Capture, p.14
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       Capture, p.14

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken


  Watching him kiss my sister had to be the most awkward thing I'd ever experienced in my entire life. I trembled with the wrongness of it. I mean, my sister.

  Granted, she was married.

  And they were acting.

  But the way he touched her, the way he hovered over her, protected her with his massive body, his lips caressing hers… and I wanted so selfishly to be on the other side of that kiss.

  No guy had ever looked at me like that.

  Elliot had never kissed me like he wanted to take his time. He'd been a great boyfriend until I was too much baggage for him…

  "Why can't you just be happy, Dani?" he shouted. "For once! There's more going on in the world other than the accident, alright? I know it sucks, I know it hurts, but for the love of God, it's been a few months! At least do SOMETHING!"

  I flinched at his words, at the tone of his voice. He'd never yelled at me before. I hugged myself with my arms and nodded, trying desperately to just be okay. I mean, how hard could it be? I forced a smile on my face and nodded my head.

  "Look…" He approached me slowly, like I was broken, he talked to me softly, like I was stupid. "… this isn't working out."

  "But…" I held the tears in. God, it hurt so bad. "… but I promise I'll do better!"

  "You've been promising for months, Dani. And look? We're still hanging out in the condo, shut out away from the world. You refuse to eat pancakes, won't watch TV because it reminds you of them, and the last time you even asked about my day was because I told you to."

  The walls around my heart shattered. He was the last thing I had of my old life, the last person, other than my sister, who had been a part of the old Dani. The happy cheerleader without a care in the world.

  Losing him felt like I was losing my parents all over again, because he was right. I didn't even recognize myself anymore. My normally highlighted hair was dark brown, the circles under my eyes matched, and the last time I had put on makeup was for their funeral.

  "I get it." I hugged myself harder, imagining my daddy's arms around me, telling me everything would look better in the morning.

  It never did.

  If anything, in Seaside, it looked dreary — worse.

  "Dani." Elliot cursed and jerked away from me as if I'd slapped him. Except I was the one dealing with the emotional blow of one of my best friends not only dumping me, but basically saying goodbye to me forever because he couldn't handle my sadness.

  I didn't blame him.

  Sometimes I couldn't handle it either.

  "It's fine," I whispered. "Just go."


  "Go!" I wailed, tears clouding my vision.

  He left me that day.

  He started dating my best friend the next week.

  I quit cheerleading and dropped out of school the week after that.

  "Cut!" Jaymeson shouted.

  I jerked my head to attention and watched Jaymeson interact with Pris and Lincoln. Feeling awkward to just be standing there, I shoved my hands in my pockets and waited.

  My job, while Lincoln was shooting, was to make sure everything was perfect for him when he took his breaks. Did he have enough water? Was he fed? Clothed? Happy? Was he tense? Did he have his friggin' Skittles? What? The water has to be lukewarm — not too cold. Wouldn't want the star getting stomach cramps. And don't even get me started on his trailer.

  There had been a list.

  I got two items done on it before I was ready to shred the paper in half.

  I came back to the set to ask about the list, hoping to catch him on a break.

  Not to catch him cheerfully making out with my sister.

  "Hey, Dani." He waved and jogged over to me. "I'm gonna take a quick break. Trailer ready?"

  I made a face and held up my hand, waving it in a so-so motion.

  "By that expression I'm going to assume you burned down my trailer, and I'm going to have to grab a lawn chair and umbrella."

  I grinned and shook my head.

  "Great, I just love surprises." He rubbed his hands together then blew into them like he was cold. "Did you see my kissing fail?"

  I frowned.

  "The first take," he explained, chuckling, "I may have knocked out your sister's two front teeth and quite possibly given her a head injury. My kiss was more enthusiastic than smooth, and I'm pretty sure if anyone gets wind of that video, I'm going to get laughed out of Hollywood."

  I quickly grabbed my phone.

  Dani: You hit her?

  "Ha," Lincoln set his hand on my lower back and led me through the few trailers next to each other. "No, I hit her teeth."

  I burst out laughing.

  "Get it out now," he grumbled. "Glad I could amuse you."

  Dani: Is she okay?

  "You would care about her." Lincoln flashed me a grin. "And she's just fine, though my ego's bruised a bit. I've been kissing women since I was twelve. No idea why the simple action suddenly seemed to be as hard as solving world hunger."

  We stopped in front of his trailer.

  His eyes widened a fraction as he crossed his arms, uncrossed them, then tapped his chin. "Um, Dani?"

  I winced.

  "Why does the sign on my trailer say LG?"

  I shrugged.

  "Like a homie."

  I shrugged again.

  Sighing, he opened the door.

  I went in before him and prepared myself for a temper tantrum.

  Instead, he grabbed a handful of Skittles — only red ones since I'd freaking picked them out of a five-pound bag — and lay back on the black leather couch.

  Still waiting for him to say something, I stayed close to the door, just in case he threw something. I wouldn't be so freaked out if I hadn't seen one of the actors do that to his assistant a few minutes before I jogged down to the beach.

  The actor, whose name was so small it was ridiculous that he even thought he had the right to act so privileged, was angry because his assistant had forgotten grapes.

  Grapes, people!

  "Looks good." Lincoln ran a hand through his ginger hair and patted the seat next to him. "You know you can sit, right? Your standing makes me feel like I need to stand."

  I grabbed my phone.

  Dani: You're not mad?

  Lincoln pulled out his phone and tossed it onto the couch. "Why the hell would I be mad?"

  Dani: The water bottles don't have your face on them.

  Lincoln burst out laughing then frowned. "Oh… you're serious?

  Dani: The list said your water bottles needed to be at room temperature and that the stickers of your face needed to be on the name brand because you hate name brands. But I couldn't find the damn stickers.

  Lincoln smirked. "I would love to hear you curse. Out loud. I have a feeling it would be a huge turn… on." He paled. "Not that, that's exactly— You know what? Let me see that list."

  Did he just say I turned him on?

  Embarrassed, I fumbled for the list in my right front pocket then gave it to him. Our fingers touched, just barely, enough to still feel the tingle on my skin, even though we weren't touching anymore.

  "The shades must be pulled three-quarters of the way down whenever the trailer is facing east?" Lincoln read aloud in his gravelly voice. "Who the hell cares?"

  I typed on my phone.

  Dani: Don't you?

  "Sweetheart, I don't even know which direction east is, at least not without going outside and checking out where the sun rose. Besides, why would it matter?"

  I shrugged.

  He flipped the list over. "Uh, Dani?"

  I nodded.

  "Wrong list." He dangled it out. "This is for Matty Rose."

  "Matty?" I mouthed. It must have surprised Lincoln because his eyes locked on my lips for at least five seconds before he shook his head.

  "Some punk sixteen-year-old heartthrob who thinks this is going to be his big break because he gets to play the best friend, Evan."

Dani: Whoops?

  "Yeah, let's just hope his assistant doesn't get fired for the shade incident."

  I laughed.

  Lincoln watched me. Not in a creepy I'm watching you laugh because I want to kill you way, but like he was curious.

  "Linc!" Jaymeson pounded on the door. "Ready for the party scene?"

  "Yup." He shot to his feet as the door pulled open.

  Jaymeson looked more frantic than usual. "Dani, I need a solid."

  I narrowed my eyes.

  "Please!" Jaymeson clasped his hands together. "I'll buy you a pony."

  "She's seventeen, not twelve," Lincoln pointed out.

  "A car?" Jaymeson shrugged.

  "Her car's brand new," Lincoln said in a bored voice.

  "Holy shit!" Jaymeson jerked off his headset and pointed at Lincoln, "Help a man out, mate! I'm dying here!"

  I tapped his shoulder and nodded my head as if to say "Ask."

  "Party Girl One's plane got delayed. She won't be here, and the girl I need has blonde hair." He eyed my hair and smiled brightly. "Please?"

  "Sour Patch Kids," Lincoln blurted. "I say you owe her a year's supply of Sour Patch Kids."

  Jaymeson held out his hand. "Deal."

  I took his hand and shook it just as Lincoln asked, "Isn't Party Girl One in a scene with me?"

  "Yeah." Jaymeson was already walking away from us then turned on his heel and shouted, "She's the girl you make out with at the party."

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