Authors: Dakota Madison
The California Dreamers Series
Copyright © 2016 by Dakota Madison
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author.
This is a work of FICTION.
Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author's offbeat imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons living, dead or previously dated by the author, is entirely coincidental.
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I roll out of bed as quietly as I can. The last thing I want to do is wake up Penny. She’s definitely not a morning person. She’s mean enough after she’s had a shower and a few cups of coffee.
Before that…you don’t want to know.
She’s scares me, and I’m a pretty tough guy.
She doesn’t expect me to stay. I don’t even think she wants me to. I’m here for one reason and one reason only:
to screw her
I give her what she wants: a great time in the sack. And she gives me what I need: a manager for my acting career.
. I can’t believe I woke her up.
“I need you back here at seven tonight.”
Her voice is way too loud for this early in the morning. It’s making my ears hurt.
“I’ll be here,” I promise.
“Don’t be late.” She hasn’t removed her sleep mask yet, which is a good sign. She may decide to stay in bed.
“Seven,” I repeat. “I’ve got it.”
“Do you need me to text you a reminder?”
“I’ve got it.” I do my best not to blow up. Even though she’s twenty years older than I am I don’t like it when she treats me like a child.
Actually it kind of freaks me out.
I just spent half the night with my dick inside of her. I definitely don’t want to think of her as a mother figure.
Not that there’s one motherly thing about Penny Wagner. She’s a ruthless bitch. And that’s actually saying something nice about her.
She lifts her sleep mask just enough to peek at me. “And don’t even think about bringing me another one of those ridiculous plants.”
I’ve been stopping by the local nursery a few times every week. The stops have not exactly been to buy plants for Penny. I keep hoping I’ll run into the gorgeous girl I saw working there about a month ago. Her long dark hair, tied back with a red ribbon, reminded me of Snow White from one of the few books I actually had when I was a kid.
Not that I was much of a reader. I liked to look at the pictures of Snow White and imagine what it would be like to kiss her. Even as a grade schooler I was already thinking about the fun things girls and I could do together.
Some things never change.
“Why can’t you just bring a bouquet of flowers like a normal guy?”
“Because they’re dead.” I tell her.
She pulls the mask back over her eyes and I take that as my cue to leave.
I’ve lived in California my entire life. My dad took off before I was old enough to have any memory of him. I was raised by my mom and step-dad. They weren’t the world’s best parents, but at least they didn’t leave me.
For the most part they ignored me and left me to fend for myself.
Luckily I’ve always been close to my cousin, Roscoe. I spent so much time with him that he was more like a brother.
The two of us live together in his condo, but I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to last.
His girlfriend, Nellie, has been slowly moving in. I expect it will only take a few more weeks for her to realize she’s wasting money having an apartment of her own.
It’s awkward because I had feelings for Nellie. She’s so different from other girls. She’s cute, and smart, and super talented. But she’s also one of those people who marches to be the beat of her own band.
As much as I hate to admit it, when I see her and Roscoe together I know the better man won her. They’re like two pieces out of the same pie.
If she and I had gotten together it would have been like trying to mix pecan pie with apple crisp. At first you think the two together might work, but after the first few bites you realize the combination isn’t as great as you thought it would be.
Penny demands all of my attention anyway. I wouldn’t call what we’re doing dating, but ever since the two of us got together I haven’t had time to bang anybody else.
As much as I love sex, screwing Penny just so she’ll get me acting auditions is starting to feel like a chore.
It’s not like she’s an old hag or anything. She’s definitely not a paper-bagger. The woman works out a lot and she’s got a great body. But she’s definitely a cougar, and I’m her prey.
And Penny loves sex. More than any other woman I’ve ever been with, and I’ve been with a lot of women.
I’ve been with so many women I quit keeping count.
I probably would have dumped her weeks ago if she wasn’t getting me so many auditions.
My career is just starting to take off. I don’t want to do anything to jinx it.
On the way home I stop by our condo’s mailroom to see if we’ve gotten anything. I remove a few bills from our mailbox along with a key. Our boxes aren’t big enough for most packages, so when something gets delivered that’s too large for the regular box the mailman places it in one of the eight larger package boxes and slips the key for the package box in our regular mailbox.
The key is numbered 9. I stare at it for several seconds wondering what I’m supposed to do with it. There are only eight boxes numbered 1 through 8.
Luckily I see Nellie hurry into the mailroom with her mailbox key in her hand.
“I got the mail,” I tell her.
Her face lights up when she sees me. “Hey, Chris.”
“I have a problem though.”
She frowns. “What’s wrong?”
I hold out the package box key for her to look at. “This key is numbered 9. There are only 8 boxes. I’m not sure what to do.”
She laughs. “It’s not a problem.”
She removes the key from my hand, turns it over, and places it back in my hand. “There. Problem solved.”
The key now says 6. She’s right. The problem is solved. That was easy. “Thanks.”
One of the biggest reasons Nellie is with Roscoe and not me: they’re both much smarter than I am.
I open package box 6, remove the package, and hand it to Nellie. “It’s got your name on it.”
“It’s a present for Roscoe,” she whispers. “Keep it a secret.”
“Not more movie memorabilia, I hope.”
“You know your cousin very well.”
One thing I won’t miss about living with Roscoe is his obsession with Quentin Tarantino. He has a shrine devoted to his movies in our living room.
As Nellie and I head towards the condo she’s much quieter than usual. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, sure. Why?”
“I don’t know. You look a little Peking.”
As she tilts her head she gives me an odd look. “Do you mean peaked?”
I nod. “That’s what I said.” I don’t want her to think I’m more of a moron than she already does.
I like to think of myself as street smart rather than book smart, but sometimes I’m afraid I’m just not smart at all.
She stops walking and turns to me. “Don’t say anything to Roscoe, okay?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“He’s been putting a lot of pressure on me to move in. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just…” Her eyes search mine.
“Just what?” I prod.
She heaves a sigh. “I know you’re still trying to get your career going. I don’t want to put you out.”
I can’t believe she’s worried about me. I shake my head. “I can always find a place to stay. Don’t worry about that.”
“Don’t be mad,” she says. People usually don’t say that unless they’re getting ready to tell you something that really is going to make you mad.
I brace myself.
“Roscoe told me about the situation with your parents. He told me about your dad leaving and you not really getting along that well with your mom and step-dad.”
I shrug. “It’s not that we don’t get along. It’s more like they just don’t care about me. They do their thing and I do my thing.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything,” I tell her. “It’s just the way things are. Worst case scenario I can always move in with Penny.”
I mean it as a joke because I know damn well Penny does not want me living with her. She wants my dick inside of her for a while and then she wants me to go.
Nellie’s eyes get really big. “Please don’t do that. I know you feel like having sex with her is helping your career, but don’t move in with her.”
“I won’t,” I assure her. “I meant it as a joke. But it’s really not funny if you have to explain it.”
“I guess your jokes are as good as mine,” she teases. “I just wanted you to know that I’m not going to move in until you’ve got your career going and you can find your own place. I would never put you in that position.”
I shake my head before she has a chance to finish her sentence. “I can’t let you do that.”
“You and Roscoe lived together first,” she counters.
“But the two of you belong together. The last thing I want to do is cock block Roscoe.”
“I don’t think that’s an issue.” Her little round face turns red with embarrassment.
Nellie has to be the tiniest person I’ve ever met in my life. Roscoe calls her Munch, short for Munchkin, because she’s so much like one.
“I’ll start looking for another place to crash,” I tell her. “I can’t guarantee I’ll find someplace right away, but I will try.”
The truth is that I have no idea where to start looking. I know a lot of people in town, but it’s not like they’re real friends. They’re more like aqua tenses: people you’d meet for a beer at the local pub on a Friday night, not people you’d live with.
Nellie gets on her tippy-toes and places a quick kiss on my cheek. Even that little bit of contact stirs up some of the old feelings I had for her.
I know a part of me will always have feelings for Nellie. But I also know that she belongs to Roscoe. I would kill myself before I’d ever betray him.
Roscoe means more to me than any other person on the planet.
Not that Nellie has any interest in me that isn’t strictly
. I know that the two of us will always just be friends. Although I’m not sure what being strictly friends has to do with the former planet.
Roscoe is typing on his laptop when Nellie and I enter the condo. She has him on a strict writing schedule and to our surprise he’s actually stuck to it.
Ever since we were kids he’s never been one to finish things. He was the type of kid who’d eat three quarters of an ice cream cone then throw the rest away.
But since Nellie’s been in his life he’s been writing every day, and he’s actually finished a screenplay.
She’s definitely been a positive influence on him.
“Thank God you don’t have another plant with you,” he says when he sees me. “We already have enough of them to water. What is it with your sudden obsession with houseplants anyway?”
“Houseplants are supposed to be healthy. They’re a natural air purifier.”
Nellie and Roscoe give each other a sideways glance. They do that a lot. Give each other little looks and secret signals. It would probably be a lot more irritating if I didn’t like them both so much.
I haven’t told them about the girl at the nursery. I haven’t told
about her. And the more time that goes by that I don’t see her again, the more I think that maybe she was only a dream.
She’s the perfect fantasy girl of my imagination.
I’ll admit she’s become an obsession. I think about her all the time. I think about holding her in my arms. I think about kissing her light pink lips.
The only thing I don’t think about is having sex with her.
I’m not sure why. With most girls that’s the first thing that pops into my head. I usually think about getting girls into my bed and getting busy.
But that never pops into my head when I think about my real live Snow White.
I have to admit that a small part of me is afraid of actually meeting the nursery girl. What if I get to know her and I don’t like her?
Or even worse, what if she decides she doesn’t like me?
I know it’s a risk, but it’s one that I’m willing to take.
If I ever see her again that is.
“Chris!” Roscoe’s voice startles me out of my thoughts.
“What?” I glare at him.
“Dude, do you want pizza or not?”
Nellie and Roscoe order pizza at least three times a week, sometimes more. I think they’re keeping the corner pizza place in business all by themselves.
“Don’t you ever get tired of pizza?” I ask.
Nellie gasps. “How can you even ask that?”
“You know that saying:
you are what you eat
? If that’s true then you’re a big blob of cheese with pepperoni eyes, a little pepperoni nose and a big pepperoni mouth.”
Nellie rubs her belly. “You’re actually making me hungry.”
I wave a hand at Roscoe. “I’ll pass. I’m going to take a walk. Clear my head a little. I’ll grab something to eat on the way back.”
“We can save you a slice or two,” Nellie offers.