Read Happily Ever After? (Sleeping Handsome Sequel) Online

Authors: Jean Haus

Tags: #teen romance, #sleeping handsome

Happily Ever After? (Sleeping Handsome Sequel) (2 page)

BOOK: Happily Ever After? (Sleeping Handsome Sequel)
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He’s right. I have to go. I already
signed the contract. My arms wrap around his and our fingers
entwine. “I don’t think suck is a strong enough word.”

~2~

Zach

Done loading her luggage,
I watch Paige hug her family goodbye before their monstrosity of a
house. Her mother started crying so now Paige is crying. Great.
That definitely means I’ll get the water works later. And as
miserable as I’m feeling about her leaving, I don’t know if I’ll be
able to handle her tears like a man. Shit, she’ll have
me
crying like a girl at
a chic flick.

While I lean against the hood of my
beater and concentrate on keeping composed, her little sister
wanders over to me with her flip-flops slapping on the cement of
the driveway.

Hands behind her back Emily smiles at
me shyly. “We’re still doing something on Saturdays
right?”

Her expression looks so hopeful I rear
back with a hand clutched to my chest. “You have to ask? I wouldn’t
miss our Saturday nights for anything.” Well, except if I could
afford to visit Paige but Emily doesn’t need to know
that.

Her little nose wrinkles. “You should
leave the acting to Paige.”

I can’t help a laugh from escaping.
“You’re right but with Paige gone, I’ll be bored out of my mind,
especially on Saturday.”

She leans closer to me, tugs the
bottom of my shorts, and says lowly, “I don’t think we should do
sushi that might upset her.”


You’re probably right,” I
say with a nod. My girlfriend has a serious thing for
sushi.

Paige comes and stands behind Emily
with her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “What are you two up
to?”


Just talking about our
next date,” Emily says with a grin.

Paige frowns. “Ugh. I don’t want to
hear about you guys having fun without me.”

I glance at the time on my phone. If I
don’t get her out of here, she will miss her flight. A limo would
have picked her up, but Paige wanted me to drive her. “You
ready?”

She nods before giving Emily one last
hug. After a wave to her family, we speed down the lane and pass
the gates that lead into their driveway. In the car, Paige is
quiet, but her red eyes speak volumes. I’m silent too as I drive
through her neighborhood. I’m afraid to speak. Words might lead her
to lose it more. Then I’ll lose it.

She lets out a sigh as I turn onto the
expressway ramp. “I know I’m acting like a complete idiot. I’ve
just never been away from home before without my
family.”

My brows rise. “Never?”

Her head shakes as her fingers twist
in her long brown, sun-streaked hair.


Not even like
camp?”


Nope. A few sleepovers in
middle school is about it. Suppose I’m a major
homebody.”

I should have guessed this. I’d known
even lying in a coma and listening to her talk behind her fake
sophistication was just a sweet, lonely girl. “Once you start
working you’ll be too busy to be homesick.”


Geez.” Her head hits the
seat. “I hope so or this is going to be four long weeks.” We pass a
sign for the airport and Paige mumbles, “Maybe you should just drop
me off instead of going in.”

The despondency in her voice has me
glancing at her. From the quiver of her bottom lip and the tight
clasp of her hands, I realize she doesn’t want to lose it inside
the airport, but just leaving her on the curb feels like
abandonment. However, I always try to respect her wishes. “You
sure?”

She shakes her head yes and watches a
plane fly overhead.

My fingers grip the plastic of the
steering wheel. This is tougher for her than me. She’s going into
the unknown. And knowing how hard it is for me, it has to be damn
hard for her.

Hands twist in her lap as we enter the
airport lane. When we pass the signs for long and short-term
parking, Paige blurts out, “Just park and walk me in.”

My lips press into a line so I don’t
let out a smile. “Okay, sounds good.”

In the parking garage, we each take a
rolling bag from the trunk. Still quiet, Paige slips a pair of
sunglasses over her red-rimmed eyes. She checks her luggage in at
the curb and we proceed inside. Other than taking my hand, she’s a
robot.

Near the line security line she
finally turns to me. “Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays
right?”

With her halfway across the world
working and me going to school and working, she’s referring to the
schedule we set up for calls. I nod. “Eleven o’clock for you and
one for me. I’ll be waiting each day. And don’t forget we can
always email and text.”

She scowls. “Ugh. Our relationship
reduced to texting.”


One month, Paige.” I push
the glasses up on her head. That we’re both so worked up about her
leaving seems ridiculous. It doesn’t feel ridiculous. It feels
real. But I’m trying to be strong for her. “In one month, you’ll be
home.”


I know.” Her smile is
sad. Her lovely caramel colored eyes even sadder.

Her expression is destroying me. I
check my phone then pull her close. “You’ve got to get going,” I
say above her before leaning down. I’d meant for the kiss to be
light. Instead, she clings to me, digs her fingers into my neck,
and devours my lips. Even in middle of the airport with people
walking past us, I can’t stop myself from responding. Damn. Paige
in my arms—under my mouth—nothing feels better. Unwanted resolve
has me ripping my lips from hers. “Do you want to miss your
flight?”


No.” She buries her head
into my shoulder. “I’m just having a hard time letting
go.”

I hug her tight and breathe in the
intoxicating sent of her shampoo and perfume. Though carved into my
memory, I’m even going to miss the scent of her. I don’t want her
to go. “You need to go.”

She steps back still holding my hands.
“I love you.”

I rub her fingers. Stare at her. She’s
a bittersweet picture of art in real life. “I love you
too.”

She slowly lets go of my hands. “See
you soon.” She covers her watering eyes with the sunglasses and I
force myself not to reach for her. She doesn’t look back as she
enters the security line. Clenching my hands at my sides, I’m
glad.

Once I can’t see her—the rigid spine
and the hand clamped around her ticket—anymore I turn and stalk
across the airport and out into the parking garage. Inside my car,
I punch the dashboard. Hula Holly bobs as my knuckles throb. Paige
crying tears me up inside. And though we’ve only been together less
than three months, one month apart is just too damn much. The pain
across my skin helps cool the pain of missing her
already.

Just a bit. And just for the
moment.

~3~

Paige

I wait for the elevator to take me up
to my floor. Zach was right. At work I’m mindless, just
concentration and eagerness and nervousness. I love acting. It’s
when work is over homesickness invades me. More than home, I’m
missing Zach. Perhaps he’s what home has come to mean to me. And
phone calls, texts, and emails don’t equate to home. Alone in my
hotel room I’m a pining mess.

The elevator doors open. I rush past
the security guard who doesn’t seem to speak English. He just nods
to me. Up one floor where the big stars are there are three guards.
Those of us not so well known get one.

Inside my room, I power up my
computer. I’ve never been so interested in emailing. Here I run to
my computer every day. To Zach. We do text a bit. I wake up to a
‘good morning’ or ‘a break a leg beautiful’ on my phone every day.
But we’ve never been heavy texters. Short abbreviated conversations
just don’t work for us. Compared to some other couples I’ve
observed we actually like to talk. Now apart email has become our
heaviest source of communication. Of course, I don’t take my phone
to work because I’d be on the thing all day, even if just looking
and waiting for a message alert to pop up.

Like clockwork Zach’s message sits
waiting for me in my inbox. The best part of my day unless it’s a
day we talk on the phone. Today I have two hours to wait until I
call him. Sitting closer, I open the email and drink in his
words.

Morning Paige,

Or maybe I should say good
evening?

How’s my girl? How’s the
nervousness going? Tomorrow will make it a week on the set. Feeling
settled in yet? Your last email did sound more assertive. Just
remember, you are talented that’s why they choose you. Really, I
didn’t go to those plays just because I’m your boyfriend. I also
went because you’re an amazing actor. And I can’t wait to walk down
the red carpet at the premier with you. (Not really looking forward
to the camera shit but hey, you’ll look hot and ecstatic and
between the two, the photo crap will be worth it.)

I smile. Zach’s my own personal
cheerleader. Although his opinion might be biased, he always helps
boost my confidence.

I took the job. What can I
say? Its great hours, good money, and walking people through an
hour workout is pretty damn easy. Yeah, I know. I envision your
nose wrinkling at the news. It may take me more than four years to
get my BA working so much, but in the end what’s one more year? A
drop in the bucket of life. I’ll be training over the next week.
The week after I’ll start taking on clients. Then all my financial
issues will be null, which will be a huge weight off my
shoulders.

One more year is worth
that freedom.

Ah…I have some other news
I need to share with you. I’d rather do it over the phone. It’s
nothing major. Well, at least to me. But yeah, I’m sure you’ll want
to know. I’m imagining you all stiff looking at the computer. Your
eyes are round and your breath picked up. Just relax, like I said
it’s not major.

Like always, I’m
anticipation waiting for your call.

Z

I fall back into the chair. How could
he just leave me hanging on a string like that? Ugh. Either say it
or don’t bring it up. I’m having trouble imagining what would not
be major to him but I’d want to know.

They got a new roommate and it’s a
girl? That would not be cool. He’s dropping a class because of the
job? I know why they want him to train. Gorgeous with a body hard
from years of sports he’ll be booked solid. So yes, he’ll have no
financial worries, but he knows how I feel about his education. It
should be the most important thing in his life right now. Even more
important than me. I read his journal to him while he was in a
coma. I know what writing means to him. The boy can’t survive
without words and books.

More than annoyed I shut his cryptic
email and pace the length of my small sitting room. The big stars
got suites with dining rooms, bars, and huge bedrooms. I got a
sitting room, a medium bedroom, and a small bathroom. Not that I
care about the size of my room, but at the moment the space is
claustrophobic. The modern décor and dark woods feel cold and
oppressive. The vases filled with white flowers even look
impersonal. I check the time. Almost an hour and a half until I can
call him.

After several hours of wardrobe and
makeup then more than eight hours of filming, I usually eat and
hang out in my room for a couple of hours before going to bed
exhausted. Filming is a lot harder than I thought it would be. The
schedule is so grueling I just work, eat, sleep, and miss Zach. But
today I’m out the door and down the hall.

Most likely bored out of his mind the
swarthy guard turns around and nods to me. I offer him a weak
smile.

Zoe Ingram, the costume designer,
invited me for tea to her room more than once. Chatty and bizarre,
she invites everyone to her room. I’ve been so tired I haven’t
taken her up on the offer. Instead of sitting in my room and
getting all worked up over Zach’s email, tea sounds good. Real
good. Actually, I hate tea. Coffee rocks. Tea does not. Yet
anything to get my mind off Zach’s email will taste delicious. And
Zoe’s chatter will definitely fill the next hour or so.

Her door whips open after the third
knock. “Well hello darling,” she says in greeting and whirls around
with the long fabric on her arms fluttering. A pair of scissors
hang from her fingers. “I’m in here,” she says and the tight curls
of her blonde hair bob as she saunters away.

Realizing she means for me to follow,
I enter her room and shut the door. Instead of going to the sitting
area she passes through a connecting door. In the next room,
fabrics and tools cover almost every surface while costumes hang
from doorknobs, lamps, shelf edges, and movable racks.


There’s room on the
couch,” Zoe says with a piece of thread between her lips. “You
couldn’t have timed a visit more perfectly. Tea will be here within
the half hour.”


Great,” I say with an
acted out smile and find one open square on the satin couch. She
lifts scissors. Feeling out of place, I tuck my hands under my
thighs. “Do you need any help?”

She laughs. The sound tinkles around
the room. “Ah no, darling. I design and sew then you wear and act.”
She stabs the flowing embroidery of a skirt dressed on a fabric
dummy and looks at me over her pink tinted glasses. “We can chat
while I work. I always have minor alterations during production.
Nothing ever goes precisely as planned. And my assistants?” She
waves a hand dramatically. “Might as well do it myself, you
know?”

BOOK: Happily Ever After? (Sleeping Handsome Sequel)
4.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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