Authors: Kim Carmichael
“We need to get Ivy dressed. We are doing a live feed.” The cords in Craig’s neck appeared. “Is there something you needed, Mr. Alexander?”
“Yes.” He stalked toward the wardrobe mistress.
The woman stepped back, holding the outfits up as a shield between them.
“Leave her outfit. She’s already in a suit.” He pointed at the woman and then over to the makeup chair. “Leave her makeup. This isn’t a movie or a Broadway play, and she doesn’t need it. A natural blush is always preferred to a manufactured one.”
If his display was intended to play with her mind and make her forget why she was here, it worked. She swallowed and tried to remember she had a story to get, a job to save. In the interim, she would also try to forget that Mr. Alexander noticed her blushing.
With the entire room quiet, Mr. Alexander’s footsteps boomed through the room as he returned to her side.
Her breath caught. Proximity was not her friend.
“Miss Vermont, I suggest you and I get to wherever we shoot these Internet sensations. I am sure we are both on schedules.” He offered her his elbow. “Shall we?”
Once again, using the mirror to her advantage, she glanced at everyone. The other women simply stared at them, while Craig returned to shaking his head. Nothing mattered except making it through the next few minutes and maybe taking a few blush-making moments to gawk at the man whose posters once graced her bedroom walls. She slid off the chair and smoothed her skirt down before taking his arm.
He gave her a nod and led her away.
The walk to the small studio took on one of those surreal atmospheres, like a dream where everything made sense, yet nothing made sense.
“So how does this work? This feels more like a television shoot rather than an Internet broadcast.”
At his voice, she blinked, willing away the tightness in her chest at the mere thought of entering the studio. “In a way, it’s like a television show. We hope that the entertainment we offer goes viral and brings in lots of traffic and then we get more advertisers and such. After we’re done, I’ll take your answers from the video and couple it with some other research I have done on you and put it up on the site in hopes to keep the momentum going.”
“Well, that was quiet an answer, but let’s focus on the most important part. You researched me?” He chuckled. “Is there anything personal you would like to know? Perhaps something not relating to the movie or my costars and that cannot be found on the Internet?”
Unless she had her facts wrong, and she never had her facts wrong, his tone definitely said he was flirting with her. If she needed more evidence, the delightful drop in her stomach and the fluttering of her heart concurred. Fine, she had her work cut out for her. She needed to stay strong and on point to make it through the filming. His distraction tactic wouldn’t work on her.
“Mr. Alexander.” She had nothing planned after she said his name.
“Logan, call me Logan.” He guided her into the studio. “That’s what I would like you to call me when I take you out tonight. Mr. Alexander is way too formal.”
“There’s our host with our guest. Perfect.” The director of their video productions rushed toward them. “Hi, Ivy. You’re going to do great.”
She opened her mouth to make the proper introduction, but the director’s name totally left her. In fact, every detail in her mind scattered like bugs when someone flipped on the light except Logan’s invitation. All he wanted was an easy interview and a quick lay. “I’m not going out with you.” At her words, her adolescent self kicked her adult self.
“You say that now.” Logan extended his hand to the nameless director. “Hello, I’m Logan Alexander, Ivy’s date for this evening. Oh yeah, I’m also one of the stars of
The director, whatever his name was, glanced between them.
“Don’t we need to get in position?” Even with the director standing right there, she redirected the conversation.
“You know where.” Mr. Nameless motioned toward their meager set. “We have a clip from the end of the movie with Logan’s character driving away, so lead into that.”
“Steven.” Of all the items she remembered, it was Logan’s name in the movie. Though the entire set looked the same as always, nothing felt familiar, not the ultramodern purple chairs, the fern, or the blond wood table to make the setting appear more conversational. No trash can, great.
She let go of Mr. Alexander’s arm, sat in the hostess seat, and tried to stop shaking.
“I suppose I will sit here, though it would be a much better shot if we were sitting side by side.” The man who made her mind mush sat in the opposing chair.
Rather than more idle talk with the fallen teen idol, she lifted the note cards she retrieved off the floor and tried to study them, but all that ran through her thoughts was how Logan Alexander had asked her out. Yes, he had asked her out, and he would go through with it, if only to get her into bed. Not that being in bed with him would be such a horrible experience. No, horrible wouldn’t define sex with him. A more accurate description would be breathtaking, earth shattering, and soul changing.
She exhaled, remembering she needed to ask him what had happened the night that had caused the sequel to be canceled. Craig would be proud, and as an extra bonus, it would render her guest interview speechless. She could make it into a one-two punch and ask about Drew Fulton.
But he had asked her out. One night with a fantasy.
“I was told you need some gloss.” Another person she knew trotted over to her.
“That’s not what I need.” Only last week she’d eaten lunch with the woman barreling toward her. Of course, she couldn’t remember what she ate for lunch either, on that day or any other for that matter. The lights flipped on, and each bulb seemed to turn into a super starburst with the rays cutting through her vision. No doubt this is what death felt like.
“Keep your face up and let the camera see you.” Her friend went to dab the gloss on her lips. “You’ll do fine. Just don’t throw up.”
Any pride she held on to left, and she glanced over at Mr. Alexander. Though he casually leaned back in the seat, he never took his eyes off her.
“Seriously, I need something.” Maybe she needed a small tranquilizer or maybe she needed to ask her guest to ask her out one more time in order to capture it on camera and document it, then she could go in for the kill.
Once more, the woman aimed the gloss wand at her. “Didn’t we need a wardrobe change?”
“No, we do not need a wardrobe change or
would have changed our wardrobe before we got on a set.” Logan remained fixed in his position, but his tone possessed power. “Why is there even a set for this? Couldn’t we do this at a coffee shop with a handheld camera? Better yet, we could do it at the restaurant before we start our date.”
The woman turned to him. “Excuse me?”
“I believe you heard me.” Even without looking in the person’s direction, he stared her down. “She doesn’t need the gloss.”
“Two minutes.” The director called out.
“A little late for a wardrobe change.” He cleared his throat. “This is a live feed. The pressure is on.”
“Break a leg.” With her unused gloss clutched in her hand, the woman dashed away.
“Ready?” He shook his head.
“Absolutely.” She heard herself say the word, but her voice sounded far away like she was having an out of body experience.
“Good. You can say that tonight. It will be the theme for the evening.” He raised his eyebrows.
The lights weren’t as hot as his gaze on her. One lone drop of sweat trailed down her back. She shifted in her seat and straightened her note cards.
“One minute!” the director yelled.
As her friend suggested, she raised her head.
“This is all wrong.” Logan stood.
Her heart seized, and going on instinct, she followed his lead.
In one motion, he slid his chair toward her, sat back down, and grabbed her note cards.
“What are you doing?” Her question came out more like a garbled gasp for air.
“Forget about these formalities.” He pushed her back and put a finger on her chin. “No one ever taught you or anyone here about angles, I take it.”
His touch radiated through her whole being, causing her to shiver. Though she wanted to protest, once more he left her with no words.
“Keep your chin down and look up at me with your eyes or you’ll be showing your nostrils to the world. No one wants to see that.” He tilted her face down. “We’ll have more time to explore hidden spots later, but not on a live feed. That type of footage needs to be handled with care.” He winked.
Sex tapes? He wanted to make a sex tape with her? At least it would give her a memory. She wondered if she would be camera shy in the throes of making love to one Logan Alexander. Wait, she wasn’t having sex with him or going out on a date. Shoot.
“My notes.” She wanted to celebrate at managing to speak.
“You don’t need those. Don’t ask what I won’t answer and you’ll be fine.” He scooted even closer.
She smoothed down her dress.
“Don’t worry what you look like. These fools wouldn’t recognize a vintage designer if it slapped them in the face.” Rather than sitting back, he leaned forward. “You look gorgeous.”
“Three, two, one . . .” The director pointed.
She said nothing. His designer dress comment finally did its job and rendered her utterly speechless.
Or maybe it was the way he called her gorgeous.
The joy of being Logan Alexander. He had almost forgotten. Since the first day he had stepped into the studio with the other three stars, he had been typecast, but of all the roles, his was the most fun.
“Action!” the director with no name called out, and his sassy little reporter found herself with a huge case of stage fright. The introduction music played through the set.
Of course, being Logan Alexander came with its share of crap no one would ever imagine. The side no one knew, and the side he needed to keep on the cutting room floor in order for all of them to live the lifestyle, or appear to live the lifestyle. The godforsaken anniversary of the movie that would never die thrust them all back into the spotlight and him right back into the lead role he never wanted. Over the next few weeks, he would need some distraction to get him through.
However, in less than an hour, he accomplished his goal of distracting everyone away from asking questions he refused to answer. Unfortunately, he managed to paralyze the poor angel who he thrust in the middle of his mess, or maybe it was for the greater good.
The music ended, but she remained motionless, her skin pale, her cheeks glowing brighter than the studio lights.
Good thing for the woman who liked the villain that Logan Alexander would take over, as always. Like it or not, he rescued the world with a sly remark and an insult since he was typecast.
He let out a laugh and grabbed her hand, pulling her toward him and acting like they were in mid conversation. “Yes, I have always lived in Southern California, and to this day, it’s hard to drive down Hollywood Boulevard without having flashbacks. Now, Ivy, you wanted to know what my favorite part of the movie was?” His action received the desired reaction and she looked into his eyes.
“Sure?” Her whisper brushed against his lips.
“Hm.” He paused and toyed with her fingers, not only to keep her mind elsewhere, but more than enjoying her hand in his. “I have to say it’s the scene when we visit my grandparents and she bakes cookies. I remember those were the real deal, fresh out of the oven, because they wanted us to show the joy of a home-baked treat.” The mention of the scene didn’t naturally lead into questions he didn’t want asked.
As if she could see the image in front of her, Ivy smiled.
He started to ask another one of his questions and vomit up another pre-rehearsed answer.
“So, b-b-back on topic, how often do you see your other cast mates?” Still keeping hold of his hand, she sat up. “Are you still friends?”
Well, well, she not only recovered, she got right back on the on-ramp to the questions everyone wanted to ask, shaky voice and all. He had to give it to her for starting with a lead-in question, but the next one would undoubtedly be about Drew, which sped right to everything else.
“Of course we keep in touch.” He offered the most benign answer possible.
“All of you?”
At least the woman stayed focused.
He tilted his head and ran his thumb across the back of her hand, wishing he could explore her smooth skin elsewhere. “I would rather talk about what we are going to do tonight to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of one of your favorite films.” He smiled the same smile he produced the day the talent scout discovered him and called him a natural. Little did he know back then there was no such thing.
Her eyes widened and her hand trembled in his. “What’s the worst part of being the bad guy?”
Not expecting her to keep on track, he responded with the first thing to enter his mind. “Do you know that I never get the girl?” Right as the words left his lips, he wanted them back. Of all the subjects, he needed to leave his love life, or lack thereof, out of the conversation.