A humble heart, p.2
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       A Humble Heart, p.2
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         Part #1 of Hollywood Hearts series by R. L. Mathewson

  along nicely. Her only hope was that someone thought the first one was good. She walked to the bathroom and drew a bath, her favorite and only pastime besides reading.

  She settled into the tub with a good book, the latest in her favorite series. It was an addictive series that had her coming back for more. This was the third time she was reading this particular book.

  “Dana,” Jeff said, barging into the bathroom. He didn’t bother knocking, hadn’t since her first pregnancy when she’d been forced to spend hours in the tub because of her back problems.

  Jeff stopped in front of the tub. She looked up to see he was holding a stack of mail in his hands. “I forgot to give these to you.” He held out the mail. She sighed and placed her book on the side of the tub and took the mail from him.

  “Listen, I wanted to talk to you about something,” Jeff started. He looked at her face. He always did no matter what she wore or didn’t. They were long past the point of checking each other out. She had gained a good sixty pounds since they met, her skin was pale and dry, and her hair was dry and brittle. The usual complaints of a stay at home mom or so she’d been told. Jeff had gained a considerable amount of weight as well, but that wasn’t the reason she wasn’t interested in him. She just didn’t like the person he’d become.

  “Dana, I’m going to replace my monitor tomorrow. I found a new one, an HD monitor online that will go well with my computer.”

  “What’s wrong with the monitor you have, Jeff?” she asked, already dreading his answer; the new one was better. That was the reason for all his spending.

  “It’s just outdated now,” he said in a sulky tone.

  Dana sighed and sat up. “Jeff, you just bought that monitor six months ago. Where are you getting the money for this?” she asked, knowing their savings account was small and they had a great deal of available credit. He surprised her with his answer.

  “I’m going to use the Christmas fund.”

  Yeah, she was startled. “You’re going to use the money that I’ve been scrimping together for the past year for your children so you can buy a new monitor you don’t need?”

  He scoffed. “It’s my money, Dana. I should be able to spend it how I choose.”

  “No,” she said firmly.

  Jeff stomped his foot down and pouted the way he did whenever he didn’t get his way. “You’re such a-“

  “Bitch?” she finished for him, sounding unamused.

  He turned and stormed out of the bathroom, slamming the door, not caring that his two children were sleeping.

  She placed the mail on the side of the tub and cradled her head in her hands. “Don’t you dare!” she mumbled sternly to herself.

  She wouldn’t cry, wouldn’t break down. She had to remain focused. Stay on the plan, she told herself. She nodded and picked up the mail, hoping to distract herself with coupons and outrageous bills.

  She sorted through the mail until she came to a thick envelope. The return address was from Rerum Publications. Her hands began to shake. She put the envelope down and took a deep breath preparing for her first rejection letter.

  After a long moment she felt prepared. “Don’t cry. Just don’t cry. Take their criticism and use it to make the book better,” she told herself.

  Her hands shook as she picked up the thick envelope.

  She ripped the envelope open and unfolded the thick pile of papers. Her eyes ran over the words as her mind screamed for her to stop.

  “Oh my God!” she said. A nervous smile spread over her face. “Oh my God!” They loved her book! So much that they attached an agreement with the acceptance letter promising to send a contract within two days with her first check. They wanted her Christian and Bailey books to turn into a series. They also wanted to talk about the possibility of more books and would send someone out at her convenience to discuss it.

  Her free hand went over her mouth to cover her screams of joy. She had never been happier in her entire life. This was their escape, their chance at happiness.

  Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks.

  Jeff picked that moment to open the door. “I’m buying the monitor tomorrow. I don’t care what you say.”

  She laughed deeply for a few minutes. He stood there watching her with a confused expression on his face. She forced herself to calm down. “You know what, Jeff. I don’t care.” She ignored him and stared at her letter. There was no way she was telling him about any of this. Well, at least not until after they were officially separated that is.

  Chapter 2

  One year later

  .

  A piercing noise went off next to his head. Edward reached over with his eyes still closed and felt around for the small, annoying alarm clock. His fingers moved along the top and began hitting buttons at random until peaceful silence enveloped him once again. He rolled over in his large bed and fell back to sleep.

  “Hey, sleepy head, time to wake up,” a woman said.

  Edward groaned and buried his face in his pillow. “I don’t have all day, Edward. Get your butt out of that bed!”

  Something thick and flat hit him upside his head.

  He sat up in bed. “Damn it, Mom! Can’t you let me sleep?”

  “It’s two in the afternoon. I told you last night at dinner that I was coming over with scripts. If you don’t want me to handle your contracts anymore you’re more than welcome to go find another lawyer.”

  Edward pulled himself out of bed. “Mom, I just stopped shooting a film. You know for a week after I’m done filming that I like to rest.”

  She hit him on the head again with a large manila envelope. “Too bad. Get your little butt up. I’ll meet you in the kitchen.” She left the room, leaving him to dress.

  He was not looking forward to seeing her in the kitchen.

  There was no food in the house, the sink was full of dirty dishes and take out containers were everywhere. She was not going to be happy.

  After taking a quick shower and pulling a pair of pants on, he walked into the kitchen. Sure enough his mother already had the trash cleared and was washing his dishes.

  “Edward, what are you paying that cleaning service for?” she asked. Her light graying brown hair was pulled back into a loose bun. It was somewhat amusing to see his mother clean his kitchen in a thousand dollar suit.

  He sat on the counter. “I had to fire them a month ago. I haven’t had a chance to hire a new one.”

  She looked up. “Fired? Why didn’t you tell me? You know your sister and I would have come over to help.”

  He shrugged. “It’s fine.”

  “Why did you fire them?” She laughed lightly. “Please tell me they didn’t complain about your messes. You have fifteen rooms in this place and you only use your bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. That’s really not much to complain about.”

  He nodded in agreement. Then wondered why he bought the place in the first place. A small apartment would suit his needs perfectly, but he wouldn’t have this level of privacy.

  “So?”

  “So, what?”

  “So, why did you fire them?” she asked a bit more impatiently.

  “Let’s see, one of them was stealing my dirty underwear, another one sold pictures of my place to the press and the topper was when I came home to find a very naked sixty year old maid in my bed waiting to please me.”

  His mother looked back with her face scrunched up in disgust. “Eww.”

  “Exactly. So, I fired them.” He looked around. “You didn’t happen to bring any food with you, did you? Or anything to drink?”

  She sighed. “I had a feeling you didn’t have anything.

  Your sister should be here any second with groceries.”

  “Thank you,” he said even though he knew without a doubt his sister wouldn’t be buying anything he liked, but he wouldn’t complain. He appreciated everything his family did for him so he could have some peace in his life.

  “Don’t thank me, thank your sister. Sweetheart
, you really need to start going out and doing things for yourself.

  This isn’t healthy living like this. You don’t go anywhere or do anything. When’s the last time you went on a date?”

  “About a year ago, I think.” He sighed. “Mom, you know why I don’t date.”

  She nodded. “I know. I just wish you could meet a down to earth woman that cared about you and not your status or money.”

  “Me too,” he said more bitterly than he meant to.

  With a quiet sigh she dried her hands on a towel and gestured for him to sit down at the table. He sat down and waited. In front of her were ten thick envelopes with writing on each one.

  “Okay, I’ve gone through all of these. On each envelope I wrote a quick summary of the plot, how much they are willing to pay and where the filming will be done.”

  His mother took the top two off the pile and held them while she pushed the others towards him. He knew what she was doing. The two in her hands were the best. He went through the eight envelopes and pushed them aside.

  Nothing spoke to him.

  “I believe these two are the best offers.” She pushed the envelopes towards him.

  He picked up the first one, Rogue, an FBI agent who rescues and falls in love with a history professor. He read through the description. There was plenty of adventure, guaranteed humor and love scenes. The money was pretty good and all of it would be shot locally. “Not bad,” he said.

  “Look at the last one before you make up your mind,”

  she said, pushing the last envelope towards him.

  He picked up the last one and his breath caught. He looked up. “Is this real?”

  She smiled. “I thought you would like that. Read, there’s more.”

  He read the rest of the offer. He couldn’t believe it.

  There was no way he could pass up this offer. “Call them and accept,” he said as he ripped open the envelope to devour the script.

  ************

  “Dana? Where are you?” a woman called out.

  Dana ducked down low and moved leisurely in the water along the side of the pool, praying Deana wouldn’t see her. It was a useless attempt since her assistant was skilled in the art of hunting down her reclusive boss.

  “Oh, there you are!” Deana said brightly, ignoring Dana’s obvious attempt to avoid her. “I have some messages for you. Let’s see…” She shuffled through a thick pile of papers. “Jeff called.”

  Dana groaned. “What now? What’s his excuse not to come see the kids this time?”

  Deana smiled. “Actually, he called to confirm he’s coming in a few weeks. He asked if I could come up with some ideas for him to keep the kids occupied.”

  “Good. It would be good for the kids to see him. Poor Elizabeth, she doesn’t need this drama he’s created,”

  Dana said, pulling herself out of the pool.

  Her body had changed over the past year with hard work. She shed all her extra weight off after discovering a deep joy in weight lifting and running. Her skin was a healthy tan since they’d moved to California. She still wasn’t used to her new body and hated anyone seeing it, including Deana.

  Dana picked up a white terry cloth towel and wrapped herself up. “Okay, that’s one message, what else?”

  “Rick called,” Deana said with an apologetic look.

  Dana dropped down on a cushioned patio chair. “You didn’t tell him I was here, did you?” She looked up and winced at Deana’s expression. “Oh god, you did!”

  “He’s your editor, I had to,” she said apologetically.

  “Oh, Deana,” she groaned, shaking her head. “Okay, what’s going on now? Does he want me to do another tour for my fourth book or one for the sixth book that hasn’t even come out yet?” she asked sulkily.

  Deana bit her lip and shifted her weight nervously.

  Dana’s eyes narrowed on her assistant. “What? Oh, please tell me he doesn’t want me to do another Christian and Bailey convention. I told him I wasn’t doing that ever again.

  Not after last time.” She shuddered at the memory.

  “Oh, come on, Dana! It wasn’t that bad,” she said, biting back a giggle.

  “The man came dressed in a tux and proposed to me in front of an entire room of people,” Dana said, willing herself not to laugh at the memory.

  “But he went through all that trouble to make it romantic,”

  Deana said while trying to stifle a giggle.

  “Deana, I didn’t even know the guy. He begged me to have his children!”

  Deana giggled. “Yeah, but at least he came prepared in case you said yes!”

  “Yeah, he had a Ziploc baggie filled with his sperm!”

  Dana said, shuddering at the image and then laughed when Deana started to laugh hysterically.

  After several minutes they slowly calmed down. “I don’t think that’s it. Actually, he promised that wasn’t it.”

  “How long do I have to get dressed?” Dana asked. And make a run for it?

  “Oh, I would say no time at all,” a deep voice said.

  Dana and Deana spun around to see a tall man open the pool gate and walk towards them. He wore a casual suit and held a thick packet in his right hand. “I see you got my call,” Rick said, looking Dana over with an amused smile.

  “Whatever it is, just give it to me straight,” Dana said.

  Rick smiled and made his way to the patio table and sat down. He sat back, looking at her expectantly. Dana sighed in defeat and walked over to the table, making sure her towel was securely hitched tightly under her arms as she sat down. Deana joined them with a pen and notebook, the perfect assistant.

  “Well?” Dana asked.

  He dropped the packet in front of her and placed his hands behind his head. “You’re welcome.”

  Dana’s eyebrows pulled together as she reached for the packet. She opened it and looked at the contents. “Is this for real?” she gasped.

  He nodded. “Yes. They already have a script. It’s in there.” He pointed to the packet. “I’ve read it. It’s very good.

  They kept it close to your original story which you should take as a compliment of your talents.” He paused, giving her a chance to take it all in.

  “They want to make a movie out of my book

  .oh my God!” she said excitedly.

  Deana released a squeal. “Do we get to go on set and see it filmed?” she asked excitedly.

  “Better actually. The studio wants you to write a book for a certain actor they’re hoping to get to play Christian. They want you to make it a priority and they’re willing to pay top dollar,” Rick said.

  “Why would a studio want me to write a book?” she asked confused.

  Rick reached into his jacket and pulled out a pair of sunglasses. “Because they love your books. They see money making potential in your ideas and they want to make more movies with you.” He smiled at her.

  “What does it have to do with this actor? I don’t understand.” Dana was confused.

  His smile became wicked. “They are going after one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. If they can get him for this movie it’s a guaranteed hit. They found out he’s a huge fan of yours and he is very interested in your next book. They want to create his dream movie, the movie he would love to do. In order for that to happen you would have to be available on the set for him to share ideas.”

  “So, to get him to work on this movie I have to basically write a book for him so that he’ll sign on to do another movie with the studio?”

 
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