Authors: Kim Carmichael
“Getting into character I presume?” Brian huffed into the phone. “I hope that is because you are going out on location shooting a webisode, and your absence the last few days has simply been an oversight.”
“You’re not my babysitter.”
“I am when I am the keeper of the contracts. If I have to go with you, to make sure this gets done, then I will.”
Logan put his hands over his eyes. His life didn’t belong to him. He had sold it. No wonder people ran from him. “Well, it’s not like she’s knocking down doors to get to me.”
“And that is the reason she texted you twice and stalked you on social media.”
“What do you know about that?” Did these people resort to putting a tracking device on him?
“She showed up at my office today, begging for help, even asking for Erin or Ryder.”
He squeezed his phone. Damn, he should have slept with her and added her to the pile. She didn’t care who she had as long as they carried the
stamp. He wasn’t unique. “Maybe we should just let one of them speak already.”
“Not without you and not with the questions she threw at me today.”
She knew better. He almost laughed. “Well, that ends it.”
“It was the deal she made with you, not me,” Brian said. “The studio wants this project, and it has to be you. We can’t have her or her website poking around without being guided if you want to stay in the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed.”
He turned around and looked between Isaac and his brother. Others relied on the lifestyle to which he’d become accustomed. “Fine, I’ll fix this.”
“Look at all the pay you make, and this is the first time you truly had to work for it in years.”
“Yeah, right, don’t forget your percentage.” He hung up the phone.
Both Wilson and Isaac stared at him.
“I think I’m going to cut our tasting short and playact at being an actor. Hopefully, this won’t come up again until the fiftieth anniversary.” As if he had a choice in the matter, he kept his tone upbeat.
“All of this will be good for the bar. You’ll see.” Wilson polished off the last of his meal.
A pounding on the front door interrupted whatever Logan wasn’t going to say to his brother.
“I’m expecting a delivery. I’ll be back.” Wilson put his plate down and left the kitchen.
“Log.” Isaac shook his head. “This is my fault.”
“No. It’s mine and always will be mine.” He pointed at his friend. “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you didn’t get the best role in the movie.”
“How can you say that? You and Ryder had girls practically climbing over each other to get to you. Between my weight issues, the prosthetics they put on me, and my role, I couldn’t buy a date. No one would touch me.” Isaac held his arms out and glanced down at himself.
“Yeah, but no one knew you either.” Logan had to laugh at the trick. Fake teeth, fake nose, and fake hair had created the character of Charles, the misunderstood outcast of the
group. At the time, the directors and producers thought it would be a great publicity stunt to have all of them always appear in character. Drew didn’t know what a favor they did him. Without the makeup and about fifty pounds, and with a name change, he blended right back into the regular world, and Logan vowed that’s where Isaac/Drew would stay if that was what his only friend wanted.
“Still don’t. Though I’m still paranoid.”
“It’s twenty years later, they don’t expect it to be you, and you changed your name. No one connects the dots.” The conversation of Drew’s whereabouts sprang up anytime
came to the forefront of the media, but he had made it twenty years under the radar. Most thought he had died or moved out of the country.
“Logan!” The door to the kitchen swung open, and Wilson rushed toward them. “What are you doing?”
Once more he lifted his phone. “Nothing.” He scrolled through her texts. What he thought was her wanting him was her wanting any star. Though he should be used to being third behind Ryder and Erin, he hoped she might be different.
“Well, if your nothing includes not avoiding Ivy, you’re in luck, ’cause she’s here.” Wilson motioned toward the door.
“What?” He shoved his phone back in his pocket. “She’s here?” Here on his turf? His sanctuary? A woman-free, Hollywood-free zone?
“Her and her friend are checking out the front of the house. She tracked you down, or someone gave her this.” Wilson held out one of their business cards.
“This is how she wants to play.” If she wanted the villain, he would deliver him to her on a silver platter. “Get rid of her.”
“I told her you were here.” Wilson crossed his arms. “She seems nice.”
wasn’t the word. “Tell her she will have to wait for my call.”
“I’m not your secretary.”
“Log, come on.” Isaac grabbed his arm.
“Would you like to meet her?” He rubbed his hands together. “She’s an expert on the movie. If anyone could pick you out of a crowd, it would be her.”
“She didn’t fall prey to the great Logan Alexander, and she’s trying to save her job. I think more than being pissed, you’re fascinated and you hate that.” Isaac lifted his chin. “If and when you want me to meet her because you want to show her off, not show her up, I’ll meet her.”
“Wilson?” A voice distinctively Ivy’s rang through the building. “Excuse me, Wilson?”
Wilson turned to the door. “What should I do?”
“She’s calling you. Let her interview you.” He pulled off his apron and slid the bandana off his hair.
“Wilson!” Her voice came closer. She knocked on the door and it cracked open.
“Stop her!” he spat at his brother and turned to Isaac. They didn’t need Ivy’s questions about Isaac. The woman was naturally sharp. “Get out of here.”
Wilson put his hand on the door, blocking her. “One second!”
“Later.” Isaac rounded up his belongings and snuck out the back door.
Once sure that Isaac had escaped, Wilson opened the kitchen door. “Look what I found.”
Ivy entered alone, looking right at Logan.
He revved up for the storm to come, but rather than stomping into the kitchen ready to berate him for making her track him down, she tiptoed through the doorway with her huge eyes taking him all in. At the sight of her, he downgraded his storm to more of a strong wind instead of a tornado, but he still raged on.
“Since I didn’t give you this address, or indicated a time we would meet, I must ask what you are doing here?” He prepared to hear some convoluted story that held as much resemblance to the truth as Drew in his getup resembled Isaac.
“I didn’t mean to come back here, but a deliveryman arrived.” She turned to Wilson and back to him.
“Let me go tend to that.” Wilson left, making sure the door closed behind him.
“I’m sorry, I know I must look like a crazy fan, but I panicked when you didn’t get back to me. I went to your agent for help.” She glanced around the kitchen.
Panic. Help. Trained to show whatever reaction he wanted, he crossed his arms and leaned back on his heels, remaining silent to prod her to continue.
She shrugged. “I know it doesn’t matter to you as much as me, but I really want to make this work. When I got a clue as to where you might be, I had to come.”
“Because I’m your only option left?” At those words leaving his mouth, his teeth made that horrible scratching that reverberated through his skull and he shuddered. “I know you asked Brian for someone else.”
“I wasn’t sure if you were still going to do the project with me, and as you know, I have a lot riding on this.”
She gave him a standard answer as bland and boring as a frozen diet meal.
“Actually.” She shut her eyes for a moment as if trying to collect her thoughts. “I was mad at me and you and I wasn’t sure if I wanted your agent to force you to work with me or give me someone else, but on the drive over, I realized that if you aren’t going to be my cohost, I’m ready to call cut on the whole project.”
“You’re willing to lose your job if I don’t do the story with you?” He uncrossed his arms.
She pressed her palm to her stomach. “There’s something to be said for knowing who you can work with.”
He lowered his toes to the floor and stepped forward into her personal space. “You think you can work with me?” It might have been the first time that sentence was uttered.
She didn’t back away. Instead, she chose to stand her ground and look up at him. “The stage fright isn’t as bad with you.”
Funny—he should make it worse, but he liked that he had the opposite effect on her. The storm he had conjured when she’d entered turned into more of a light breeze, one he wanted to brush against those perky pink lips, but he held back. “I don’t know. If I even consider this, I would need to set some additional ground rules.”
“Good, I can add some of my own to them.” She continued to stare right at him.
Her words sent a jolt through him. “They would have to be set tonight at dinner.” Yes, he tested her.
“Excellent, I accept your invitation. Now, we can get right to work.” A true smile took over her features. The clouds parted around her, allowing in the sunshine.
“First rule, no talk of schedules.” He grabbed a bottle of club soda from the fridge, opened it, and offered it to her. The bubbly drink always settled his stomach.
“Then, as an amendment to that rule, don’t make me late.” She took the bottle.
He pulled a stool out from under the counter. “Why don’t you sit here, and I’ll go change?”
“Do you live here?” Once she sat, her focus instantly went to the bag of samples from Isaac.
He paused, waiting to see what she said.
As she sipped her beverage, she continued to gaze at the bag as if it were going to do a magic trick. “Do you live here?”
“You are a quick study.” He reached over her to take the bag and found himself nose to nose with her.
“Do you live here?” she repeated. “Or am I not allowed to ask?”
Rather than answering, he should give her a guided tour, starting with his new bed. They could break it in. “Yes, I do. Wilson is my brother.”
“Oh, you offered something. Though your brother’s name is accurate on the Internet and in the teen magazines I used to read.”
At last, he retrieved the plastic bag and straightened up. “I need to take my vitamins and get ready.” What she didn’t know was he was as stuck as her, possibly more, but it did give him the advantage, and she still needed to prove herself.
EXT. SPRINGFIELD, MO – Farmers’ Market – DAY
While WILLIAM and CHARLES get sidetracked talking to a vendor about video games, STEVEN and ROXY walk through the Farmers’ Market.
Let me know when you want to ditch everyone else and we can start our vacation.
STEVEN tosses some money to one of the merchants, grabs a little container of red grapes, and holds them out to ROXY who plucks a grape out of the container.
You wouldn’t leave them stranded, would you?
Instead of worrying about everyone else, I would just like to worry about you.
STEVEN chooses a grape and feeds it to her.
ROXY stops in the middle of the thoroughfare. STEVEN takes a couple of steps past her, stops and returns to her.
See, I would never leave you behind. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.
STEVEN goes to feed ROXY another grape. ROXY grabs his wrist
What do you want?
I think I’ve made that crystal clear.
STEVEN bends down to where their faces are only inches apart. ROXY takes a breath.
What about everyone else?
Don’t worry, gorgeous, I would never leave them stranded. I just want some time with you to myself.
I don’t think you’re as bad as you think you are.
Maybe I can change your mind.
STEVEN kisses ROXY. ROXY puts her fingertips over her lips and runs away.
The valet at the Grove mall in Los Angeles rushed around to Ivy’s side of the car to open the door, but Logan held up his hand. “I got it.” He exited the car, handed his keys over for the ticket, and tended to her door personally, offering his hand for stabilization purposes. As a bonus, Ivy’s friend was also her roommate and would drive Ivy’s car back to their place, thus leaving them together with no worries about odd logistics.
“Thank you.” She put her hand in his, got out, and turned back toward the car.
“What is it? Did you forget something?” Following her lead, he also looked at his car.
“No, I wanted to ask you a question.” She let go of his hand.
At her breaking contact, he stifled a frown. Minus one for her. “Until we decide our future together, I will refrain from answering any questions.” He held out his arm, wondering if she would redeem herself.
Without hesitation, she looped her arm in his, but glanced back toward the valet station once more.
Her gesture was a bit of recompense coupled with some fraction of a point off for her distraction. Still, he had to know what could be more fascinating than him. “What is it?”