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Something Wild Calls You Home

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*Ta Ding * The Hotel room Coffee pot chimed twice, letting Nicole know her 1st cup of coffee for the day was ready. She poured the coffee into her favorite coffee mug. The one she brings with her to every convention. It was her favorite because it had a Map of Canada with popular tourist spots dotted across it. Out of all of them, this mug made her feel a little less homesick while she was at all these conventions and press junkets.

       Dolls had said doing this movie and being Marvel's 1st leading woman superhero would change my life forever. Wow, was he right! These last few months have been crazy busy. How many days have I been home? 15-20 out of 215? No wonder I am so burnt out.

She sat back down on the window seal that overlooked the city as the sunrise started to peak through the city buildings. The light scattered off the surfaces of the buildings all around, and even the water features below sent it shooting everywhere and nowhere all at once. Which is kind of how Nicole felt about her current phase in life. She was going everywhere and nowhere all at once, always looking for something more to dive into. Watching the sunrise with her cup of coffee while snuggled up with her Sherpa travel blanket had quickly become a convention tradition. She could feel the sun slowly start to warm her pale skin. Her red locks fell gently just below her shoulders, catching the rays and making it look like her hair was catching fire. Nicole was in her late 20s and was finally learning to make time for herself and at least taking a little bit of time to herself to reconnect with nature. Well, as much Nature she could get during con season without having to worry about being bombarded by fans. She loved her fans and their passion for her characters but being on 24-7 could be strenuous.

     The price of success, I guess. It’s a means to an end, that’s for sure. One day I will be the one directing, producing, and, who knows, maybe even writing for the big screen. Then I can tell the stories I want. Until then, I just need to keep using my current platform to promote what matters to me. I just hope I am making a meaningful impact in the meantime.

The Phone started playing “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett. Pulling her out of her thoughts as soon as she recognized the ring tone.

“Hey, Dolls! What’s up?” Nicole laughed, imagining his disapproval of her ringtone choice for him, especially since, being her agent, he was all about her reputation being the best it could be. Dolls was a very serious man. He was built more like a Federal agent than someone managing an A-list celebrity. Nicole knew he had a soft side, even if he rarely showed it to any besides her. She couldn’t imagine anyone else she would trust more in this new grand endeavor. It had been that way since the day they met. They had both been new to L. A. and doing auditions for anything and everything. This time just happened to play a couple in a toothpaste ad. They both hit it off right away, despite how awkward playing a couple was for them. They ended up getting dismissed from the whole project because they acted more like brother and sister than husband and wife. Dolls later decided he was more of a behind-the-scenes guy. Turns out he had a knack for managing and representing actors, one may even say a natural, unlike acting.

“Morning, Haught! I hope I am not ruining your coffee this morning. But I had some news that I couldn’t wait to share with you.” His voice was very pleased, and struggling to remain professional. 


“You’re good. I was almost done anyway.” Looking at the ¾ full cup of coffee, she held with her other hand.


“Good! What was the name of that Charity you talked about yesterday in the Panel? You know that new one you are partnering up with?”

“Do you mean ‘Paws for a Cause'? “

“Yeah, that’s the one! Well, someone out there was really touched by what you said because they gave a donation of $20,000” He was less professional now and more like a little kid showing off a perfect spelling test.


“Are you serious? We raised $20,000 in one night? That is great news, Dolls.” She was beyond excited


“No, you misheard me; the $20,000 was just from one single donor. You raised closer to $30,000 through the whole night.”


“No way!” Nicole couldn’t believe what she had just heard and almost spit her coffee everywhere in her excitement. “Is there a name on the donation? I feel like a gift of that size deserves a personal ‘Thank You ‘”


“Let me see" she could hear him flipping through some papers. “Aw, here it is. Looks like it was In Memory of one Curtis McCready.”


“In memory, huh? Hmmm, sounds like some angel wanted to do something but not get any credit for it.” Slightly disappointed but determined to solve this generous mystery. “Dolls, do me a favor and find out everything you can about this Curtis so we can Honor his memory properly. Oh, and match that donation with one of our own ‘In honor of Curtis’s Angel ‘”


“I will get right on it. You know if this acting thing doesn’t pan out you would make a pretty decent detective.” Dolls said, teasing her but still mildly serious because when Nicole Haught got an idea in her head, she went at it with everything in her to solve the puzzle.


“Hardy har har! You are so funny. Maybe my agent can find me an audition for a role as a cop next time.” She laughed at him. “Oh, Dolls, thanks for the good news. What a great way to kick off the last day of the con.” 


“You’re welcome, Haught. Now get dressed before you are late for today’s round of meet and greets and panels.” He hung up to start his mission



About a week later, Dolls had finally dug up some useful information about the mysterious donation for Nicole.


“Hey, Dolls! How are you today?” she hadn’t had much chance to talk and talked to him much this last week beyond just a few quick checks in text.


“Not too bad, Haught. I was able to dig up some information for you about Curtis McCready.” He knew he didn’t have much but was rather pleased with what he did have.


“Sweet! What did you find?” she excitedly sat down at her desk, ready to take notes.


“Well, Curtis was the owner of Wildwood Retreat up until his death a few years back. He died in a wildfire in the area trying to save some trapped animals. Now it looks like the place is owned by a Michelle Gibson. It appears to be a rather nice little setup. It’s located on Lone Grouse Mountain in Alberta, Canada. They have 8 cabins, the main lodge, and offer lots of outdoor activities like horseback riding, Rock climbing, and hiking. It is very beautiful looking from the pictures they have posted on the website. But that’s where the trail goes dead. I was unable to track down any more information for you. I’m sorry.” She could tell he felt bad.


“It’s really ok. That is super helpful, really. I am on the website now, and you are right; it looks so amazing and peaceful.” She said with obvious awe in her voice. “We have the next couple of weeks off now, right?” an idea suddenly popped into her head.


“Yes, we do. What are you thinking?” he wasn’t sure if he should worry or not.


“Why don’t you see if you can book us a couple of cabins for a few days? We can use the time to recharge and come up with a game plan for all the stuff we have coming down the line. Plus, it will give me the chance to get a feel for this mystery donation.” She said as she started a ‘things to pack’ list on the backside of her notes.
“Why am I not surprised you are now dragging me out into the woods? You know how I feel about the woods.” 


“Oh, come on, a little fresh air won’t kill you.” Laughing


“It might. You don’t know. Maybe my lungs have become so accustomed to the smog of the city ‘fresh’ Air might RIP them apart. “


“Stop being so dramatic. I want to go, and we both could use the break. “


“Fine! But I am ABSOLUTELY not riding any horses. Do you understand me, Haught? So, do you want me to use your name on the booking or your usual alias?” he asked her in defeat.


“Yes, I understand. As for the name on the booking No, I think we should use the Kat Barrell name to book it. We don’t want to give it away that we are investigating the donation. Nicole Haught would be a dead giveaway, and I don’t want to make the mysterious angel uncomfortable in any way.” Biting down on her pen cap, thinking of what all she might find in Wildwood. 

“Ok, I will get right on it, but you owe me big for this one.” His playful tone was hard to miss this time

“I know, I know!” A smile spread across her lips. “Thanks, Dolls," she said right before hanging up the phone.