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Authors: KE Payne

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BOOK: The Road to Her
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“The enigma that is Elise.” Robbie rubbed his hands together and threw himself down on my sofa, stretching his legs out in front of him.

He looked like the proverbial cat that got the cream. My skin began to curiously prickle. “And how have you done that?” I asked lightly, turning to face my dressing-table mirror again.

“She asked me out,” Robbie said simply.

“But she told me she’d never date a co—” I paused, wand in hand, and looked at his reflection in my mirror. “Didn’t you ask her out once before?” I asked, aware that my hands had suddenly gone colder.

“I did, and she said no,” Robbie said. “But
she
asked
me
last night. How about that?” He kicked his shoes off and put his feet up on the sofa.

“I see,” I said slowly.
Last night. After we’d filmed our kissing scenes…

“Dunno what made her change her mind,” Robbie was now saying. “’Cos when I asked her before she blew me right off, no hesitation.”

“Must be your charm and winning smile,” I said sulkily.

“Never worked on you, though, did it?” He crossed his legs at the ankle. “Not for the want of me trying, though, hey?”

“So where are you going to take Elise?” I asked, ignoring his comment and conveniently forgetting the number of times Robbie had asked me out over the years.

“We thought a meal, then maybe Bobby’s or King’s afterwards,” Robbie settled back, threading his hands behind his head, and stared up at the ceiling.

“When?” I asked, my voice thick.

“Tonight,” Robbie replied, still staring up at the ceiling. “So if she turns up to work tomorrow in the same clothes she has today, then you’ll know we hit it off okay.” He lifted his head and grinned.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll tell me all about it,” I said, watching him in the mirror. “Gentleman that you are.”

Robbie started to speak, but a knock on my door stopped him. Glad for the interruption, I called out for whomever it was to come in and felt a pleasant twinge in the pit of my stomach when I saw Elise standing in the doorway. She looked from me to Robbie then back to me again, the flicker of something across her face. What was it? Uncertainty? Embarrassment?

“We were just talking about you.” Robbie sat up straight on the sofa, eyeing Elise.

“I came to see Holly,” she said quietly, still watching Robbie warily.

“About?” I raised my eyebrows.

“Uh, about…we have to go see Kevin,” Elise replied, tearing her eyes from Robbie and back to me.

“You go ahead, ladies.” Robbie stretched back out on my sofa again. “I’ll mind the fort here.”

Elise and I walked down the corridor and up the two flights of stairs to Kevin’s office in near silence. Part of me wanted to ask her about her date with Robbie, part of me just didn’t want to know. I was angry, peeved, and as much as my brain was having a fight with itself over exactly why I felt like that, I think I already knew. Or did I? Part of me was put out because Robbie was my oldest friend on
PR,
but what did that matter? A bigger part of me was upset because Elise had barely just told me she’d never date a co-star, so why now Robbie? Fortunately we arrived at Kevin’s office before I had to even think about answering that particular quandary.

When we went in, Kevin was seated at his desk, magazines and papers spread out in front of him.

“My two favourite actresses,” he gushed as we approached his desk, making Elise and me glance at one another in a shared knowing look of amusement.

Kevin told us that everyone at
Portobello Road
had been bowled over by the viewers’ response to our story, and that magazines and newspapers were queuing up even more than they had been before to do interviews and photo shoots with us both. I didn’t need to look at Elise; her excitement crackled across to me like an electrical current all the while Kevin was talking.

“We’re getting e-mails coming in daily to the production company from press and public,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “They’re calling you celesbians.”

Elise turned to me, wide-eyed and mouthed,
“Celesbians?!”

“And others from girls your age saying about how much this has helped them in real life, you know, coming to terms with stuff,” Kevin went on. “This has far exceeded our expectations, you two. We’re absolutely delighted with the way things are going.”

We talked on for a few more minutes, Kevin giving us details of the interview and photo shoot that a women’s magazine wanted to run sometime in the next month. With our meeting finally over, Elise and I left Kevin’s office and headed back down the corridor of the TV studios, Elise still practically floating on cloud nine.

“Did you hear what Kevin said?” Elise’s voice seemed to have gone up by at least an octave. “Celesbians! That’s what they’re calling us, Holly! Celesbians!”

“Well, it’s getting the attention they wanted, at least.” I followed Elise back down the stairs.

“And what about the photo shoots?” Elise bumped my arm. “I can’t wait to do those! I’m gonna get dressed up and knock ’em all dead.”

I glanced at her and figured with a pang that she’d have no problem whatsoever knocking anyone dead. Including Robbie that night.

“And when Kev just said they were getting e-mails in pretty much every day from teenagers, well, jeez!” She spoke really quickly, fumbling in her bag for her phone. “I mean, how fantastic is that?”

“I remember it happened when they did it in
The Escape
,” I said. “You remember? Martin and Dexter? Well, apparently the guys that played Martin and Dexter used to get letters from blokes telling them how much they’d helped them.”

“The power of TV, huh?” Elise said, jabbing her finger over the phone screen while she walked, presumably texting someone.

Finally she put her phone away and, apparently remembering I was still with her, said, “We so need to go out and celebrate now.”

“Celebrate?” I raised my eyebrows, the thought of a night out with Elise sending a swell of excitement right through me.

“Yeah!” She rubbed her hands together in excitement. “After all, it’s not every day you get told you’re a celesbian, is it?”

I hesitated. “Not tonight, though, ’cos you’re, uh, you’re going out with Robbie tonight, aren’t you?” I kept my voice light, trying to sound as if I was interested.

Elise glanced over then away again. “News travels fast round here.”

“He just told me.” I waved a hand. “In my room before.”

“Right,” Elise said. “Well yes, I am seeing him tonight as it happens.”

“I didn’t know you two liked each other,” I said, making a big deal of hitching my bag further up my shoulder to try to act as casually as possible, even though my heart was thudding.

“Neither did I,” Elise replied slowly.

We walked a little further on, finally arriving at the set where I was due on in a few minutes.

“How about Saturday, then?” she asked. “Just you and me? After all, it’s us who are celebrating. No one else.”

Just you and me.

“Saturday’s good,” I said, already thinking about what I would wear.

“Text me details later?” Elise asked, pulling her car keys out of her bag. “No more filming for me till Saturday now, thank goodness.”

“Oh.” A brief pang hit me. “Lucky for some. I have three scenes with Bella in the morning.”

“Well, think of me having an awesome day off, won’t you?” Elise pulled a silly face at me as she passed me and left the set.

“I won’t,” I joked, watching as she walked away, turning briefly to smile back at me before she turned the corner and disappeared from sight.

 

*

 

I managed to sail through the next day’s filming—a Friday—without any hitches. It was a shorter day than normal, and my few scenes with Bella were done and dusted by lunchtime. I was grateful to get home early, especially considering it was Friday, and just chill out in my apartment for the rest of the afternoon.

My mind wandered frequently to Elise and Robbie. Robbie, like Elise, had the day off, so it wasn’t as if I could see him and tell by the look on his face whether their date had been successful. They’d been on my mind for most of the previous evening and the whole of the morning, if I’m honest, imagining where they’d gone, what Elise had worn, what they’d spoken about, wondering if they’d hit it off. I wish I’d been able to switch it off, to pretend like I didn’t care, but I couldn’t. I did care—a lot.

I was just settling down to my second cup of tea and fifth biscuit of the afternoon back at my apartment when my mobile rang. I saw Elise’s name flashing on and off the screen in front of me and was enveloped in a surge of happiness because she was ringing me on her day off, coupled immediately with an opposing thought that she might only be ringing me to tell me about her and Robbie. I watched her name come and go, deliberating as to what to do, when I finally gave in and answered.

“Hey!” She sounded pleased to hear me.

“Hey,” I replied, walking to my window and looking out. “What are you up to?”

“Nothing much,” Elise sighed. “To be honest I’ve been so tired all day. Why does that always happen when you have a day off?”

“Don’t know,” I replied absent-mindedly, thinking that if she was home in her apartment then maybe she didn’t stay the night with Robbie after all.

“Listen, you wanna go out tonight instead of tomorrow?” Elise asked.

My heart quickened. “Sure,” I said, thinking of her and Robbie again. “You’re not busy tonight, then?”

“Nope,” Elise said breezily.

“Do you, uh, do you want to ask anyone else?” I asked hesitantly.

Please say no. Please say no.

“I don’t, no,” Elise said. “Do you?”

“No, not at all,” I said, probably too keenly.

“Good,” she said. “Just me and you will be perfect.”

 

*

 

“So, I figured King’s would be better tonight than anywhere else,” I said to Elise as I met her from the Tube.

“King’s sounds good,” Elise replied as I approached her across the station hall. She stared at me as I came closer to her, her eyes flickering over me. “You look great,” she finally said, catching my eye. “Your hair looks awesome like that.”

“Thanks. You do, too.”

And she did. Elise looked totally stunning, and it was all I could do not to stare at her like some drooling teenage boy. She was wearing a really neat little black figure-hugging dress, which showed off her curves perfectly, and she looked fabulous in it; our characters in
PR
just seemed to live in jeans and hoodies, so I guess it wasn’t often that I got to see Elise dressed up. She’d worn something equally gorgeous for our night out at Bobby’s, but tonight she looked even more awesome.

We’d arranged to meet at eight p.m. and just go for a drink and a dance—no getting wasted or staying out until the small hours—just a drink, to relax and unwind after a difficult few weeks, and to celebrate our success on
PR.

I was stoked that Elise had noticed what I was wearing as I’d really gone to town on my outfit. I knew exactly why. Plus, I figured it wasn’t some promotional night where I had to be slightly more…how shall I put it? Slightly more reserved. This was
my
night out and, although I couldn’t go too over the top, bearing in mind the number of paparazzi that hung around just about every bar in central London, I thought I could at least let go just a little.

I’d spent ages on my hair, and with a little tweaking and fine-tuning, it tumbled around my shoulders, framing my face perfectly. I usually wore my hair up or just scrunched it up into a ponytail, so it felt good to have it loose against my neck for a change. I’d gone subtle with my make-up as well, with just a bit of smudging round my eyes and pale lip gloss which perfectly matched the colour of the beads I’d thrown around my neck and which hung messily down my front. I’d gone for the shortest, tightest skirt I owned and paired it with a loose-fitting top; the shoes I’d chosen to go with it gave me height and made me look slimmer than I usually looked and, I thought dryly, would at least make me nearly as tall as Elise, even if just for the night.

As we walked together from the Tube over to King’s, my brain kept urging me to talk to Elise about Robbie, to ask her if she’d enjoyed herself the previous night and whether she’d be seeing him again, outside of work. But at the same time, it also seemed to be chanting a mantra of
I don’t want to know. I want to know. I don’t want to know. I want to know.

Who knew what the hell I wanted?

When we entered the club, the heat and noise immediately sucked us in. Any thoughts I’d been having about Elise and Robbie evaporated as I walked to the bar, waving to the barman I’d known for years.

“I had a phone call from one of the promo guys this afternoon, by the way.” Elise leant towards me and spoke into my ear over the sound of the music.

“Oh?” I greeted the barman. “Wine?” I said, looking at Elise.

“White, thanks.” She nodded to the barman. “Sauvignon Blanc, if you’ve got it.”

“So what was the phone call about?” I asked.

“The photo shoot Kevin was on about.” Elise lifted herself up onto a stool by the bar, hastily pulling at the bottom of her dress which had ridden up.

“And?” I picked up my drink and took a sip from it, concentrating on Elise’s face rather than her legs.

“It’s been cleared with our agents, according to Susie, so we’re good to go.” Elise drank from her glass.

“I can’t wait!” I lifted myself up on to my stool, too.

“Yuh-huh,” Elise nodded. “And, according to Susie, they were so keen to get us there, they’re going to be pushing out the boat, like,
big time.

“Champagne and caviar?” I grinned.

“Not quite.” Elise pulled a face. “But it’s going to be a full day of hair, make-up, clothes…the lot.”

“Imagine the pampering we’ll get!” I bumped my arm playfully against hers.

“Imagine all the freebies, Hol!” She bumped me back.

“You just called me Hol.” I stopped mid-drink and looked at her curiously. “You’ve never called me that before.”

BOOK: The Road to Her
2.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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