She pulled out her phone to read the text he had sent her.
She was just a journalist. What I say to her doesn’t matter.
She stared at the screen. He probably hadn’t realized she’d been fired yet, but she’d hoped for more in his response. She’d wanted him to say…what? What exactly did she expect?
I’m sorry. I love you. That’s what she wanted.
Micah had been right about her here too—she was a hopeless romantic. She wanted a guy who loved her, who gave up everything for her, who wasn’t afraid of telling reporters how he felt, who didn’t care that choosing her might jeopardize his career.
She’d told him she loved him. And he’d told the world he was single.
Such an incredible fool.
She turned her phone off and tossed it on the nightstand. Then she wrapped her arms around herself as the tears began to flow, fast and steady. Even in the generic space of the typical hotel decor, she felt Micah’s presence. She wished he were there to hold her and comfort her.
But he couldn’t fix her when he was most of the reason she felt so forlorn. She grabbed a T-shirt of his from his laundry pile, threw herself onto the bed and curled up in a ball, clutching his clothing to her. It smelled like him. She stayed like that, sobbing, for more than an hour.
When she’d run out of tears, she shook herself out of her stupor, and turned her phone back on. She scrolled through two more texts from Micah. The first said, Are we okay? The second read, Where are you???
She erased both messages and dialed a number from her favorites list. “Bree, can you book a flight for me tonight? I want to come home.”
He should have gone after her.
All through the eight tortuous hours that followed his last encounter with Maddie, Micah couldn’t shake the feeling that he should have gone after her.
She had overreacted, of course. He was a famous actor, and telling stories to the press was part of the job. She worked in the biz, didn’t she get that? Maybe she’d be fine when she calmed down.
Except Micah didn’t really think she would be fine. First of all, he’d felt sick as he told Ariahn that he was free and single. Though he didn’t have any official commitment to Maddie, he was tied to her. He’d been sharing a room with her—sharing a bed—for three weeks. That made him anything but free and single. And, all right, even if he didn’t want to tell everyone via magazine article about his complex feelings, he should have at least told Maddie.
Perhaps even more convincing proof that he’d screwed up royally was her disappearance from the set. When Micah filmed his next scene, Beaumont had taken over the camera and Adam had filled Maddie’s spot. That wasn’t unusual behavior for the director, but it was odd that Maddie wasn’t around at all.
On top of going MIA, she wasn’t answering his texts. Or the few phone calls he’d managed to make. Had she walked out on the show because of him? No, she would never do anything that unprofessional. Still, Micah was apprehensive.
By the time filming wrapped for the night, he was crazy with worry. He needed to get back to the hotel, see if Maddie was there, ease his mind. He made a beeline for his trailer only to be met by Joe outside his door.
“Whatever you have for me, talk while I’m changing.”
“Uh, sure.” Joe followed Micah into his trailer. “I just wanted to let you know we’ve lost some footage from the other day so the call schedule’s been adjusted.” Joe held out a sheet of paper.
Half out of his shirt, Micah didn’t take the schedule. “Lost footage?” That was unusual. And not good at all. Was Maddie involved?
“Don’t worry about it too much, man. Technical difficulties can happen even to the best shows.” Joe set the schedule on the counter. “I’ll just leave it here. It’s going to be a tough week. Sorry.”
Joe started to leave, but Micah stopped him. “Does this have anything to do with Maddie not being on set today?”
“I’d rather not say anything. I wasn’t there.”
Joe’s vague response increased Micah’s anxiety. Something bad had happened, and he needed to find out what.
Joe left, passing Sam as he entered the trailer.
Micah groaned. Did no one understand he wanted to get out of there? “What do you want?” he snapped.
Sam shifted from one leg to the other. “Beaumont fired her.”
“He what?” Surely he hadn’t heard right. But it made sense. Micah cursed under his breath. “Where’s Beaumont?”
“Why? You gonna get her job back for her? I don’t think she wants that.”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
“Because she quit. Just not before he fired her. Besides, that’s not what she needs right now.”
Micah’s eyes narrowed. How dare this kid tell him what his girlfriend needed? Okay, not girlfriend, but that wasn’t the point.
Maybe that was the point. Right now Sam was more in tune with what was going on with Maddie than he was. She should have come to him. She should have been able to come to him.
He took a deep breath and looked Sam in the eye. “Do you know where she is?”
“I drove her to her hotel.” He regarded Micah. “Your hotel.”
The wind left Micah’s lungs, but he tried to keep his features even.
Sam pointed a finger at Micah. “And before you go assuming that she said anything to me, she didn’t.”
Micah raised his eyebrows, impressed by the boy’s bravado. He considered. Sam liked her. Micah had known that since the airport. He should have expected Sam would have figured it out. If Maddie had hooked up with anyone instead of him, Micah would have known. When you liked someone, you noticed.
He hated asking Sam what he should have known himself, but he had to know. “Is she okay?”
“She’s pretty shaken up, but I think there’s more to it than just the job.”
Shit. Just what had Maddie told the P.A.? And how far had Sam gone with the info? He’d just curbed a major media blowout with Ariahn Jessler. Would he need to worry about stopping another?
Sam answered his unasked question. “I offered to listen, but she didn’t want to talk about it.”
Micah blew out the air he’d been holding. “Thanks, man.”
“I didn’t do it for you.”
“I didn’t mean to imply that you did. But it means a lot to me that you were there for her.” He leaned against the door and did something he never did—opened up to someone. “She hasn’t been answering my texts or calls.”