Monday, April 2, 2012

Excerpt: California Girl Chronicles, Book 2

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break. It will be on sale on the 3L website in limited supply in the next several days. 


Kale soon returned to Arizona for more on-set work. Other staffers from the office went with him so the place was quiet. I didn’t mind. I was able to get a lot of work done, and believe me, the pile of notes for rewrites had only grown. I’d heard, though, that they were actively casting the movie and that Johnny, the hot man I’d met in the hallway, had won the Drew part. As I rewrote Drew’s scenes, I wondered if he would see the movie. It occurred to me as I wrote the female lead that her words might make him feel the least bit repentant, but somehow I doubted it since Drew never expressed remorse. I was staring out my office window thinking about this when I heard a voice come from behind me.

Are you busy?”

I turned around to find Monica standing in the doorway, which surprised me since she had gone with Kale to Arizona and was obviously back early. Monica had a strange energy about her. She was serious and quiet, and Kale didn’t strike me as the type of guy who would go for the quiet, shy type. But I still didn’t quite have a pulse on their relationship. He seemed distant with her in some settings and rarely looked at her with much interest, but occasionally they put off a lovers’ vibe, especially since she always stood so close to him. I had only assumed they were together without confirmation. What did I have to say about it anyway? Kale was no longer my man.

“Sort of,” I replied. “What’s up?”

Monica walked in, set down a revised script and smiled. “Kale wants you to know he feels this is the shooting version.”

“Am I done?” I asked.

A quizzical look passed over Monica’s face as she replied, “Well — yeah, but you will be doing the on-set rewrites and new pages. You know, for when actors adlib.”

I nodded and stared at her. She looked uncomfortable and shifted back toward the door. “Is it true?” she blurted.

I frowned and asked, “What?”

“That you were with Kale?” she asked and looked down toward the ground.

I felt indignant. I didn’t feel comfortable around Kale’s presumed lover, and her question was much too personal. I turned my chair back toward the window and skyline, searching for an answer to shut her down and not pique her curiosity. “I don’t think we should be talking about Kale,” I replied in a flat, unyielding tone.

Just then I heard a rustle and turned my chair back in time to see Monica’s backside hustle out of the room and in her place, I rested my eyes on hot man-candy Johnny. He looked relaxed and had a big, open smile on his face.

“I remember you,” I said brightly. “Heard you got the part of Drew. Good for you!” I chirped, admiring this gorgeous, dark-haired man with perfectly muscular arms.

“Can you grab a bite with me?” he asked. “I want to pick your brain.”

I sat up and looked around my desk. I had nothing pressing, so I stood up and with enthusiasm replied, “Sure! Let’s go.”

Johnny stood in the doorway and waited for me. He allowed me to exit first like a gentleman. We made the requisite small talk as we walked to a Chinese café called Hop Singh up the street from the office. We sat on the back patio to eat noodles and chat. Johnny told me he started acting when he was 22, and he mentioned with a smirk how he got his first manager. The smirk piqued my curiosity.

“What’s that about?” I asked and pointed at his grin.


“That!” I countered and motioned again toward his expression.

He leaned in and started to explain. “Well, she pretty much signed me for sex,” he admitted and chuckled with delight over it.

“What?” I frowned.

“Oh yeah, she was like a cougar, too,” he said, “and she got me some great spots. I just had to fuck her twice a week.”

I was taken aback and pulled away from him. “Really?” I asked with a frown.

He took a chopstick and shoved a noodle in his mouth as he said, “Really! But you know it’s fucking Hollywood man. That shit happens all the time. Swing a dick, and there you go.”

“No, I thought, you know, unions,” I whispered.

Johnny waved off the suggestion. “Fuck that man. Chicks are as bad as guys. Look at me now, though.”

I looked at him all right and frowned. “You don’t feel … dirty?”

Johnny waved off the suggestion, “Hell no! It’s the biz and, fuck yeah, I’ve had fun, too!”

I leaned over and shoved another noodle in my mouth, pondering his amoral take on the whole thing. He didn’t seem the least bit bothered by it. In fact, I got the impression he accepted and liked it.

“And you think you’re going to get somewhere with me like that?” I flatly asked.

Johnny quit eating and looked me right in the eyes. “Fuck no!” he retorted. “You’re hot and nice. I like you. And I like that you have real body parts.” He chuckled as he looked down to take another bite.

I looked down at my body parts and nodded. “Yep! Real! No woman would purposefully make her boobs this small,” I said with a laugh.

As Johnny talked about the business and his encounters on various movie sets, I started to like him. He was candid and enthusiastic about acting and his craft. He mentioned his last girlfriend was a major film star, but he wouldn’t divulge her name. He did say he met her when he played a small role in one of her films. He said she was down-to-earth but had this strange obsession with her hair. She wanted to become famous for her hair like Jennifer Aniston. He thought it was a crazy goal, and he said her hair was okay, but that it wasn’t likely going to create a national sensation.

“Why’d you break up?” I asked.

“I cut her hair off,” he said, totally kidding and laughing with a gregarious outburst. “No, she went to film in Italy and met an Italian Antonio-Banderas-like guy. Dumped my white ass,” he admitted with a smile that seemed out of place given his confession.

“And that makes you smile, why?”

“Come on, if she’s so shallow … fuck that shit! No big deal,” he said as he shoved yet another noodle in his mouth and waved off the comment.

We soon finished lunch, and he walked me back to the office, continuing the upbeat chatter about meaningless parts he had played. He did admit that he thought the part of Drew was cool, but then he frowned at me. “The guy’s a fucker, though.”

Now he got it. I started laughing and realized I really liked him. “Yep,” I replied and nodded, looking up into his soulful, light-grey eyes. “Hey, that was fun.”

Johnny nodded and smiled with that same brightness. He then reached out and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me toward him. It occurred to me that getting involved with an actor wasn’t such a good idea, so I pulled back a bit to resist.

He looked down at my arm and stepped forward instead. He leaned over and whispered, “Don’t worry.”

I looked up and met his gaze. He kissed my cheek. “I don’t bite,” he said as he inhaled my body lotion that was a mix of coconut and white ginger. “You smell amazing,” he said as he sucked in air and closed his eyes with a peaceful smile.

I pulled back just a bit and smiled at him. I tentatively moved forward and ever so softly kissed his pink, soft lips. It was light and tender. Johnny opened his eyes and pulled back slightly. He lit up with the biggest smile and said, “I’m going to love this job.”

Then he grinned, bowed as if he was a Japanese businessman and tipped his hand toward me. “You stay well, Miss Harper,” he said in the most old-fashioned way, and he headed off toward the elevator.

I was utterly breathless as I watched his body disappear into the elevator. I stood outside the office door for at least a minute when the door pulled open, and there stood Monica startled by my appearance. She made a strange noise, stared at me, followed my eyes and watched the elevator doors close on Johnny. She gave me the strangest look and didn’t say a word. She just left. I was puzzled – she was odd.

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