A/N: Ok, so I'm new to booksie and I've finally published the first chapter of my story! I hope you guys like it! :) I know it's short, sorry! Should I continue the story? Comments and criticism would be great! By the way ... 'Lainie' is pronounced LAY-NEE.
Hollywood, Los Angeles.
"Have you seen the papers?!"
Shaking my head slowly, I sipped my cup of coffee. Who cared about the papers? Oh well, Steve did. He was all about reputation and looks these days and it was frustrating to be honest. I think it had something to do with his boring lifestyle where he worked all the time. He could really learn to let loose once in a while. Maybe I would have to be the one to teach him that. I brightened at the thought of changing my manager's ways, but it quickly disappeared once he started talking again.
"People are doubting you right now Henry!" He chastised. Ouch. His voice was quite loud and I had only just woken up. It was only ten in the morning for god's sake! Big-time stars like me needed as much dozing off as they could. How the hell did he wake up so early anyway? "You might be a great actor and all, but you have to keep up your reputation!"
"I am keeping up my reputation," I replied easily. I tilted my head to the side (which kind of hurt by the way) and watched, amused, as his face became more livid. "As a ladies man."
Steve let out a loud, exasperated sigh and rolled his eyes. Typical. "Not that reputation! I'm good with you being seen as a bit of bad boy but not the male version of Lindsey Lohan!"
I made an innocent face. "What's wrong with that? What's wrong with clubbing?"
Steve growled and shoved the paper in my face. It made me go cross-eyed as I tried to catch a hold of the headlines. "Tequila shots? Five girls hanging from your arms? No wonder you couldn't get out of bed today! Literally!"
I shrugged as I remembered being woken up by Steve. He had stormed into my bedroom, pulled open the curtains so the sunshine would blind me and repeatedly yelled at me for getting wasted from last night's party. When it was obvious that I wouldn't get up, he proceeded to slap me a few times on the face. He had ordered me to get out of bed, except the problem had been that I couldn't, so Steve had been given the tough job of dragging me out of bed and to the ensuite. I had taken a cold shower after that so I could wake up. It was still a miracle that I could actually get into the shower.
As I chuckled about my absurd morning, Steve's face changed. Uh oh. I knew that look. He had the 'I have an idea' look and no offence, but he never had the best ideas.
"Ok," he said, the tone of his voice all business-like. "Look here - We're going to get your reputation back. Instead of the status as a ladies man, we're going to change it to engaged."
He grinned so wide, which made me want to slap it off his face. I scowled. Was he kidding me?! I don't do relationships. No way. No girl was interesting enough to make me stay faithful. They were all selfish and most of all, fake. All the girls I had been with mostly wanted me for my money and of course, my god-ass body. I knew no girl would like me for anything other than that and so, I resorted to one night stands. The girl had the hots for you, you had some fun for the night and you never saw her again so she didn't bother you for money. The never-ending cycle worked out perfectly for me and I had no reason to change it.
Steve cheerfully started explaining. "Calm down, your face dropped a hundred storeys. It's not going to be real, just real to the rest of the world. We'll hire a girl to become your fiancée -"
"Jessica Alba!" I immediately exclaimed. Yes, she was every man's dream. She was gorgeous and tantalizingly exotic and had always been on my top list of hottest women.
"She's taken you idiot! And she has a kid! Anyway, not someone famous. Someone who is not like Lindsey Lohan, someone sweet, who the press will like."
"That sounds incredibly boring," I remarked with a frown. Sweet? Why would you want sweet when you could have sexy? "Why that type of girl?!"
Steve looked at me like I was an idiot. In his mind, I probably was. "Well, everyone will think you're serious about relationships since you've finally settled down and not with someone who's just rich and hot."
"Everyone will think otherwise when it ends," I pointed out. He obviously hadn't thought of everything, so I felt quite proud of myself for pointing out that little flaw in his grand plan. If this was to be a fake engagement, it would have to end sometime right? And the press would think I was a player for leaving the girl again.
Steve shook his head. Ok ... so maybe he had thought of everything. "The break up will be seen as thus: your fiancée realises she can't marry you after all because dating someone famous won't allow her to have her dream job, which would be something simple, such as a doctor. It will make you look like a good guy, where you did nothing wrong ... and oh guess what? I have just the right person!"
My frown deepened. I didn't think Steve's perspective of the 'right person' was the same as mine, which sucked. An image of a dull girl with a pair of glasses and heavy metal braces came into mind. I shuddered. "But we haven't even interviewed anyone."
"We don't need to interview anyone! My niece is perfect! I don't know if she'll agree but I think she would, if I offer to cover her college fees. I know it's her biggest wish to go to Harvard. I know she'll get in too; she's so smart."
I was about to scoff, "She can't even afford college?!" but Steve had disappeared - probably to ring up his poor niece.
* * *
Dusk soon settled over my bedroom, making me sigh with relief. Now I wouldn't have to stay up to finish my college applications. Smiling proudly, I decided to head downstairs to grab myself some orange juice to celebrate. Ass I passed the lounge room, my eyes strayed to the two people entwined on the sofa: my mother and another one of her younger, gorgeous dates. God, how public could she get? I cleared my throat loudly as I walked past them into the kitchen just for fun. As I poured juice for myself in the kitchen, I heard a deep voice from the lounge.
"I'll see you later, Hazel?"
I heard my mother giggle girlishly. I could even imagine her twirling a lock of her blonde curls. "Oh yes!"
I rolled my eyes. My mother is a ... slut. Even though I don't like cursing, it's what she is. I felt like strangling her most of the time because she was like that. Usually mothers were kind and protective and baked cookies for you when you came back from school. Not my mother. I was basically stuck with a teenage girl.
"Lainie, make dinner will you? I'm starving."
"Yeah," I muttered. See what I meant? It felt like I was the mother sometimes. I took out leftover lasagne and watched as my mother laid on the couch and put a dainty hand to her forehead. She sees herself as very delicate. She's also undeniably very beautiful - glossy hair, long lashes, porcelain skin and a nice body even at the age of thirty five. People used to think she was my older sister. God no. Meanwhile, I was a brunette with brown eyes and slightly olive skin - traits inherited from my father. Life wasn't fair sometimes, but I guess it's a good thing. If I looked like my mother people might see me like her and I didn't want to be seen like her. Ever.
My father on the other hand, had been a generous, loving father. He had worked as a doctor. There was one time when my parents had been in love, but not now. Not ever since he died.
The ring of the phone interrupted my train of thought and I picked it up. "Hello?" I said breezily.
"Lainie! Is that you? Wow, you sound old!"
I laughed as I recognised the familiar voice. My uncle Steve, who I haven't seen for years was calling me while I waited for the lasagne to cook. I rarely saw him as he was always busy with his job. "Hi Steve! Yep, it is me and I'm pretty sure I still sound the same."
I heard him chuckle. "How's my older sister, hey? Is she behaving?"
"You know mother never behaves," I murmured, frowning. I wish she did though, because life would be so much better that way. I could have a friend to talk to, she would cook for once, look out for me ...
"Touché," Steve replied in a crisp tone. "Well anyway, the reason I've called is because I have a proposition for you."
I tensed automatically. Since when did uncles make propositions for you? "Proposition?"
"Yes, it's a big one but I really hope you'll agree to it."
I nodded cautiously and twiddled a lock of my hair with my free hand. "Ok, I'm listening ..."
"Alright I'll get to the point. You know how I'm Henry Parker's manager? Yes well, at the moment his reputation is in shambles, so I've been thinking ... a fake engagement will help boost his reputation up. A girl who isn't famous but sweet, smart and not Hollywood fake if you know what I mean."
"I get it," I said, a grin lighting up my face. "You want me to think of someone?"
Steve sighed. "No, I've already thought of someone. You."
"Me?" I squeaked. Why would he pick me?! How in the world did he think I was sweet? I could be pretty sarcastic and mean sometimes, and to top it off, I got annoyed pretty easily.
"Before you say no, I'm prepared to cover your fees for college if you agree to this," Steve quickly added.
I gasped involuntarily. I had a really good chance of getting into college and now Steve was planning to pay for my fees. Could life get any weirder? Or better ...
"How long would I have to do it?" I asked in a whisper.
"About three or four months?"
I thought carefully and bit my lip in the process. Three or four months pretending to be Henry's fake fiancée wouldn't be too bad I guessed. I've heard of him, but I had no idea what he looked like and what his personality was like too. If I wanted to get into my dream college, I would have to make some sort of sacrifice right? But this was a big sacrifice. Could I do it? Was I ready to be thrown into the world of the rich and famous?
I could feel my thoughts running in circles. It was giving me a headache. I rubbed my temple and thought about my college plans now. I had some money for college and that was only my savings from working as a waitress for two years. I didn't have much. Then there was the small amount of money my father had left me. It was a lot to me but it didn't make that much of a difference. My mother used her pay checks from work on brand new clothing and fancy dinners with her handsome dates so I never got money off her.
With a frown, I realised I was kind of poor. Hah!
I really, really needed the money for college funds but agreeing to Steve's proposition seemed a bit drastic. But I could handle it right? Just a fake relationship. Fake. I would have to act like I liked the guy for a few months and then I would be able to go to college, finish my Master's degree in Harvard and finally have a place of my own. I would in no way be tied to my mother. A smile blossomed on my face. I definitely could do it.
"Count me in Steve."