Capture, p.8
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       Capture, p.8

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken
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  "Rain." I pulled into town for the second time in my life and slowly made my way toward the beach house I'd rented during filming. "Rain, rain, and more rain." It was coming down in buckets, making the dreary morning look like something out of a depressing Gothic novel.

  During the summer months, Seaside was a huge tourist destination for people living in Oregon. But the winter was something less to be desired.

  And it was October, meaning it was either overcast or raining all the damn time.

  The novel called for wet weather.

  Well, it was wet all right.

  I swerved out of traffic and made my way down A Street, then B, then C. Who the hell named streets after letters?

  Finally, I stopped at my destination and turned off the truck.

  My new place was a six-bedroom beach house that had fallen on hard times and been recently renovated. The owners had put in a quarter of a million in updates, and were more than thrilled that a movie star was going to be their first renter.

  It was white with blue shutters and had a two-story enclosed glass deck that made it possible to sit outside and barbeque without having to develop gills or wear a snorkel.

  The outdoor fire pit was also under cover. The view was incredible, and the rent, even though it was high, was still cheaper than staying in Laguna.

  I hopped out of my truck and ran toward the front door. The keys jangled when I jammed one into the lock and turned the knob. Then I burst into the house and looked around.

  Fully furnished.


  And alone.

  I checked my watch. Where the hell was Dani?

  Linc: You in Seaside? Or did you drown?

  Dani: Here.

  Linc: Okay…are you coming over to help me?

  Dani: I don't recall you asking.

  Frustrated, I damn near threw my phone against the wall.

  Linc: I need help unpacking and grocery shopping. I have a list for you. I may need to laminate it with this weather…

  Dani: Fine. Be there in five. I'm stopping over at Demetri's first.

  Linc: How about you come here now, and we'll go there together?

  Dani: Okay.

  Linc: Not even a smiley face?

  Dani: Hmm, no, sorry, fresh out of those after I was accused of lying to my family. Thanks for asking though!

  Linc: I said I was sorry.

  Dani: I know.

  Linc: So I'll see you in a few.

  Dani: Yup, but I'm driving.

  Linc: Okay!

  A horn honked in front of my house five minutes later. I ran out and jumped into the passenger side. Shivering, I shook the rain out of my hair.

  "Why aren't we moving?" I asked Dani.

  She stared at the seatbelt.

  I sighed. "You do realize Demetri lives about a mile away from here?"

  Arms crossed, she glared, her bright blue eyes flashing.

  "Right, then." I buckled my seatbelt. "Someone's prickly this morning. Then again, that's my fault, so yeah, sorry about that."


  My breathing was loud. Too loud. Damn, the girl had me wanting to hold my breath and jump out of a moving vehicle.

  "So," I said once we parked in front of Demetri's townhouse. "How was the drive over—"

  Her car door slammed.

  "She's really gotta stop doing that," I muttered under my breath as I hurried to follow after her.

  Taking the stairs three at a time, she was already inside the house before I made it to the top of the stairs.

  "Dani!" Demetri shouted. "Long time no see, little sis, and why the hell did you drag this loser with you?"

  "Nice to see you too, Demetri." I held out my hand.

  He stared at it. "Still pissed you put that video of me getting set on fire on YouTube."

  "It was funny," I pointed out. "And you would have done the same thing."

  "True." He took my hand then pulled me in for a hug. "So, how lucky is it that you needed a new assistant, and Dani's a little miss smarty pants and doesn't need to go to school this fall?"

  "Super lucky," I croaked out while Dani met my gaze with one of absolute annoyance. The last time I'd received a look like that was in the fifth grade because I didn't want to play spin the bottle with the girls in my class.

  "Dani…" Alyssa gripped her hand. "… I went ahead and put a crap load of clothes in your room at Jay's. I hope that's okay?"

  Dani nodded vigorously and wrapped Alyssa in a tight hug.

  A twinge of jealousy shot through me. No idea why the hell I was jealous of two girls having a good relationship. Maybe because I'd botched whatever chance I had with Dani that morning.

  "You need something to drink?" Demetri asked, stealing my attention away from Dani, and the way she clung to Alyssa as if she was her lifeline.

  "Nah." I licked my dry lips. "I think we're going to head back to my place soon anyway. I'm a slave driver and all that — need to get shit done before tomorrow morning."

  Demetri swiped a bottled water from the counter. "I heard Jay has a five a.m. call time. Yours just as bad?"

  "Yeah." I sat on one of the barstools. "The good news is I have this crazy awesome assistant who can fetch me coffee so I don't fall asleep in the makeup chair."

  Dani made a face in my direction.

  "I think she likes you," Demetri joked.

  "Wouldn't surprise me at all if she has a poster of my face in her room." I nodded.

  Dani rolled her eyes, then stuck her finger in her mouth and made a gagging motion.

  "You know, in some countries that's a term of endearment," Demetri said in an optimistic voice.

  "Yeah…" I cringed. "…but in America it just means she'd run me over with her car, even if I had an orange reflective vest on."

  "What did you do?" Demetri whispered just so I could hear. "She looks like she wants to actually knee you in the balls — more than once. Which isn't her typical MO. She's always been a bit more gentle than that. Seriously, she saves ducks crossing the road."

  "She saves ducks?" I stared at the girl as she threw her head back and laughed freely at something Alyssa said. "You sure about that?"

  "Positive," Demetri said with a soft chuckle. "You must have done something to ruffle her feathers, because the last time I saw her glare at someone was never… Good work, way-ta take the sweetest girl I've ever known and make her hate men everywhere." He slapped my back.

  Grimacing, I turned toward him. "I may have overheard her talking to her dad's voicemail on her phone, and I may have then assumed she was faking."

  "Oh, shit." Demetri collapsed onto the barstool next to me. "You're an idiot, you know that, right?"

  "It's not like anyone told me!" I hissed. "Jaymeson should have said!"

  "Because Jaymeson doesn't know!" Demetri glanced behind him to make sure Dani wasn't eavesdropping. "She tells one person everything. Guess who that person is?"

  "You?" I offered.

  "Me, or sometimes on rare occasions, Alec, take your pick. We were there when she got hurt. She talked then…" Demetri sighed. "… and then—"

  "You guys should probably get going if you want to hit the grocery store and run errands before school gets out," Alyssa called out behind us. "It gets kinda crazy downtown with all the bus traffic."

  "Seaside?" I frowned. "It has traffic?"

  "You have no idea," Demetri muttered. "It's ridiculous sometimes. P.S., have fun at Safeway."

  "Safe what?" I repeated. "Is that a hospital?"

  "Grocery store." Demetri nodded. "It has a Starbucks, though, so we forgive it for having a really small organic food section."

  "Says the guy who eats French fries for breakfast." Alyssa sighed.

  "Dude…" Demetri held up his hands. "…last I checked, people eat potatoes for breakfast."

  "Potatoes and fries…" Shaking my head, I rose from my seat. "…not the same, bro."

  "Alright, traitor to men everywhere…" Dem
etri pointed at the door. "… make sure to treat Dani right so I don't have to kick your ass."

  I burst out laughing.

  No one else joined in.

  "Shit, you're serious?" I glared at Demetri. "So much for brotherhood."

  "Family trumps brotherhood." He held up his hand for a high five from Dani. "Sorry for partying."

  I rolled my eyes. "I promise to bring her back in the same condition I took her."

  "Good man." Demetri saluted me.

  I waved him off and followed Dani out of the house.

  She skipped to her side of the car, appearing to be in a better mood since our car ride over. I only hoped it would last after she saw the list of things I had to get done before I was expected on set.

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