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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3. What Do You Think?

 I looked myself over in the mirror for probably the hundredth time tonight. I wasn't sure what kind of look I was going for; I figured since it was still an audition, I wanted something sorta professional and sorta casual at the same time. But for some reason, I was more nervous than I'd ever been before an audition.

 

After about an hour of indecisiveness, I settled for a white sundress that laced up over my chest with an oversized grey cardigan on top. Finally I slipped on my white strappy wedges, and my outfit was complete.

 

“How do I look?” I asked Nancy as I came out of the bathroom. She was sitting at the bar, staring intently at her laptop.

 

She glanced up at me for a moment, then back down to her laptop screen. “Smokin’ hot,” she said as if she were already bored with me.

 

“You're no help,” I muttered, grabbing my keys and purse off of the coffee table.

 

“You better text me or something when you get there,” she threatened. “I don't need you getting kidnapped and raped or something, I can't afford the rent by myself.”

 

“Ha, ha,” I said sarcastically. “You’re so funny.” With that, I walked out the door. I chuckled as I heard her yell back, “Love you too!”

 

I punched in the address that Fredo sent me into my GPS, and was relieved to see that it was only about 10 minutes away. After studying the map for a moment, it looked like wherever I was going was near downtown LA. I took comfort in the fact that I wasn't heading for some old warehouse in the middle of nowhere.

 

After about 20 minutes of terrible downtown traffic, I pulled up to a fancy restaurant, with an Italian name I couldn't even begin to pronounce. I took a deep breathe to calm myself, and climbed out of the car and up the steps to the front door.

 

I was especially glad to see that the restaurant was full of people. Though I wasn't glad to see that most of the people inside were in formal wear. I glanced around to see if I could find Fredo. In the back of my mind I idly wondered what he would look like in black tie. He was pretty cute.

 

“Hey, Cassie!” I heard Fredo call out. I turned to see him coming down a grand staircase. He wasn't in a black suit and tie, but he was wearing black slacks and a nice button up shirt. “I'm glad you could make it,” he said with a cheeky smile.

 

“No, thank you,” I said, gesturing to him. “I appreciate you giving me a second chance.”

 

“Not a problem,” he said. “Follow me, we're upstairs.”

 

“I do have to say…” I began nervously as I followed him up the stairs. “I, um...I don't think I've ever been to an audition in a restaurant.” I chuckled nervously.

 

“Well...this isn't a normal audition,” he said once we reached the top of the stairs.

 

I suddenly felt that familiar wave of panic in the pit of my stomach. What the fuck was happening? Wordlessly, I followed Fredo into a private room. There was a large table in the center of the room, and I could see two other men sitting at one end. I struggled to make out their faces as we approached them, but it was too dim.

 

“Yoooo, Fredo!” one of the guys called out as we walked towards the table. I thought his voice sounded familiar, but I couldn't be sure.

 

“Wassup, man,” Fredo chuckled. They did some weird handshake, then a one armed hug. “I’d like you to meet someone.”

 

And then it hit me. With him standing directly in front of me, Fredo moved to the side. I couldn't help the laugh that escaped my lips. “Justin, this is Cassie, Cassie this is Justin...Bieber.”

 

Justin held out his hand for a handshake and I laughed again. Seriously? All this stress just to meet some punk ass, spoiled rotten celebrity? “You're joking, right?” I laughed, looking at Fredo now. I noticed Justin drop his hand with a scoff out of the corner of my eye. I must have offended him.

 

“Look, just...stay for dinner,” Fredo pleaded softly, pulling me a step to the side. “Just hear us out, okay?”

 

I watched him for a moment as I deliberated. I could either walk away right this second. I never cared for Justin Bieber, he was always acting like an ass. Whatever role this was, whether it was a movie, a TV show, a music video...was it really worth it?

 

Or...I could stay. First of all, I get free dinner. Also...maybe, whatever the job was, it paid good. Surely it paid well if the ‘one and only’ Justin Bieber was involved. I could at least stay and talk about the job. Right?

 

I sighed. “Fine. But no promises,” I threatened. “I'll just...hear you out,” I said, repeating his words.

 

He breathed a sigh of relief and mouthed the words “Thank you,” before pulling a seat out for me.

 

Justin had already taken the seat directly in front of me. It looked like he was pouting. Or fuming. Whatever. Fredo took the empty seat next to Justin, though I didn't recognize the man at the head of the table, between me and Justin. “Hi,” the stranger said with an excited smile as he offered me his hand to shake. I cautiously took it. “You must be Cassie. I'm Scott Braun, but most people call me Scooter. I'm Justin's manager.”

 

I giggled at his nickname, which he didn't seem to mind. “Nice to meet you, Scooter. So...can you guys tell me what I'm doing here? And what this has to do with my acting career?”

 

Suddenly Justin scoffed. I shot him a death glare, along with Scooter. But he didn't care, if he even noticed. I heard Scooter sigh. “Well...this is all gonna sound really strange. Trust me, I get it. But...we could really use your help.”

 

I could feel my eyebrows knit together in confusion as I took a moment to absorb his words. What on Earth could I do to help this cocky pop star?

 

“I'm not sure how much you pay attention to social media,” Scooter began, “but if you have, you've probably noticed that Justin's career has, um...taken a hit.”

 

I didn't want to say it out loud, but I wanted to tell him that he wasn't fucking kidding. I remember seeing all sorts of stories about Justin on Facebook; he'd been arrested more than once, rumors about drugs, UI’s, other celebrities bashing him...what used to be a cute little pop star has turned into a complete joke.

 

Justin took me by surprise by exploding on Scooter. “You don't have to talk about me like I'm not fucking here!” he yelled. I noticed his hands balled into fists, like he wanted to punch something.

 

This didn't seem to surprise Scooter, or even Fredo. Scooter looked calmly up at Justin. “Then maybe you shouldn't do stupid shit,” he replied evenly. I bit my lip to keep from chuckling, mostly from fear that he'd unleash his wrath on me.

 

Justin glared at Scooter for a moment before jumping out of his seat. “I'm going to get a fucking drink,” he muttered before storming out.

 

“That's actually not a bad idea,” Scooter chuckled. How could he possibly be so calm about everything. “Are you hungry? Or thirsty?” he asked me.

 

“Um...sure, I could eat,” I said casually. I was absolutely starving.

 

Scooter gave me a nod and a sweet smile. “Good. Fredo, can you go tell the waiter to give us the chef's special?” he asked.

 

Fredo quietly obliged, and sauntered out of the room. “So,” Scooter sighed, once we were alone. “I know this is probably already too...crazy to comprehend. And it's not gonna get any better,” he laughed. “But like I said, we just really need you to hear us out.”

 

I could see the desperateness in his eyes. I felt guilty so I gave him a sweet smile. “I haven't stormed out yet,” I told him. “I promise I'll hear you out.”

 

He sighed again. “Like I said, his career is uh, struggling a little bit. We can't get him to go to counseling. He won't make any public apologies or anything so…” he trailed off, watching me warily, like I might bolt. “We thought that, um...if we made an image for him. That he was um...with a girl. A good girl. Who could potentially help him get his shit together…” he trailed off again, watching me.

 

And then his words clicked together in my head. “Oh...OH.” The reality of it all hit me at once. “You want me to...be his girlfriend?” I couldn't stop the disdain from leaking into my voice. I couldn't even fathom it.

 

“Yes. But...not necessarily,” he explained.

 

Suddenly Alfredo came back, catching Scooter's attention. “The food will be out soon,” he said simply as he took his seat.

 

“And Justin?” Scooter asked.

 

“Down at the bar,” he sighed.

 

Scooter just nodded, his expression kinda sad. “Okay. Like I was saying, um...you won't necessarily be his girlfriend. You'll just pretend to be. Make public appearances, go on dates, be friendly for the paparazzi...stuff like that. There's no other obligation here. You obviously don't have to sleep with him, you don't even have to like him,” he laughed.

 

I nodded slowly, letting the words sink in. “So...what would I get out of this? I mean, he's kind of widely hated at the moment, I would get a lot of online hate for this,” I pointed out.

 

Scooter nodded seriously. I could tell that they have put a lot of thought into this nonsense. “Yeah, I get that. Well obviously, we would pay you. We're gonna treat this as a job. Which it is, you'll be acting as his girlfriend, his partner, in front of the whole world. That's not an easy thing to do.”

 

I couldn't help but to chuckle. “You got that right,” I mumbled, earning a laugh from the both of them. “Okay,” I said, in all seriousness now, “so I get paid. What else?”

 

“Well there's a lot of opportunity for you here. You'll be a public figure, almost on his level of fame. You will most definitely get a lot of job offers. Everyone will want you in their commercial or their TV show or whatever,” he explained.

 

I sat back in my seat. He made a good point. This really could launch my career. “Okay,” I nodded. Maybe this wasn't such a crazy idea. “I do have one question,” I told him.

 

Scooter rose his eyebrows at me. “Sure, what's up?”

 

Except my question was for Fredo. “Why me?” I asked. “What about me made you think that I was a perfect fit for this?”

 

My question clearly took them both by surprise. Alfredo cleared his throat. “Well...we need a good girl for Justin. When I was looking through your resumé, I saw a lot of charity work. Volunteer work. Good education. Then I met you and you just seemed so...put together. You don't seem like the type of girl who's at the club every night until 4 in the morning,” he explained. “You're just...a good girl,” he laughed.

 

I pursed my lips as the thoughts swirled around in my head. He wasn't wrong, I was a stereotypical good girl. The only time I went to a club was my 21st birthday, and even then I didn't want to go. I did a lot of volunteer work in high school. I used to foster animals. And I always made really good grades in school. I am a good girl.

 

“So,” Scooter said, interrupting my thoughts. “What do you think?” 

 

Author's Note: hey there! sooo, if i hope you guys enjoyed this one! I would seriously love it if you guys left some feedback, whether it be a comment or a like or a favorite, either one would be awesome! i don't even know if anyone is keeping up with the story or really cares for it because i haven't gotten anything. even if you don't like it, leave a comment and tell me what it is that you don't like! whether good or bad, i always appreciate feedback. i love you guys <3

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