Bad Romance

 

Bad Romance
by Melanie Brown
Copyright  © 2017 Melanie Brown

Ross had dreams of being a professional dancer.

 


 

“Stop! Stop!” cried Saul. “Can you go be a spaz somewhere else?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “What? I’m just dancing here.”

“You’re being a major distraction,” Saul said frowning. “This video is serious shit here, man. It’s going to launch me and Malcolm’s musical career and we don’t need you prancing around like an idiot in it.”

Malcolm laughed, “Give him a break Saul. I thought it was funny. Very creative. And it kinda went with the music.”

Saul looked over his glasses at Malcolm. “You’re shitting me, right? Ross is an idiot. Why is he even here?” Saul and my friend Malcolm had written a song and were making a video to send into a music video contest. Superstar Reggie McGuiness would select the winner.

I huffed at Saul. “I’m the idiot that drove Mal here.”

Saul adjusted his phone sitting on top of a tripod to use its camera. We were actually set up in Saul’s backyard. The trees and the ivy made a much nicer background than all the crap that’s hanging on his garage wall. And the acoustics suck in his garage too.

Malcolm chuckled. “Hey. You’re the one that said we should have a dancer.”

Saul rolled his eyes. “A girl dancer. Not this freak. Okay, let’s try this again.”

Malcolm picked up his instrument and repositioned his chair. “Ross kinda looks like a girl with that long blonde hair of his and being so skinny.”

Saul frowned at me, “Okay, Ross. Do your dancing in the background a try not to knock anything over.” He started the video recording on his camera. “From the top. Let’s do this.”

Instead of being a spaz like earlier, I was actually trying to do an exotic dance. I know it’s not exactly a jock thing to do, but I’ve been taking dance since elementary school. My dad of course hoped I’d go out for sports but he gave up that dream after I was assigned a female dance role numerous times as I just don’t have the upper body strength that a male dancer needs. And I really don’t mind. I just like to dance. Dad hates it.

When the song finished, wearing a huge grin, Saul hopped over to his phone to stop the recording. “That was perfect! We’re bound to win that contest now. Good job on the dancing, Ross. Thanks for not being a spaz for once.”

I laughed. “I’m just glad I could be a part of history being made.”

We all high-fived each other.

Saul turned off his keyboard and scratched his crotch. “I’m hungry. Who’s up for Whataburger?”

Later that day Saul boxed up a flash drive with an edited copy of their music video and mailed it off to the contest. Saul was already trying to figure out what he was going to spend his millions on.”

*          *          *

“What the fuck?!” came the high pitched shout from Saul as he stared at the letter he’d gotten from the contest. He slapped the paper. “This is bullshit man! Total bullshit!”

“Let me see that.” Malcolm took the paper from Saul’s hands. We had been sitting in Saul’s parent’s living room playing video games when the mail arrived. Malcolm scanned the letter and tossed it to me. “That’s pure bullshit!”

I scanned the letter and then suddenly jumped to my feet knocking the game controller to the floor. “Bullshit! That’s crazy!” My voice incredulous I shouted, “They want to hire me? Well, I guess they mean me by ‘that wonderful girl dancing in the background’ for a video with Reggie himself? Seriously?”

Malcolm shook his head. “They said our video is not what they’re looking for at this time and to try again next year. Those fuckers! Our song was great!”

“It says to send the girl’s picture and portfolio to Bat Guano Studios in Burbank California,” I said re-reading the letter. “They mean me, right? I mean… it’s not like there was another dancer, was there?”

Throwing his empty soda can at me, Saul shouted angrily, “Of course they mean you, you little faggot!”

Malcolm jumped up and pushed on Saul’s chest. “Just back off, Saul! There’s nothing gay about being a dancer. Much.”

“So I’m petite,” I said waving my arms in the air. “That’s just me, okay? I’m sorry about your video, okay? We’ll call them and tell them there isn’t a girl. It’s just me.”

Saul fell back onto the couch. He tossed the envelope the letter had come in at me. “You call them. You’re the one they’ve offered a job to!”

I folded the letter and put it in my pocket. “Look. First thing Monday, I’ll call up Reggie and tell him sorry, but I’m not a girl. I mean. Thinking I’m a girl is just bullshit, right? I’ll set them straight.”

*          *          *

“You know this is nuts, right?” asked Malcolm for the fortieth time since leaving for L.A. We’d just exited our taxi in front of the hotel, the Safari Inn, where the studio had booked us a room. The hotel looked like a motel to us. We’d taken an early flight on Reggie’s private jet and it was still mid-morning.

“You’ve said that about forty times already. You can quit now,” I said feeling annoyed. “Enjoy yourself! We’re in L.A. We’re only going to be here four or five days.”

As we walked into the hotel, Malcolm frowned, “Actually, we’re in Burbank. It still pisses me off that even after telling them you’re a guy, they still want you for the girl dancer in the video.”

I grinned at Malcolm. “What can I say? I’m special.” Malcolm just rolled his eyes.

After we checked into the hotel and notified the studio we’d arrived, the studio sent a guy over to measure me. He phoned in the measurements and informed us that we should expect a package of new clothes for me to wear and would arrive in about two hours. I was instructed to wear only these clothes until we left. Malcolm and I looked at each other and shrugged.

An hour and a half later, a package arrived. I groaned when we opened it. Inside were nothing but girls’ clothes including lingerie, panties and bras. What the hell am I supposed to do with a bra? There was also a bag of make-up, but nobody said I was required to wear it. I set it aside. A phone call a bit later said be showered, shaved all around and dressed in something feminine and ready to go at four o’clock. Malcolm could come as well. Malcolm was acting as my manager. Actually, I just didn’t want to be here by myself.

A four, we got a call from the lobby that said a taxi was waiting for us. After we left the room to head for the stairs, Malcolm took a long look at me.

“You know… you are actually kinda cute in that skirt,” said Malcolm with a grin.

Scowling, I said, “You can cut that shit right now.”

As we descended the stairs, we met a woman and I guessed her daughter just starting to come up the stairs. The daughter wasn’t more than five years old I guess. The girl tugged on her mother’s hand and pointed at me. “Look Mommy. Isn’t she beautiful?”

I had to kick Malcolm to keep him from laughing.

At the offices of the studio, the receptionist said, “They’re expecting you, miss. Go right on in.”

Being referred to as “miss” got my hackles up, but with my hair and the clothes I was wearing, I couldn’t blame her.

As we entered, three men in suits and Reggie himself stood up. We shook hands all the way around and introduced ourselves. Reggie then directed that Malcolm and I sit.

Reggie McGuiness walked around to the front of the desk and leaned back against it. “Miss Bolger, let’s just cut to the chase. Oh, sorry, Mr. Bolger. Or do you mind if I call you miss? I think it’d be less confusing. Oh good, thanks. Anyway let’s cut to the chase.” He nodded to one of the suits.

“Miss Bolger, we contacted your school and we were very impressed with your grades as well as the body of work you’ve already completed,” said an emotionless, dour looking man sitting behind Reggie. “So we are confident that you’ll do professional level work.”

Interrupting, Reggie said, “You wouldn’t be here right now otherwise. Oh. Don’t mind me. Continue.”

The man nodded to Reggie. “We’ll need to get you set up with the union. We’ll do that tonight. We’ll also do a make-up test and take some pictures tonight. You can have copies for your professional portfolio.”

Reggie said, “So after make-up and the photo shoot, I’ll give you a quick tour and show you were you’ll be rehearsing as well as dancing. Have you ever used a green screen before?” I shook my head. “It’s an interesting process. You’ll do all your dance moves in front of the screen. We’ll have some props also painted green that you can interact with. We’ll add you in later. My music isn’t even finished yet.”

Feeling disappointed, “So I won’t get to perform with you in person?”

Reggie laughed, “Oh goodness no. Well, there might be some shots that I’ll have to present for.” He then pointed at Malcolm. “You sir, as her manager, will stay here and sign the various contracts and then you’ll be free to go. I’ll have a treat for Miss Bolger when we’re done with the tour.”

Malcolm frowned at being left alone with the lawyers. As I stood up, I said with a cheerful smile, “You’re such a wonderful manager!” I’m glad looks can’t kill.

Reggie led me down a few halls to a small room adjoining a larger room lined in green. Two women were waiting. Reggie grins at both when we enter.

“Thank you so much for waiting for us, ladies. This is Rose Bolger. Please make her presentable for photographs as well as a night on the town.” He looked me up and down. “Well, as much as we can with the way she’s dressed.” We’d decided “Ross” wasn’t a good name for a girl, so Reggie brilliantly came up with Rose. I learned later after looking at the contracts, that one of the stipulations I was to follow was that I was to never reveal that Rose is actually a male. So basically, if I wanted to try to get a dancing gig as Ross, I couldn’t use this video shoot on my resume.

The make-up girls only spent about half an hour on me. One worked on my make-up and the other did my nails. I was worried they were going to slather a ton of make-up, but they went fairly light. They said I was a natural and didn’t need a lot of make-up.

When they were done with me and had put away their brushes and my nails had dried, Reggie swaggered back into the room. He took a long look down his nose at me and gave a low whistle. With a wide grin he exclaimed, “Outstanding! Good work ladies. Thanks for staying over tonight.”

The woman who had done my make-up smiled. “You’re very welcome, Mr. McGuiness.” They then proceeded to exit the room.

Taking my arm, Reggie said, “Come this way, Rose... it’s okay to call you Rose, right? Terrific. Come into the room next door.”

Reggie led me into the adjoining room. It was a large room, but not particularly large for a sound stage. A large green sheet was hung from the ceiling and the floor was carpeted with green.

Reggie waved his arm to encompass the whole room. “This is where we’ll shoot your dancing. At the time of the shoot, we’ll have some stairs and a few other items for you interact with.”

Puzzled, I asked, “How can I dance a routine if the music isn’t even done yet?”

Reggie laughed. “You sound like my producer. We have the music, it just hasn’t been orchestrated yet. My choreographer is brilliant and she’s already choreographed all the dancing. Let’s go across the hall. That’s where you’ll rehearse because this room is already rented out for tomorrow.” We started to walk across the hall. “We’ll do the photo shoot there as well.”

I looked at my hands as we walked the short distance to the next room. I’ve never worn nail polish before. It felt weird, which surprised me. The make-up annoyed me too, though I have worn some make-up before for the dances where I danced a girls part. I didn’t care for it then either.

When we entered the room, Reggie broke into a wide grin and gave the man there a big bro-style handshake. “Walt, my man! Meet Miss Bolger. I just need a standard set, okay?”

Walt smiled. “You got it Mr. McGuiness.” Pointing at me, Walt continued, “Miss. If you’ll just have a seat.” He then proceeded to tell me to face a certain way, looking up, down and all around as he took my picture.

Reggie grinned when Walt was done. “All right! Thank you Walt!”

Walt smiled back. “Always a pleasure, Mr. McGuiness.” He pointed at me he said, “You sure have a knack for spotting the best ones.”

Reggie laughed. “That I do, sir! That I do.”

Reggie then linked arms with me again. “And now for that treat, Rose.”

He led me from the studio and up to a waiting limousine. The sky had gone almost totally night. He opened the rear door and motioned that I enter. “Ladies first.”

Getting into the back seat of the limo while wearing a tight short skirt was a bit problematic. It took a couple of tries, but I finally managed to slide in without flashing the whole world. There was only Reggie, but still. I’d have to get out and back into this thing later I’m sure.

Reggie was oddly silent while the limo proceeded to whatever destination it was headed for. The darkened windows made it difficult to see outside. Also, I thought it odd that he changed to a flashier shirt and added a jacket along the way.

We parked in front of one those swanky night clubs. The chauffer opened our door and Reggie stepped out, turned and offered a hand to assist me. Unlike some celebrities, I managed to keep my knees mostly together as I got out. My eyes were suddenly assaulted by colorful and bright flashing lights. There was loud music and dozens of people talking at once.

Reggie put out his arm for me to hold on to. I was grateful to hold onto something. This was way beyond any experience I’ve ever had. There was a long line of people along the sidewalk waiting to get into the club. A very large doorman with a shaved head, and a black t-shirt that didn’t hide his muscles at all kept the crowd at bay. We walked right past all of them.

The doorman or bouncer or whatever he was nodded to us and opened the chain to let us in. “Good evening, Mr. McGuiness.” People suddenly had their phones up, quickly snapping pictures of us. Talk about being embarrassed!

We walked right in. The interior was fairly dark, with strobe lights and other lighting effects flashing on the crowd. The live band was loud. Dozens of people on the dance floor. People sitting at small tables consuming alcohol. We walked past all that and went up some stairs. I clung desperately to Reggie the whole time so I wouldn’t get lost.

At the top of the stairs, Reggie led me over to a large, semi-private booth where four slender, but well muscled and, even a guy would have say nice looking black men all sharply dressed. There were two gorgeous and busty black women with them, wearing huge earrings and very tight cocktail dresses. I felt hopelessly underdressed.

Putting his hands on my shoulders, Reggie addressed the people in the booth, “Guys, this is Rose. I need to attend to some business in the back. I’d like for you to keep her entertained while I’m gone.”

One of the men grinned, and gave Reggie a thumbs up. “You got it boss!” To me he said, “Sit down and relax.”

I smiled nervously and as I started to sit down, the man who had spoken to me snapped his fingers at a waitress standing near the booth. “Bring a drink for the lady.”

After I was seated, he slid an arm behind me and held his other hand out for a shake. “Glad to meet you, Rose. I’m Donny. That’s Bill. He’s Frank and that guy over there goes by Zero. And that’s Charlene and Julie. We’re Reggie’s backup dancers.” He then passed the drink to me that the waitress had brought.

I just held the glass. I’m not much of a drinker. I smiled at everyone. “It’s nice to meet you. That’s so cool that you’re all dancers. I’m a dancer.”

Frank chuckled. “Yeah. We know. Reggie told us he’d hired a new dancer for his video.”

“I hope that’s okay,” I said, looking around at everyone and annoyed that Donny still had his arm around my shoulders.

Frank gave me a dismissive wave. “No man. It’s cool. He does that a lot.”

Donny gave me a bit of a squeeze. “Yeah. Reggie is always spotting some chick he likes and hires her for his video. That’s how Julie joined the team.”

I looked over at Julie. “That’s so cool. Do you all like being backup dancers?”

Zero leaned forward. “Best gig in the world.” There were nods all around.

Donny suddenly stood up and extended his hand to me. “Would you like to dance?”

I smiled at Donny and set my glass on the small round table in front of me and then took his offered hand. “I’d love to,” I said honestly. These guys were pros. I’d seen them in action before in concert videos and after learning who they were I was started to recognize them. While Donny may have a different interest in asking me to dance, I just couldn’t pass up a chance to dance with a seasoned professional.

Donny led me by the hand down the stairs and out to the dance floor. The music was so loud! The lights flashing and blinking made for a surreal environment. People all around thrashing around in their dancing. Apparently there were wasn’t much slow dancing here.

I stood for a moment and watched Donny go through a few moves and then I tried to match him. In a minute or two it looked like we were performing a rehearsed dance together. The next song started and we just kept it up. I never had so much fun in my life. It was a blast! I lost all track of time and didn’t realize how tired I was getting.

The band finally took a break and Donny said, “Whoa. I need a drink. Girl, that was some killer dancing. You should be one of us.”

As he took my hand to lead me back up the stairs, breathing hard I said, “Thanks! But I don’t think I could do this all the time.”

Donny smiled at me. “Don’t give me that shit girl. You’re a natural.”

When we arrived back at the booth, Reggie was there signing a few autographs. He grinned when he looked up and saw me. “Ah, you’re back. I’m guessing you had a good time?”

Donny let go of my hand and I plopped down in an empty seat. “That was really great. Thanks for bringing me here.”

Donny sat in the empty seat next to me and threw his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close to him. “Reg, this chick is hot! I’m serious man. You should hire her.”

As he signed another autograph, Reggie laughed. “I did hire her.”

Donny waved his free arm in protest. “No boss. I mean permanently. Like one of us.”

Reggie looked over at Donny. “She’s that good?” Donny nodded. “Well, that’s something to consider, isn’t it?”

Reggie looked over at me. “Well, Rose, I think I should take you back to hotel so you can get a good rest for tomorrow’s rehearsal. Your boyfriend… I mean manager is probably wondering where you went.” Boyfriend? Where did that come from?

Faking anger, Donny said, “You didn’t tell me you had a boyfriend! Shit!”

Holding his arm out for me to take, Reggie said, “Let’s go, sweets.”

I waved to everyone in the booth. “Good night! Nice meeting you!” They all either waved or raised their glass. Donny winked at me.

Reggie didn’t say a word as we walked through the crowd and exited the club. After we got inside his limo, Reggie relaxed in his seat. “I’m glad you had a good time, Rose. And sorry about the boyfriend comment. I’m not trying to imply anything. But I think Donny likes you.”

I shrugged. “I like him too. He’s a great dancer.”

Reggie laughed and shook his head. He then made a circle with the fingers of one hand and poked a finger from his other hand through it several times. “No. I think Donny *really* likes you.”

My eyes widened. “Oh. Oh shit! Thanks then. I wondered why you said that.”

Reggie patted a spot on the seat next to him, indicating he wanted me to move closer. He then put his arm around my shoulders. Sheesh.

“So you’d like to be a professional dancer?” Reggie pulled me a bit closer.

I glanced down at our shoulders touching. “Well, it’s always a daydream, right? It’s not like there’s any call for dancers in the town I live in.”

Hunching his shoulders, Reggie asked, “Any reason you have kept living there?”

I shook my head. “No. Not really. I was born there.”

Pointing his finger at me, Reggie said, “Well, if you ever decide spread your wings little girl and move out this way, give me a call. I’ll set you up with people. The rest would be up to you.”

“Why can’t I just come work for you?” I asked naively.

Reggie smiled. “You don’t have the experience yet to be on my crew, but you definitely have talent. Trust me. Donny wasn’t saying that shit just to get in your panties. He knows talent when he sees it.”

I hung my head and looked down at my feet. “He thinks I’m a girl, too. Which I’m not. I doubt those people you mentioned would be interested. Everyone who’s interested me, including you, thinks I’m a girl. Which as you see, I’m not.”

Reggie laughed. “Are you sure? Donny also knows a beautiful woman when he sees one. Maybe you should look deeper into yourself.”

Before I could ask what he meant, the limo stopped in front of my hotel.

I smiled shyly and said, “I guess this is where I get off. Thanks for the great evening Mr. McGuiness.”

Reggie grinned. “Call me Reg.”

I smiled back and got out of the car and headed into the hotel.

*          *          *

“I can’t believe you’d go to a club and not invite me.” Malcolm sounded genuinely disappointed.

I was trying to insert a gaff I’d made from searching Google. “Hey. I didn’t know we were going there until we got there. Besides. You wouldn’t have liked it. There were people having fun there.”

“Ha. I have fun,” said Malcolm as he gave me a strange look. “What are you doing?”

“It’s called a gaff,” I said as I pulled my panties up. “I’m wearing leotards to dance in. I really don’t want the big guy to pop out.”

Malcolm laughed. “You mean the little guy.”

I frowned. “Have you been peeking again?”

Malcolm knitted his brow. “No. I… Hey. Knock it off!”

As we walked across the hotel parking lot to get to the waiting taxi a female voice shouted, “Oh my God! Look! It’s her!”

We looked around and saw everyone staring at us. There was a woman pointing at us and she was holding one of those stupid gossip papers. I walked up to her, trying to see the cover. I tried to take it.

Scowling, she jerked it away from me. “This is mine. Get your own, bitch!”

I shouted at the retreating woman, “I just want to see!”

Malcolm pointed a newspaper rack by registration. We ran over to it and I plucked one from the rack. My eyes went wide when I saw the picture plastered on the front page of several of them.

It was a picture, poor quality I might add, of me with Reggie! The headline on one read, “Rock Mega-star Reggie McGuiness seen with mystery woman at local dance club.” Another blared the question, “Who is Reggie dating now?” Another stupidly shouted in bold type, “Is she even legal? Bouncer at club tried to refuse to let Reggie McGuiness’ latest sex toy from entering the club, claiming she was only sixteen!”

I pointed at the last one and said, “That’s not even the club we went to. They’re making shit up!”

Malcolm looked at me sideways. “Sex toy? Y’all were gone a long time.”

With nostrils flaring I growled, “Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

Malcolm just laughed. “Come on you teen sex toy you. Let’s get to the studio.”

*          *          *

“I’m sorry, Rose,” said Reggie looking at one of the gossip papers after I had arrived at the studio rehearse. We were waiting for the choreographer. Malcolm wasn’t happy to be sent back to the hotel. “I’m glad that happened though.”

“Oh? You are?” I asked, not understanding.

Reggie just grinned. “I am glad you had a good time, but the main reason for taking you to the club last night was exposure. I knew there would be paparazzi there and they’d go crazy seeing you there with me. You’re in my new video and I wanted to create buzz about it. What better way than to get free advertising?”

I held up one of the papers. “This one claims I’m your sex toy!”

Reggie laughed. “That’s great, isn’t it?”

Scowling I said, “No. It’s not true! What will they say when I go home?”

Reggie just shook his head. “There’s no such thing as bad buzz. If you want to work in this town, this helps you as much as it helps me. And be honest, do you really think even your own mother would recognize you from those pictures?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Growing up I was sure Mom had eyes in the back of her head and X-ray vision.”

The door opened and in walked who I assumed to be the choreographer. She was dressed in pink and black leotards and had her hair pulled back into a pony tail. I decided that was a good idea and pulled my hair into a pony tail as well.

She smiled as she approached us. “Hey Reg. Good to see you again. Still young girls, eh?”

Reggie laughed. “She’s twenty.”

The woman laughed too. “And how old are you?”

Shaking his head, Reggie chuckled. “Touché. Oh, and this is Rose’s first job. Don’t scare her away.” He turned and started walking away.

The woman grinned as she held out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Rose. I’m Elisabeth. You can just call me Liz. Despite Reg’s joke, I am very strict. So honey, if I don’t think you’re good enough, you won’t be dancing any of my dances.”

I just nodded. “Yes ma’am.” Bitch.

The morning was tough. I’ve never worked so hard at dancing before. Liz wasn’t kidding. She drove me hard; past what I thought my limits were. I learned new techniques as well. I never thought it was possible for me to do splits. Well, I can now.

She allowed me a half hour break for lunch. Malcolm had snuck by to watch and we went across the street to get a burrito. When we got back, Liz asked him to leave as he’d be a distraction. After he left she complimented me on my choice of boyfriends.

The afternoon was grueling but I learned a lot from Liz and got the dance down forwards and backwards. She literally made me do the dance backwards.

Reggie entered the studio as we were finishing up. He clapped after I finished the dance.

“How did she do?” asked Reggie, knitting his brow a bit.

Liz smiled as she wiped the sweat from her forehead. “She did great, Reg. That’s one hard working little girl there. I’d even put her in one of my shows.”

Reggie beamed. “High praise indeed! Can I pick them or can I pick them?”

As she was walking past him, she patted Reg on the arm. “You sure can pick them. I’ll be here tomorrow morning for the shoot. She’s got it. We’ll be done before noon. Oh. And do this one a favor okay? Don’t fuck her.” She continued on her way.

“I assure you I have nothing but honorable intentions towards this girl,” Reggie shouted to Liz as went out the door. I heard Liz laughing.

Reggie turned to me and grinned. “Excellent, girl. Just excellent.” He bent down towards me and kissed my forehead. He raised his eyebrows. “You’re lucky I’m not into dudes.”

Heaving a heavy sigh of relief I said, “I’m glad to hear that, Reg.”

“But!” said Reggie. “There’s always a big but. I’ve sent a dress over to your room. I’ll give you two hours to shower, make-up and figure out how to get into the dress before I come pick you up. I’m receiving a humanitarian award tonight and it’s a dress up affair. I want my latest sex toy to be there.” He laughed heartily. “You’re taxi is waiting.”

*          *          *

Malcolm was watching me take a stab at applying make-up. He was more than annoyed. “When do I get to go to a fancy dinner?”

Grinning, I said, “Since you’re my boyfriend, you can take me to Texas Roadhouse for a steak when we get back home.”

Malcolm picked up a pillow to throw at me, saw me with the mascara brush to my eye and decided to put the pillow back down. “Will you knock it off with the boyfriend shit? Or do you want me to call your mom about you going on a date with big famous rock star?”

With a smirk I looked over at Malcolm. “She’d probably just ask when’s the wedding and complain she doesn’t have any grandchildren yet.”

Malcolm laughed. “I can just hear her say that!”

“There. I think I’m done with my make-up. What do you think?” I turned to face Malcolm.

“You’re gorgeous. What can I say?” Malcolm said sincerely.

I wish I could do something with my hair besides just blow dry it,” I said getting frustrated. “He should have given me more time.”

“So you could have gone to the beauty salon?” chuckled Malcolm.

“Well, duh!” I stood up and picked up the dress and held it in front of me. “Okay. You want to melt me and pour me into this thing?”

Malcolm took the dress from me. “You’re the girl. You should know how to put on a dress. Do you step into it or pull it over year head?”

Scowling I said, “Stop calling me a girl. I’ve never worn a dress like that before in my life.”

Malcolm gave me a wry smile. “You’ve never worn a dress… or a dress *like* this… before?”

I threw a pillow at him.

*          *          *

“Are you sure you’re not a chick?” asked Reggie after he helped me step into his limo and we headed to the ballroom where the event was being held. He sat close to me and I was holding on to Reggie’s arm with one hand and clutching onto a small purse with my other hand. I looked down at the purse and wondered if that’s why they call them ‘clutches’? Walking to the limo I did pretty well walking in high heels. I had to dance in a pair once for school.

“Well, I took a piss standing up before we left,” I said giving Reggie a sweet smile.

He looked me up and down as we rode to the event. “Honestly though. You look incredible. I love your hair.”

“Thanks,” I said. That was funny because my hair was the one thing I didn’t get to spend any time on.

As we approached the ballroom, Reggie stopped and suddenly looked serious.

“Now the important thing to know here,” said Reggie pointing a finger at my nose. “… is that don’t take these things I’m doing with you, taking you to night clubs and bringing you with me to the awards, giving you that dress, to mean I’m sweet on you in any way. You’re a means to an end. You’re creating buzz for me. We’re not buds. We’re not pals. I’ll help you with a reference like I said if you want to dance as Rose later. But after tomorrow’s shoot, we’re done. You got that?”

“Yes sir,” I said rather glumly.

Reggie’s expression softened slightly. “Sorry Rose. But my lawyers wanted me to remind you of your obligations to never reveal who you are. And I need you to understand that there’s nothing between us because at this event, I’ll probably have to show some indications of affection to you. Don’t look so worried about that. But I need you to understand that Rose is always a woman. If you later try to say that you as a male was Rose, my lawyers will deny it and then sue you into oblivion. Are we straight on that?”

I pulled away from Reggie. “I get it. You don’t have to be such an asshole about it. What are you planning on doing in there? Raping me on the table?”

Reggie laughed. “No, of course not. Just holding you closer to me and probably a kiss. The paparazzi loves that. Just try to look like you enjoy it.”

I frowned. “Well, you’ve certainly killed the mood I was in.”

Reggie shrugged. “Sorry to be so brutal about it. But before going in there, I needed you to understand that despite the way I act towards you in there, I really don’t care. This is all just for show. You’re even getting paid for this.”

He put his arm back around my shoulders.

“You realize you’re a prick, right?” I said as limo stopped in front of the entrance to the ball room.

Reggie shrugged. “I’m good with that.”

I had just been nervous about attending such an event period, much less being dressed in a short, tight cocktail dress and high heels. But now I was also pissed off. I understood the contractual obligation to not reveal who Rose actually is. I don’t really like it, but I understood how it could be damaging to him if it was revealed that the woman he’d been hanging around with the past few days was actually a guy. The brow-beating was uncalled for. I was already very much aware that he wasn’t “sweet on me.”

Reggie helped me exit the limo. Trying to get out of the car with high heels and the short tight dress. I couldn’t spread my legs to get balance because of the tight skirt and I couldn’t even get a leg out the door without exposing my panties. After his lecture, I was surprised when he positioned himself to try to block the view up my dress.

I reluctantly took Reggie’s arm and as we stepped onto the red carpet we were assaulted by dozens of camera flashes. Smiling and waving to the crowd lining the red carpet, Reggie let his arm slip down to my waist and he pulled me closer. He whispered in my ear, “Try smiling, okay?”

I smiled nervously. This crowd of shouting fans and photographers was really intimidating to me. While I’d like to work in show business, I really don’t think I could handle this level of celebrity. I laughed at myself. As if I would ever get this famous. Before going inside, Reggie stopped for some photographers and kissed me on the cheek.

I relaxed some as we finished running the gauntlet of flashing cameras and entered the ballroom itself. There was still a crowd, but the rabid fans remained outside. Everyone inside were either dressed in suits or for the women, dressed in cocktail dresses or evening gowns. This was the glamour side that everyone wants to be a part of.

Reggie continued to keep his arm about my waist as we were led to our table up near the dais. Along the way, he’d stop and introduce me as Rose. There were dozens of people there, but it was nothing like you might expect to see at the Academy Awards.

As we sat down at our table, I felt really out of place. These were the beautiful people. The rich and famous and in some cases shameless. I didn’t belong here. These people were used to being all dressed up and going to balls and galas and Hollywood parties. I was used to spending evenings eating pizza and playing computer games with Mal and Saul.

The men looked kinda bland as they were all dressed in black or dark suits. But the women! They were all gorgeous, decked out in their beautiful dresses with perfect make-up. Being a woman at one of these events is definitely the way to go. Although it was a bit uncomfortable with my legs, back and arms exposed. The room was a little cold to me.

In a quiet voice, I said to Reggie, “I really don’t belong here. All these beautiful women. I really feel out of place.”

Reggie smiled at me. “No need to feel that way Rose. You are beautiful tonight. You more than fit in.” And then he put his hand on my knee.

After everyone was seated, a woman stood up at the dais. She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we honor a patron of the arts and a great humanitarian who always gives generously to support worthy causes…”

I mostly stopped listening. It seems these events are nothing more than self-promoting buzz-boxes. Everyone here wants to be seen as being here. There were still plenty of video and still photographers here. They were just more subtle than the rabid ones outside.

When Reggie was called to the dais, he kissed me on the back of my neck as he stood up. I didn’t listen to him. After what he said to me, I realized he was a man that didn’t really believe in anything. If he didn’t get anything out of it, he wouldn’t do it. And while technically I was his date for the night, I was only here so people would talk about him by talking about me. I didn’t feel glamorous. I felt used.

I tried to get some enjoyment out of the situation. This would probably be my one and only time to be at such an event wearing a hot little cocktail dress and heels. I stopped myself. Do I want to wear hot little cocktail dresses and heels? In all honesty, I did like the way I looked.

Thankfully Reggie only spoke for twenty minutes. He was presented his award and that was the end of the event.

We then walked around meeting various people. Reggie kept his arm draped over my shoulder, or down around my waist where his hand would wander over to my ass. Women would look at me and then say to Reggie things like “What a lovely girl” or “She’s beautiful” as if I wasn’t standing right there. Knowing they’re probably never going see me again, I got invited to come to more such events and join their social circles. I thought that was funny. Even if I was an actual girl, these folks wouldn’t want a mere dancer being in their clique.

Before we left for the evening, Reggie and other attendees would pose together for the photographers. One photographer waved to Reggie, “How about some shots of just you and your lady?” Oh Geez.

Reggie smiled as he held my shoulder, then my hand, then around my waist as he posed for the pictures. And then suddenly, for the final picture, he bent down and kissed me full on the lips. He lingered on my lips for quite a few seconds. I wanted to push him away, but I figured it would just make him angry with me. I hoped he didn’t smear my lipstick.

Of course the crowd loved it and cheered and clapped. I was so embarrassed.

Reggie said to me, “Okay babe. Time to go.” When he said that, I got some knowing winks from some of the guys and some grins from the women. I sighed. I’m sure they all thought I was heading to Reggie’s house for a night of wild sex.

Reggie was silent on the ride back to my hotel. When I was opening the limo door to get out, he said, “Thanks for being a good sport about all that. Good luck at the studio tomorrow.”

I just nodded and exited the limo with the chauffer’s help.

*          *          *

Liz was waiting for me at the studio. I thought having to be there at six AM was early enough. She had been there since five working with the director to line up shots.

“Good morning, Rose,” greeted Liz. Let’s do some practice runs before you go to hair and make-up.” She pointed to Malcolm standing off to one side looking lost. He wanted to watch for once, dammit! “Is that your boyfriend?”

I just smiled and said, “Yes. He wanted to watch.”

Liz nodded. “As long as he stays quiet and out of the way, I don’t have a problem with him on the set.”

“I told him before we got here,” I said, starting to feel nervous. “Let’s get started.”

It was different with a whole crew here and not just Liz. We went through 3 more rehearsals with the cameras and video director telling me where I needed to be. The video crew was intimidating to me, but as far as the dancing, I had it down so I could probably do it in my sleep.

The director finally stopped all the activity and pointed at me. “I need you in hair and make-up and in costume in an hour. Be ready on set at nine sharp.”

Liz said, “That’s more than enough time to get ready. She’ll be ready.”

We had done the full make-up before. I still didn’t really like it though. It was pretty heavy make-up with extra long (but not ridiculous looking) false eyelashes, thick eyeliner and dark, smokey eye shadow. And red lipstick. To save time, I’d done my nails myself before going to bed the night before. The costume was a willowy and loose fitting white dress and tailored to fit my boobless self. Lacking boobs wasn’t really a big deal as a lot of dancers are flat-chested. Thankfully my shoes were ordinary ballerina shoes.

Malcolm walked into the make-up room and shocked me by taking my hand. “Don’t sweat it Rose. You’re going to do great. I just know it. Go out there and break a leg!”

Before I could say anything, Liz looked up from the magazine she was ready. “Sir. I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Just stand quietly by the studio exit. If I have to speak to you again about this, you’ll have to wait outside the building.”

Looking more nervous than I felt, Malcolm quietly said, “Yes sir…I mean ma’am.” He then walked over to the studio exit door.

I was nervously excited as I walked back out into the studio in my white, flowing dress. The whole video crew was staring at me as I walked out. I stopped for a moment to suck in a deep breath. Trying not to look as nervous as I felt, I walked up to the director.

Pointing at the camera, the director said, “Okay Miss Bolger. We’re going to shoot your dance from four different angles. I’m going to cue the music, and then you’ll go through you entire routine. We’ll stop, move the camera and then we’ll do it again. And then finally we’ll do several close-ups. Understood?” I nodded.

This was it. This was the big time. I stood there and shook out my arms for a moment and took some quick breaths. Liz walked by to get behind the director.

“Just concentrate on your dancing. Don’t worry about the camera and crew. Just relax and enjoy yourself,” said Liz as she whispered in my ear. She then stepped behind the director.

The actual music was still being worked on and would be dubbed in later, of course. The music they were going to play while I danced was so I could keep time. I walked to my mark and waited for the director’s signal. I was to start moving and then they’d start the music.

I thought I was going to explode waiting for the director to say “Action!” When he did, I ran out to my second mark and started to perform my dance. The music started and after about thirty seconds into the dance, my foot caught on the hem of the dress and I tripped and fell.

The director didn’t miss a beat. “Reset everyone. Take your mark Miss Bolger. From the top.”

I looked over at Liz and saw her mouth the words, “Just relax.”

I took a few deep breaths and returned to my mark and waited for the director.

I started the dance again, putting the director and the video crew out of my mind. And this time there were no hiccups. I smiled broadly at Liz.

“We had a problem with the camera,” said the director. “Take your mark, miss. Reset everyone. From the top.”

It was going to be a long morning.

*          *          *

“Okay, great job everyone,” said the director. He then started the crew on breaking down the equipment. Reggie had come in during the last break in shooting and stood by Liz to watch.

Liz walked up to me, “That was beautiful, honey. Just perfect!”

“Thank you, Liz!” I said, still bubbling over in excitement. “That was such a rush!”

Reggie grinned at me once. “Yeah. Good job Rose. We’ll mail your check.”

Liz handed me a business card. “Here’s my card. I’m always looking for new dancers for films, videos, plays, you name it. Give me a call sometime.”

“Thank you!” I said as we hugged. Wow, I thought. I could make a career with this. I then sighed. But only as Rose.

As Reggie and Liz started to leave the studio together, Reggie said, “Hey Liz. Interested in some lunch? I have a meeting with some execs at Olive’s Bistro. We’re going to need a choreographer.”

Liz shrugged. “Sure. You buying?”

Reggie laughed. “Of course.” They turned and started to leave the building.

I went back to the small adjoining room to return the dress and change my clothes. And to have my face scrubbed of this rather heavy make-up.

The make-up girl pointed at Malcolm waiting patiently by the studio door. “Is that your boyfriend?” I just nodded. It’s easier to just nod than to say he’s not. “He’s cute. Tell you what. I’ll go ahead and re-do your make-up. I’m sure you two will go to lunch and then take in some sights. Would you like that?”

“Sure. That’d be great, thanks!” Actually, Mal and I were planning to do just that since we’re scheduled to hop the private jet back home tomorrow morning.

About twenty minutes later after changing into panties, a bra that didn’t hold anything, a loose tank-top and a ruffled denim miniskirt, I walked out to meet Malcolm.

He grinned at me as I approached. “You did great out there! It’s pretty exciting to watch them film that.”

“Thanks!” I said with a smile. “But I sure glad it’s over. It’s more work than you think.”

Malcolm started to open the studio door so we could leave. He paused a moment and looked me over. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Rose. But you look damned hot.”

I laughed. “How can anyone take that the wrong way?”

Looking embarrassed, Malcolm said, “Well, since you’re not a girl and all.”

I smiled. “I appreciate you noticing anyway. It’s almost eleven-thirty. Want some lunch? You’re buying.”

“Me?” exclaimed Malcolm. “You’re the big Hollywood dancer.”

I opened my purse and held it up. “I don’t have any money!”

Malcolm laughed. “Okay. Just this once.”

He surprised me by taking my hand and leading me outside. It was a gorgeous morning and there was an In-And-Out Burger just a few minute’s walk away. He held my hand all the way there.

While we were eating, Malcolm asked, “So. Are you going to turn this into a career?”

I shrugged. “I’d love to. But I’d have to do it as Rose. I can’t keep going around pretending to be a girl.”

“You’re doing a good job so far,” grinned Malcolm.

I shook my head. “I don’t think I could keep it up. What would Mom and Dad say? They don’t know I came out here to dance as a girl. Plus it’d be like lying. Being something I’m not.”

Malcolm shrugged. “Well, my grandmother always used to say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines’. You could do this for a little while as a girl, learn the industry and then come back as Ross and kinda start over, but this time knowing what you’re doing.”

“I dunno,” I said with a sigh. “It was fun and exciting this one time.”

Looking serious, Malcolm said, “You can always be a used car salesman like your dad.”

I smiled wryly. “Dare to dream.”

Malcolm stood up. “Let’s walk downtown. Maybe we’ll see some celebrities.” He took my hand again and we started walking.

The studio was located in a somewhat seedy section of Burbank so it took walking a few blocks to get to the more glamorous places. There was a lot of graffiti on the buildings.

After walking about a block and a half, Malcolm stopped. “Oh wow. Look at this comic book store. Mind if we take a quick look?” I shrugged and he led me inside.

Malcolm was like a kid in a candy store. The store was a treasure trove of new and long out of print comics, posters, action figures… you name it. I followed him around for a few minutes. I never collected comics like he did, so the store wasn’t quite as fascinating to me as it was to him.

“It’s a little stuffy in here,” I whispered to Malcolm as if we were in a library. “I’m going to step outside for a minute.”

I guess he heard me. He grunted something and returned to gleefully looking at the covers of some comics inside their plastic bags.

I stepped outside and actually felt refreshed. The air was pretty stagnant in the store and had that old paper smell to it. I walked a couple of doors down looking in shop windows. I stopped just to look up at the buildings and look around. This would most likely be my last time here.

From behind me, I heard a male voice whisper, “Are you sure that’s her?”

I suddenly felt the very sharp point of a knife sticking me in my side, actually cutting through my tank top. Two men quickly stood on either side of me. “Don’t even think of screaming, girl. Walk casually over to the alley.”

Holy shit! I was scared out of my mind. I felt the knife point cut into my skin. I was pushed into an alley and a hand was roughly placed over my mouth. I was pushed against a wall and my arms were jerked behind me. I felt my purse slip from my shoulder and fall to the ground. I winced in pain as one of those plastic ties was tightened around my wrists. I tried to struggle but the men were just too strong.

One of the men grinned at the other. “I can’t believe our luck! Reggie McGuiness’ girlfriend in our neighborhood all alone?”

The other man growled at me, “Sorry girl. But you’re just too valuable of a target to pass up.” Some kind of cloth, I hoped it wasn’t underwear, was jammed into my mouth.

I was then roughly escorted down the alley to a door and then shoved inside. The building looked like it had been abandoned for years. I was pushed upstairs and then forced to sit in a rickety chair. My ankles were then tied and I was quickly bound to the chair with duct tape. I looked around quickly. It was fairly dark with shafts of sunlight coming in through gaps in the slats covering the windows.

One of the men pulled a cell phone out a backpack he’d been carrying. “We only have a couple of burners left. You sure he’ll bite?”

The other man who had blond hair nodded in my direction. “If you were fucking that every night, wouldn’t you want her back? I mean, she’s some prime pussy there. Dial his office now. Put it on speaker so the bitch can hear.”

“Bat Guano Studios,” answered a pleasant sounding woman. “How may I direct your call?”

The blond man said, “I need to talk to Reggie McGuiness right now.”

The pleasant sounding woman said calmly, “I’m sorry sir. But he’s not available to take calls at this time. Would you like to leave a message?”

“We have his little girlfriend here and we’ll slit her throat if we don’t talk to him in thirty seconds. This is no joke!” The blond man almost spat the words at the phone.

It only came out as muffled sounds, I but tried desperately to scream. They were going to kill me! I really didn’t think it was an idle threat. I rocked the chair back and forth and stamped my feet.

The woman on the phone sounded a bit rattled. “Just a moment sir.”

The blond man looked to the other, pointed at me and shouted, “Shut that bitch up!”

The man walked over and slapped me hard. He put the point of the knife to my throat. “Want to die now? Knock it off. You’re making enough noise to wake up the dead.” Well, that was kinda the point.

Muffled, I said, “Okay.” I was crying. I’ve never been more scared in my life. I just watched the two men in wide-eyed terror.

And then Reggie’s voice boomed over the cell phone’s speaker. “Who am I talking to ?”

In a mocking tone, the blond said, “Never mind that, McGuiness. We have your girlfriend here. We’re not greedy. We’ll let her go for a measly hundred grand. In half an hour. Or she’s dead.”

Not sounding concerned at all, Reggie said, “Which girlfriend are we talking about?” I struggled against the duct tape and shouted in my mind, does it fucking matter?

Sounding puzzled, the blond said, “The one you’ve been all over the news with lately.”

Reggie laughed. “Oh her. The dancer. She’s not my girlfriend. I have no feelings for her at all. She completed her contract today. That’s all I care about. Do whatever you want with her.” And he disconnected.

Muffled, I shouted, “What the fuck?” I couldn’t believe he just hung up. I rocked my chair back and forth again.

The other man said to the blond, “What do we do now? I didn’t expect that.”

The blond said, “Me either. That’s pretty heartless. Still, I hate going away empty handed. I suggest we just rape the girl and then kill her.”

Muffled I pleaded, “No! No! Please!”

Then came the distinct sound of someone stepping on one of the old wooden stair steps.

The blond said, “Go check that out. I’ll watch the girl.” He picked up his knife and pointed it at me.

The other man picked up a large knife from the table and quietly stepped out of the room. There was a sound of a scuffle and then a dull thud.

The blond said in a low tone, “Sweeny. What’s going on?”

I strained to turn to look out the door behind me. In the darkness it looked for all the world like Malcolm framed in the doorway holding a shotgun. Where the hell did he get that?

In a stern and the most adult voice I ever heard from Malcolm he said evenly, “Put the knife down, asshole. The cops are on their way.”

Blond guy started to raise his knife. Malcolm raised his barrel higher and growled, “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Looking defeated, the blond put his knife down. Malcolm had him kick the knife to one side and to lay down with his hands behind his head and his legs crossed at the ankles. He picked up the knife and cut me free.

Pointing at the table, Malcolm said, “Grab those ties and tie up the other guy out in the hall.” I moved quickly to do what he said. I found the other guy lying unconscious in the hall outside the room. In the distance, I heard sirens.

Handing me what turned out to be just a long pipe, Malcolm said, “Keep this trained on him while I tie him up.” It was just a stupid pipe. But in the darkness, the way he held it, it looked just like a shotgun.

Shaking, Malcolm stepped up to me and took me briefly in his arms and kissed me. He kissed me for God’s sake!

“Rose! Thank God you’re okay! I was so fucking scared!” Malcolm almost couldn’t speak. Catching his breath, he said, “Let’s step in the hall to talk.”

After the blond guy was secured, we stepped back into the hall. I asked, “How did you know I was here? You were in that store.”

Malcolm laughed. “You were damned lucky. I came outside and saw your purse by the alley. I walked quickly down the alley and heard some banging around coming from an upper floor. I tried the door and stepped inside. I could hear Reggie’s voice. I knew something was up.”

“Reggie!” I shouted. “That son of a bitch!” I then turned and ran down the stairs.

“Aren’t you going to wait for the police,” called Malcolm.

I knew where Reggie was and rushed to that restaurant, which wasn’t far from our hotel. I ran hard and fast. With the body of a dancer, I was light on my feet and cut the distance quickly.

I ran into the entrance, past the waiter who seats people. He called out, “Miss!” but I didn’t stop. Breathing hard, I ran through the restaurant looking for Reggie. At first I was afraid he’d already left. And then I spotted him sitting a table by the window, with Liz and a couple of suit guys.

As I ran full tilt into Reggie, my fist in front of me I screamed, “Bastard!” I caught him off guard and rammed my fist full onto his nose. Blood spattered everywhere. He managed to push me back and I fell on my backside. My skirt flipped up and my panties had moved to one side. I only had a moment to worry if I had been exposed or not. Liz raised her eyebrow at me.

I jumped up, smoothing my skirt down. I yelled, “You fucking bastard! You were going to let those fucking kidnappers kill me!”

Holding a napkin to his nose, Reggie bellowed, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

I grabbed his collar and shouted, “I heard you on the phone with them you son of a bitch!”

Liz looked over at Reggie. “Is this true?”

Reggie shrugged. “Maybe.”

Two police officers came running up. One grabbed my arm. “Calm down, miss.” He pulled me away from the table.

The other office looked at Reggie. “We have the kidnappers in custody. Why did you not report this? They threatened to kill this girl.”

Reggie stammered, “Well, I uh. Um, you see, it’s like this…”

Growling, I said, “You told them to go ahead and kill me!” Right then, Malcolm came running up.

Malcolm was breathing heavy. “I was coming up the stairs, and the volume was low, but I could clearly hear McGuiness say that.”

The office said, “I think we all need to go downtown.”

*          *          *

As we exited the police station, I was clinging to Malcolm’s arm. There were dozens of reporters, from news services far and wide. A big story involving Reggie McGuiness, kidnappers and a young girl makes big news. Even if the girl isn’t one.

It was already night. Camera flashes going off all over. It was worse than the paparazzi outside the ballroom. It was a madhouse outside the police station. We were trying desperately to get away. A police car was waiting to take us back to our hotel.

One woman jumped in front of me, sticking a microphone in my face. “Excuse me, miss! Is Reggie McGuiness your boyfriend?”

I shook my head vigorously and pointed at Malcolm. “He is.”

Another reporter blocked our escape. “Please! Just a few questions.”

Malcolm said, “Just for a minute. We’re both really tired.”

The reporter asked, “Is the rumor true that you’re actually a man and that you’re a high end shemale prostitute?”

Frowning, Malcolm said, “I think we’re done with the questions.” He started to push forward.

A woman holding her camera high shouted, “How about a kiss? That’d make a great picture!”

I grinned at Malcolm. He shook his head. “You wouldn’t dare.”

I just grinned and then suddenly threw my arms around his neck and kissed him hard, closing my eyes and moaning softly. I really needed a kiss, a hug and a shower. The crowd cheered and cameras snapped away.

We finally pushed our way through to the waiting police car and sped away towards our hotel.

*          *          *

The next morning, we got on Reggie’s private jet. In our agreement, he still agreed to let us use his jet to get home. I still got paid for my work. I keep the portfolio pictures. I get to keep the clothes, including the expensive dress and shoes. But my dancing was cut from the video. He also promised not to press assault charges against me. He was having his own legal issues for not reporting the kidnapping and saying it was okay to go ahead and kill me. That wasn’t going over with his fans very well either. In all the press, I was referred to as female.

We had to face a few more reporters as we left, so I wore some light make-up, a loose t-shirt and a black short skirt. On the jet, I sat in the seat next to Malcolm.

I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes for a moment. My eyes still closed, I said, “So much for my dancing career. Nobody is going to ever see my work. I punched my employer in the nose. I’d be shocked if anybody ever wanted to hire me.”

Malcolm shrugged. “You can always try again as Ross.”

I nodded. “That’s true.” I opened my eyes and picked up my phone that was lying in my lap. I looked at the news and tabloid pictures that I had loaded on it. I sighed. During this whole ordeal I had only gotten one call from my parents. They had no idea I was Rose and been kidnapped and all and just asked how was doing and if I enjoyed seeing Hollywood.

I just shook my head while looking down at my phone. “How are we going to explain all this to our parents? To our friends?”

Malcolm just looked over at me for a moment. He then put his finger under my chin and lifted my face up and turned it towards him. “This is how we’ll explain it…”

He then pressed his lips against mine in a long, deep, passionate kiss. I put my palm on his chest and pressed my lips into his, moaning and closing my eyes. We kissed a very long time.

Somehow, I don’t think my dad is going to like this explanation.

*          *          *

The End



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