Tag Archive | writing romance

Something New – Part 21

something new coverAt home again, Austin runs the gauntlet down the hall. His floor is home to two (of three) brothers, all of whom have twins or triplets. It’s apparently bath time and the dads are having trouble keeping track of their children.

The naked child ran across the hall again, trailing bubbles and water. His father made a grab and missed because the other child clung to his leg.

“Rory, no!”

Austin scooped up the child before he could make a break for the elevator. His father picked up the one attached to his leg.

“Thanks! He got away from me when I went after his brother.”

“Mum’s out, then, Owen?”

Owen chuckled. “How’d you guess? Girl’s night out. I might live through it. Ewan’s out of town, so we’ve got his as well. And Aiden’s on the injured list.”

His brother appeared at the door, a crutch under one arm. “Stepped on Legos in the dark. Turned my ankle. You’d think I’d know not to go in their room after light’s out.”

Austin chuckled. “What shall I do with this, then?” The child dangled from his hands, swinging back and forth, pulling at his toes. He flipped nearly upside down, but Austin caught him.

“You’re good at wrangling,” Owen said. “Want a job?”

“Got one,” Austin replied.

“Oh, hey, you’re on tonight, aren’t you?” Aiden asked.

“Am I? I don’t watch it. Is it good?”

“Dude, it’s awesome,” Aiden replied, bending over to keep one of his daughters in the apartment. “There are websites and forums devoted to you—and your ass.” He winked.

“Really? Then they’ll be disappointed to know I’m keeping my pants on for a bit.”

“The American public will cry with woe,” Owen said dryly.

“The women will—and the gay guys,” Aiden said.

“What?” Austin held the twin awkwardly as he spun around. “Gay guys? My bum?”

“The topic of more than one board. Lots of speculation about which way you swing.”

“Me? That’s insulting, that is. Not that there’s a thing wrong with being gay,” he rushed to say. “But it’s not me. Jesus!” He handed off the twin and went home.

His phone rang and he answered absently.

“Austin?” His manager, Babs. She handled models and actors.

“Yes, hi!”

“You’re a hot commodity, it seems. The local sci-fi con is calling to see if you’ll come for a visit. They’re inviting a couple of the companions, and a few of the writers.”

“Yes, of course. When? Where? Do you need to talk to Dwight?”

“Already did. He said you’d say yes and send the schedule to him. He says you have a new companion and she’s staying? Dish. Tell me all.”

He did. Babs fired off questions, demanding detailed answers.

“Also, the local talk shows want you on. I’ve been approached by City Today and Late Night Ladies.”

“I don’t even know who those are. Why all the interest?”

“You’re number one across the nation. Everyone’s talking about you. Do you live in a bubble?”

“Mostly? Why don’t I know any of this?”

“Most of the calls came in today. I heard there was a big stink over one of the directors. He walked out?”

“He was fired for being a beast,” Austin said, setting her straight. “He might think he’s someone special, but Elaine did not.”

“The producer? You met her?”

“Yes. Lovely lady. Just got back from dinner with her and the rest. We ate with Naomi and Dexter, the caterers. At their cabin.”

There was a stunned pause. “Really? You know Naomi owns the island?”

“The um. . . . Island? That bit in the middle of the river?”

“Yes. Their cabin is an exclusive lodge. Very high end. They live on the island in a smaller cabin. Her family has owned it for years.”

“Hm, the things you learn.”

“Do you think your new companion would be interested in joining you for the shows and conventions?”

“You can ask her.”

“Do you have her number?”

“Uh, no, actually. Dwight—”

“Dwight will.” She chuckled. “You’d better have him give it to you too.”

“Will do.”

“I’ll let you go. I’ll get her number and call you back tomorrow. Bye, honey!”

“Right. Yes. Goodnight.” He hung up.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 19

something new coverAustin throws himself into every experience, including something as simple as a walk in the moonlight. Liat finds herself swept up in his enjoyment. She finds the setting, not to mention the man, captivating.

A crunch of footsteps on gravel alerted them that they weren’t alone. Dexter stood on the shore.

“Sorry to bother, but I’m about to lock up and turn out the lights. I saw the car and thought I’d better come looking.”

“Just was enjoying the river for a few minutes,” Austin mumbled.

Dexter laughed at his friend. “It’s been nearly an hour, mate.”

Austin’s fingers laced with Liat’s. “Good company,” he replied.

“Thanks, Dex.” Liat kissed his cheek.

Dexter clapped Austin on the back, grinning. When Liat’s back was turned, he gave his friend a subtle thumb’s up and a wink. Austin smirked, nodding.

Austin and Liat chatted quietly as they drove back to town. His apartment wasn’t far from where she was staying. It was a modest building, though comfortable.

“You can afford a bigger place,” Liat commented. “Not that this isn’t nice—”

“I like the people,” Austin said with a smile. “Dwight’s right across the hall. Next door is this elderly couple who have been married close to sixty years. They’re amazing. Some of the others from the show live here, scattered about.” He wiggled his fingers at the large, old fashioned brick building. “Downstairs is a fabulous restaurant. When I feel adventurous, or really hungry, I go down. The chef lives down the hall with his wife. He keeps a table for me, in the back, so I’m not bothered by fans. His wife works for the paper.

“I can exercise here, or take a dip in the hot tub. They’ve got a dojo upstairs and the lads and I work out there. I think Naomi’s father owns it, though he doesn’t live here. There’s a convenience store on the main floor. They stock my tea and biscuits, order them in specially for me. There’s a dry cleaner’s and a hair and nail place. Everyone knows everyone else. It’s like having a huge, extended family all around. I love it.”

His eyes sparkled happily as he extolled the virtues of his housing choice. Liat could see the appeal. For a man who’d come from nothing, lived on the street and hadn’t any family, a place like this would be like heaven. Her heart ached when she thought of the things he’d lacked, but she knew he was changing that. Having the job as The Magician had turned his life around.

“You want to come in for a bit?”

“I would. Don’t have to get up early.”

He smiled and got out, going around to open her door. “I always get up early. I go out on my balcony and I listen to the city wake up. I can’t do that the days we work, there isn’t time. But on my days off, I do. On rubbish days, the trucks rumble around and clatter and bang as they collect. I used to hate rubbish days. Had to run fast or you might get yourself dumped in a truck.”

“Did you live in a dumpster?”

He shrugged. “Briefly, when I was young. It wasn’t a busy one. Mostly just boxes and paper trash at an office, so it was fairly clean.”

“How old were you when you started living on your own?”

“Fifteen.”

“Why? Didn’t they take care of you in the foster homes?”

“Not so much,” he replied, clamping his lips together. “Can we please not talk about my youth? It’s behind me and I’d far rather think about my future.” He unlocked his door and ushered her in.

His home was Spartan, but clean and neat. He had simple tastes and only a smattering of furniture.

“When I find something I want, I buy it. Otherwise, I wait until something catches my eye. I don’t watch much television.”

“Do you watch your show?”

“Why? I live it. No need to see it. I used to.” He led her to the kitchen. “Then I’d look at myself and say, God, do I really look like that? It’s enough to make me contemplate surgery, so, I stopped.” He put the kettle on and pulled cups and tea out of the cupboard.

“What’s wrong with how you look?”

“I’m all arms and legs and this big, huge head. Floppity ears and an enormous nose. Don’t get me started on my bum.” He turned, examining it critically.

Liat giggled, clapping her hands. “Stop being such a girl! You look wonderful. All the bits fit together splendidly.”

“Even my bum?” He winked at her.

Liat’s eyes focused on his close fitting jeans as she smiled secretively. “Most especially your bum.”

Austin put the tea on the counter and walked over to her. She took a few steps toward him and they met in the center of the kitchen. His hands cupped her chin, lifting her face to his. She moved closer, putting her fingers through his belt loops as he bent toward her. Their lips met with a small spark.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 18

something new coverAfter a very successful day, Elaine Vogel invites them all to dinner. Instead of a restaurant, Dex and Naomi invite them to their home outside the city—on an island they own. Austin is delighted with being in the country. For a city boy like him, it’s a real treat.

“Drink?” Dwight flopped down on the couch next to Liat and Austin. He held out tall, cold glasses of something with lime slices and a sprig of mint on top.

Liat sniffed it. “Best not. I’m driving. You can drink,” she told Austin.

“One,” he replied. “Not much of one for alcohol.”

“No head for it?” Liat asked.

“No money for it.”

“You can afford it now, mate,” Dwight nudged him, taking a sip of his beverage. “I started as a bartender in a strip club,” he said. “Do you like it?”

“It’s delicious. Tastes like minty lime juice and bubbly stuff.”

“It’s a mojito.”

“It’s officially my favorite drink.”

“Better than tea?” Liat asked.

“Nothing is better than tea.”

“Go easy on it,” Dwight cautioned. “If you don’t drink, it will sneak up on you.”

Austin saluted him, taking another sip. He enjoyed his beverage while he chatted with Liat, Sandy and Elaine. Dwight sat with him for awhile, then went off to talk to Robert.

Less than an hour later, Naomi announced dinner. They walked into the dining room to find long, split log tables with rustic wooden chairs. It was laden with platters of ribs, bowls of salad, mashed potatoes, vegetables and other delights Austin had no name for. He was ushered to the head of the table, with Liat to his right. Elaine was given the end opposite him. They all took their places, standing with their heads bowed.

“I know we aren’t all of the same religion or the same nationality, but we share a commonality of purpose,” Elaine said. “For a brief time each week, or viewers are able to step out of reality into another place—we all do that for them. This meal is a blessing. This show is a blessing and you are all blessings for me and one another. Delight in life and in this food.”

With a scraping of chairs, they sat and passed bowls and platters. Everyone ate until they were too full to move. After dinner, Naomi served coffee and the wait staff scurried around with fresh berry cobbler. Austin wasn’t sure he could eat dessert, but one bite convinced him it was delicious.

“We made it from the blackberry bushes out back,” Naomi said with pride. “We’ve tried hard to make our business self-sustaining. We grow our own vegetables and fruits. We don’t have our own animals, but we have friends who do. Everything is organically grown. What do you think, Austin?”

“I think if you weren’t married to a massively huge man, I might have to marry you.” He stood, taking her hands. “Instead, I’ll thank you.” He kissed both her hands. “Thank you for being my friend, thank you for feeding me and thank you for this delightful party. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it was the best meal ever.”

“Not just the food,” Liat said. “Which was delicious. But all the people. I’m really proud to be part of this crowd, even if it’s temporary.”

“Does it have to be?” Austin asked Elaine. “Can she stay longer? Because she’s the best companion The Magician’s ever had.”

His eyes held so much, Liat could hardly interpret it all. He wanted her to stay, that much was clear. Not just because she was a good actress, because he genuinely liked her. But it pleased her that he admired her talent too.

Elaine stood, putting her hands on Liat’s shoulders. “Well, perhaps I’m biased, but I think she’s good too. The job is yours, darling, for as long as you like.”

“Really?” Liat hugged her mother. “And you aren’t mad?”

“I was furious until I saw you two together. You truly have made The Magician magic.”

Everyone cheered, congratulating one another. Soon after, the party broke up. Everyone pitched in to help clean up, thanking the catering staff profusely. It was late when they finally headed down the path to their cars, but it was Friday night. No one had to be up early the next day.

Liat offered Austin a ride home. He agreed happily.

“Can we pop by the river a moment before we go?”

“Sure.”

They walked down the path, cleverly lit with hidden lights so that the foliage seemed to glow. The dock was lined with silvery Christmas lights which reflected off the water and the shiny bodies of the boats. Austin led Liat to the dock. Standing in the middle of it, he turned to face her. His long fingers wound in her hair and he kissed her lightly on the lips.

Liat opened her mouth, pulling him close. Her arms went around his waist as she deepened their kiss. Austin sighed contentedly, his tongue dancing in her mouth. Liat smiled, happier than she could remember. A warm, tantalizing glow traveled from her chest to her belly, lodging deep inside. A longing filled her, making her ache.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 17

something new coverAfter getting over the shock of meeting the producer, Liat’s mother, Austin feels he can get back to work. He feels a little odd kissing Liat with her mother watching.

Unfortunately, Scene Five still needed to be finished. Austin was somewhat intimidated by Elaine’s presence, but he wasn’t nearly as nervous as Liat. Fortunately, they got through the scene without having to a lot of takes, and were able to move on.

At the end of the day, Elaine walked onto the set, arms wide. She embraced her daughter, then Austin.

“Beautiful! I think that’s the best you’ve ever performed,” she complimented him. “And you,” she turned to her daughter. “Darling—” She embraced her again, tears threatening her makeup. “Dinner on me,” she commanded. “Go get cleaned up and meet back here in half an hour.”

Everyone did as they were told. She even invited the rest of the cast and the crew. When they were ready, they discussed a location. Naomi and Dexter solved the problem of where to go by inviting them to their home. They all loaded into cars and trucks, playing follow the leader.

Austin thought it sounded like a huge crowd to have all in one place, but didn’t argue. Instead, he hopped in the car with Liat driving.

“Is their house big enough?”

“Wait until you see,” she said, grinning.

The convoy turned off the bypass and headed up a narrow country highway. Soon, they turned onto a much narrower private road, which eventually became a well packed and graded dirt road. The trees closed in around them, forming a deep green haziness that was relaxing and intimidating at once. Austin opened the window, inhaling the fresh forest scent. His city-dweller eyes devoured the country sights hungrily. When the car stopped, he hopped out, dashing around the front to open Liat’s door.

“I love it here! I want to marry it! I want to make love to it and have its babies!” He picked up Liat, swinging her around excitedly.

Laughing, she held tight, enjoying his enthusiasm. Finally setting her down, he held her close, gazing into her eyes.

“It’s beautiful here. Do they really live here?”

“Come see.”

They were all parked in a large gravel parking lot. A well tended pathway led to the left, up a slight incline. Liat grabbed Austin’s hand, tugging at him to follow the crowd. The path turned a few times, then ended in front of a huge log cabin. It was three stories high, with a deep, wide porch around three quarters of the building. Bentwood rockers lined the porch. White ruffled curtains accented the windows.

“This is amazing!” Austin ran up onto the porch, turning in circles once more, drinking it all in. “A real log cabin?” He touched the wood lovingly, green eyes sparkling. “Marvelous! Absolutely brilliant!”

“Mate, you act like you never saw trees before,” Dexter said, chuckling.

“I’m a city boy. Most trees I’ve seen are in the park.”

Everyone stopped talking, watching him. Something they took for granted was fresh and new to him. Liat wanted to cry. His enjoyment both delighted and saddened her. She’d had so much in her life—country estate, city house, horses, private schools, wealth. She’d never done without, never been hungry. Here was a man who hadn’t had much of anything, looked at the reality of his fame and lived modestly. He took nothing for granted, but relished what he had while it lasted.

She took his hand, pulling him to their right. “It’s a surprise,” she murmured as they walked.

After a few moments, the distinctive sound of rushing water met their ears. Austin grinned at her, speeding up. He ran, following the sound, until he reached a wooden dock. Two boats were tied up, a small skiff and a cabin cruiser. The water rolled by, but not far down stream, low rapids clamored noisily over the rocks. A long, narrow island, split the river in half.

“There’s even more rapids on the other side,” Liat said. “People come from all over to shoot them.”

“Oh, let’s go!” He ran out onto the dock.

“No, Austin! Do you know anything about shooting rapids?”

“Not a lick.”

“Can you swim?”

“Of course!” He spun around, grinning. “Sort of. With a life jacket, or those floaty thingies.” He waved his bent arms like a chicken.

“Let’s go eat dinner,” she said sensibly.

“Yes, perfect. Food first, then nature!” He spread his arms, embracing the great outdoors.

They bustled back to the house. The doors and windows were open and people sat on the porch or milled around the yard. Inside, more people bustled about, most of them from the catering staff. Dexter and Naomi were in the huge kitchen with their staff around setting tables, cooking and chatting.

“I told them I’d take everyone out,” Elaine said. “I meant to a restaurant.”

“Dex lives for this,” a waitress said. “He’s in his element with spontaneous meals for fifty. You’ve made him happy as a dog in a puddle.” She swished off, grinning.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 16

something new coverTo say that Liat has a surprise for Austin is an understatement. She goes to his trailer to tell him, only gets distracted by kissing him. There is a knock on the door and. . . .

“We’ve met—a time or two. Hello, Liat, darling. Did you think you could pop up without calling me? And get a job on my show without me finding out?”

“What?” Austin stood up. “What?”

“Didn’t she tell you? Liat is my youngest daughter. Only her name isn’t Fogleberg, it’s Vogel.”

“What?” Austin couldn’t seem to find anything else to say. “What?”

“Is he always this obtuse?” she asked Sandy.

“You caught the boy by surprise, Elaine. Usually, he’s very well spoken.”

“Daughter! She’s your mum? And you didn’t tell me?” He turned to Liat, frustrated and afraid. “I snogged you—a lot. Just now. You didn’t tell me!”

“I came out here to tell you, but we started kissing.”

“I hope you’re happy. I like this job. I like acting. I’ve made friends here. I also happen to like you—rather a lot. So much, I asked Sandy to rewrite the script so I wouldn’t have to shag you.”

Liat blinked, confused. “What? Why?”

“I should think that would be rather obvious. The Magician has shagged everything in sight from one end of the galaxy to another, but never a really nice girl that I like. Never someone like you.”

“But you don’t want to shag me?”

“I do—but I don’t. Oh, hell!” He walked back to his guitar, forgetting that he had company. He picked up the guitar and started to play the same emotional tune he was earlier.

Liat followed him. “Austin. I like you too. I came out here to tell you, but you kissed me and I forgot what I needed to say.”

“Lovely, I’m giving girls amnesia. I’m that good.”

She put her hand on his arm. He glared at her, but stopped playing.

“Was it all an act?”

“No, not at all. I am from London. I like scones and barbecued spare ribs—and you. And I like working here. I tried out for the job and was hired. No one knew who I was. I purposely used my grandmother’s maiden name so they would hire me for my ability, not because my mother is the show’s producer. She didn’t know until today that I was even here.”

“She’s telling the truth,” Elaine said from behind him. “And I’m not mad at you. My daughter, on the other hand, has some explaining to do. Come sit down. We’re taking precious time away from filming to have this conversation. I want to say my piece and let you get back to work.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Austin said calmly. He put his guitar down.

Once they were settled in the living room once more, Elaine spoke.

“You’re doing a hell of a job, Austin. Your numbers are off the charts and the show is gaining audience daily. You’ve got a huge fan club. I had three calls just today, asking for you to appear at the local sci-fi convention. I told them to contact your agent.”

“Really?”

“We need to make some decisions. When Sandy contacted me about your new co-star and said how much you wanted her to stay, I was surprised. I had never heard of her, or so I thought. When she sent a picture of my own daughter, I was understandably shocked. Then that Irving person called and said horrible things, none of which I believed. I decided to come and see for myself, after I fired his perverted ass.”

“Why did you hire him in the first place?” Liat asked. “He’s terrible.”

“He’s a name and used to have a stellar reputation.”

“Used to?” Liat asked.

“Not when I get done with him.” Elaine’s smile was wicked.

“Mom, I don’t want you destroying his reputation because of me.”

Her mother put her hands on Liat’s shoulders, gazing into her eyes. “Darling, I won’t repeat the things he said, but know this, he deserves everything I throw at him. He didn’t just insult you, he insulted virtually everyone associated with this show.”

“Virtually?” Austin asked.

“He complimented the caterer’s wife. My niece by marriage. And not in a nice way.”

“You’re Dexter’s aunt?” His hand flew to his forehead. “You’re Dexter’s aunt!” He laughed loudly.

“Can we get back to work now?” Elaine asked. “We have a tight schedule.”

“Sure,” Sandy said, leading the way out. “And it’s all right if we rewrite the scene?”

Elaine glanced pointedly at Austin’s ass. “Yes, more’s the pity. Thing of beauty,” she teased.

“Mum!” Liat couldn’t believe her mother ogled Austin so publically.

“Darling, that’s the last I’ll look. Your father’s arse was just as tasty.”

“Mum!” Mortified, she rushed off.

“You’re not anything like your character, are you?” Elaine asked Austin.

“No, ma’am. Not at all. Except for being clever and disarmingly handsome. With great hair.” He tossed his head.

She laughed, taking his arm. “I’m going to like you,” she decided.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 15

something new cover

Austin stood in the middle of the room, a black Ibanez on a strap around his neck. His fingers flew over the strings. He wore a pair of headphones and had his back to her. She didn’t want to sneak up on him, but he had his eyes closed. Something alerted him, perhaps the scent of her perfume, or an awareness that he was being watched. He turned, surprised. He took off the headphones and she heard other instruments playing. He turned off the music and set the guitar on a stand.

“I’m a freak,” he said, holding his arms wide. “Forgive me?”

“Of course,” she replied, stepping into the circle of his arms.

“Do they need me?”

“Not at the moment. I came to talk to you for a minute. Can we chat?”

“Sure. Sounds ominous.”

“Depends on your perspective.” She took him by the hand, leading him to the living room.

“Are you mad—about the kiss? Or the love scene?”

“Not at all. If you’ll recall, I was enjoying that kiss as much as you.”

He smirked. “I noticed.”

They sat.

“I haven’t been entirely honest with you.”

“You’re secretly a man,” he blurted.

“Of course not! Why would you even think of that?”

“It was the worst thing I could think of. If I found out I’d been snogging a bloke, I might have to swallow bleach.”

“Nothing like that, I promise.” She took a deep breath. “This is harder than I thought.”

“What is? Why?”

“I like you so much, Austin. You’re funny and smart and so—cute!” She blushed.

“You didn’t think so when you first arrived. You thought I was conceited. I do have great hair, though.”

“Oh, you heard that? I’m so ashamed. I didn’t mean it. The other girls were ogling you and I was jealous.”

“Why?”

“Because I was sure you’d rather have one of them than me.”

Austin didn’t know what to say. Instead, he pulled her close, his lips brushing hers once more. Liat knew she had to tell him, she wanted to tell him, but she couldn’t stop that kiss. It had taken on a life of its own, igniting her senses, making her tingle from head to foot. His scent filled her nostrils, making her dizzy. Or maybe it was the power of his kiss itself that made her senses reel. He felt so good in her arms, his lips locked with hers, his tongue teasing hers as it flickered in and out.

An insistent knocking on the door finally penetrated their little world of two. Separating slowly, they tried to straighten their clothing and fix their hair. It was a lost cause and they both knew it. Austin adjusted his tie and jacket before opening the door.

Sandy stood on the pavement, gazing up at him. A woman with sleek brown hair, dark brown eyes and a very familiar face glared at him. She was dressed in a well tailored black suit with red soled shoes with metal heels. She took the first step, grabbing his limp hand so he’d pull her up. He did so automatically, taking her weight with a shift of his stance. When she was inside, Sandy and Robert followed.

“Mr. Templeton, I presume.”

“Yes. Austin, yes.”

“You’ve got something on your face, Austin.” She pointed to his mouth and cheeks.

Too late, Liat realized her lipstick had rubbed off on him. He wiped with a tissue, managing to miss all the smeared red spots. She dabbed at him with a damp tissue, but it didn’t do much good.

“Never mind,” the woman said haughtily. “Sit down, both of you.”

“I’m assuming you’re our producer,” Austin said. “I don’t believe we’ve met before.”

“No, we haven’t. You’ve dealt with my assistants, but not me directly. I’m Elaine Vogel.”

“Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”

He held out his hand, but she didn’t take it. Her eyes shifted to Liat.

“And this is your new leading lady, of whom I’ve heard so much?”

“Yes, ma’am. Liat Fogleberg—” he began.

“We’ve met—a time or two. Hello, Liat, darling. Did you think you could pop up without calling me? And get a job on my show without me finding out?”

“What?” Austin stood up. “What?”

“Didn’t she tell you? Liat is my youngest daughter. Only her name isn’t Fogleberg, it’s Vogel.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 14

something new coverAustin finds himself in a quandary. He’s highly attracted to Liat, which is made all too plain when he kisses her. Flustered by his reaction, he has a mild panic attack. Here is a woman he likes and respects, has to get naked with, and knows he will embarrass himself. Fortunately, Sandy understands, and agrees to dispense with the naked love scene, something they’d been wanting to work away from in any case.

Liat wandered to his table as Robert and Sandy walked away. Austin invited her to sit.

“What was that all about?”

“We’ve decided to rewrite the love scene.”

“Oh? Why?”

“I’ve been trying all this season, and half of last, to drift away from the tits and ass—mostly my ass—aspect of the show. We got the idea, already. He’s a playboy who roams the universe shagging anything with remotely the right stuff. How likely is it that every alien female has a vagina?” He realized what he’d said and blushed. “Sorry.”

Liat giggled, enjoying his misery for a moment. “Precisely what I’ve always asked myself. And how many are genetically compatible? Might there be a lot of little alien babies out there looking for Daddy?”

“I know! And it’s a miracle he hasn’t ended up with something. A withering alien grunge that makes his naughty bits fall off.” He shuddered. “So, Sandy agreed to rewrite the scene a bit so I don’t have to go naked. It will fade to black with us kissing.”

“So, in effect, we still do it.”

“Yes, but it’s very Seneca-esque.”

“Takes place off stage.” She nodded, smiling. “It works. Not taking him completely out of the convoluted alien vaginas, then.”

“Gradual reduction,” he replied seriously. “Can’t send him cold turkey. His man parts might fall off from lack of use.” He wiggled his fingers distastefully.

“Or he’d develop carpel tunnel.” Her dark eyes twinkled as she smiled at him.

It took Austin a moment to catch up with what she’d said. When he did, he laughed loudly. “There’s that. But we won’t be seeing my arse this time, except tastefully clothed in boxers. I’m thinking with smiley faces. Those are irresistible to women.”

Sponge Bob, he’s ever so much sexier, with his—nose.”

Austin laughed again. “Be sure to mention that to the costumer.”

“I shall.”

He made to rise, but she took his hand. “Austin, that was a fantastic kiss, by the way. And I hope we’ll be able to enjoy more of those.”

“I—you—yes, please.” He got up, rushing away. He headed toward his trailer once more.

This time, no one followed him. They would fetch him before the next scene.

Liat was toying with the idea of going after him, when Naomi wandered over with a platter of coconut shrimp.

“A little birdie told me you like these.”

“Love them! How did you know?”

“I have ways and means.” She scooted closer. “When do you intend to tell him?”

“Tell him what?” Liat tried to look innocent.

“Secret’s out—just with Dex and me. Did you really think you could pull this off without being discovered?”

Liat looked uncomfortable. “I was hoping no one would know.”

Naomi leaned close, whispering. “When my husband’s cousin comes to town unannounced, he gets curious.”

“I haven’t seen him in ages, not since we were small.”

“Nope, but did you really think he wouldn’t recognize the family crest?” She pointed to Liat’s necklace.

Liat put her hand over it, sighing. “Does anyone else know?”

“Not at the moment, but the second the producer marches in the door, that will all change. Don’t you think you’d better warn him before she arrives?”

“Yes.”

“He already likes you, that’s blatantly obvious. Don’t lie to him any longer.”

Liat nodded. Squaring her shoulders, she headed to Austin’s trailer.

Loud guitar music blared from the trailer. It wasn’t a tune Liat recognized, but it was amazing, with a hard driving rhythm. It was highly charged and emotional. Knowing he’d never hear her, she didn’t bother to knock, merely let herself in. The music continued. She didn’t see Austin in the living room area, so she wandered further in. There was an area between the living room and bedroom that had been outfitted as a music room. There was an electric drum set, a bongo, three guitars, a bass and a keyboard.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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