Read The Accidental TV Star Online

Authors: Emily Evans

The Accidental TV Star (4 page)

BOOK: The Accidental TV Star
11.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Garrett’s rich, light brown hair was damp, and he was freshly shaven. He smelled like a shower and some kind of yummy cologne I didn’t recognize. He glanced from me to the sandwich, seeming torn.

“Do you want cheddar on it?”

As if he’d made a decision, Garrett sank onto the barstool and lifted the sandwich. His large hand dwarfed the bread. “No.” His accent drew out the long letter

He’s Bobby. Make him comfortable.
I opened the fridge and took out a beer, placing the bottle by his hand.

Garrett frowned. “It’s breakfast. The sun’s barely over the horizon.” He handed back the bottle and glanced at the clock. “Well, lunch, no, maybe dinner, but no thanks.” He took a bite while I poured a glass of orange juice. His eyelids closed and he groaned. “Mmm.”

“Yeah, my grandmother Teresa taught me that recipe. The trick is the slightly sweet bread contrasting with the pepper bacon.”

He made short work of the sandwich and held his hand out to me, palm up.

Weird. Was this some European thank you or a greeting?

I put my hand in his. His fingers felt rough, strong. I tried to stop from trembling as a thousand sensations shot through my palms. Oh God, the shaking, the crying, and the movie quotes were about to start. I opened my mouth to say a line from one of his more obscure indie films—
With this touch, I will change the univer
se— but his voice reached me first.

“Last night meant so much to me, darling. You mean so much to me. Truly.”

I loved how he said the word
so much that it took a moment for the meaning of his words to register.
I hadn’t been here last night.

He ran his thumb over my palm; my hand jerked and clenched at the tingling sensation.

Garrett said, “Though, sweetie, as wonderful as last night was, you didn’t have to make me breakfast.”

He thought I’d spent the night—last night—here—with him. I wished he’d sounded like Shrek because he certainly had Shrek’s gift for making mistakes. But he didn’t. He sounded like a hot epic hero.

I stepped closer. “Cooking for you fulfills me.” I blinked rapidly and tilted my head. “Am I truly special?”

Garrett’s expression stilled, and his eyes shifted. “Very special.”

Wow, the way he rolled his
’s. Stop thinking about his voice.

Garrett glanced back at me. “But this was just a moment in our world. Fleeting and ephemeral and lovely.”

Ephemeral. I snorted in my head. Who talked like that? He thought I wouldn’t recognize the line from his first hit,
Space Stampede
. I tightened my grip and prepared to play him. I placed my other hand where his sleeve ended. Nice.

His gaze froze to my fingertips, and his hard bicep tensed.

Don’t lose focus. “Ephemeral. That’s not us. We’re as permanent as the stars. Like you said last night, our green-eyed children will be a blessing to the universe.” My hand fell from his well-muscled arm with a lingering stroke. It’d be the last time I’d get to touch him and I wanted the full experience.

Garrett’s gaze followed the path of my hand. His arm snaked around my waist, and he pulled me to his side. My body pressed into his strong frame. His other hand landed against my waist. I shivered. OMG.

His fingers trailed from my jaw, down my neck, to my shoulder blade. My knees softened. His eyes tracked my reaction. A grin curved his lips, and he bent closer.

My next words came out in a panicked rush. “I’m Marissa Steele. I arrived today. I flew in this morning.”

His green gaze narrowed, and his head tilted as he put the pieces together. “Texas drawl.”

“Yeah.” I broke free from his grip before I threw myself tighter against him. “I’m your new cook.”

His gaze followed my retreat. “The girl Ashley recommended from her high school?”

Ash’s BFF, but okay. “Yeah.”

He rose to his full height, and I had to tilt my head back to meet his green eyes. He drummed his fingers on the counter. “I’ll be denied my morning kiss now, won’t I?”

I glanced at the clock and regained my composure. “Well, since its evening. I think we’ll have to end this encounter happy to be free from expecting minty-eyed triplets.”

Garrett laughed. “Minty-eyed? My eyes are the color of the fields of Scotland at the first blush of spring.”

I shrugged and breathed out, turning to the kitchen, the familiar. Saucers and small tasting bowls sat on the counter in front of me. The bowls held honey dip, yogurt dip, and a cream cheese dip. The saucers were empty, ready for the fruit I’d peeled earlier. I added grapes, apple slices, and orange wedges, and then placed the fruit course in front of him. “When your guests come down, I can make more sandwiches. Or anything, really.”

Garrett sank back to the barstool. “My entourage has gone, leaving me alone in the cold world.” He reached for the fruit.

“Oh.” I watched closely and grabbed my color-coded notebook to write down which one he’d try first and which one he’d finish. He snagged grapes in one hand and slices in the other. He finished off the fruit in minutes.

Okay. Prepare in bulk or you’ll never know his preferences. As he rose, I said, “Do you have any food allergies? Or any favorite dishes I should know about?”

He shrugged and headed to the front door. “No need. I mostly eat out.”

I chased after him. “Wait. What do you mean? I thought you really wanted a chef?”

Garrett shoved a hand through his hair and frowned. “Look, don’t tell Ashley, okay—but, I don’t need a cook.”

I stared at him and raised my eyebrows.

“Ashley mentioned that a girl she knew needed a job. I owed Caz a favor, so I told Ashley I wanted a cook. If adding staff helps me mend my rift with Caz, it’ll be worth it.”

His gaze fell on the empty plates on the bar. “Maybe breakfast would be okay. You can make me breakfast.” He reached for the doorknob. “I understand we’ll be working around your schedule too. Just leave the food in the fridge. I’ll find it.” With that, he slipped out.

No way.

I locked up behind him and leaned my forehead against the door. A wave of tiredness hit me. It was only late afternoon here, but the early flight and the time change had messed with my schedule, almost as much as Garrett had just messed with my mind. The job offer had only been semi-solid and I’d committed for the summer. I cleaned up, took a shower in my tiny new bathroom, locked myself in, and slept.




The next day, I awakened early due to the jet lag, ready to show Garrett he did need a chef. I baked a cheesy hash brown and bacon breakfast casserole and wrote out instructions for Garrett to flash reheat it. On the bottom of the page, I scrawled my phone number and the note, “Text me, if you need additional directions. I’ve got some great ideas for dinner.” It was important to start his dependence and intrigue him with thoughts of dinner while he was hungry and vulnerable.

Next, I started on a German chocolate cake. The recipe came from a French website, and the layered dessert was spectacular. He’d be begging me to stay when he tried it. I toasted the coconut and set out small bowls with the ingredients, but then I had to stop. With class at nine and me unfamiliar with the area, I had to go to the studio.

I wasn’t as intimidated as I could have been because Ash’s Dad’s secretary had sent me a packet of directions. Take the bus. See routes and numbers here and here. Get off at this address. Show the guard your ID. She’d pasted colored flags and a map alongside the instructions.

I locked the house and hiked to the bus stop at the bottom of the hill. The bus pulled up a few minutes later. With all the traffic, the drive took under an hour, and I enjoyed it as a kind of cheap tour. Palm trees and fancy billboards lined my route and everything felt exotic and strange, especially the weather: dry, cool, amazing.

The indifferent bus driver confirmed that the white stucco entrance belonged to the film studio and I stepped off the bus. I hoped I’d get lucky enough to see a real star.

The guard checked my ID and took a few minutes looking me up. Then he sent me to the next station where I stepped in front of a camera.

The second guard said, “We’re ready for your close-up,” and winked at me.

I laughed at his line and chatted with him while he created my badge. The whole thing took only a few minutes, like ID day at school. Making that mental connection made me feel more grounded.

He gestured at a pile of maps.

“Thanks.” I took one and headed out. The path wound past stucco office buildings, and I couldn’t fool myself. I was in LA, on a real movie lot, and was about to go to a cooking class. Two of my favorite things in the whole world, cooking and movies, collided and formed this moment. Yay.

I got to my destination and stared at the door handle a full second before I went for it. Inside the lobby, glass cases lined the walls. Each one held a movie poster and an award statue. I read four of them, before I checked the clock. I had to stop or I’d be late. After a lingering glance, I hurried down the corridor, vowing to be early next class so I could look around more. Room 223. I joined the twenty or so other people inside, breathed in the smell of produce coming from the back, and took one of the tall stools behind a food preparation table. The thin dark-haired lady beside me nodded and looked away. The ages in here ranged from my age to ninety. My tablemate fell somewhere closer to my end of the spectrum. The ninety-year-old made me thankful I didn’t have to put off starting college.

 Ashley and I both had several college credits from our senior year classes, but this was my first official class with no connection to Trallwyn High. I was taking it at a movie studio. I bit my lip on the thrill the thought caused. From my packet, I knew that the studio sponsored all kinds of classes on site: ones for underage actors, ones for bad actors, and college classes like this for any employee interested in extra credits. I couldn’t imagine the Fry Hut offering an incentive to work there, much less an educational one.

The Fry Hut managers weren’t stupid. They knew that if their employees got educated, they’d move on. I dropped my bag at my feet and sat up straight. This was day one of me moving on. The lady beside me turned and stared at me like I was her competition. I grinned. She was right.

The professor came in last and shut the door. He had bleached blond hair tied in a ponytail, a dark orange tan, and he wore a teal, untucked shirt over beige linen trousers. Not a look I’d seen around the trailer park and we had a variety of fashion choices.

He took his spot at the front, facing us. “There is no competition in life. We are one. One person’s successes reward all of us. That said, we’ve had a call for help. Our beloved production
Scoop Out
needs an assistant. A kitchen-hand.”

I choked on nothing but air. Sara Sims, the Texas restaurateur, entrepreneur, and host of the food show
Scoop Out
was my hero! My hand shot up. “I’ll do it.”

My neighbor glared and raised her hand. “I volunteer too.”

Half the class followed suit.

The professor chuckled and motioned for us to lower our hands. “We’ll decide this with a cook-off. Everyone grab a tray from the back and return to your stations.” He took a platter containing three bowls and placed it in front of one of the students, a burly, middle-aged guy. “Grab a potato, a stick of celery, and one radish. Then pass the bowls down. Select a knife from your shared utensil tray.”

The lady beside me grabbed a butcher knife and grinned at me like she’d won. I pulled out each remaining knife, assessed its weight and balance, partly because I was picky, and partly as a psychological maneuver.

“After I say
, slice, julienne, and dice. One cutting style per vegetable. Raise your hands when you’re done.”

To think, I could go from being fired at the Fry Hut to assisting on
Scoop Out
. Meeting Sara Sims alone would make my summer. To assist in her kitchen and learn from her would make my career. No amount of tuition could buy this opportunity. Images swamped my brain of all the
Scoop Out
episodes I’d seen while my classmates asked questions. I jerked out of my reverie to pay attention.

The ninety-year-old rubbed his chin. “Which style for which vegetable?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

Okay, speed was the goal. Slice meant cut. So I’d cut the potato, I’d julienne the celery, and dice the tiny radish.

Next, the ninety-year-old asked, “How will this affect our grade?” Grey Hair had a competitive spirit.

“After you complete the remaining seven or so episodes of this season’s
Scoop Out,
you will receive a passing credit. Should you quit, it will be as if you dropped the class. You will receive no credit.”

A girl my age said, “I’m already taking this class pass/fail.”

“Show up, you pass. Don’t, you fail.”

“I want a grade,” the old man said.

The professor sighed and shook his ponytail. “Then don’t win this competition.”

The lady opened her mouth as if to ask a question. The professor shook his head, leaned forward, and said, “Go.”

I went after the task like it was Friday night at the Fry Hut and the football team was due in any second for their game day discount. My full focus landed on the vegetables. The knife slid through the middle of the potato. I shoved the halves aside with my free hand and grabbed the celery. Thin matchstick-sized pieces formed under my blade. Lastly, I cubed the radish. The second the final square formed, I threw my hands into the air.

The thin dark-haired woman beside me had her long arm in the air too. My heart sank. The burly man on the front row lifted his knife high, coming in a close third.

“Knives down. You three, bring your trays to me for inspection.”

I lifted mine in a tight grip and walked past the other tables. My dark-haired neighbor and the burly guy beat me to the professor’s desk as if that had been part of the race. I should have walked faster.

The professor hmm’d over our three trays and explained our cuts to the class.

BOOK: The Accidental TV Star
11.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Clockwork Heart by Lilliana Rose
Men by Marie Darrieussecq
Montana Hero by Debra Salonen
The Quiet Game by Greg Iles
Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
Believed Violent by James Hadley Chase
Love's Ransom by Kirkwood, Gwen
B00XXAC6U6 EBOK by Caris Roane