The Arrangement

Cassie Morris is an aspiring actress, though she struggles to land a successful role. After another failed audition, the role of a lifetime falls into her life. Does she seize the opportunity, finally achieve her lifelong dream even if it goes against every moral she's ever held herself to? Can she handle being attached at the hip to someone she despises?

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10. Get Used To It

“You ready to go?” I heard Justin asked, but I had zoned out, tuning out the rest of the world. I was staring out the far window of the restaurant at the waiting paparazzi, worrying if they would bombard us again once we left.

 

“Huh?” I asked as I looked up at him.

 

He chuckled at me as he scribbled on the receipt, then closed the leather bound receipt book. “Are you ready to go?” he asked again.

 

“Oh. Yeah, let's go,” I said, giving him a reassuring smile.

 

He stood up and offered his hand down to me, threading his fingers through mine as he helped me up. I followed behind him, my hand gradually squeezing his tighter as we approached the exit. He gave my hand a reassuring squeeze, and began absently rubbing circles in the back of my hand with his thumb.

 

We walked through the door and it was much like before. As soon as we stepped out, I was blinded by the flashing of cameras. Justin handed the valet his slip of paper from earlier, and he jogged off to bring us the car.

 

The only problem was that I had completely underestimated the situation. At least when we first got here, we got out of the car and quickly headed inside; this time we had to wait.

 

And suddenly they bombarded us, leaving only a few feet of empty space between us and their bright cameras.

 

“Hey, Justin, over here!”

 

“Yo Justin, who's the cutie on your arm?”

 

“Hey hun, gimme a smile, eh?”

 

I felt my heartbeat begin to race, their voices seemingly getting louder. I nervously smiled up at the sea of lights, which only made them flash even more.

 

“Hey babe, what's your name?”

 

“How do you know Justin?”

 

“C’mon sweetie, give us another smile!”

 

I absently grabbed Justin's arm with my free hand to pull myself closer to him, trying and failing desperately to hide from the cameras.

 

 “Alright guys,” Justin laughed as we began walking. I panicked for a moment as he let go of my hand, but felt reassured once he wrapped his arms around my back and pulled me into his side. “I think that's enough for tonight.” I noticed that Justin's white Ferrari was quickly approaching us as we walked towards it. Naturally, the flashes and shouts only followed us. “Are you okay?” he whispered into my ear as he kissed my temple. 

 

I gave him a quick nod as I looked up at him with an adoring smile, although I'm sure he could see the panic in my eyes.

 

Finally the car pulled up and came to a stop in front of us. Justin quickly ushered me to the passenger side of the car, opening the door for me and keeping his hand on my shoulder as I squatted into the seat.

 

I let out a breath of relief as I sunk into the seat, although the cameras continued to flash. So I kept my smile in place as Justin quickly jogged around to the driver's side.

 

“Jesus Christ,” I muttered as he climbed into the car. “How do you deal with that everyday?”

 

He glanced over his shoulder as he reversed the car, then turned back around as he quickly sped out of the parking lot. For once, I didn't really care how fast we were going, I just wanted to go. “You get used to it,” he muttered as he tightly gripped the top of the steering wheel. “You're gonna have to figure out how to deal with it,” he laughed.

 

As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot, the atmosphere between us changed. All during dinner, there was a flirty, playful vibe around us. And now, that we'd both dropped the couple act...it was gone. Like two strangers riding side by side on the subway.

 

And since silence made me uncomfortable...my stupid babble began. “Thank you for dinner,” I said genuinely as I looked over at him.

 

“Well I didn't really have a choice,” he chuckled. “I'm gonna kick Scooter's ass when I see him.”

 

“Well,” I started, coming to Scooter's defense, “we are going to be together a lot. Especially alone, so...you're just gonna have to get used to it.” I chuckled as I used his own line against him.

 

“Right,” he muttered. “Still, it would have been nice to not have been forced on a first date.”

 

“True,” I sighed, realizing he had a point. Sensing that Justin really didn't want to talk, I kept my mouth shut. I didn't really want another episode like he had during the earlier car ride. I would rather sit with my own discomfort than try to handle another bipolar mood swing.

 

Thankfully, the car ride back to Justin's house seemed a lot shorter than it had leaving. Before I knew it, we were pulling into the driveway beside my tiny little Ford Focus. Which, by the way, looked like a pile of garbage next to Justin's car.

 

“So, do you uh...wanna come in for a drink?” Justin asked as we both climbed out of the Ferrari. We met in front of the car, Justin leaning back on the hood.  

 

 I laughed. “You can drop it, Justin,” I told him. “No one's here. You don't have to be nice to me.”

 

“Well...like you said, we're gonna be spending a lot of time together, right?” he asked, to which I nodded cautiously. What was he getting at? “I just thought we could get to know each other better.” He gently put his hands on my waist, slowly pulling me forward between his legs as he spoke. “Plus...you look really good in that dress. I'd kinda like to see what's underneath,” he whispered huskily, looking down into my cleavage.

 

“Not happening,” I laughed as I pushed myself away from him. “I already told you, that's one thing that will never happen.”

 

“We'll see about that,” he muttered, slowly following me as I walked towards my car. “I guess I'll see you later then?” he said, although it sounded more like a question.

 

“Bye, Justin,” I said before climbing into my car and backing out of the driveway.

 

 

By the time that I made it home, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and fall asleep. As I climbed the stairs to my apartment, I mentally cursed myself for not changing back into my shorts and T-shirt. It would have been a hell of a lot comfier than this damn dress.

 

“Where the hell have you been?” Nancy exploded once I walked through the door, scaring the shit out of me.

 

“Jesus, Nanc,” I muttered as I set my stuff down on the small table beside the door. Then I realized…fuck, I cursed myself once again, what the hell am I gonna tell her?

 

“You haven't been answering your phone!” she yelled as she walked towards me, then came to a halt. “And...where did you get that dress? Is that Chanel?” she gushed, running at me full speed to get a good look at my dress.

 

“Um…” I muttered, trying desperately to rack my brain for an excuse or story, but I came up empty. “Look, it's a really long story,” I said, laughing nervously. At least it was true. “And I'm really tired, I just wanna go to bed. I promise we'll talk about it tomorrow...okay?” I asked, even though I had already made my way slowly towards my bedroom, and was standing in the doorway.

 

“Alright,” she said cautiously. “We'll talk tomorrow then.” She glared at me as if it were a challenge.

 

“Definitely,” I said, giving her a sweet smile. Tomorrow. Goodnight, Nanc.”

 

Author's Note: hey guys! it's been waaaaay too long, so i apologize. i've been a lot busier with school and work this semester than i'd anticipated so i'm sorry it took so long to post again! I'm not super happy with this chapter, it's short and mostly filler, so i'll be posting chapter 11 in a few minutes. i love you guys!

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