Home > Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1)(10)

Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1)(10)
Author: Tammara Webber

She brightens. “Yes. Melinda and I are organizing a fundraiser for that.”

“See? You’ll be so busy you won’t miss me at all.” I put my arm around her.

“That’s not true.”

“I’ll miss you, too, Mom.” The words feel insincere. I’ll think of her occasionally, worry about her here and there. But we won’t miss each other the same way. I glance at my watch. “Time for me to go. The flight’s in a couple of hours—gotta get checked in and stuff.”

We stand, and she puts her arms around me, tears in her eyes. I kiss her cheek and hug her back gently. “I love you,” she says into my chest, and I feel myself tense. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to say those three words. Most guys throw it around like breath, like bait.

I give her another hug, and then release her, steadying her by the shoulders. Kissing her cheek one last time, I force the words out. “Love you.” And then I’m in the limo, staring out at the house that Mark and Lucy Alexander built, the house where I’ve lived most of my life. We circle the turn-around and out onto the street, and the tension begins to seep out of me.

*** *** ***


I find myself on a flight to Austin—first class—with three School Pride cast members, all of whom are nice, and none of whom are Reid. Dammit.

Meredith Reynolds will be Lizbeth’s older sister, Jane. We did a commercial for peanut butter when we were five, and small roles in a Lifetime movie together two years ago. MiShaun Grant recently left her comedic role on a Disney channel sitcom that never quite hit expected ratings. She’ll play Lizbeth Bennet’s best friend, Charlotte. The most famous person on our flight is Jenna Black, who’ll play the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia.

Cast as the daughter of the main character in an Oscar-nominated film two years ago, Jenna collected rave reviews for her performance. She’s rumored to be incredibly smart and planning to attend Princeton. I will earn my high school diploma in a few months, and have never considered going to college. Jenna, fifteen with her whole life mapped out, is insistent.

“You should go! You might want to do something else someday. And if you do continue your acting career, you’ll want to cultivate your intellect to get better roles.”

Cultivate my intellect?

Her logic may make perfect sense, but I’m not sure. I’ve always thought of myself as an average student, but when school is a tutor in a hotel room and you’re turning in assignments over the Internet, there’s no comparison or competition. I have no idea how I measure up to others my age, academically speaking.

We discuss the script and do some informal rehearsing during the flight. According to the film schedule Richter’s assistant emailed, filming begins at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow at an Austin high school. We have two weeks until school begins there, at which point filming during the week is out, so we’re doing the school sequences first.

At the hotel, girls mill around the entrance, which seems odd for this hour on a Sunday. “Fabulous,” Jenna says. “The ‘I heart Reid Alexander’ fan club lost no time on the stalking stakeout.”

The concierge, after apologizing profusely for giving the four of us the stink-eye when we walked in, confirms her assumption. “We keep escorting them out, and they keep sneaking back in, bless their hearts.” His set jaw doesn’t say bless their hearts as much as it says I’m getting a migraine.

Most of the fourth floor rooms are cordoned off for School Pride actors and crew, the studio’s beefy bodyguards in place to protect Reid from his more zealous fans. As I locate my room and slide my key card into the lock mechanism, a door opens two doors down and a cute guy comes into the hallway wearing drawstring pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt. He glances back as if he’s merging into traffic, nods once in my direction with a smile and a soft, “Hey,” and raps twice on another door. I’m not sure if he’s production staff or another one of the actors, but I’m way too tired to think about it for long.


Reid isn’t shooting any scenes the first day, so he’s not on set. I’m apprehensive about seeing him, nervous about what we’ll be doing on film, in front of everyone. I’ve never worried about this sort of thing before, but then I’ve never been the star of anything before. I’m glad to have a day or two to get familiar with the rest of the cast.

We finish our first day of filming around five. Some days will be much longer, and some will require night filming, so we should enjoy this reprieve; but we lost two hours between California and Texas, which made eight a.m. feel like six a.m. Exhausted, Meredith and I climb into one of the cars that will transport us back to the hotel, and Brooke collapses onto the seat next to me. She’s basically a life-sized Barbie doll: perfect build (thin, but curvy where it counts, long dancer’s legs), perfect bone structure, clear blue eyes, blonde hair. Everything is pretty and flawless. Ninety-five percent of what people notice or talk about is her appearance, despite her acting skill. “Are you guys hungry? Because I’m star-ving.”

My stomach, activated by the thought of food, reminds me that I skipped lunch. Craft services served gourmet pizzas and salads, but I had first-day jitters and couldn’t eat.

“Yes,” Meredith and I chorus.

Thanks to celery stick lunches, no-bread dinners and lots of cardio, Meredith and I are both slim, with physical features unlikely to inspire either resentment or adoration, but I’ll take a favorable acting review over someone gushing about the shape of my ass any day. My hair color (and Meredith’s) would be termed pecan or tweed according to Chloe, fake hair color expert, who’s been trying to get me to highlight my hair for years by declaring things like, “It’s so freaking dull,” for motivation.

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