Beaumont screamed so loud that Maddie wouldn’t have been surprised if they could hear him on set. “It shouldn’t have had the same name in the first place. You are incompetent, unprofessional, and completely out of your league. I should never have agreed to let Adam bring you on.”
“No, I should never have agreed to come on.” Out of the corner of her eye, Maddie saw Sam take a step toward her, trying to stop her. She ignored him. “You’ve been an arrogant bastard since you f**ked me over years ago. My coming here saved your ass.”
Beaumont laughed. “Add cocky to the list. Assistants like you are a dime a dozen. Do you even realize how much your mistake is going to cost?”
“I don’t know how much your mistake is going to cost. And frankly, I don’t give a shit. You deserve it.”
His eyes narrowed. “Get your things, Bauer. You’re fired.”
Maddie took her tape measure off her belt loop and threw it at Beaumont’s feet. “Fuck that. I quit.”
She’d never been so angry in her life. Accused of making his mistake? She didn’t have to take that shit. She stormed off, high-tailing it to the trailer where the crew kept their personal items.
“Maddie,” Sam called after her.
Sam was the last person she wanted to deal with. Well, maybe not the last person. She didn’t want to deal with anyone.
He called again, running to catch up. “Maddie!”
She spun around. “What?”
He put his hands on his hips, panting. “Do you need a ride?”
Sam’s voice was kind and gentle, and it broke her. Tears welled up again in her eyes, this time she couldn’t stop them from falling. “Yes,” she mumbled. She nodded to make sure he understood.
“Go get in the car. It’s unlocked. I’ll get your things.”
She climbed in the front seat of his car and slumped down. Fired. She had been fired. She’d never been fired from anything in her life. She was an exemplary employee, devoted to her job. Now she’d been f**ked over by Joss Beaumont twice in one lifetime. Christ, she’d be lucky if she worked anywhere in film again.
She wiped at the tears falling down her face. There would be some serious crying later when she was alone. She knew that. She just had to hold on until then.
Her phone buzzed alerting her of a text. Micah from the party. She stared at her phone, not sure if she wanted to read it at the moment. Sam’s arrival helped her make the decision. She pocketed her phone and took her purse and computer bag from him. Then she curled up next to the window. Please don’t make me talk, she willed silently. Please, please, please.
“Don’t worry, you only have to talk about it if you want to,” Sam said as if reading her mind.
As they drove in silence, Maddie replayed the scene with Beaumont over and over in her mind. She didn’t want to think about it, but as soon as she stopped, thoughts of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor crept in its place. Those thoughts were too much to bear.
When they’d nearly reached her hotel, she found she could no longer stay trapped in her mind. She peered over at Sam. He really was a nice kid—not a douchebag at all. “Won’t you get in trouble for leaving the set?”
Sam stole a glance at her before answering. “I called Joe’s cell phone. He agreed I should drive you.”
“You called Joe?”
“Yeah. I told him what happened. I’m sure Beaumont’s version of the story will be different than yours and I wanted him to know the truth.”
How thoughtful. And irrelevant. “Beaumont’s version of the story is the only one that matters.”
“On this film, maybe. But Joe and Adam—they’ll make sure you get hired again.”
She nodded. Sam had never experienced the joy of being blacklisted by Beaumont. “I don’t even know if I want to be hired again.”
“You might feel differently later. I mean, Beaumont’s a dick. And you’re good. You don’t want to give that up.”
Maddie stared at Sam. He was sweet. Would Micah say the same thing to her? Would he comfort and reassure her?
Yes and no. He’d tell her to get the hell out. Tell her to take this as a sign to move on, to direct her own stuff. And he wouldn’t say it because he was reckless and irresponsible. He’d say it because he knew that was what she really wanted to do.
Sam pulled into the front circle of the Comfort Inn and let the car idle. She looked out the window, suddenly realizing he didn’t know she wasn’t at this hotel anymore. What should she do? She couldn’t walk to the other hotel. She was exhausted—emotionally and physically. She could call a cab after Sam drove away. What a pain.
Fuck it. “Sam, I’m not staying at this hotel.”
He nodded and put the car in drive. “I know.”
Shocked, she soaked in his response while he pulled out on the road toward Micah’s hotel. He knew. “Does everyone, uh, know?” Just what she needed, for her love life to be the talk of the production crew.
“I don’t think so. No one’s said anything.”
“That’s good, I guess. Especially considering how incredibly f**ked up that situation is right now.”
“I bet it’s not as f**ked up as you think.”
She studied him again. There were so many thoughts and emotions running through her that she found it difficult to make her brain work. “Why didn’t you say something?”
The lips of his mouth curved slightly. “I didn’t think you wanted me to.”
She looked out her passenger window, knowing she’d break again if she met Sam’s eyes. She’d dismissed him so easily, put her sights on the unattainable Micah Preston. What the f**k had she been thinking? Micah was right—she was emotionally unavailable.
They pulled into the circle at Micah’s hotel and Sam again let the car idle. “I could come in, if you want me to.”
She pictured inviting Sam into the hotel room she shared with Micah. “That might be weird.”
“I suppose it would be.”
“Thanks, though. For everything.” She got out of the car, threw the strap of her bag over her shoulder and waved goodbye.
Inside the room, the tears Maddie had expected to fall generously didn’t come right away. She’d been fired. And she felt like shit about it. But Beaumont had f**ked her before. She had survived then, she’d survive now.
But Micah…Micah… Just the thought of his name shot like a bullet through her heart. She was such a fool. She couldn’t even be mad. All along he’d said it didn’t want a relationship. How had she convinced herself that he had told her anything different?