Fame Game 03: Infamous, p.1Lauren Conrad
To Max Stubblefield.
Little of what I have today would be possible without your guidance and friendship. Thank you for always sticking by me . . . and for being “singing guy.”
1 - A Turn for the Better
2 - The Rules of Unofficial Cohabitation
3 - Don’t Make Me Call Them Myself
4 - The Voice of an Angel
5 - How to Make an Entrance
6 - Cue the Hollywood Hunks
7 - Going Nowhere but Up
8 - Whoever Said Dreams Can’t Come True
9 - The Nature of the Business
10 - Larger Than Life
11 - Things Are About to Change
12 - An Entirely Different Person
13 - A Regular Cupid
14 - The Time of My Life
15 - Spicing Up a Story Line
16 - Bigger. Better. Brighter.
17 - A Little Red Carpet Thing
18 - A Short Communication Break
19 - Don’t Worry, Babe, I Still Like You
10 - Pretty Good While It Lasted
21 - A Star Waiting to Shine
22 - You Get One Chance
23 - A Lover, Not a Fighter
24 - Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You
25 - A Long, Emotional Road
26 - Look What the Cat Dragged In
27 - A Bright Side to Everything
28 - That Is Genius
29 - A Little Bit Brighter
30 - A Lot of History
31 - The Source of So Much Drama
32 - Another Chance
33 - Totally Unexpected
Epilogue - Moments in the Sun
About the Author
Books by Lauren Conrad
About the Publisher
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I thought I was over @MissMadParker but I MISS her. This show sux without her. #thefamegame
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A TURN FOR THE BETTER
Madison Parker poured two large glasses of iced tea and walked, slightly slower than usual, to the table in her sunny kitchen nook. “I have sugar,” she said, placing the glasses on two shell-pink linen cocktail napkins, “if you want any sweetener.”
Kate Hayes raised her eyebrows in surprise, and Madison noted that her friend must have finally started taking some of her beauty advice. Kate’s brows were perfectly tinted and shaped, as if she’d just stepped out of Anastasia Beverly Hills. Good-bye, strawberry-blond caterpillars, Madison thought. You won’t be missed.
“You have actual sugar?” Kate asked. “I thought you were a Splenda-only kind of girl?”
Madison sat down across from her. Carefully. The recovery from her most recent cosmetic procedure had taken a little longer than she’d hoped. She looked fantastic, but she still felt a bit sore. “I think it was left here from the previous tenant,” she allowed. “Along with that hideous mirror in the bathroom.”
Kate glanced around at the small apartment, as if she hadn’t been here a dozen times checking in on post-op Madison. Kate was the only person Madison had been willing to see, so she was Madison’s source for take-out sushi, issues of the weekly mags, and information on shoots for the new season of The Fame Game. Like how bad it was going. How flat the scenes were, how empty the fake-impromptu dinner parties. And Madison loved hearing it.
“Was that spider plant left over, too?” Kate asked, nodding her head in its direction.
“No,” Madison admitted. “That’s mine.”
She followed Kate’s gaze. The spider plant was dying, and—there was no getting around it—the apartment was pretty depressing. The kitchen was the nicest room in the whole place, which was ironic for a person who rarely ate and who definitely never cooked.
She’d moved into it the day after her sudden exit from The Fame Game, because it was cheap (for L.A., anyway) and available.
This lack of foresight, real-estate-wise, was only one of the things Madison had come to regret. The days immediately after her on-camera explosion at the hospital were dark ones. She hadn’t fully understood what PopTV meant for her, either personally or professionally. So, for the first time in her life, she was utterly alone, with absolutely nothing on her iCal.
Nothing but the remainder of her community-service hours, that is. Since she couldn’t face Ryan Tucker (her ex? her former friend-with-benefits?), Madison claimed a sudden onset of life-threatening pet-dander allergies and requested a transfer from Lost Paws.
Connie Berkley, the straight-talking paper-pusher from the L.A. County court system, granted it grudgingly, and Madison spent the next two weeks picking up beer cans, cigarette butts, and fast-food wrappers in a Los Feliz park. She had to wear bad sneakers and a hideous Day-Glo orange vest, and the three other people working with her were beyond offensive. But at least none of them were named Ryan. At least none of them had taken her heart and stomped on it.
Every day she came home, sweaty and hot, to an apartment filled with pretty but generic furniture she’d gotten free from Crate & Barrel (she promised them she’d do an “at-home” shoot for one of the weeklies). There was no Gaby to greet her, and there were no cameras to film her. If it weren’t for Kate, and for her dog, Samson, Madison would have been seriously depressed.
When she felt especially sorry for herself, Madison did her best to remember how things could always be worse. For instance: She hadn’t OD’d by mistake, the way Gaby had, and she wasn’t now in a locked-down rehab facility. (No at-home shoots there!) Gaby had been in treatment at the Hope Medical Center in Malibu for almost six weeks now. No doubt she was going to countless individual and group therapy sessions and getting really good at Ping-Pong.
Or was it mental hospitals where they played Ping-Pong? Madison would have to ask her, if it didn’t sound too rude.
They’d been in touch a few times since Gaby’s OD, but the Hope staff had confiscated Gaby’s cell phone and limited her computer time, so their interactions had been brief. Also, the moment Madison finished up her community service, she’d hopped on a plane to Mexico to regroup. It was her own personal emotional rehab.
She didn’t tell anyone she was going (except for Kate, who had agreed to dog-sit Samson); she simply vanished. And it felt great.
In a small town an hour outside of Cabo, Madison took long walks on the beach, ignored Trevor’s five thousand phone calls, and came to a major decision. She was not done with reality TV, but she was definitely done with trying to play nice. She’d been burned by Charlie, Ryan, and Sophie (twice). It was about time she remembered that a girl couldn’t trust anyone but herself.
“Madison,” Trevor’s voice mails always said, “we really have to talk.”
She took great pleasure in deleting each one. She’d talk to
But all too soon, it was time for her to return to L.A. While Madison could plot her comeback beneath a palapa on a Mexican beach, she could hardly accomplish it from there.
When she arrived back at LAX, Madison’s very first phone call had been to her go-to plastic surgeon. It was time for some laser lipo, because those carbs she’d eaten when she was “happy” with Ryan were still hanging around her midsection. Dr. Klein, who had a keen nose for business (and had coincidentally done Madison’s nose), had given her a deal in exchange for her participation in his “I’ll never tell” press release. (“I look great after a visit with Dr. Klein. Where did he operate on me? I’ll never tell!”)
She smiled, thinking about it. She could probably work a similar deal with Dr. Burton the next time she needed a Botox touch-up. (She was definitely looking forward to the day when she was done paying off Luxe for the necklace Charlie stole; it was humiliating to barter for cosmetic procedures.)
“Earth to Madison,” Kate said, waving a hand in front of her face.
Madison turned to her. “What? Were you saying something?”
“I’ve only been asking you the same question for, like, five minutes,” Kate said, looking slightly insulted.
“Ask me again. Sorry, I’m listening.”
Kate took a sip of her tea and then got up to find the sugar. “Are you going to go see Gaby when they let her out? We’re all going to be there, you know. And that means the PopTV crew will be there, too.”
“May I remind you that I quit the show?” Madison asked.
Kate rolled her eyes. “No need. I was there,” she said. “But the day she gets out will be a big deal. And anyway, don’t you miss being on camera? Airtime is kind of like . . . well, air to you.”
Madison hadn’t filmed anything for six weeks now—of course she missed it. Whoever said diamonds were a girl’s best friend hadn’t stopped to consider a camera. “Not really,” she said dismissively.
Then Kate, who was still looking for the sugar, noticed the Gossip magazine that Madison just happened to leave out on the counter. “Hey, is that the issue you’re in?”
Madison nodded, unable to keep a small, satisfied smile from her face. The moment her bruises had vanished, she’d set up a photo op on the beach in Malibu and paired it with an exclusive sit-down with a reporter from Gossip. She’d talked about her “rewarding” community service, and how it made her rethink her priorities. She had skillfully dodged the reporter’s questions about trouble on the set of The Fame Game. Since Trevor hadn’t included her “I quit” outburst on the season finale, no one really knew what was going on with her. With only a couple episodes of season two having aired, the rumors were swirling, and Madison liked it that way. The less she said, the more people wanted to know.
The best part of the article was the end, in which the writer suggested that if Madison Parker were to leave the show, The Fame Game would be a total snoozefest.
“Community service made you ‘reexamine your celebrity lifestyle,’ huh?” Kate asked, looking up from the magazine. “You learned how ‘vitally important’ it is to give back?” She laughed. “You’re amazing, Mad, you really are.”
“I try,” Madison said. “Do you like how I dropped in the verrry subtle Carmen Curtis reference?”
Kate’s eyes scanned down the page. “‘“More young celebrities should perform community service,” Madison says, as she sips her green tea,’” Kate read aloud. “‘“No one should be above the law, whether they steal a car, a diamond necklace, or a designer top.”’” Kate looked up, her eyes wide. “Madison. That’s not exactly subtle.”
Madison shrugged. “Carmen doesn’t read those things anyway, and I doubt you’re going to tell her about it, even if she is your new roomie.”
“True . . . ,” Kate said. Trevor had made her and Carmen move into Madison and Gaby’s apartment; it was all set up for filming, and otherwise it would be sitting vacant. Madison knew that Kate wasn’t entirely happy with this arrangement. She wasn’t sure why Kate and Carmen had such a hard time getting along (though maybe it had something to do with their habit of picking the same guy to be involved with, whether he was a handsome Aussie actor or a tattooed musical intern . . .).
Samson trotted into the room and flopped down at Madison’s feet. She leaned over and gave his head a rub. “You’re my community service, aren’t you, boy? If it weren’t for my selfless heart, I’d have ordered myself a cute teacup Chihuahua like Paris Hilton’s.”
Kate choked on her tea.
Madison shot her a look. “What?”
“Sorry,” Kate said, wiping her mouth and smiling. “‘Selfless’ is maybe not the first word I’d use to describe you.”
“Of course not,” Madison said. “That would be ‘fabulous,’ right?”
“Oh, totally,” Kate agreed. “So, fabulous Madison, are you going to show up for Gaby’s release or what? Because I, personally, would really love to see you there and I’m sure Gaby would too. I guess Sophia’s supposed to be Madison two-point-oh these days, but I gotta say, it’s not exactly working out. I miss filming with you. It’s not nearly as much fun since you left.”
Music to Madison’s ears! “I want to be there for Gaby, but I’m not sure about the timing. . . .” She paused, relishing the moment. “Okay, confidentially? I do plan on coming back. I’m waiting for Trevor to meet my terms.”
Kate’s eyes widened. “Really? Oh my God, that is the best news ever.” She seemed like she might be on the verge of rushing over and giving Madison a hug.
Madison held up a hand. She liked Kate, she honestly did, but she was just never going to be the huggy type. Also, she was still sore. She got up and dumped the remains of her tea into her spider plant. (Extra nutrients, right?)
“Yes,” Madison said, smiling contentedly. “I think things are about to take a turn for the better.”
Despite her words, though, Madison did worry a little that Trevor might hold a grudge because she’d ignored him for so long. But so be it. Could Trevor really blame her? He of all people should know that all was fair in love, war, and reality TV.
THE RULES OF UNOFFICIAL COHABITATION
Carmen tried the bathroom door—locked—and then knocked loudly on it. Yes, there was another bathroom in the apartment she shared with Kate, but that one didn’t have the tube of her favorite lipstick sitting on the counter.
“Hang on a minute,” called a voice. A male voice.
Carmen sighed. Drew. Again.
A month ago she’d been complaining that she hardly ever saw her childhood best friend, and now it seemed like he was everywhere she turned. At the breakfast table, eating her cereal. On the living room couch, watching a Lakers game. In the bathroom, holding her cosmetics hostage. Like Carmen’s dad sometimes said: Be careful what you wish for.
She flounced back into the dining room where the cameras had been set up. Kate was sitting at the table, eating a bowl of Froot Loops. She went through two or three boxes of it a week; she had the appetite of a twelve-year-old boy. Lucky for her, she seemed to have the metabolism of one, too.
“Cameras roll as soon as I finish this,” Kate said. Trevor’s aversion to filming them eating was well known. “I was starving.”
“No rush. I was kind of hoping to get my lipstick. . . .”
“You look beautiful, as always,” Laurel called.
Carmen laughed as she sat down at her designated seat at the table. “Like I can trust you,” she said. “You just want to get started.”
Laurel shrugged. “What can I say? Time is money.”
In another few moments, Kate was done, and Bret the camera guy had taken his usual place behind his Sony Hi Def, but Drew had still not emerged. Carmen was annoyed she hadn’t been able to get to her lipstick. Now she’d look washed out, which was fine when they were filming early-morning scenes, but less fine when it was 11 a.m. and she was otherwise ready to face the world. Her floral silk but
Kate brushed a Froot Loop crumb from her shirt and offered Carmen a small smile.
Carmen smiled back, though she was still annoyed, and then took a sip of her tea. (Drinking on camera was totally fine, of course.) “So, do you think Gaby’ll be different?” she asked Kate, exactly as she was supposed to.
“I think she’ll be in a better place,” Kate said.
Carmen laughed. “‘A better place’? I thought that was what you said when someone died.”
Kate looked mildly affronted. “You know what I mean. Like, emotionally.”
“Sorry,” Carmen said. “I was kidding.” Then she bit her lip and gazed down into her mug.
She’d been excited to move in with Kate for a couple of reasons—(a) she had no other place to live at the moment; and (b) she thought they might finally fully make up—but so far it’d been harder than she’d hoped. They kept offending each other in the little ways. Carmen, for example, had invited a few friends over without telling Kate. Then Kate had eaten all of Carmen’s leftover lo mein. Carmen had shrunk one of Kate’s two decent sweaters in the dryer, and then Kate had made some snide comment about Hollywood royalty not knowing how the real world worked. . . .
They still liked each other, they really did. But for some reason they were having a hard time showing it.
Carmen wondered if things would ever go back to the way they had been before Luke Kelly walked into their lives. Of course, Carmen was really glad that he had, but he definitely complicated things. Pre-Luke, Kate and Carmen had been great friends, and Carmen was realizing more and more how hard those were to come by.
She looked up again. Time to get on the ball and give the camera something. “Gaby sent me a letter a couple of weeks ago,” Carmen said. “She said she was learning how to let go of unhealthy influences and finding her inner strength. She said her mantra was ‘Healthy Choices.’” Then she giggled; she couldn’t help it. “I think that’s a brand of soup.”
Fame Game 03: Infamous by Lauren Conrad / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes