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The foundation series bo.., p.46
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.46

           Kira Adams
 

  Peyton will be attending the Teen Choice Awards herself with A Change in Time and Luis, they are nominated in a few categories: Best Break-Up Song for Stripped, Best New Female Vocalist, and Breakout New Artists. As for me? I’m up for Best Actor in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy film for Fortitude, Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film for Fortitude and Angelica is up for Best Actress in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy film for Fortitude.

  I’m excited to attend both ceremonies and after-parties with Peyton on my arm. I can’t wait to make it official-official.

  After I’m left alone once again, I pick up my cell phone and FaceTime Peyton. She answers fairly quickly, but she seems upset. “What’s wrong?” I ask, sensing the uneasiness radiating off of her.

  “They think they found them: Olly and Tanya. They want me to come down to the station to identify them.”

  My stomach plummets. This is both a good thing and a bad thing—a double edged sword. “Crap. Do you want me to come with you?”

  She sighs, running her fingers through her long hair and flipping it over. “I don’t know, is that even a possibility?”

  I rack my brain for the schedule Chenise just sent me via email a couple of days ago. “Give me a second,” I tell Peyton as I rummage through my phone looking for it. Once I find it my sigh gives me away.

  “I thought so,” Peyton says.

  “Well, do you think you might be able to take Kayleigh or Brooklyn?” I ask, knowing both are very close to Peyton and great replacements.

  She exhales. “Yeah, probably.”

  “Everything is going to be okay, you know. The state, they are doing this to get you justice. I hope you realize that. I understand you’re scared right now and don’t really know what to expect, but they only have your best interests at heart.”

  Peyton seems to relax a little, her shoulders slumping a bit. “They asked me if you might want to consider pressing charges too, against Tanya her for breaking and entering, stalking, harassment, and for damages.”

  I hadn’t intended on it. “Do you think it will help your case?”

  “The police seem to think so. They think it will show how she is unstable and pre-meditated my kidnapping.”

  I shrug. “Alright then.”

  “I have to go, my parents are home,” Peyton rolls off her bed, carrying the phone with her.

  “Okay, but I want you to call me the minute after you leave the police station, got it?” I won’t be able to answer, but at least I will know everything went okay if she calls.

  She nods. “Okay. I love you.”

  I smile. “I love you too, Peyton Austin.”

  “Hey, I thought we agreed I could hyphenate it,” she protests.

  “Okay, okay, fine. Peyton Lane-Austin,” I accentuate smiling.

  She closes her eyes and then rapidly opens them. “I love the ring it has to it.”

  I shake my head grinning. She wanted to keep her last name so as to not confuse her already established fan base, but she still wanted to take on my last name, so we came to a compromise. A name is just a name, honestly. I’m just happy I get to call her my wife every day. I am so lucky I didn’t miss my chance. I was so worried after our first year apart that we would never find our way back to one another. I am so glad I was wrong.

  Twenty Three: I Stare at Him, My Husband, and Realize That He…He Gets Me

  Take Me Out

  © 2015 DarienMae

  Take my hand

  Dance with me

  Make me groove

  So easily

  Pull me close

  Take the lead

  It’s only with you

  I feel free

  Go ahead and take me out

  I’m ready to fly now

  Go ahead and take me out, t-take me out, t-take me out

  Go ahead and take me out

  I’m ready to fly now

  Go ahead and take me out, t-take me out, t-take me out

  You and me

  We’re meant to be

  One night stand

  Or eternity

  I’m ready to jump

  I’m ready to fly

  Come on baby

  Take me to paradise

  Go ahead and take me out

  I’m ready to fly now

  Go ahead and take me out, t-take me out, t-take me out

  Go ahead and take me out

  I’m ready to fly now

  Go ahead and take me out, t-take me out, t-take me out

  ~Three Months Later~

  Peyton

  Now that filming has wrapped for Duel, and Jace is back in LA, we didn’t think twice before scheduling another appearance on Kelley. There is a lot we need to talk about.

  “I am so happy to welcome back Jace Austin and his wife, Peyton!” Kelley Lacey greets us as we take the stage to a rambunctious audience. I wave as we both hug Kelley and then take our seats.

  “I have to say I’m surprised to have you two back already, but as soon as we heard the news, I knew we wanted to be the exclusive on the ongoing story.” She looks genuine as she leans in as she speaks to us. “Now, to fill in any audience members or at home viewers that don’t know what transpired just a few short months ago, can you two elaborate?”

  Jace and I exchange wary glances unsure of who should take the lead on this one. Jace lifts the side of his lip just enough that I let out a sigh of relief, knowing I’m off the hook. “It really all started when my home was broken into and vandalized,” Jace says simply.

  Pictures begin to flash up on the projector behind our heads of the graffiti and mess Tanya left behind in his LA home. Jace glances at it for a few seconds, grimacing, and then turns his attention back to Kelley.

  “That must have been disturbing to come home to, to say the least. The police report says you had never met her before and that she was just an overzealous fan,” Kelley reads off the notecard in front of her.

  Jace nods. “She had sent a few fan letters, but being in this business it’s just not realistic that I am going to be able to read each and every one of those personally. My assistant actually opened the first couple of letters from her.”

  The producers encourage the audience to ‘Oooh’ and ‘Ahhh’ as they approach each side of the crowd, behind the view of the cameras. I look back at the projector screen and there is a copy of one of Tanya’s ‘love notes’. It feels wrong reading it, almost like we are invading her privacy. I shift my eyes away quickly. It’s not like I haven’t already read them a thousand times. I could probably even recite them by memory.

  Don’t worrie, babe, its not going to take much to git rid of her. She wont even know wat hit her. Im going to have to lay low for a bit after everything goes down, but I will com for you, this I promis.

  I shudder as her words run through my mind. It’s such a strange feeling that people can feel so close to someone they have never met in real life. It’s actually kind of scary. How many other crazed fans like Tanya did Jace have out there? How many would I have?

  “So before you even had a chance to decide if you were going to press charges, you found out she had offended again, is that right?” Kelley asks dramatically, as the audience watches on intently.

  Jace shakes his head slowly. “We didn’t know she was involved with Peyton’s disappearance at first; all we knew was that something terrible had happened, we just weren’t sure of what.”

  The cameramen pan to me as they circle around, attempting to get their money shot.

  “We will be right back after this short commercial break,” Kelley addresses the camera before it cuts for our thirty second break. “So how are you doing, really?” Kelley asks sincerely.

  “I’m doing okay,” I reply simply, but I mean it.

  “How’s the married life?” she asks with a big grin on her face, her eyes darting between Jace and me.

  We exchange smiles. “The married life is…” Jace begins.

  “Really good,” I finish.

  Kelley chuckles as we ready ourselves for the cameras to
pan back in.

  “Alright, in three, two, one…”

  “Welcome back. We’re here with America’s sweethearts Jace Austin, star of the Strategic Arms series and his wife, Peyton Lane-Austin, lead singer of A Change in Time. Peyton, take us back there, to that day, did you know anything was amiss?” The audience is zoned in like hawks. I feel like I’m burning under their stares.

  “Well, when I made it to my apartment and the door was ajar, something definitely felt off,” I answer.

  “So…and please, don’t take this the wrong way, but, why go inside?” Kelley asks. It’s a valid question.

  “Honestly, I think I did it to prove something to myself.” I narrow my eyes, coming to the realization.

  “And what would that be?”

  “That I can stand on my own two feet. That I don’t need everyone else’s help. That I don’t have to be afraid.” I glance at Kelley, locking eyes with her.

  “Yeah? And how’d that go?” she asks.

  “Pretty poorly, actually,” I reply as the audience erupts in laughter.

  “So tell us what happened next.”

  “Next I was abducted by Tanya.” I look around at the shocked faces and expressions of the audience.

  “So the same overzealous fan who just posted bail for breaking and entering at Jace’s residence immediately violated her bail by leaving the state and then tracking you down,” Kelley recites the information.

  I nod.

  “Wow. What were you thinking at that point? Did you know who she was at the time?” You can hear a pin drop it’s so quiet as everyone anticipates my answers.

  “Well, I was unconscious at that point, so I didn’t even know what was happening.” I don’t mean to be funny, but suddenly the audience is roaring with laughter.

  Kelley tries to fight back her out spout of laughter. “How about when you finally came to, what were you thinking then?”

  I take a deep breath, going back to that day in my mind. “I was scared, I was trying to pay attention to every small detail that may help me escape, and I thought I was going to die.”

  The audience collectively gasp as a ploy by the producers, but it makes my heart race. I haven’t forgotten one bit how terrified I was in that room, tied up with a hitman. I begin to breathe deeply, and I feel as if I can’t catch my breath. I’m too deep to even realize I am having an anxiety attack. I feel my head being guided between my legs, and I look to see Jace maneuvering it. He doesn’t even have to say a word, I know he has my back.

  “Can we take a break?” Jace asks quickly, his arm immediately going to my back and rubbing gently.

  “Yes, please, let’s take a quick commercial break,” Kelley catches on before jumping up and racing to get me a water bottle. In two seconds flat she is shoving it into my face. “Peyton, you’re scaring me.”

  I take a few more short breaths and then tear my eyes off the floor to look at her. “I am so sorry, Kelley, I feel so embarrassed.”

  “Oh, please, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. I just want to make sure you are doing alright, you gave us all quite a scare,” she says, her eyes not leaving mine for one moment.

  I take a sip of the water and regulate my breathing. “I guess I didn’t realize just how much I am not okay with what happened, yet.”

  Kelley’s sympathetic eyes drink me in, she seems to be debating something in her mind. “And you know what, that’s okay. No one expected you to just return to life and go on like nothing happened. If this is too much for you to talk about today, don’t even sweat it, we have plenty of time, and I know you’ll guarantee me an exclusive.”

  I nod shamefully. “But I know the audience was expecting…”

  “Don’t even worry about what the audience was expecting. You don’t think I really brought you on here to tell this difficult tale without a back-up plan, did you?” Kelley winks at me.

  The biggest sigh of relief floods out of me.

  “Now, come on, I had to have them extend the commercial break.” Kelley steps back to her place as the cameramen countdown to show time once more.

  “Welcome back, we’re here with Jace Austin, and his wife, Peyton Lane-Austin who have been discussing their difficult and muddy pasts. I just want to thank you guys one more time for being here with us, you have no idea how much we love having you both on the show. I still remember the first time you were both on the show, you were so young and naïve, and we had never seen two people more in love.”

  Jace glances over at me and I swear I can see the love in his eyes. The corners of his lips curl up as mine do too.

  “We had viewers write in for months on end wanting updates on the two of you and if you were still together, and now here we are.” Kelley pauses and we hear the projector start up again. We both glance back and it is footage of our first time on the show. The way Jace looked at me, it’s taking my breath away even now.

  The clip ends and the audience cheers happily. I spin back around and Kelley is looking at me almost as if she is waiting on an answer. My eyes shift around nervously, unsure of what to do in the moment.

  “Peyton, Jace, my audience and I have had the incredible chance of watching you two grow up in front of our very eyes. We’ve heard about it all, the ups, the downs, and everything in between. Your love inspires so many people, myself included, that we wanted to be able to do something to show our gratitude.” Kelley has a huge grin on her face as Jace and I exchange anxious glances. “So we here at The Kelley Show have teamed up with Wedding Bliss Magazine to give you both the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. No out of pocket cost to you guys, of course.”

  I’ve racked my brain so many times trying to figure out what Kelley finds so inspiring about us, we are just ordinary people maneuvering through life as best as we can. “I—I don’t know what to say.”

  Kelley chuckles, clapping her hands together. “Well, for starters, a thank you never hurts,” Kelley jokes, her audience laughing along with her.

  I swallow. “Thank you, thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to us.”

  “Well, isn’t it just about every girl’s fantasy to be able to walk down the aisle beside her father and be given away, as well as be surrounded by those that care most about her?” Kelley is right. I’ve dreamt about my wedding day since I was a toddler. Of course back then I didn’t understand what marriage meant or even entailed, but I am in this. I am in this for the long haul. My mother was so upset when she found out about us the first time. Being able to have her in attendance at my wedding would be a dream come true.

  Jace finally fills my awkward silence. “Peyton’s friends and family mean the world to her, and I can only imagine how amazing it will be for her to have them there on such a special day in her life. Especially since they weren’t able to be in attendance the first time. We both appreciate this so much.”

  I stare at him, my husband, and realize that he…he gets me. I’ve never felt that way about anyone before. Sometimes I don’t even have to open my mouth for Jace to know exactly what I am feeling, exactly how I am doing.

  Kelley waves off our continued praise. “There is just one small catch.”

  Jace chuckles, rubbing his face. “I guess that’s fair. Lay it on us.”

  “You have to promise to let The Kelley Show film the entire event from start to finish.”

  Jace and I exchange a silent glance. We’re on the same page and neither one of us opened our mouths to confirm it, we just know. “Done,” Jace answers for the both of us.

  “Wow,” Kelley replies shocked. “You guys didn’t even put up a fight. That was much easier than I had anticipated.”

  Honestly, I would have wanted to hire a videographer for our wedding anyway, and now we were killing two birds with one stone. Our wedding day will be memorialized for the rest of our lives. And plus, who else gets to say they exclusively had their wedding shot by The Kelley Show? This was going to be some good publicity for all parties involved. Not to mention we could fin
ally take advantage of the honeymoon we had been gifted by Kelley after the renewal of our vows.

  Jace and I both chuckle. “We know what we want.”

  Twenty Four: I Didn’t Think I Would Get a Chance to Say I Love You Again

  Jace

  With the first part of Duel wrapped, and nothing else on my plate, I am at my agent’s office discussing possible leads in between filming. “So, we have a few things to discuss,” Adam Lebowitz, my new agent, says.

  “Shoot.”

 
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