Capture, p.3
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       Capture, p.3

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken

  The drive to the small apartment I was renting downtown was silent and awkward. I'd expected awkward. What I hadn't expected was the girl to literally pretend like I was the most boring person on the planet.

  "Do you like music?" I blurted, turning up the volume.

  She shook her head no.

  I tapped my fingers against the steering wheel as nervous energy swirled around me. Silence wasn't something I was used to. Who didn't like music?

  I must have said that aloud because she shrugged.

  Something about my driving was making her anxious — either that, or my one-sided conversation skills needed work. Every time I looked at her, she had her hands clenched in her lap, draining all the blood from her fingers. If she kept clenching, she was going to lose a thumb, and that thumb would be on my conscience.

  "So…" I gripped the steering wheel with my fingers, sweat from my palms made a sliding sound across the leather. I needed some sort of noise to keep me from going insane. "… you like Jaymeson?"

  A nod.

  "Right." I hissed out a breath of air between my teeth just as I pulled up to a spot on the street and turned off the truck.

  Dani's seatbelt nearly smacked her in the eye as she hurriedly hit the buckle and jumped out of the truck as if it was on fire. When her feet landed on the ground, she let out a few desperate gasps of air.

  And I was left wondering if it was my truck, the company, or both.

  "Can't say I've ever had that kind of reaction before," I whispered under my breath.

  My phone buzzed.

  Dani: I'm mute, not deaf, you idiot, and I don't like trucks.

  "Why?" I frowned looking up from my phone.

  Hand shaking, she typed fast and started walking away from me toward the apartment building.

  Dani: Because that's what hit my parents' car the night they died. A truck. It was red.

  "Shit." I glanced back at my cherry red truck, feeling like an ass for making her ride in it. But it wasn't like I'd known. Damn it, Jaymeson! He should have sent the girl with a manual or something!

  I jogged after Dani and opened the door to the building lobby. She walked through, her eyes void of emotion.

  So, clearly she wasn't impressed that we were in one of the nicest apartment complexes in Portland.

  Then again, she was probably used to it.

  The opulence.

  She was Jaymeson's sister–in-law. The guy on his way to owning Hollywood.

  We rode the elevator in silence.

  We walked down the hall… in silence.

  I opened my door — yup, you guessed it — in silence.

  The silence was going to kill me.

  Thank God I'd left the sound system on. We walked in on the newest Ne-Yo release.

  I tossed my keys onto the table and nearly swallowed my tongue whole as Dani started tapping her foot, and then moving her hips to the left, right, and back again. It was cute as hell.

  "So?" I cleared my throat.

  She stopped dancing.

  "You hate music, huh?"

  Blushing, she lowered her head and lifted one shoulder.

  "Only certain types of music?"

  A head nod.

  "Shit," I muttered, running a hand through my shaggy hair. "We have to do something about this talking. I'm not one of those guys who likes silence, probably why Jaymeson thought this would be a good idea. Hell, I'm a heckler, I hate libraries, and if I have to sit and listen to myself swallow — or breathe for that matter — for five more minutes, I'm going to lose my shit. So type out what kind of music you want and at least grunt when you nod."

  I reached for my phone.

  Dani: Like this?

  I glanced up as she grunted out loud, making a noise that sounded a hell of a lot like some farmer after he inspected a cow and deemed it worthy to butcher.

  "You're a shit grunter. Tell me you can at least sigh? Or moan?"

  She flushed.

  "Ah, so which one is it? Or both?"

  Dani: You'll never know, Hollywood.

  "Ha." I barked out a laugh at the random unicorn emoji that accompanied the text. "Fine, I'm turning up the music since apparently Ne-Yo is good, but for some reason Wiz-Khalifa is out."

  Her rosy cheeks went pale.

  I wracked my brain then cursed aloud. "It was the new song, wasn't it?"

  Dani: Don't worry about it.

  "But…" I leaned against the counter. "… you see, that's like the opposite of my personality — I care, I worry. I'm like a girl, only in the body of a really hot guy."

  That had her smirking.

  "I'm sorry…" At this rate, I was going to talk enough for the both of us and probably go hoarse. When had I ever tried this hard to communicate with a girl? Never. "… I know it must be hard to—"

  Her head jerked up while she maniacally typed something in her phone, then slammed her hand against the countertop.

  Cheeks red, eyes wild, she stared at me then pointed to the phone in my hand.

  I glanced down.

  Dani: You don't know. You never will. Nobody does, yet everyone says it. I'm here to work. You're my boss, not my therapist.

  Swallowing, I lowered my phone to my side, then shoved it into the back of my jeans. "Fine, packing it is."

  She exhaled, her body going from tight with rage to relaxed, while I was strung up like a drum.

  I wasn't used to being reprimanded by anyone. I'd like to think that, considering I grew up in a house with two very emotionally detached parents, it was saying a lot that I even knew how to pick up on social cues, let alone care about another human being. Hell, my parents forgot my birthday, yet threw a freaking party for the family Chihuahua.

  But I'd never complained.

  I felt stupid having even opened my damn mouth because I'd come from fame, money. I'd been born privileged. Lucky. Even though my parents sucked.

  My sister hadn't gotten off as easy.

  One addiction after another had finally landed her in rehab, thanks to Alec Daniels, one of the guys from AD2. She still hadn't confided in me the details from a few years ago, but, considering everyone was on good terms again, I could only assume he'd been the one that had gotten her the help she'd needed, which is why, when I'd received the audition for this movie, I'd known I had to try out.

  AD2 was doing the soundtrack, and Jaymeson was semi-related to the guys. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it would be a blockbuster hit, and after all the drama and shit from my last flick, spending a few months filming on the Oregon coast sounded like a freaking vacation.

  A throat cleared.

  Dani put her hands on her hips then held them wide as if to say, "So? Are you just going to stand there like an idiot or actually tell me what to do?"

  The voice I had her using in my head wasn't near as sexy as it needed to be, because the girl was sexy, from that cute blonde head all the way down to her ankles.

  My eyes lowered.

  What was it about her ankles?

  Two claps in front of my face.

  My eyebrows shot up. "You can't talk, but you can clap in front of me like I'm five?" I slowly pushed her hands away, the contact brief.

  She didn't answer.

  I hated it.

  I pointed to one of the boxes. "So, I guess we can start with the living room. I won't be here a lot since we're doing most of the filming in Seaside, but I figured it would be nice to have a place to come back to, you know?"

  No answer.

  "I move a lot…" I seriously couldn't stop myself from talking. It was a really unfortunate nervous habit while in the company of someone who suffered from muteness. My money was on her stabbing me before the end of the night. "… you know, because of the films."

  Idiot. Of course I moved because of the films. I was an actor for shit's sake. Maybe I should take a cue from her and just not speak. Ever.

  Dani started packing one of the boxes, then held up a small, blue pig that I'd gotten from my very first commerc
ial when I was about ten, for a savings and loan company.

  "That's Wilbur."

  She held the pig out as if it disgusted her. Then again, it had somehow gone from a really nice aqua to more of a dingy white with weird black marks that had suddenly appeared. I'd cried over that when I was little. My mom, bitch that she was, had said my pig must have had cancer — and then had laughed. I shook away the memory, snatched the pig from Dani, and set him in the box, careful to put several pieces of newspaper around him.

  "He always gets prime real estate while traveling."

  My phone buzzed.

  Dani: I like pigs.

  I burst out laughing, not expecting that, and glanced up at her shy smile. "Is there a reason?"

  My phone vibrated with a text and an emoji pig sitting in mud.

  Dani: They have cute tails.

  I nodded. "I think we're going to get along just fine, Dani."

  She quickly turned around and continued packing the box — but not in complete silence. Because if I listened really carefully, I could hear a slight hum coming from her lips.

  Thank God for common ground.

  Thank God for pigs.

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