Authors: Kim Carmichael
“I don’t need your details. Did you spend your life studying this movie?” Julia grabbed the cards out of her hand and tossed them to the floor. “He was arrested and personally responsible for getting the sequel canceled. He is as bad in real life as he was in the movie.”
“Don’t forget that I ran off innocent Drew Fulton and no one has ever heard from him again.”
At the unexpected male voice, Ivy turned. Her breath caught as her ultimate teen fantasy stood before her.
The heat in the room intensified, but she froze. Mr. Logan Alexander leaned in the doorway—more like filled up the doorway. He lifted a cigarette, twirled it between his fingers, and placed it in his mouth.
Unlike someone who lived the hard-knock life of a disgraced actor, time had kissed him, leaving him looking much like his teen dream self, only a little more rugged. While his other two male costars from the movie possessed more of the good and wholesome image, Logan Alexander personified the conniving character. He was the one who lured people with looks that could only be described as remarkable.
As if this whole thing were nothing but a bother, he pushed away from doorjamb and entered the room, glanced at Julia, turned his back to Craig, and faced Ivy. “So, you think the villain is the most interesting?” The cigarette bounced between his lips.
Interesting? Interesting as in the way he pulled his dark blond hair into a ponytail that hit the nape of his neck leaving one long strand to hang down the side of his face? Maybe interesting in the way his light blue eyes seemed almost translucent, half-closed, and definitely naughty? Of course, also interesting in how the slight bit of stubble highlighted the angles of his face, and the way he managed to keep his cigarette balanced. Then the answer was yes, he, or the villain, was the most interesting.
“The villain always needs to go under the most transformation.” She managed to squeak out the words and pointed to his cigarette, unsure if she needed to tell him about the no smoking rule. Did fantasies follow rules?
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to light it.” His gaze scanned down to her shoes and back up to her face.
Interesting. She licked her lips. The man was more glorious in person than on the silver screen.
“What if the villain hasn’t undergone a transformation?” Julia tapped her foot.
Ivy ground her teeth together. If anyone needed to change, it was Julia.
“I suppose I’ll get more hard-hitting questions than asking a dog trainer if Rover, the hot dog hunter, is potty trained. You sure know how to dig deep.” Though he answered Julia, he continued to look at Ivy. “I liked the dog, a much better choice than the obnoxious little boy.”
Transfixed, she continued to stare at him.
“Just because the villain can change, doesn’t mean they will.” Julia moved over as if trying to get his attention.
He exhaled, but the cigarette stayed in place. “How can I do an interview with you when I know you are team Ryder all the way?”
was the typical love triangle.” Julia raised her chin. “Today’s teen movies are better developed than movies decades ago.”
“Oh, that reference to my age really does pain me.” He pressed his hand to his chest. “Tell me, did the villains of your era wear pompadours and leather jackets, or perhaps suits of armor?”
In an effort to stifle a laugh, Ivy bit the side of her mouth. There was something to be said for the villain getting their comeuppance, and she didn’t mean Mr. Alexander.
Julia narrowed her eyes and spun toward Craig. “I am not playing her game of bait and switch. If Miss Details loves villains so much, Miss Details can do the interview. Call me when you get a real star.” She stormed out.
“Well, that is one thing your runaway hostess and I agree on.” Mr. Alexander’s smile revealed a perfect set of Hollywood teeth.
“What would that be?” Craig wiped his brow.
“Miss Details should do the interview.” In a swoon-worthy move, Mr. Alexander bowed to her.
The spotlight shined down on her and the same stage fright she battled every second of her life took a strong hold over her body, made worse by being presented with her teen idol in the flesh. “Craig.” How she managed to utter even one word was beyond her, but she took it as a good sign.
“Oh, no. No, that won’t do at all.” Craig shook his head. The first and only time she was on camera at Chargge.com, she ended up running off set and throwing up in a trash can. “I am sure Julia will be right back.”
“Don’t bring her back on my account. I’m Team Details all the way.” Logan raised his fist as if he were about to begin cheering and, with a wink, lifted his chin in her direction. “She is clearly an expert on the movie and knows story structure.”
His gesture, though probably insignificant to him, served to ignite her courage as well as her body. She chose to ignore them both. All she needed was to throw up on one of the
Craig cupped his hand over his mouth. “She is an expert on every movie.”
Yes, fine, but she was mostly an expert on
. She remained silent.
“I refuse to be interviewed by anyone who is not an expert in cinema.” Mr. Alexander picked up one of her note cards, gave it a quick scan, and sauntered over to her. Yes, it was a total saunter. His walk may have also included a bit of a swagger as well. “Miss Details is the only one for me. It seems she has found something to talk about other than drugs, Drew, and sequels, since I won’t answer those questions anyway.”
She fought the need to hug her prepubescent crush, bury her face in his chest, and breathe in what could only be the smell of cologne and cookies. Later, they could go back to her apartment, and she would confess she used to write his name in her notebook and practice kissing him on the back of her hand. In her dreams, she could interview him and then they’d conquer the world together. In reality, she knew he was only playing a role and she would never be able to utter a sentence. Dumb reality.
“Either she interviews me or you can call the company that owns not only
, but your website as well, and tell them the video blog they expect to make waves won’t air today. I’ll be in the lounge not lighting my cigarette.” He handed her the card and walked out the door.
She leaned forward, bracing herself on her knees. “Oh God, I want to do this.”
Her boss paced across the floor. “You would be the perfect person if you could just learn to calm down. It’s what we hired you for.”
Though Craig never admitted it, she was the bane of his existence. He hired her as a favor to her father, and they gave her the job as a reporter. Technically, her current job as fact-checker and scheduler didn’t even exist. The reporters were supposed to do their own research, but Julia sort of snatched her up as a personal assistant. Both her parents who possessed multiple acting awards between them, looked at her with wide eyes and pity every time they discussed her career. Even they weren’t good enough actors to hide their disappointment.
She crumpled the note card in her fist and straightened up. “I’ll do it. I will interview Logan Alexander.” Part of her expected a spotlight to shine down on her signifying her strength of conviction. The other part was thrilled she didn’t live in a world where spotlights randomly illuminated at key life-changing moments. She would end up living in the bathroom with the lights off, shaking.
Craig shook his head. His skin had turned the most unusual shade of red.
“This is the movie of a generation, the one that spoke to that specific time. The story should be told by someone who truly loves everything it represents.” For once, she needed to be her own spotlight. “This is the movie that pushed the boundaries, didn’t rely on the happily ever after, asked the questions.” Maybe the movie that meant the world to her could also cure her.
“We need this story, Ivy.” He crossed his arms. “Seriously, we need the story. Other sites are competing with us. We need something to go viral. The advertising dollars are not coming in as they should, and you know what that means.”
Yes, it meant cuts, starting with the person who technically didn’t have a title. She might as well go big or go home, literally.
“Do the interview, but make sure you ask about Drew Fulton and the arrest and the sequel.”
“He said he wouldn’t answer those questions.” The swirl of anxiety circled around her stomach.
“Ivy.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “You can do this. You were made for this. Go to wardrobe, ask them for something more contemporary and fashionable, and ask the questions. We need you.”
For once she wouldn’t disappoint. She stopped herself from saluting and gave him a strong nod. “I got this.” As she walked out, she made a mental note to have a trash can put near the set.
EXT. INDIANAPOLIS, IL – HIGH SCHOOL, BACK OF DRAMA BUILDING - DAY
STEVEN leans back against his BMW and watches ROXY run out from the drama building. She backs up against the wall and puts her hands over her eyes. Suddenly, she looks up and sees him. He motions her over. ROXY approaches.
Please tell me you were rehearsing a scene where your character breaks out in tears.
STEVEN puts his fingertips under her chin and tilts her face up.
ROXY cries and sniffs.
I wouldn’t know. I didn’t get a part.
STEVEN shakes his head.
Your acting is too sophisticated for this town. They’re jealous of true talent.
I just wasn’t good enough.
STEVEN uses his fingertips to wipe her tears away.
Never listen to those idiots. They speak to empty rooms. You don’t want to be part of their amateur production anyway.
I just want to fit in.
“Do you want the smart suit or the pretty dress?” The woman who collected the props and clothes for the site’s photo and video shoots held up a black business suit with a white collared shirt and a red ruffled dress.
“I don’t think either of those will fit me.” Since the makeup woman held her chin in place, Ivy glanced at the outfits in the mirror. She had enough to overcome without telling these people she didn’t care for the clothes or the makeup, but she preferred the 1950s suit she already had on. Her authentic designer outfit was the spitting image of the ones worn by the female leads in those old romantic comedies. Her light makeup and curled hair matched the outfit to a tee.
Craig joined them and rubbed his chin. “Let me think.”
“Why on earth do you insist on pigeonholing your hostesses as either smart or pretty when it’s more than obvious Miss Details is both?” Mr. Alexander entered the room and the energy in the air changed. What was stuffy and heavy turned electric and sizzled around her. “She’s right. Neither of those fit her.”
“Excuse me.” The wardrobe lady waved to him. “Her name is Ivy Vermont.”
“It’s him.” The makeup lady smiled down at her. “He’s so bad.”
He chuckled. “Then leave Miss Ivy Vermont in what she’s wearing. It’s perfect.”
Well, he did have excellent taste. At his words, and him using her name, she straightened in the chair, actually more like squirmed, and stared at his reflection as if she were watching one of his movies. The show playing out in front of her, well in the refection of the mirror, was much better than any one of his roles.
“Speaking of pigeonholing. Maybe you can discuss how all four of you were pigeonholed into your respective roles,” Craig said. Still studying the outfits, he kept his back to the man.
“Oh, this old song and dance? Yes, the four of us were pigeonholed into our parts. Ryder, the teen heartthrob; Erin, the good girl everyone wanted; Drew, the nerd; and yours truly, the asshole.” He counted them off on his fingers. “The world already knows that. I really think this reporter change will do everyone some good.”
“Well then, tell us something we don’t know.” Craig selected the suit and turned to him. “As you pointed out, my website and your movie are owned by the same corporate enterprise.”
“Are you giving me a warning?” He bent down, putting his face near hers and staring in the mirror as well. “Funny, this morning after agreeing to do this shindig, the vice president of marketing for our corporation personally asked for me to come do the interview. I swore he thanked me more than once for agreeing to this on such short notice.”
The scent of an indefinable yet glorious cologne or soap wafted around her, making her light-headed, and she swore there was a definite cookie undertone. Maybe it was simply the man next to her. How would she ever get through their interview when she felt like she needed to call for smelling salts? She went to lift her hand, but the makeup artist caught her.
“We need to add some color to your cheeks for the camera.” The lady picked up a makeup sponge. “Are you all right?”
Now Ivy wanted to thank the makeup woman for drawing attention to her complexion in front of her idol. She forced herself to take a breath, hoping maybe that would bring some life back into her skin.