Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(8)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(8)
Kasie West

“Do you see my eyes?” he asked, bending down to my level. His eyes were even bluer up close.

“Yes. They’re gorgeous,” I said, mimicking him.

“Most girls actually like to stare into them.”

“What?”

“You think it’s me,” he said. “That trailer visit the other night. This. You think it’s me.”

“I . . . Maybe.” I’d thought it was both of us.

He leaned in even closer, his stare becoming a smolder, showing just how easy he could turn it on. “It’s not.”

“Oh.”

“We good?” he asked.

“Yes. We’re good,” I said. Only we weren’t. He had me flustered now. Second-guessing myself. I had planned to do the things I’d practiced with Donavan the day before, but if I was the one who wasn’t projecting chemistry, those things wouldn’t help me.

We started in on the scene. “Cut!” Remy yelled in the middle of a take. “What’s that?” He pointed right at me.

“What?” Had I said a line wrong? It wouldn’t have surprised me—I felt off.

He stepped forward, his finger still extended until he reached me and his finger met my arm. I looked at where he was pointing, to see a long rip in my blouse. There were a lot of rips in my shirt, but I, too, recognized this as a new one. One that hadn’t been there in any other scene, which was a bad thing. It would stand out if two scenes were back-to-back, one with the rip and one without.

“I don’t know how that got there,” I said. There’s no way I wouldn’t have heard that long of a fabric rip. Weird.

“Wardrobe!” he bellowed, and I tried not to cringe.

“I’ll go get a backup,” Faith said.

She took longer than Remy wanted (I could tell by his constant sighing), but when she returned, he said, “Way to be on top of things, Faith.”

As she helped me exchange shirts, I said, “Thanks.”

She gave me a quick nod, and then we continued.

I left the set for the second day in a row frustrated that nothing had changed. The chemistry was still off. Remy had made sure to let us know. Back in my trailer after yanking off my corset, I pulled out my laptop and googled Amanda Roth’s best kissing scenes. A whole list came up. I clicked on the first one.

Eight minutes later, I had watched the first three. She was amazing. The chemistry she created crackled through my computer screen. I was so engrossed in figuring out how she was pulling it off that I didn’t realize someone had come into my trailer until he cleared his throat.

I pushed pause and looked up to see Donavan standing there.

“I knocked,” he said.

“I finished the packet yesterday,” I responded.

“You finished one of the three. That’s one-third.”

“Look at you, using your tutoring skills in everyday conversations.”

“It’s a talent.” He stepped all the way inside and shut the door.

“You should include that in your bio for sure.”

“My bio?”

“Right. You probably don’t have a bio. I’ll write one for you. ‘Donavan: Loves homework, haircuts, and harmonizing.’”

“You know I don’t actually sing, right?”

“Let’s not argue about semantics.”

He gestured toward my face. “Is ‘can wear zombie makeup twelve hours straight’ in your bio?”

I had forgotten I was still wearing it. “I’m trying to become the character.” I touched my cheek. “Has it been twelve hours?”

“According to the call sheet your dad sends me every day.”

“It’s not always accurate,” I said. “Just giving you a fair warning.”

“Are you already working on your next packet?”

“What?”

He nodded at my laptop.

“Oh, no.” I had more important things to work on. I slid down the couch, indicating he should sit. He did. “But I am studying.” I pushed play on the scene I had paused.

He watched for several minutes in complete silence as Amanda went from a heartfelt monologue to making out with someone.

“Isn’t she amazing?” I asked.

“I’m confused.”

I pointed to Amanda. “This is an actress in this movie. She’s going to teach me how she does this.”

“How she does what?”

“I have to convince audiences everywhere that a zombie loves a zombie hunter. So far, it’s not happening. So far, the only thing future viewers care about is that I’m not someone else.”

“How do you know this?”

“The internet.”

“The internet?”

“Well, people on the internet. Mainly Grant’s fans.”

“You know what a wise philosopher once said?” he responded.

“What?”

“You have to shake it off. Shake, shake, shake it off.”

I smiled a little. He did know how to tell a joke. “Because the haters are gonna hate?”

He returned my smile, which softened all his seriousness. “Exactly.” He looked around, apparently having humored me long enough, his serious face back again. “Do you know where your other two packets are?”

I stared at him for a moment. He wasn’t at all enamored by the fact that he was on a movie set or talking to an actress.

“What?” he asked, meeting my stare.

“Nothing.” I went to the cabinet, picked up a stack of papers, and plopped them on the table in front of him. Then I went back to watching another one of Amanda’s videos.

“These aren’t the packets,” he said.

“They’re in there somewhere.”

“What is this?”

I turned my head sideways to look. “Oh. That’s my script.” I held out my hand, but he kept flipping pages.

“What does INT and EXT mean?”

“Those are the scene details. Interior and exterior. INT means it’s an inside scene and EXT means it’s outside. And then this part is where specifically each scene takes place and then what time of day.” I pointed at the different words. “It’s mainly notes for the lighting people.”

He nodded and continued to read. “Do you really have to say this stuff?”

“No, I just have to read it, then make up whatever I really want to say.”

“‘My heart aches to be with you, but soon you will only want flesh’?”

“I don’t have to say that part. Grant says that.”

“Grant James.” He said it as a fact, not as a question, so he obviously already knew the answer.

“You want to meet him? I could introduce you,” I said. It was obvious I needed to get on my tutor’s good side so he’d relax a bit. He may not have cared who I was, because I was nobody yet, but everyone knew Grant.

“I don’t want to meet him.”

“You don’t?” Everyone wanted to meet Grant James.

“He has to say the words: I wish I could feed your hunger with only my lips.”

I took the script from him. “You just made that up.”

“Close enough,” he said.

“No more mocking. Look, I will work out a deal with you. I will do your packet—”

“Your packet.”

“If you do something for me.”

“What does that mean?” He tapped the top of the computer. “You’re not going to try to kiss me again, are you?”

“Ha! I did not try to kiss you yesterday. I accomplished exactly what I needed to. No more, no less. If I had wanted to kiss you, I wouldn’t have had to try.” When I could tell he didn’t find that amusing, by the way his face darkened, I added, “But don’t worry, I’m not into distractions like that. I don’t date.”

“And I don’t date actresses, so I guess we’re clear on our roles here.”

I stopped, sidetracked. “You don’t date actresses? Did one actress in particular cause this universal ban? If so, tell the story, it must be a good one.”

He picked up my packet and held it up, dismissing my question. “What’s the deal, then?”

Right, the deal. I didn’t need Donavan’s dating history anyway. I was trying to spend less time with him, not bond with him. It wasn’t Donavan, in particular; it was the interruptions. I wanted to do my homework on my own timetable. When I knew I wasn’t working on a scene or studying my performance. I wanted to do it in bits and pieces, not dedicate hours at a time to it. “I will do the packet if you let me check in with you remotely.”

“Remotely?”

“Yes, instead of coming in here, I text you a picture of my completed pages. Then when I’m done, I leave the packet at the front gate for you to deliver to school. And what my dad doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”

He studied my face for a moment, and I resisted the urge to start peeling away at the zombie makeup.

“Deal,” he said.

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