Take Two (Page 18)

Take Two (Lights, Camera #1)(18)
Author: Laurelin Paige

There were a dozen or so people sitting with Maddie, but Micah didn’t register any of their faces. “Yeah, it’s her. Them.”

He moved toward where she sat in the back of the bar as if pulled by a string. He vaguely sensed the recognition of a couple of people as he passed their table, heard the hushed whispers that often accompanied his outings. “Isn’t that the guy in that superhero movie?” “Isn’t that Micah Preston?” But he ignored them, his full attention on the lovely woman in front of him.

As he got closer, she smiled, and Micah’s dick twitched. He couldn’t remember the last time a girl turned him on so easily.

“Well, look who’s here,” Joe said, not hiding his surprise.

Greetings passed through the group. Micah recognized a handful of them—a couple of P.A.s, the sound crew, Bruce from lighting. In all they occupied a circle booth and two tables.

The petite, punky sound technician—maybe her name was Claire?—was the only one to give him pause about the appropriateness of his presence. “Wow. Are we being graced with the company of ‘the talent’? What made you decide to join the lowly likes of the crew?”

“I hear you have the best parties,” Micah said smoothly.

“Right you are.” She lifted her beer. “Good to have you.”

“Good to be here.” Chloe. That was her name. And she preferred to be called the Sound Goddess, according to her introduction at the first cast and crew meeting. Fudge took the empty seat next to her.

“Hey, Fudge. Micah.” Sam raised a hand in greeting.

Micah glanced at the boyish P.A. sitting next to Maddie in the booth, much closer to her than he needed to be. “Hi…Shawn, is it?”

“Sam.”

“Aw, sorry. That’s right,” Micah said unapologetically. “Mind if I sit?” He gestured to the empty space at the end of the booth across from Sam.

“That’s where Leila was sitting, but I think she left already. Didn’t she?”

Micah didn’t know who Leila was, but several members of the group affirmed that she had indeed left. He nodded, stealing a glimpse of Maddie’s bosom as he sat. She had removed the button-down shirt she wore earlier over her tank top, giving a much improved view of her goods.

“How did you know we were out tonight?” Sam asked, after Micah had gotten the waitress’s attention and ordered a Guinness. “Not that you’re not welcome. Just the crew said the actors didn’t usually come out.”

“I don’t usually. But I was invited.” He wanted to brag that it was Maddie who had extended the invitation, scream it across the bar, but he didn’t need gossip to spread through the crew about he and the leggy brunette.

“I invited him,” Maddie said, not seeming to care about the rumor mill. “Beaumont had me running lines today, can you believe it? No offense, Micah—”

“None at all.”

“And it just sort of came up.” She stopped, blushing, and Micah wondered if she was recalling, as he was, what else had come up between them earlier that day.

“Beaumont’s got his head up his ass,” Joe said, possibly already drunk. “I’m sorry he did that shit to you. You’re too damn good at your job to be expected to waste your time on that f**king shit. No offense, Micah.”

Micah raised a hand to say it was okay and focused on Maddie’s response.

“It’s fine. Whatever.” Maddie blew it off, but he could clearly see it bothered her.

“I can’t believe Beaumont doesn’t respect you more,” Sam offered. “Doesn’t he realize you’re qualified to be running the camera? Why aren’t you a camera operator, anyway? You have the resume for it.”

Envy squeezed Micah’s chest. He wished he knew these things about Maddie. He wished he knew these sorts of things about anyone. He rarely got close enough to anyone to learn what they were good at, what their dreams were.

Maddie sighed. “Camera’s not my end goal.”

Micah stilled, remembering again the night they’d met. She’d wanted to direct and write, was it? Though he was curious whether or not she still had that dream, he couldn’t bring himself to ask. Those were the kind of jobs that a guy like him could arrange for a girl like her. And he didn’t want to put himself in the position to be taken advantage of. Again.

But Sam asked. “What do you want to do?”

Micah braced himself for her answer.

But she didn’t give one. She just shrugged and said, “Not camera.”

Micah forced himself to relax. Why did he always have to be so distrusting? Just because he’d had a past girlfriend—someone he thought he loved—use him for his connections didn’t mean that all women would. But how could he ever get close enough to a woman to test that theory out?

He couldn’t. That’s why he didn’t try.

And he wasn’t trying now. He was simply fooling around with a coworker, something he’d done many times before. He bided his time, drinking his beer and enjoying the crew banter and talk about their real lives. Particularly, he focused on the angel in front of him, realizing that this unique venture into her world provided more insight about who she was as a person than any encounter he’d had with her so far. Before long, he determined she was a workaholic, unappreciated by her boss and exceptionally passionate about her craft.

He also recognized that she wasn’t the type to hook up with men she barely knew. This awareness both delighted and saddened him. He wondered why she’d made an exception for him. And would she be willing to do it again?

Only one way to find out. At a lull in the conversation, he put on his best smile and said, “So, what are your plans for the day off tomorrow?”

“I’d love to find a way to Breckenridge.” Maddie leaned back, giving an even better view of her amazing tits. A bit on the small side, but definitely real—a nice change from what Micah was used to. “The Breckenridge Film Fest is going on this weekend. I’d like to catch it.”

“That’s not even a film festival,” Joe said, his words slurred. “It’s a festival of crap. It’s like a fake film festival of crap.”

Maddie laughed. Damn, it was the sweetest sound Micah had heard in a long time. “I know. But I like film. Period. You never know when you’re going to find a gem.”

Micah grinned. “Agreed.” Hitting California film festivals used to be a favorite pastime of his. Now he couldn’t remember the last time he went to anything indie. “I got my current agent from the Topanga Film Festival.”