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The foundation series bo.., p.42
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.42

           Kira Adams
 

  I nod. “To be quite honest, I’m not sure if either one of us could have imagined this outcome either, but we’re here, and we’re ready to talk about it.”

  Kelley smiles warmly back at me. “That is what I find so fascinating. Most Hollywood couples fight tooth and nail for their privacy and freedom, but you two basically revealed your life in front of the world, for all to see. What makes this connection so much different than the others?”

  Jace glances at me, smiles, and then back at Kelley. “I love her. I always have. I always will.”

  Kelley laughs, clapping her hands together. “Well you guys heard it here first, Jace Austin is off the market, stay tuned for more with the newlyweds.”

  The cameras pan off of us for a moment as the break kicks in, and Kelley stands up, inching toward us. “I don’t believe I’ve had a chance to say congratulations yet.” She embraces us both at the same time.

  “Thank you,” I say, glancing at Jace.

  “If you don’t mind me asking, why me?” Kelley asks curiously as she sips on a bottle of water.

  Jace takes the lead on this one. “Oh, you know, the scandal of the year or the love story of the year…and who better to bring that reality to life than you?”

  Kelley smiles. “It’s about time to get back on, you two ready?”

  Jace laughs. “We were born ready.”

  “Welcome back. We’re here with Jace Austin and Peyton Lane, the Hollywood couple who’s thrown everyone into a frenzy. Now, Jace, I hope you know I am going to have to ask the hard questions this time around…I think the world deserves to know,” she addresses him.

  Jace nods, remaining mute.

  “Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you and Angelica Frost a hot and heavy item recently?”

  Jace looks out into the audience as the filled seats gasp and wait for the scandalous truth. “Yeah, we were…but Angelica and I were never anything serious…our agents set us up and the chemistry was nothing compared to what Peyton and I have.”

  Kelley scrunches her eyebrows in thought. “But you two dated for quite some time, in fact, you went on two promotional tours promoting yourself as a couple, isn’t that right?”

  I can feel how uncomfortable the line of questioning is making Jace, and I want to jump in and come to his rescue, but maybe these are questions that need to be asked. “That’s right.”

  “So none of that was from a marketing aspect, it was purely coincidental?” Kelley asks suspiciously.

  Jace sighs. “When you work so intimately with someone for as long as it takes to film a movie, you grow closer, it’s natural. Angelica and I had a chemistry of our own, she is one hell of a woman, and I could have never asked for a better co-star. But there’s never been any doubt in my mind that for me, it’s always been Peyton.”

  I can’t help the blush I feel pouring over my cheeks, the heat seeping in.

  Jace could say unicorns fart rainbows, and all the women and girls in the audience would still be in awe and fascinated with him. It’s like he can do no wrong. Kelley hit him with those hard questions, and he maneuvered them like a boss.

  I know there are people out there who would die to be in my position, but to me, he’s just Jace. My Jace. That’s all there is to it. That’s all it’s ever been. He’s mine and I’m his. Simple as that.

  “Peyton,” Kelley interrupts my deep train of thought. “Now, you’ve been back in Ohio working on your music career, correct?”

  I nod, suddenly alert.

  “And your debut album just released with your single Stripped Me to the Bone debuting at number ten on the Billboard charts. Do you know how difficult that is to do for a widely known artist, let alone a new one?” I have realized how incredible the ride has been since everything started…but I guess I didn’t realize my story was so out of the ordinary.

  “Yeah, I’m just so thankful and grateful for it all,” I say.

  “Now there’s been speculation in the media for a while that you wrote Stripped Me to the Bone about Jace, can you confirm or deny that?” Kelley sure isn’t holding back the punches today.

  I nod, unsure of what to say next.

  “Well, that’s got to be rough. Knowing someone hurt you that bad, yet giving them another chance. What changed, Peyton?”

  I glance at Jace and as I begin to open my mouth, ready to answer, Jace jumps in. “Peyton and I have been through a lot…more than any normal couple should ever have to experience, but we made it through because we had each other. I don’t know what the future holds for us, and I know it’s going to be tough as hell being apart due to our work schedules, but I believe in us.” Jace stands up and then kneels down in front of me.

  “What are you doing?” I hiss, my heart beating against my chest.

  “I’m giving you a re-do,” he says before inhaling deeply. “Peyton, I didn’t get to do it the way I know you would have envisioned it, the first time, but please let me try this again. I remember the first time I laid eyes on you. I knew then that I wanted to do whatever it took to get to know you. I know I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, and listened to what other people said, but you were always the end game for me. You are my first thought when I wake up and my last thought before I go to sleep, even after all of this time…that has never changed.” Jace pauses, allowing the audience to calm down their wild cheering.

  “There is something about us when we are together. We are like electricity. The spark and passion is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I don’t want you to be anyone else’s happily ever after, but mine. I love you, Peyton Lane, I’ve always loved you.”

  The audience erupts into a deaf-defying roar and I don’t care that the entire world is watching, Jace just professed his love for me for the second time in front of the entire world. He deserves something for that. I pull toward me so that we are eye-level. “I love you,” I say slowly, making sure he hears every word before closing my lips upon his.

  I didn’t think the cheers could get louder, but boy was I wrong.

  “Well, you guys heard it from the horse’s mouth—it’s the real deal, and they are very much in love. Congratulations to the happy couple. Shutterfly didn’t want to miss out on the action, so they are sending you two on a very private, very romantic honeymoon in Bora Bora, at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, for a 4 day/3 night relaxing vacation. They are going to put you up in one of their bungalows perched above the water, where you can even watch the tropical fish beneath your feet through the glass flooring.”

  Jace and I stare wide-eyed at one another. “Wow, thank you,” I stumble over my words.

  “Don’t thank me, thank Shutterfly!” Kelley smiles big for the camera, the audience continues clapping and the cameras cut.

  Fourteen: Somehow, I Managed to Turn the Scandal of the Year into the Love Story of the Year

  Jace

  It’s hard to get over the high from it all. Somehow, I managed to turn the scandal of the year into the love story of the year, and I didn’t even need Justice to make it happen. I breathe in deeply, reveling in the fact that we pulled this off.

  Peyton doesn’t look as enthusiastic as she grabs her unopened suitcase from the hotel her label set her up with for the trip. “What is it?” I ask.

  She hands me the suitcase, takes one more look around and then begins leading me out of the hotel room. “Well, for starters, what happens now?”

  I expel a bit of air, feeling some tension. “Now, I take you to the airport.”

  She scoffs. “That’s it?”

  I shrug. “Look, this is as new for you as it is for me. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how to be a…husband.”

  “I’ll talk with my lawyer about an annulment then,” Peyton says under her breath.

  “Excuse me?” I grab her arm, stopping her in her tracks. “Do you see this?” I lift up my left hand so it is eye level for her, my ring in clear view. “This means commitment. I don’t take this lightly.”

&n
bsp; Peyton sighs. “So I’ll ask again, what happens now?”

  I look around. “Well, first we are going to need to get out of the way.” I pull her off to a side wall, out of the line of foot traffic. “And secondly, I could use a kiss from my wife.”

  She smiles slightly and then steps into me, pressing her lips to mine. It is short and sweet, but exactly what I need. The kiss seems to help dissolve the fogginess in my brain. She pulls away and I put my hands on her shoulders.

  “You are going to fly back to Ohio, and deal with all the craziness there, and I am going to be flying to Georgia for the movie. I’m going to have limited time while filming, but I know I want to see you in the next few weeks. Whether I come to you, or vice versa, it’s something that means a lot to me.” I shift her around as we begin walking again.

  I can feel her nodding into my shoulder.

  “Does that plan work for you? I want to talk more permanent changes soon, but we both have priorities we need to take care of.”

  She glances up at me, and then bobs her head yes.

  “Good,” I reply, kissing her gently on the top of her head.

  I’m not great at goodbyes, so when the time comes, it’s not surprising that I’m a bit shifty. I see Peyton off and then begin making my way to my own gate. I feel the vibrating of my phone inside my pocket, as I grab for it, bringing it up to my ear.

  “Hello?”

  “Hey,” Chenise’s familiar voice answers. “You on your way to Atlanta?” she asks.

  “Yeah,” I reply.

  “Peyton make her flight okay?”

  “Yep. What’s up, they’re just about to board?” I press.

  Chenise sighs. “The woman who broke into your house, Tanya Duncan, was released on bail. The hearing is going to be next month. I just wanted you to know.”

  I breathe out deeply. “Thanks, Chenise, I appreciate it. Are you meeting me in Georgia?”

  “Yeah, I will be. I have some meetings with potential new agents first and then I’ll be making my way there.”

  “Listen, thanks for everything that you’ve done for me,” I say. “I honestly don’t know how I would have done it without you.”

  I can feel her smile through the phone. “You’re welcome. It was my pleasure.”

  “Alright, Chenise, see ya soon.” I hang up the phone and pick up the pace when I hear them announce first class boarding on my flight.

  * * *

  “Dude, I guess congratulations are in order,” Tyrone says, pulling me in for a hug.

  “Thank you, thank you.” I pat him on the back. Before we even part, I see Angelica making her way into the big room. Her eyes widen when she sees me.

  “Never in a million years did I think it was true,” she says as she approaches me.

  I shoot her a sympathetic smile. “Hey, Angelica, how you been?” We share an awkward embrace before parting.

  “Oh, I’m fabulous. I’m the new face of Cover Girl, I just landed a sitcom role, and this of course. I couldn’t ask for better luck.”

  “Wow,” I reply. “Sounds like things are really going well for ya. I am very happy to hear that.”

  “And you…” she says, almost in a disgusted tone. “You really went out and did it?”

  I nod. “Yeah, I really did.”

  “You know, I didn’t get to see much, but I did catch the end of your special on Kelley, smart move. Did Justice set that up for you?” she asks.

  I shake my head. “Actually, no. I haven’t been working with Justice for quite some time now.”

  “Really?” she asks, surprised.

  “Yeah, really.”

  Our director, Tim, comes walking in, and suddenly all eyes are on him. The whole room erupts in cheers. He looks surprised and then grateful as we praise him.

  “Wow, what a warm welcome. It feels so good to be back.” Tim stalks to the middle of the room. He looks around, assessing how many people are present. “Looks like we might have some stragglers. In the meantime, here are the scripts. Let’s get started.” He reaches into the side pocket of his laptop bag and pulls out a stack of scripts. My stomach tenses up.

  What if the last movie was a fluke? What if I’m not the man or actor everyone thinks I am? I get insecure, just like everyone else…but it always comes out at the most inopportune times.

  I glance around the room at the sea of faces. Some are veteran actors, been in the business longer than I’ve been alive. Some are rookies, cast off an open call. None of that matters to me though. I just feel so privileged to be doing something I love among this colorful cast of characters. I don’t want to ever take that for granted.

  “Angelica, Jace, you guys ready?” Tim calls out.

  We exchange a nod and then open our scripts turning to the first page.

  I inhale sharply. And so it begins…

  Fifteen: So We Had a Rough Start, but We Are Sisters, We’re Always Going to Have Each Other’s Back

  Believer

  © 2015 DarienMae

  Once upon a time

  There was a girl

  Special in many ways

  Known around the world

  She grew up a peasant

  But came a queen

  Lived in a castle

  And had everything

  Queen B

  Genie, Genie, take me away

  To another land

  A faraway place

  Genie, Genie, take me away

  Take me away

  She fought many battles

  Along the way

  Met many foes

  As well as some mates

  They challenged her power

  Her will to fight

  She never gave up

  The end in sight

  Queen B

  She came out victorious among the rest

  Proving to them all she was the best

  Queen B

  Genie, Genie, take me away

  To another land

  A faraway place

  Genie, Genie, take me away

  Take me away

  Sometimes fairy tales come true

  Sometimes they do, they do, they do

  Make me a believer

  Show me the truth

  Make me a believer

  Believer in you

  Peyton

  “You can stop staring at me like that,” I say to my parents and sister.

  My father fixes his gaze elsewhere, but my mother keeps her eyes trained on me, and her jaw tight. Kayleigh looks uncomfortable all the way around.

  “Your hair looks nice.” Kayleigh made a drastic change when she cut off all her hair into an A-cut. But she’s Kayleigh, she’s gorgeous, so she pulls it off.

  “Thanks,” she mumbles as she touches it lightly.

  “You couldn’t even pick up the phone and tell us you were going to get married? You couldn’t have even given us a heads up on the date?” my mother asks sadly.

  I want to tell her the truth, but I know how much it will hurt her if she knows I don’t even remember my nuptials. “It just kind of…happened.”

  “How can something like that just kind of happen?” my mother cries out, her dark green eyes sad.

  “I’m sorry, mom,” I say. “I truly am. I never meant to hurt you when I did this. We were caught up in the moment. It’s Jace…you know he’s my kryptonite.”

  My mother sniffles, shifting her eyes away from mine. “I just wish you would have thought about your family and how they might like to be a part of the biggest day of your life.” Her voice cracks and she hops up to her feet. “I’m sorry, excuse me.”

  My stomach is in knots as she rushes out of the living room. I turn my attention to my father. “I’m sorry if I disappointed you, daddy.”

  He locks eyes with me, his glossy and red. “Oh, baby, I could never be disappointed in you.” He stands up and takes a few steps toward me. “You’re my baby girl. You’re always going to be my baby girl.” He wraps his arms around me as I stand. I’m shaki
ng from the tears. The last thing in the world I ever wanted was to hurt my parents.

  Kayleigh comes over and wraps her arms around the both of us. “We’re a family, and family sticks together.”

  I feel so fortunate to have both my father and sister’s blessings. They may not be happy with my actions, but they are willing to accept me, and that’s all that matters.

  “Are you going to be staying here tonight or are you going home?” my father asks, as we all pull away. “Your mother set up your old bedroom with the heated blanket you love.”

 
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