Chapter One of my soon to be released novel, Hello Again. It will be the first in a series of 3 books.
RUMOR REPORT: Could 3 former soap stars be getting soapy in primetime?
Our sources are telling us that three fan favorites of the cancelled UBC Soaps might just be getting down and dirty this fall. Heaven and Hell along with Valley Harts fans will be excited to see some of these faces back on their screens, especially if they are curious to see how some of the younger stars grew up. Keep your eyes on our twitter feed for more information as it becomes available.
It was another hot afternoon as David Grayson parked his car in the lot of the latest location for an audition. He checked out the building, it was pretty nondescript like many of the other buildings, almost homogenized with every other building he’d been to lately. He wasn’t really sure how he felt about this reading, part of him felt good about it, but another part of him felt like perhaps this just wasn’t going to work out. That maybe he should start looking for another career. Then again he’d told himself that if he could get something that stuck this year, he would keep going. If nothing took, then he’d go and find something more suitable for a thirty year old man to be doing.
The chill of the air conditioner shocked him, he looked around the office waiting area and the butterflies in his stomach seemed to be multiplying. As he checked in he noticed that most of the guys looked a lot like him, that was the problem wasn’t it? Every role he went out for the guys looked a lot like him. Some of them had more talent, some of them didn’t. Some of them sparked that feeling in the casting agents that he wished he could spark.
He noticed that all of the girls looked similar as well, younger than him but not by much. They were all attractive, long blond hair. Some of them were dressed in almost identical outfits. Their sense of style was so similar David couldn’t help but wonder if they shared a brain. Something about them all though seemed familiar, though he was sure he’d probably seen them at another audition, or around town. Maybe he’d seen them at the audition the other week for the CW show.
He took a seat and went over the scene he was supposed to read. His foot was tapping nervously as time seemed to drag on. He hated this part, making him wonder why he put himself through this sort of thing day after day, month after month and year after year.
The door opened and the sunlight from the office windows poured into the room. He felt his heart beat quickly as he saw it glow behind a young actress that was exiting. She had a smile on her face, sunglasses that had just fallen over her eyes and hair that went down halfway to her back. Something about her made his heart race with familiarity.
As she pushed the glasses back up on top of her head like a headband, he saw her brown eyes that always shone with happiness when they were back on the set of Heaven and Hell a few years ago. It was Lexie Kramer; she’d grown up on the series and had been one of his good friends on set. Even though back then it had driven his fiancé at the time Delia crazy.
Lexie looked around, stopping when her eyes landed on David. She could feel her smile grow from her polite professional one she gave the casting director to one of genuine joy when she saw David.
He waved over to her, still amazed to be seeing her. It felt like it had been forever since they’d last been together, though it had only been about five years. The last time they saw each other had been the wrap party for Heaven and Hell, which had been a somber celebration with the cast, crew and fans in a ballroom of a New York City Hotel.
“David!” She tried not to squeal too much like a young girl. She felt a wave of joy crash through her body as if this moment was meant to be.
“Lexie,” he hugged her, catching a whiff of her coconut body lotion as her body pressed against his. “Are you up for a role here?”
“Yeah, I just got done with my audition for Ambrosia.” Her smile was big and bright as she looked at him, remembering the crush she’d had on him all those years ago.
“I hope you get it.” He looked at her, seeing how much she had matured. He was happy to know she was still trying to give it a try, to make it work for her. “I’m up for the part of Trey.”
“My fingers are crossed for you.” She tiled her head just as a beeping came from her purse, “I gotta take that, I’ll see you around.”
“It was good to see you Lexie.” He watched as she walked towards the door, texting away on her phone.
“David Grayson!” His name was called out. He took a deep breath, going towards the door hoping and wondering that if running into Lexie was a good sign.
Lexie leaned against her car as she looked at some of the pictures on her phone. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face even if she tried. David always made her smile; he had always been one of the nicest guys she had ever known. She paused on a picture from the last year she’d been on Heaven and Hell, it was a backstage picture of her and David after the one and only scene they had shared together during a charity ball, it had been one of the last major events the show had done before it was cancelled.
Lexie put her phone away in her purse and unlocked her car. She stood with the door open a moment, trying to get some air circulating before she gone in. Never before had she felt so happy to see another actor at a casting call, really she wanted David to get the part, and hoped that she got the part she auditioned for and that they would share more than one scene together.
She had a good feeling about today, and her own audition. She hadn’t felt as confident about a part since her first role after Heaven and Hell when she’d done a short web series. But this was different, this was more, this was stronger and it would get her back on television screens which would hopefully lead to something steadier. Sure, right now it was just a pilot but she need this, she need it right now and her gut told her this was going to make it to air.
She sat in the driver’s seat, leaning back for a moment, closing her eyes and wondering how all of this had happened. She felt sort of like a has-been and she was only twenty-four years old. Some producers had refused to see her because she’d grown up acting on the soap; others would let her audition but pass on her. She had worked and trained for so long, but the stigma seemed to stick with her. She didn’t think it was fair, especially when all the drama’s she was auditioning for would basically be weekly soaps. The difference between primetime and daytime seemed ridiculously silly to her. But it wasn’t up to her. She was going to keep on trying until she couldn’t try anymore.
Closing the door she started the ignition, the radio blared on as she pulled out of the parking lot, wondering if she would ever see David Grayson again, and if she did what it would be like? Would her heart still beat like crazy? Would she still have that nervous flutter in her stomach as she did in the past?
Her phone began to ring with the sweet sounds of the old theme song of Heaven and Hell, she pulled over to a parking lot to answer it. She didn’t have her car set up for hands free calling yet and felt if she tried to talk on her phone she would get busted. “Lexie Kramer.”
“Lexie, this is Clyde Donavon. I would like for you to come in again tomorrow morning. I want you to read again with someone.” He explained, “We have someone in mind for you to play against but we need to see it to make sure the two of you together work before we make any decisions.”
Lexie was thrilled this conversation was on the phone so she wouldn’t be revealing just how excited she was and how happy she was. This was the chance she needed. “What time? I’ll be there.”
“Great, it will be at nine. We want to get this all figured out as quickly as possible. We start filming the pilot next week in Colorado.”
“Colorado?” I didn’t realize it was being filmed there.”
“Yes, probably just the pilot, we want a real feel of the place. I will see you in the morning.” He hung up before she could say anything else.
She looked down at her phone excited, no matter what this was a very good sign. Now she could only hope that whoever was up for the role of her love interest and she had chemistry. If they did, the roles would be there’s. That’s what she needed and what whoever he was, probably needed as well.
“We will see you at nine tomorrow morning, Mr. Grayson. We’ll do the chemistry test; I think it’ll work out.” The casting director told David as they walked into the hallway. People had mostly left; some of them had barely gotten in the door.
“Thank you, I will see you in the morning.” David felt good, this felt right. Perhaps running into Lexie had been his lucky charm.
He had a smile on his face as he made his way out of the building. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was what he’d been waiting for? If this was the audition that would change his life again, much like the one he’d had when he auditioned for Heaven and Hell. Things were changing, the wind was different, he could feel it. He knew it was coming. Perhaps now was the time. Now was the day, the week, the month, the moment when he could feel like something was going to happen, that things were going to turn around. Perhaps after all this time had been what he needed. It had taken him a very long time to get where he was. Sometimes it wasn’t easy. Especially where his romantic relationships had been involved, especially when Delia was involved. The past was now the past and he had a lot to look forward to.
Delia had been the worst thing that had ever happened to him. He couldn’t believe he had been sucked into that hell around her. She thought he would be some big movie star, that she’d be the wife of some hot man that millions of women wanted when they saw him on the big screen. But that wasn’t who he wanted to be, how his career was going. She’d been insanely jealous of him hanging out with female cast mates. She had almost made one of his female co-stars quit because she was so jealous.
After Heaven and Hell had been cancelled, she’d dropped him. She declared him a never was, threw the ring back at him which he quickly sold on e-bay and made a nice little profit off of it. He hadn’t found anyone that made him feel really much of anything. He and his best friend Paul would go out, try and to pick up women. Paul was always much more successful. At times would amaze David how things could be so easy for him. Though once he realized what it was exactly that Paul was looking for, of course it was easy. Paul was looking for someone to spend the night with, and nothing more. He wanted more though, he wanted something real. He wanted something more, something substantial.
The bar scene was probably not exactly where he was going to find it. He realized that, but a part of him just couldn’t seem to convince himself that it was time to go and take action in his live time, at least not until he had things figured out work wise. He needed a job, he needed this job.
The call back for a chemistry test tomorrow was a good thing, a very good thing. He just hoped that whoever he tested with and he had the chemistry that they were looking for. He sat in his car for a moment, thinking about everything over the last few years. The way his career had been on this amazing path, only to be torn apart by some executive that thought women would rather watch a cooking panel. Things were picking up now though. He’d been in a few commercials, a Lifetime movie, even one on the Family Channel. He looked down at his cell, realizing he was late for meeting Paul at the gym.
This was one of those times he was very glad that he was just a few minutes away from his gym. He needed to work out, release some of the stress, fear, tension building inside of him. Of course this is where Paul would tell him he just needed to get laid.
As he made his way into the gym, his bag in one hand he found himself stopping short when he saw who Paul was talking to. There she was for the second time today. Her blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, her face free of makeup, except perhaps some gloss or lip balm. The tight spandex leggings showing off the shape of her slim, muscular legs that he’d always tried not to enjoy but couldn’t help to at this moment. The zipped up jacket showing off her workout top underneath. He felt a stirring inside of himself he hadn’t felt in a long time and realized he had to stop. He couldn’t think of her this way, not at all. She was Lexie, young Lexie. He couldn’t let himself imagine whatever it was he was at the moment. He had to focus.
“Hey Paul!” He called out, not wanting her to realize he knew it was her.
Lexie turned when she heard his voice, she’d felt a chill a moment before as though someone were watching her, the same sort of chill she always got when he was around her. She smiled when she saw David, “Wow, two times in one day after how long?”
David smiled, “Lexie, I hope you’re not on your way out right now?”
“Oh no, I’m actually off to my Pilates class, any chance of you guys joining?” She knew she was challenging them both, she could guess Paul would jump at it. She recalled he was always hitting on women, looking for the next conquest.
“That sounds awesome.” David answered before Paul could, he knew that it would be better to take the class with them, then let Paul alone with her. He could only hope and pray that Lexie was smart enough to know that Paul was after one thing, and one thing only.
Lexie smiled, “Great, room 2B. It starts in 5 minutes, you better get changed David.”
David felt flushed when he saw her smile. He had to control himself, he couldn’t think of her like this. Or could he? No he couldn’t, she was Lexie. She was still young, okay she wasn’t as young as he seemed to be thinking she was. In his mind she was still that young nineteen year old actress that had been on the soap for, well almost her entire life.
“I’ll see you guys in a few.” Lexie went over to the stairs, glancing back just once to catch a slightly goofy smile on David’s face. She felt butterflies in her stomach still, just as she had back when they had worked on Heaven and Hell. This was going to be a hard class to get through today.
“Dude!” Paul smacked David on the upper arm as they went into the locker room. “I had that all set up. Why did you have to take Pilates with us?”
“She’s still a kid.” David tried to rationalize, even though perhaps it wasn’t as true as he was hoping.
“She’s no child, I saw you checking her out.” Paul rolled his eyes as he sat on the bench. “Dude, if you want her, say something. I will back off. But if you don’t, I’m all for getting a chance for the night with her.”
David slammed his locker open, his eyes glaring with a hot fire Paul had never seen before, “Dude, leave her alone. Back off. She’s a kid. Okay maybe she’s not but compared to us, she is. Leave her alone. She doesn’t deserve to be some notch on your bedpost.”
Paul sat frozen for a moment, amazed that a woman had gotten David filled with this sort of fire. He had actually been afraid it was never going to happen ever again the way things had been going. So he was really glad to see it.
“Okay, now for the final position.” The instructor was in the front of the room announced in a calmer tone then David was used to as he tried his best to do what was being shown.
Lexie was trying to hide a smile as she caught a glimpse of David trying really hard to get into the correct movements. She looked back down at here pink mat, trying to focus and not giggle.
“Wonderful!” The instructor called out a moment later as everyone started to get up and father their things.
Lexie looked at both men, “How are you feeling?”
“I feel great!” Paul announced, “Are you sure we just worked out?”
David looked over at Paul as though her were insane, “What? Seriously?”
“Yeah, I barely felt a thing.” Paul picked his things up, flashing Lexie a smile.
Lexie tried really hard not to smile at that point, “Just remember you said that later, I gotta get going. I have to meet some friends and get to bed. I’ve got a callback in the morning.”
“For the audition earlier?” David didn’t want her to go, he felt his heart racing, he knew it wasn’t from the workout, he knew he couldn’t let her walk out of his life tonight, or ever again.
“Actually, yeah a chemistry test actually with some guy that…wait is it you I’ll be testing with?” She felt herself chew a little on her lower lip before stopping herself.
David nodded, “Yeah, I think it’s me. How crazy is that?”
“Well let’s hope that we have crazy, awesome chemistry on screen.” She paused for a moment thinking back, “Did our characters ever even speak to each other on Heaven and Hell?” She knew the answer though, she knew the once scene they’d had together had been the start of a chemistry test that got redirected shortly after when news of the cancellation came down.
David thought back, he remembered one scene between them, it had been a formal occasion, a good reason to get him and the other guys in tuxes, and the girls in gowns. “Once, I think at a ball or a wedding or something like that. I just remember being in a tux, and you were in a red strapless dress that went down to the floor.”
She raised an eyebrow as she smiled, “I remember that dress. Well I will see you in the morning. Let’s hope for some awesome Chemistry. I think we deserve it at this point.”
“So, um, yeah have fun at dinner with your friends.” David stepped backwards pulling Paul with him, “Hate to keep them waiting. I will see you in the morning.”
“Yeah, for sure.” Lexie waved as she went into the ladies locker room, looking back just as Paul and David went into the men’s.
Paul started at David, “What the hell man? I had a shot with her.”
“Dude, I might have to work with her. So I don’t think I’m going to let you screw her and leave her.”
Paul pouted and David just rolled his eyes at him. “You make me sound like a horrible person.”
“Dude, having sex just to have sex and treating women like crap and objects isn’t the best trait.” David opened his locker and sank down onto the bench. “She’s different, I don’t know what it is, but she just is. Please don’t try to get in her pants, okay?”
“You like her, you really like her. Wait is she the one Delia got all jealous about back in the day?” Paul was getting excited about the prospect of gossip.
David shook his head as he changed into his street clothes, “No, Lexie was only just out of high school back then. Delia was more upset about the woman I was kissing on screen then the ones I was friends with.”
Paul looked at his friend for a moment, “Dude, you like this chick. I don’t think I have ever seen you like a girl as much as you like this one. Wow.” Paul sank down onto the bench, waiting a moment before he opened his locker and dug around into his bag.
“You’re nuts.” David sighed, he didn’t want to think about it. He couldn’t have a crush on her, could he? No. It would be weird, silly. She was still a kid…no, wait she wasn’t. He couldn’t think of her that way anymore. Not after the way he looked at her before he realized it was her earlier. “I gotta go, I’ll talk to you later.”
“David! Dude! I thought we were gonna get dinner!” Paul threw his shirt down on the bench and sighed, wondering if maybe his friend was right, but if it really mattered at all.
David held his pile of mail in his one hand as he tried to unlock the door and not drop his gym bag at the same time. He was just glad to be able to get inside his little apartment, enjoy the quiet for the night and not have to deal with anyone else. Besides he had a callback in the morning, and he was going to have to be ready, relaxed and rested. The last part might be just a bit difficult because all he could think about was Lexie, the way her blond hair reflected light, any kind of light actually. The way her clothes fit against her small, tight body.
He dropped his bag to the floor, shaking his head. He couldn’t think about her that way. He shouldn’t think about her that way. It would and could only lead to trouble, especially if they both got their respective parts. He tossed his keys and mail in a nearby bowl and went to the fridge.
It was of course empty for the most part, he looked for something, anything to put together. Finally setting on some slices of cheese and some lunchmeat, along with a can of Coors Light in the drawer. Looking down at his thrown together dinner, hoping it would be satisfying.
Life had turned out differently then he’d expected it would years before, but this was better. He was grateful that Delia had shown her true colors as soon as she did. He’d just wished he’d been less blinded before he proposed. Lesson learned though. He’d been wanting something, someone so badly at the time that it seemed impossible that she couldn’t be what he wanted, what he needed when she was far from it on so many levels.
Lexie. She stirred things inside of him, no one ever had before. They’d always gotten along wonderfully back in the days of Heaven and Hell. If the age difference hadn’t seemed so monumental back then, along with being engaged to Delia, maybe things would’ve been different. Okay, he had to stop. If they were going to be working together again, they were going to be sharing scenes. He had to stop fantasizing about her, he had to stop wondering about her soft pink lips smiling, puckering, and posing. He just had to stop it, and get control of himself.
Lexie sat at the high café table waiting for her friends to show up. She hated being the first one to arrive, but it always happened. The rest of them would always take forever to get ready, or get off from work. Perhaps it was just her schedule that made it easier, but if she was lucky she would soon be a lot busier. If she was really lucky she would be spending a lot more time with David Grayson.
She could feel her stomach flip flop at the thought. She’d had the biggest crush on him when they’d been on Heaven and Hell. But he’d been with Delia, and what an evil wench she had been. She could still hear how his on-screen girlfriend came running down the halls into her dressing room, crying after Delia tried to confront her about kissing David. It had actually been Lexie’s idea to go talk to the producer about it. Delia hadn’t even been on the set, she’d stolen the poor girls number from David’s cellphone and harassed her in several voicemails.
Lexie had been thrilled when via facebook she found out they hadn’t been married, she had almost messaged him, telling him she was glad he had woken up and gotten rid of the wretched witch, but something had stopped her. She was afraid of coming off as jealous, which she was and afraid of coming off as catty which she might have been.
Looking down at her pink cocktail she couldn’t help but smile, wondering what part of Colorado she could possibly be in for this pilot. She really had a believed that this part was hers, that she would get it and David would get the part he was up for as well.
“Who is he?” Lily her best friend sat down at the table. Her eyes were puffy with exhaustion and her short pixie cut brown hair made her look like a sad high school freshmen.
“No one, no one at all.” Lexie took a sip of her drink, “How was work?”
Lily looked at the specials menu before looking up at Lexie, “Oh you know, it was the same as always until the night time assistant showed up. Lily, I only want the yellow Gatorade, not PowerAde, Gatorade.”
“Seriously?” Lexie sighed, “We’ve got to find you a better job. You can’t spend the rest of your life running around finding yellow Gatorade for Sasha.”
“Yeah, I know, but until I find anything better this is the best I can do right now.” Lily sighed as she closed the menu, “How did the audition go?”
“Good, I have a call back in the morning for a chemistry test, and you will never guess who I ran into at the audition and then at the gym afterwards.”
Lily looked at her friend through her eyelashes, taking in how Lexie was acting at the moment, “He must be a hottie, someone you know.”
“Do people still say hottie?”
“I do, deal with it.”
“Okay.” Lexie giggled, “He is a hottie.”
Lily took her in for another moment, “The only guy I could think of that would make you this wacky would be David Grayson. But you haven’t seen him in ages.”
“It is David Grayson, we’re doing a chemistry test together in the morning.”
“Whose doing a chemistry test?” Charlie sat down, her giant purse dropping to the floor with a thud.
Lily smiled, “Lexie does, with that hot guy she used to drool over on Heaven and Hell.”
Charlie looked from one friend to the other her red shoulder length hair falling to one side, “David Grayson? Didn’t he play JC the con-artist?”
“Yeah the hot con-artist who would wear nothing but those navy blue boxer briefs.” Lily sat with a smile on her face.
“Girls, come on now.” Lexie sighed, “Yes, he did tend to have to wear that outfit a lot.”
“He was hot, is he still hot?” Charlie leaned forward.
“Yeah, he is. Especially when he’s doing Pilates.”
Charlie and Lily looked at each other before looking back at Lexie. “Seriously? Let’s discuss the fact that wasn’t he engaged back on Heaven and Hell?” Charlie brought the conversation down.
“Yeah he was, they never got married though.” Lexie picked up her drink taking a long sip.
“So he’s single? Good. Sleep with him.” Charlie leaned back in her seat looking around for a waitress.
“I can’t just sleep with him. He’s a friend.”
“You’ve got it bad for him.” Lily announced, “Why not go for it?”
“We could be working together. I can screw that up. I need this job and I bet he does as well.” Lexie defended though she knew it was really because she was scared. “Why should I jeopardize that for some silly crush?”
Charlie grinned before looking over at Lily, “Should we take money on how long before she makes a fool out of herself over this guy and they hook up?”
“Naw, not this one.” Lily looked across the table at Lexie, “I think whatever happens, the last thing will be here looking like a fool in the end.”
“Can we just order dinner instead of discussing some non-existent crush?”
“Fine, I guess we can do that.” Charlie looked around for a waitress again, “I just hope that if something does happen, you don’t run from it.”
Lexie tried not to roll her eyes, “If we have chemistry on screen, then we won’t have it off screen. So I would rather have it on screen, okay? Who wants to split some nachos?”
“Okay, nachos sound good.” Lily waved over to a waitress and placed the order.
Charlie looked over at Lexie, “So tell us about this role.”
“All I know right now is that the character is named Ambrosia, and the pilot is being filmed in Colorado.”
If you read the entire thing, enjoyed it then please let me know via twitter @katdvs