|Love for Hire
Author: ChocolateCoveredCheetos PM
Audition for the lead role? Check. Get the part? Check. Date my arrogant, self-centered, infuriating but extremely good-looking co-star? Uh… I don't think so. But it's all for publicity, they said. Nothing would happen… Right?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 10 - Words: 29,040 - Reviews: 65 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 39 - Updated: 10-27-12 - Published: 05-24-12 - id: 3025389
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
WARNING: I do not tolerate any form of plagiarism. This is all under the copyright of ChocolateCoveredCheetos.
Author's Note: Yes, I'm still alive. XD I know it's been almost two months since I've last written, but school has just been so hectic and it feels like my teachers' ultimate goal in life is to crush me under a enormous mountain of homework. :P So over that period of time, I wrote the chapter bit by bit on my phone, but only but it together today. But to make it up to you guys, it's sixteen pages long and has over 3000 words. ;) The date that you have a been waiting for is here! As always, read and review! You shall make me the happiest person in the whole universe. :)) Thanks and enjoy!
Chapter Six- The Cracks in the Ice
I suppose you can say that I had a slight problem. Well, probably a national crisis for Halie.
I went through ever single piece of clothing in my wardrobe, and came up empty-handed.
Nadda, zilch, zero.
Nothing at all.
Apparently, Carol wanted (scratch that, more like ordered) Xander and I to attend the annual Winter Ball, which was usually attended by socialites and celebrities alike.
And guess whose house it's held?
It was time to meet the parents. And of course, the media.
I sighed and sat down at the edge of my bed. Xander would be here in less than two hours to pick me up.
There was only one thing left to do. Picking up my cellphone, I punched in a few numbers and waited for the person to pick up.
"Hello?" I said weakly. "I need your help."
"You have got to be kidding me," I said incredulously.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Halie said, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, no," I conceded. "But I'm not wearing that!"
"Why not?" Halie demanded, waving the article of clothing at me. It was a midnight blue dress. Halie claimed that it matched my eyes perfectly.
"Because!" I insisted. "It's too short!"
My best friend made impatient noise. "The last time I checked, an inch above the knee isn't exactly too short."
"I'm not going to wear that!"
Halie threw her hands up. "Lily, I thought you called me here so that I could help you for the ball?"
"I did! And I really appreciate it," I said. "But…"
Halie knitted her eyebrows together. "Why do you need to go anyways?"
"Because Xander asked me too," I lied.
"Oh?" Halie said, looking skeptical. "Isn't this the one the Wittings hold that's crawling with the paparazi?"
"Yes," I said.
My best friend shrugged and turned her attention back to the dress. "Wear this."
"Isn't there a longer one?"
"Is that the only thing you can say? No?" I asked her, huffing.
"No." Halie smiled.
I frowned. "Wait… so does that mean yes, you don't only say no?"
"No," Halie said. "I'll stop if you wear the dress."
"But it's too short!"
"Fine, I'll wear it! Happy?"
"Will you quit it already?"
Minutes later, I stepped out of the bathroom in the silky midnight blue dress. I made my way across my bedroom, carefel not to trip over the things scattered around on the floor.
"You look absolutely gorgeous!" Halie squealed, jumping up and down.
I smiled. I have to admit, I looked different wearing this. The dress hugged my curves (heck, I didn't even know I had curves) and made me look taller.
Halie pointed to a chair with an eyeliner. "Sit."
I sat. "Why?"
"Watch me work my magic," Halie told me.
I reeled back. "Oh, no. The last time you 'worked your magic' on me, I ended up looking like a weirdo for a week!"
"That was freshman year!"
"You used a sharpie for eyeliner! I had to go to school looking like a goth rock star!"
"How was I supposed to know it was a Sharpie?"
"I don't know, maybe because it says 'Sharpie, Permanent marker' at the side?" I said sarcastically.
Halie blew an exasperated breath. "I got better!"
I looked at her cautiously. "You promise that this will not cause any burning sensations, a breakout of rashes or extremely unbearable pain?'
She rolled her eyes and held up her right hand. "I swear that I shall not inflict any, ah, intended harm upon you."
I eyed her suspiciously. "Fine."
"Remind me, why are you my best friend again?" Halie muttered, while she started dabbing foundation on my forehead.
"Because I'm fun, lovable and amazing?" I offered.
She laughed at that. "That's so you, Lily."
I cracked a smile in return. I kept quiet for a while Halie concentrated on applying the make-up, deep in thought.
Today is finally the day that I would meet the media.
Just the thought of it made my stomach do a huge flip-flop.
What if I messed it up? What if they don't believe me? What if…
I took a deep breath. Nothing bad is going to happen… right?
"What do you think?" Halie said proudly half an hour later. She swiveled the chair around so that I was facing the mirror.
My eyes widened. If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't even recognize myself. I looked so different and… beautiful for once. My green eyes, that usually went unoticed, now popped out with the help of mascara and eyeliner. I seemed older now and more mature.
"Wow…" I said, unable to grasp for words to express what I was feel. "I look… beautiful."
My best friend smiled. "Lily, you always were. I just enhanced it."
I was just about to reply when the doorbell rang.
"Shit," I said, scrambling for my purse. "Xander's here."
"Here," Halie said, kneeling down do help me strap on my heels.
I felt a rush of gratitude to my best friend. "Thanks, Halie. You're the best."
Her eyes twinkled. "I know. Now come on. I need to say a few words to Xander."
"A few words?" I asked, following her out the door and down the stairs.
"Yeah. Like not trying anything… suggestive on my best friend."
My cheeks flooded with color. Before I could say anything, Aunt Ellie appeared. "Xander's here, dear." She caught sight of my dress. "You look beautiful."
I smiled. "I have Halie and Co. to thank here." I turn to cast a glance at Halie, but she disappeared. "Where did she go?"
"I think she went to grab something." Aunt Ellie hugged me. "Look at my little girl, all grown-up. Anyways, don't keep him waiting."
I nodded. "You should get some rest," I chided her.
"I will," she said. "Oh, I almost forgot. I have a friend who's going abroad for around a week, so his son is going to stay with us until he gets back."
"Who?" I asked, curious.
"I forgot the name, but he's a very nice boy." Aunt Ellie said.
I nodded again and started for the front door. "See you later."
"Have fun," she told me.
As I walked down the hallway to the door, I saw Halie and Xander at the end, my co-star with his back to me.
Halie jabbed at finger at his chest. "Don't you dare hurt her. If you do, I swear I will make you regret it for the rest of your life."
Xander seemed taken aback at the fact of being lectured by a girl and someone shorter than he was.
I stiffled a laugh.
My best friend continued, glaring at my fake boyfriend. "And you better treat her well because y-"
Taking pity on him and trying to smother my giggles that the same time, I spoke. "All right, Halie. That's enough."
Xander spun around, to face me. His jaw dropped slightly. He looked pretty good himself, dressed in a black suit that made his blond hair and blue eyes stand out more. Plus it made him look more… mysterious.
Not that I was saying he was hot. Or that I liked it. That would never, ever happen.
Still, I found myself blushing. "Uh… so yeah."
Before Xander could speak, my best friend interrupted, looking at her watch. "I have to go now. My mom needs me to babysit my brother. See you on Monday, Lily." She gave me a reassuring smile. Then, she glared at Xander and mouthed "I've got my eye on you". With that, Halie left, closing the front door.
The silence stretched.
"So…" I said, feeling uncomfortable all a sudden. I gestured at my dress. "What do you think?"
"You look fine," Xander said stiffly, is face clear of any emotion.
My heart dropped. Fine? That was it? Suddenly, I felt angry. Why should I care whether he liked my dress or not? I hated him, for crying out loud!
"Let's go then," I said, keeping my voice neutral.
Xander led me outside to his car. Once we were both inside, he started the ignition and began to drive.
"Do you know what to do?" he asked, keeping his eyes on the road.
"Yes," I said, recalling my conversation earlier with the movie agent. "Carol told me."
"We have to make it look belivable," Xander said.
"I know," I told him.
"I have to warn you though," he said. "My mother's not so easily fooled."
His mother. Evangeline Witting. The former world famous supermodel.
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.
The car slowed to a stop as the light turned red. He finally turned to face me, his eyes staring directly at mine. "She'll suspect something's up if we don't do it right. She's even worse than the media."
I swallowed hard. "Oh."
Time flew by and before I knew it, we were already at the driveway of the Witting Mansion.
I couldn't help but gape. The house was huge. The front lawn was the size of my house and my neighbour's put together. The building's architecture was exquisete. The designs were intricate and carefully carved into the walls and in the stone pillars by the front door. There were two Jaguars, three Porches, two Mercedes and two limosines parked outside the garage.
Huh. I guess they couldn't fit inside.
There were already guests entering through front door, while others were stepping out of their cars while chauffers held the doors for them. Paparazzi were milling around, taking picture and bombarding them with questions.
At least they were occupied for the time being.
Xander turned to look at me. "Are you ready?"
I nodded, feeling nervous. I force myself to smile.
"Let's go then," he said, opening his car door.
I opened mine and stepped out. Immediately, there were paparazzi swarming around me, clicking away with their cameras.
How the hell did they get here so fast?
"Who are you?" one of the reporters said.
"Aren't you Xander's co-star?" another said from the back.
More and more people joined in.
"Why are you attending the Winter Ball?"
"Are you both dating?"
"Are you Xander's girlfriend?" a stout man said, holdling a microphone out to me.
They sure ask a lot of questions. I flashed a radiant smile, just like Carol told me to do. "I'm Lily Roberts, Xander's co-star for One More Day. And yes, we are dating."
The media chattered excitedly and scribbled it down in their notepads.
"How did you meet?"
"Was it love at first sight?"
"Tell us everything!"
Suddenly, Xander appeared at my side, looking as cool and collected as ever. He slipped an arm around my shoulders, guiding me towards the door. "Come on, Lily."
The paparazzi trailed after us, yelling questions and snapping away with their cameras.
I sighed with relief once we entered the mansion. Xander dropped his arm and took my hand and threaded his fingers and mine together. Heat coursed through my body and I forced myself to look away.
Calm down. This is just an act.
The inside was even bigger than what it seemed on the outside. The high ceiling twinkled with a thousand lights, soft classical music playing in the backround. There were many people wearing elegant clothes were mingling with one another, carrying glasses or plates in their hands.
Xander's mouth twitched. "Not so easy being a celebrity, huh?"
I shrugged. "But you're rich. What more can you ask for?"
His eyes darkened at that. "A normal life."
Before I could ask him what he meant, a waiter passed and offered me a glass of wine.
I declined and turned back to him.
"What happens now?" I asked him.
He looks around. "We have to socialize with people, I guess. Talk for a bit."
I spun around. It was Zach. He was dressed similarly to what Xander was wearing, his hair slightly ruffled, looking as handsome as ever.
I smiled unevenly. "H-hi."
Zach smiled back. "Hey. What brings you here?"
Before I could say anything else, Xander interrupted. "What are you doing here?"
I glared at him. Could he be more rude?
"I was invited," Zach said, confused.
"I was in-"
"I heard what you said y-"
"Did you just-"
"Enough," I said firmly.
Both boys looked at me in surprise.
"You heard me. I don't know what's between you two," I continued. "I don't want any fighting here. Understand?"
Sheesh, I sound like a kindergarten teacher.
"Yes," they both mumbled.
One point for female dominance.
"Why hello there, dear!"
Five minutes later, after our encounter with Zach (which, for some reason, put Xander in a bad mood) another person decided to talk to us.
Xander grimanced. But when he turned around, he had a bright smile plastered on his face. "Hi, Mrs. Herrington."
Mrs. Herrington appeared to be around to be seventy years old, give or take. She wore a large hat with flowers on her head and gloves on her hands. She looked like Queen Elizabeth.
She beamed at him and pinched his cheeks. "My my, you've grown, haven't you? It's been so long since I last saw you!"
Xander grit his teeth. "That was two days ago, Mrs. Herrington."
The elderly woman acted as if she didn't hear him. Or maybe she was deaf or something.
"And what beautiful eyes you have! Just like your mother!"
"That's nice, I real-"
"And teeth! Such nice teeth! You know, Alexander dear, it reminds me…"
Okay, now she's starting to sound like the big bad wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.
"… when I got my dentures, and they used a tool to look at my teeth! And they said it was a mirror!"
Xander looked pained.
"Oh, and they told me that I immediately had to use this queer substance callled mouth wash! What is that, dear?"
I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself from bursting out laughing.
My co-star shot me a glare. Not helping.
I shook my head and smirked at him. Now he's the one uncomfortable.
Mrs. Herrington seemed to notice me for the first time. "Who are you, dear? I don't believe I've seen you around before."
Xander cleared his throat. "Ah, this is my g-"
A cool voice interrupted from behind us. "I'll take them from here."
Xander and I whirled around.
A tall, regal looking woman in a long black evening gown stood behind us. Despite being retired, she still looked the same as ever.
She reminded me of Xander, with her blue eyes, but on her, they make her seem cold and daunting.
"James," Evangeline called out to one of the waiters nearby. "Take Mrs. Herrington to the back to watch the show."
"Oh, there's a show now, is there?" Mrs. Herrington said, looking pleased, while being led away.
Once she disappeared, any sign of friendlness disappeared from Evangeline's face.
"Mom," Xander said stiffly.
She choose to ignore him and directed her attention to me. "So, we finally meet."
"It's nice to meet you," I said uncertainly.
"What is your family's business?" she asked me, narrowing her eyes.
"What," Evangline said slowly, as though speaking to a five year old. "Does your family own?"
She was beginning to draw in a crowd.
"My family doesn't own a buisness. My aunt works as a secretary."
Xander squeezed my hand warningly.
I shot him a perplexed look. What was going on?
"So you're telling me," she sneered. "That you have no money?"
The crowd of people muttered amongst themselves and shot me disgusted looks.
"And that you're the girl that my son," she spat. "Is dating?"
I felt angry. "Look here-"
"Well," Xander's mother sniffed hauntily, turning to look at Xander. "She's not very pretty, is she? Or smart either."
The people around us laughed.
"Why is she even here?"
"She just a poor girl from that sector of the city."
That stung. I knew I wasn't exactly as gorgeous or rich as girls like Larrisa, but it was still a huge blow to hear someone say that in front of me. And that I was stupid. The corners of my eyes burned.
"Mother," Xander said warningly, his eyes blazing. "Stop."
Evangeline looked at Xander, acting like I wasn't there. "You should have brought someone else to the party. At least Larrisa had taste. She, on the other hand, will only embarrass you."
I fought back tears and swallowed the large lump in my throat. "Excuse me. I need to go."
Xander stepped in front of me and regarded his mother coldly. "Elle est parfaite juste comme elle est."
His mother's eyes burned.
I didn't know what he meant, but I was so upset that I didn't bother to think about it. I turned my back on them and began weaving blindly through the crowd.
Soon, I found myself at the top of the staircase. I opened the first door to my right and sank to the floor, where I started to cry.
I'm not beautiful.
I just made a fool of myself, trying to believe I was.
I'm just a poor girl on a scholarship who's pretending to date her co-star because she needs money.
All of a sudden, the door creaked open slowly and Xander stepped into the room, closing the door quietly behind him. The room was enveloped in darkness again, the only light coming from the moonlight streaming in from the window.
"Lily?" he said gently.
I dried my tears hastily and didn't answer.
In two strides, Xander crossed he room and knelt down beside me.
A small sob escaped from me.
"Shh," he said, taking me into his arms. I was too upset to care. "It's okay."
I took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. For acting like this. It's just…" I bit my lip.
"You are beautiful," he said fiercely.
I blinked, surprised. "What?"
"No matter what other people say," he continued. "You are the most beautiful girl I've ever met."
My heart pounded. "Xa-"
The door opened, revealing Zach.
Immediately, Xander let go of me, all his gentleness gone, the mask slipping back on.
Zach's eyes widened. "I'm sorry, I saw Lily, and I wanted to check on her because she looked upset, and they said that she went up here...," he stammered.
Xander stood up. "She's fine." He turned to me. "Come on, I'm taking you home."
"But…" I said.
Xander looked at me hard. "Let's go."
Nodding, I followed my co-star out the door, offering Zach a small smile.
Thank you, I mouthed.
Zach nodded, a corner of his mouth turning up and lifting his hand in a silent goodbye.
In a small dim room, Carol sat on a large leather chair, watching the news with interest.
"New celebrity couple," the reporter was saying on the screen. "Alexander Witting and his One More Day co-star, brand new actress, Lilliane Roberts, at the Winter Ball."
Carol felt a small smile form on her lips. Good. The media was aware.
The television flashed some shots of Lily and Xander holding hands, one with Xander's arm wrapped around her shoulder.
The movie agent felt her smile widen. They were better actors than she thought. Carol grabbed the remote and turned it off, feeling oddly satisfied. She trummed her fingers on the wooden table.
But it still wasn't enough.
Carol picked up the phone beside the table and dialed the number quickly.
"Xander?" she said into the receiver. "Great work tonight. You've both got them fooled. The media will be eager to know more about you two." Carol paused, listening.
She sighed. "Evangeline has always been difficult."
Carol bit her lip and went on. "I want to see more romance, do you understand? Make it more believable. Go on dates. Kiss."
The movie agent waited. "Good." Then she put the phone down and pressed a button at the side of her desk. "Smith?"
The intercom crackled and a voice spoke. "Yes, Carol?"
She hesistated. Is it really necessary?
"Bring me the envelope," she said.
"The envelope?" Smith asked, surprised.
"Yes," she replied, sure this time.
After wiping the make-up off, I was about to go to bed when the doorbell rang. I frowned, looking at the clock. It was eleven o'clock.
I heard the door open and voices in the living room.
"Lily," Aunt Ellie called from downstairs. "I want you to meet my friend's son."
I went out of my room and down the stairs. "Coming!"
"Who's there?" Anni said curiously, coming out of her room.
"Oh, Aunt Ellie's friends's son."I told her. I looked at her sternly. "You should be in bed."
"Can I see him? Please?" she begged.
"Fine," I sighed, no mood to argue after what happened tonight. I was still confused and hurt at the same time.
We both hurried to the living room, where voices could be heard.
"Thanks, Ms. Roberts. Really, there's no need," a familiar voice said.
"No need to be shy. Make yourself at home."
When I entered, I stopped in my tracks. Annica tugged on my sleeve. "Who's he?"
Both our eyes widened. He was still in his tuxedo from tonight.
"What are you doing here?" I squeaked, though I already knew the answer.
"I'm staying here for a while," he said. "Because my parents are going abroad. Is that okay with you?"
"Yeah, fantastic," I managed to let out.
He looked relieve. "Great." Zach started for the stairs. "I'll go unpack."
It all sank in. He was Aunt Ellie's friend's son. He's going to stay in the same house as me. For one week.
Author's Note: Yes, I know. Another cliffy. X-) So what do you guys think? Are you sad? Angry? Giddy? Happy? Hysterical? Well, press that wonderful button at the bottom of the page and give me your feedback! It would mean so much to me. :D Thanks!
WritingKnightmare: Oh, dear. I am? Oh, no. You see, I'm not French, nor can I speak the language. :O So basically, I've been using an online translator. :P Thank you for pointing out my mistake. If you think there's something that I need to fix or revise, feel free to tell me. It would really help me out a lot. Thanks for the review! :))
ally008: Thanks for the review! ;) I hope that you like this chapter! X-)
Amy90: I do feel sorry for Zach as well. But how do you feel about him in this chapter? ;) Oh, yes. I'll definitely keep that in mind. x) Thanks for the review!
surrendertomusic: I'm so glad that you like it. :D I hope that you enjoyed this update! :)) Thanks for reviewing!
JJsMommy29: Aww... I'm happy you liked it. Ah, yes. XD The ending. Well, you'll see. ;) Thank you for the review! :D
Also, I want to give a huge thank you to fallingformusic, on the edge of insanity, JJsMommy29, surrendertomusic, Nigerrimus-Nocte, B.R.35, ally008 and socialbutrfly1379 for adding Love for Hire to their Favorites/Story Alerts. Thank you so much! :))
WARNING: I do not tolerate any form of plagiarism. This is all under the copyright of ChocolateCoveredCheetos.