Authors: Olivia Jake
more information about Olivia Jake, and a preview of her other books:
Lost and Found
Copyright ©2013 Olivia
All Rights Reserved
It was two minutes to midnight and Alex was
exhausted. Correction, she was pissed off and exhausted. And hungry. And a
morning person. All of these things together made for a bad combination but
unfortunately, she didn’t have much of a choice. She had accepted the
assignment and knew they’d be shooting around production. More than that, she
knew that Kimberly Cook had a reputation as being difficult, late, and a prima
donna. Another bad combination. She didn’t know much about Marco Flores, Ms.
Cook’s male lead, whom Alex would also be shooting. From what she found online,
apparently, this was his first big film. Alex figured that he’d probably be
just as bad, if not worse. One of those arrogant Latin men who thought he was
God’s gift to women. Though if looks were any indication, Alex couldn’t help
but admit that he’d have every right to be.
The man was a physical specimen. He was discovered
by a director on vacation in the Galapagos Islands where Mr. Flores was a young
tour guide. The story was that the director saw raw talent in Flores’ charisma
and charm, brought him to the states and did some screen tests with him.
Apparently, that charisma and charm, while strong, didn’t make up for his lack
of knowing the language or having any formal acting lessons. But, not to be
made a fool of, the director saw promise, if not an ability to speak English
fluently or act, and set Flores up with an agent, English lessons and acting
The agent started him off modeling. That was easy,
and no acting or language skills were required. Marco did well and soon became
a rather famous male model. Billboards of him in just his Calvin’s could be
seen in Times Square and across the country. He was also seen at every bar,
restaurant or A-list opening on the arm of some beautiful actress or model.
Alex rolled her eyes thinking, great, a prima donna actress and a party-boy.
The third in what was becoming a long list of bad combinations. But Alex
couldn’t be choosy when it came to jobs like this. Being an entertainment-based
photographer was a highly competitive business.
It used to be, back in the day, that there were
only a few named shooters, Alex being one of them in a field otherwise
dominated by men. There were a dozen or so, and they were highly respected and
sought-after. But once the industry turned digital, everyone and their brother
became a “photographer”. The competition became more fierce and the pay a lot
less. Luckily, Alex had always been smart with her money, so while the big
paydays were mostly long gone, she had invested wisely and saved what she’d
made so that at 37 she owned her own home and lived well. Not well enough that
she didn’t need to work, but she couldn’t complain. Not that she ever really
did. She was a hard worker and put most everything into her business. It helped
that she still loved what she did and didn’t have to work all the time. But
even when she wasn’t working, she was still always shooting.
In fact, she had recently published a book of her
non-entertainment work. A day in the life of her animals. If Alex could do
anything other than photography, it would be working with animals. She liked
them a lot more than many of the people she shot, truth be told. And for the
most part, they were great photo subjects. Some could argue, more cooperative
too, at least when compared to dealing with talent. Animals never talked back,
they were never late, they never made ridiculous demands, never took 2-3 hours
in makeup, never walked off set in a huff… the list could go on. And, in Alex’s
eye, no matter what they were doing, they were always cute.
It was a good thing that she was an animal lover
because she was pretty sure that all the animals in the neighborhood knew that
if they needed feeding or a warm place to sleep, her house was the one to go
to. She thought there was some kind of underground animal network because all
of the strays eventually ended up on her doorstep. It probably also had
something to do with the fact that she always had cat food out on her porch,
but what was she supposed to do? There were those sad stray cats who would come
around, yowling in the middle of the night, and they were so damn skinny, Alex
couldn’t just let them starve.
At the moment, she had a rather full house. Two
dogs and three, almost four cats. Of the cats, two were strictly indoor, one
stray came and went as she pleased, and the other would come by to eat, but was
so skittish, Alex couldn’t even touch it. She knew they were making progress
though because now, when she would hear the poor thing yowling in the predawn
darkness for food, the little black cat with the bent tail wouldn’t run from her
as she opened the front door to put a fresh bowl of food out. The kitty would
wait patiently about four feet away until Alex put the bowl down. Then, once
she closed the front door she’d look through the window to see the stray
immediately run to the bowl and feast. Alex had tried to trap it so that she
could at least take it to the vet to get it checked out and sterilized, but the
cat knew better than to get caught. It had obviously survived all the coyotes
and raccoons thus far, so eluding Alex’s crude attempts at a trap weren’t too
The other stray, a tabby who Alex duly named
Tabitha, was a completely different story. It wasn’t afraid of anyone or
anything. She sauntered into Alex’s backyard while her two pit bulls were
there, and actually rubbed up against them. Alex knew her pits, Annie and
Ansel, wouldn’t hurt a cat as they were raised with two, but the little stray
didn’t know that! Or maybe she did. Regardless, the minute she came into Alex’s
house, she acted like she owned the place, letting herself in and out via the
dog door, and bringing Alex ‘presents’ on an almost nightly basis.
Before Tabitha, Alex had never experienced an
outdoor cat. Bill and Hillary were indoors since she first got them when she
was living in an apartment. By the time she bought her house, the cats were
already so conditioned to stay inside, they never even thought to go out the
dog door. But here came Tabitha, hopping in through the dog door with what
seemed like a new present every day. There were rats, mice, lizards, birds, and
a small snake once. Alex caught her a couple times walking in with her kill,
but there was nothing she could do about it. Tabitha would jauntily walk
through the house to Alex’s bathroom. For some reason, that’s where she would
sit, on the bath mat, and eat her prey. More than once, Alex came home from a
late shoot to a dead rat (whole). She guessed that Tabitha didn’t like the rat.
Or feathers and a small bird head. One night, Tabitha came in while Alex the
rest of her animals were asleep. She went straight into the bathroom and Alex
awoke to the sounds of chewing and crushing of what she would later find out
were mice bones.
Alex was disgusted, but this little killer was
also the most loving little cat she’d ever known. She’d come hopping into
Alex’s bed and rub herself up against Alex and curl in her arms where she’d
purr and fall fast asleep. This cat knew that Alex had the word ‘sucker’
written on her forehead.
Which was exactly what Alex was feeling like as
the clock kept ticking later and later, as the whole crew waited for the talent
to arrive. She knew production was running behind because of Kimberly Cook who
didn’t get onto set until almost three hours after her call time.
Unfortunately, no one told Alex that until she and her crew were already there.
So they waited. Everyone had been doing this long enough to know to bring a
book or something to occupy their time. But knowing it didn’t make it any less
frustrating or any more comfortable. Since they were shooting around production,
they were set up in a back part of a soundstage that wasn’t being used by the
production itself. Like any soundstage, it was a huge cavernous space that was
either boiling hot when heated by all the lights and equipment, or freezing
cold when everything was turned off. Alex came prepared, and was bundled up.
But after sitting on an uncomfortable couch for the last four hours, it didn’t
matter what type of preparations she had made.
Finally at 12:30am, the usual hustle and energy
that surrounded talent made its appearance. Kimberly Cook’s manager, a bitchy,
chunky, unpleasant woman, strode in letting everyone know that Ms. Cook was on
her way and they needed to be ready the minute she set foot in there. Alex just
smiled and assured her that they were. She hated dealing with publicists,
managers and assistants. All the people who rode on talent’s coat tails. They
were often worse than the talent themselves. Since they made their money off of
the actor or actress, the more they fed into the talent’s ego and insecurities,
the more the talent would rely on and listen to them, giving these sycophants
much more power than they ever deserved. To the outside world, it seemed their
main job was to say no to everyone other than the actor themselves, so that
they could report back to the talent that they were taking care of them and
protecting them from all the horrible obligations like promotions, publicity
and the like that were written into their contracts for a given movie or TV
show. It seemed that talent’s “people” were almost always unhappy, dumpy women
who seemed to derive enjoyment from other people’s misery. It always surprised
Alex that in the land of beautiful people, these publicists and managers were
almost uniformly ugly. She often wondered if the actors and actresses
especially wanted it that way. No competition. The worse the people around them
looked, the better they looked.
That was one reason why Alex always kept her look
very casual. A natural beauty, she never wanted the stars she shot to feel in
any way threatened, or less than the most gorgeous person in a ten-mile radius,
which is why her uniform was usually jeans, a tank top and running shoes. As
cold as the shoots could get, once they got rolling, they could heat up
quickly. Not to mention, some days she’d be standing on concrete floors for 12
hours or more, so comfort was key, ergo the running shoes. And she was all
hand-held. No tripod for her. She wanted to be able to move around her talent
and squat or bend, or lie down on the floor if need be to get just the right
angle. She couldn’t be bothered with her hair either. The last thing she wanted
was anything getting in her way, so her long brown hair was always just pulled
back into a ponytail. No muss, no fuss. A little mascara and lip gloss and that
was the extent to her beauty routine. As long as she had been working in this
industry, she never could figure out how most actresses’ hair and makeup could
take two hours or more. What she could do with an extra two hours in her day!
Finally, about a dozen people walked onto the
soundstage. There was another dumpy woman leading the pack, probably one of Ms.
Cook’s assistants, and behind her was the actress herself. She was hard to
miss. She was stunning. Like most actors, a lot shorter than she looked on
film, and so thin she looked like she would snap in two. It was one of the
unfair truths about Hollywood. The camera really did add 10 pounds. So, women
who looked practically anorexic in person typically photographed really well.
Alex hated that she helped perpetuate an unrealistic aesthetic, but there was
only so much she could do. No matter what shape or size though, she made
everyone look beautiful. Her lighting and concepts were truly the gold
Alex walked up to Kimberly and introduced herself,
holding out her hand, “Hi, Ms. Cook, I’m Alex Marché, thanks so much for taking
the time to do this.” As much as Alex hated blowing smoke, it was part of the
“It’s Kimberly. Ms. Cook is my mother. And
don’t you dare call me Kim. Where do you want me? And how long is this going to
take?” Kimberly snapped.
Alex smiled. The bitchier they talent was, the
nicer, stickier sweet she’d be. It was the only way to cope. Trying to fight
fire with fire never worked.
“Right over here, Kimberly, and we’ll get
you out of here just as soon as we can! We know how precious your time is!”
Kimberly shot her a look. She wasn’t sure if Alex was being sincere or
sarcastic, but she couldn’t be too bothered.
“And where the hell is Marco?! Jesús, can’t
they tell time down in Mexico?” Kimberly screamed to no one in particular. Alex
just smiled a tight-lipped smile. She knew that Marco wasn’t from Mexico but
wasn’t about to correct her. Kimberly’s assistant yelled the same question as
to Marco’s whereabouts into her walkie talkie, and as she did, he came walking
onto set. It was clear that he had had enough of his co-star. Alex could only
Unlike Kimberly’s entrance, Marco walked in alone.
No entourage. Alex had shot a lot of models and actors in her career, but as
she saw Marco walk in, she was momentarily taken aback. He was incredible. Also
unlike Kimberly, he was tall, especially for an actor. Alex guessed he was
easily over six feet, maybe 6’2”. He had jet black hair, piercing light blue
eyes and the most gorgeously tanned skin she had ever seen. It didn’t hurt that
he was only 29 and in amazing shape. She walked up to him and introduced
herself the same way she had with Kimberly. And again, unlike Kimberly, Marco
took Alex’s hand and brought his other hand to shake hers so he effectively
cradled her hand as he shook it. He looked warmly into her eyes and said in the
most beautiful, still heavily accented voice, “
Con mucho gusto
, Alex? Es
a man’s name, no?”
Alex actually blushed as he held onto her hand. She
smiled and had to clear her throat before she could get a word out, “It’s short
for Alexandra.” Alex had been shooting talent for a long time, and it had been
ages since she had blushed and felt overwhelmed to the point of a little giddy.
But that was the effect Marco instantly had on her.