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.”
“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.”
“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