Twice in a Blue Moon

Page 37

“Remember that summer?” she says, and I don’t need her to say more. It was 2004, a sweltering summer in Guerneville, with the heat warping the pavement, the river a clear, glittering green, and the lingering scent of charcoal barbecue lasting all day and night. My childhood sweetheart Jesse and I couldn’t keep our hands off each other, and Charlie could barely keep her hands off all the tourists.

“The Sexy Summer,” I say, nodding. God, that feels like a different lifetime.

She snaps her fingers. “It’s gonna be another one.”

“But it’s already September,” Trey offers helpfully.

“Fine,” she says, waving him off. “The Sexy September.”

Frowning, Trey says, “That feels a little more pumpkin spice latte and a little less sweaty roll in the hay, but it works. Putting my money on Tate and Devon, Tate and Nick, or Charlie and Hemingway.”

“Or Trey and the shy adorable camera guy who surprises you one night with a kiss up at the Community House,” I suggest, and his eyes light up.

He laughs. “Oooh, or maybe a sassy, sarcastic grip pulls me behind the trailer for a grope?”

“Why not both?”

The door to the trailer swings open, and Nick Tyler ducks as he steps in, already smiling that panty-dropping smile. In his reflection in the mirror, I see Trey waver where he stands.

“Were your ears ringing?” Charlie asks him. “We were just talking about you.”

“Oh yeah?” His voice is a deep, Southern vibration. “What were you saying?”

“Wondering who you’re gonna hook up with on set,” she says.

Nick’s head falls back and he lets out the laugh I’ve heard in theaters, the delighted, low belly rumble that makes women all over the world turn into giggling fangirls. “I thought we don’t do that sort of thing these days.”

“I’ll never tell,” Trey says.

Nick looks around at us, nodding knowingly. “So this is the trouble trailer, then?”

Charlie bends to perfect my concealer. “Always.” Standing, she reaches out a free hand. “I’m Charlie. That’s Trey.”

He takes it. “Pleasure to meet you, Charlie. Trey.”

Nick’s laugh fades away, but the echo of it unknots the anxiety in my stomach.

“Hey, Nick.”

“Hey, Tate.”

I turn my face up to him, and he does a double take. Charlie has effectively camouflaged my flaws, but added no color. I look like one of the Precogs from Minority Report.

“Damn, girl.” But he grins, leaning in to kiss my cheek. “It’s weird seeing you all plain.”

“I’m creating my canvas,” Charlie says.

Nick stares at me for a lingering beat and then smiles again, as if he likes what he sees.

Maybe Charlie was onto something after all.

“Devon told me to come over,” Nick says, and then looks up at Trey.

Valiantly combatting his nerves, Trey motions for Nick to follow him to the other station and sits him down, drifting a drape over his shoulders to protect his shirt.

“Saw your dad,” Nick says to me, and then immediately adds, “Wait. Should I call him your dad or Ian?”

Charlie laughs, but I turn, wearing a bewildered grin. “Seriously? Why is everyone asking me that?”

“Maybe because you’ve been acting forever and never did a movie together?” he says.

“Maybe it just wasn’t ever the right time?”

Nick mm-hmmms and grins at me. I haven’t seen him since we did a chemistry test with Gwen and the studio heads, and we had to read one of the moments leading up to a love scene, and kiss at the end. They made us do it about seven times, and—let me be clear—I was not complaining.

Nick is a star on the rise, winning Best Actor at the BET Awards last year and Best Hero at MTV. Not just handsome, he has that special something that makes it hard to look away. His eyes are wide set and hypnotic, dark and glimmering with a constant hint of mischief. His skin is a warm, chestnut brown, luminous under Charlie’s bright makeup lights. His hair, once cut close to his scalp, has grown out a little for the role. But he’s still built like the DC action movie star he is: his Mon-El feature just wrapped a couple weeks ago—it has summer blockbuster written all over it.

There’s something about Nick’s eye-crinkling smile that reminds me a little of my ex-boyfriend and former co-star on Evil Darlings, Chris—but Nick has a calmness about him that Chris never quite managed. Chris and I were only actually together for about seven months, but we agreed to continue the ruse of our relationship for another three years because the more enthusiastic viewers were so fanatical about Violet and Lucas being together “in real life” that our off-screen reality became an intense focus of promotion.

Unlike Chris, though, Nick has that intense kind of focus, the tendency to maintain prolonged eye contact, the slow-growing smile. Whenever he catches my gaze and holds it, I feel like he’s carefully translating my thoughts directly from my brain.

“You two have such great chemistry,” Charlie says, glancing between us as she works. “Going to look great on-screen.” I feel heat push to the surface of my cheeks.

“That’s what Gwen said,” Nick tells her, finally breaking eye contact. “Though I feel like now is the time to tell you: I’ve never done a love scene before.”

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