Erika goes to Hollywood
“Good morning, Mrs. Martin.” Hunter greeted.
“Hello, Hunter.” She let him enter the hotel room.
“Erika, you look like you are feeling better.”
“Thank you, I am.” Erika stood there not knowing what to do. Hunter was in her hotel room.
“The flowers you sent are beautiful.” Her mother stated.
Erika screamed at herself, she should have said that, not her mother.
“They were nothing.” Hunter glanced at the table of flowers and back to her mother.
“So, Hunter.” Her mother began. “I’ll let Erika go out with you today if you promise to keep things calm. We still don’t know what causes her seizures and she does need her rest for tomorrow.”
“No problem Mrs. Martin.” Hunter was sincere. “After seeing what happened last night, the last thing I want is for her to go through that again.”
Her mother nodded agreement. Then took Erika in her gaze. “You, young lady, are to text or call me every two hours. Understand?”
“Yes, Mom.” Erika bit her lower lip.
“Take your charger. I don’t want that to be an excuse for not checking in.”
“Okay.” Erika dashed into her room and grabbed her phone charger and tucked it into her a small purse.
Erika emerged to her mother speaking quietly to Hunter.
“Not a problem Mrs. Martin.” Hunter pulled back and smiled at her mother. He looked up as Erika drew closer. “Is this your first time in Los Angeles?”
“Yes.” Erika was getting excited.
“Did you bring sunscreen?” he inquired.
Erika was a bit thrown off by the question. The confused look on her face must have been noteworthy. “Uh, no.”
“I’ve got some.” Her mother came to her rescue. “It’s the spray kind so it won’t feel all greasy.”
“It’s L.A. its sunny and you aren’t from around here.” Hunter tried to explain.
“Come in here, I’ll take care of you.” Her mother led her into her own bathroom. A nicer, larger version of her own.
“I want you to be careful and don’t over exert yourself.” Her mother lectured as she dug out the can of spray.
Erika flinched away and squealed as the sunscreen touched her skin. Her mother moved the long hair of her pony aside and sprayed her neck and ears causing another squeal. Erika hoped that Hunter couldn’t hear her sounding like this over sunscreen.
“You are wearing a spaghetti strap dress, be sure you cover your shoulders and arms again in a few hours.” Her mother handed her the can of spray. You’ll regret it immensely tomorrow if you don’t.”
“Thanks mom.” Erika said as they re-emerged.
“Well, Mrs. Martin, we’ll see you tonight.” He told her mother.
“I hope she didn’t threaten you.” She said softly as they walked towards the elevator.
“Nope.” He shook his head. “Just confirming contacts and directions just in case you have another. . . episode.”
“Why?” He held the elevator door for her. The pushed the button for the lobby.
“It’s risky taking a girl with a brain injury out.”
“We all have our issues, Erika.”
The valet lobbed some keys to Hunter who caught it without thought and walked to one side. He opened the passenger door to a red sixty-five Mustang convertible that looked brand new.
Erika sat and swung her legs in, the door closed a second behind them. Erika caught Hunter’s smile as he quickly walked around the front and sat in the driver’s seat. He pulled some sunglasses out of a pocket and put them on before driving out of the driveway.
“Welcome to sunny California.” He tossed a smile at her. “Do you have sunglasses?”
“No.” Erika frowned.
“Then that is the first stop.” He told her. “You’ve never been here before, where would you like to go?”
“There are so many places.” Erika admitted. “The beach, Hollywood walk of fame, The Chinese theater where actors put their hands in cement. . . I don’t know; Where else is there to go?”
Hunter laughed. “Plenty of places. But I would ask that we don’t go to the walk of fame or the Chinese theater. It’s kind of risky for me to be seen there.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” Erika admitted. “The beach?”
“Sounds great. It is the middle of winter, so the water is kinda cold to swim in. but it is still fun there.”
Cold? Erika thought to herself. It’s going to almost reach eighty degrees today, in January.
Fifteen minutes later, Hunter parked along a street. Erika went to get out, but he ran and opened the door. He held out her hand so that she could balance herself as she got out.
“Let’s get you some sunglasses.” He led her into a store.
“I can’t afford these.” Erika was embarrassed. “A drug store would do.”
“Nonsense, these are my treat. If you’re in Los Angeles, you need a good pair, not some cheap pair.” He pulled his off and tucked them into the pocket of his shorts.
“Welcome, how can we help you. . . Mr. Allyson.” The last was posed more as a question.
“Hello.” Hunter smiled at the young man who had greeted them. “My friend here needs a pair of sunglasses. Can you hook her up?”
“Of course, Mr. Allyson. Please, Miss, come over here.”
Half an hour later, the two left the store. Erika sporting a very stylish pair of shades. None of the sunglasses had price tags on them and Erika was too afraid to ask how much this pair cost. It had to be a lot.
“Are you getting hungry?” Hunter asked as they settled themselves back in the Mustang.
“A bit.” She admitted.
“What would you like?” he asked.
“It’s kind of lame.” Erika admitted.
“In-n-Out.” She blushed, hoping that he wouldn’t notice.
“Hey, now. In-n-Out is never lame.” He was dead serious. “Have you had it before?”
“Brook took me yesterday. It was so good.”
Hunter nodded. “It is amazing isn’t it?”
“One favor though.” Hunter pulled up to a stop light and looked at Erika. “We need to go through the drive thru. I get recognized too easily and once that happens our private lunch becomes a party of never ending autographs and photos.”
“You don’t like meeting your fans?” Erika asked crestfallen. She was hoping to get a few pictures today.
“I love my fans.” Hunter told her. “but today, you are the only fan I want to spend time with.”
Erika’s heart leaped.
At another traffic light, two girls recognized Hunter and waved frantically to get his attention. Hunter looked over and smiled causing the girls to squeal with delight.
“Do you get that a lot?” Erika inquired.
“More than I’d care to admit.” Hunter shrugged.
A few minutes later, they pulled into the In-n-Out drive thru line.
“Holy moly.” Erika was aghast at the dozen cars in line for the drive thru ahead of them.
“What?” Hunter asked.
“The line.” Erika pointed.
Hunter chuckled. “I’ve seen it two to three times longer.”
“Seriously?” Erika had a hard time believing that so many people would wait in a drive thru line that long.
An employee with a hand-held device smiled at them. “How can I help you?”
Hunter looked to Erika. Who ordered the same as she had the day before.
“Um, Hunter.” The order taker seemed nervous.
“Could I, I mean, would it be alright if I got a picture with you?”
“Sure.” He agreed.
“Oh, man, thanks, Hunter.” The person pulled a phone out of his back pocket. “I have to be careful, I can’t get seen doing this while on the clock.”
Hunter looked past the employee. “I don’t see anyone looking. Quick.” The guy squatted down next to the car and took a quick selfie. “Let me see your phone.” Hunter suggested. “Now bend down and let me get a selfie too. This way your friends won’t second guess photoshopping.”
“Great. Thanks Hunter.”
“Could you do me a favor?” Hunter asked.
Hunter pulled his phone out. “Could you get a picture of me and my friend here?”
Erika felt giddy. Hunter wanted a picture of the two of them together. Would this open things up for her getting a picture or two later?
Erika leaned in to the movie star but not too close, she didn’t want him to feel that she was too clingy.
“Thanks.” Hunter accepted his phone back.
“That wasn’t too bad.” Erika stated once they had pulled forward.
Hunter was checking his mirrors and trying to look around without looking like he was looking around. “I just need to be careful. That might have drawn other people’s attention and then we’d be inundated. That is one of the reasons I asked him to take our picture.”
“What was the other?” Erika was a bit crestfallen.
“Because I wanted a picture of us on our first date.”
Date? He was calling this a date? Erika thought that they were just hanging out, not dating. Besides, how could they date if she lived in Constitution and he lived somewhere in Los Angeles?
“Wow, you look like Hunter Allyson.” The woman at the drive thru window greeted.
“Yea, I get that a lot.” Hunter nodded.
Erika bit her lip to keep from laughing. But a snicker did escape. They took their boxes of food and Hunter drove off.
“That was mean.” Erika burst out laughing.
“Why?” Hunter grinned “It’s true.”
Erika looked down at the boxes of food she was balancing on the seat between them.
“I’ll get us to a place where we can hopefully eat in peace and quiet. Hang on.” Hunter wasn’t speeding, but he was driving a bit faster than what was called for. He pulled into a driveway with a large white sign. ‘Los Angeles National Cemetery’.
He pulled up to a small guard house and punched a button which spat out a ticket and lifted a gate.
“A cemetery?” Erika questioned.
“It’s peaceful and quiet.” Hunter nodded. “And it just might deter that paparazzi following us.”
“Paparazzi?” Erika questioned.
Hunter nodded. “I spotted them at In-n-Out. Who would think that Hunter Allyson would go to the cemetery with In-n-Out?”
“Definitely not me.”
Hunter casually drove the car around the paved road. On each side of the car were rows upon rows of white headstones of fallen soldiers.
“How many people are buried here?” Erika asked looking at some of the stones.
Hunter shrugged, “It looks like a lot.” He parked the car a little distance from an adobe Spanish style building and turned and smiled at Erika. “A first date that you’ll not forget anytime soon.” He picked up a burger and bit into it.
“I’m eating In-n-Out in a cemetery with Hunter Allyson,” She remarked, “I doubt I’ll ever forget it.”
“Did you always want to be a model?” Hunter asked around his bite.
Erika nearly choked on hers. “Until last summer I wanted to be a comic book illustrator.”
Erika nodded. “I was a bit of a tomboy until then.” Didn’t Samantha describe her that way? “Last summer I got in touch with my feminine side and started acting more girly.” Erika decided she wasn’t lying. “A month or two ago, we did a family portrait and the photographer suggested I try modeling for her. One thing led into another.” She smiled. “Now I’m having lunch with Hunter Allyson.”
Hunter chuckled. “So, this whole being a female model is a bit new?”
“That is the understatement of the year.” Erika wanted to laugh. “How about you? When did you decide to become a movie star and heart throb?”
It was Hunter’s turn to nearly choke. “Heart throb?”
“I’ve seen how girls act around you.”
“Not that it has anything to do with it, but my Great Grandmother was a famous Actress.”
Erika nodded. “Cass told me, June Allyson.”
Hunter nodded. “Acting has always been a bit of a hobby in the family, but my Grandfather asked an agent to check out a play I was in.” He took a long draw on his shake. “The next thing I knew, I was doing an occasional commercial and walk-ons of television shows.”
“Do you like it?” Erika asked.
Hunter thought for a moment. “You’re the first person to ask me that in a very long time.”
Hunter nodded as he finished his bite. “Everyone assumes that if you are a movie star that you have to like it. I’ve met many who don’t, but it is all they know, and it pays well.”
“So, do you?” Erika wanted to know.
“I do.” He nodded. “I’m not fond of the early wakeups sometimes, but it can be a lot of fun.”
“And you can have any girl you want.” Erika decided to tease him.
“And I can have… Hey!” Hunter laughed. “How about you, Erika? Any guys back home where ever that is?”
“Constitution. Girlfriend.” She stated. “Her name is Tricia.”
“Girlfriend? Whoa, I didn’t see that one coming.” Hunter was surprised.
“She is one of my friends who has helped me become more comfortable being feminine.”
Hunter shook his head. Erika thought it was disbelief. “Here I am wanting to impress a beautiful girl who I thought liked me with In-n-Out in the cemetery…”
Erika looked around. “I do like you, Hunter. . . a lot.” More than she cared to admit and more than she felt comfortable admitting to Tricia.
“Well, she’s a lucky girl.” Hunter started to work on his fries.
“I feel the same way about her.” Erika finished her burger. “I hope this doesn’t change anything between us. I really am enjoying this time with you.”
Hunter winked at her. “It puts a damper on some of my movie star moves.”
“Like In-n-Out in the cemetery?”
Erika felt like she had just taken the wind out of Hunter. She wanted to fix it but wasn’t sure how. She thought of Samantha and how she might fix it, or even how Tricia might fix it with her.
Impulsively, Erika leaned forward and kissed Hunter on the cheek. The movie star was surprised and seemed to actually relax a little.
“I’ve been a little more fluid in my tastes lately.” Erika was astonished that those words came out of her mouth. Seriously? More fluid? There was Jake back home, she couldn’t deny that there was a chemistry when he kissed her. Then there was Julian. He was definitely handsome. Maybe she could like both sexes. Oh boy. Was she now bi? Was she gay? What was she? Did it matter?
So many things were changing in her life, so many things in such a short time. How do normal people cope let alone someone like herself?
The kiss and the strange words that came from her mouth had the desired effect. Erika sucked on her shake. “Hunter?” She began, breaking the strange silence between them.
“I know that It’s not exactly cool, but would it be alright it I got a selfie with you?”
Hunter grinned. “I was wondering why you hadn’t asked earlier.”
“I didn’t want to be uncool.”
“We are on a date. . . I mean hanging out. Friends take selfies and pics all of the time when hanging out, right?”
Erika nodded. “I just didn’t want to be one of those fan girls.”
“Hardly,” Hunter took Erika’s phone and put it in camera mode and framed the two of them.
Erika admired the photo and smiled at the setting around them.
“The only stipulation that I ask is that you don’t post anything in real time. Where ever we might be, people can find out and soon we’ll be running trying to get away from autograph hounds.”
Erika nodded. She hadn’t really thought about posting pics of them on social media, but She would probably want to send pics to Tricia and Samantha.
“Are people really that intrusive?” She asked.
“Most aren’t but once one starts, then others want their turn, and it snowballs.”
Erika finished up her food and tucked all the trash away in the boxes. “Where to next?”
“What? You aren’t satisfied with the cemetery?” he feigned insult.
Erika looked around, “Well, it is pretty… and quiet.”
Hunter started up the car and stopped at the adobe building and dumped their trash in a can.
“You said you’d like to see the beach.” It was a statement.
“It’s only a few minutes away.”
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