Authors: Kim Carmichael
“I was wondering if you still had the BMW from the movie?”
Though he was the only one she could ask that particular question, it was still an interview question. “The restaurant is just across the way.”
“I’ve always loved this shopping center.” She motioned toward the huge fountain in the center. The outdoor mall located adjacent to the famous farmers’ market lent itself perfectly to the balmy Southern California nights. She made a noise as if she were going to say something more but stopped.
He glanced over at her. With questions in her eyes, she bit down on her lower lip. No doubt she managed to restrain herself from mentioning the scene from the movie of them in an outdoor mall with the water fountains and stores and searched for any excuse to draw the parallels. He didn’t even bother telling her he remembered the scene. Maybe he never got the girl because he didn’t want one. How would he know if they wanted him or Steven?
He guided Ivy around the fountain and through the crowd. Once upon a time, his appearance would have created an avalanche of people running in his direction. However, with the years passing, it happened less and less. At times, he missed it and understood how others in his position became obsessed with finding their way back into the spotlight.
“Oh my God, it’s him!”
He only flinched at the woman’s shrill voice because Ivy stopped and squeezed his arm. A quick scan landed his focus on a congregation of women charging his way.
“It’s Steven!” the intruder yelled again.
At Ivy’s whisper, chills coursed through him.
The woman barreled forward, and he stiffened his spine. Steven slash Logan both played their roles. “Do you have a pen?” He held out his hand, wanting to prevent the great pen search most fans put him through.
In record time, Ivy produced the requested writing implement as the woman and two others caught up to him.
“I hate you.” The woman put her hands on her hips and lifted her chin toward him. “I can’t believe what you did to William and Roxanne, even poor Charles.”
He opened his mouth expecting a comeback to materialize, but he couldn’t remember the last time someone yelled at him for being his character. Normally, they hated him for being him and even that didn’t happen too often anymore.
“Excuse me, but you do understand that Steven is a fictional character?” Ivy snatched her pen back.
“We were never given an explanation of why Steven drove away.” She glared at Ivy. “There was supposed to be a sequel, but he stopped that and we never got any answers.”
Any retort he may have come up with disappeared with Ivy’s interjection, but he wouldn’t stand for the woman’s nasty look and opened his mouth to get rid of the battle-ax.
“Do you know that as fact?” Ivy let go of his arm and moved in front of him.
Unsure whose action shocked him more, he allowed her to take over.
“Every report said it was his fault.” The woman motioned toward him.
He crossed his arms. Thus far, Ivy had let the matter of the sequel lie, but no doubt with the crazy fan woman it would come up along with his arrest. Any hopes of whatever he hoped for with her faded away now that this woman made the topic bubble to the surface. They would be better off with the stock answers he tried to give her the other day.
Ivy held her hand out as a makeshift shield. “Twenty years ago the media was not even close to what it is now, and you are relying on a few accounts of spoon-fed news to tell the whole story?”
Never, in the twenty years since the day in the hotel, had he ever heard one person try to defend him. He froze. Ivy couldn’t be on his side. He went to reach for her but resisted.
The woman’s chest heaved. “The sequel —”
“Didn’t happen. It will go down as one of life’s major mysteries, but many people have addressed this dilemma on fan fiction, some very wonderfully written.” She tilted her head. “Sometimes its better to not know the ending.”
Fan fiction? He had heard of the stories but had never read any.
The woman glanced at him again. “He’s going to hurt you just like he hurt Roxanne.”
“I thank you for the warning, and I would discuss the matter with Steven if he existed.” She took a step back.
With the admission that she recognized he was not Steven, he exhaled. While he wanted to wrap his arms around her, he chose to take her shoulders and inched closer, looking down at the top of her head.
“Who are you?” The woman wrinkled her nose.
“A woman who is very hungry for dinner.” Evidently done with the exchange, Ivy spun around to him.
“Well, I definitely can’t have you malnourished.” Rather than offering his arm, he pointed ahead. He nodded at the congregation around them. “Good evening.”
“Seriously.” Ivy stomped by his side.
Caught in a stare at nothing and struggling to take in exactly what had happened, he put his hand on the small of her back and led her through the large glass doors to his friend’s restaurant. Finally inside, he gave a quick nod to the maître d’, took her hand, pulled her through the dining room and kitchen, and into the walk-in cooler. The blast of frost did nothing to clear his mind.
Ivy looked around at all the shelves with the restaurant’s food, the vegetables, the fruits, and some little baked goods for desserts. “Logan?”
“Did you just defend my honor because you are reenacting a scene in
?” His voice sounded distant, disjointed, but he needed the answer.
“Considering that was never a scene in
, I would have to say no.” She let go of him and wrapped her arms around her shoulders.
“I have a question for you.” He stared into her eyes. Everything about her was beautiful and more importantly genuine. She meant it when she said Steven didn’t exist, when she told him she would quit if he didn’t do the project with her, everything.
“Is this the start of our meeting?” Her voice quivered with her teeth chattering.
“Are you freezing?” He closed the distance between them and rubbed his hands up and down her arms.
“Is that your question?” she whispered.
“No, this is.” Without another thought, he lowered his head and found her mouth with his own.
Most kisses he experienced were forgettable, quick flashes of fun that might lead to a whole night. Actually, if he dared to be honest, quite of few of his kisses were written into a movie, scripted seconds with no emotion.
His kiss with Ivy possessed many things he had never experienced—passion, truth, and anticipation.
On top of everything, she kissed him back.
No, she didn’t stand motionless waiting to be serviced, expecting him to do everything. Instead, she responded, parting her lips, wrapping her arms around his neck. The small coo escaping her throat only fueled the need he had since the day he walked in on her defending him the first time.
Her taste matched her to perfection, sweet with layers and depth, and even the unexpected when she took the lead in searching out his tongue with her own and pulling him closer. Any questions he had left about her were finally answered with two opposing forces, his intense arousal and his alternate urge to simply hold her tight.
She gasped and pulled back, putting her hand to her lips. Her cheeks glowed red.
“Thank you for answering my question.” He hooked his fingers under her chin and tilted her face up to him, running his thumb along the outline of her lower lip. “This is one scene I say we reenact immediately.”
He went to kiss her once more. In fact, he wasn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.
She put her hand to his mouth, stopping him.
He tilted his head.
“This is one scene I can’t reenact.” She turned away.
Though she trembled in his arms, something told him it wasn’t because of the cold. “Maybe we need to let it marinate for a while before we decide if it should end up on the cutting room floor.”
Out the corner of her eye, she glanced at him.
“How about we go have our dinner, and I’ll make sure you never miss a deadline? Maybe I’ll even pick you up in the BMW I drove for the movie.” He found himself holding his breath praying she didn’t back out.
Somehow, their roles had switched.
EXT. GAS STATION – SPRINGFIELD, MO – NIGHT
The teens stop for gas before finding a motel for the night. WILLIAM and STEVEN have gone inside to get some snacks, leaving ROXY and CHARLES in the car.
INT. CAR – NIGHT
ROXY bites her nail and CHARLES, in the backseat, uses a flashlight to study for his test. ROXY leans over the seat.
Will you sleep with me?
CHARLES Fumbles with the flashlight, but finally catches it and looks up at her.
I don’t believe I’m one of the choices.
What am I going to do? William thinks I’m with him, and Steven . . .
ROXY wrings her hands.
What do you want to do?
You are torn between what you should do and what you want to do.
ROXY looks down.
Something like that.
“I kissed Logan Alexander.” Ivy stared at the television even though it wasn’t on. She didn’t need to watch any reruns anyway. The kiss replaying in her head overshadowed everything else.
Giselle plopped down on the couch and held out a paper bag of mixed nuts. “Are you okay?”
“I kissed Logan Alexander.” Ivy reached into the bag and took a handful, popping the salty treat in her mouth. Maybe she needed to join them, because she was most definitely nuts.
“Tell me exactly what it was like.” Giselle crossed her legs and faced her. “Those are famous lips.”
Tingles took over her body, and she sipped her club soda to cool down. Though never one to drink the mixer straight, she found it quite refreshing. Or maybe she was having a breakdown. “Remember when we used to practice kissing on our pillows?”
“He looks a lot more sturdy than a pillow,” Giselle whispered.
“I mean, remember when we would practice and we would picture the most incredible, amazing man kissing us back? One who would make your toes melt?” She put her hand to her forehead.
“No wonder he kissed you in a refrigerator.” Giselle grabbed one of the couch pillows and hugged it to her chest.
“You know how unreal those kisses appear in the movies? Like no one could kiss like that because it’s all rehearsed, but damn it looks good?”
Her friend nodded.
“Well, Logan kisses better than that.” With the same inflection and giddiness of a teenager, she blurted out her confession as if no one would guess her crush would be the best kisser ever. “Oh, God.” Somewhere inside, her adult self screamed to be let out.
“It must be something in the genes.” Giselle shook the bag of nuts and picked out a few.
For the first time in several hours, Ivy turned away from the blank television to take in her best friend. Giselle was positively radiant and relaxed. Ivy knew that look. “Where did you get those nuts?”
“Wilson gave them to me. Every bar has to have nuts. The salt makes people thirsty and they drink more.” Giselle held a sampling of the nuts in her hand. “He said he wanted only peanuts ’cause you can get, like, tons of them for cheap, but Logan insisted mixed nuts were more classy and a conversation starter.”
“When did you have this incredibly interesting talk about nuts?” She dug her nails into the couch cushion.
“After we had sex on the bar. I would call it pillow talk, but we didn’t have pillows. I was starving, and he got out this huge can of nuts. He wanted to go out, but nuts are sort of fattening and I was full, so we had sex again to burn off the calories and then I came home.”
She blinked, wanting to wash away the vision of Giselle and Wilson having sex and go back to the rewind of her kiss. “You had sex twice with Wilson?”
“You should have had sex with Logan. If his brother was any indication, everything we predicted about Logan and his orgasm potential is accurate.”
“I can’t have sex with Logan!” She jumped off the couch and put her hands over her eyes. “I can’t have sex with him and I can’t kiss him again!”
Giselle came over and put her arm around her. “Here, have some nuts.”
“I can’t have any more of your sex nuts.” She groaned.
“He gave me a fresh bag. The ones we used during sex, he ate.” Giselle patted her back. “I think if you have sex with Logan you’ll feel much better. Just think, you will never wonder again what it would be like to have sex with Logan Alexander because you will know.”
“How do you have sex with a man whose poster you used to have on your wall?” She walked into the kitchen of their small apartment and leaned over the sink, not sure if she wanted to throw up.
“Well, better than kissing a pillow.” Still holding the nuts, Giselle joined her. “So what’s next? Is he going to play the disappearing act again or are you going to get your job done?”
The nausea she tried to fight came barreling over her full force. “He wasn’t clear on when we would meet again. He only said he would make sure I didn’t miss my deadline.” Of course, her first report was due was in two days and she didn’t know if his plans included her or not.