Authors: Kim Carmichael
“Maybe you can interview Wilson. He’s coming here.”
As if timed, their doorbell rang.
“I’ll be right back.” Giselle dashed away.
Only her best friend could have a blatant one-night stand turn into a date for the next evening. She stared at the drain, the big black hole to nowhere, or the place where her nonexistent entertainment career and love life would end up.
“Hi, Matt!” Giselle screamed a warning through their place.
She grabbed the edge of the sink and shot up. Matt? Damn her for being disappointed and praying her visitor was Logan instead.
“Ivy!” Giselle yelled.
She shut her eyes and took a breath.
“There’s my girl.” Matt’s voice broke through the all-female energy of their apartment.
Without an escape hatch anywhere nearby, she turned. “Hey, what are you doing here?” She forced her voice to be perky.
“I could have sworn only yesterday I told someone I would swoop in and help.” He held up his laptop bag.
She knew his tone, teasing, slightly flirty. He used it ever since they had met in college, only with her it never produced the desired effect. She wanted her heart to speed at the thought of him, or the air to sizzle around him. If only she could think of him as something other than an amazing friend. Other girls would go crazy for his clean-cut good looks, perfectly combed blond hair, and tall, lean physique. Matthew Gentry’s persona screamed husband material. The ideal image of a parental dream.
Yes, her assignment. The job she sort of pushed aside to think about Logan and his lip-lock. “You wouldn’t believe how crazy things got in such a short amount of time.” She widened her eyes at Giselle, giving her the girl signal to keep her mouth shut about a lip-lock with one Hollywood star. Since it wouldn’t be happening again, there was no point mentioning it.
“Well, that’s why I’m here.” He came over and leaned down, giving her a work-safe kiss on the cheek, not a scorching kiss that required refrigeration.
Something about his visit rang familiar. The memory lived way off in the distance, a time before Logan Alexander kissed her. Like nothing but a fan girl, she barely wanted to brush her teeth for fear she would lose his taste, but she already knew nothing about Mr. Alexander was forgettable. She swallowed and focused, needing Matt and his expertise more than ever.
“You can make this work, even if you don’t have a
star.” He settled down at the dinette table and patted the chair next to him.
“Well, about that . . .” She sat. How did she explain she wasn’t sure if she had one or not without mentioning some inappropriate behavior?
“I planned for this exact contingency. You can get everything you need on your own.” He pulled out his laptop and turned it on. “I’ve helped you by putting together some preliminary ideas. It may be even better not to have anyone from the movie. That way you are not bound by any promises you made to that guy you’re crushing on. I say, good riddance.”
“Craig only let me do this because I had a star.” Rather than tell Matt everything, she chose to find out the reasoning behind his words. A twinge hit her in the heart. Yes, they kissed, and she swore he said they would work together, but she still hadn’t heard from him. She picked up her phone, pausing before hitting the button and finding out if his message graced the screen.
“That was just the in you needed. What you’re going to do is much better than interview a star from twenty years ago.” He turned his computer to her. “This is why I love technology. If you know what you’re doing, you can find out anything, and now you shall benefit. I’ll be helping you and Chargge at the same time.”
She took in the spreadsheet he presented her. Everything focused on the sequel, the night at the hotel room, and speculations about Drew Fulton’s whereabouts. If she filled in the squares, the story would go viral and she would save her job and answer questions that had plagued fans of the movie for two decades.
“This is the hotel they were at.” He pointed to the first entry. “The Beverly Garland.”
“Right.” Although she knew every detail by heart, she tried to take in the data with new eyes.
“Look, if you click this, it’s everything we know to date.” He selected the box, and the screen filled with images taken from the destroyed hotel room and the original newspaper article.
“At the heart of the controversy is the arrest of
star Logan Alexander. In a tale told way too many times among the Hollywood elite, Alexander was apprehended at the Beverly Garland hotel after engaging in a drugged-up brawl that destroyed one of the suites.” She read the words aloud and flinched at the photo of Logan in handcuffs, remembering the day she had seen the picture for the first time and how she had cried. He supposedly went to rehab after and came out clean. A flash of his unlabeled vitamins went through her mind. Was he still clean? Maybe that’s why he didn’t text or call. Though she had read the story a million times, the words still stung.
She continued, “Sources say that Alexander had been on a rampage stemming from an initial conflict with Drew Fulton. Famously friends on-screen and off, Alexander’s costars, Erin Holland and Ryder Scott, rushed to the hotel to calm the situation. By the time they arrived, police were already on the scene, and Alexander was taken into custody.”
“We should go to the hotel. It’s been privately owned for over thirty years. Someone must remember something.” He clicked another button. “Look at the people we can delve into.”
“The original screenwriter, the reporter from the
, studio people.” She took in his list and sighed. These were the ideas she should have come up with rather than fooling around with Logan. “You thought of it all.”
“See? We have everything we need, so you can even interview the agent again. It’s not like he’s making any money off that guy. This will be much more newsworthy.” He typed a couple of notes into the computer.
Though the excitement consumed her, the simple act of reading what Matt had produced seemed dishonest, as if she had stepped into a pool of slime. She promised Logan not to go here. Why didn’t he call? She squeezed her phone, and it vibrated in her palm. Unable to resist, she pressed the button and glanced down at the screen.
Good afternoon. We must get to work. Tell me I should be on the way, and I’ll come and get you. You can thank my brother for speeding up the process and giving me your address.
She gasped and stopped short of hugging her phone, but couldn’t cease the shivers he created with a simple text.
“Is everything okay?” Matt bent down to get into her field of vision.
“Yes, this is for work, one second.” At least she didn’t lie. Logan mentioned work in his message. Was she or wasn’t she upset about the acknowledgment of work but not the kiss?
Be on the way.
She hit “Send” and stared down at her phone, waiting for a response.
“Ivy?” Matt waved his hand.
“Sorry.” She resumed staring at the computer, but the words blurred together.
“I’m thinking you need to pose the questions and offer some theories. Make it like an expose,” he said. “If we go down to the hotel, maybe we can get someone who was there that night to appear on camera. Even filming in the room would be a coup.”
“That would be amazing. We could even compare and contrast it with the old pictures.” Would delving into some of the forbidden without Logan constitute a breach of his trust on her part? She promised from the beginning she would get the answers her own way.
“See.” He nodded. “Maybe we can even stay there.”
Did Matt just invite her for a hotel rendezvous? Before she had time to digest his words, the phone vibrated once more.
As Steven once said . . . I’ll be right on time as long as it’s my time.
Actually the line was . . . I’ll be right on time as long as you don’t waste my time.
“That’s some work conversation.” Matt cleared his throat.
“Well, I work in the entertainment department, and you work with data. It’s very different.” Though she tried to look at the real person sitting in front of her, the phone demanded her attention.
What? Did you study this movie for school or something?
“You caught me,” she said the words and typed them to Logan as well. She supposed she couldn’t hide it much longer.
“What are you talking about?” He snapped his fingers.
Ha! I’m not crazy! I didn’t know they had a major in . . . me.
She couldn’t stop her smile and didn’t really want to try.
It’s actually a master’s degree in cinematic arts, but part of my thesis was movies that changed their generation.
“Ivy, are we working or what?”
At last, she pried her phone away from her face. Matt was here. He showed up, didn’t toy with her, or make her wait. “You know, maybe we can make this work. I did my graduate work in movies like
“Of course, we can do this together.” He reached over and took her free hand. “You can’t quit just because you hit a rough spot. Life is like a stage. It can be scary, but you can’t hide.”
His words sunk in. “You don’t know what it feels like.” Strange, Logan never mentioned her stage fright like Matt. She slid her hand away from his as Logan texted again.
Well, with a pedigree like yours, I will allow you to choose what we do for our project tonight.
Our project. He called it “our project.” Together. An idea entered her mind for their project.
I know just the thing.
“I know when you get scared, you hide. That’s why we aren’t further along in our relationship.”
Her screen flashed with a response from Logan, and her heart jumped.
“Ivy, I’ve told you many times how I feel about you.” Matt’s gaze traveled down to her phone.
She turned the phone over, forcing her focus on the man in front of her. “Matt.” How many times did she have to tell him it wouldn’t work? While his friendship meant everything to her, she couldn’t conjure magic feelings for him.
He reclaimed her hand. “I wish you would stop letting fear get in your way.”
She gave Matt the requisite nod anyone received whenever they gave her advice about her life. All she wanted was her hand and to know Logan’s reply. She gave in to one need and flipped the phone over.
You can be the boss . . . tonight. I’m on my way.
A quick calculation in her head told her it would take Logan no more than twenty-five minutes to arrive. Nothing on Matt’s spreadsheets could be accomplished instantly, and she couldn’t have their paths cross. “I’m doing better.”
Matt moved his chair closer. “I know it was a blow to have that man disappear. You know more about the movie than anyone. Bring something new to the story and don’t be scared.”
“I’m not scared.” Her gaze fell back on the screen with the spreadsheet of every one of Logan’s sins. She jumped out of the chair and shut the laptop. In the process, her phone fell and skidded across the floor. “This story is meant for me to tell, but right now I have to tend to something.”
Before she could get to her to her phone, Matt retrieved it. He peeked at the screen and placed the phone in her palm. “Now I understand. Be careful, Ivy.”
“I’m not in any danger.” She peeked to make sure Logan hadn’t texted again.
“Everything about him is manufactured, remember that.” He packed up his equipment. “He’s designed to make you see stars in your eyes, and when this is over, don’t expect to see him again.”
Deep down she knew Matt spoke the truth. “I do want to work on the story with you. What you created is exactly what I need.”
“When you need it, then it will be here.” He walked toward the door.
She scurried after him, passing Giselle in the living room and opening the door to find Logan standing there. “Oh my God!” Her heart seized, and she pressed her hand to her chest to keep the poor organ in place. He never ceased to surprise her or sneak up on her, and the air sizzled with his mere presence. “What did you do, fly here?”
“I texted you while I was getting gas. I thought you might want to take a ride.” His signature unlit cigarette dangled from his lips, and he stepped away from the door.
At the sight of the car—
—she shook her head. “Logan.”
“There’s no way I can compete with that.” Matt gave her a kiss on the cheek and, without a word to Logan, left.
“Matt!” she called after him.
Her friend simply waved.
As if under a spell, she looked up to Logan and her knees weakened. Only yesterday she had kissed him. She had kissed Logan Alexander.
“I would kiss you hello, but we are still marinating.” He bent down as if telling her a secret. “See how I took what could potentially be an uncomfortable situation and turned it around?”
At his comment, her only choices were to laugh or kiss him. She hated herself for choosing to laugh. “I need to ask you something.”
“Do you have any advice for my stage fright?” Why did she ask him? He had known her for three minutes, and he was the personification of confident. “Why haven’t you mentioned it?”
“You know you have it. No need to mention it. When you need me, I’ll be there, and FYI, I don’t give advice. I’ll tell you what to do.”
A pure Logan Alexander answer. A pure answer. She couldn’t stop her smile or the way her eyes darted toward the magnificent car once more.
He motioned toward the vehicle. “Go ahead. You know you want to.”
With his permission, she rushed toward the jade-green 1984 BMW coupe, ran her fingertips over the lines of the car, and stuck her head inside the open window to breathe in the scent of vintage leather and Logan. The car from the movie was more than a prop. It was a character. Sales of vintage BMWs skyrocketed the year the movie came out.
“What do you think?” Logan took her by the waist and pulled her out of the car only long enough to open the door.
She slipped in the driver’s seat and put her hands on the steering wheel. Twenty years ago, the actors did the same thing and took off on a journey unlike any other. Closing her eyes, she tried to transport herself to that magic time.