Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(6)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(6)
Kasie West

I backed out of my trailer, pretended to check the name on the door, then entered again. “I didn’t order a cute boy today. Did I?”

The guy pulled a pencil from the open backpack, took his foot off the coffee table, and leaned forward without even the hint of a smile.

“Are you here to run lines?” I asked. Maybe this was why Remy hadn’t put up a fight about ending the day—he’d sent a coach. I headed for the cabinets in the corner where I stored my script.

“I’m Donavan, your new tutor.”

I did a one-eighty and walked to the hanging rack instead. I hung up my blouse and corset. “Ah. I didn’t order one of those either.”

“Your father told me you’d say that. And he told me to tell you that it’s this or his having a long talk with your director.”

Remy would hate that.

“Did he also tell you how to deliver that message? Because you’re channeling him very well. Although your scowl is a little on the heavy side. Maybe tone it down a notch.”

“Do you need to get ready before we start?”

“Ready? Do you have some brain warm-ups for me?”

His eyes scanned my face, unruffled by my teasing.

“Oh. You mean my makeup. Am I scaring you?”

“Not at all. I found your packet and see you’ve done only about half.”

“I’ve done half? Nice.” I sat on the couch next to him. “But here’s the problem. I can’t do homework with a stranger. Tell me your five-minute history.”

“My five-minute . . . what?”

“Your . . .” Wait, he was a stranger. Remy may not have sent me a coach, but that didn’t mean this guy sitting next to me wouldn’t make a good one. “You can help me.”

“Yes, exactly. Do you want to start with math or English?”

“Chemistry.”

He flipped several pages on the packet. “Do you even have chemistry this year?”

I began taking everything between us and putting them on the coffee table: my packet, a binder, a pencil, his phone. “You have never seen me without makeup on.” Sure, I was missing the big section on my cheek that made me look even creepier, but I knew what was left still wasn’t a pretty sight.

“Your dad also told me you would be very creative at finding ways to get out of this.” He reached for the stuff on the table.

I grabbed both of his arms and turned him to face me. “I’ll do your packet in a minute.”

“It’s your packet.”

“Whatever. Just help me real fast, and then we can work on that.”

He sighed. “I am setting my phone timer for five minutes. When it goes off, we start on the packet.”

I crinkled my nose. “You really are a choir boy, aren’t you?”

“Five minutes.” He picked up his phone.

I smirked a little. He could hold his own. Most boys let me get my way. “Fine.”

He clicked a few buttons, then set it back on the table. “So what do you need me to do?”

“Just sit there and tell me when you feel something.” For many auditions I’d had to go from meeting complete strangers to performing a scene with them in seconds. This was a little different, since he wasn’t an actor, but he’d be fine.

“Are you ready?” I asked.

“Yes.”

I lifted my hand slowly, then ran a finger along his shoulder while I stared into his eyes. He had nice eyes—chocolate brown with thick lashes.

He jerked back. “Wait, I thought you were going to try to scare me.”

“You’d think, right? No, I need to know when you feel a spark.”

“I don’t even know you.”

“I’m not trying to form a lasting connection. I just need to know how to create chemistry with all this on.” I pointed at my makeup.

His eyes traveled over my face. Had Grant’s eyes been traveling my entire face today too? Maybe he needed to concentrate on the one thing the makeup artist didn’t touch—my eyes.

“Hey . . .” I realized I’d forgotten his name.

He realized I’d forgotten too. “Donavan.”

“Right. Sorry. Donavan, don’t look anywhere but in my eyes.”

“Okay.” His eyes went back to mine. It was obvious he was feeling nothing but uncomfortable at this point.

I needed to change that. I kept my hands to myself and twirled my hair while locking eyes. I tried to make mine soft and vulnerable. My dirty hair crunched as I twisted it around my finger, and I held back a sigh. This was the problem—I was relying on the tactics I normally fell back on in a romantic scene, things that wouldn’t work in my current makeup-ed state. I inched closer to him on the couch. He smelled like mint gum. If he had a piece in his mouth, he wasn’t chewing it. He was perfectly still.

I reached for his hand that was resting on his knee and slowly laced our fingers together. His fingertips were slightly calloused, and I wondered what he’d done to earn those. Yard work? Building? I used my thumb to draw circles on his palm.

His body relaxed, sinking into the couch more, leaning closer to me. I leaned in as well, until my right shoulder touched his left. Then I let my eyes flicker over his face. He had tan, clear skin. His lips were a bit chapped but full.

The phone alarm went off, causing him to jump. His cheeks went pink as he reached for his phone.

“Perfect,” I said, backing away. “You felt something, right?”

“Um . . . sure.”

I knew he had. He wouldn’t have blushed otherwise. “And what about me? Did it seem like I felt something?”

“Yes.”

“Well, thank you. That will be very helpful for tomorrow.” And it would be. I hadn’t tried the hand thing on Grant. And I’d make sure we were better about maintaining eye contact.

“Did you?” Donavan asked.

“Did I what?”

“Did you feel something?”

Had I? I’d been concentrating so hard on making him feel that I hadn’t noticed. “No. But that doesn’t matter.”

Donavan picked up the packet off the table and handed it to me. “That was interesting. Now let’s get to work.”

“Can I take off my makeup first?”

“So many excuses.”

“Okay, fine. Packet. What’s another hour being stifled by makeup?”

There was a knock on my door seconds before it swung open, and Faith came in carrying some pink pages. Faith was young, probably in her early twenties. She wore glasses and always had her hair pulled up into a messy bun. “Revision for tomorrow’s scenes.”

“Really?” I took the pages and scanned through my lines. They weren’t much different, so I would be able to memorize the few changes easily.

“Noah said that you need to get something done to your nails tomorrow too, so you need to be here a little earlier.”

“Okay.”

“Is there anything I can do for you?” she asked, looking at Donavan like she was offering to kick him out. I had no idea she was so protective of me.

It was tempting. “I’m good.”

She left, and I glanced at Donavan. I didn’t know him at all, but he didn’t hide irritation well. “Hey, Choir Boy, you took the job.”

“I’m regretting it already.”

I flashed him my stage smile. “You won’t regret it for long. I grow on people.” Or he’d quit.

Dancing Graves

INT. THE GRAHAM MANSION—DAY

BENJAMIN SCOTT tries to fight off a horde of angry zombies who have broken into the mansion. Several make it past him and find SCARLETT and EVELIN hiding in the library. Scarlett takes the poker from the fireplace and attempts to hold them off, swinging it wildly all around. She connects with several, pushing them back for a while. Eventually she is bitten. Evelin escapes unharmed and finds Benjamin.

EVELIN

Come quick! It might be too late!

BENJAMIN

Where is she? Where is Scarlett?

EVELIN

Come.

Benjamin finds Scarlett unconscious in the library. He rushes to Lord Graham’s lab and finds the most recent cure attempt and brings it back to Scarlett. He lifts her head and forces the liquid down her throat, then cradles her to his chest.

BENJAMIN

Don’t leave me. Not like this.

Five

I placed the packet in my dad’s hands. “There. Now you can call off Boy Wonder. Where do you hire these people from anyway? Valedictorians R Us?”

“Is he on track to become a valedictorian?”

“My guess is yes. He takes homework more seriously than any seventeen-year-old should.” I wasn’t even sure he was seventeen. He’d looked about my age, but he’d acted closer to my dad’s.

“Heaven forbid,” Dad said. “But, no, like I said before, he goes to the school that sponsors your independent study. The school you’d go to if you actually went to school.”

So the school recommended him. That made sense. For some reason I had it in my mind that my dad had scoured the city to find the person who looked most like a tutor.

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