Behind the Scenes

Belle Andrews is a movie star. She attends award ceremonies, dresses up for the red carpet, and best of all: stars as the leading lady in the new film, "The Haunted Hour." But what happens when Belle is forced into a media deal she never planned? To make matters worse, she is relocated to the small farm town of River Heights to film her new movie. But in River Heights, will Belle discover the real Belle Andrews?


3. Scene 2

"I'd like to thank my cast, my fans, the Academy..." A drunken Will Reese stood onstage at Muse. Muse was the nightclub right around the corner from where I had an apartment, downtown LA.

"Wrong award show!" Some drunken friend called out. I laughed and attempted to hold my drink steady. I was never one to stay careful whilst drunken.

"Belle!" I turned at the sound of my name and was greeted by Tom. He stood now in nightclub wear, a simple black jacket, white shirt and jeans. It was unfamiliar to me to see him this way, as we often were only business partners, and our friendship was always formal, never joking. Thinking this now, it came odd to me that I could tell him anything and yet I'd never seen him in casual clothing. I shook my head. It was just the alcohol talking.

"Tom!" I replied, slurred, and I nearly fell out of my chair trying to give him a hug.

He shook his head and helped adjust me back into my bar stool. "If there are any paparazzi here, this would look awful in the tabloids." He said it firmly, yet still with a hinge of humor. Deciding it was safe to laugh here, I took the opportunity to giggle.

"Belle." Tom said, attempting to gain my attention.

The hot bartender, who had been hitting on me earlier, noticed my giggle and gave me a look, thinking that Tom and I were an item. I smiled flirtatiously back, not giving a direct answer and focused back to Tom, though I knew his eyes were still focused on my head. Score one for me.

"Belle." Tom repeated, and I tried to focus on him, though for some reason there were three Tom's.

"Hmm?" I replied, still trying to figure out which Tom I had had a discussion with in my dressing room.

"This movie that you're in," He began and I already perked up, well, as much as an drunk actress could. "they request that you start filming next week."

I reached behind me for my drink. "So soon." I whimpered, glancing around the nightclub. I watched the dancers, the drunkards, the wannabe performers on stage. I didn't want to leave all this again. "Where's the set?" I asked, moving my straw around my glass. "In Cali, I hope."

Tom fidgeted and bit his lip. "Anyway, you're costarring with Will." He gestured to Will, who had once been onstage, but now sat with a pretty blonde, obviously trying to make a move. Will was attractive, with short, brown hair that always reminded me of Zac Efron for some reason, and a smile that stole the hearts of teens all over the world. He was fit, abs and all, but I'd never found myself attracted to him ever. He was very... physical, and I was more of a romantic in relationships.

"Okay," I replied, "but you still haven't told me about where we're filming, or what the movie's about, or who's directing. What's up with you, Tom?" I questioned and Tom fidgeted again.

"I promise, you'll find out everything on the plane tomorrow--" He began, choosing his words carefully.

Still, it hit me hard. "Plane? To where? How far away are we talking? I'm at the peak of my career, Tom! I want to go to events, parties, I don't want to go away from the action!" He was silent. "Tom. Where. Are. We. Filming."

He bit his lip again. "Wisconsin."

I should have been prepared for something like that word. That dreaded word that meant farms. Cows. Dirt. Nothing like what I was used to here.

"And what is the movie about?" I forced the words out through gritted teeth. My life was over. This was it.

"You'll get the script tomorrow. I promise." He tried to smile, though he and I both knew that no amount of fake optimism would make this situation any better. "And one more thing, Belle."

I braced myself. "What?"

"The director has requested that to build excitement for the movie, you need to be in a relationship with Will. It will also help with your character's relationship. It's all just a big publicity stunt, but you've got to do it. You start tonight, he already knows, but the story that the media is going to know, is that you approached him. So you have to leave with him, all lovey dovey. Good? Good. Talk to you later, doll." And with that he was gone.

I sat frozen in my seat. A relationship? With Will Reese? Was this really happening? I took another sip of my drink.

"Drink the worries away, babe. That'll fix 'em." And there he was. Will Reese. Sitting next to me. Making my life a living hell.

"I thought I was supposed to approach you." I murmured, wrapping my hands around my glass, letting the condensation cool my sweaty palms.

"Whatever. We're supposed to be dating, that's all I know. So I figure we get ourselves acquainted, eh?" He waited for a response from me. I remained silent. "Fine, I'll start. I like football, I played it in high school. I do a bit of singing--"

"Look, Will," I interrupted. "I'm sure you're a nice guy, but I honestly don't care what you're into, I don't care who you are, I just know that this has to work for the media. I don't want a relationship with you as much as you don't want a relationship with me. I don't see any paps around here, so right now, we can cool the mingling. When we leave, then we get cozy, let them snap a few pictures, we go to my apartment. You sleep on the couch, I sleep in my room, separately. Then we leave for the plane, act like we're in love, shoot the movie, stay together for the premiere, then dramatic breakup," I paused, thinking of something groundbreaking. "Oh, how about you cheated? And then we're done. Good?"

He stared at me in shock before replying. "Yeah. Sounds good."

"Well," I said, grabbing my clutch. "I'm ready to go. Are you?"

He smiled and stood to wrap his arm around my waist. "Let's do this."

Then we made our way to the exit, acting cutesy and romantic. I kissed him on the cheek, he pulled me closer to him. The paparazzi's cameras attacked, and we acted madly in love. We shied away from the cameras for privacy, and then reluctantly retreated to the car.

"Goodbye!" I waved to the paparazzi, maintaining my good-girl image, then I shut the door to the limo and we were off.

:When we arrived back in my apartment, I directed Will to the couch and then retreated to my own room. I changed out of my night clothes and into pajamas. Sliding into bed, I pulled the covers over my shoulders and closed my eyes. Tomorrow I'll be off to Wisconsin. Tomorrow everything will change.

And even though it was an hour after I'd gotten into bed, and I was nearly asleep, I could still feel him slip in next to me, and I could still feel his heart beat, just as nervous and restless as mine was.

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