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Between the Lines

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Isaac rolled his blue eyes from behind aviator glasses--brand name, just like everything else he was wearing--as his driver drove him through the little town of Beacon Hills. He was staying at the largest hotel the place offered and it was ten times smaller than any he’d ever stayed in before. It was necessary, his agent had told him during a very heated call, although the heat mostly came from his end. They were shooting a movie here because the scenery fit to the exact specifications the director desired. That didn’t make the place any less lame, in Isaac’s opinion, which was highly sought after and so he was certain others would agree.

They pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and he wrinkled his nose. At least the place had suites, but their idea of a suite was a lot smaller than the ones he was used to and so the owner graciously offered two of their suites for the price of one. Offered. They shouldn’t have to offer. That should just be a given. Obviously Beacon Hills had not had an actor of his status in town before. He looked out the window to see all the fans, so many of them, and he had to wonder if that was all of Beacon Hills out there. No matter. Time for a quick meet and greet on his way into the building. At least there was some press. Any publicity was good publicity. Never had a truer statement been made.

He scrunched up his loose curls, fixed a smile onto his face, lifted his head, and opened the door, slipping out of the limo with the grace of a cat. He left it open as the driver would close it. His security team was already waiting for him closer to the hotel. He didn’t need to worry about his things. His agent was already on it, directing the hotel workers, and Isaac winked at her to which she rolled her eyes and waved him off. Shrugging his shoulders, he made his way to his bodyguards, greeting them with a pat on their backs.

“Let’s get this done with. A few signatures. A few quick words with the press. Maybe a picture or two. I’m tired and I just want to sleep before the press conference.”

They gave a nod and in they went. It was a full twenty minutes before he got inside. He’d ended up doing ten signatures, three mini interviews, and five pictures before they finally made it inside. He looked around before dropping his mask. His sunglasses had come off for the pictures and interviews and hung on his shirt. He reached up to rub at the bridge of his nose.

“I swear they get worse the smaller the town.”

“Yes, well, the small towns have the most loyal of fans. So deal.”

Isaac snorted. “Whatever you say, Erica.”

The blond swept back her straight iced blond locks and smirked.

“Exactly. Now, be a good little actor and go take your nap. I’ll be back in an hour to wake your pretty face up.”

She reached up and tapped his cheek before sidling off, Isaac’s eyes falling to her shapely ass. The world could say whatever they wanted about his agent. Cold, heartless, meticulous, and determined---she looked damn good in a pencil skirt.

“Keep looking, Lahey. This is something you’ll never have.”

Isaac chuckled and nodded at the boys, heading for the elevator and up to his rooms.

---

Erica came to get him right on time, as promised. Not surprising. They rode together in a smaller black car, taking the back roads to the city hall where the press conference was being held. Erica chattered on about his itinerary while he half listened, watching out the window because he was bored, but that was not any better. Thanks to whatever higher power people believed in, it took all of five minutes to get there and then another three until they were in the room and seated. He rolled his eyes behind his glasses before taking them off. He really could have gotten another ten minutes of sleep and have been on time. He glared at Erica as he slipped them off and hung them on the collar of his shirt. Erica was talking to someone on the phone and writing on her tablet and did not skip a beat as she covered the mouthpiece, leaned over, and glared right back.

“I made you, cookie, I can break you. Into crumbly pieces. The pieces no one wants to eat because they are too messy and annoying.”

Back to her work she went and Isaac smirked to himself as he worked himself into his happy-to-be-here mode, which was an act. No matter what any other actor told the public or the press, there was absolutely no way that they did not have their own happy-to-be-here mode. No one was always pleased to be places. Especially a town like this.

----

The press conference lasted longer than it should have. First the lighting was off, next a breaker blew, and lastly the press had no tact in this sort of thing. They kept talking over themselves. By the end of it even Erica was at her wits end but Isaac had to admit that she was playing it so much cooler than he was. They reached the end and took a final question, Isaac smiling prettily as he answered and then Erica swooped in to thank them all for their time and questions but Mr. Lahey had a very busy schedule and had places to be. One reporter asked what places those were with a grin and Isaac’s eyes scanned the sea of faces for them and smirked. At least someone had a sense of humor.

“What’s your name, kid?” he asked the young man, who couldn’t have been much older or younger than Isaac was himself.

The reporter grinned as others moved to look and let Isaac see. He took hold of his name badge and held it up for Isaac to read.

“Matt? Well, Matt. If I tell you that, then I’d have to share that with everyone, wouldn’t I?”

He was being flirty but he didn’t care. If you couldn’t flirt a little with attractive people, even in towns like this, what could he do? Besides, the guy was really cute. With a wink his way, he let Erica steer him back to the car. He got in and they drove for the shooting site to check it out and meet with the director. That didn’t take very long and he was sent to his changing room to check it out before table readings started in two hours. He collapsed into a chair that was surprisingly comfortable and closed his eyes as Erica read off his itinerary for the next few days. It pretty much repeated itself so he stopped listening after Tuesday. When she finished, he sat up straight and took off his glasses, tossing them onto the vanity a few feet away. He didn’t watch for their fate—would they break or wouldn’t they—and instead stared at Erica.

“I’m going out. I’m dressing down and putting on a disguise but I need to get away. You have my number. Tell no one else.”

Erica snorted, rolling her eyes. “Be back twenty minutes before the reading, Lahey, or I’ll go hire Matt to take your place.”

Isaac snorted at this. “Right. Sure you will, babe.” He waved her out and got undressed, searching the clothes for a simple pair of jeans and a light blue button down shirt. He found a knit beanie and settled it on his head. Lastly, he put on his shades.

Okay, so he didn’t think this would really fool anyone but if he left through the back and kept moving until he got to town, he thought he would be okay. He looked enough normal that people in town wouldn’t really think twice until he was long gone.

Plan set in motion, he headed out, ducking past staff and building workers and out the back door. He rushed for the sidewalk and headed down it toward the street light before he got noticed. It didn’t take him long before he reached the town’s main street and a rare genuine smile passed over his lips. He remembered the main street in his hometown in Colorado Springs, Colorado where his grandmother owned a bakery. He’d stop by there after school and she would give him a cookie before sending him on home. Camden had worked as a mechanic before he went off to college on that same street. What he knew of cars came from his older brother but after he became a lawyer and lost time for his family, Isaac’s respect for him lessened. His love never did though and the memories of working on cars with him were still strong in his mind.

He sighed and turned down the sidewalk that ran beside Main Street, taking in all the little shops and people. No one noticed him. At the moment he was just another patron on the side walk. He could see the end of the street, the street running perpendicular in the distance with cars zooming past. Halfway down Main, his eyes fell on a little café just across the street. The sign proclaimed “Lydia’s Diner” in the 60’s style and Isaac grinned. He’d always had a thing for old timey diners complete with jukeboxes and amazing milkshakes. Any place that boasted a diner like that couldn’t be that bad and he was hungry. Maybe a quick bite to eat before heading back.

Crossing the street quickly, Isaac held the door for a pair of elderly ladies who thanked him and called him such a sweet young man. He was already in the door when he heard them gasp. They must have realized who he was but he wasn’t about to wait to find out. The hostess welcomed him with a less than welcoming voice and led him to a booth near the windows facing Main. He thanked her and she nodded.

“Waitress will be out in a few,” she said and took off, popping her gum. Well then. He snorted and shook his head. It always amused him how people treated him when they didn’t realize who he was. It was a good fifteen minutes before someone came to his table.

“Sir, have you been helped at all? I swear that girl is fired! I am sorry about that wait. What can I get for you? It’s on the house.”

Isaac didn’t hear anything. Standing before him in a perfect replica of a 60’s dinner uniform dress was the prettiest woman with red hair—well, strawberry blond if his eyes weren’t deceiving him—that he had ever seen. Hand on what he was sure was an amazing hip, scoffing before looking at him in concern and then a hand was being waved at him and he blinked.

He blushed a little, to be honest, but if anyone asked later, he’d deny it. He quickly made up for it and grinned a suave grin.

“Hey. Sorry, about that. You’re just… wow.”

The woman stared at him and rolled her eyes.

“Right. Like I haven’t heard that before. Can we please get over my looks and let me do my job here?”

Isaac smirked. Feisty. She was proving more and more to be his type. He glanced down at his phone and frowned, sighing. He didn’t have a lot of time left. Deciding to order and come back to flirt more later, he smiled genuinely.

“I’ll take a black coffee and a piece of apple pie.”

She smiled again now that they were back on track. “A la mode?”

Isaac nodded. She thanked him and bustled off. Isaac didn’t even try to hide the fact that he watched her backside as she hurried away. He had sunglasses after all.

She returned with his pie and coffee.

“Let me know if you need anything else.”

Isaac nodded. “I will…” He stopped to scan her name tag and blinked. “Lydia?”

She raised her brows cautiously. “Yes?”

“As in Lydia’s Diner?”

She smiled, and it was obvious that she was proud of it as she straightened herself and her hazel eyes brightened.

“Yes. It’s my pride and joy. I’ve wanted to own my own café since I was a little girl. Do you like it?”

Isaac grinned, nodding yet again. “I love little diners like this. Save for the girl at the front, this place is great.”

She glared at the front before beaming at him. “Well, let me know if you still feel that way after that pie.” She leaned in conspiratorially. “You will, of course. That’s my grandmother’s recipe. No one can beat it.”

Isaac raised his brows. “Oh really?” He lifted his glasses. He was tentative about showing his whole face but she didn’t seem to recognize him and he was surprised to find that made him like her even more. “Well, my grandmother was a baker. I bet her recipe could give yours a run for her money.”

Lydia looked shocked before laughing and taking a seat across from him. “Taste. Now. Go on.”

Isaac stuck his tongue out at her but did as she said and tasted it. He moaned and closed his eyes as he gave into the flavor of the pie. His grandmother’s was good and it was close, but Lydia’s pie won out.

“Fine. You win. But her chocolate cake… you have no chance.”

He was positive on that one. Her cake won the regional blue ribbon for cakes. Would have won national had she wanted to enter or if there was one. She smiled at him and shook her head, as if she was pitying him.

“Guess you’ll have to come in again and see,” she said, coyly. “I’ll get your check. Be right back.”

Isaac watched her leave and looked down for another bite only to find he’d already eaten it all throughout their conversation. He frowned at the loss. Then she was back with the check and a little coffee to go. “If you follow me to the front, we’ll get you out of here.”

Isaac stood and followed her, heading to the front of the counter as she went around behind it. Ringing him up, she smiled at him as he pulled out his wallet. Isaac eyed his credit cards but decided against it. Just because she didn’t recognize him didn’t mean she wouldn’t recognize his name. He pulled out a twenty and handed it to her. “Keep the change. I’ve got to go. I’ll definitely be back.”

She beamed and her eyes looked him over. He grinned. “You be sure to do that…”

“Isaac,” he said, winking as he slipped his sunglasses back on. He headed out and headed back to the filming site, a grin fixed onto his face.

Maybe Beacon Hills wasn’t going to be so bad after all.