Really Something

Really Something by Shirley Jump

Book: Really Something by Shirley Jump Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shirley Jump
the Periodic Table of Elements.
    â€œMay I help you?” he said.
    â€œI’d like to place an ad.”
    He nodded, grabbed a pad of paper from beside him, then glanced at her again. His gaze narrowed and his copper-rimmed glassed slipped down the bridge of his nose. “You look awfully familiar. Have we met before?”
    Allie’s breath caught in her throat. “Uh—”
    Ira laughed. “Sorry. That sounds like the world’s worst pickup line, doesn’t it? Trust me, I didn’t mean it that way. Not that you’re not…well…stunning.” He reddened, fumbled with his glasses, cleared his throat. She wanted to reach out and ease his embarrassment, but instead she tightened her grip on the strap of her purse. “As my father would say, yours is a portrait I’ve glimpsed before in the museum.”
    Same old Ira. Full of odd sayings and a tendency to overexplain. “I arrived in Tempest recently,” Allie said. Not a total lie, which made it far easier to pull off.
    â€œOh, okay.” But his sharp, analytical gaze stayed on hers. Allie’s pulse ratcheted up, her heart hammering so hard in her chest, she was sure Ira could hear it. If her identity was exposed too soon, the whole plan for the movie would fall apart.
    And, if people found out who she was, what kind of respect would she get around town? How many people would listen to her?
    None. Allison Gray had been a nobody. A big piece of trash to circumvent in the halls. Lithe, blond Allie Dean, however, commanded attention. She’d seen that in the gas station kid’s gaping, in Ira’s stammer. In Duncan’s kiss.
    Allie Dean could—and did—get things done.
    â€œI never forget a face,” Ira said, still looking at her. “And though it may sound crazy, I know I’ve seen yours in the Tempest Weekly . Not lately, but…sometime.”
    The image catapulted through Allie’s mind, frame by frame. Her, running from her graduation ceremony, tears streaming down her face, the extra-large navy-colored gown too small to fit her girth, the parted panels of fabric flying out behind her like blue wings. She couldn’t remember the photographer’s name—probably one of the suck-up kids from the Photography Club who worked for the paper in exchange for a college reference—but she remembered the headline: V ALEDICTORIAN D ITCHES IN M ASSIVE C ASE OF N ERVES .
    â€œNo,” Allie said quickly, stuffing the memory down, down, down. Away with the Thanksgiving dinners, the too-small cafeteria chairs, the continual hum of whispers. “I was never in the paper.”
    â€œHuh.” Ira shrugged. He rubbed at his eyes, then slipped his glasses back on. “My apologies. After too many hours in front of a computer screen, everyone starts to look like a celebrity.” He unearthed a pen from somewhere on his desk. “All right, what can I do you for?”
    She handed him the classified ad she’d composed last night, handwritten on the Ramada’s stationery. “Can you get this into next week’s issue?”
    â€œNice handwriting,” Ira said. “My dad always said good penmanship is the mark of good personship.” He glanced up at Allie, flashed her a smile, then bent down to read the words. “Extras sought, for movie set in Tempest. Seeking males and females, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Acting experience not required but a definite plus.” He glanced up at her, surprise in his features. “A movie? Filmed here ?”
    She nodded. “We start shooting in two weeks. I’d like to round up the extras before the director and the producer arrive. There are several shots we can get out of the way before we bring in the talent.”
    â€œYou get permission from Earl yet?” Ira asked.
    â€œEarl? As in Earl Hickey? The mailman? ”
    Ira chuckled. “He’s the mayor, too. No one wanted

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