Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(5)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(5)
Kasie West

“If I were a zombie hunter, you’d be the first to go,” she said.

I put my hand to my chest. “I’m hurt that I mean nothing to you.”


I bared my teeth at her, and she smiled and took a step back. I grabbed a banana. “Did you and Grant do another round of that game after I left?”

“Actually, we did.”

“Did you learn anything interesting about him?” It had been fun, but we had shared only basic facts the night before. I still felt like I didn’t know him very well.

“About Grant James?”

“Did someone else show up?” I peeled the banana and ate it in small pieces.

She plucked a piece of granola out of a bowl on the table and threw it at me with a smile. “No, but it’s Grant James. He’s been in the public eye since he was six. Nothing he told me last night, including the drumming and carne asada fries thing, was new. Pretty sure everything you’d ever want to know about him is online somewhere.”

“Online,” I mumbled in disgust.

“Yes, you need to stay off the internet for at least the next eight weeks. That will not help you. It doesn’t like you for stealing its boyfriend.”

“You’ve googled me?”

“I was curious about who this nobody starring alongside my boyfriend was.” She winked at me. I liked Amanda; she seemed to say whatever she thought.

“Yeah, yeah. So . . . about Grant,” I said. “I didn’t know those things he revealed last night. The only things I’ve read about him are that his parents divorced when he was ten; he has one brother, who’s adopted; he owns three houses; and his favorite person is his grandma.”

“You read the People article too?” she asked.

“Did someone say something about my grandma?” Grant asked, walking by the food table and swiping a doughnut as he did.

“We weren’t talking about you,” I said, then under my breath added to Amanda, “Tell him we were.”

“We totally were,” Amanda yelled after him, and he smiled at her over his shoulder. She nudged me with her elbow. “You’re good.”

“Didn’t I tell you?”

Noah, the first assistant director, peered around the corner with the scowl he seemed to always wear. “Lacey, they’re ready for you.”

“More, later,” I said to Amanda.

She waved a fork with a piece of cantaloupe on it at me.

I followed Noah.

Grant was already in the graveyard, standing on the pile of dirt next to the hole of a newly dug grave. His hair was styled to perfection. His eyes looked extra blue under the lights.

“Hey,” I said, stepping in front of him. “Doesn’t it feel weird that we’re filming at an actual graveyard? I’m surprised we haven’t gotten any complaints.” I nodded my head toward the group of people beyond the fence who had been absent when I arrived but were now pressed up against the chain-link. They held big signs. None of the signs were angry protests. All of them were variations of We Love Grant James. I wondered if he could go anywhere without being recognized. I smiled. Was that my future? I could get used to people holding signs for me.

He popped the last bite of doughnut into his mouth, then tamped on the dirt pile with his foot. “It’s because we’re in the back half of the graveyard. Nobody is actually buried here.”

“I know, but still.”

“How is all this graveyard appreciation coming from a girl who hates animals?”

“You do know graveyards and animals aren’t even close to the same thing, right?”

“Right . . . graveyards aren’t living things. Do you really hate animals? All of them? Even kittens? Who can hate kittens?”

“Have you been analyzing this since last night?”

Remy joined us on the dirt pile. “Hi, guys, how you feeling today?” He held the shot list in his hand with the scenes that we’d be filming that day.

“Good,” I said.

“This girl doesn’t like kittens,” Grant said.

“Kittens are tolerable,” I said.

“Hmm,” Remy said. “Maybe we should have your character eat kitten brains for a shot.”

My mouth dropped open.

Remy gave Grant a head tilt. “Turns out she likes kittens more than she was letting on.” He glanced at his clipboard. “Besides, audiences wouldn’t forgive us for that. We better stick to humans.” He clapped us back to business. “Okay, we have extras coming in this afternoon for some zombie fighting scenes, but this morning it’s just the two of you. So lots of pining. This is the graveyard you might have to be buried in if this cure doesn’t work. It’s a heartfelt scene. Sad eyes, loving looks, the works.”

“Sounds good,” Grant said, and I nodded my agreement.

“Quiet on set,” Noah called as Remy backed out of the shot. Everyone went silent, even the birds, it seems. The boom operator placed the microphone in place, hovering over our heads.

The guy with the slate came forward.

“Slate in, sound rolling, camera rolling,” Noah called out.

“Scene eleven. Take one,” the guy who held the slate said.

“And action,” Remy said.


There may have been lots of supposed pining, but I could tell, even after six hours, that the scenes Grant and I had shot weren’t working for Remy. Apparently our chemistry was still off.

“Is her hair red?” he’d called out at one point, referring to me. “It’s too bright. It’s clashing with all the blood. It needs more mud or something.” And so more mud was added to my hair.

Now I was standing by a light, filthy hair, surrounded by zombies. I felt hot and a bit claustrophobic. Someone tripped next to me, and I reached out to keep them from falling, when a huge light began to tip. I grabbed the pole, but it didn’t help, the light crashed to the ground, bulb shattering and breaking with a burst. Someone screamed. Several members of the crew rushed forward and immediately began brushing the scattered glass into a pile.

“What just happened?” Remy yelled, staring right at me.

I held up my hands. “It just fell.” I wasn’t sure what had happened. Had the tripping zombie knocked into it? I was just glad nobody seemed hurt.

It was then that my advocate on set stepped forward and said something to Remy that I couldn’t hear. Probably that the underage star with a special contract was going over her allotted hours for the day because Remy said, “What happened to hiring thirty-year-olds who look seventeen?”

Grant laughed next to me.

I scrunched my nose at him. “You could’ve had a thirty-year-old as a costar.”

“That’s hot,” he said.


He shrugged and laughed again.

“That’s a wrap for the day,” Remy called, surprising me. Really? We were ending early? With my dad not breathing down his neck, I thought Remy could fix the light and talk down the advocate. He’d done it before.

As Leah removed the premade section on my face I asked her under my breath, “Should I be worried? Does he think I knocked over that light?”

“No, that was an accident. You did great. He’s just a big bear. Sometimes he forgets a movie becomes a movie during edits.”

“You’ve worked with him before?”

“Lots of times.”

“Leah!” the big bear said.


“I want more . . . more . . . something on the zombies. Let’s chat.”

“See,” Leah said. “This is his filming persona. He’ll be happy in the end.” She tucked the section she’d taken off my cheek into a red plastic case.

“Red for blood?” I asked, nodding to the case.

“Don’t forget guts. Blood and guts.” She gave me a smile and left to go discuss makeup with Remy.

Grant was talking to some guy who I had seen on set before. He was tall, wearing shorts and flip-flops, and didn’t seem happy. I waved goodbye, but Grant didn’t see me.

I started peeling off wardrobe layers as I walked toward my trailer. Suddenly Aaron was at my side. “Are you okay?” He was looking at my hands like he’d find them bloodied up.

“I’m fine. Was your dad mad about the light?”

He rolled his eyes. “He’s always mad. You did great today. I like the way you glare at Grant. I think it’s very zombieish. My dad liked that part too. He gave a happy grunt.”

I held in my laugh because I could tell he was trying to give me good feedback. Being a director’s son, he’d probably been on a million sets throughout his life. “You’re going to make a great director one day.”

His eyes shot to the floor. “Thanks. Do you need anything?”

“I’m good. Thank you.”

He nodded and left me to myself. I slipped off my blouse. I was down to my tank top and ripped-up skirt by the time I closed myself inside my trailer.

A guy around my age sat on the couch, one of his feet propped up on the coffee table, his backpack open beside him. He was the most clean-cut-looking guy I’d ever seen in my life. Had he come straight from singing in a church choir? His dark hair was cropped short on the sides and a little longer on top. He wore a collared shirt and black pants.

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