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The foundation series bo.., p.47
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.47

           Kira Adams
 

  “Okay, so you read the script for that new Henrietta film, what did you think?” he sits forward, intently listening.

  “I think it was okay, and it may turn out to be a decent film, but I don’t think that’s the direction I want to go in at this current moment,” I reply honestly.

  “Okay, no problem. Henrietta film is out.” This is what I really like about Adam. He listens when I speak. When I say I am uncomfortable with something or don’t want to do a certain project, he accepts it without question. We haven’t had any issues since Chenise hooked us up together a couple of months ago. “Alright, next order of business, that MTV show Rebel with a Cause has proposed a character for you which would last four episodes. How are you feeling about this?”

  “I had never seen the show before they sent the scripts over, but I really like them. I checked out a couple of the previous episodes and they have a really artistic feel to how they are being shot and I like that,” I answer.

  “Okay, awesome. Now, let’s go over pay. They are offering $25,000 per episode, which is lower than I would have liked for you, but it’s between your other jobs and it’s only going to last two weeks at most.”

  “I’m cool with it. Let’s solidify the details,” I say. Money doesn’t really matter so much to me anymore. After the insurance money from my parents’ passing, and then the checks I’ve been getting from the Strategic Arms series and appearances, my bank account is bursting. I could afford to lose a bit of it, I’m sure. I’m not even deterred by Adam’s large salary I have to pay to the tune of $350,000 annually. I think he is more than worth every penny.

  “Great. Now, lastly, your wedding and honeymoon are quickly approaching. We’ve made sure that your schedule remains clear around all of those dates, but I need to know what press and paparazzi will be allowed at the nuptials, and how that will work out with Kelley’s exclusivity clause.” The wedding details are making my head spin.

  “Okay,” I say, extending the word with a breath. “For now, I don’t want any press or paparazzi inside for the ceremony. Try to make some side deals with them for extra cash,” I say. Adam’s mind runs on money. Wherever we can make more money, he is always finding it.

  His office phone speaker beeps and his assistant’s voice rings through. “Adam?”

  “Yes, Barbara?”

  “Chenise is on the line, she says she has been trying to get ahold of Jace.” Adam exchanges a worried glance with me and tells Barbara to patch her through.

  “Chenise?” he answers.

  “Hey, Adam, I can’t seem to get ahold of Jace is he still there with you?” she asks. I am looking for hints of something in her voice, but I am unsure of what to think.

  “I’m right here, Chenise, what’s up?” I speak on behalf of myself.

  “The police came by the house looking for you. They said they had been trying to get ahold of you as well.” There’s no way it’s a coincidence that multiple people have now said they had trouble getting ahold of me. I pull my cellphone out of my front jean pocket and sure enough there are five missed phone calls. My eyes quickly flit to the top of the screen where I see the volume icon with two slashes through it. My phone somehow got slipped into ‘ignore mode’ and I’m not even sure how long it’s been like that.

  My heart begins to beat faster. “Did they say what they wanted?”

  “Something about solidifying a date for the trial.”

  “Oh, shit. Have you spoken to Peyton?” I ask, my mind racing.

  “Not yet, I wanted to talk to you first.”

  I nod, even though I’m well aware she can’t see me. “Thanks, Chenise. I’ll be back to the house soon.”

  Adam presses a button to hang up the call and then gives me a solemn look. “How do you think Peyton is going to take it?”

  I shrug. “I’m not sure. She’s been dreading this moment for a very long time. I just hope this trial can get her the justice and closure she needs.”

  He nods. “Well, we can definitely pick this up a different day. Why don’t you get out of here and deal with that situation.”

  I really like Adam. He is old enough to be my father, but young enough that I can relate to him. I would have liked to have had someone like him in my life growing up. I wish the time I had with my brother hadn’t been so tainted by his misguided decision-making skills and his inexcusable actions. I hop out of the chair and wave goodbye to Adam as I leave his office. I’m dialing Peyton just as soon as I hit the waiting room. It rings, and rings, and rings, and she doesn’t answer. I hang up and immediately try her phone back once more, but yet again, the same thing. She must be in the booth.

  Peyton has only been in LA for a very short time, and yet she didn’t waste a second. The moment her feet landed in town she went right over to the producers Luis set her up with. Although Peyton was the only one who moved out here now, her entire band is set to follow in the coming months. How she managed that, I will never know. Peyton’s mind works in mysterious ways.

  Instead of heading home I get back on the freeway and head to the NightCrawlers studio. With LA traffic nothing is a piece of cake, but I make surprisingly good time getting there. When I step out of my Mercedes-Benz G Class, I take note of the darkening sky. It’s only six o’clock, and the sun is already setting.

  As I enter the studio, I can tell Peyton is in the booth. The duo from Barbados are extremely concentrated and quiet as they listen to her belt out the words of a song I’ve never heard before. It sounds fresh.

  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

  The producers get extra loud and riled up as she finishes the last part.

  “That’s it! That’s how you do it, baby! That’s our chorus!” Night says. He lays on the button to congratulate her. After nearly a minute of praise he finally acknowledges my presence with a simple head nod. “Your husband is here.”

  He releases the button and then turns to Crawler, and no I am not making up their names. That’s what they prefer to be called, what they legally had their monikers changed to. “That was dynamite. Luis is going to shit himself when he hears it.”

  It is so different than anything I have ever heard the band do, I’m surprised they are so sure Luis will like it. It almost feels like they are crossing her over to the pop side a bit. Peyton loves singing anything, if someone asked her to sing them the phone book and were serious, she’d probably do it. Me on the other hand, I have more refined tastes. Metallica, Guns and Roses, AC/DC, now that’s my kind of music. Not that I don’t think Peyton is one of the most talented creatures on the planet.

  Peyton comes out and immediately wraps her fingers around my neck, pulling me in for a kiss. “Well this is a nice surprise.”

  I kiss her back eagerly, but then quickly pull away as I can feel two sets of eyes on us.

  “What’s up?” she asks. I’m going to take a gamble here and say she hasn’t had a chance to check her phone.

  “The police came by the house,” I say.

  “And?” she asks, her eyebrows raising.

  “And nothing, I wasn’t home, but Chenise said they were trying to get ahold of you too.” Peyton hurriedly rushes over to her purse, and grabs her gold IPhone out. She looks mortified as she goes through the missed calls.

  “Did they leave you a message?” Peyton asks.

  I shake my head.

  “Me either. What do you think they want?”

  “Well, Chenise said she thinks they set a date for the trial.” I can see all the blood drain from Peyton’s face.
r />   “I mean, I knew it was going to happen, I guess I just didn’t realize it was happening,” Peyton mumbles. I cross over to her and wrap my arm around her, pulling her in.

  “I figured that we could call them back together,” I say.

  She expels what looks to be a sigh of relief. “That sounds like a good plan. Are we good here?” She refocuses her attention to the producers.

  “Hell fucking yes, if you can bring that energy level every day and we can get it near perfect on the first take, I think we are going to be making gold, baby!” Crawler says excitedly, his accent more apparent with longer sentences.

  Peyton’s smile convinces them, but I can tell her mind is elsewhere. “Thanks, guys. You’re great as always.”

  We exit the building and before we even have a chance to climb in the car, Peyton wants to call the station. “You sure you’re ready?” I ask, knowing full well that once she gets an idea in her head nothing can stop her.

  She nods enthusiastically. “Yeah. Let’s get it over with.”

  “Sergeant Fuller?” I ask when our transfer finally goes through.

  “Yep?”

  “This is Jace and Peyton, we heard you might be looking for us.”

  “Oh, yeah, thank you for getting back to me.” He pauses. “You know, ever since we heard what they put you through, Mrs. Austin, we’ve been sick to our stomachs. Everyone at the station wanted justice for you, for what you went through.”

  “Thank you,” Peyton says. “That means a lot.”

  “Well, I want to be the first to tell you that we have set a date for Tanya’s trial, November 18th.”

  “Oh wow, that’s so…soon,” I say, digesting the fact that it is literally within three weeks. “Wait, how long do these things normally take?”

  “Well, normally in a case like this they can take anywhere from a week to a few months. And, we know that you two have very busy schedules and will not be able to be there for every bit of it, but the main thing they are worried about is opening and closing arguments and your witness statements.” Peyton and I glance at each other.

  “Wait, you said Tanya’s trial. What about Olly?” Peyton asks the question I didn’t even realize I wanted to know as well.

  “Well, we had to try them separately as their crimes were different.”

  “So we have to go through this two different times?” Peyton asks. I feel sorry for her, I can read the uneasiness in her body language and vocal tone.

  “Unfortunately, yes, but it will be for the greater good. We can get those dangerous individuals off our streets, and hopefully everyone will begin to feel safer.”

  “Well, I guess we don’t really have a choice then,” Peyton mumbles.

  Sergeant Fuller sighs. “Mrs. Austin, you are the smoking barrel of this trial. Your testimony is what will put them away. And I understand that it’s hard, having to relive those details, but please consider the two dangerous criminals that may walk if you don’t do this. You wouldn’t want anyone else to be harmed or tortured the way you were, would you?”

  Peyton is visibly upset, shaking now. “We will be there. Thanks for the update, Sergeant.”

  “Guys, we’re much too close for that now, call me John.”

  I give a verbal head nod and then quickly end the phone call. Peyton looks utterly shaken up. She isn’t moving now, just staring ahead. I’m beginning to worry about her. “Babe?” I ask, reaching for her.

  She finally lifts her eyes to mine after an antagonizing thirty seconds.

  “You okay?” I ask, pocketing my cell phone.

  She shrugs. “Jace, they are both facing life in prison charges. They are both still young. With that charge, the time is fifteen years minimum. Richard and Brent are going after Olly for everything, so he could be looking at forty or fifty years. I don’t know if I am going to be able to deal with that on my conscience.”

  I digest her words slowly, and I don’t blame her. We are talking about someone else’s life being taken away from them. That is powerful and scary. Peyton’s lawyers are hound dogs who won’t back down until the win, but at the end of the day this is about her, not about them. “We’ve never really talked about that day. After everything happened, I just wanted you to be able to have a chance to get back to normal. I wanted to keep the negative away, so I haven’t asked, but if you need someone to talk to, Peyton, I’m here for you. My grievances with Tanya and Olly are different than yours. I’m angry at Tanya for breaking into and vandalizing my home. I’m pissed she broke into yours and then kidnapped you. I’m even more livid she came up with a hitman scheme, and that you had to live out any part of that.”

  Peyton breathes out what appears to be some kind of sigh of relief as she steps into me.

  “When I think about what Olly did to you…my blood boils. The things I want to do to him. I’m torn up inside because I still don’t know everything that he put you through. Please talk to me,” I say softly, brushing away her hair and placing it behind her ear.

  She lowers her eyes. “Jace, I thought I was going to die, and I know, as odd as it sounds, it’s not the first time I’ve felt that way. We both went through the shooting…but we all went through the shooting, the entire school. I was utterly alone, with strangers I had never met, and had no idea what they were capable of.” She pauses, her voice quivering. “I didn’t think I would get a chance to say I love you again. I didn’t think I would get a chance to be married and have a family.”

  My heart hurts for Peyton and what she went through. It must have been hell. I can’t even imagine. I lift her chin up so she is staring me in the eyes. “We can’t let them win. You can do this, I believe in you, and I am going to be here every step of the way.”

  The tension in her shoulders lessens and she wraps her arms around my neck, pressing her lips to mine. “Take me home.”

  I don’t need her to tell me twice, I’m already unlocking the car.

  Twenty Five: You Never Know What Tomorrow Might Bring

  You

  © 2015 DarienMae

  All my life

  All my life

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  Never knew it could ever be you

  Never knew it could ever be you

  You could be my number one

  Playing games and having fun

  Drinking champagne all through the night

  Dancing under that moonlight

  Look at me, I’m drunk in love

  Sit back and enjoy this buzz

  Stop, ready, go

  Here comes the fun

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  Never knew it could ever be you

  Never knew it could ever be you

  Can’t believe you’re the one for me

  Your stunning face has hypnotized me

  I’ve lost all control

  I feel the lust in my soul

  You’re the puppet master pulling the strings

  Taking and taking away from me

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  All my life I’ve been searching for my other half

  Never knew it could ever be you

  Never knew it could ever be you

  All my life…it could ever be you

  Peyton

  When we get home, I am still wound up. Not as tightly as before, but my entire body feels like I’ve been in a boxing match and lost. After hanging up our jackets and putting our shoes away, we both head into the kitchen.

  I sit down on one of the stools and toss my head over, rubbing my neck.

  “Do you want some tea?” Jace asks.

  He doesn’t even need to ask. He knows me so well, he’s always in tune with my needs. I flip my head back over and nod and he’s already heading over to the black glass stove and grabs the teapot.

  I watch
him as he works, the way the muscles in his back flex and move. After all this time, I still think he is the sexiest man alive. I can’t help it, I cross the room to him, wrapping my arms around his toned abs from behind. I breathe in his scent, closing my eyes.

  He rubs one of my hands soothingly, and then maneuvers himself so that we are now facing one another. “Hi,” he says softly.

  “Hi,” I reply.

  “How was your day?” he asks as he begins trailing his fingertips along the sides of my arms.

  “I’ve had better ones. How about you?” I ask playfully, grinning.

  “I think I can agree,” Jace says thoughtfully. He runs his thumb along my jawline gently.

  I press into him, our lips finding one another’s. I love the way they fit together. The way they dance together. Kissing Jace is always a thrill ride for me. The butterflies never go away. He pulls away as a moan escapes from my lips. Jace breaks into a wide grin. “You want to get out of here?” he asks, motioning with his head toward the staircase.

 
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