Taking Steps

Richelle Mead has finally gone underway with signing a contract to turn her wonderful Vampire Academy series into film. Six months later, everything is all set, everything but the female lead character: Rose Hathaway. Just as they were about to despair about the possibility of having to cancel the project, Director Carlisle Blake makes a decision which will change teenage girl Tamara Knight's life. Carlisle Blake decides to go on a scout along with various members involved with the project and their search ends in the streets of London.

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2. Chapter 1

Hidden amongst the houses in London Clapham was a peculiar café with some of the most renowned patisserie in England. Within the café, waitresses dressed in odd costumes bustled around treating the customers with utmost respect and gentleness.

"And stay out!" TK shouted throwing the gangster out of the café. Patting down her skirt she headed back inside to grateful smiles. "Hannah, are you alright? He hasn't hurt you or anything?"

"I'm fine TK, thanks for that." Hannah smiled appreciatively.

"We have our own personal body guard without having to pay anything extra." Ms. Anderson sighed with a grin.

"Hey! You still owe me cake from last time!" TK complained while she blew at the strand of black hair that fell into her face.

"She forgets everything else but never the cakes," all the co-workers in the room shook their heads.

"Hey, I resent that." TK pouted causing everyone to laugh.

Damn the manager on choosing a stupid French maid theme, she thought. Geez there are way too many perverts around here as it is without the advertisement. She sighed as she stared around the room. To her the costumes were the major negative points about her job at Honey Café. It had often caused guys to enter and attempt to abuse her fellow co-workers. Since she had been working at the café since it first opened two years ago, she'd always been the guard for the girls there. She couldn't help but glare at the black puffed out skirt with a heart shape apron. It just wasn't her style to wear something like that. On average, she avoided wearing skirts or dresses since it caused manoeuvring to be awkward at times.

With the bright chime of the tingling bell above the entrance, the door opened and her face immediately lit up. TK smiled in greeting at the customer and he mirrored the gesture. "How can I help you monsieur?" she asked adding a little French accent on the 'monsieur'.

"The usual cup of tea please, TK," he replied. "I see that your manager chose the French theme this week."

"Yeah," she nodded. "How's work been for you at the office? Would you like the usual cake for your kids? I see it's your turn to pick it up today monsieur Cross."

"Work has been as hard as ever and yes I'd like to collect the cake now if it's possible."

"I'll be back with your orders monsieur." TK inclined her head and rushed into the kitchen. "Cross's usual order Mer."

"Got it." Meredith nodded getting the tea ready.

"Ah, can you really believe it? Our GCSEs are all over. Over I tell you!" TK beamed excitedly. "Two years of slaving and now they're finally over! No more sciences either! How great is that?!"

"Yeah but now we have the A levels which are even worse." Hannah shuddered.

"But we get spares for ourselves and no more shit science teachers!" TK rejoiced. "I mean come on, the whole summer to enjoy and we're 16 which means even more freedom!"

"Not that anything's stopped you from doing what you want TK." Meredith laughed. "Tea's ready."

"Got it." TK nodded heading out with the requested order. "Here you go monsieur Cross."

"Cheers TK."

"My pleasure." TK grinned. She continued until night time and it was closing time.

"Alright everyone, here's the promised party for the end of exams!" Ms. Anderson announced.

"Oi TK? Aren't you staying for the party tonight?" Meredith asked as she caught the girl sneaking out the back door.

"Not tonight, Gran's at home and Dad is out at work, I need to make dinner tonight." TK shook her head.

"Then take these with you, we can't possibly eat that much without you here. Say 'hi' to your Gran for us." Ms. Anderson gestured at the patisserie.

"Cheers Ms. Manager." TK grinned taking the bags of food and headed home. Along the way people in the neighbourhood greeted her. On the bus she noticed a girl being leered at and she was shifting uncomfortably in her seat.Not another one, she though shaking her head. Well Gran won't be too fussed if I'm a teeny bit late. Keeping her distance, the small girl followed the stalkers. Luckily, the stop that the blonde girl got off at was the one that TK needed to get off at too so that didn't make things too complicated. She placed her stuff in a hole in the wall and she began tying her hair up as she walked and tucked the excess strands into her hat. She zipped up her jumper and she successfully passed for a young teenage boy. Her actions towards transformation were somewhat well practiced; it wasn't her first time dressing as a boy after all.

Following them carefully and silently she frowned when two other men appeared. Now that TK thought more about it, she remembered seeing this girl regularly recently for the last week or so and the same guy as tonight had been watching her on the bus. This wasn't just a one time stalk; these guys had planned out tonight's events. Well, they were in for a surprise if they thought they could lay a hand on the blond girl that night. Not while TK saw the poor girl being stalked. She couldn't help but wonder why the girl would walk on her own in a place she didn't seem familiar with. TK was sure that the blonde was new around the neighbourhood since she'd lived there for almost all her life and not once has she seen the girl before until a week ago. It was foolish for the girl to be on her own.

"Hey big sis!" TK called out linking arms with the nervous girl. She stiffened at the contact. "Stay calm, there are weird stalkers following you as you probably know right? Just pretend that I'm your younger brother alright? My name's Kieran." TK whispered.

"What took you so long Kieran? I thought I lost you! How was your boxing class?" she pretended with such ease it stunned TK.

"Great! I beat the teacher and it felt so good to be able to do that! I've passed the tests now." TK laughed. "So what's for dinner tonight?"

"Um…"

"If they do attack, I want you to knock on door number 13, my friend lives there she'll let you in." TK whispered with a low tone.

"Curry," the other girl nodded.

"Hey kid, you sure talk big but I'll bet you're just lying for your big sister," one of the guys sneered aiming for TK's head. She ducked and knocked the guy's legs so hard his knees buckled and he fell. Grabbing another guy by the arm she threw him into some bins causing a clatter to echo down the street. The biggest of the three lunged for her and held her in a choke hold. She drove her elbow into his stomach making the air rush out of his lungs and span dropping at the same time to kick his legs from under him. He tumbled with a loud thump. Spinning around she narrowly missed the blade aimed at her face. The metal shone dangerously in the dim street light and the two walked in a circle never taking their gazes off each other.

She vaguely noticed another guy sneaking up behind her and she dropped so that the guy behind her couldn't grab her. She felt the blade slice her skin causing coldness spirally up her arm. She cursed and smashed her fist into the guys face. Blood spluttered and she heard the crack as the man fell cradling his nose with blood spewing. The blonde girl's scream caught her attention and she saw the big guy groping her while the other tried to carry her away. Running she jumped and kicked the smaller of the two in the back of the head causing him to stumble backwards. The big man released the other girl and growled at TK before running at her again. She span so that he both missed her and nearly ran into a fence and she tugged roughly on his shoulder to turn him around. Then she kicked him hard and he went down clutching between his legs and howling in pain.

She dropped just in time to miss the last guy who was about to hit her in the head with a glass bottle. It smashed on the fence and he held it aimed at her menacingly. TK licked her lips waiting for the other man to advance so that she could finish the fight. Her stomach growled slightly and she couldn't wait any longer. She took the initiative and lunged at the man herself. Being small and agile gave her the advantage and she easily slipped past him before turning sharply and slamming her hand on the back of his neck. He gave a gargled sound before crumbling to the ground. She tugged her hat down slightly and blew at the strand of hair that was flying into her face.

"Are you staying somewhere close by? I'll walk you." TK said as she shoved her hands in her pockets. "No offence, but you suck at running away."

"I'm know, I'm not good with sport at all," she smiled apologetically. "I'm Karen by the way. Thanks for helping me tonight Kieran. You're a good fighter."

"Cheers and anytime babes." TK smirked as she stood on Karen's porch. "Make sure the next time you intend to get home late to have someone with you. Preferably a guy and if he can fight then it's a bonus. See ya." She gave Karen a wink before dashing off back to the bus stop. She stopped abruptly in front of the whole and the empty sight caused anger and gloom to flow through her. The hole was empty which meant that someone had taken her food and she felt like crying. She sniffed and turned around dejectedly to head back to her own home which was the next street down from where Karen was staying.

"Are you looking for this?" a silky Russian voice asked. She could hear the amusement in his tones and turning around she saw the bags in his hand. Relief surged through her and she practically tackled the man.

"Yes!" she nearly shouted.

"I noticed a beggar about to take it so I thought to intervene," he told her. "I saw you putting this in the hole earlier and thought you might want it back."

"You've been waiting? It's been what? Ten minutes?" TK asked curiously when she looked at her watch.

"As I said, I thought you might want this back. You seemed rather dismal when you couldn't see it in the hole."

"What if I didn't come back?"

"Then I would've left after fifteen minutes and put this back into the hole," he shrugged.

"Thank you for keeping this safe for me from the beggars," she beamed gratefully. "I need to go and these cakes are really good. Here, take one. Enjoy the rest of your evening sir." With that said. TK rushed off leaving the curious man staring after her. He couldn't help but wonder where she had gone in such haste earlier just to come back not long after. He looked down at the label of the cake and noted the shop name. After taking a bite, he had to resist the urge to groan. The girl was right, the cake was scrumptious.

"I'm home!" TK yelled as she shut the door behind her.

"Hey Tamara, you're home quite early? Don't you have any celebrations with your friends? I mean you all finally finished your GCSE exams after all." Grandma Chrystie smiled as she hugged the small girl who was just around her height. TK set her bags down on the table and took her zip up hoodie off draping it over the back of a chair.

"I do, you're my friend Gran." TK grinned at the silver locked woman. "Gran, have I ever told you how much I love your hair? It's so cool."

"You've told me that many times Tamara and I've told you that you'd be likely to have the same hair when you grown old." Grandma Chrystie beamed. "And is that delicious cake I see from the patisserie?"

"The best, courtesy of the manager." TK grinned. "Everyone says 'hi' by the way."

"Say 'thank you' for me when you go in tomorrow."

"Of course," the younger girl nodded. "What'd you think we should have for dinner tonight Gran?"

"Last I saw, we had ingredients for some nice salad and the amazing tuna pasta."

"That it is then." TK laughed. "Let me put my stuff in my room and I'll be right down to cook and chat."

A few hours later, the front door opened and slammed shut. Heavy breathing and groaning could be heard echoing in the hallway. TK stepped out of her room quietly and leaned over the banister to look downstairs to see her Dad pulling the clothes off of another woman. A woman who was not her mum. A woman who was different from last night too. The living room door slammed and grunts and moans filled the night for the next hour. It's a good thing Gran is sleeping,she thought with a growl. We definitely don't need to make her regret and hate you any more than she already does. Stupid unfaithful Dad, wonder whose wife you've stolen for tonight. TK had seen the glint of a ring on the woman's wedding finger before they had disappeared into the living room. Getting into her own bed, she let music drown out all negative thoughts and she continued writing.

"New Mail!" her computer told her.

"Hey Tami! How're you doing? You haven't replied in such a long time but I suppose that's because you've been busy with your GCSEs. How do you think you've done sweetheart? By the time you read this you'll have completed all of them right?

Are you still working in a café with lots of teenagers? If you are, could you do me a massive favour? You know the Vampire Academy series you love? Well they're making a movie out of the first book and they have everything ready to start filming. Everything but the main female lead. They can't seem to find someone to play the part of Rose so they're doing a tour. They'll be in London for the next two weeks or so. Do you think that you could spread it around so more people hear about it? Could you also put up a few posters and you should try out for the part too. I hope you're doing well and that Gran is well too. I'll be back in London for a few weeks this summer so I'll hopefully get to see you soon.

Love Mum XxXxX"

"Wow, they're making a film of Vampire Academy…" TK stared at her bear and wolf toys. "Oh my god they're making it into a movie!!!" she screamed into the fur toys and fell onto her back staring up at the ceiling. "They better not mess up any of the characters or else I'll actually die!" She cheered excitedly and waved her arms in the air. "The characters better be hot. Though I am surprised that they're missing the main female lead…" she said thoughtfully staring at the email. "They must be really picky, but to be fair the role of Rose wouldn't exactly be easy to play. Hell none of the roles are easy to play."

"Yo Mum,

I'll put some posters up and stuff around London tomorrow. I'm doing well and I reckon I haven't done too badly in any of my exams which is great. Dad's just being Dad and Gran is in good shape. I hope everything is okay over there at Hollywood and I can't wait till you come round to London!

Love TK XxX"

TK sent the reply before shutting her laptop and drifting to sleep.

"They're making a film out of Vampire Academy? No way!" Hannah screamed. "That's so cool!"

"Yeah, Mum told me to advertise so I'm advertising. Spread it around will you?" TK asked. "I'm really surprised that of all the characters they had to be stuck on, it's Rose. That's just so unfortunate don't you think? It could be an amazing movie but they can't do it without Rose. I mean come on, the book is from her point of view, and it simply won't work without her."

"How is your mum by the way?"

"She's alright." TK nodded.

"What movie is she directing at the moment?"

"Dunno," she shrugged.

"Is there anything you do know about your mum?" Ms. Anderson chastised.

"Yeah, she's dropping by for a couple of weeks sometimes this summer. Although, that's what she said last time too. And the couple of times before that. Oh well, if she's here she's here, if she's not she's not."

"You're way too nonchalant with these things." Meredith sighed.

"How should I be? Bounce up and down and scream like an idiot, then cry like a baby in disappointment if she doesn't come? Nah, not worth doing at all." TK shook her head. "Not my style."

"I said let go of me!" Milo cried out. The four stuck their heads out of the kitchen window to see Jersey standing in front of Milo protectively from some smirking teenage boys.

"Since when do jerks from Belatrix College come to Honey Café?" TK crossed her arms leaning against the door frame.

"Well if it isn't Tami Knight? What're you doing in a whore café like this?" Kemp sneered.

"What'd you mean by 'whore café'?" Ms. Anderson demanded.

"Look at you all, dressed like that and calling us all masters. You're all just begging to be touched aren't you?"

"Only you think of it that way." TK rolled her eyes. "Just 'cuz you can't get laid yourselves without having to pay cash."

"Why you?!" Kemp slammed on the table and threw it to the side spilling the drinks on the marble floor.

"Now, now gentlemen, no need to throw a fit." TK teased tracing a hand lightly over Kemp's chest. "Come on, we're working in a café, we bring joy, pleasure and entertainment to our customers."

One of the other customers lifted his brows at the way her attitude changed so suddenly to such a lilting tone. To say that he was surprised was an understatement.

"What kind of pleasure and entertainment?" he leered.

"If you all follow me, I'll show you. Ms. Manager, can you please give me the key to the M room?" TK spoke with a husky tone.

"Of course." Ms. Anderson handed over the key as TK passed and shot her a worried glance. The younger girl merely smiled reassuringly and carried on walking.

"Now follow me," she winked at the males and led the way.

"Is she going to be alright this time do you think? They look strong and boys from Belatrix academy have a reputation for being strong," one of the customers murmured causing a curious gentleman's head to snap up.

"What'd you mean?" he whispered. "Is she not just going to show them out?"

"Not quite. That girl, her name's TK and she works here as a waitress and a bodyguard of sorts. She always helps out when there's trouble."

"Is there a lot?"

"This is Clapham, it happens," people shrugged at the foreign stranger. The man stood up and walked up to Ms. Anderson.

"Where are they?"

"Out back, there are the changing rooms which also lead outside." Without hesitation he headed to the back only to narrowly miss a flying body.

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