A humble heart, p.23
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       A Humble Heart, p.23

         Part #1 of Hollywood Hearts series by R. L. Mathewson
 

  .broke my heart, Dana,” he said, giving her a puppy dog expression that made her laugh.

  “I’m sure I did. I’m sure it’s my fault you had to distract yourself with mindless sex and bimbos.”

  He put an arm around her. “I’m glad you’re taking responsibility. They say that’s the first step to admitting you have a problem.” He chuckled, taking her helmet from her.

  “You still have the Interceptor?” he asked, making a face of disgust.

  “Hey, don’t make fun of my bike, snob.” she said, elbowing him in the ribs.

  Rick stepped into the hall with Eric and Edward behind him. He smiled at Dana. “Someone’s been naughty.” His eyes were shining with humor.

  “Oh, what’s this now?” Nick asked, looking down at Dana. His arm still hung around her shoulders.

  “Nothing you haven’t done a thousand times I’m sure.”

  “Hmm, you’re going to have to narrow it down for me, sweetheart.” Nick said, he looked deep in thought, earning a giggle from Dana.

  “Let’s take this in the boardroom so I can catch up with my girlfriend,” Nick said to Rick.

  “I figured as much. You have been gone for six months,”

  Rick said, leading the way to the large boardroom.

  Dana felt Edward’s eyes bore into the back of her head and winced. There was no getting out of the doghouse now, especially with Nick here. She knew he was trying to egg Edward on. That was his style, but saying anything would make it a thousand times worse.

  A large table with twenty chairs took up the middle of the room. Nick guided her to the table and paused. “Well, I guess there aren’t enough chairs for all five of us. I guess you’ll have to sit on my lap, munchkin.” He sat down and opened his arms for Dana to join him. She gently pushed his head and walked around him to her own seat. Edward sat across from her. She could see he was pissed. His jaw was ground shut and his hands were clenched hard into fists.

  Nick turned to face her. “So, you got knocked up. I guess those sex talks we had didn’t work.”

  “They weren’t so much sex talks as they were offers if I remember correctly,” Dana said flatly.

  “You’re splitting hairs here, Dana.” He chuckled.

  Edward’s eyes focused her way. A change in topic was needed. “So, tell me how was Paris and when I ask how Paris was I don’t mean some girl named Paris that you slept with,” she clarified.

  “That knocks about an hour off my answer. It was good, it was fun, and you should have come with me when I offered to fly you out for the weekend back in March.”

  “You’re incorrigible,” she said, looking past him to Rick.

  “What are we waiting for?”

  “Amy, she had to get a ride.”

  “Oops, that’s my fault. I borrowed her car. Sorry, guys.”

  “No problem, watching you get caught up with Nick is payment enough,” Rick said, grinning. He loved the fact that Dana was the only woman to ever turn Nick down. It tormented Nick to no end that he couldn’t have her and he loved every minute of their playful banter.

  “So helpful, Rick,” Dana shot back.

  “I do what I can.” Rick grinned. Eric seemed amused as well.

  Nick reached over and flicked her hand, getting her attention. “So, tell me why you said yes to Edward Pierce when you said no to me like a thousand times.”

  Dana gestured to Edward. “He’s right there. Stop talking about him like he’s not even in the room.”

  “Yes, but clearly he’s either pissed at you or crazy,” Nick pointed out.

  “What makes you say that?” she asked cautiously.

  “Well,” he turned now to face a very pissed Edward, “besides the fact that he looks like he wants to kill me every time I touch you. He’s sitting across from you, not next to you. So either he’s pissed or he’s an idiot, because I sure as hell wouldn’t do that pissed or not. You’re too cute to stay away from,” he said, turning back to her to squish up his face when he called her cute.

  “Is there anything I can say that will make you drop this?”

  Dana asked.

  “Hmm, have dinner with me tonight so we can catch up.”

  “Fine. I’m picking the restaurant,” she sighed. “Anything to make you stop.”

  “What about the kids?” Nick asked.

  “They are both going over friend’s houses for sleepovers tonight,” she said.

  Nick’s smile widened. “Sweet, you know what I want to do then.”

  “No,” she said, knowing exactly what he was about to offer. Or at least she thought she did.

  “Ride Dune’s point,” he said, grinning hugely.

  Dana turned in her chair to face him. “Are you serious?”

  “Hell yeah. What are you chicken?”

  “No, I’ve been dying to go to Dune’s point for months.

  No one but you will do it,” Dana said excitedly.

  “Dana, you’re pregnant,” Edward stressed through clenched teeth.

  She waved him off. “I’m only going to watch, don’t worry about it.”

  “Don’t worry about it,” he mocked.

  “Maybe we should start this meeting now,” Eric said nervously.

  “Don’t worry about him, sweetheart, I still love you,” Nick said.

  “So, not helping,” Dana said dryly.

  He grinned wickedly. “I’m not trying to help.”

  She groaned, “Guys, let’s get this over with please before one of us kills him.”

  “Okay, after talking to Amy and going over the footage of you and Lucas we discovered she’s right. It’s not you in the film. We plan on using it to our advantage, which will help clear your names,” Eric said.

  “That’s it?” Dana asked.

  Nick was extremely interested now. “What film?”

  “Oh, shit.” Dana dropped her face into her hands, knowing this was about to get bad.

  “I ask again, people, do not hold back on me, what film?” Nick asked, literally bouncing in his seat with excitement.

  “Er

  .something on the internet,” Rick started to say when Nick jumped from his seat and ran out of the office.

  “It’s not them!” But it was too late he was off and running.

  “Oh shit!” Dana said again when Nick pulled someone into the boardroom a minute later. She recognized the poor kid that was stumbling backwards under Nick’s grip, Derrick the computer guy.

  “Right there, get it going,” Nick said. He grabbed a remote and pointed it towards the panel wall. The sound of whooshing caught everyone’s attention as the paneling moved aside revealing a large flat screen monitor. Derrick walked over and pushed against the wall. A keyboard secured to the wall popped out like a tray, revealing a small screen.

  Dana watched horrified as the huge monitor displayed the internet. “Can you find it?” Nick asked anxiously.

  Derrick rolled his eyes and gave him a cocky look. Within seconds the video was playing. Underneath the video the number of views was displayed, 3,898,779 views. Super, Dana thought. That meant that either 3,898,779 believed it was them or didn’t. Just freaking super.

  The men watched the entire video while Dana watched their reactions. Edward looked bored. Rick and Eric tilted their heads now and then and had a speculative look on their faces. When it was over Nick looked at Dana gleefully.

  “Okay, now explain to me how we know it wasn’t you, Dana,” Nick asked her.

  “Look at the video of Lucas and me and you’ll know,”

  she said.

  Nick put a finger to his lips. “Yes, the tattoos. Well, at the time you may not have had one, however, since this is recent you could have one now so that really proves nothing,” Nick said.

  Dana’s jaw dropped. For a long moment no one said anything. “You little bastard,” she said, making Nick bounce up and down again.

  Eric and Rick shared a nervous look. If it was her they were going to have a PR nightmare. No one would pay
ten bucks just to see a staged sex scene when they could see the real deal for free.

  Nick studied her. “I can tell by the look on your face, Dana, you realize the problem we’ll have if we can’t disprove this.”

  “Ah, Dana, I hate to do this but we need to know for a fact that wasn’t you in the film if you expect our support. I’m really sorry about this. But these things can cost us all a great deal of money.”

  “For fuck sake, the guy wore a condom! Why the hell would I wear one when we’re having sex? She’s already pregnant!” Edward argued.

  Nick waved his finger in the air. “She would if she wasn’t one hundred percent sure you were faithful in England. You might have an open relationship. It’s an easy argument to make.”

  Dana groaned. She knew the angle Nick was trying to push. “Let’s cut the shit, Nick. Where were the tattoos?”

  “Why I never thought you would ask, Dana. A sweet little tattoo on her ass, apparently one above her umm

  ..genitals and a breast tattoo.”

  She pushed away from the table and grabbed Nick by the arm, pulling him out of the office. “I assume you will take his word for it?” she asked Eric and Rick.

  “Yes,” they answered in unison.

  “Fine, I’m only doing this once.” She pulled him out of the boardroom into the next room.

  Chapter 13

  “What the hell is she doing?” Edward demanded.

  “Sit down, Edward, she’s saving your career as well as hers. Just chill, he’s not going to touch her,” Eric said.

  “Son of a bitch!” He kicked a chair across the room.

  They weren’t moving out of his way.

  “Holy shit!” they heard Nick say from the next room. That was it. Edward jumped over the table and tried to make his way to the door. Eric and Rick tackled him to the ground.

  “He’s just fucking with you. Don’t worry, Dana is great girl. She wouldn’t let him do anything!” Rick said.

  He was still on the ground when Dana walked in shaking her head while she grinned hugely. That pissed Edward off more. Nick walked into the room with his hand over his heart. “That was a mean thing to do! I can’t believe you would do that to me!” Nick bitched.

  Dana shrugged indifferently and inspected her fingernails like she couldn’t be bothered. All three men looked up at her. She looked at them “What? You didn’t really think I was going to let him see me naked, did you?

  Come on guys you know me better than that.”

  They turned in unison to look at Nick. “She

  .,” He gestured wildly to the next room. “She got me in there and did

  she

  .then she

  ..you’re such a tease, Dana!”

  She smiled sweetly at Nick. “I told you payback’s a bitch, Nick. Don’t taunt my guy again or I’ll do something worse next time.” She walked past the three men on the floor and sat in her seat like nothing happened.

  Nick thrust his hands in his hair, frustrated. “Damn it, woman, if you think what you did would stop me you must be out of your mind you just kicked this into a higher gear.

  Oh, now that I know you can dish it out like that

  ” He shook his head back and forth in a menacing manor. “Sweetheart, I look forward to seeing what it will take to make you blush.”

  He chuckled, making Dana laugh too.

  “I missed you, Dana. No one else takes my shit like you do and puts me in my place.” He grinned hugely at her.

  “It’s good to be useful,” she said dryly. She watched the men on the floor slowly stand up.

  Eric and Rick looked at her expectantly. “So?”

  She sighed. “This is easily proved without shredding my clothes for the office pervert.” She stood up and pulled down her tee shirt baring the skin above her bra where the tattoo would be if she was the woman in the video.

  “Thank god,” Rick and Eric said at the same time.

  Nick looked at Edward as he sat down. “You are an unbelievably lucky man. Just know if you hurt her I will personally kick your ass, no hard feelings.”

  Edward nodded. “I understand.”

  Dana rolled her eyes. “Can we please get on with it?

  What’s going on, Eric?”

  “First to cover this little incident I’m going to need you to do another photo shoot. I’ll set something up that’s tasteful with the two of you,” Rick said.

  They both nodded before looking at Eric.

  “I have a film on hold, a very good film. The lead male just dropped and the woman who was casted isn’t working out. It’s scheduled to start filming in four days. I want the two of you to do it. It’s perfect for you, a romantic-adventure with a touch of comedy.” Eric pushed a script towards each of them. “Read it over and let me know. We’re offering you each fifteen million.”

  “I’m not sure I can do this right now,” Dana said as she opened the script and skimmed over it.

  “What will it take to get you to agree to this, Dana?” Eric asked.

  “Hmm, for starters I want to make sure I can make it to my doctor’s appointments. That’s nonnegotiable.”

  “Done,” Eric said. “I’ll hire an OBGYN to come to the set if needed. What else?”

  “Edward gets top billing. This isn’t my main thing, it’s his. He’s the pro, I’m not. His name should come first.”

  Eric seemed to mull it over for a moment. “Okay fine.”

  Edward looked at her overwhelmed by her selflessness.

  Truth be told, he could care less whose name went first, he just wanted an opportunity to work with her. From what he heard from friends in the industry she was a natural.

  “Also, Edward needs to be allowed to come to any doctor’s appointments he wants. It’s not necessary for him to come to all of them, but there are some that he’ll want to make.”

  “That’s fine,” Eric said, nodding slowly.

  “I want healthy food available for her on set,” Edward added. “Plenty of fruits and whatever else the doctor says she needs to eat.”

  “I think we can manage that,” Eric said, grinning. As far as demands went, these two were easy. Most celebrities tried using demands as power plays. Some actually demanded ridiculous things like separating all the colors of their M & M’s, a hundred percent Egyptian cotton or silk on everything in their trailers from sheets to the goddamn couch. That’s one of the reasons the studio was pushing to work with Edward and Dana. They were professional, down to earth, no nonsense actors. He also already had these things set up that they were asking for and more.

  Hell, he had about a dozen more things set up just to accommodate her and the kids. Normally he hated when actors brought their kids to work, but he was such a sucker for her kids. He was hoping she’d let him put them in a few films. The kids were too damn cute.

  “So, I was in the room earlier when they were watching the sex scenes,” Nick added casually.

  Dana closed her eyes, hoping to prepare herself for what was about to be said. “I have to say I was impressed. I could tell those moves weren’t something you learned recently. Care to share?”

  “Eric, can I get back to you tonight?” Dana asked.

  “Sure.”

 
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