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Authors: Kate Dawes

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BOOK: Fade Into Me
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I probably should have hit STOP, or maybe even dropped the bowl of fruit and run out of the room in total astonishment. But the truth is, I couldn’t stop looking.

Krystal was naked, except for a gold chain around her waist that attached to her belly-button ring. She was on all fours, her ass just off the edge of the bed. One guy stood behind her, fucking her, while another guy knelt in front of her as she sucked his cock.

It didn’t dawn on me at first, but this wasn’t simply Krystal and two guys taping themselves having sex. Someone was operating the camera. The video also switched from different angles and skipped ahead to different scenes—Krystal on her back with one guy fucking her, another guy kneeling just behind her head with his cock over her face while she licked and sucked him; Krystal riding a guy reverse cowgirl style, with the other guy standing on the bed with his cock in her mouth; and the finale: Krystal on top of one of the guys and the other one behind her, fucking her in the ass.

I’ve always had a nosey, curious side to me, but this was probably the worst example of lack of self-control on my part. I wish I hadn’t watched the entire fifteen minutes, but I did.

My earlier suspicions about Krystal having a waitressing job were confirmed. She was doing porn for a living. No wonder she never asked me to help her get representation from an agent. What kind of aspiring actress would have a roommate who worked for a Hollywood agent, and never once float the possibility of using that connection to get her foot in the door?

It wasn’t my place to judge her, but I was sure I wouldn’t be able to look at her the same way for a while.

I jolted upright off the couch, realizing that if she walked in, she’d find me looking at the DVD. I didn’t want her to know, didn’t want that kind of awkwardness. I grabbed the remote and ran the DVD back to the point where I thought she had paused it before. I turned off the TV and went to my room to try to get some sleep.

But it wouldn’t happen. My mind was racing. I had to tell someone. I couldn’t tell Grace. For one thing, it was almost 2 a.m. back in Ohio. Plus, I couldn’t be so sure that she wouldn’t freak out, blurt it out to my parents, and then I’d have to deal with a ration of shit about living in Hollywood with someone who does porn. No doubt my parents would project that on me and think I’d gone down a one-way street to Hell.

I called Max, who answered almost immediately. “Everything okay?”

“Fine. Why?”

“Just making sure you didn’t have any unwanted visitors.”

I sighed. “Let’s not bring him up anymore. I told you, he’s back in Ohio.”

“He better stay there.”

“I have something pretty wild to tell you.”

When I finished telling Max about the DVD, he said, “Typical.”


“It happens to a lot of girls who come here looking for stardom. They end up in low-budget porn. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times.”

I said, “Really?”

“Don’t get any ideas.”

I laughed. “Uh, you don’t have to worry about that. I’d never do that. Besides, I’m having the best sex of my life right now.”

Right now
? Who’s there?”

“Shut up, you know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I do. And anyway, you’re not breathless like you usually are when you’re doing it.” He chuckled, and then there was silence, which wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. I had hoped he would agree and tell me that he was having the best sex of his life, too. But he didn’t say it.

It was a good thing that I didn’t confess to the other feeling I had developed. I was falling in love with him.





I’m standing with my back to the wall, and he has me trapped. He’s backlit, and all I can see is his silhouette, standing about two feet in front of me. I have no escape. My body shakes with fear. Adrenaline is coursing through my veins. I could try to run, but I know he’d catch me. I see the silhouette’s right shoulder dip and pull back. Then the more frightening thing I’d ever seen: he has made a fist and he’s cocking his arm back for the punch, level with my face.

I awoke from the dream in a cold sweat. I was drenched, and so were the sheets. I was shaking. Scared. My heart was racing. My mouth felt as dry as cotton.

It was the same dream I’d had about Chris many times. It never varied. It was always one-hundred percent factual, almost not like a dream at all, but a memory burned into my subconscious emerging every once in a while to haunt me.

But this time there was a difference. Not in the setting. Not in the lighting. Not in the order of events. This time, the person raising his fist was Max.

What the fuck did that mean?

The clock read 3:38 am. There is no more lonely place than the middle of the night when you’re awake, by yourself and scared, sad or both.

I got out of the bed, ripped the sheets off and tossed them to the floor. At some point I had pushed the comforter away, so it had escaped the sweat. I pulled the t-shirt over my head, slipped out of my panties, tossed them in the hamper and went to the bathroom where I toweled off my damp body. I got back on the bed—on the harshly uncomfortable bare mattress—and covered myself with the comforter as I shivered.

Somehow I managed to fall back asleep after about thirty minutes of being afraid to let myself fall into that dream again.

Why Max? Why had my brain allowed that to happen?



6:45 am, the alarm woke me. Thank God I hadn’t had a continuation of that terrifying dream. It still lingered, though, and I thought about it way too much as I showered and prepared for the day.

By the time I left my room and made my way to the kitchen to get some juice and fruit, Krystal was just coming in the door. She looked awful. Her hair was ragged. Her skin was an ashy pale color. She had bags under her eyes. She looked like she had aged fifteen years.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

She yawned and said, “Fine, yeah, why?”

“Just making sure.” I could barely even look at her. Not just because of her appearance but also because her porn video was running on a loop in my mind.



On the way into work, I didn’t play any music. I spent the entire time trying to process why I might have had that awful dream about Max.

He had never done anything to make me feel the least bit threatened.

Physically, anyway….

Maybe the violence in the dream was a manifestation of my being afraid of him hurting me in some other way. The entire time we had been seeing each other, I’d been having those lingering thoughts that I wasn’t cut out to be with someone like Max.

Later, at lunch, we talked on the phone but I didn’t dare tell him about the dream. It would have opened up all kinds of possibilities for conflict, and I didn’t want to do that. After all, I’d pretty much figured out the source of the dream, so why burden him with an issue I needed to get over myself?

Not to mention our conversation was going so well. He told me he had a great time in NYC and I told him it was amazing.

“But,” I said, “maybe this weekend we keep our feet on the ground.”

“Does that rule out me carrying you to my bed?”

“I’d never rule that out. You know that.”

“Okay, so we stay in town. But I want you to myself all weekend. No going out. I’ll cook, we’ll talk, watch movies…” His voice trailed off.


“And what?”

“That’s it?” I said playfully, and I knew he could probably hear the smile in my voice.

“Some things go without saying,” he replied.

I didn’t say anything. Just thinking about what we’d done in that hotel room on Saturday night, and Max’s comment about me waiting to see what comes next…well, it just had me vocally paralyzed.



I avoided Krystal all day and the next, which wasn’t difficult. She wasn’t around that much. I heard her coming and going late at night, but never saw her because I was in my room most of the time.

Max called me early Wednesday morning and said he was going to have to cancel our dinner plans. I was disappointed, but figured it might be best. For one thing, I kind of liked the idea of the anticipation building. On top of that, he was becoming something of a distraction, consuming all of my thoughts that didn’t have to do with work. Actually, he was consuming some of those, too, whenever I talked to Jacqueline Mathers, who was turning out to be a pain-in-the-ass client.

She called me twice on Monday. The first call was to find out if I thought she would be asked to do the late-night talk shows, and if so, could I make sure he was booked for Letterman? “If I’m going to get on Howard Stern’s show, I better not go on Leno.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because Howard hates Leno!”

Apparently she thought she was on a first-name basis with Howard Stern. She filled me in on the feud, and I did all I could not to nod off during the boring story.

I told her I wasn’t sure it was time yet to think about booking appearances, and when the time did come, we’d have to ask Kevin about the Howard Stern idea.

“But you think Letterman’s a possibility?”

I really had no idea, but I said, “Sure. Of course.”

The second time she called, later that afternoon, she asked me if she’d have a driver to the studio and various set locations when shooting started.

I talked to Kevin, who told me: “Get used to it. They get one film and they think they’re the hottest thing in town. And for our sake, we better hope she is. Tell her we’ll make it happen.” He shut his laptop and shook his head. “Jesus.”

I felt better now that I knew Kevin had the same thoughts I was having about Jacqueline.





I stopped at a Starbucks on Friday morning on my way in to work. There was a bounce in my step and a flutter in my chest. I was thinking “TGIF” not just because the weekend was coming, but because I would be spending the entire weekend with Max.

In the shower earlier, I thought about what it would be like to live with him. I imagined myself as the wife of this incredible man—not just professionally, but personally as well. I thought of the great sex we’d already had and would have much more of over the weekend. I had mental images and matching warm feelings of comfort thinking about how safe and desired I felt when he held me in his arms.

I’d had all week to get that stupid dream out of my head. More to the point, I had all week to work through my self-limiting fears of whether I was worthy or not. Of course I was. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I wasn’t, least of all myself.

When I got to work, Kevin was waiting in my office. That had never happened before. I looked at my watch to make sure I wasn’t late, and sure enough I wasn’t.

I walked in and he said, “Have a seat,” as though I had walked into
office. His voice was flat and he sounded concerned. He had his iPad in his lap.

I sat down and said, “What’s going on?”

“Olivia, can you explain this?”

He held up the iPad. I looked at the screen and saw a picture of Max and me on the red carpet at the movie premier in New York. Well, it wasn’t exactly a picture of us—it was a picture of Gwenyth Paltrow, and Max and I were in the background. The photo was snapped just as Max and I were emerging from the limo.

Damn. If only the background had been just a little more out of focus, I wouldn’t have been sitting there facing this inquiry.

I decided to be quick and blunt with the truth. Why run from it?

“I went to New York with him over the weekend.”

“When did this come about?”

“It started a few weeks ago.”

He sighed and looked at the picture again.

“I don’t have to tell you how bad this could be,” he said. “Do I?”

I shook my head. I knew all the ramifications of this for Kevin professionally, and by extension for me as well. I had thought it through early on when things started with Max. But in the meantime, my only concern had become for me personally, and the emotional wreckage that I might become if I let myself get too close to him. Too late. I was already there, and there was no going back.

Kevin continued: “Look, I understand if you got swept off your feet by Max Dalton. But you should have at least told me you were seeing him. This could complicate our working relationship.”

I wondered if he meant his working relationship with Max, or with me. Was he thinking of firing me? No, that would be a stupid move. He’d just landed his biggest deal with a major Hollywood producer, so how could he possibly fire his assistant who was dating that major Hollywood producer? The notion was fraught with career suicide for Kevin. And it was all just dawning on me. So I relaxed.

I didn’t say anything, though. I just let him finish. “Be careful.”

I hoped the ominous tone in his voice was unintended. The warning sounded like something more than an admonition to play things safe for the sake of his agency.

“Careful?” I asked.

Kevin looked down at his iPad without saying anything. He touched the screen a couple of times, scrolled down, then turned it so the screen was facing me.

I was looking at a tabloid website. There was a large photo of Max with a tall blonde woman under the snarky and typically unprofessional headline: “SOAP STAR’S BABY DADDY”.

Holy shit.

I read the first two paragraphs of the story. The woman was a soap opera actress named Liza Carrow. Rumors had been swirling for weeks, apparently, about her being pregnant and how they would work it into the show. And, as always happens in celebrity news, the major question was about who the father was.

The photo was taken two days ago outside a Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. The story named Max and told readers who he was, but the focus of it was really Liza Carrow. At least, that’s how the tabloid had intended it.

For me, the focus was Max.

It’s not often that you can shoo your boss out of your office, but that’s pretty much what I did. “I need to be by myself.”

That’s all I had to say. Kevin got up and left.

I sat there for a few minutes, stunned. Then started feeling stupid for letting myself get into this so deeply. I
I shouldn’t have. My instincts were right.

BOOK: Fade Into Me
9.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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