Home > Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(9)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss(9)
Kasie West

I stopped by Amanda’s trailer on my way out for the day. She let me inside and then went to the microwave, where she pushed the start button.

“So,” I said. “I think I need some help with my chemistry after all.”


“Yes, I watched some of your soap opera scenes, and you’re really good.”

“Thanks. Of course I’ll give you some tips, but for the record, I don’t think it’s all you. I was watching your scene today, and Grant’s not his normal self.”

I took a relieved breath and sank to her couch. “Thank you for saying that. He made me feel like it was all me.”

“He has a lot riding on this movie. His last Heath Hall movie tanked. And the reviews have really gotten in his head. Especially that one that went viral.” Heath Hall was the name of the spy that Grant played in a series of action movies. It was a role he had made famous or the role that had made him famous, it was hard to separate the two.

“This is about a bad review?” I asked.

“Not just a bad review,” she said. “A scathing, viral one that was retweeted more times than any of his good reviews ever have been. And it won’t go away. It keeps resurfacing.”

I cringed. I knew which review she was talking about. “Grant James Goes Down in Flames.” There had even been a meme made of it—a picture of Grant’s handsome face contorted in a scream and engulfed in flames. The meme was now used in completely unrelated conversations. “I thought he had more confidence than that.”

“Most of the time he does. Sometimes he doesn’t.”

I could understand that. “Why did he choose this movie, then, if he feels he needs to redeem his career? Shouldn’t he be doing another one of his Heath Hall high-budget films?”

“He’s hoping fans will get behind a campy horror movie with heart versus his cold action-driven movies. We need to figure out how to help him get past this bad review, because I can give you all the tips in the world, but if he’s not on board too, it’s not going to help.”

“We should play that Taylor Swift song for him,” I said, thinking about what Donavan had told me earlier and smiling despite myself.


The microwave beeped and she took out a mug full of water, then dipped a teabag into it and sat down next to me.

“Never mind. Inside joke.”

“Okay, so chemistry on camera. My first tip that always leads to loads of chemistry is to imagine your costar, Grant in this case, as the guy you really like.”

“The guy I really like? I don’t really like anyone.”

“Okay, then someone you used to like. Remember and draw on the feelings you had at the height of liking someone.”

“Right . . .”

She narrowed her eyes and studied my face. “Wait . . . I know you said you didn’t date, but have you never dated? You’ve never been in love before?”


“Is that a question?”

“No, it’s not. I’ve kissed a lot of costars in theater, but I’ve never been in love.” I had been focused on this singular goal since the sixth grade. And I’d seen what boys could do to normally rational people—take over their every waking thought. I was too busy making my dreams happen. I had the rest of my life to figure out the love part.

“Wow. Well, I guess you need to work on your personal life. You’re seventeen years old and starring in a movie, but you’ve never been in love? Between you and Grant, this is going to be harder than I thought.”

“But I’m really good at pretending. I’ve acted a lot of ways I’ve never personally felt before.”


I looked down at my hands and back at her. “Amanda?”


“Thanks for helping me.” I had needed a friend on set. I hadn’t realized how much until then. Just sitting there talking with her was making all the difference in the world.

“Of course,” she said. “Any time.”

Dancing Graves


BENJAMIN SCOTT waits impatiently near a still-unconscious SCARLETT, hopeful that the experimental cure might have an effect even though he begins to lose hope as each day passes. She starts to stir and wakes. She takes in her surroundings, obviously not fully herself but not fully gone either. He rushes to her side and takes her hand. EVELIN waits in the corner, worried and uncertain.


Scarlett? Talk to me.

SCARLETT tries to speak, but nothing comes out. Her eyes widen in worry.


Don’t worry, my love, you will be fine. Your father will fix everything. I think we’ve slowed down the transformation. Your heart never stopped.


Do you understand us, Scar?



Thank goodness. I can’t lose you now.


I opened my eyes, and I knew something was off. The lighting in my room was too bright, and I was hot. I kicked off my covers, then picked up my phone off the nightstand. The time showed it was 7:00 a.m. My phone alarm, the one that had worked every morning for the last week, hadn’t gone off. Had I disabled it?

I had five text messages from Leah. I shot out of bed. Call was at eight, but I would barely make it to location by then, let alone be in full makeup. I brushed my teeth and ran for the door, hoping there weren’t too many overly observant photographers today.

My dad sat on a barstool in the kitchen, his laptop open, a bowl of cereal next to him.

“Don’t you want to eat before you leave?” he asked.

“No, I overslept.”

“I noticed.”

My hand was on the door, and I stopped and turned. “You knew what time my call was this morning. Why didn’t you wake me?”

“Because I figured you could use the extra sleep. You’re not getting enough.”

My mouth dropped open. “You didn’t turn off my alarm, did you?”

“Of course not. I’m sure that was your overly tired subconscious.”

I was angry but had zero time to discuss this with him right now. “If that happens again, please wake up both my conscious and my subconscious.”

He gave me a wave of agreement, and I ran out the door.

I texted Leah: Running late. Sorry!

“I’m so sorry,” I said when I arrived breathless to Leah’s station.

She checked her watch, which told her we had fifteen minutes until call, and makeup took about ninety. “It’s fine.”

“Should I go tell Remy or Noah not to wait on me?”

“No. Sometimes they’re running late. If they are, they won’t even realize that you were too. If they’re not, they’ll know we’re not ready soon enough.”

They were not running late. Noah was at our station at five minutes to call. “You don’t look ready,” he said, wearing his normal scowl.

I went to open my mouth to explain, when Leah said, “Sorry, makeup is giving me issues this morning. Tell Remy it will be another hour.”

“He won’t be happy.”

“Art takes time,” she said.

When Noah left, I said, “You didn’t have to do that. It was my fault.”

She waved something that resembled a small paintbrush at me. “It’s fine.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Hold still,” she directed as she pressed the premade section onto my cheek. “What happened anyway? Why so late?”

“Apparently I slept through my alarm. I was up late doing homework.”

“And you finished it?”

“No, actually. I fell asleep. There might be some numbers inked onto my forehead.” I rubbed at my forehead as if that was a real possibility.

“But I let a guy into your trailer the other day who said he was your tutor. Donavan? Isn’t having a tutor supposed to make homework faster?”

“Well . . . it would if I used him. I kind of made him leave.”

“Why would you do that? He seemed really nice. And cute too.”

“He is . . . cute, I mean. I’m not sure if he’s nice. He acts like a dad number two, so I’ve been treating him like that.”

She laughed. “Your dad’s not so bad.”

“You’ve met him. You know how overprotective he is.”

She waved her hand through the air like that shouldn’t bother me.

“The point is, I don’t need another dad. The one I have is already doubling up. But I really thought I could do the work on my own. I hardly get any alone time and I needed it yesterday. And I can do the work on my own . . . except the math. The math is hard.”

“So, thinking about your life choices . . . ?”

“Yeah yeah, send the tutor away after I do math next time.”

“It’s good to learn from our mistakes.”

An hour later I walked on set, then realized I was holding my phone. I hadn’t had time to stop by my trailer in my rush this morning. I panicked but Faith held out her hand with a smile.

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