Unscripted

Unscripted by Jayne Denker

Book: Unscripted by Jayne Denker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jayne Denker
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look.
I backed away, skittering over the sofa cushions like a crab, till I was hunkered down against the far arm of the couch. I drew my knees up to my chest and stammered, “Oh—oh God, Alex, I—”
“Geez, I like you and everything, but . . . you know.”
I knew. Oh God, I wish I didn’t, but I knew. He had knocked me off kilter, so of course I went on the offensive. “Alex, why in the world am I here?” I demanded.
“I—I thought we could talk about, you know, what we talked about before. My character, and having him do more stuff.”
You know . . . stuff . . . Okay, we were back to monosyllabic Alex. And we were also back to that same ploy he’d been using this whole time, if only I’d paid attention: act all seductive till Faith cracked and gave him whatever he wanted. So it wasn’t just up-and-coming nubile starlets who could bamboozle old male fools and get the geezers to help further their career. It worked on old female fools too.
“So, what, you just had me over so you could con me into giving you ‘meatier’ stuff? We’re back to that again?” How dare he try to play me, just to get a bigger role in the show! And how dare I fall for it. I wasn’t sure who I was angrier at—him or me.
“No! I mean . . .” He sighed and ruffled his hair. I watched it fall back into place, always perfect. “I like you, Faith, really. But not . . . I mean . . . you know how it is. I just . . . I always thought you were the only person in the world who didn’t want anything from me besides a good performance.”
He was trying to make me feel guilty. But I wasn’t buying it. “A good performance? Yeah, you’ve certainly been putting on one of those, haven’t you? Too bad your best work has been off camera.”
“Faith,” he wheedled. “I’m your best actor. And I’m your biggest draw. Why shouldn’t you give me more to do? You said I know David better than you do; I could really help. Hey, I came up with the Hershey’s Kisses thing, remember?”
He most certainly did not come up with the Hershey’s Kisses thing. I did. And he was not going to gaslight me. Suddenly I felt wide awake, like I had come out of a yearlong coma. I looked at Alex, without the filter of my crush, which was rapidly disappearing, and all I saw was a hollow pretty boy who was like too many others in the business—only out for himself. Now his “charm” felt like a tentacled monster, grasping at me. He accused me of wanting something from him he wouldn’t give, but in reality he was doing it to me. He was just angling for power instead of sex.
I stood up. “Don’t flatter yourself, Alex. I don’t collaborate with you—or anyone. It’s my show. My ideas. My decisions. That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it’s going to stay. I can’t believe you tried to play me like this.” Suddenly it was awfully hot in his apartment. Or maybe that was just me seething. Either way, I needed some air.
He stood up too. “Faith, I didn’t—”
“Just stop, would you?”
“But—”
“Stow it, Alex. You screwed up. End of story.”
I grabbed my purse and jacket off the coatrack and yanked open the door. He didn’t even follow me, just stood where he was, his fists jammed in the front pockets of his jeans. I slammed the door behind me, and the flimsy wall shook.
* * *
I blinked, refocusing on the ocean glinting in the late-afternoon sun. It was unnerving, how I could remember every vivid, humiliating detail of the night I most wanted to forget, like the whole thing had just happened yesterday.
And I had to admit that the reason it kept coming back to me, and so clearly—and this was the part I hated to admit to myself—was because the whole evening had been one giant blow to my ego. That ego I always said I didn’t have? Yeah, well, truth is I did have one, and it was pretty huge. And pretty darn delicate.
Oh shit, Bea was right. I was one of those Hollywood asshats. But now I knew what I had to do. This wasn’t

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