Read Save Me Online

Authors: Abigail Stone

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Contemporary Fiction

Save Me (2 page)

BOOK: Save Me
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Maybe I’ll apologize to her.
 Layla tossed around the idea in her head, trying it on for size. It seemed fair until she began to picture her mother in all her vanity, perched in a lawn chair beside her in-ground pool, tanning oil casting a glimmer against her scantily dressed body. Everything she had, she owed to Layla. The expensive cars, the timeless beauty that only plastic surgery could guarantee, the designer clothing that had been hand selected for her in Paris and Milan. The homes, the vacations and most notably – the star status that came along with being the parent of a celebrity. Emily Carter had hitched onto her daughter’s money-train and she showed no signs of ever letting go.

If anyone deserves an apology,
 Layla decided, 
it’s me.

She could feel Dr. Sterling’s tired blue eyes burning holes into the back of her head but she didn’t grace the woman with a reaction.

“We expect to see you back here every Tuesday at 2 PM for therapy.”

Each word carried its own source of amusement for Layla. Dr. Sterling was grasping at the only strings she had left to pull but Layla had no intention of ever seeing her again.

“Celebrities don’t go to therapy,” she said over her shoulder, “they go shopping.”

REBIRTH

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Past

T
here’s a saying.

If you want to find drugs in Los Angeles, open your front door. Nine times out of ten, they’ll come to you. It was a fact Layla had come to know quite well. One that rang even more true for celebrities. In Layla’s sixteen years in the industry, she had never been to a social gathering, wrap party or gala that didn’t provide its guests, the most elite of the elite, with at least one drug of choice. For perspective – at twelve, Layla tried cocaine for the first time at the launch event for a children’s sitcom. "Just stick your finger in it and sniff," one of her older costars – an attractive boy who would go on to steal the hearts of teenage girls all across America – instructed her. Layla did as she was told by those with more experience than her, never asking any questions.

It brought the prepubescent young girl to life. It made her feel good and alive and attentive, emotions she had seldom experienced in her upbringing. Cocaine was what got her through twelve hour days being carted by her mother or agent from one movie or television set to the next. Hours no seventh grader should have been working. But this was long before the days of strict child labor laws. Anything went, and before long, that was exactly how Layla would come to view drugs.

Cocaine may have been her first love, but heroin was the high school crush she stared longingly at from her locker and never could quite get over. There was something so forbidden about it. It was so off limits that Layla couldn’t resist the magnetism she felt towards it every time it happened to be in a room she was in. The first time she ever tried it, opting to smoke it instead of injecting, she felt as though she was living in a dream. It made her forget about the monotonous cycle that had become her life, something cocaine could only ever gloss over. It was dangerous, but that was exactly what had attracted her to it. Her friends nicknamed it the devils drug. It offered a certain euphoria – an instant buzz that other drugs just couldn’t quite mimic.

By fourteen, Layla was a full blown addict. She was high every waking moment and it started to show in her work. Tabloids began to refer to her as a child star gone bad, the baby faced “bad girl” of Hollywood, and the parents of America took notice. No longer did they want their innocent, unsuspecting children watching TV shows or movies Layla starred in. The fear was a noble one. They didn’t want their offspring ending up like her, a drug addicted teen whose star status was disintegrating. Layla's name had lost its sparkle and her starring roles were revoked without notice, replaced by fifteen minute guest spots on crime solving detective shows. Until eventually, those offers stopped rolling in altogether too.

Layla’s mother did everything in her power to get her daughter better, but it was never for the right reasons.

“Do you want to become a wash up?” Emily would ask Layla, watching her wither and sweat in pain as she’d hole her up in an expensive hotel room, guarding the door until the detox had passed. Sometimes it would only take twenty-four hours. Sometimes days. But the goal was always clear.

“Get better so you can start making money again.”

To Emily, her daughter was a commodity. A good. Something to be bought and traded. She never empathized with Layla the way most mothers would. She never dug deeper, to the roots of her daughter’s addiction and as far as Layla was concerned, the reason why was simple.

She didn’t care.

Layla was seven when her mother began carting her to auditions. She knew enough about the industry and know that there was a spot in it for her daughter, a cherub faced blonde with freckles, dimples and a cuteness factor akin to Shirley Temples.

“You’re going to be a star,” she told Layla as she’d apply her make-up, tying big bows into her hair to secure the look. Emily was anything if not business minded. She knew what she had to do to sell the image of her daughter and it worked.

Layla starred in her very first commercial just a few weeks before her eighth birthday and had landed a leading role in a sitcom – as the daughter of two friends who made a pact to have a child together if they were still single at forty – by age nine. No one ever told her that she was moving too fast, or to enjoy her childhood while she still could. As far as Layla was concerned, she was a full blown adult by puberty. She didn’t even go to school anymore, at least not in the way that other children her age did. Layla’s education had fizzled down to a tutor named Judy who would come and visit her three times a week on whatever set she was working on. They would go over things like spelling, multiplication and history. It was all watered down to its most basic form, but it didn’t matter. Layla was told that she didn’t need “book smarts” to succeed in her career of choice. The problem was, it had never been her choice. It wasn’t that she disliked acting or was even particularly bad at it. Layla had potential but the problem was, it had never been her dream.

It was her mothers.

In her youth, Emily Carter had tried and failed to become an actress. Unlike her daughter, it had been her passion. She studied every aspect of the industry, wanting to perfect the craft in every way possible. The irony was that Emily didn’t seem to have the natural talent that it took to succeed in such a cut throat world. She lacked the certain sparkle that would go on to launch her daughter’s career.

“Work on your smile,” one agent told her.

“Maybe consider a different hair color?” was the advice another had to give.

But most just flat out said no. They offered Emily no pointers on how she could improve her craft and as tough of a pill as it was for her to swallow, she gave up. She resorted instead to focusing on her daughters career. But time and time again, she’d watch some woman with less talent but bigger breasts than her own sky rocket to the top, and she’d drown her sorrows in expensive bottles of chardonnay that she never once was able to buy for herself.


Present

As Layla pulled into the driveway of her mother’s large mansion in the hills, her eyes lingered for just a second too long on the Hollywood sign – a constant reminder of what she had, lost, and then in the most illicit way possible – found again. She was driving a shiny black Range Rover, a gift from the director of one of her adult films. In it, she played a private school vixen punished by her headmaster for having lesbian sex in her dormitory. It would come out in a few weeks and was slated to serve as Layla’s introduction into the world of porn.

She turned off the ignition, stepping out of the vehicle and approaching the front steps of her mother’s home. Emily's Mercedes was nowhere in sight, but Layla wasn’t exactly surprised. She made her way inside the home, punching in the four digit code on the security system. Emily’s dog, a dachshund terrier named Robbie, greeted Layla at the front door. She reached down to pet him, calling out for her mother, but the house was silent and empty. Relief washed over Layla as she began to gather her things. She had left her cellphone on her mother’s coffee table before being admitted to the hospital, and there it sat untouched. She slid it in her purse, making her way into the bathroom. Holding her purse over the sink, she opened the medicine cabinet, stuffing bottle after bottle of pills inside. Robbie barked at her from the kitchen and Layla picked him up, allowing the small dog to lick her nose. She looked out the window, watching as one of the gardeners her mother had hired cleaned out the pool.

Layla and Emily had been having a run of the mill conversation out on her cobblestone patio when the entire ordeal had occurred. The discussion took a turn for the worse when Emily suggested Layla wasn’t making a wise decision by accepting a three million dollar business deal. It wasn’t that she didn’t want her daughter doing porn, either.

“You were once a major actress,” Emily said, “you’re selling yourself short. Three million dollars? That’s an insult.”

The comment didn’t sit well with Layla. She had been dealing with her mother’s beratement on the subject for weeks and the fact that Layla was under the influence of drugs at the time of the argument certainly didn’t help matters any. Before another word could escape her mother’s juvederm enhanced lips, Layla entered the garage, grabbing a canister of lawn mower gasoline and proceeding to pour it around the circumference of her Mercedes.

“I’m so sick of hearing what you think!” she yelled at Emily, who watched with wide eyes and begged for Layla to come to her senses as she furnished a bright pink lighter from her purse, flicking it until she got a flame.

Layla reached down, rubbing her hands over the raw spots on her knees, flinching. If the gardener hadn’t tackled her to the ground, she had no idea what could have happened.

“Alright Robbie,” she said, taking a final look around her mother’s home for anything she might have missed, “see you later.”

She shut the door behind herself, punching back in the security code and leaving the large mansion as though she had never been there at all. Driving off was the last thing Layla remembered. The last solid memory she had before it all faded into black.


Layla had never been afraid of dying.

She had many fears, all of them rational, but death had never been one of them. Not as a little girl, when she fell off the edge of a swimming pool on the set of a summer camp themed movie and nearly drowned. Not when she was thirteen and came close to losing her life in a car accident on the way home from a wrap party. And not now, as dozens of paramedics paced above her, fluorescent lights washing out their worried faces.

"What's going on?"

Layla’s words were lost somewhere in a sea of panicked voices and sirens.

“What’s happening to me?”

The last thing she saw before she passed out was darkness. It was vast, endless even, and it scared her more than the idea of dying ever had. When Layla finally awoke, she was in a hospital bed, an IV in her arm and – she reached up, her soft fingers dancing over the flesh of her face – up her nose. A machine beeped beside her. She tried to focus her eyes but the strain associated in doing so was too much for her to handle. Instead, she shut them, feeling her chest heave as wetness surfaced in the corners of her eyes. Tears. She reached up towards her face, wiping at the wetness before it could brim over the surface.

Layla wanted an explanation but no one was available to give her one. Her hospital room was quiet but for the beeping machine beside her and she appeared to be somewhat isolated from the rest of the hospital. There was no noise leaking into her room from the hallway. Not even footsteps. 
Maybe they forgot about me,
 Layla thought.

The worst part was that she couldn’t remember anything. Not a single solitary detail that would explain why she was holed up in a hospital bed, connected to a machine by tubes up her nose and in her arms. Everything was a blur. Layla sat up, adjusting herself in the tiny bed as she was met by a sharp, mind numbing pain in her abdomen.

“Ow!” she cried out, gripping the edge of the bedframe for support until her knuckles flushed pink. 
Something’s not right,
 Layla thought. She was light headed and her tongue felt heavy and dry against her cheeks. She opened her mouth to speak but the words didn’t hit the surface. She could feel herself beginning to sweat as she gripped the fabric of her hospital gown. She bit down on her bottom lip until she could taste iron, pulling the gown upwards and bunching it up around her stomach.

BOOK: Save Me
5.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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