Easy peasy. “I’m clean. I’m not even a big drinker.”
“Perfect. Next, you need to get to a voice teacher. You got the acting chops, but your speech isn’t as clear as it could be. You have a bit of a mid-western dialect at times.”
Micah hadn’t heard that one in a while, but he knew where it came from. “I grew up in Kansas. I moved here at thirteen when my parents got divorced.”
“Yeah, that’s in your speech. It’s actually somewhat endearing, but it doesn’t work for every character and from what I’ve seen, you don’t ever vary it.”
“I’ll get a voice teacher. I’m glad to learn more acting tools.”
“Good. I’ve got someone I work with who’s excellent. She’ll come to you so you can train while you’re working.” Stu made a note on his pad. “We need to get you a personal trainer—the kind who’s going to whip your ass and make you puke after every session. I know you’re in pretty good shape now, but we need to see a six-pack when you take off your shirt and from the footage I got from Dirk Davenport, you’ve only got a four-pack.”
Micah knew that was coming. He hadn’t worked as hard at the gym as he could have, but no one ever complained about his naturally well-built physique before. He also hadn’t made it into a feature film yet. Maybe his body could use some work.
“Speaking of Davenport,” Stu said without waiting for Micah to agree to a trainer, “he’s a great director and I admire him. He knows how to cast pretty boys who can also act. But there’s a reason he’s never made it past his indie film status. Gay films are just not mainstream. You’re not g*y, are you?”
“No,” Micah said, thinking about Maddie again. “Definitely not.”
“Perfect. Not that there’s anything wrong with being g*y. I’m all for equal rights and all that bullshit, but we’ve got to be honest—most of the actors who are hot right now are straight. Or, at least, they waited until they were famous before they came out of the closet. I hope as much as anyone that that changes soon, but for now, that’s the formula for success. Don’t get me wrong, this g*y indie is going to look great on your resume. Especially since you’re straight—it shows you can act. But now we need to focus on your heterosexuality. Do you have a girlfriend, fiancée, wife?”
Micah wasn’t sure how Stu wanted him to answer. He’d played g*y on film—not anything p**n -like, just some kissing. It was no big deal—he was acting. Maybe Stu wanted him to have a girlfriend to combat that image. But he didn’t have a girlfriend at the moment. Not yet, anyway. He went for the truthful answer. “Nope, I’m completely single.”
“Terrific! It’s much easier to sell a single young actor than one that’s attached. The women all want to believe they have a shot with you and the girlfriend thing just gets in the way. I’m not suggesting you cut out sex—you can have as many f**k flings as you like. Hell, that usually works in your favor. Every gossip rag is dying to tie you to someone. It’s great publicity.
“Not that we can’t work things out if you do hook up with someone long term. But, I’m telling you man-to-man, it’s not easy to manage love and a career. Women mess with your time and emotions. They pout every time you have to spend weeks away on a shoot or, heaven forbid, have to do an on-screen kiss. And you can never tell if they’re into you or your money. Keep the strings unattached and you’re better off. Just a suggestion from a guy who’s been around.”
Micah opened his mouth to comment, but didn’t know what to say. Show biz and relationships…boy, did he know something about that. Stu’s advice wasn’t half bad.
“Anyway, kid, if you’re serious, I’ll sign you today. Keep your nose clean, work on your trade, don’t get distracted, and I promise that I’ll make you a star. I’m sure you know I’ve got an excellent track record and no one’s ever been—”
He was interrupted by his phone ringing. He pushed the speaker button and the receptionist’s voice filled the room. “Brad Licht is on the phone. He said to interrupt.”
“Great, send the call back.” Stu pressed the speaker button again and the receptionist was gone. “Micah, I have to take this. It’ll be just a minute.”
Stu picked up the phone’s handset and pushed the flashing button on his console before Micah could agree. “Hey, Brad. What’s up?”
Micah was curious about Stu’s conversation. Brad Licht was a famous actor and client of Stu’s. Witnessing Stu’s interaction with him would be a great indicator of what kind of relationships he had with his clients.
But instead, Micah’s mind wandered to Stu’s advice on women. It wasn’t a new thought—Micah had toyed with the idea of remaining single before. He’d witnessed his parents’ marriage go up in flames when his mother decided to run off to California, hoping to get a break into the biz herself. She didn’t succeed, and she always blamed her ex of holding her back when she was younger.
And though she never said it out loud, Micah knew that being a mother had held her back as well. She’d been a good actress. She could have made a name for herself if she’d had fewer responsibilities and obligations. Eventually she gave up and threw her energy into Micah and his career instead.
Micah’s dad never got over the split. He pined for his wife until his death of a heart attack at forty-eight. And as much as it pained Micah, he knew his father never approved of his son’s decision to be an actor because of all the grief it had caused their family.
Yeah, Stu made a good argument. No strings, no burdens—it was definitely the way to go. Even though he sometimes yearned for a more substantial relationship, Micah could be happy as a playboy.
Of course, there was Maddie. He’d just met her and, hell, he knew hardly anything about her, but his attraction to her ran deep. He was certain that if he saw her again he’d want to see her again and again and again. She couldn’t be just a f**k fling, as Stu had put it, though fantasies of f**king her kept dancing through his mind. It would be best if he cut things off before they went any further. Leave it as the hot memory it was.
He pulled his cell out of his pocket, and reread the draft of the text he had composed to Maddie. I’m remembering your moans. When can I make you mo—
Now, he deleted the unfinished message. Then he went to his contacts and scrolled to the info she’d entered the night before. Maddie from the party followed by her phone number. He paused before he moved his finger over the delete button and pressed it.