A/N: I hope I've done an OK job with Lainie's reactions to being around Henry ... anyway, enjoy lovelies! :)
Rumour Has It
After realising I actually liked Henry, I didn’t think I could look him in the eye ever again. If he ever found out that I did like him, I knew he would shoot me down and ridicule me for falling for his ‘good looks.’ His cockiness still irritated the hell out of me, although I think I secretly liked flipping remarks back at him … wait, did I just really think that?
Yes you did, Lainie.
I groaned as the two different sides of my head argued with each other – one helplessly thinking about Henry and the other one telling me to shut these stupid feelings out. After all, it was just a crush right?
It was sad that I couldn’t pull my knees together on the lonely bench since I was in a dress. Instead, I hugged myself and gazed up at the stars twinkling the night sky. The bench I was sitting on was far out from the mansion so it was quite peaceful.
I didn’t know what would happen if I went back in there. Would I be all nervous to see and talk to Henry, or be heartbroken that he would never like me?
As I started to dwell on the possibilities, I heard a rustling sound come from behind me. My heart lurched as I whipped around. What if it was somebody dangerous?
I bit my lip nervously as Henry appeared from behind an oak tree which was behind the bench. He smiled sheepishly at me, which made me ask myself: how long had he been there?
“Uh hey,” he said awkwardly, as he stepped up to the bench.
My eyes widened at the close proximity and I think my heart was beating overdrive. This was not good at all. “H-hey …”
Henry took a seat next to me and it kind of frightened me. I shuffled a bit closer to the edge, hoping he wouldn’t notice. “What are you doing out here?” He asked, frowning. “Natasha said you ran away. Everyone was worried …”
If I didn’t know better, I think he was upset that I was out here by myself. I then nearly smacked myself for thinking that. He was definitely not worried or upset I was out here by myself. Why would he be?
“Uh … I-I didn’t feel so well,” I stammered. God, I was making a fool of myself! I bet he knew something was up with me.
“Do you feel sick?” He asked. I shook my head but he seemed to think I was sick. “Well, let’s get you back.”
Before I could protest, Henry pulled me up from the bench. The short walk back to the mansion seemed to take forever. I think it had to do with the fact that Henry was with me though. I didn’t want him to want to confront him about Veronica, so our walk was quiet. It felt a bit awkward since I knew I liked him but at the same time, it felt kind of peaceful. As he led me up the front lawn, Natasha spotted me and ran over. I was surprised she didn’t fall because f her killer stilettos.
“Lainie! Where did you go?!” She asked frantically, a few worry lines creased into her normally smooth forehead. “You just ran out! We were all so worried! Are you ok?!”
I nodded and gave her a strained smile. “I’m fine. I just needed some air,” I lied. Well, it wasn’t all a lie – I did need some air.
After a second of eyeing me suspiciously, she bought it. Clara, Aiden and Keith then appeared, and Keith instantly pulled me into a bear hug. That surprised me.
“Where’d you go?” He asked.
Before I could answer, Henry interrupted and put an arm around my shoulders. “I think she’s sick, so I’m going to take her home.”
I looked up at him and wondered why he had done that. Was he playing the part of a caring fiancé or did he want to do it? Great, now I was just over thinking everything. I hoped this wouldn’t go on for long.
* * *
The next morning, I was woken up by Steve, who was repeatedly saying my name and telling me to wake up. I groggily rubbed my eyes as he told me what was on today’s agenda. “You have to get dressed quickly Lainie, as we’re going to a press conference to get something sorted,” he explained, poking me in the head so I would get up.
I swatted his finger away and pushed myself up from the bed. As I squinted at Steve, I saw he was holding a newspaper in his hand. “Get what cleared up?”
He held up the paper and I gasped at the headline and the pictures which followed.
HENRY PARKER GETS MARRIED!
Rumour has it that the young couple, Henry Parker and Lainie Watson, have recently just eloped and are now on a beautiful honeymoon in Curacao, an island off the Venezuelan coast. They have been spotted a few times around the beach towns and had apparently attended the famous Veronica Pierce’s wild twentieth birthday bash. They are also staying at one of the best hotels in Curacao – the Royal Crystal. Witnesses say that the couple married in a drive-thru chapel and that the young bride wore a ruffled pearl-coloured dress from Macy’s. The store manager of Macy’s confirmed the new Mrs Parker had indeed brought a pearl-coloured dress at her store. “I was so excited to see her!” exclaims Jessie. “The dress cost fifty dollars I remember, and I served her at the counter. She said hi to me!”
Sources say that the young couple’s quick and cheap LA wedding was due to the fact of rebellion against Henry father, Mr Rafferty Parker. The elder Parker had stated many times his disapproval for the couple, and had called young Lainie a ‘gold digger.’
“That’s not true!” I burst out, miffed. I had to admit though; the only thing appealing in that article was having the name ‘Lainie Parker.’
Steve nodded. “I know. That’s why we’re going to clear it up. Henry having a cheap and quick wedding because of his father’s disapproval is not going to go well. We’re going to say that the Parkers love you, you guys aren’t married yet and you are both in Curacao for Henry’s new movie.”
I nodded slowly and sighed. How ridiculous was the media! And that ‘Jessie’ girl … why had she lied?! To get attention? More customers in her shop? I hadn’t been in Macy’s in months! I suddenly wondered what Henry’s fan websites said about me. I bet it wasn’t good, so I made a mental note to find a Henry Parker fan website one day.
“Oh and by the way, Veronica Pierce has a sister,” Steve added nonchalantly. I could tell he knew this mess was my fault and my heartbeat rate sped up.
“Yep … here it is! Veronica Pierce’s Mystery Sister – she apparently has long dark hair like Veronica, was wearing a dark purple dress and her boyfriend had recently just dumped her for someone else …”
“Poor girl,” I said with a nervous laugh. “I think I saw her actually.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “You’ll be in trouble if anyone finds out,” he warned. “Now come on, get dressed.”
“What do I wear to a press conference?!” I asked, panicking. I didn’t know what kind of function it was. Was it simple? Elegant?
“Keep it simple but not too simple,” Steve answered, with his head tilted to the side.
I groaned at his use of words. They were such a help. “I’m just going to ask Natasha,” I decided. That would be a good idea. “And where’s Henry anyway?”
Steve gave me a strange look before answering, “He’s already dressed and having breakfast downstairs. He has to sort a few things out for his filming today.”
“Ok.” I watched as Steve walked out of the suite and left me to get dressed. I took out my cell from the drawer and pressed Natasha’s number. She picked up on the second ring.
“Morning Lainie!” She chirped. “Up and early?”
I paused, momentarily freaked out she knew I was the person calling her. “How’d you know it was me?”
“Umm … caller ID?” Natasha replied uncertainly.
“Oh right …” I murmured, feeling stupid. This was what early mornings did to me. “I’m only up early because I have to attend a press conference. What I do wear? A dress? Or is it too much?”
Natasha laughed at my question. “If it’s a casual dress then it’s alright. But I know you love jeans, so you can wear that instead. Now, I’ve seen your clothes and I’ve already got an idea in mind. Wear skinny jeans with a nice top and that white blazer of yours.”
“Ok … what about shoes?”
“Those pink pumps of yours,” Natasha immediately replied. “Trust me; it’ll look great on you!”
Pink pumps? I never knew those even existed in my suitcase. “Alright … thanks Natasha.”
“You’re welcome! Have fun at the press conference!” Natasha exclaimed. “By the way, wear some make-up. You’ll be in front of the cameras.”
“Alright,” I replied. After hanging up, I found a nice pair of Guess black skinny jeans and the pink pumps Natasha had been talking about. I smiled as I remembered that April had brought these for me. I missed April. I definitely had to call her sometime and of course, set Arianne up with Steve. I took out a blue cheetah print singlet and the blazer, and then headed to bathroom. Looking into the mirror, I decided my hair would have to make my hair look more presentable. I brushed my wavy hair and added a clip to the side.
After getting dressed, I headed downstairs into the lobby and off to the restaurant for breakfast. I spotted Steve and Henry immediately, mainly because of the three bodyguards standing around them, looking fierce in their sharp tuxedos.
“Morning Lainie,” Steve greeted cheerily as I came into view.
“Morning. Can I eat?” I asked, as I plopped into a seat in between Steve and Henry. Sitting next to Henry gave me butterflies, which was pretty stupid.
Steve nodded and called one of the waitresses to take my order, but there was a little bit of a language barrier since the waitress had a heavy Dutch accent. I could feel Steve and Henry watching me amusedly as I tried to tell her that I wanted the chilli red snapper breakfast special.
“Special!” I said loudly, pointing to the sign large Special board. The problem was, there were a few fishes on there. “Red snapper!”
“Hablas español?” Henry suddenly asked, after about a minute of me failing to communicate to the waitress.
The waitress nodded, so Henry kept talking in a rapid language which sounded strangely like Spanish. I watched with wide eyes as Steve didn’t even take any notice and was typing something on his BlackBerry. The waitress then left and I turned to Henry, a little bewildered. “What was that?” I demanded.
Henry’s eyes flickered to me and a small smile crossed his face. “That, my pancake, was Spanish.”
For some reason, my heart fluttered at the mention of ‘pancake.’ He hadn’t used that nickname in ages. I wondered why. “You speak Spanish?” I asked, still surprised. Who knew Henry could speak another language other than English.
He nodded. “I took Spanish class in … junior year, but stopped after a few months.”
“I see,” I murmured, as I twirled a strand of my wavy hair. I could feel Henry watching me out of the corner of his eye and it made me smile a little. I ducked my head down though, so he couldn’t see.
“Doesn’t Lainie look good for the conference, Henry?” Steve suddenly asked, while his eyes glittered. I looked up at him and frowned as I tried to figure out why Steve was asking Henry such a question. Unless … oh dear lord.
“She does,” Henry agreed. I bit my lip to stop myself from smiling like a fool. Even if he was lying, it was nice that he said that.
After I finished my breakfast, we decided to leave for the press conference. It was held in a large warehouse-kind-of building, except it was painted new. It was the type of place to hold big functions. Paparazzi and reporters crowded outside the warehouse with their cameras, waiting for Henry and I to get out of the car and show our faces.
My heartbeat sped up as Henry took my hand and led me through the crowd, but I cringed when the bodyguards had to fight some enthusiastic reporters off.
Steve led the way and I felt a little uncomfortable as I was pushed a little. Henry sensed this and wrapped an arm around my waist. A smile made its way onto my face because I viewed this as Henry being protective.
Hah! I wished, but it didn’t hurt to think so.
We had about ten minutes until the press conference officially started as we headed inside through the back door. We were in a kind of backstage room, and there was a large door which I had the feeling led to the larger room outside, where all the reporters and paparazzi were outside. I opened up the door a little bit and peeked. I spotted people filing into the building, where rows and rows of chairs had been set up for people sit in.
“Scared?” A voice came from behind me. I screamed and quickly covered my mouth. It was Henry, smirking just a little.
“Actually I’m not,” I replied crisply.
Henry raised an eyebrow and leaned closer to me, causing me to back up against the door. What was he doing?! “I bet you didn’t want to come to this press conference,” he said, his eyes boring into mine.
I nodded. “Yeah …”
“I knew it,” he whispered, a grin forming on his face. “You actually want people to think we’re on a honeymoon don’t you?”
What? He wished! “No!” I exclaimed, feeling a hot blush making its way onto my cheeks, which pretty much contradicted what I had just said. Great.
“Doesn’t look like it,” Henry taunted, his face looming dangerously close. “I bet-”
“Henry! Lainie! What are you doing?!” Steve suddenly shouted. Henry and I then sprung apart, wide-eyed and embarrassed. “Get over here!”
The both of us scampered to him to hear what he had to say. “Ok Henry, you know what to say right?”
Henry nodded and a serious expression crossed over his face. An amused smile grew on my lips because Henry was never serious. After a few minutes of discussing things with Steve, we headed outside the door, with the bodyguards in tow. We gave the crowd a smile and sat down on the narrow table. The noise died down and Steve started to clear the mistake about the wedding and honeymoon, which made the majority of the reports raise their hand to ask questions.
“So you haven’t eloped?” One at the front row asked, holding a video camera in her hand.
“No,” Henry replied confidently. “Lainie and I are still engaged, not married.”
“And you are here in Curacao, why?” Another asked arrogantly.
“We’re here because I have a new movie project,” Henry explained.
“Then why is your fiancée here?!”
I put my mouth to the microphone in front of me and half-heartedly joked, “Is it a crime for me to tag along?”
The crowd murmured. “Just a question Miss Watson,” a reported called out. “Then why did the shop owner of Macy’s confirm you bought a dress for your wedding in LA?”
Oh my god. “I don’t know why she said that, but I haven’t been to Macy’s in … forever.”
More murmurs. I sensed Henry was proud of me for handling the questions with ease. After a few more questions, the press conference was finished. We headed out the back door again and to my surprise, Keith was standing there.
“Hudson,” Henry snapped. “What are you doing here?”
Keith flashed me a grin and moved over to put an arm around me. “I’m taking Lainie out!”