Take Two (Page 27)

Take Two (Lights, Camera #1)(27)
Author: Laurelin Paige

“We’re out of focus,” Maddie told Adam in between takes. “Micah isn’t hitting his mark.”

Adam nodded and called Joe over, repeating Maddie’s concern.

“Micah,” Joe called out. “Where are you stopping on that line? Can you show me?”

Micah stood on his mark and Maddie ran the calculations again. He was in the right spot. Maybe she’d been the one who was wrong.

But when the camera rolled, he missed it again. And again.

“What’s going on, Maddie?” Adam asked after another nine takes. “Beaumont is going off saying none of the shots are in focus.”

Maddie cringed. She wished she had a headset so she could tell Beaumont he needed to take up the issue with his actor. “Micah’s still not hitting his mark.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” She usually didn’t get defensive with Adam, but this seriously wasn’t her fault. And Micah knew where he was supposed to land for his monologue. He hit it whenever they called him on it. So why did he keep f**king it up? Was he trying to piss her off?

Adam relayed the message to Beaumont over his headset.

“Micah, can you hit that mark again?” Joe said. “We’re still having a focus issue.”

Adam ran the shot then asked over the headset, “Was that good?” He listened then said to Maddie. “It’s good just like that.”

Maddie scowled. “Then get him to hit that when he actually runs the scene and we’ll be golden.”

“Okay, Micah,” Joe said. “You have to hit that exact spot or we can’t get the shot.”

“Got it,” Micah said. Did he just roll his eyes? Maddie wasn’t sure in the dark.

They ran the scene again with the same results: Micah missed his mark and the shot was blurry.

“Cut!” Joe said. “Hold for five. Beaumont’s on his way down.”

Maddie groaned. Beaumont only came to the set if he was really ticked off. Just what she needed—to be the source of his ticked-offness. He’d already ended any chances of her being a director in Hollywood. Would he now blacklist her as a camera assistant as well?

When Beaumont arrived he marched directly up to Adam and Maddie. “What is the goddamn problem?”

It wasn’t her place to talk to the director about actor issues so she swallowed the response she wanted to give and let Adam speak.

“Micah’s been missing his mark,” he answered, a lot more patiently than Maddie would have.

Beaumont called the actor over. “Hey, the crew says you’re having trouble hitting your mark.”

Micah’s eye twitched. “I’m not. I’ve hit it every time.”

Weeks of sexual frustration fed her work frustration and Maddie’s anger spiraled out of control. “You have not! You keep walking right past it!”

“Maddie,” Adam warned. The crew did not address actors. That was the director’s job.

Micah narrowed his eyes, but didn’t look at Maddie. “Look, run it again. It will be perfect. Like it’s been the last twenty times. You can see for yourself.”

Beaumont considered. Then he turned to Adam. “You run focus, I’ll shoot.”

Adam took Maddie’s place while Beaumont climbed behind the camera. They ran the scene again. Just like Micah said it would be, the scene was perfect. Maddie fumed. They ran the scene two more times with the same results. Finally, Beaumont called it a wrap.

Maddie watched as the crew began to clean up, frozen in her anger and humiliation and guilt. Adam—wonderful Adam who stood behind her and mentored her for years—pulled down to do her job because Micah Preston decided to be a dick. At least, that was the only logical conclusion she could think of.

She turned to the cameraman. “Adam,” she said, holding back angry tears. “He didn’t hit his marks when I was on focus, I don’t know why—”

“You know what, Maddie?” Adam interrupted, his voice low and rough. “I don’t care what the problem is or was or the why, but I’m telling you right now it better be fixed by the time you return to this set. I will not stand for that shit when I’m on camera, not even with you. You hear me?”

Adam had never spoken so harshly to her before. And the reason he was angry wasn’t even her fault.

“Now, get off my set. I don’t want to see you until call tomorrow.”

Dismissed from set. She had to set Micah straight. She spun around, searching, and spotted him walking toward the trailers.

“Micah?” She ran after him. She caught up with him as he approached his trailer from the back. “Micah?”

He turned to face her, an impatient expression on his face.

“What the hell was that?” she asked.

“What the hell was what?”

“Don’t play dumb with me. You missed your mark, and what’s more, I think you did it on purpose.”

“I did not.”

“You did! And when Beaumont took over you got it perfect. Which made me look like shit. What I don’t get is why.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I did the scene the same each time. If you’re feeling insecure about your work, that’s fine, but to blame it on me is real low.”

“Fuck you, Micah.”

“Whatever, Maddie.” He turned to walk away.

Her fury escalated. “Wait, I’m not done.”

He pivoted back on her. “By all means, Maddie, go ahead.”

Anger flooded her, so much that she shook. She pointed an unsteady finger at him. “You.” She stepped toward him, gathering her strength. “You’re such an actor. You charm and you play and you get into my head and jerk around with my emotions and my body. One minute you don’t remember me, and you’re rude and arrogant and then you’re thoughtful and intellectual and complimentary all the time parading around with your hot body and please-touch-me six-pack abs. Then you’re kissing me and stroking me, but oh, oh, oh wait! Nothing can come of this because, you know, ‘I have rules.’”

He snorted. “This coming from Miss Leave-Me-Alone-While-I-Give-A-Handjob-Under-The-Table?”

Maddie had never felt so outraged in her life. She rushed at him, placed her hands on his bare chest and shoved with all her strength.

It felt so good to unleash her fury. She raised her arms to shove him again. But he grabbed her at her wrists before she could. Then he pulled her to him. In an instant, he was on her—his mouth, his tongue—kissing her with a fire and passion she’d never felt in a kiss before.