“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.”
“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