Tag Archive | writing romance

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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Something New – Part 13

something new coverWith Irving gone, everyone is able to relax and get some serious work done. In the infamous scene 5, Austin and Liat exchange a kiss. He completely loses himself in the moment. His professional aplomb shaken, he excuses himself, nearly running to his trailer.

Dwight went into Austin’s trailer without knocking. His friend paced from one end to the other, muttering. He nodded when Dwight entered, but kept pacing.

“You okay?”

“Yes.” He walked past. “No.” He turned and went the other way.

“That was some kiss.”

“Yes.” He repeated the pacing, back and forth with long, quick steps.

“What’s wrong?”

“Did that look real? Like really real—not television real—but I want to shag her real.”

“Yes.”

“Damn. I was afraid of that.”

“Why?”

“Because, I want to shag her. It was bloody wonderful! She tasted like strawberries and—and chocolate and simply amazing, tantalizing girl. I want to snog her and I want to shag her. And sometime in the next few days I have to get virtually naked with her and pretend to shag her—only I can’t really—and. . . . Misery!”

Dwight saw horror in his friend’s face, but he wasn’t sure what to do.

“Because, obviously, I’ve got to tromp around with my ass out and pretend to shag and this—!” He gestured angrily at his groin. “This!”

For the first time, Dwight let his gaze travel down to the level of his friend’s zipper. He raised an interested eyebrow.

“That poses a problem. A rather large problem.”

“You’re not helping.”

“You need an effective cock block,” Dwight suggested. “Something to think about when you’re pretending to shag her so you won’t want to shag her.”

“Like what? Fuzzy kittens? Little, cute puppies? Charming antics?” He frolicked around a moment before pacing again.

Dwight bit his lip. “Oh, I don’t think puppies and kittens are enough. Zombies, dead burnt bodies. Car wrecks. Train derailings. Mom finding your porn stash.”

“I don’t have a Mom and I haven’t a porn stash. I’ve always hated mummies.” He concentrated a moment. “Nope. Nothing.”

“You could shag her before hand,” Dwight suggested.

“Oh, because that would make it so much easier,” Austin replied. “Has that ever worked for you?”

“Nope. I’m grasping at straws.”

“What works for you?”

His friend blinked rapidly. “I don’t know. Um—I don’t usually need one, because I’m not in this unwieldy position. The porn stash was my best bet. If Mom had found gay porn, she’d have a conniption.”

There was a tap at the door. Sandy’s assistant, a fresh faced young man named Robert, opened the door. “Sorry to bother you, but Liat’s worried. Are you okay?”

Austin turned away, growling with frustration. “Nothing that castration wouldn’t solve.”

The assistant, a man about his age, chuckled. “Yeah. Love scene tomorrow.” He paused. “How attached are you to that scene?”

“You mean the one where I bare my arse yet again, moon the camera and shag a beautiful woman? I could do without it completely.”

“Let me talk to Sandy. Maybe we can rewrite it. Cause, dude, I get it. She’s hot. And if that kiss was any indication—”

“Exactly!” Austin’s eyes held desperation.

“Come have lunch. Everyone’s worrying about you. We’ll chat with Sandy.” He tipped his head.

Austin followed. Dwight brought up the rear, walking beside the assistant, Robert.

“Thank you,” he murmured.

“Man, been there myself. I knew exactly what was wrong.”

“Every man in the place did.”

Austin sat at his table alone, his plate virtually untouched. Naomi came over with all his favorites and finally was able to persuade him to eat. Liat sat by Sandy, talking quietly, but earnestly. When Robert came over, Liat went back to the catering table and talked to Naomi while she got more to eat.

Sandy and Robert wandered over to Austin’s table. They huddled together, talking quietly. After a few moments, Austin jumped up, kissing Sandy’s cheeks.

“Thank you! Yes, marvelous. Thank you!” He kissed her smack on the mouth.

“We’ll have the new pages by morning,” Robert assured him.

“If you were a girl, I’d kiss you too,” Austin said, shaking his hand. “Thank you.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 12

something new coverIrving is history, much to everyone’s delight. Sandy, the assistant, is now taking over as director.

Austin took his place, grinning at Liat. He pulled a serious face, trying not to smile, because the scene was a dramatic one. After several attempts, he finally had to turn his back and take a deep breath. Liat saw the change come over him as he became The Magician once more. She took the time to center herself. When he turned around and took his mark, he was his character—interstellar hero.

The scene went remarkably well, with no screw ups. Sandy watched a playback. “I don’t think we can improve on that. Wow, we never did a scene in one take before. Good job! Take a short break while we reset for scene five.”

Austin and Liat made a quick trip to the loo and met up at the catering table. She had a plate full of fruit and he piled on a few scones and a stack of pineapple.

“Love this stuff. Isn’t it brilliant?” He took a bite, closing his eyes.

“I never saw anyone enjoy his food so much,” Liat remarked.

“Remember the starving thing? Wasn’t an exaggeration. Oi, Naomi. Have any chocolate?”

She giggled. “You got away from me before I had a chance to melt it.” She brought over a bowl of melted chocolate.

Austin tipped some on his plate and offered the rest to Liat. She accepted with a grin, dipping a strawberry in hers. He dipped his pineapple, rolled his eyes and moaned softly. She giggled.

“Gee, Austin. You need a girlfriend, mate.”

He smiled, eyes softening. “Yeah, well. Waiting for the right girl to say yes to that.” He finished his pineapple in silence.

Liat wasn’t quite sure what to say. She wasn’t used to men like Austin, who were funny and shy, a mixture of ultimate confidence and absolute terror. She knew he was interested, but he didn’t make a direct move like the other men she knew. She liked his shyness, but realized she would have to show her interest and give him an opening. They waited for the final lighting changes, standing together off to the side. Austin watched, arms crossed.

“Scene five, eh?”

“Yes.”

“You know what happens in scene five?”

She shook her head. He smiled, winking before taking his place. Another quick transition and he was all business. Liat watched him, fascinated, concentrating hard on the scene ahead. The prior scene had been one of havoc and mayhem. They hadn’t filmed it yet, since it took place outside and wasn’t scheduled for several more days.

The two of them were in a warehouse, hiding from the bad guys, a race of sentient robots, a cross between the Star Trek Borg and Whovian Cybermen. All hell was about to erupt around them, but they had a small lull in the action.

As they stood there, terrified for their lives, The Magician touched her cheek, brushing her hair behind her ear.

“If we’re going to die, I simply must—”

His lips lightly brushed hers, making them tingle. Liat was so surprised, she didn’t react right away. Then, her arms came up, wrapping around his neck by habit rather than design. His arms pulled her close and the kiss deepened, intensified. Liat sensed that it was no longer Morgana and The Magician kissing, but her and Austin. Kissing him felt so right. She opened her mouth her tongue sweeping across his and she trembled.

“And cut!” Sandy yelled. “Austin! Yo, Austin!”

“Sorry.” His eyes focused on her gradually. Realizing he still held Liat in his arms, he slowly let her go, taking a step back.

No one said anything. They’d never seen Austin lose his professional aplomb with a woman before. He’d kissed a dozen women and pretended to get his freak on with eleven, all in the course of the show. Never had he completely lost himself in the moment.

“Excuse me,” he mumbled, heading for his trailer.

Dwight followed, saying nothing.

“Break! That’s lunch,” Sandy said.

Liat looked nearly as flustered as Austin. Naomi approached her, speaking quietly.

“I’ve got fresh scones and tea,” she offered. “Would you like some?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“You okay, honey?”

“Yeah. Yeah.”

“You don’t look all right.”

“Wow,” Liat mumbled. “No words. . . .”

Naomi chuckled. “I know the feeling. Dex still has that effect on me three years later.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 11

something new cover

She eyed him critically. “Nope, can’t be cute anymore. You’ll have to settle for handsome.”

“I suppose I’ll have to sacrifice, then. Pity. I liked being cute.” He pulled a ridiculous pout, tossing his magnificent mane of hair.

“Austin!” Irving yelled. He gave the impression that he’d spoken to the leading actor more than once. Glowering, he waited several seconds before continuing. “Do I have your full attention?”

“As full as it’s likely to get. You’ll have to settle for semi-divided with an excuse,” Austin replied, holding up a finger. “I’m standing next to the world’s most beautiful woman.” He gestured to Liat. “You can’t expect to win my full attention, mate. Not possible.”

Irving glared at him, clearly furious. He didn’t like how close Liat stood to Austin or the fact he put his hand over hers.

“Ready for blocking,” Irving commanded. “Where’s your script?” He glared at Austin.

Dwight scurried forward, handing it to him. He’d tossed it aside to do his squats. Grinning, Austin waved it and clicked open a mechanical pencil.

“Armed and ready, sir,” Austin replied, wielding the script like a sword.

Liat hid a smile. He sounded less than deferential. In fact, he managed to make sir sound like an insult instead of a term of respect.

They worked on blocking for nearly an hour before Irving was satisfied. He kept changing his mind, then yelled at the actors for getting it wrong.

“Break! Everyone take ten.” He threw up his hands. “I can’t work like this. I can’t work with him. He’s impossible.”

Austin scurried over to Dwight. “Does he mean me?”

“Yup.”

“What did I do? I thought I was doing well.”

“You’re fine. He’s trying to make you look bad and he can’t.”

“What’s he doing now?”

Irving was on the phone, talking heatedly, gesturing wildly, from time to time he pointed at Austin. Red in the face, he did everything but yell. He was furious, but controlled. It was terrifying. Had he lost his temper and hollered, it would have been less intimidating.

“I imagine he’s complaining about you.”

“Me? Whatever for?”

“Saving an innocent woman from his dastardly clutches.”

“Oh that. He’s still pissed about that?”

“Guess his ego couldn’t handle it.”

“Do I need to worry about my job?”

Dwight put his hands on Austin’s shoulders. “Have you seen your numbers? Do you know how well loved you are?”

“No. I don’t pay attention. I just want to work.”

“You’re the network’s golden boy. Who do you think they’re more likely to fire, the pain in the ass director who’s inordinately difficult to work with and pisses off the entire cast and crew—or you?”

Austin chuckled. “When you put it that way—guess I’d best pack my bags.”

Dwight laughed loudly, pulling Austin into an unexpected hug. They watched as Irving thrust the phone at the assistant director and stormed off. Sandy took the offending phone, putting it to her ear. She nodded, smiling shakily.

“Yes, ma’am. Yes. I completely understand. You bet. And thank you.” She hung up, grinning. “Everyone, gather round.”

They grouped around her expectantly.

“I just got off the phone with the producer. She’s very interested in what’s been going on over here and plans to visit later today. In the meantime, I’m in charge. It’s Friday. What does that mean?”

“Everyone works on Friday,” they chorused loudly.

“That’s right! Now, you lot!” She put on a fair imitation of Austin’s accent. “Time to work! Hustle, now! Chop chop. Time is money, and all that.”

Austin stepped forward, taking her hand to his lips. “Congratulations. You deserve this.” He raised her hand above her head. “Huzzah!” He yelled. “Hip hip!”

The others yelled “Hooray!”

They repeated that three times, clapped and took their places.

“What’s happening to Irving?” Austin asked her quietly.

“Lost his job in disgrace. Seems she didn’t like what he was saying about you and a certain brunette.”

“What? We didn’t do anything. We had dinner and ran lines.”

“Which is why she didn’t appreciate what he was saying. Go on, get to work!”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 10

something new coverUncharacteristically, Dwight offers Austin a ride to work. He wants to chat with Austin about Liat, among other things.

“Have I mentioned, ever, that at least ninety percent of what you say completely baffles me? And the other ten is hazy.”

His friend laughed quietly. “Once or twice. In this case, I mean that you seem blind to your own appeal. You’re funny, charming, passably good looking.”

“Passably—what?” Austin didn’t know whether or not to be offended.

Dwight chuckled as he pulled into his parking place. “You’re not my type, but I see the appeal.”

“I feel like my head is all out of proportion. Chin to pronounced, big nose, floppy ears, forehead that goes back a mile and my eyes are squinty.” He pulled funny faces as he spoke.

“Go get your makeup and hair done, squint boy.”

“Yes, Mum.” Austin stuck out his tongue as he walked backwards toward Rochelle’s area.

After nearly tripping over equipment and people, he turned around. Rochelle and Bunny were much happier with his hair. It took very little time to set him to rights, so he went to the catering table for a cup of tea and a plate of madeleines. He cast about for Liat and saw her coming from makeup. He smiled and waved. She wandered over and sat with him. A waiter brought her tea and a plate of scones and madeleines.

“What wonderful service! They know what I like before I know myself.”

“It’s their job and they’re good at it. Did you sleep well?”

“Still getting used to the nighttime noises. It’s very quiet where I’m from.”

“London? Quiet?” He chuckled.

“Outside, really, in the country. I grew up in London, but after college, I moved out. It’s so quiet, I can hear the stream behind my house trickle.”

“You can’t!”

She giggled. “No, but I can hear crickets and birds and other lovely things. There’s always something going on here. Sirens, car motors, stereo systems thrumming, trains rumbling. It’s horrible. I am at a decent hotel, but it’s downtown and still noisy.”

“I don’t even notice. I find comfort in the everyday noise, I suppose. It’s when it’s very quiet or the sounds change that I become nervous. Quiet means danger, where I come from.”

She put her hand on his. “Was it very awful?”

He shrugged, shaking his head as he gazed at his teacup. “I don’t think about it anymore.”

“Places in ten,” Sandy announced over the PA system.

“I need to make a call,” Austin said, pointing to the restroom.

Liat nodded. She needed to go herself.

When Austin came out, Dwight handed him a script.

“I don’t need this.”

“Keep Irv happy, he’s on a tear.”

“Why?”

“Might be replaced. Apparently someone complained about him to the producer.” He winked.

“What did you do?”

“Me? Not a thing!” His tone was unconvincing.

“Thank you,” Austin murmured, flipping through the pages.

There were a few minor changes, but mostly it was the same script they had studied last night. Since he and Liat were in the first scene, they began their vocal warm ups. Austin combined his vocal exercises with squats and pushups. He’d do more later, when he wasn’t filming. He took snatches of time during the day to work out in order to maintain his physique. He also got horribly bored sitting around waiting to do his scenes.

He ended his squats with a few jumps like a Russian dancer, arms folded, toes up, landing on his heels. The cast and crew stopped talking, watching him instead. Somewhat self-conscious, he hammed it up, adding vocalizations and humming the Russian dance from Nutcraker. To his surprise, three of the actors joined him, one of them was Liat. They danced and laughed while the others whooped and clapped. When they were done, they took a bow to thunderous applause.

“That’s one for the gag reel,” the cameraman yelled, clapping.

“You got that?” Austin was mortified.

The man chuckled, patting his camera fondly.

“Can we get to work now, people?” Irving bellowed. “We have a schedule to follow.”

All business, the cast and crew went back to work. Liat wandered over to Austin, waiting for the crew to finish their set up.

“You’re very good. Have you been dancing long?”

“Since I was a kid. A child can make good money as a hoofer on the street. Adults, not so much. I was lucky that I was small for my age and could pass for ten even at fifteen. Then I grew and I was no longer cute.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 9

something new coverAustin heads home, sharing the leftovers with his driver. When he gets there, he finds Dwight hanging out, playing music while he waits for Austin. Dwight watches while Austin sets his alarm, and goes home.

Austin woke before his alarm. He turned it off and got up, feeling better than he had in several weeks. He had something and someone to look forward to. The prospect of seeing Liat made him smile. He hoped that saying something to Sandy would help. He was tired of getting used to new people every few weeks. It was disconcerting. A real man wouldn’t go through women so quickly, at least he never had.

A player would, but he wasn’t a player. He liked a steady woman. Unfortunately, the ones he’d met lately hadn’t been so much interested in his personality as what he did for a living. The idea of being the girlfriend of a famous actor made all the difference. Women who wouldn’t have looked at him twice otherwise, were flashing him from the crowd and trying to get in his pants. That was fun for awhile, but it soon lost its appeal.

He shaved and showered, seeing that someone had replaced his scented shampoo with unscented. Probably Dwight. He took care of those troublesome details. Having an assistant was wonderful. His memory tended to edit small details, but Dwight remembered everything. He made a mental note to thank him.

A quick breakfast of leftover scones and tea completed his wake-up process. There was a tap at his door—That’ll be Dwight checking on me. He answered with a grin.

“All set. Thanks for checking. And thanks for the shampoo.”

“Doing my job.”

“Yes, and I’m grateful for that, too. You see to the details. It’s bloody marvelous.”

Dwight chuckled. “Want a ride?”

“The car is coming, isn’t it?”

“I can call and cancel. We can ride in together.”

“Okay. Let me get my phone and wallet.” He retrieved them from the bedroom, putting them in the pockets of his jeans as he strolled to the door.

Dwight was in the hall, concluding his call.

“What’s going on? You rarely want to drive in together. You say we see one another all day.”

“We’re going to have a chat.”

“Must we? What about?”

“Liat.”

That got Austin’s attention. He sat up, giving Dwight all his attention.

“I called Sandy last night and told her what you said. She was delighted, though we both sense it won’t please Irving.”

Austin made a disgusted noise. “God himself wouldn’t please that man.”

“Are you kidding? He is God.” Dwight chuckled.

“Must have missed the memo on that.” Austin paused, waiting for Dwight to continue. When he didn’t, Austin decided to prompt him. “Well?”

“She’s been waiting for you to say something.”

“All this time? That’s what they wanted?”

“I don’t know. That’s what she wanted, anyway. She said she’ll take it up the ladder.”

“Meaning what, exactly?”

“She’ll call her boss—our boss—the producer.”

“Can we complain about Irving the same way?”

“Oh, you don’t like pervy Irv?”

“Not entirely, no. He’s rude and condescending, as if I’m not smart enough to understand him.”

“You’re smarter than any ten people put together. He’s the idiot. Just because he’s got his PhD in film, he thinks he’s someone.” Dwight gave an expressive shrug as he turned into the studio lot.

Stopping at the gate, he flirted with the guard on duty. She was a woman of medium good looks and a muscular build. She’d always scared Austin a little. She smiled and laughed at Dwight, passing them through with ease.

“How do you do that?” he asked. “Flirt with women, when you’re gay.”

“It’s easy. I pretend they’re men with boobs.” Dwight chuckled. “It’s all acting, dear. Like I used to do, before I came out.”

“Out? Oh—yes, I see. You’re very good at it. I don’t chat up girls well.”

“You seemed to be doing all right with Liat.”

“She’s easy to talk to. She thinks I’m funny.”

“And charming.”

“Me? Least charming man I know.”

Dwight shook his head. “Go on thinking that, sonny boy. It won’t get you laid, but might keep you warm at night.”

“Have I mentioned, ever, that at least ninety percent of what you say completely baffles me? And the other ten is hazy.”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Something New – Part 8

something new coverAfter saving Liat from Irving, he invites her to share catering leftovers in his trailer, and run lines after. Liat graciously accepts.

They ran their scenes a few times, talking about how to say the lines. An hour and a half later, they decided to call it a night.

“I’ll call you a car,” Austin offered.

“No need. I have a car.”

“I’ll walk you to it. No one should be out and about in the dark. I know it’s a closed theatrical set, but—why take chances?”

“Thank you. How are you getting home?”

“I’ve got a driver at my disposal. I don’t like driving like an American. It makes me nervous. Besides, I like to go over the day in my head while I travel.”

“Good idea.”

He grabbed up the food and followed her out to her car. She’d had to park rather far from the sound stage, so it took several minutes to walk to her car. She drove a sleek sports car.

“It was a gift from my father when I took up acting,” she admitted. “He said they would take me seriously if I drove up in a vintage Jaguar.”

“It makes quite the impression. Rather I don’t need you, but you’d do well to hire me posh.”

“Exactly!” She put her hand on his cheek. “Thank you, Austin. I’ve had a great first day. You make this look so easy.”

“It’s fun. As soon as it stops being fun, I’ll quit and move on to something else.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. Here, take the rest of the pud and sauce. I can’t eat it all.”

“Thank you.” She smiled, getting behind the wheel.

Austin closed her door and watched her drive away, grinning. His car and driver appeared out of nowhere, pulling up beside him.

“Thought you’d have company?”

“Just dinner and lines. She’s a quality lady, Stu. Can’t rush quality.”

“True. Ready for home?”

“Yeah. Oh, ribs.” He pulled out the few leftovers for his driver. “And salad with all the fixings.”

“Thanks, the wife will love that. That’s all the ribs?” He sounded disappointed.

“Fed two.”

“Of course. Thanks, man. Appreciate it.”

The two men chatted quietly as they headed to Austin’s apartment. He thanked his driver and headed upstairs. The door was open and he heard music playing. Chuckling, he knew from the music choice, it was Dwight. Besides, only his assistant had a key to his place. The strains of Lover’s Leap by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones wafted on the air conditioned breeze. Dwight had introduced Austin to the jazz musician’s music.

“I knew you wouldn’t have company,” Dwight said as the door closed. “But please tell me you kissed her.”

“No. Ran lines. Ate dinner. It was a good evening.”

“So, no action.”

“Must an evening end in bed for it to be a good one?”

“Most men, gay or straight, would say yes.”

Austin laughed. “Progress was made. More will be made tomorrow. Thanks for the script.”

“Very welcome. Did it go well?”

“It did. She’s good. I hope they keep this one. I rather like her.”

“Speak up. You’re the star. You’ve got some pull.”

“I don’t know who to tell. Can’t go through Irving, he hates me now.”

“Sandy, the assistant. She can pass it along.”

“Good idea. Thanks.”

“Anything else you need?”

“No. I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Okay, set your alarm and wake up to it this time!”

“Would you like to watch me?” He went to his room, inviting Dwight to follow. At the side of the bed, he picked up his alarm clock and set it.

Dwight leaned in the door, watching, hands deep in his pockets. “Good. Now, bed. I want to go to sleep and I don’t want to be worrying about you.”

“I’m fine. No worrying, Mum.” Austin winked at his friend.

“Shut up and go to sleep.”

“Yes, Mum.”

Dwight walked out, closing the door behind him, smiling.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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