Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(7)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(7)
Kasie West

“If I went to school, I’d be going to the one by mom’s house.” I didn’t realize that would hurt his feelings, but I could tell by the look on his face that it did, which made me immediately regret saying it. I was acting like an ungrateful brat. I knew it was because I was tired and stressed. But I also knew it was because he was treating me like a third grader. My mom would’ve trusted me more had she been here. But, like that third grader, I didn’t admit my mistake. Instead, I mumbled, “Going to bed,” and left him standing in the living room.

My phone rang as I was pulling on my pajamas. Mom.

“Hello?”

“Hello, my sweet girl. How are you?”

I immediately felt better at the sound of her voice. I didn’t realize how much I missed her until that moment. “Good,” I said, climbing into bed.

“Just good?” she asked.

“Well . . .” I sat up and adjusted my body against the headboard, settling in to get her advice.

“No,” she said. “Don’t do that.”

“What?”

“Don’t pull on the cords, or the television might fall on you.”

It took me two seconds to realize she was talking to Colby, my little brother. “Do you need to go save him from a television disaster?”

Back to me she said, “No, it’s fine. He’s four; he knows better. He was trying to get his blanket and got the cords with it.”

“I see.”

“Now, what were you saying?”

I started to ask about how to deal with my dad better but stopped myself. That was between me and him. I didn’t need to put her in the middle of it. We’d figure things out. So I asked, “Have I ever had a problem with chemistry?” My mom had spent many hours watching me from behind curtains or front row center.

“What do you mean, hon, I— It’s in the dryer, Sydney! I moved it over last night! It stinks? It probably sat in the washing machine for three days, then. I’ll run them again in a minute.”

A lamp on my desk was in the mode where it projected stars onto my ceiling. I mapped a constellation with my eyes while she continued talking to my sister. “Mom, do you need to go?” I asked when she was quiet again.

“What? No. I want to talk to you.”

I knew she did, but it sounded like she was on edge. “How is everything? You doing okay? You sound busy.”

“You have no idea. Bill just started a new case and it’s taking all his time, and I feel like I’m in the car twenty-four seven. It was nice having you around to help. Plus, Colby and Syd miss you.”

“I miss them too!”

“What am I saying?” Mom said. “I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m so happy for you. I’m dying up here thinking about how much fun you must be having. This is it. Your big break. And with Grant James. You must be in heaven. Are you? In heaven?”

She didn’t need more stress. She didn’t need to know what people were saying about me online. She didn’t need to know that my chemistry was off. After all, everything else seemed fine. I was a great zombie. And this opportunity felt like my mom’s dream as much as mine sometimes and I just wanted her to bask in it. She’d helped me get here. “Yes, Mom, it’s amazing. You should come visit the set sometime. You’d love it.” She really would. It was amazing.

“I will! That would be great . . . so great. I’ll have to see when I can fit— Colby, don’t fall asleep right there, sweetie. You need to brush your teeth first.”

“Mom, sounds like bedtime routine is in full swing. I’ll let you go. Thanks for calling me.”

“Okay, Lace. Love you. Good night,” she said.

“Love you too. Good night.”

I hung up, then reached over and clicked off my light. I lay there staring at the dark ceiling for a while. I was exhausted, but my mind wouldn’t let me sleep. I still gripped my phone in my hand, and I swiped across the screen, causing it to light up. I clicked on my contacts and pushed call.

“Hello,” Abby said when she answered. “You know most people use chat these days, right?”

“Would you rather me chat you?”

“No. It’s good to hear from you.”

“Too late,” I said. “Now I know how you really feel.” Abby was always joking, so in reality, I wasn’t worried.

“How are things?” she asked.

“Do you babysit?”

“Um . . . do you have a baby I don’t know about?”

“No, my mom could use a night out. I want to hire you.”

“You’re sweet. Sure, I’ll take your siblings out for a night. I won’t even charge you.”

“You’re the best.”

“Yes, I am,” she said. “How is Operation Making Friends On Set going?”

“Good. I found out one of the actresses is in love with Grant, so I’m helping her out. You know, since I’m a notorious matchmaker.”

Abby let out a scoffing sound. “Notorious? You know you have to actually do something of note before you can be considered notorious.”

“Shhh.”

“Are you basing this notoriety off me and Cooper? Because if I remember correctly the plan you came up with didn’t work at all. It’s a miracle we even got together after everything that happened.”

“Shhh. Notorious. Anyway, moving on. Thank you for watching my brother and sister. I owe you big-time.”

“As in, you can give me a tour of a Hollywood movie set and let me meet some famous people? That kind of big-time? Or like, you’ll buy me a milkshake and call it even?”

“Do you want a tour of a movie set?”

“Who wouldn’t?”

“Then yes! Come visit me. You will be impressed by my lack of fame and by all of Grant’s fans.”

“I am always impressed by people who aren’t famous. I can’t wait.”

“I’ll look at the schedule and try to find a day where we can actually spend some time together.”

“I can’t wait.”

“And I’ll introduce you to Grant, a real-life movie star.”

“Yes, please.”

Dancing Graves

INT. LORD LUCAS’S LAB—NIGHT

BENJAMIN relates the events that took place while LORD LUCAS was away, pointing out where the vial that he had given to Scarlett was and what it looked like. Scarlett has been unconscious for three days and is in her bedroom, where Benjamin moved her after giving her the vial. Evelin attends to her.

LORD LUCAS

And how did she react after you administered it?

BENJAMIN

Her breathing slowed; she seemed to relax.

LORD LUCAS

That’s a good sign. I’ve never been able to give a dosage so quickly after a bite. Maybe it will make all the difference.

BENJAMIN

We can only hope.

Six

One of my least favorite parts of working on this movie was the hours I had to spend getting my makeup done every day so I could look like a zombie. Which was why I was thrilled when Leah applied it in record time. Not entirely sure what to do with my newfound free time, I wandered over to the set, where Grant and Amanda were finishing up a scene. They were standing under a large oak tree and making a plan about what to do if my change progressed further. I visualized the way I would move later. How I would creep toward them, what thoughts I needed to channel during the scene.

Remy stood just behind the glow of lights, watching with his headphones on.

Amanda was good. It was kind of ironic that her character was in love with Grant’s character, seeing as how she liked him in real life too. I wondered if those real feelings helped her act the scene better. I also wondered if the unrequited part of the script was true to real life as well. If it was, we needed to change that.

“Good, very good!” Remy yelled out at the scene break. He turned to me and beckoned me forward. “Okay, zombie girl. Get in there and remind your hunter why he hasn’t killed you yet.”

I joined Grant on set while the cameras and lights were moved into a new position. Amanda sat in a chair by the monitor, and Noah showed her a playback while Aaron looked over their shoulders. He seemed to be chiming in with suggestions. Noah threw an impatient look over his shoulder, not hiding what he thought of those ideas.

I turned my attention back to Grant. “You haven’t killed me yet because my father is on the verge of the real cure, and you really want to inherit his fortune when you marry me,” I said for only Grant to hear.

He smiled. He was pacing, going from the tree to the headstone to a cart past the lights with garden tools on it, then back again, mumbling his lines under his breath.

Remy was busy talking to a camera operator, so I snatched Grant’s hand on his second pass and pulled him toward me.

“Do you see my eyes?” I said.

He tilted his head, like I’d said something surprising. “Yes. They’re gorgeous.”

“Thanks. But more important, makeup-free, right? Don’t look anywhere else today. We can do this.”

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