A humble heart, p.6
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       A Humble Heart, p.6

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

  The manager’s lips twitched and Edward could tell the man was fighting back a smile. Damn, this kid really was a charmer.

  “Well, I would like to make it up to you, Mr. Pierce.” He gestured to the stock boy and a young woman. The woman held a metal bucket filled with ice, soda and juices and the stock boy held a tray of gourmet cookies.

  “We’re fine, but thank you,” Edward said without thinking. The kids probably wanted some of it, but he made it a habit years ago not to accept special treatment. It made him uncomfortable and reminded him that he wasn’t a normal guy. He hated it. As far as he was concerned he was the same guy he was six years ago. The only difference was his bank account and doing a job he loved.

  “Oh.” The manager’s face fell.

  “It was really nice of you to offer, but the kids haven’t had their dinner yet,” Dana said with a gentle smile that made the manager grin and blush. The woman was too damn tempting for her own good. Edward wondered if she was aware of the affect that she had on men, probably not. She seemed too level headed. Most of the women who realized their worth milked it for everything they could.

  “No nummies before din din!” Cole repeated as if it was something he heard often. No doubt he had. His mother seemed to be on top of things.

  “Okay, it will be at the courtesy table if you change your mind,” the manager said, gesturing behind him. The two employees immediately left to place the items on the table.

  The manager was about to turn away when he stopped and frowned in Dana’s direction. He eyed her curiously.

  “Excuse me, miss? You wouldn’t happen to be Dana Mathews, would you?”

  It was Dana’s turn to blush. “Yes.”

  The man’s face lit up. Several of the women behind them gasped. He pulled out a pen and a pad of paper with shaky hands.

  “I really really really loved your books. Could I bother you for an autograph?” He licked his lips nervously.

  Dana’s blush deepened as she took the pen. “Thank you. Who should I make this out to?”

  The man put his hand over the pad. “Wait, would you autograph a copy of your book for me instead?”

  “Sure-“

  “Jonathan!” the manager yelled to the stock boy, making the kid jump. “Run to aisle ten and get me a copy of Miss.

  Mathews book, please.”

  The boy nodded eagerly as he set off. Several of the women gasped before they abandoned their carriages and ran off after the boy, leaving Dana with a look of utter shock.

  Edward couldn’t help smiling at her. She was so adorable at the moment. The children watched with wide eyes as the stock boy came running back, clutching two books against his chest with several women chasing after him, trying to grab the books out of his arms.

  “Help!” the boy cried as a woman tried to rip a book out of his hands. She only managed to tear his shirt.

  Dana shifted in front of Elizabeth as Edward automatically did the same for Cole, both of them suddenly afraid for the kids’ safety.

  “I only needed one book,” the manager said as he pulled the boy in front of him and away from the women.

  Edward noted several of the women were clutching magazines to their chests as they formed a line. Wow, they were organized.

  The boy held a book to his chest while he was gasping for air. “I

  .want

  .an

  .auto

  .graph too

  ..my

  mother

  ..,” he sucked in a deep breath, “would kill me if I didn’t get her one.”

  The manager winced and nodded. “Yeah, Cindy probably would.”

  “Can we have your autograph?” the women cried out to no one in particular.

  Edward looked at Dana who was watching the women cautiously. “Do you mind?”

  She shook her head. “It’s fine I guess. We don’t have anything cold, but I do need to get the kids home soon for dinner.”

  “You heard the woman,” the manager yelled out.

  “Everyone who wants an autograph from Miss. Mathews form one line here. For Mr. Pierce form a line over here. If you want an autograph you need to hurry so she can get the kids home for dinner!”

  Edward bit back a smile at the manager’s handling. The man was in the wrong line of work. He could have used someone like this man countless times in the past.

  For the next half hour they signed autographs and greeted fans. Between fans they both talked to the kids, making sure they were fine. Before the last autograph was signed Cole was fast asleep and Elizabeth was close behind. An hour later they were done shopping and personally checked out by the manager and Jonathan.

  Normally Edward would have told them no thanks, but the kids were really tired. He had a feeling Dana was the same way, but made an exception this time as well.

  While they were being checked out he held Cole in his arms. The little boy’s head lay against his shoulder. Edward gently swayed the boy, delighted with the little snores. He’d never held a child like this before, but he had to admit it felt

  .almost natural. It felt good. He pressed a kiss to the top of his head as he soothed his back.

  “You’re really good with him,” Dana whispered as she adjusted Elizabeth in her arms.

  “Thank you,” he murmured, not really knowing what to say. He watched as she leaned over to kiss the top of Elizabeth’s head. Edward wondered what it would be like to watch her kiss his children goodnight. That thought came out of nowhere nearly making him stumble back.

  Damn

  .

  Chapter 4

  “You’re not going to work today are you?” Deana asked.

  “Yup, they film six, sometimes seven days a week. I told you last week I would need you to cover for me.”

  Deana growled. “Dana, I can only watch the kids until eleven. I didn’t know you needed me all day.”

  Dana rubbed her forehead. “Crap. Okay, drop the kids off on the set with me. I’ll watch them while I work.”

  “You were up all night with Cole and Elizabeth, you look like hell,” Deana said. Dana knew that was a lie, she looked like her normal sleep deprived self. She was actually curious what she would look like if she ever got a decent night’s sleep.

  “I have to get going.”

  “It’s five in the morning!” Deana complained.

  “I know, but I didn’t get to run so I’m going to the set early. I’m going for a run before they start shooting at sixthirty.

  I should be able to get in a shower before seven.”

  She picked up her bag. “They’re asleep now. Call me if you need anything.”

  “We’ll be fine. They should sleep most of the morning. I’ll make sure they’re well rested before I drop them off.”

  “Thank you, Deana. I’ll see you later,” she said as she made her way out of the house. She saw Deana curl up on the couch with a pillow and blanket before she closed the door.

  Twenty minutes later she parked her car. Security, assistants and janitors were the only ones at the studio at the moment. After dropping off her computer and duffle bag in the trailer she strapped her iPod to her arm and jogged down the street. She had an hour before she had to come back and take a shower.

  ************

  “Wake up, Edward,” Amy said.

  Edward groaned. “Tired.”

  “You should have gone to bed earlier last night,” she scolded.

  He scoffed. “How? I had to go three different promotional obligations for the studio last night. How exactly could I get to bed early when I didn’t get out of the last one until three in the morning? I didn’t get home until four, I fell asleep for a half hour before your well rested ass woke me up.”

  “Cranky,” she noted as she parked the car. “Look, it’s six o’clock, you can get another hour of sleep before you’re needed in make-up. Go sleep, become less cranky.” She shooed him.

  “I will.” He headed towards Dana’s trailer.

  “Where are you goin
g?” Amy asked.

  “My trailer has a lumpy twin. I’m going where there’s a comfy queen size bed and a proper air conditioner. Where the hell do you think I’m going?” He unlocked the trailer and went straight to the bedroom in the back. He pulled his shirt and pants off and dropped on the bed only looking up long enough to turn the air conditioner on with the remote. Within minutes he was out cold.

  *********

  The shower was exactly what she needed to further unwind. She dried off and wrapped a towel around her chest, grabbed her bag and headed into the bedroom. The shades were drawn shut, making it hard to see. She loosened the towel and sat on the edge of the bed while she applied lotion to her body.

  A small groan behind her caught her attention. She grabbed the towel and held it in front of her as she jumped to her feet and whirled around to see Edward sitting up. He put his hands out in an attempt to calm her down. “Whoa, relax!”

  Dana hugged the loose towel to her front. “What are you doing in here?”

  He stood up and Dana’s eyes dropped down and then widened. “That better be a reaction to sleeping.”

  “What?” he mumbled distractedly and looked down to see he was making an impressive tent in his boxers. His hands moved to cover it. “Of course it is! I didn’t see anything.” That was a lie of course, but he really didn’t want to get bitch slapped first thing in the morning.

  “Why are you here?” she demanded. “Turn around while you’re explaining so I can get dressed.”

  He did. “I’m here because I was up until four this morning. Then Amy, annoyingly chipper, woke me up a little after five and dragged me here.”

  She chuckled despite herself. Amy could really over do it with her cheerful attitude. “No, I meant why are you in this bed?”

  “Oh, well there’s only a twin in my trailer and it’s really lumpy. I didn’t think you would be here and I need more sleep. I’m sorry that I scared you.”

  She pulled on her tee shirt. “Okay, you can get dressed now.”

  Edward looked at his watch. It was only six thirty. “Ah, actually I could really go for a little more sleep.” He gestured to the bed. “Do you mind?”

  She shook her head. “Of course not. I’ll be quiet.” She closed the door behind her, carrying her shoes and socks with her.

  Edward dropped back on the bed. Seeing her naked frustrated the hell out of him. It had been way too long since the last time he was with a woman and Dana was like filet mignon. He buried his face in the pillow and groaned his frustration.

  For the past two weeks he’d dropped hints that he was interested in her. He asked her out several times and each time he messed up and ended up hanging out with her and Amy or her and Deana or all three. Sometimes they spent the night with the kids, which he actually really liked. Then they worked late at her house on the book. He came close several times to kissing her and each time chickened out and kissed her cheek or forehead.

  The way he was acting he really by all rights should be a virgin. He had no skills or confidence when it came to Dana. He’d gone out with plenty of models and actresses without a problem so why couldn’t he ask out an author?

  ********

  Dana logged on the internet and grimaced. In the center of her browser was a picture of her along with a story about the highly anticipated movie adaption of her book.

  Amy walked up behind her. “That’s really not a bad picture,” she said casually.

  Dana turned several shades of red. “It’s an embarrassing photo.”

  “You don’t like your picture taken?” Amy asked offhandedly, but Dana detected something more than curiosity in her words.

  “Amy, what’s going on?” Dana asked, focusing on Amy’s suddenly nervous expression.

  “They want you to do a photo shoot and an interview with People magazine,” Amy said apologetically.

  Dana groaned, “When?”

  Amy grabbed her arm and dragged her to her feet.

  “Now!” she said excitedly. Dana closed her computer and placed it under the couch.

  “Okay, let’s go,” she said dejectedly.

  Amy opened the door. “Okay, come in.” Several women carrying garment bags, make-up and shoes walked into the trailer.

  “What’s going on?” Dana asked.

  “This is for the photo shoot,” Amy said innocently.

  Dana gestured to the bags. “What do they expect me to wear? And why can’t I wear what I have on?” She gestured to her jeans and tank top.

  Amy rolled her eyes. “Honestly, between you and Edward I have my hands full. Just let them work their magic,” Amy said.

  An hour later Dana walked out in a baby blue silk cocktail dress with spaghetti straps. Amy was practically bouncing along side of her. Dana leaned over and whispered to Amy. “You do realize payback’s a bitch, right?”

  That seemed to make Amy giggle. “Totally worth it! You look amazing!”

  “Thanks,” Dana said dryly. She liked what they did to her hair and make-up, but she refused to give Amy that knowledge since she was already too damn happy. Dana feared they would have to cut sugar out of her diet, soon.

  She was just too damn cheerful all the time.

  Rick walked over to her, smiling. “Damn, Dana, you look great.” He took her hand and led her into the studio. She was surprised to see a large white back drop with bright lights set up off to the side of the set.

  Edward paced the area. She noticed he was wearing a black suit with a baby blue shirt. The first two buttons were undone making him look irresistible. When he saw her he stopped pacing and noticeably swallowed, taking her new look in. He walked over to her.

  “I’m really sorry, Dana. The studio and your editor decided we needed to give an interview about the book. I tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn’t listen.”

  She turned her focus on Rick. “Rick, we’re only ten chapters into the book. We’re not ready to talk about it, and we’re certainly not giving details,” she scolded him.

  Rick tried to give her an innocent look but she wasn’t having it. “I’m not giving any details, Rick.”

  He put his hands up. “That’s fine. Just talk about what it’s like to work with him, stuff like that.”

  She sighed, “Fine.”

  A man stepped forward in an expensive suit. She pegged him for a reporter instantly. “Dana, thank you for granting this interview. I really appreciate it.”

  “It’s no problem.” She gave him a soft smile which he returned easily.

  “If you don’t mind I would like to get some pictures of the two of you,” he said, leading her over to the white background.

  She nodded. “I’ve never done this before.”

  “I’ll help you,” Edward said.

  “Thank you.” He took her hand and led her in front of the camera.

  “Okay, guys, for this shoot I just want you to act normal.

  There’s no direction so just talk,” the photographer said.

  Dana was beyond nervous. Not only had she never done something like this before, but now she had to figure out what to do. She was so afraid of turning the wrong way or making a bad move and end up looking like a total weirdo.

  “This is nice, let me guess, Amy?” Edward said, gesturing to her dress.

  She looked down at her dress and looked back at Edward to find
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