Take Two (Page 31)

Take Two (Lights, Camera #1)(31)
Author: Laurelin Paige

And he was totally looking forward to it.

Chapter Fourteen

Maddie had always been sure. Sure of what to do with her life, sure of who she was as a person. Sure of everything.

The first time she’d really experienced a crack in her confidence had been several years ago when she’d interned for Joss Beaumont. He’d shown interest in her as a director and invested in a project of hers, a short film that she’d written. He had left all the details to her, and when the still inexperienced and fresh-from-school Maddie had overspent and failed to finish the film on budget, he tore her apart.

“You’re untalented and incompetent,” he’d screamed at her after watching the footage she did have. “You will not work in this town as a director again.”

He wouldn’t give her the money she needed to finish her film and, since his investment contract gave him full rights, he refused to let her finish it at all. Maddie had worked on that movie for two years, pouring her heart and soul into every frame only to see it get shelved, never to be viewed in the glory she’d envisioned.

A year or so later, when she’d recovered from the blow and began work on another film idea, she sought investors—people who could help her produce a decent movie. True to his word, Beaumont made sure the major players in the city knew his disrespect for Maddie and door after door was shut in her face. She learned the hard way that blacklisting wasn’t just an urban legend. Either that or she really was untalented and incompetent. Self-doubt overtook her and she eventually gave up. She took up working as Adam’s assistant instead and followed him from set to set, becoming a skilled and unflappable focus-puller. Yeah, she still tinkered with ideas, filming and editing as a hobby, but never letting dreams of career directing cross her mind again.

After the whole Beaumont fiasco, she thought she’d recovered nicely. She remained intrepid in every other aspect of her life, in control and secure.

And then Micah Preston came along. Now she was dizzy and doubtful and undecided. He threw her around like a deck of cards in a game of fifty-two card pick-up. Even when he returned to gather her together again, she still felt shuffled and rearranged and anything but sure.

She tapped her fingers on the mixer, thinking about him as she waited for the lighting to be set for the next scene. She’d wandered over to the sound table to remain out of the way and to text Bree for advice. But she had no bars in their remote location. She’d have to be a grown-up and sort her problems out on her own.

She closed her eyes and sighed, remembering Micah’s words as they’d walked together that afternoon. The reason behind his awful behavior revealed so much insecurity and heartache. “I wanted you to notice me.” The whole world focused on him and he was concerned about her attention? How could she not want to fold him into her arms and notice him all night long?

But then she’d remember all the women he’d been with, and she’d doubt again. He never had any intention of turning any of his encounters into a relationship. He doomed them from the start. Could he really let her in enough to overcome his natural tendency to remain aloof? Could he really give them the chance he alluded to?

And if he couldn’t, should she decide she didn’t care and just live in the moment? Or tell him once and for all that she’d had enough?

She wasn’t sure.

Chloe’s sassy voice pulled her from her reverie. “Did you say something?” Maddie asked.

“Huh, what?” Chloe removed one of the headphones from her ear that fed her the sound from the set.

“I thought you said something.”

Chloe broke into a grin. “Ha, no, I was just laughing at the actors. As always.”

Maddie glanced toward set. Micah and Heather were chatting by a large prop boulder. They were too far to hear though. Unless their microphones were still on. “Are their mics hot?”

“Yeah.” Chloe appeared to listen for a moment then chuckled again. “Heather’s giving Micah a hard time about his mood. It’s pretty funny.”

“Hmm, really?” Maddie tried not to seem too interested, but who was she kidding? She was interested in everything concerning Micah.

Chloe lowered her voice and spoke in a tone that insinuated good gossip. “I think she’s trying to hit on him. Well, they wouldn’t be the first costars to hook up during filming.”

Every hair on Maddie’s body stood up, a storm of jealousy brewing in her blood. “What?”

Chloe twisted her lips and narrowed her eyes. Then, her face eased as if she had come to a decision. “I really shouldn’t do this, but here.” She handed the headphones to Maddie. “I can’t have all the fun.”

Maddie hadn’t listened to hot mics since she’d worked on sound in college. It was common knowledge that the sound crew was always in the know, constantly overhearing conversations between actors when the cameras weren’t rolling and they’d forgotten their microphones were on. It was unethical for the crew to share their inside scoop, and Chloe had never done it as far as Maddie knew. At another time, in another place, Maddie would have politely turned down the offer. But now her curiosity won. She put the headphones on.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Micah’s voice came through the cans clearly, his smooth murmur fed directly into her ears, sending a shiver down her spine.

“You’re distracted and happy all at once,” Heather purred. “Who are you thinking about?”

Maddie wondered if he was thinking about her like she was thinking about him. If he’d been sincere during their run that morning, she would bet money he was.

She watched him across the meadow as he ran his hand over his eyes. “I’m thinking about our scene.”

Heather tossed a blonde curl over her shoulder. “I don’t believe you. Our scene isn’t happy.” She grabbed Micah’s shirt and pulled him closer to her. “Are you thinking about us? I am.”

Maddie stiffened. Heather Wainwright was totally flirting with Micah. How could Maddie ever compete with Heather Wainwright?

And did she just admit that she wanted to compete over Micah?

Micah removed himself from the actress’s clutch. “Uh, Heather, we weren’t ever really…anything,” he said.

Weren’t ever really anything? Maddie’s heart thumped loudly in her chest. Why would Heather think otherwise?

He leaned back on the boulder. “And aren’t you back with your boyfriend?”