Authors: Kim Carmichael
At Logan revealing maybe a little too much, she shrugged and focused on Craig and her fate.
“Just get the story we need.” Her boss clasped his hands as if praying.
“I understand.” She made her deal and sold herself.
“Well, they say all the best business happens in hallways with ugly linoleum flooring.” Logan took his turn to offer his hand for a shake.
“Let me tell production what is happening so we can clear studio time.” Craig rubbed his hand over his forehead and walked away, muttering to himself as he left.
“I believe we need to keep business separate from pleasure. Rest assured, when I take you out this evening, I will not put it on our expense report.” Like earlier, Logan held out his elbow. “Shall we get started early?”
Alone with Logan, she needed to do some proverbial bud nipping and looked up into his face.
That face was not conducive to nipping, and she lowered her gaze to his neck. “Mr. Alexander, we are not going out in a social capacity. While I appreciate you offering to undertake this project with me, it will only be for professional purposes.”
“No matter what happens, let me make something perfectly clear.” His absolutely serious tone made her look into his eyes. “I know you and your idiot boss thought you were speaking some secret language before, but I deciphered it very well.” He glanced up and down the hallway and bent down to her ear. “I don’t care what you think you’ll be getting. I will set up all the interviews, and I will control everything, so don’t think you’ll be getting some big scoop. I hold the spoon and I do the feeding.”
She didn’t move, didn’t react, and didn’t respond. Was he the villain everyone thought or was he only playing a role?
“Promise me we won’t have six weeks of arguments when we can make an amazing story.” He raked the back of his hand down her arm.
She ignored the shivers he created throughout her body. If she didn’t promise, nothing would happen. She would have to get the story Craig wanted a different way, but her specialty was tracking down the facts. Once in the inner circle, she could circumvent him. “I promise.”
“I take my promises very seriously.”
“I need to go do some research, Mr. Alexander.”
“You can meet with Logan tomorrow for our first assignment. Mr. Alexander won’t be available.” His deep voice vibrated through her.
“Until tomorrow then.” Villain or not, his mere closeness stirred every inch of her to life. While she had met stars before, grew up among them, no other held his magic. The man possessed some sort of estrogen magnet, and no doubt his typecast wasn’t by happenstance. She needed to go sit under an air conditioner vent.
“Until tomorrow.” He gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “I thought I should return the favor. It’s purely professional though.”
She shut her eyes, again forcing away any reaction. His every move was manufactured to make her forget her name. No matter what, she had to get the story and had to work with Logan. She turned on her heel and walked toward her office, giving a quick glance to her smart 1950s business suit. Maybe for once she would stand out for more than her excellent choice in clothing.
INT. BACK OF STEVEN’S FATHER’S RESTAURANT – DAY – INDIANAPOLIS, IN
STEVEN, ROXY, WILLIAM, and CHARLES sit huddled together in a booth in the back, working on their projects due before spring break.
I want to go to Hollywood Stardust.
ROXY puts her elbow on the table and rests her head in her hand. Looks off far away.
WILLIAM takes a gulp of his soda.
CHARLES – seventeen years old the best friend, the misfit, and the late bloomer, but the one who will make something of himself one day, even if no one else sees it.
It’s a theater in Hollywood built in 1927. It is built in the art deco style and . . .
STEVEN hits his fist into the table, causing CHARLES to jolt up.
We don’t need a history lesson. Let Rox talk.
STEVEN motions toward Roxy.
ROXY catches STEVEN’S eye, then looks down, tracing her finger around the table.
Back in the day, everyone who was anyone was seen there. They’re tearing it down to make way for some multiplex theater with no history and no soul. My friends planned a trip there for spring break. We wanted to see it, just be around its energy. I’m the only one who won’t be there, and I’ll never get the chance now.
Hey, it’s okay. You have us now. (He puts his arm around Roxy.) We’ll go somewhere, party, get out.
ROXY shakes her head.
I’ll take you to Hollywood Stardust.
ROXY Looks up at STEVEN.
You heard me.
That’s a great idea!
WILLIAM sits up straighter and raises his hand for a high five.
Road trip with Roxy to Hollywood Stardust.
Once more, ROXY glances at STEVEN.
We will take you to Hollywood Stardust.
The waves crashing, the sea breeze, the seagulls doing whatever seagulls do, and the sun lowering in the horizon provided the ideal backdrop Logan required for his first outing with his new project. He wasn’t thinking about the interviews.
Prepared to play tour guide to only one, he put a bandana around his hair and donned a pair of dark sunglasses. With years away from the spotlight, he only needed a slight cover-up to hide in the public. The requests for autographs came in less and less, which was fine by him, but with
bubbling up to the surface again, he needed to be extra careful if he didn’t want to be disturbed, and he didn’t.
He walked down the Santa Monica Pier and spotted his leading lady for the next six weeks exactly where he told her to meet him, outside the carousel. Dressed in hot pink pants and a matching sleeveless top with her hair up, she appeared as if she stepped right out of one of those beach movies of yesteryear. The suit she wore at the office the day before did not do her figure justice, but her outfit today might break the law. From his vantage point with her back turned to him, his mouth watered at the sight before him.
It had been way too long since a woman not only created a physical reaction, but a mental one as well. He actually had lain in bed thinking about her, her little pearls of knowledge, the way she forged ahead even under dire circumstances, how her hand shook in his, but she still completed the interview, and best yet, how she looked to him for help. Yes, they would do well together once they got the pesky business of their business out of the way.
He inched up behind her and bent down to her ear. “Do you want to take a ride?”
She jumped and turned to him. “Oh, I’m glad you’re here.”
The view of her front was more spectacular than the rear. Her breasts filled out the fabric, presenting him with much more than a palm full, and he could make out a little cleavage. Without a doubt, he knew what he wanted for dinner. “Where did you think I would be?” Apparently, he needed to tell her where they could go, or would go.
“I thought you said to meet at four.”
He nodded. It wasn’t like their arrangement needed a time clock.
“I’m just glad you didn’t stand me up.” The wind picked up, and she reached into her bag and pulled out a scarf.
“Never worry about that. I’ll always contact you, no matter what.” He watched her wrap the little bit of fabric over her hair and expertly tie a knot under her chin—a simple act, but old-fashioned, sweet, and most definitely sexy. With the sudden urge to be a gentleman, he held his arm out. “Shall we?”
“Where are we going?” She slipped her arm in his.
“Is there somewhere in particular you would like to go?” Perhaps to the end of the pier, a perfect spot for some kissing before the main event. Making out was a lost art, one he wanted to rekindle.
“Anywhere is fine. I’m pretty portable.” Once more, she reached into her handbag. Rather than a scarf, she pulled out a little digital video camera. “Is there a reason you decided this would be the place for our first meeting?” She hit a button and pointed the device right in his face.
Instinct and muscle memory took over, and as with anytime a camera was aimed at him, he struck a pose. “Don’t you like the pier?”
“I haven’t been in years, but sure. Doesn’t it remind you of something?” The camera covered her face.
Apparently, she was fine behind a camera, but that wasn’t the behind he was interested in. He held his palm up to the camera, causing her to lower her arm. “Should it remind me of something?”
“Doesn’t it remind you of your first major stop in the movie?”
The movie. Yes, the movie. A road trip movie where their characters made their way across the country to the elusive Hollywood Stardust theater, each with their own quest of sorts. He quickly scanned his memories. “The shopping center?” He narrowed his eyes, trying to remember the route. “There are some shops.”
“No, the fairgrounds.” She let out a little laugh. “Your character was obsessed with Skee-Ball. Did you play in real life?”
“I suppose we do need a photo op.” Truth be told, he wasn’t bad, and she seemed to want to keep up the sham interview stuff. First, they would do something that smacked of work, and then they could get on to the better part of the day. “Would you like a demonstration?”
“I can’t think of anything I’d like to do more.” She lit up.
“We’ll get to that later.” If it weren’t for his sunglasses, he would have winked. Instead, he guided her back to the arcade.
Multicolored lights, bells, chimes, and arcade noises assaulted them as they entered, and they followed the lights over to the Skee-Ball machines. Since they were here at an off-hour, only one other older man played. He fished inside his pocket, found a coin, and the balls rolled down the chute.
Ivy raised her camera.
He chose a ball and hurled it up the ramp, using his bank shot.
The ball jumped, ricocheted off the one-hundred-point circle, and landed in the ten-point loser’s hoop. He exhaled.
“Has it been a while?” She giggled.
“One could say that.” He chose another ball and held it up. “Let’s do a retake.”
“You got it.”
Once more, he threw the ball up the ramp, and rather than a major failure, he got the twenty-point semifailure circle. A couple of tickets popped out of the slot. He bent down and tore them off and handed them to her. “For you.”
“Are you going to win me a prize?” She plucked the tickets out of his fingers.
“Can we just buy one?” At this rate, they would be here for days.
“Maybe a stuffed dog, a fifty-cent toy that cost ten dollars, but something a girl has to have?”
“What?” Did they suddenly shift to a different language? “Do you want a stuffed dog?”
“No, what you won Roxy.” She shifted her weight from one leg to the other. “You shoved the dog at her and said it cost you ten dollars for a fifty-cent toy. Did Erin get to keep it?”
A slight flicker of some silly stuffed animal went through his mind. “How about we reenact something else out of that scene?” He motioned for her to come over.
She returned the camera to her bag and came to him. “What scene is this?”
After presenting her with one of the balls, he positioned himself behind her and put one hand on the incredible curve that created her waist. At their closeness, her light floral perfume wafted around him, her hair tickled his face, and his body reacted appropriately. He lowered his lips to her ear. “The one where Steven teaches Roxy to play.”
“I don’t remember that scene.” Her voice quivered.
“Then let me refresh your memory.” Gently, he pulled her arm back and grazed his lips against her neck. “The secret to Skee-Ball is knowing when to let go.”
“Mr. Alexander.” With his unexpected move, she practically panted.
“It’s Logan.” He snaked his arm around her. “I’ve been thinking about you since yesterday, and I have a suspicion you’ve been thinking about me.”
“Logan,” she whispered.
“Did you think about me?” He tucked a little piece of hair that escaped her updo behind her ear.
“Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to.”
“Then let me tell you what else I know.” When she didn’t move away, he smiled. “I know that long before yesterday you thought of me. Well, I’m here, ready, willing, and able to reenact any scene your heart desires.”
“Logan.” Her body stiffened. “Do you know why I don’t remember that scene?”
“Because the movie is twenty years old and we have better things to do?” A chuckle escaped his throat.
Without warning, she dropped the ball and pushed him back.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you have an interview. I have something planned.” The ball rolled away, but he ignored it and held his hand out to her. “We can go somewhere more private.”
She put her hands on her hips. “I don’t remember the scene because it didn’t exist. It was William who snuck a kiss when he helped Roxy during miniature golf. Steven kissed her on the Ferris wheel.”