Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(4)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(4)
Kasie West

“He lives with my parents when I’m filming.”

“Next,” Amanda said, and we all flipped our cards.

“Amanda,” I said, when she got the lowest. I snapped my fingers. “Speed.”

“Yes, I like to drive fast.”

I rolled my eyes, but we all flipped again.

Grant drummed the table with two fingers. “I used to play.”

“The drums?” I asked. “Were you good?”

“Why do you think I became an actor?”

I laughed. “Much more practical.”

The next flip I lost. “I can eat an entire large pizza by myself.” Although I hadn’t done that lately. Lately, I’d been watching nearly everything that went in my mouth.

“Gross,” Amanda said as we flipped again.

Now the game was picking up.

“I have watched every single animated Disney movie,” Amanda yelled out.

“Impressive,” I said.

“I used to run track,” Grant said after he lost. “I like to run.”

“I hate animals,” I said for the next round. “They stink and leave fur all over stuff.”

Grant gasped, and Amanda laughed.

“I can sleep for twelve hours straight,” Amanda said. “I would beat anyone in a sleep-off.”

“My weakness is carne asada french fries,” Grant said. “I spend an extra hour in the gym daily so I can eat them.”

“I have acted in three different soap operas,” Amanda said.

“Nice,” I said.

“And now I’m in a movie,” she said.

“You are?” Grant asked. “Which one?”

“The best one in the world,” I said.

Grant laughed, and Amanda yelled out, “Hear hear!”

I lost the next round. “I like to sing,” I said.

“Ooh, you two can start a band,” Amanda said.

“I don’t want a second-rate drummer in my band.”

Grant shoved my shoulder. Amanda collected the cards in the center of the table for winning that round.

Grant lost next. “I once proposed to a girl, and she said no.”

Amanda paused as she was reaching for the cards. “What?”

“You’re only nineteen,” I said.

“And we were only five at the time.”

I blew air out between my lips and threw a card at him.

“I’m keeping this,” he said adding it to his stack.

We finished out the game a few rounds later, with Amanda winning. “Let’s go again,” she said.

“Wait,” I said, noticing a clock on his wall. “Is that the actual time or is it off?” The clock said ten to ten.

“Uh-oh,” Amanda said. “The little girl has a curfew. Are you going to turn into a pumpkin?”

“Pulling out the Disney references,” I said.

“You know it.”

“I have to go. This was fun.” I stood.

“This was fun,” Amanda said. “See you on set tomorrow.”

“Remember my face,” I said, giving Grant a wink.

He smirked.

I hopped down the steps and onto the asphalt, feeling okay about how that went. It stayed fairly surface level, but that was to be expected for the first round.

I’d only made it a few steps before I heard the door open behind me. I looked back to see Amanda.

“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute,” she said.


She glanced over her shoulder at the shut door and led me a little farther away from the trailer. “I know Grant said we weren’t together, but I’d like to be.”

“Okay.” I had figured as much.

“I wanted to put that out there.”

I held my hands up. “He’s all yours. I don’t date.”

“Okay, I just . . . wait, what? You don’t date? Like, at all?” Her dark eyebrows were down in confusion. “For religious reasons or something?”

I laughed. “No. For career reasons. I don’t need the distraction. I need to focus.”

She smiled. “Okay.” Then she nodded back toward Grant’s trailer. “I need to focus too.”

“Have fun. See you tomorrow.”

She took two steps back, then stopped and said, “So if you don’t date, how are you feeling about the kissing scene coming up? Do you . . . uh . . . know what you’re doing?”

“I’ve kissed guys before.” Though only when I was performing.

“Well, if you need some pointers on chemistry or the kissing scene, I’m kind of known for that. I am the soap opera queen, after all.”

“I think I’m okay. Thanks though. I just needed a little bonding time with Grant, and we had that.”

“Yes, we did. We’ll have to all do this again some time.”

“For sure,” I said. Even though I’d gone into it with a goal in mind, I’d actually had a lot of fun. “And, hey, I may not date, but I’m a notorious matchmaker. If you need help with a plan on how to land Grant James, I’m your girl.”



“I’d love that,” she said.

“It’s a deal, then. We’ll talk soon.”

She practically skipped back to the trailer. This whole night had turned out better than I had hoped. It surprised me. Now maybe my dad would surprise me and not get mad at me for being late.


“You’re late,” Dad said when I walked through the door.

“Hey, Dad. Nice to see you.” I walked into the small living room that was adjacent to the small kitchen. My dad had come to LA a couple of months before me to find us a decent place to live. He was a graphic designer and did most of his work from home, so he assured me it wasn’t too big of a sacrifice on his end, but I knew it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to pick up his whole life and move either, even if only for half a year.

“Are you late because you were so wrapped up in your schoolwork that you didn’t notice the time?” he asked.

I patted a stack of boxes three-high to the right of the television. “Did I learn my procrastination from you? How long have you been here? Two months? What’s even in these boxes? Obviously not anything pertinent to our survival.” I tried to pry open the top one, but it was taped shut.

“Lacey,” he said in a warning voice.

“I know it might not seem like I was doing homework, but I really was.”


“I don’t have it. I left it in my trailer.”

“I don’t know what to do with you right now. I don’t know whether to talk to your director about this or—”

“Please don’t. Please. Everyone already thinks I’m this little girl on set. As if no lead role in the history of Hollywood has ever been played by a seventeen-year-old.”

He stared at me for a moment, a long unnerving moment. Then he said, “There’s lasagna in the fridge if you’re hungry.” He turned around, walked down the very short hall, and shut himself in his room.

I sank to the couch and put my face in my hands. The learning curve of living with my dad was a steep one. He was stricter than my mom, and I was trying to figure out how to deal with that. I’d only ever lived with him one weekend a month and two weeks every summer. In between, we kept up with each other via email, texts, or phone calls. We were both discovering that living with one another full-time was something else altogether.

I started to stand, and my hand met the hard cover of the laptop. Now, in my post-confrontation guilt, probably wasn’t a good time to google my name on the computer. I was already feeling down, and reading comments on the internet wasn’t a good way to change that. But the combination of time and access to the internet always seemed to draw this desire out of me. I typed my name into the search engine.

It used to be only a few hits came up, mostly related to The Cafeteria. Now everything that came up was related to Grant. The first headline I saw read, “Just who is this unknown starring alongside superstar Grant James?”

“Just a nobody,” I said. Worse than the entertainment articles were Grant’s fans. They were brutal. Social media was full of mentions about who they wished had been cast as the lead instead of me. Like Natalie Mendoza, another big-name movie star. Did they really think this indie film could afford two big stars? I wasn’t sure how it afforded the one. This had to be a major pay cut for Grant.

As I scrolled through more pages, an image came up. I gasped. There were pictures of me online, of course—my headshots and stills from the commercial I’d been in and the TV show. But this was awful. Me arriving on set in my sweats, zero makeup, and a sour look on my face. The caption below it read: Save Grant James from the undead.

“Stay off the internet, Lacey,” I said, shutting the laptop. “Not helpful at all.” I dragged myself to bed.

A huge spread of food was always available at craft services, and I made my way to the covered tent the next morning after makeup. Amanda, wearing a long black drape to protect her wardrobe, was standing at the food table, dishing cantaloupe onto her plate. She looked over when I walked up, and startled a little. Then she laughed.

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