30 Days Searching

"How do you even know this will work?" I ask, glaring at my mother.

"Dear, we're the most powerful family in Hollywood. It'll work." She says, smirking back at me.

I roll my eyes indignantly. "I can't believe I'm agreeing to this, but deal." I say, continuing to glare at both her and my father standing to the side.

~•~•~•~•~•~

30 days. 30 days to find love and save her family's reputation herself, or be forced to marry the man of her parents' choice. Can Christina pull it off, or will she be forced to live a life of lies?

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2. Chapter 1

"Yes, just like that Tina, you're flawless" Says James as he snaps picture after picture of me. I strike another pose as the camera continues to snap. "Girl, you're amazing. No wonder the world loves you" He says, grinning at his camera.

"James, you flatter me" I smile at my wonderful photographer. "Everyone knows I look good in my pictures because of you" I  say, striking yet another pose. 

We'd been at this all day, trying to put together promotional photos for my newest movie Fly Away. Yes, I'm an actress. Pretty well-known too. I've been in this industry for the last sixteen years when I first made a debut in one of my father's movies when I was seven. The only reason I was put in was because the child actress they put in fell sick right when filming started and I had memorized all her lines through watching taped rehearsals with my dad. That movie got me discovered and what started out as a small role with a dozen lines turned into an entire life in the business. I guess it's wrong to say that that's what started me out. I've been part of it for as long as I've been alive, what with my mom the head of the biggest acting agency in the country and my dad being an award-winning actor and director.

"Sweetie, the photographer can only capture the true beauty put before him" He says, winking at me before finally putting the camera down. "I think we're done for today, you did great" He says. James is an award winning photographer, my go-to for promos as well as one of my best friends. He works for a local celebrity magazine as well as shooting promotional photos for different production companies. 

"Thanks James!" I say, pulling him in for a hug as soon as I'm sure all his equipment is stored properly. "Will you be joining Alexa and I for lunch today?" I ask him as we walk arm and arm out of the studio and back to the dressing rooms. 

"I wish" He says, his eyes telling me that there's a story to be told. "Apparently Harry Styles is in town and the magazine wants pictures" He says and I laugh. He hates taking paparazzi shots, much of his work for the magazine is done in their studio or at concerts but sometimes they force him out onto the street to take photos of celebrities walking through the streets.

I chuckle. "Maybe you'll finally get that date you've been dreaming about for the last 8 years" I say to him, since he's been pretty much in love with Harry for years now. 

"Girl, I have a date already tonight, who needs a boy who's oblivious to talent like me?" He says, flicking his hair back dramatically. "Maybe I should set you up, you need to get yourself a man" He says, shoving my shoulder. 

Now it's my turn to roll my eyes at him. "I don't need a man, I'm happy single for now" 

"Nonsense, you've been single since the stone age" He jokes before getting serious for a moment. "You need to open up to someone again eventually"

I smile. "I appreciate the advice but honestly I'm okay for now" I say to him. Just as I say this I can feel my phone buzzing in my hand. "That's probably Alexa having a fit, I'd better go!" I say, quick to end this relationship talk.  I hit cancel on the call, reminding myself to call her back

"Yeah, I should go too, the magazine gets grumpy if I take too long to get outside when they tell me to" He says, laughter filling his voice again. 

"We can't have that, can we?" I laugh, giving him a hug again. "Have fun on your date tonight! I want to hear all about it" I say. 

"Please, I'll be calling you first thing in the morning" He says, winking, implying yet another late night. 

Twenty minutes later I'm leaving the studio on route to meet Alexa for lunch, and my phone is once again ringing, this time on the car's speaker system. Hitting the answer button without looking, I finally pick up the phone. "Yes Alexa, I'm on my way, give me five minutes".

"Christina, it's mom" The voice on the other end speaks. 

"Mom?" I ask, completely shocked. She never calls, like ever. Unless she wants something of course. I also only see her lately for special occasions, last time being Easter. Last I heard she was with my father vacationing in their Miami beach house. 

"Hello darling, how are you doing today?" She asks sweetly. "How's your new movie coming?"

"Mom, what do you want?" I ask her, rolling my eyes and continuing to walk. My mom and I used to be super close when I was younger. However, once I got older I realized that she was only using mine and my friends' talents for her own monetary gain. The nail in the coffin was when I found out she was taking money from my accounts and transferring it to her own. We barely speak now after I won that lawsuit.

"Can't a mother call her daughter every once in a while to check in?" She asks, her voice still annoyingly sweet. 

"Mom, in 23 years, I can count on one hand the amount of times you've called to check in" I say sharply to her, rolling my eyes.

"Don't be dramatic darling, it's not very becoming" She sighs. 

Rolling my eyes again I ignore her comment. The woman is all about decency but yet has none of her own. "Mom, tell me what you want"

"Fine" She says. "Your father and I need to talk to you, can you meet us somewhere?"

"I'm too busy to be flying across the country to meet you" I say to her, rolling my eyes yet again. I swear, my eyes get a workout every time I speak to this woman.

"Actually we're in town" She responds. "Your father is casting new actors for his next film so we'll be here for much of the summer"

"Great" I mutter sarcastically.

"Yes, indeed" She says. "So, can you meet us? We have something important to discuss" She asks me. 

I park my car in front of the cafe where I'm meeting Alexa and sit back in the seat. "I'm a little busy right now mom, please just tell me what it is" I say, getting more and more irritated with this conversation.

"Fine. You've been single for quite a bit now and-" She begins but I swiftly interrupt her. 

"Oh my God, I don't have time for this!" I exclaim. "I really have to go now mom, Alexa's waiting for me"

"But Christina, wait, we-" She says before being interrupted by me hanging up on her. 

I grab my phone from my bag and turn it to silent so she can't disturb me for the rest of the day. "A problem for another day" I mumble, satisfied as I toss my phone back into my bag. 

Quickly I rush out of the car and try to get into the cafe, hiding my face so no photographers can see me. Thankfully many of the cafes and restaurants in this part of LA don't allow paparazzi through their doors. This doesn't mean that they can't scope around outside though.

"Tina!" My best friend, Alexa screeches, wrapping me in a choking hug as I sit at the table she reserved for us. Alexa is my best friend, we met on the set of a movie I did about ten years ago. Her dad was the costume director for a movie I was in and she was his assistant. We were only 13 at the time but she has a gift for design. She's so gifted that she graduated art school with a fashion degree when we were 16.

"Hey girl, sorry I'm late!" I say and sit down across from her. "My parents are apparently in town and mommy dearest decided to call"

Alexa rolls her eyes. "What did she want this time?" She asks me, knowing exactly what my mother is like.

"Who knows? I hung up on her when I got here" I reply, which makes her burst out laughing. 

"You go girl. She's like the devil" She says, still laughing. 

"Apparently her and dad are in town for the entire summer so she'll find some opportunity to corner me with her demands eventually" I say to her, picking at the fruit salad that Lex ordered for us, my favourite. 

"Well, don't worry about that" She mumbles through the mouthful of strawberry she stuffed in her mouth. "We're leaving for Virginia Beach in two days, so that means two fabulous weeks away from your overbearing parents" She squeals.

I get excited by this reminder. Alexa's parents have their own beach condo right on Virginia Beach that they let us use every summer. Probably the longest break we all get all year. "That's probably the best thing I've heard all week" I say dreamily. 

"We need to go shopping!" She says excitedly, leaping up from the table, causing a bunch of people around us to turn around and look at us. 

"Let's finish lunch first!" I say, grabbing her arm and pulling her back down. "We need party clothes too! I scored us tickets to Trevor Harris's annual beach party" I say and her eyes pretty much double in size. 

"That's an exclusive party, how did you get us in?!" She says, lowering her voice to an excited whisper. 

"My agent pulled a few strings after meeting with Trevor himself! She scored James and Lisa tickets too" I respond with equal excitement. My agent, Connie Wilson has been basically part of my family since I was born. Her mother was best friends with my grandmother so she is practically another mother to me. A better one that I actually have, at least.

"Bless you Connie!" Alexa squeals. "You must be her favourite client" She says. 

"She knows we're a big fan of his so she put in a good word for us" I reply, leaning back in my chair and popping more fruit in my mouth. 

"What are we sitting here for then? We have to shop!" She exclaims and grabs my hand before dragging me out of the cafe.

Hours of shopping later, I drag myself through the door of my one-bedroom apartment. I was raised in massive mansions as well as million dollar penthouse apartments. My mother nearly dropped dead in shock when she saw the apartment I purchased after I moved permanently to LA a year ago. It's big enough for me but more than half the size of anything she has ever lived in. Even though I paid cash for the place she still honestly believes that I'm living a life of poverty. I live here all by myself, some people may find that lonely but I enjoy the solitude.

I dump my keys in the bowl next to the door and drop my dozen bags of shopping to the floor. "God, I'm starving" I mutter before making my way to the kitchen. I turn on the light and let out a scream when I discover someone sitting at my table. "Mom?!" I screech at the woman sitting at the table, sipping at a glass of wine. My good wine

"Hi Christina, dear" She says, smiling brightly as she stands up and gives me a hug, which I return stiffly. 

I step back away from her and sit down at the table. "Mom, what are you doing here? How did you even get into my apartment?"

"The security in this building is atrocious" She says, her face creasing in a scowl. "Your stupid new doorman let us up without question when we said we were looking for you"

I roll my eyes, remembering to give Henry a scolding next time I see him. "Mom, this family is all over the news. Literally everyone in this country knows you're my mother" I grumble. "You didn't answer my question as to why you're here"

"We'll get to that in a moment dear, your father is using the restroom" She says, looking around making yet another face. "I still can't believe you moved into such a place after the luxury we raised you in all your life"

"The apartment is fine, mother" I growl. "You really need to get off your high horse, not everyone needs a mansion to be happy"

"Don't speak to your mother like that, Christina" Another voice speaks behind me. I turn to look at my father who has now entered the room and stands at the doorway. 

"Great, you're both here. I need a drink" I say, snatching the bottle of wine from my mom and pouring some into a glass I grab from the cabinet. "What do you guys want?"

"No need to be so hostile darling" My dad speaks. 

"It's needed, trust me" I mutter under my breath as I take a sip of the wine in my glass. 

"What was that?" He asks me. 

"Nothing" I say, saving myself from yet another lecture on ladylike behaviour. "What can I do for you?" I ask, putting on a sweet smile. In other words, what can I do to get rid of you fast?

"We need to talk" Mom says. 

"About what?" I ask, getting slightly annoyed at the exchange again. 

This time, dad speaks. "About your career, darling"

Oh Lord, here we go.

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