Home > Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1)(14)

Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1)(14)
Author: Tammara Webber

“I’ve never worked with him. He’s done mostly indie stuff. He was in something that did well in Sundance this year…”

Graham Douglas is nothing like I would picture Elizabeth Bennet’s ridiculous cousin. “He’s sort of, I don’t know—too good-looking to play Collins?”

“A fellow Jane Austen fan!” MiShaun puts a hand up for a high-five. “Don’t worry, once he gets into makeup, they’ll do ghastly things to that handsome mug.”

I can’t help thinking that will be a shame.

Dragging my gaze from Graham, I notice that Reid has gathered a small harem of locals on the dance floor. The bodyguards hover, not interfering, but ready to at a second’s notice. MiShaun follows the direction of my gaze and shakes her head. “That boy is such a player.”

In everything I’ve ever heard about Reid Alexander, one thing he hasn’t done is sustained a relationship past a matter of weeks. Player is right, and I shouldn’t expect anything more from him, chemistry or no chemistry. Even still, I don’t think he’s looked at me once since we arrived.

Quinton Beauvier, whose role is the notoriously charming George Wickham, steps up behind us then, placing a hand on each of our shoulders. “Ladies,” he says. Tall and dark-skinned, hair cropped short, he’s boyishly handsome and easily the most muscled guy in the cast. An article in Emily’s favorite gossip magazine claimed he was as the hottest young actor to watch, and included a pull-out poster—now prominently taped on her closet door—in which he leans against a rickety rail fence wearing an introspective look, hands hooked in the front pockets of his low-slung jeans, biceps bulging out of a skin-tight white t-shirt.

“Mr. Beauvier,” MiShaun says, smiling.

“Would either of you like to dance? Reid and his cult followers are monopolizing the floor, and that boy can’t even dance. Look at him, just swaying around. Pitiful.”

“In his defense, he doesn’t have room to do much else,” I say, and Quinton laughs.

“Yeah, yeah. So it’s the principle of the thing.”

“Go dance, Emma. I’m gonna head back to the bar for another one of these,” MiShaun holds up her disappearing cosmopolitan, “and then I’m going to go ask that blond guy who’s been staring at me for the last fifteen minutes to dance. Or something…” She gestures over her shoulder, where a guy in a white starched shirt and loose tie leans against the bar within a group of friends. Any time he looks away from MiShaun, his eyes wander back to her within seconds.

Quinton takes my hand and flashes a brilliant smile. “Let’s show that boy how it’s done.” I don’t know if Reid’s watching or not, but for a few minutes, I forget about him.

Ten minutes later, I tell Quinton, “You’re an awesome dancer.”

He smiles, revealing small dimples and utterly perfect teeth. Emily will die when I tell her. “I love to dance. It was my backup plan, in case the acting thing didn’t work out.” I look out over the crowd, most of whom are watching our group. Reid sips a beer near the bar, girls surrounding him. He glances up then and smiles at me, but doesn’t make any move to break from his groupies.

I turn away, ask Quinton if he’s seen MiShaun.

“She’s still talking to that scruffy white guy.” He gestures towards a dark corner, where the two are seated at a tiny table in close proximity, talking animatedly. Quinton shrugs and we both smile.

After a couple of hours, another drink, and several dances with numerous cast members (none of whom are Reid, dammit), the physical exertion reminds me how much I need to get back into my daily running routine. There’s no way I can stay out later and get up at the crack of dawn to run. I tell Quinton and Meredith I’m going back to the hotel.

Quinton sways closer, a beer in one hand, the other outstretched. “You can’t give out now. It’s early!”

“It’s 1 a.m.!” I laugh. “That’s early?”

“We’re just getting started!” Meredith says.

“I have to get up tomorrow morning and run.”

They both look horrified. “What, before shooting?”

I wave to Jenna, who’s dancing nearby, but I don’t look for Reid. “Yeah, it’s a million degrees by noon. See you guys tomorrow!”

The valet calls a taxi while I wait in the shadow of the building, watching the mixture of young professionals and college students pass. I’ve never told anyone except Emily, but I know I owe my acting ability to compulsive people-watching. I could never express the emotions of so many various people, some of whom I can’t stand even if they are fictional, if I didn’t constantly watch people interact.

“They’ll have a taxi over in a couple minutes,” the valet tells me with a slight drawl.

“Thanks,” I answer, handing him a tip.

“No problem.” He smiles back and stuffs the bill in the front pocket of his vest.

As I peel a breath mint from its wrapper, Graham Douglas exits the club alone and moves to the opposite side of the entrance, lighting a cigarette. Something about a well-dressed guy lighting up is curiously attractive. This allure can probably be traced to the old black and white movies Mom and I used to watch, where everyone smoked: Cary Grant and Clark Gable and Bette Davis, men in tuxedos, women in glittering gowns, cigarettes loosely held like insidious little props.

Lighter back in his pocket, Graham takes a deep draw, exhaling as though every muscle in his body is releasing the stress of the day with the hazy stream. Passing girls glance at him with sidelong gazes, checking to see if he’s noticed them while he leans against the brick wall, running a hand through his dark hair and tapping on his cell. He seems oblivious until with no warning he lifts his gaze and I’m caught staring at him for the second time tonight. Smiling and pushing away from the wall, he crosses to me.

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