(This piece was odd for me. I set out to write another erotica piece and ended up with a nice little romance instead. Not sure if its finished, or if I should follow through to the date. But I need to update, so here it is.)
The moon sat heavy, large and luminous in the warm summer sky. It’s silvery glow illuminating everything in sight like a well lit motion picture. Nights like this were heaven compared to the usual Californian heat, triple digits in the afternoon, and a nice balmy evening to enjoy a beer in. Or in this case, an entire six-pack, maybe two.
This far out from the city the stars blinked and twinkled at their best and brightest. There were no bright, ever burning lights to sap their natural beauty. Anyone that new what they were looking at could name off constellations right and left. Annie couldn’t even find the little dipper. The stars she preferred to look at lived in a little box or on a big, silver screen.
Yet another empty beer can rattled across the parched patch of dirt as the frustrated actress finished off the first of two six-packs she’d carried out here.
“Stupid fucking stars. Everyone looks at you and what do you give them back? Nothing. Selfish bastards!” A full can took off sailing into the night breeze, but didn’t make it very far before gravity took hold and splattered its contents on the ground.
“Look what you made me do. That’s alcohol abuse!” She grabbed another beer and popped the tab open with a long hiss.
There had been too many nights like this. Trying to make it big in Hollywood was about like trying to hike to the moon. That shit just wasn’t going to happen. Like every other would-be actress, Annie had found herself waiting tables at a crappy café, hoping that some day a big name director would come in and save her from her miserable existence.
But crap like that only happened in the movies.
With a shake of her head and an exasperated sigh, Annie upended her beer and chugged. Since she had moved into the city, alcohol had seemed to be her only friend. The other waitresses all thought work was some fucked in the head reality show where the snottiest woman won a big movie deal. The cooks were all scumbags who took to drugs better than they did women.
As for a love life, that hadn’t existed for going on three years now.
It was just her and good ol’ Budweiser coming out here every weekend to vent the frustrations that a million other people just over that hill were feeling. Annie had to wonder why there weren’t more people out here with her, cursing their lot in life just like she did.
Beer number seven, or was it eight already, slipped out of the little plastic ring and opened with a throaty hiss just like all the others. It sat beside her on the ratty little blanket she’d stolen off the couch. It’s only purpose had been to cover up the huge wine stain on the cushions. But now it had been upgraded to keeping her clothes clean on these “woe is me” sessions.
Lying back, Annie started counting the stars. She started at the top of the hill, working her way down the ridge of smaller hills and then in towards the big, open sky above. Her first night out here, that gigantic expanse of darkness had nearly given her a panic attack. If felt so close, like at any minuet the darkness would lose its grip in the sky and come crashing down to suffocate her. It was all very Chicken Little, but it summed up her life perfectly.
“One hundred and ten, one hundred and eleven, one hundred and twelve…”
“You know, you could stay out here all week and never count them all.”
The deep, rumbling voice coming from behind her had Annie up and ready to fight in seconds. A wash of foam followed in her wake as the beer she’d been nursing toppled over, soaking the blanket and her shoes. Just fucking great.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you. I thought you heard me walk up.” God, his voice was so deep you could almost touch it.
“I’ll just bet you are sorry. So other than being an expert on stars and how to make women waste their booze, there anything else I should know about you before I kick your ass? Are you a serial killer or…” Annie looked up at the man finally and damn near forgot why her shoes were soaked in the self-proclaimed King of Beers.
“Or what?” He prompted, obviously fighting to keep the amusement off his face.
Jesus Christ almighty, the guy was straight out of a modeling catalogue. Every line of his face was perfect. Not so perfect that a plastic surgeon had his fingers in all that flawlessness, but as close as you got without help. The moon lit his face just right, giving a sharp contrast between his face and the rest of him. It leeched the color from his eyes, leaving them almost as silver as the moon itself, but that wealth of hair tumbling just below his shoulders was as black as the sky above.
The epitome of drop dead gorgeous had stumbled upon her in the darkness and she’d been ready to feed his head up his own ass. She felt like she should apologize, but there was a short between her brain and her tongue. All she could do was stare.
That mesmerizing bass voice came at her again, only this time he was laughing. Things in her body tensed at that laugh. Not out of fear. Oh no, this was all about anticipation of what could happen if he said just the right thing.
“I can assure you I am not a serial killer. There has been an offer or two to play one that’s come across my desk, but nothing that I’m willing to put my name to.” A hand came out of the darkness pooled at his side. It was strong, big, matching the rest of the body it was attached to.
“S… sorry. Did you say your name and I just blanked it out as I was staring like an idiot?” Annie gave herself a mental kick in the ass and took his hand in a quick shake. She let go almost as quickly as she could. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to touch him; she wanted to touch him too much.
His laugh came again and Annie could hardly stand still. How was it possible that sex on two legs had found her out here? He said he wasn’t a serial killer. Maybe he was a stalker. Stranger things have happened in Hollyweird. A nothing waitress stalked by the world’s hottest man. It was possible, wasn’t it?
“No, I’m sorry. We have not been properly introduced. Brent Jacobson, and you are…?” He flashed a smile that was nearly as bright as the moon.
“Annie Thomas. Wait, did you say you were…” And suddenly it hit her. Of course he was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Hell the guy had made an entire career off just his good looks.
Brent Jacobson was the highest paid, most in demand actor on the planet. So why the hell was he standing in the middle of an empty field holding a conversation with a nobody?
“I’m him, he’s me, but look, if you are going to do that girlie, high-pitched scream thing let me at least get my ear plugs in. Alright?” His smile had faded just a little around the edges. A slight discomfort replaced the easygoing attitude he’d walked in with.
Annie kicked herself yet again. Of course he’d be all the way out here. It wasn’t just people like her that needed time away from the city. Hell Brent had more of a reason to run away from it all. Out here there was no one trying to take his picture or get an autograph.
“Look, I’ll just get out of your hair now. Have a good night.”
She turned to walk down the slope where her car was parked and was about half way down before he caught up with her quick pace. Brent’s strong hand wrapped around her arm and pulled her to a stop. Annie turned, mouth open, ready to protest or apologize. He silenced her with a finger to her parted lips.
“Would you believe me if I said I didn’t want to be alone out here? I thought I did, but you are the first person to make me laugh in weeks that wasn’t paying me.” He gave a gentle tug, urging her back up the slope. “Just sit with me a little while. I’d like to get to know you better.”
It wasn’t the striking jaw line, the sweet clothes, or even the way his jeans hugged his ass just right that made her stay. It was the pleading in his eyes and voice. Hell he could have asked her to strip down to her birthday suit and she would have right then and there, just to chase that look out of his eyes for a little while. This was going to land her in trouble, she knew it, but it didn’t matter right now.
“Yeah, sure. I can spare a few more minuets, I guess. But where are we going to sit? My blanket isn’t exactly dry any more.”
“Hold that thought.”
Annie climbed back up the hill while he disappeared down into the pitch black at the bottom. She was trying to rationalize to herself why she would be spending quality time with Brent fucking Jacobson when all she should do is drive back home and catch the five hours of sleep she’d get before work in the morning. Maybe she could call in sick. Yeah, sick of that nowhere job and the laughable pay check she was handed every two weeks.
“I need a new fucking life.” Annie grumbled to the stars. It was a mantra they had heard countless times before, and as always they held no answer to her dilemma.
“You aren’t the only one, Annie.” Damnit, the guy was a ninja or something. How did someone so big manage to be so quiet? “Found a drier blanket for us to sit on. Hope you don’t mind sitting on my face. It was a promo piece they gave me. I never got around to getting rid of it.”
Brent unfurled the large blanket and sure enough, there he was staring up at her from the ground. The picture did him no justice, though the leather jacket he was wearing in it did things for her hormones that should be illegal. Annie caught the slightly conflicted look on his face as he stood at the edge of the blanket and didn’t know what to do. He was trying to play normal and failing miserably.
“I’d be glad to sit on your face.” She froze, realizing her slip. A red-hot blush burst across her cheeks. “Oh god, I didn’t mean it like that. I just… shit.”
He laughed, and it was a good laugh, the same laugh he’d had earlier. It did nothing to ease her embarrassment, but did give her the nerve she needed to finally sit down. The wet sneakers she’d been trying to ignore slid off, along with the sour smelling socks. Brent seemed to take her cue and did the same, though his shoes probably cost ten times as much as hers and didn’t smell like a brewery.
“Do you come up here often, Annie?” He asked quietly as his big frame lay back, taking up more than half of the blanket.
“Every weekend since I’ve lived in the city. It’s a habit now.” Annie curled around herself, hugging her knees to her chest while she stared out across the open field.
“I can see why. Aside from a few embarrassments, this is pretty relaxing. If I had know about this spot before now, you would have had a drinking buddy.”
“Wait a minuet, I thought you were a recovering alcoholic?” The news of his rehab stint had been all over television. She’d even seen footage of him stumbling into the door of the clinic.
“Publicity stunt to push the movie I shot right after. Never had a problem with drinking or drugs. Hell, I’ve never even been caught drunk on camera.” He sounded as disgusted with it all as she felt.
“You’re one hell of an actor then, because I swore you were hammered in the clips I saw on the news.”
“Yeah, guess I am.” Brent sighed and seemed tired. His hand snaked across the blanket and tapped her hip. “As beautiful as this sight is, I feel like I am talking to a boulder right now. Lay down, Annie. I won’t bite.”
She jumped at his touch. The reality of the night had finally hit her and hit hard. She, an actress that would never see a camera, was laying in the dark with Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor. Up until right now Annie had thought she’d wake up in her claustrophobic rented room and the dream would vanish, like all good dreams do.
“There’s not enough room for me.” Even to her it sounded like a lame excuse.
Sounds from behind her meant he had to be scooting to the edge of the blanket to make room for her. He was moving to accommodate her. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
“There’s room now. I must admit though, I was sort of hoping you would be willing to cuddle. It’s out of line, I know. Sorry.”
Get a grip, Annie… He’s flirting. You deal with this all the time. Men flirt, it is their nature. He’ll flirt through the night and then in an hour or so he will get tired of you and leave. It’s nothing big.
Yeah, as if she could believe her own bullshit.
“No, I’m sorry. I got lost in my thoughts.” With a deep breath, Annie laid down next to Brent. His big body still took up most of the blanket, so much that their arms touched as she settled down. That slight brush of skin sent tingles down her spine.
Silence stretched between them. It was as though someone had cut the vocals on a movie reel. The world continued, movement kept trucking along according to plan, but there was a deafening silence where there should have been something. Neither of them seemed to be in any hurry to fill that void. She’d become wrapped up in listening to the silence. God knew what he was thinking of the whole mess.
“I just… just wanted to thank you for treating me like a normal human being.”
Annie rolled onto her side and glanced down at him. She couldn’t keep the surprised look off her face. “Well how else am I supposed to treat you? You’re human, just like me, right? No wait, I know! You are a space alien who’s come to Earth to investigate the habits of the starving actress.”
“You never told me you were an actress.” There was a wary glint in his eye. He’d mentally pulled back from her; she could see it and mourned the loss of the ease that they had found between them.
“I didn’t mention it because it isn’t important. Acting isn’t for me. In a few weeks I’ll probably be moving out of the city. Hollywood has yet another victim.” Her voice was tired. The weight of constant rejection making her chest hurt as she finally admitted defeat.
Suddenly they were way too close for this conversation. Annie sat up again and scooted until she sat as far away as she could without hitting dirt. If her shoes weren’t still soaked, she would have put them on and walked away. The evening was over. She’s spoiled it by being exactly the person he was trying to get away from.
“I’m sorry, Annie.”
“You know what, I need to get going.” Screw the wet shoes. It was better than dealing with emotional distress from a man she’d only met an hour ago.
Her feet slid into the soaked sneakers with a dull squish. The wet socks stayed where they were. Trying to make a hasty and dramatic exit didn’t work so well with dirty laundry in hand.
For the second time that night Annie turned her back on a man that half the planet would give their left arm to touch. There had to have been a joke in there somewhere, but she couldn’t see it through the haze of embarrassment. He probably thought she was going to use him now. Like every other piece of shit in the world, she would use Brent to make her name known to the world.
He’d never believe that the thought never crossed her mind.
Annie didn’t stop walking until she nearly ran into the bumper of her crappy little Geo. The little blue monstrosity was quite literally held together by duct tape. There was no way it would make the trip back across the state to where her parents lived. That meant downsizing what little she did own, shipping it to their house and then praying she could afford a one-way train ticket. Looks like living off ramen noodles and freebies from work again for the next month.
With a sigh, she reached into her pocket to find her keys. When her fingers brushed nothing but lint, panic set in. Where the fuck could she have lost them? Stuck in the middle of nowhere with a man that hates her guts now was not a happy place.
“Son of a bitch!” Annie whirled on her heel, ready to go search the hill for her damn keys.
Brent was just suddenly there. She didn’t even have time to see him before crashing into his big body. They hit with such force that Annie bounced off his chest and fell flat on her ass in the dirt. Ego and ass bruised, she glared up at him and let her anger replace embarrassment. It didn’t matter who the hell he was, this sneaky ninja shit was really irritating.
A jingling sound cut through the roar of her anger. Annie narrowed her eyes at Brent’s raised hand and saw her keys dangling from those long fingers. “You might need these so you can hurry up and run away without an explanation.” He sounded hurt. How the hell could her leaving hurt him?
“I was just coming to get those, you shouldn’t have bothered.” Her anger was fading fast. Annie tried to cling to it to give herself something to hide behind.
Before she could protest, Brent reached down and lifted her to her feet. For a brief moment they were pressed tight together and it felt good. Too good. Her head swam with the sensation of it, almost buckling her knees. His strong arms steadied her on her feet. Annie expected him to step away, but he didn’t.
“Look, I don’t know what you think happened up there, but all this attitude you are throwing my way hurts. I thought we had something until you ran away.” Only now did he move away. Brent pushed her keys into her hand, being careful to not make eye contact. “But I guess it was just a good act. Goodbye, Annie.”
Annie opened her mouth, ready to tell him off once and for all. She’d no more taken a good breath before he was there again. This time it wasn’t a touch of fingers that shut her up. He kissed her. This was not a quick brush of lips. It was a kiss to claim someone with, to make them remember you long after they had walked out of your life. As far as goodbye kisses went, it was by far the best she would ever get.
They fell into the kiss with everything they had. The tension that had built the entire evening erupted into a tangle of flesh in the darkness with no one to witness but the silent stars above. Everything seemed to be forgotten. Not just the dramatics on the hill, but the idea of who they were, where they were. Everything gone in the warm summer breeze dancing around them.
Brent pulled back first. His rough gasps for breath echoing hers and suddenly so loud in the quiet night air. “Wow…”
“Yeah, wow.” Annie laughed and buried her blushing cheeks against the solid wall of his chest. There was no way she could walk away now. That kiss may have been his idea of a goodbye, but it didn’t work. She wanted him now more than ever.
“Now is the time for you to slap me and drive off in a cloud of dust, right?” His fingers brushed through her hair, bringing a chill down her spine.
“I know, but for some reason I can’t walk away now.” Annie pulled back and looked up into those silvery blue eyes. “I’m sorry I was a jerk.”
Brent shook his head, his hair following the motion and spilling down into his face. Her chest tightened as he reached up to brush it out of the way, revealing those eyes to her once again. “No apologies needed. We had a misunderstanding. I want to make it up to you properly. Let me take you on a real date. Just one. What do you think?”
Annie didn’t even have to think about it. With his arms still wrapped around her, his eyes watching her like she was the most precious thing on the planet, the answer was obvious. “I think that I would be the biggest idiot ever born if I said no.”
Brent rewarded her with a laugh and another, much quicker kiss. They stayed wrapped around each other for a while. Neither wanted to be the first to break the moment, but finally Annie pulled back out of the warmth of his arms.
“Its late and I really do have to work in the morning.”
“Let me drive you home. I don’t trust your car further than I can throw it. No offense.” He tapped the front bumper with the toe of his shoe and a piece of it fell down into the dirt. “I’ll send someone to bring it to you tomorrow.”
“Mother always told me not to take a ride from strangers.” Annie teased, adding a little pout at the end for effect.
“I don’t think we’re strangers any more, little girl.” Brent gave her a grin that the big bad wolf had to of worn moments before pouncing his victims.
Annie’s heart sped up at that look. Heat pooled low in her body and swept up to color her cheeks yet again. Brent was temptation in the flesh and he used it to his every advantage. She couldn’t say no to that face, to that look. No amount of willpower feasible could do it.
“Alright, but don’t try any funny stuff, mister. Just because I let you talk me into a ride doesn’t mean I am so easily caught.” She tossed a wink over her shoulder as she turned and walked to his car, putting an extra sway to her steps.
“No, I’ll save the funny stuff for after our date. If you think you can resist.” The car unlocked with a loud pop and he slid behind the wheel. If they hadn’t been flirting, the movement would have seemed terrible mundane, but she got a good glimpse of his ass as he bent over. God damn he was sexy.
“Oh you are going to be trouble, Mr. Jacobson. Big trouble.”