crazy right now was him, but he was my dad, and I was pretty sure that’s what dads were supposed to do, so I’d forgive him for it. Not even my overbearing dad was going to take away the excitement of where I was and what I was doing.

His shoulders rose and fell again. “This is how you talk me into things.”

“Besides, I’m far from a kid.” I peeled up a corner of latex from my cheek and pulled it off slowly. “Daaadddd, help me! My face is falling off.”

“Did you seriously just do that after claiming you weren’t a kid?”

“You’re right. My timing was off.” I walked to the vanity and dropped the piece of latex there, then picked up a Q-tip and dipped it in some sort of magical makeup dissolving solution Leah had given me on day one. It made the fake skin come off easier.

“So I’ll see you back home at ten with a finished homework packet,” he said, his hand on the door now.


He left the trailer with a click of the shutting door.

I sank down into a chair and immediately regretted it as the corset I wore dug into my hips and ribs. I stood and loosened it. The makeup I had to endure may have been atrocious, but the wardrobe was gorgeous. Historical zombies knew how to dress. I ran my hand down the tattered sleeve of the billowy blouse.

I threw my corset over the rack, then picked up my phone.

Abby answered after three rings, “Hey, movie star.”

“Hi! I got your one thousand texts today.”

“I know you said you can’t check during filming, but it’s just habit now.”

“I understand. I miss you too!”

“When do you get a break to come visit your not-so-cool Central Coast friends?”

I felt a twinge in my chest. There wasn’t a second that I regretted accepting the role of Scarlett, but it was hard not to feel a little homesick. I felt a million miles away from all my friends, who were doing all the things that we used to do together, like meeting up at the diner after school and planning our weekend. “My Central Coast friends are the coolest, but filming seems like it’s going to be pretty nonstop for the next few weeks. Especially since things aren’t going that well. Apparently Grant and I have lost our chemistry.”


“Probably because I look like maggot-eaten death most days.” I grabbed a wipe and began scrubbing at the residual makeup and adhesive on my skin. I’d need a long shower tonight. My hair, normally red and curly, was straight and streaked with dirt, making it look mostly brown.

“I still don’t understand why his character is supposed to want to kiss your character in that state.”

“Because true love transcends all. What you really should be worried about is why my character wants to kiss him. I’m a zombie. Sure, a partially cured zombie, but still, shouldn’t I just want to eat his brains? I guess things don’t have to make complete sense in movies.”

“It makes sense. True love really does transcend all. It’s kind of sweet, actually.”

I laughed. “Spoken like a woman in love. How is Cooper?”


“So the whole best-friends-turned-lovers thing is something you’d recommend, then?”

“Absolutely. Why? Do you have a best friend you’re looking to turn into more?”

“Ha! I have no friends. I just moved here, live with my single and very-much-out-of-the-social-scene dad, and am on a movie set every day.”

“I didn’t realize you were the only person acting in this movie.”

I pursed my lips. “You’re right. I’m being antisocial.”

“Which is very weird to me. You are the queen of parties here. You throw one for every occasion.”

I ran my hand along the clothes hanging on the rack as I walked by, feeling the silky material drift through my fingers.

“You still there?” Abby asked.

“I’m feeling a little pressure. This is such an amazing opportunity, and I’m terrified of messing it up.” It was the first time I’d admitted that out loud. This was probably why I was feeling off, why Remy felt no chemistry between Grant and me. I needed to relax. I breathed in and then out slowly.

“I’m sorry,” Abby said.

“Enough about me. How’s your art? Have you posted any more paintings online that I can drool over?” Abby was going to be a world-famous painter one day, I was sure of it.

“No. School is taking all my free time.”

“School is a poacher of time, that’s for sure. Speaking of, I have at least half of an independent study packet to complete by ten o’clock tonight. I better run.”

“Okay. Good luck,” she said.

“Tell Cooper I say hi.”

“Have fun working on your chemistry with Grant James. He may not be feeling it, but one look at his face and I’d think you wouldn’t have a hard time at all,” she said. “Is he as hot in person as he is on the big screen?”

“Hotter.” And the entire cast and crew knew this, including him.

She laughed. “It’s a tough job you have, Lacey Barnes. Super tough.”

“I know. Some of us are called on to sacrifice for the greater good. And some must pay good money to watch those who’ve heeded the call.”

“Talk to you later.”

We hung up, and I grabbed my independent study packet. I worked on it for a solid five minutes before my mind drifted back to what had happened on set today. What I really needed to be studying was Grant James. Abby was right, I had some chemistry to work on, and I knew how to do just that.

Dancing Graves


BENJAMIN and SCARLETT talk in the study with Scarlett’s friend EVELIN, twenty-year-old longtime acquaintance of the family, as chaperone, reading a book in the corner but really listening to every word they say. Scarlett doesn’t know, but Evelin has feelings for Benjamin.


Are you okay? Did you come to any harm last night?


We managed to drive them back, barely. I worry your father is too concerned with saving them when we should be more concerned with the living.


They are the living, Benjamin. You shall see; Father will finish his cure and restore them.


I hope you are right. For their sakes.


For all of our sakes.

A loud crash sounds as a stone is thrown through a window and lands with a thud on the carpet just behind Scarlett. Benjamin rushes the women out of the room.


Hide! And don’t come out until I tell you it’s safe!


Grant James and I needed to be friends off set. That was all there was to it. It’s not like we didn’t talk between takes and goof around a little, but that was obviously not a big enough bond. If we were friends off set, as ourselves, we’d have a better flow and connection on camera. We’d been filming for only a week, but I should’ve thought of this before now.

It was close to eight o’clock, so I had about an hour and a half to secure Grant’s friendship before my dad would expect me home. As I wove through the remaining crew putting away lights from that day’s shoot, I had to stop for a moment to take it all in. I was on an actual movie set, making an actual movie. I had dreamed of doing this for as long as I could remember and now it was finally happening. Happiness was not the right word to describe how I felt. Maybe euphoric or alive. Like everything I had worked for my entire life had led me to this.

A couple of security guards were stationed in front of a row of barricades that surrounded Grant’s trailer. His trailer was set apart from the rest of them. As if he couldn’t mingle with the common actors.

The guards were older, maybe midforties. I waved.

“Hello, Ms. Barnes,” the guy on the right said.

“Hi, just here to see Grant.”

“Does he know you’re coming?”

“No, but I thought we could run lines.”

“If you’ll just wait here, I’ll check with him.” He freed his walkie-talkie from his shoulder and relayed my presence to someone else. I had no idea why there was the need for a middleman. I could literally see Grant’s trailer behind them with its lights on. All they needed to do was walk twenty steps and knock. Apparently the guards didn’t have clearance for his cell phone . . . or his front door. We all stood there in silence, me and two guys three times my size.

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