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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6. Why the Fuck Not?

 I hated Monday mornings. Even as a bartender, who works on the weekends, I hate Monday mornings.

 

If I got to sleep in they wouldn't be so terrible. But for whatever reason, Joe always scheduled me to open the bar with him on Mondays. I wouldn't even hate them so much if people actually drank on Monday mornings. Whatever.

 

I found myself in a daydream, leaning up against the bar as I stared out the window and waited for customers.

 

I could be walking down a red carpet, a trophy on Justin's arm. I could be at a concert, waiting backstage for him to finish. I could be the supportive girlfriend at his radio interviews and CD signings, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek as the flash of cameras blinded me.

 

Would I be happy, though? Sure I would be making money and a name for myself. But Justin's an asshole, could I be happy even just pretending to like him? How long would I have to do this? A few weeks? Months? Years? 

 

“Hellooooo? Earth to Cassie!”

 

“Huh?” I asked, startled as I was pulled abruptly from my trance. I looked over at Tony, who was chuckling as he stared me down.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked, leaning on the bar with me.

 

“Oh, yeah,” I scoffed unconvincingly. Even I didn't believe it. “I'm good.”

 

“Yeah?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Cause...I see that little knot forming between your eyebrows,” he said, pointing between my eyes, “which usually means you're stressing about something. And your lips are pursed out, which means you're upset about something.”

 

I rolled my eyes at Tony; there was no lying to him. He was the first person I met when I moved out here, and he's been my best friend ever since. But I couldn't just tell him all the drama I've been going through in the past 24 hours. “Yeah. I'm just um...stressed,” I said. Which wasn't a lie. “Money is really tight right now.” Again, that wasn't a lie.

 

He sighed, resting his chin in the cup of his hand. “Yeah, I know how you feel,” he said sympathetically.

 

I laughed. Literally laughed out loud. “Oh, shut up,” I chuckled as I shoved his arm. “Your boyfriend buys you whatever you want, and your parents send you money every week. You don't know money troubles.”

 

“Well….” he drawled out with a scoff, suddenly the flaming side of him slipping into his voice. “I'm just trying to help, okay? I'm sorry I don't understand poor people problems,” he laughed, making me slap his arm again.

 

“What if you were poor though?” I asked. “Like...what's the craziest thing you would do for money?”

 

Even though I was smiling up at him, trying to joke around and be funny...I was serious. A huge part of me wanted to say yes to Justin and his team, money being the biggest reason to. Was that wrong? To live a lie for money?

 

“Oh, I’d turn myself out real quick,” he joked with a snap of his fingers, being Flaming Tony again. “Okay, but seriously…” he trailed off, staring off into empty space as he thought about it. “I'd do what I gotta do,” he shrugged as he looked down at me. “I don't know if I would whore myself out...but I'd try to find another job. Find a sugar daddy or something. No shame.”

 

I couldn't help but to laugh at the thought of Tony with a sugar daddy. He struggled with dating Evan, who was only 3 years older than him. “I wouldn't worry about that, though,” he said, lightly shoving my shoulder with his. “You're good at what you do. You'll find yourself a good role soon,” he said with a nod, as if because he said so, it would be.

 

I smiled up at him. “Thanks, Tony.” I chuckled as I lightly shoved him back with my shoulder.

 

“Alright you two,” Joe said loudly as he came around the corner from the kitchen. “It's 3, and it's dead as fuck. So one of y'all can go home.”

 

I looked up at Tony with my eyebrows raised. “You wanna go?” I asked.

 

“How much money have you made so far?” he asked.

 

I tried to do the math in my head quickly. It wasn't too hard considering I'd only had a handful of tables. “About...70 I think,” I told him.

 

He nodded. “Well I've already made my money, so you stay. Try to get some more tips,” he said with a wink, earning an eye roll from me.

 

“Get out of here,” I chuckled, throwing a dirty dish rag at him.

 

Tony didn't have to be told twice. He'd already completed his side work, due to it being a slow day. So as soon as he clocked out, he was gone. I glanced towards our little office, where the door was almost always left open, but there was no sign of Joe. He must be in the back talking with the cooks. They were his favorites.

 

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and scrolled until I got to Fredo’s number then hit the little message icon.

 

To Fredo: hey, can we talk?

 

That was all I could manage to type out to him. It took me longer than usual to type out the quick message due to my fingers trembling so much.

 

I didn't have to wait very long thankfully. Fredo: yeah. wanna come on over now?

 

Me: can't, I'm at work. I'll get off in an hour, is that cool?

 

Again, he was quick to reply. He sent me a short “sounds good” along with an address, telling me to meet him there.

 

I didn't bother replying before I shoved my phone back in pocket. I quickly poured myself a shot of vodka and downed it, needing the liquid comfort.

 

What the fuck am I doing?

 

About an hour later, the bartender for the night shift came in and relieved me. I had already completed my side work, and was out in less than 5 minutes.

 

I got into my car and plugged in the address Fredo had sent me into my GPS, and saw that it would be almost another hour before I arrived. Oh, that's just wonderful. Exactly what I need, more time to be alone with my thoughts.

 

As I started my drive, I thought that that was a good idea. Maybe I did need more time to myself, to figure out exactly what I was gonna say. And how I was gonna say it. But instead, I couldn't help but reflect on how fucking insane this all was. And if I really wanted to be a part of this drama.

 

So instead, I blasted my music as loud as possible until I got there.

 

When I actually pulled up to the address I’d plugged in, I was too scared to get out of the car. The size of the lavish mansion was bigger than anything I'd ever seen in person. I didn't think homes like this actually existed.

 

But instead of sitting in my car like a little pussy, I took a deep breath and got out of the car, walking so fast to the front door that I didn't have a chance to talk myself out of it.

 

Taking another steadying breath, I pushed on the doorbell and waited patiently. After a moment, I could see someone approaching the door through the glass on either sides. “Hey there,” Alfredo said with a smile as he pulled the door open. “Come on in.”

 

If I thought the outside of the mansion was intimidating, seeing the inside was something on a whole other level. I walked cautiously through the door as I waited for Fredo to lead the way and into a huge open room, which seemed to be the living room. There was a large white wrap around sofa in the center, which looked so expensive I felt like just me sitting on it would ruin it. I suddenly became very aware that I was still wearing my work uniform, though it was just a black v-neck tee with our logo, and denim shorty shorts. I probably reeked of grease and alcohol.

 

“Hey Cassie,” Scooter said as he stood up off the couch to greet me. I was so overwhelmed by my surroundings I hadn't even noticed him on the couch.

 

“Hey, Scooter,” I said sweetly as I shook his outstretched hand. He gestured for me to sit down, so I did.

 

“So, first of all,” Scooter began, getting straight to the point, “did Justin come apologize to you last night?”

 

I chuckled at the memory of him at my doorstep last night. He was so frazzled and frustrated; he clearly didn't make apologies very often. “Yeah, yeah, he did,” I assured him with an amused smile. “It was a, um...an interesting apology, but...he did it.” I gave him a shrug.

 

They both chuckled, clearly aware of how bad he was at being sorry.

 

“Well, that's good,” Scooter sighed. “I just couldn't let him get away with acting like that. I know you probably couldn't care less about this whole situation but, uh...it's pretty important to us.” I gave him a nod and he continued. “Speaking of...have you thought more about it?”

 

I sighed. “I have. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I just wanted to talk some more about it,” I explained, to which Scooter eagerly nodded.

 

“Of course, yeah, definitely. What do you wanna talk about?” he asked.

 

I winced, having another sudden realization of how strange this all was. “Honestly...the money,” I said. “I hate to sound like a gold digger, I'm just really struggling with bills and stuff right now. Work sucks, I can't land any good roles…” I stopped, realizing that I'd started rambling about stuff neither of them probably cared for. “Sorry,” I apologized, running my fingers nervously through my hair.

 

Scooter chuckled. “No, it's fine. Obviously we'll help you out with whatever you need,” he explained. “We were thinking...about 10k a month?”

 

I couldn't keep my jaw from hitting the floor, or the shocked laugh that came out of my mouth. “You're joking right?”

 

“Most definitely not,” he said with a smile. “Like I said...this is important to us. We'll do what it takes to make sure Justin is on the right track.”

 

“What the fuck are y'all doing here?” I heard Justin say from somewhere behind me. I glanced back to find him at the top of the stairs, slowly making his way down. His hair was a mess and he was rubbing his eyes.

 

“Is he just now waking up?” I asked, looking over to Scooter.

 

Wordlessly, he just raised his eyebrows and leaned back. Huh… I thought to myself, looking back over to Justin as he stumbled down the stairs and plopped down on the loveseat across from us. “Justin,” I chuckled. “It's after 5. What the hell are you doing just now getting out of bed?”

 

“Why the fuck do you care?” he spat out at me before letting his head fall back on top of the couch, his arm draping over his already closed eyes. Clearly he was hungover, maybe even still a little drunk. “You’re not my fucking mom,” he muttered, as if I was supposed to take insult.

 

“No, I'm not,” I laughed. “But I am your girlfriend.”

 

I saw Scooter sit up really quick at the sound of my words. “So that's a yes?” he asked.

 

I shrugged. “Why the fuck not?”

 

 

Author's Note: hey guys! it's been awhile, so I apoligize about that. things are a little crazy with work and the holidays! i just finished with classes, and will be getting some time off from work soon so hopefully I'll be able to post some more! i hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, it's starting to get goooood! there's soooo much drama coming up, omg. hopefully i'll be able to post a new chapter for my other story, Feels Like Home tonight, so be on the look out for that! if i can't get it done tonight, i most definitely will in the next few days. so leave me reviews, tell me what you guys think! like, comment, favorite, do whatever you do! i love you guys ♥

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