Capture, p.46
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       Capture, p.46

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken


  I woke up with a really bad feeling. It continued throughout the day — Dani's birthday. I couldn't shake it, maybe because for the first time in my life, I was happy. That had to mean something was going to go to hell, right?

  Filming was short for me that day, which was good since I wanted to get ready for the birthday bonfire on the beach. My car had finally arrived from Malibu, which made me less stressed. I knew she hated my truck, so I was glad that I could finally drive her places where she wouldn't be white-knuckling the door the entire time, thinking we were going to get hit.

  My cell phone buzzed in my pocket.

  Dani: You like?

  Attached was a picture of her in a short black dress; she was turned, showing me the scooped back.

  I frowned and expanded the picture. Her tattoo seemed so familiar. I'd seen it the night in Depot Bay, it had looked like random shapes and letters. It was in a weird place, right above her ankle and below her calf in the back. Impossible to see unless she was wearing something short and was turned around, unless you knew it was there. The last time she'd worn a dress, her heels had straps that wrapped around her legs, gladiator-style, so I hadn't noticed it. And every time we'd been together I'd been distracted — by her mouth, breasts, neck, basically every damn thing about her.

  I stared harder at the picture. Why the hell did it look so familiar? And why did it bother me that it looked familiar?

  Shrugging, I typed a text back to her.

  Linc: Sexy. Think Jaymeson's going to let you out of the house?

  Dani: Oh, don't worry. I asked Zane to spike his soda tonight. He's super… happy right now.

  Linc: Drunk Jaymeson is my favorite. When I got the part, we took shots with Jaymeson until he started playing the air guitar, then sang to a house plant, thinking it was Pris. I haven't seen him drink since then.

  Dani: Ah yes, the house plant. She threw it out after the, er, gestures he made toward it. The plant was Ralph.

  Linc: Ralph was violated?

  Dani: Jay tried to kiss Ralph, flashed him, then peed on the plant.

  Linc: Poor Ralph.

  Dani: Poor me! I witnessed the first half.

  I frowned, staring at my phone before typing.

  Linc: You were home? When I visited?

  She responded right away.

  Dani: Probably. I tended to be holed up in my room a lot back then. And I would remember meeting you.

  Linc: Same.

  Dani: See you in a few!

  Linc: Okay, beautiful. And happy birthday!


  I let out a sigh of relief. I knew I wasn't going to go to prison, but it still freaked me out she was underage; at least now it was legal, and I didn't have to feel as guilty when thoughts of her naked body crossed my mind a billion times a day.

  Taking one last glance in the mirror, I straightened my tie, grabbed her gift, then headed toward the beach.

  The party was in full swing by the time I arrived. Alec and Nat must have gotten a sitter for their one year old. She was sitting on his lap nursing a beer and talking animatedly to a girl I'd never seen before. She had long, red hair and really pretty skin. Curious, I walked toward the group. A tall, big guy, who looked like a football player, wrapped his arm around the redhead. I stopped in my tracks.

  "No shit," I mumbled under my breath.

  "I know," a male voice said to my right. "Still pisses me off too. Do you even realize how much protein I take in on a daily basis to look like that guy?"

  Frowning, I turned and burst out laughing. "Gabe?"

  "Live and in the flesh." He returned an easy grin and pulled me in for a hug. "How you been, man?"

  "Good." We walked toward the group. "I didn't know you and Jay were close…"

  "More like me and Demetri," he corrected with a chuckle. "I flew in last night to do the final music video for the sound track with the guys. After touring with them, the fans basically demanded we do another song together, so here I am."

  Gabe Hyde, or Ashton as some people still called him, was one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. He'd gone into hiding for reasons I still didn't know, and had appeared back on the scene a little over a year ago. He'd toured with AD2, gotten married, and had basically been splashed on every tabloid since then. Sometimes he even gave Zane a run for his money, which was saying a lot, since Zane was everywhere.

  "So…" I pointed to the built guy with the blond hair. "… is that Wes Michels?"

  "Star quarterback for the Seahawks," Gabe huffed. "Hell, yeah. I had the guy write me down his exact workout routine along with his diet. I lost weight, and he put on twenty pounds of pure muscle." He sighed. "Sometimes at night I want to kill him."

  "Wow, violent."

  Gabe laughed then crooked his finger at a short girl with dark, wavy hair. She weaved her way through the crowd and jumped into his arms.

  "Saylor…" He set her down on the sand. "… this is Linc—"

  "Lincoln Greene." Her grin was huge. "I know exactly who you are. The last movie you were in—" She shook her head. "—I swear I cried for two days when you died."

  "Thanks…" I laughed. "… I think."

  "Hated you." Gabe looked heavenward. "She watched the movie five damn times, and each time I had to console her and remind her that it was a movie, that you weren't really dead."

  "Alive." I winked. "Promise."

  "Well…" She sighed. "… it was really good. I got really excited when I found out you were going to be part of this movie series."

  I glanced around the fire as Demetri and Alyssa roasted marshmallows. Zane was apparently explaining the perfect twist of the stick. Wes and the redhead laughed at something he said, while Jay and Pris took seats next to Dani, who was concentrating a hell of a lot harder than anyone else on her marshmallow. "Yeah… I'm really thankful."

  At that moment, Jaymeson locked eyes with me and stood, shouting. "You steal her away to sex her, I kill you."

  Gabe backed up. "Dani?"

  Dani rolled her eyes and shoved her stick into Jaymeson's face. He barely caught it before it met a sandy death. But she was already running toward me barefoot. I caught her midair and kissed her long and hard. "Happy birthday."

  "Now it is." She kissed me again.

  Gabe and Saylor both stared at me like I'd lost my mind.

  "Yeah, yeah. I know. I break her heart… you break me." I rolled my eyes. "Message received."

  "Actually…" Gabe cleared his throat. "… I was going to say you break her heart, I tell Wes and his team to break you, but to each his own."

  Wes waved us over, his grin huge as he glanced between me, Dani, and Jay. "So… how long has this been going on?"

  "Under his roof." Zane coughed into his hand.

  I glared.

  Wes burst out laughing. "I don't know you, but I think I really like you right now."

  I held out my hand. "Lincoln Greene."

  The redhead blushed. "Remember that movie, Wes, the one I cried over."

  "Oh…" Wes's smile fell. "… that movie."

  "Look, I'm sorry!" I threw my hands up.

  He burst out laughing. "I'm kidding. Great flick, wanted to kill you for making my wife cry and actually contemplated burning the damn thing, but…"

  "A toast!" Zane stood on a stump. "To family."

  Dani quickly handed me a cup of something, and I lifted it into the air as we all made a toast.

  "And to the birthday girl," I said after we drank. "Eighteen. How's it feel?"

  She glanced around the fire. "Perfect."


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