By the end of the filming that day, Liat looked at Austin in a whole new light. He no longer seemed the stuck up star she’d imagined. In fact, he seemed—nice. He had a wonderful sense of humor and laughed loudly at his own mistakes. Although he was polite about it, he also laughed at hers. Leaving the set, feeling slightly less intimidated, she found the assistant director in her path.
“Boss wants you.”
The woman led her to the director’s presence. He smiled, holding out his hand. Liat instinctively recoiled when he grasped it in both of his, pulling her closer. She put the brakes on, digging in with her heels, before he managed to embrace her.
“Great job today,” he oozed. “You really have a flair. I want you to go to dinner with me tonight.”
“Thank you, but I can’t. I’ve lines to run and I need my beauty rest.”
His grip tightened on her wrist. “I insist.” The heat of his gaze intensified.
Liat couldn’t get away—not politely, anyway. She could have laid his flabby ass out on the floor, but chose not to. It was a public place. Someone would notice if he got too aggressive, and she could always raise her voice or scream.
“I really think you should, for your future on the show,” he continued, gritting his teeth.
“There you are!” Austin broke in brightly, flinging his arm around Liat’s neck. “You promised to run lines,” he teased, insinuating himself between her and the director. “Irving won’t mind. Will you, Irv?”
Austin’s presence had forced the other man to drop Liat’s hand.
“Splendid! Want to be spot on tomorrow, don’t we? Come, love. I’ll show you my beautifully appointed trailer. I’ve got fish!” He pulled her close, placing a loud kiss on her cheek as he guided her rapidly away. He nuzzled her cheek and ear as if he were whispering to her. From time to time he’d laugh softly.
Liat wasn’t sure what was going on, but she was extremely grateful for his interference in what could have been a sticky situation. His warm breath on her cheek tickled and a little shiver glittered down her spine.
Austin led her to his trailer and didn’t let go of her until the door was shut behind them. He released her and took a couple steps away, hands in his pockets, smiling uncertainly.
“What was that?”
“A well timed rescue?”
“You looked like you were ready to put him on the floor—and not in a fun way.”
Liat chuckled, relaxing. “I was.”
“We should probably stay in here for awhile. Irving will leave once he thinks we’re—” He made vague gestures with his hands that looked rather like wringing laundry. “Busy.”
“Oh!” Liat’s hand flew to her mouth. “Have I traded one potential menace for another?” Her eyes narrowed, but she smiled.
“No!” He leaped back, nearly hitting a low table. “No, I promise. But everyone will think—I do apologize. But if Irving thinks we’re involved, he’ll leave you alone.”
“Tea?” He walked quickly to a small kitchen.
“Hot, this time, please.”
“Obviously. Dex and Naomi will be by shortly. They keep me well stocked in leftovers. I don’t cook much and I hate going out. People.” He waved his hands expressively. “They’d have to throw it away, so they pass it along to me.”
As if on cue, there was a tapping at the door.
“Come in!” Austin called as he set the kettle on.
Dexter poked his head slowly around the door. Seeing Liat fully clothed and Austin in the kitchen, he came inside.
“Quite the show out there! I think Irving’s junk shrank a couple inches.”
“Disappeared completely, then?” Austin took two cloth bags from his friend.
“Well done, my brotha!” Dexter did a complicated handshake with Austin.
“Can’t see a lady in distress. Especially when she can’t get out of it without breaking bones. Don’t want you losing your job because Irving’s a thugging wanker, can we?” He winked at Liat.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes