Patrick raised a brow. “Well, well. Successful and humble to boot?”
“No, I’m not humble.” He couldn’t make himself a hero in this. That was going too far. He also couldn’t explain to Patrick about his interaction with Heather. “You know how it is. If everyone knew my job title, they’d want me to hire them, all that. It’s best to remain low key.”
Patrick nodded. “I’m with you. Actually, this is easier for me. Because, and I hate to admit it, I still don’t really know what a movie production designer does.”
Seth chuckled. “No worries. Not many people do.” Then, realizing Patrick was waiting for an explanation, he went on. “I’m in charge of everything visual. The costumes, the set, the make-up—the entire aesthetic of the film.”
“Wow. Big job. I heard you could be up for an Oscar nom.”
“I’m not getting my hopes up.” Though he was an early front-runner.
But, while an Oscar would be very exciting, he didn’t need it to feel validated. It was one of the top jobs a person could have on a movie and he’d worked his way up from carpenter to set decorator to set designer to art director before finally landing on production designer. He loved every aspect of his job. He loved working with the director to determine how a movie was supposed to look and feel, then creating it from scratch. He loved overseeing the set and costume design and working with the director of photography to make sure Seth’s vision would show up the way he wanted on film.
He loved that he got to select and hire all the people to get it done right—the make-up artists, the costumers. The carpenters.
“Well, good luck,” Patrick said. “I’d love to see you win a big award. I could say I knew you when. And don’t worry, mum’s the word.”
The sound of a woman clearing her throat drew Seth to look up behind him. Heather stood with arms crossed and a glare on her face. Had she overheard his conversation?
“You’re in my seat.”
No, it didn’t seem she had. He imagined she’d be the type to throw the information in his face if she had.
She raised her eyebrows as if prompting a response.
“Yep, I’m in your seat.” Seth scooted back to his own chair. “And now I’m not.”
Heather slid into her chair and Seth didn’t miss that she inched it away from him as she did.
That was fine. He didn’t want to be sitting next to her either. The sooner the evening was over, the better.
Heather seemed to feel the same. “Patrick, I’m leaving in twenty. If you want me to be here for intros, you’d better do it now.”
Everything on her time schedule. Total diva.
Patrick glanced at his watch. “Yes, that’s a good idea.” He stood and got the room’s attention by tapping his drink with a spoon.
Seth barely listened as Patrick introduced himself and welcomed everyone to the event. Then it was time for introductions, starting with Heather.
Heather’s speech was modest, stating only her experience with the 24-Hour Plays and not reciting her long resume of films and television appearances. She didn’t need to. Everyone knew who Heather Wainwright was.
When she sat, everyone clapped. Except Seth. He wasn’t trying to blatantly be rude—he just couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge anything about her.
He stood for his own intro. “I’m Seth Rafferty. It’s my first time at the plays. I’ll be building the set, a new element of this year’s production.” He caught the eye of Neil Phillips, the only other person in the room who knew Seth’s real job experience. “I’ve, uh, been working on film sets for nearly twenty years now. That’s about it.”
It wasn’t a lie; he didn’t say he’d been building film sets for twenty years, just that he’d been working on them. From Neil’s nod, he could tell he got the message across. Neil wouldn’t give him away.
Seth sat back down, pleased with himself. This was good. Heather would avoid him because he was only a carpenter and he could focus on his job.
And maybe he’d have to whack off a few times to get her lush lips and orange blossom scent out of his head, but he wouldn’t be the first guy to pleasure himself with Heather Wainwright on the brain.
Somehow, that thought only made him tense up again.
Yeah, the next few days were going to be a bitch.
Heather watched out the tinted passenger window of the BMW as an up and coming director walked into the Broad Stage with his assistant. A few feet behind him was a writer she recognized as well.
“It’s five ’til nine. I guess I got you here too early,” Lexie said. “Do you want me to drive around?”
“No. I want to be on time. But only just on time. So let’s sit a couple of minutes. At least until another one of the actors shows up.” Heather heard how she sounded, how her arrival rules seemed like a game. She wished for the millionth time she didn’t have to be like that.
But then for the millionth time, she reminded herself that this had been the life she’d wanted. The fame and the fortune didn’t come free.
“You never told me how last night went.” Lexie pushed the recline button on her seat. “Since we have a few minutes.”
Heather groaned. When she’d left Drebs after the intros, she’d been in no mood to talk. Her encounter with Seth Rafferty had left her furious and frustrated. Sexually frustrated. To the point that even her favorite pink vibrator wasn’t able to ease her need.
More than twenty-four hours later, her anger had softened, but her confusion had increased. Maybe talking about it would help.
Problem was, where to begin? “It was terrible.” Seth wasn’t the guy she thought he was. The realization had come with Patrick’s ridiculous announcement. “They’re changing the format. They’ve added a set to the show to be constructed in the same time frame.”
“That might be cool.”
Heather gave Lexie her best seriously? look.
But in the privacy of her car with just her assistant, she allowed herself to give it some real thought. “I guess it might be cool. But it’s totally unnecessary.”
Lexie had worked with Heather long enough to tell when she was holding something back. Sometimes it was a good thing. Sometimes not so much. “And the guy who’s building the set is an ass**le.”
“He totally called me a bitch.”