A DISCREET NOVELLA
Money. Fame. Hollywood.
I was drowning in a superficial life.
Until I met her.
Right when I hit rock bottom on a promotional tour, Maggie Sharp appears on the other side of a dressing room, forced into the same space while we wait for her very first show to begin.
She’s everything I’m not.
Kind. Genuine. So innocent it hurts.
And she has no idea who I am.
To the other, we’re nothing but shadows, hidden by a silk screen.
But in the space of an hour, I feel like she knows me better than anyone.
Maggie doesn’t need me to slow her down before she’s even gotten started.
But the more we talk, the more I feel the truth.
This woman could be my salvation.
And I’ll do anything to earn it.
One night, one touch, can change your life.
And she just transformed mine forever.
Part of me wanted to see what she would do once I showed my face. Would she keep talking? Act like nothing had changed? Maybe we could talk some more. Maybe I’d ask her to meet me after the show so we could do it some more.
But she’d know, a voice whispered in the back of my mind. And once people realized who I was, they stopped doing this. They stopped treating me like me.
“What about you?” she was saying. “Do you live with a lot of people?”
I smirked. “No.”
What would she say if I told her about the compound in Vermont? Or the Central Park penthouse I was considering?
“Sometimes I feel like I share a room with everyone in the world, though.” It was as close as I’d ever get to telling her the truth.
Then she surprised me again.
“That sounds lonely, actually.”
I stilled. Maybe she knew after all. How else could she understand what I meant by that?
“How do you figure?” Suspicion spiked my words like cheap vodka.
“Well, if everyone is in the room together, there’s no privacy just to get to know one person. And would you know if they were really being themselves? You couldn’t. Not with everyone watching. You’d all be together, but at the same time, you’d never really be together. Does that make sense?”
I stared at the screen, mouth open. It made complete sense. Too much sense. How was it possible that someone who had never even seen my face could describe everything wrong with my life in a few short sentences?
A roar of noise gushed through the closed dressing room door as the crowd yowled. Jake Fletcher, a comedian and one of the supporting actors from Fury, had agreed to do a short set before the music started. That and the fact that the headliner had recorded the film’s soundtrack joined the two groups together and kicked off the whole Fury press tour.
Through the screen, the bright lights of the dressing room mirror cast the girl’s body in a clear silhouette. So I could tell she had long hair piled over one graceful shoulder, hunched slightly with anxiety. Sometimes, when she turned in profile, I could make out a small, straight nose and a pair of lips a lot of women paid big money for. Once, I even saw a shadow of eyelashes as they swept closed. It was hard not to stare when that happened. But I did anyway, because shit, she couldn’t see me. I told myself they were fake. No one was naturally that beautiful just in silhouette.
She rubbed her hands together, then pressed them to her face. “You can do this,” she whispered.
I wondered if she meant for me to hear it.