New York. Luna’s condo.
‘Diesel confirmed for ‘Babylon AD’
Luna smiled sadly as she read the article accompanying the headline.
According to it, Vin would start shooting the movie almost immediately, moving to the Czech Republic. Supposedly the shooting would take around three months and Vin would be sharing the screen with Depardieu and other well known European actors and actresses.
The article went on and on about the merits of the director, the cast and how high the expectations were on this project. It seemed there was a good possibility of Vin being able to get back on track.
Luna doubted it. She knew ‘Babylon AD’ would be more of the same, unfortunately, but it would keep Vin out of sight and working, instead of partying. Luna hoped that the media stopped giving her shit for a while, even though she seriously doubted it. Vin and Luna hadn’t signed their divorce, yet anyway, but they hadn’t confirmed that they were back together either.
It had been really easy to get Lorraine in as part of the shooting crew of ‘Babylon AD’ once Marcela got in motion, asking for some of the favors she had done over the years to be repaid.
As a result of her schemes and following Luna’s advice, Lorraine had become Oliver’s assistant.
At first, Vin had said ‘no fucking way’; he hadn’t wanted Lorraine anywhere close to him or to Dave for that matter. But once Marcela told Vin that it had been Luna’s idea, Vin had reluctantly shut his mouth, even though he didn’t know what Luna was up to, exactly.
Throwing Lorraine into the middle seemed like a not very intelligent thing to do, since all of them knew about Dave’s taste regarding girls. It was like throwing a gazelle within the hungry lions’ cage.
That was exactly what Luna had wanted to though. Lorraine would be Luna’s ears and eyes on the shooting, but she would also make the perfect bait. Of course, Lorraine was very aware of the risk she was running but she had agreed without hesitation. She would do anything Luna asked her for and more. Lorraine was determined to prove her unconditional loyalty to Luna.
Vin didn’t know what Luna was up to and it worried him that Lorraine would be at Dave’s reach. However, he did trust his wife and didn’t want to go against Luna’s plans, whatever they were.
Meantime, Moira Feldman had used her connections, ensuring that a well known beauty firm contacted Sheila, offering the model to be the firm’s image for its line of make-up products.
She hadn’t done that out of the goodness of her heart, but to keep Sheila busy, instead of loafing around with a lot of free time to come up with some stupid plan to pay Vin back for throwing her out of his house and his life. Besides, that way, Sheila had to stay in the country, where Marcela could keep a close eye on her, while Vin and Dave would be in Europe.
The beauty firm agreed to make it appear as though they had become interested in Sheila on their own and not in exchange for having a whole double page for advertising in the ‘LA Confidential’ free of charge for a whole year. Marcela would be the one paying for the aforesaid advertising though.
“I’m going out.” Allison peered inside Luna’s bedroom.
Luna’s head snapped up. “Out? I though we were going to spend the day with Tyrone together.”
Allison took a slow breath and turned around. “I think it’ll be better if I go—alone.”
Slowly, Luna left the newspaper aside. “Alone?” Her voice shook slightly.
Allison nodded. “Yeah, well, I feel like spending time with my son without people around.”
“People.” Luna echoed quietly. “I thought I was family.”
“I thought the same.” Allison retorted, stretching her back.
Luna frowned. “What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean, Luna.” Allison sighed heavily.
“No, I don’t.” Luna blinked, not knowing what Allison was talking about.
“Oh, come on, Luna, don’t play dumb with me.” Allison rolled her eyes. “I thought I was your friend; your family. I thought that you trusted me.”
“And I do, Allison. I trust you.”
“Then tell me who James Haltom is and why he sent you a copy of that damn file.” Allison faced Luna defiantly.
Luna let out a heavy sigh. Now Allison’s words made sense. “That has nothing to do with you.”
“Well, Tyrone has nothing to do with you either.” Allison retorted coldly.
Luna swallowed a sudden knot that came from nowhere, threatening to choke the life out of her. Allison’s words hurt more than a kick in her guts.
“You’re punishing me because I don’t want you knowing about that shit?” Luna blinked; she couldn’t believe Allison was acting in such a way.
Allison shook her head ‘no’. “I’m not punishing you, Luna. But Tyrone is my son, my family, and I will not share him with someone who doesn’t trust me enough to tell me what’s going on.”
“You know I love Tyrone.” Luna got out thickly over the invisible knot in her throat. “And I love you too.”
Allison smiled sadly. “Yeah, but you don’t trust me.” Allison replied sadly and with that she turned around, passing Steve on her way out of the condo, slamming the door closed at her back.
Luna collapsed onto a chair, covering her face with her hands. Silent tears spilled down her cheeks and she whimpered quietly.
Things were starting to get out of hand, faster than she thought. With her schemes and plots Luna was hurting the people she loved and that was something she had wanted to avoid at any cost.
Keeping Allison from knowing about James Haltom had seemed the right thing to do; at first anyway. Luna hadn’t wanted Allison mixed up in that shit, mostly because deep down she had felt ashamed of her behaviour.
Allison thought Luna was a good egg, a decent woman. Hiring a private detective to dig into people’s past with a fierce determination to get even was not decent behavior. Luna didn’t want Allison finding what a despicable person Luna was for real.
Luna wiped her tears, lifting her head.
Luna smiled sadly, watching Steve’s concerned expression. “Yeah.” She sniffed, straightening.
Steve narrowed his eyes and entered, taking a seat at Luna’s side. He knew she was not okay, neither was Allison. Steve had spent all his time with both women over the last weeks and he had never seen them arguing about anything. It hurt to realize that their friendship might end up breaking because of their stubbornness and lack of trust in each other. It was frustrating to watch them distancing themselves just because they wanted to protect the other.
“Maybe you should consider telling Allison everything.”
Luna sighed heavily. “So she finds out what a horrible person I am?”
Steve frowned, taking one of Luna’s hands in his. “You’re not a horrible person and Allison would never judge you, ever.”
Luna’s eyes filled with fresh tears that rolled down her cheeks. “What about you?” She breathed out.
“Me?” Steve blinked, “I’m not a saint myself.” He grinned and Luna laughed, choking back on a sob. “‘Sides everybody has skeletons in their closets, you said that yourself. I’m no different, neither is Allison.” He shrugged his shoulders as if it wasn’t a big deal. “But we love you all the same.” Steve wiped Luna’s fresh tears away with his thumb.
“You’re an angel, you know that, don’t you?” Luna squeezed Steve’s hand.
“Yeah, but I bet my former parole officer wouldn’t agree with you.” Steve joked, winking, causing Luna to giggle. “Now, come on, let’s take a walk around the neighborhood.” He got to his feet, pulling Luna up with him.
Luna groaned. “Steve, I don’t feel like it.”
Steve grew serious in a heartbeat. “You don’t want me to spank you with my halo, now do you?” he waved a stiff finger at her.
Luna knit a brow. “You would spank me?” Her gaze turned mischievous and Steve rolled his eyes.
“You’re not a horrible person, you’re just a kinky bitch,” he teased Luna, grabbing her trainers.
Luna laughed softly. “Quit throwing compliments at me or I’ll end up blushing,” she slipped on her trainers.
Steve laughed hard at that and they both headed towards the elevators. Once they were inside, Luna grew serious again.
“Why didn’t you go with her?”
Steve’s brows drew down. “She didn’t ask me and I didn’t offer to accompany her.” He shrugged his broad shoulders, looking down.
“Ow, shit, don’t tell me it’s my fault.” Luna screwed up her face. That would be the last straw.
“No! It’s not your fault, Luna.” Steve met Luna’s teary eyes, putting as much reassurance as he could. “I was the one refusing to tell Allison who James Haltom is, giving her the understanding that I didn’t trust her.”
Even though Steve had done everything to pull Allison out of her mistake she had started acting weird around him.
“I’m the one to blame for that shit.” Luna stated.
Steve smiled sadly. “Sometimes it’s hard to act businesslike.”
Luna sighed hard. “I’m so sorry, Steve. It’s entirely my fault. I should have known this shit would end up coming back to bite us.”
Steve shrugged his shoulders. “It’s okay, Luna. Really, it is. We’ll work things out, somehow.”
Luna nodded. “I’ll tell Allison everything, okay? She’ll understand you were doing your job.”
Steve nodded, but said nothing in return.
He knew it wouldn’t be as easy as Luna wanted it to be. Allison wouldn’t get over all that shit any time soon and Steve knew he had lost more territory than he had gained regarding Allison. At this point he seriously doubted he still had any chance to be with her at all.
The elevator reached the lobby and the doors slid open. Steve moved ahead of Luna and she followed him outside.
Luna blinked, not believing who was standing right in front of her. “Roberto…What…?” she looked back and forth between Roberto and the woman he was holding by the waist.
“Oh my…the world is indeed a small place.” Roberto laughed, releasing his companion’s waist and closed the distance between him and Luna. “You look stunning, princess.” He bent his head, planting a kiss on her cheek.
“Th-thank you.” Luna stuttered; glancing at the woman over Roberto’s shoulder.
“Steve, right?” Roberto offered his hand to Steve as he straightened after kissing Luna.
“Yeah, how are you, Roberto?” Steve shook hands with Val’s cousin.
“I can’t complain.” He released Steve’s hand and moved backwards.
“What are you doing here?” Luna returned her attention to Roberto; she was surprised to find him there. New York was a hell of a big city. What were the odds of running into each other?
Roberto laughed. “I live here, Luna.”
Luna’s brows shot up. “In this building?”
“Yeah! What are you doing here? Visiting someone?” He asked, not entirely pretending to sound surprised. He was indeed surprised; mostly because he didn’t expect to run into her so soon.
Santiago had told him that Luna had been back for about two weeks now. It had caused Roberto to rush a bit with his master plan to seduce her, but it was okay. The fact that he looked genuinely surprised wouldn’t arouse Luna’s suspicions.
“I live here too.”
“Well, isn’t it a happy coincidence?” Roberto smiled a disarming smile.
“I-I guess so.” Luna recovered a bit, smiling in return.
They stared at each other for a moment in silence, both smiling widely.
Roberto looked good. Damn! He looked great. Luna didn’t remember him looking so damn sexy.
On the other hand Roberto couldn’t take his eyes off Luna. Even though she was wearing a pair of cotton pants, a shirt and trainers she looked sexy as hell. She wasn’t even wearing makeup or her hair done and Roberto could feel his body responding.
Steve looked back and forth between Luna and Roberto. He couldn’t say he liked Val’s cousin, even though they had barely crossed two words since they had met at Valentino’s and Renee’s wedding. There was something off with Roberto Morales, though Steve couldn’t place what it was exactly.
Maybe it was that Roberto insisted on people calling him ‘Robert’ and that he almost always spoke in English instead of in Spanish, including with his own family members, such as with Valentino. As if he felt ashamed of his modest origins or disowned his background, as if he hated the fact that he was Dominican and not born in the states.
Maybe it was the fact that there was a woman standing at his side that Roberto hadn’t yet introduced to them, even though he had his arm encircling her waist. It was odd. Very odd.
It struck Steve that Roberto should know better. This kind of shit was the stuff that end up earning a guy a night on the couch, or a week. Not to mention the fact that having sex might be drastically reduced to playing five against one for God knew how much time. Women didn’t like to be mistreated, or openly ignored, especially in front of another woman. And that was the weirdest thing. The woman’s expression seemed relaxed, not in the least threatened by another woman’s presence, not even jealous.
As if the woman had heard Steve’s thoughts, she cleared her throat causing Roberto to snap out of some sort of trance, smiling apologetically.
“Oh, where are my manners?” Roberto turned his attention to the woman. “Leticia, this is Luna, a good friend of mine.” Then he looked at Luna. “This is Leticia—my fiancée.”
Luna blinked. She didn’t remember Valentino mentioning that Roberto was going to marry. Then again, they hadn’t talked much about Roberto anyway.
“Nice to meet you.” Luna extended her hand to shake Leticia’s and noticed that there wasn’t an engagement ring on her finger.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, finally. Roberto says wonderful things about you.” Leticia returned the firm handshake. “Maybe you could come for dinner with us some time.” Leticia added, smiling brightly.
“We’re a bit busy with all the preparations for the wedding and stuff but we have to agree to have a coffee or something.” Roberto intervened, squeezing Leticia’s hand and cursing himself silently. He had watched Luna glancing down at Leticia’s empty finger. “We have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Yeah, that would be nice.” Luna smiled.
The couple said their goodbyes and entered in the elevator under Steve’s and Luna’s watchful eye. As soon as the doors slid closed Luna turned her attention to Steve.
“How do you like that?”
Steve narrowed his eyes. “Fate has indeed a weird sense of humour.”
Luna frowned. “You think so?”
“Do you have an idea about how many apartments are available to rent in New York?” Steve cocked his head to one side.
Luna frowned. “Hundreds?”
Steve snorted. “More like thousands, Luna, and if I remember correctly Val’s cousin is a cardiologist.”
“Hmmmm.” Luna narrowed her eyes.
“If that’s not Fate playing around then I don’t have a clue what would be.” Steve reasoned.
Luna did believe in Fate, but she didn’t believe in coincidences. Fate had indeed a twisted sense of humor but that twisted?
“She wasn’t wearing an engagement ring.” Luna spoke absently, her brain working a mile a minute.
“Huh?” Steve blinked.
“Leticia,” Luna met Steve’s puzzled gaze. “Roberto introduced her as his fiancée but she was not wearing an engagement ring.”
“So what? You didn’t wear one either.” Steve replied flatly causing Luna to roll her eyes.
“That’s ‘cause Vin is fucked in the head; he bought my engagement ring the following morning, after we married.”
Steve grinned. Vin was a mess all right. Always doing things the opposite way most people would.
“Would you do me a favour?” Luna smiled sweetly.
“Another one?” Steve teased her.
Luna chuckled. “Yeah, another one.”
Steve nodded as he padded to the main entrance. “Sure. What do you want me to do?”
Luna followed him outside, not answering immediately. She thought she was becoming really paranoid, suspecting everything and everyone. Still Luna couldn’t get rid of a weird sensation.
“Would you find the date when Roberto rented his apartment?”
Steve pulled out his sunglasses. “Thought you believed in Fate.” He adjusted his cap and handed Luna another.
Luna chuckled. “And I do believe in Fate,” she adjusted her sun glasses, “but I don’t believe in happy coincidences.”
“Your fiancée?” Leticia gave Roberto a funny look.
“It was the first thing that came to my mind,” he scolded, pressing the button for his floor. “¡Carajo!”
Leticia smiled indulgently. “I thought you were far more imaginative,” she taunted him, seductively stroking the lapel of his tailored jacket.
Roberto glared at her. “Well, I wasn’t expecting to run into her so soon. I just got caught off guard, okay?” He ended up sounding defensive. “It won’t happen again though; next time I’ll be ready.”
Leticia nodded. “I noticed the way she was looking at you.” As she spoke, she invaded Roberto’s personal space.
His brows shot up. “And how did she look at me, exactly?” Roberto didn’t move from where he was standing; he just narrowed his eyes.
Leticia smiled knowingly. “She liked what she was seeing…” She leaned forward, brushing her lips across Roberto’s jaw, “a lot…”
Roberto’s lips tugged up in a cocky grin. “You think so?” He encircled Leticia’s waist, pulling her to him.
“I know so…” she breathed, slowly pressing her body to his. “I bet she got all wet just watching how damned sexy you look…” Leticia shamelessly rubbed herself against Roberto’s erection. She knew she hadn’t caused it but didn’t have issues taking advantage of his obvious excitement. “You clean up real good, Robert…”
Blindly, Roberto reached back and pressed the stop button on the panel, bringing the elevator to a dead stop. “I do, don’t I?” His cocky grin grew wider.
“Oh, yeah…” Leticia whispered huskily, tracing the contour of his cock through the fabric of his tailored pants.
In response, Roberto groaned. “She noticed you weren’t wearing an engagement ring.” His head fell back as his hands snaked around, grabbing Leticia’s bottom, squeezing hard.
“So what?” She moaned, sliding down the zipper of his pants, stroking the entire length of his cock, tugging and squeezing. “We could have sent my engagement ring to have it sized so it fits my finger perfectly.” Leticia whispered breathlessly, stroking him harder. “It’s not a big deal.”
Roberto let out a harsh moan, envisioning Luna being in Leticia’s place. Soon, he smiled wickedly.
Leticia watched him closely; she suspected Roberto’s mind, heart and soul wasn’t within that elevator, but she could deal with that, for now, anyway. A prestigious cardiologist with a brilliant future, hetero, sexy and single wasn’t easy to find. Leticia knew most women would kill to grab a hold of such a treasure. It would be like wining the lottery.
Besides, Leticia was sure that soon enough Roberto would realize that ‘Mrs. Diesel’ was way out of his league. She had noticed that Luna was still wearing her wedding ring though. There was no way she would leave her famous husband, Vin Diesel no less, for Roberto. Leticia would be there to put the pieces in which Roberto’s heart would end up broken together, because sure as hell that would be what would happen.
Roberto’s hands knotted in Leticia’s hair and he pushed her down until Leticia kneeled in front of him. Without missing a beat, Leticia engulfed Roberto’s cock, focusing all her attention on the man standing in front of her.
“Fuck…” Roberto hissed, shuddering as he felt how Leticia was sucking him as if she was a starved woman, enjoying her very last meal.
The Four Seasons Hotel. LA.
Lorraine felt as if she was in the way of everybody. There were people franticly coming and going or just around. Some of them carrying suitcases and boxes; others talking on their cell phones. There were maids, bodyguards and one guy who was ordering people around, politely yet firmly making sure everybody did as told.
It looked like some sort of organized chaos; everybody seemed to know where to go and what to do. Everybody with the exception of her.
“You must be Lorraine.”
Lorraine spun around at hearing her name and found a short, chubby man wearing glasses, smiling widely at her.
“Y-yes.” Lorraine stuttered, almost trapping over a huge box.
“Oops, careful, honey. That’s the boss’ computer.” Oliver reached out, holding Lorraine before she fell on her butt.
“Thank you.” She smiled apologetically.
“You’re welcome.” Oliver smiled shyly. “I’m Oliver, Mr. Diesel’s PA.”
“Nice to meet you, Oliver.” Nervously, Lorraine shook hands with him.
“Same here.” Oliver released her hand; his smile never faltering.
She looked really sweet, nothing to do with the sluts Oliver had watched many times around Vin. Not lately though. Over the last two weeks Vin had locked himself in his suite at the hotel, studying and rehearsing his role of ‘Toorop’.
“I’ve been told that you’ll be my assistant.” Oliver turned around and took a seat at the desk, gesturing for Lorraine to join him at the table. “So how about we talk for a minute. Is that okay with you?”
“Oh, yes. I’m ready to start working whenever you tell me.” Lorraine smiled, genuinely excited. “This is all new for me but I’d really like to do a good job.” She added, taking a seat.
“Well, that’s great.” Oliver smiled and leaned forward as if conspiratorially. “If I’m honest with you, then I have to tell you that all this is new for me too. I’ve never had an assistant.” He blushed a bit. “But I think we’re going to be a great team.”
“That’s what I hope.” Lorraine nodded firmly.
“Cool.” Oliver smiled.
“Oliver? Where do you want us to put all this stuff?”
Oliver and Lorraine turned at once, watching two guys holding several medium size boxes.
“The ones with the blue cross go in the SUV; the others in the truck. And please be careful with that one.” Oliver pointed one of the boxes. “There is very fragile stuff inside. Thanks.”
Oliver didn’t say what the box contained, exactly. No one needed to know that inside it was full of pictures of Luna.
The guys nodded at once and went back to their business.
Oliver returned his attention to Lorraine but before he had the chance to open his mouth, his cell phone rang. He looked at the receiver and rolled his eyes, a bit exasperated.
“I gotta answer this call, but how about you make a pot of coffee. I’ll be back in a minute.” Oliver got to his feet and headed towards the other room.
“Okay.” Lorraine looked around, already searching for the coffee maker. It was nowhere to be found and Lorraine wasn’t sure if she should venture around. At the end this was Vin’s suite.
She was still trying to decide if it should be wise to move around freely when the only door that had been closed opened, revealing Vin, talking on his cell phone.
He was wearing sweat pants, his sun glasses and he was smoking. His shirtless torso and arms showed different tattoos and he hadn’t shaved, showing his head scruffy and a couple of days beard.
Lorraine gasped, getting to her feet in a heartbeat. All of a sudden she felt as if she had been caught doing something wrong.
Vin’s steps faltered briefly as soon as he saw her. “Listen, I’ll call you back, okay?” He paused, staring at Lorraine and then continued talking on the phone. “Yeah, sure, no problem.” He closed his cell phone and padded towards her side.
Lorraine swallowed dryly as she watched Vin closing the distance between them.
“Hi, Lorraine.” Vin smiled.
“Good morning, Mr. Diesel.” Lorraine smiled shyly, nervously glancing around.
The maids seemed to be immersed in their routines, cleaning, pretending Vin Diesel wasn’t there just a few feet from them. But they kept stealing glances at him. Lorraine wasn’t sure if it was mostly because Vin looked like he had been partying for a week non-stop in Las Vegas and hadn’t slept at all, or if they had recognized her.
Vin watched Lorraine watching him and fought back a grin. Her eyes grew wide and then narrowed as her gaze swept his chest, arms, hands and neck, surely taking in the many tattoos spread all over and the lame state he presented as part of his impersonation of ‘Toorop’.
Lorraine looked up at his face; a light frown of concern crumpling her forehead. “Are they real?”
Vin grinned. “They are fake tattoos. It’s part of my new role’s characterization.” He explained as he removed his sunglasses. “Hugo Cornelius Toorop, Special Forces veteran of the Bosnian conflict and mercenary for the highest bidder.” Vin spread his arms wide open, as if he was presenting himself for inspection.
Lorraine smiled, relieved. Well, that certainly explained why he looked such a mess.
Lorraine blinked, knotting her hands nervously. “Um…Oliver got a call on his cell phone…he told me to make coffee but I don’t know…” she trailed off, looking around.
Vin stuck his thumb out, gesturing at the counter on the other side of the room. “In there.”
Lorraine nodded and slipped past Vin, hurrying her steps. She started getting the coffee machine ready, glad her hands were busy. She was very nervous, knowing Vin was staring at her.
“So how are you doing?” Vin took a seat on a tall stool at the other side of the bar, casually resting his elbows on the countertop.
“Fine. I’m doing fine.” Lorraine glanced at him briefly and then down at the coffee pot.
“Good.” Vin smiled, then grew serious. “Listen, Lorraine,” he cleared his throat. “I’m sorry about the pictures and stuff.” He sounded sincere and also as if he felt guilty or responsible.
“It’s okay, you didn’t know, couldn’t know. Everything is okay now.” Lorraine shrugged her shoulders, not looking up. She didn’t want Vin feeling bad for something that, even though he could have avoided, he couldn’t stop from happening. “I even got a scholarship though. Apparently not everybody thinks I’m a slut.” She smiled a self deprecating smile.
Without thinking, Vin reached out, taking one of her hands in his, growing even more serious in a heartbeat. “You’re not a slut, Lorraine and you’ll never be one, ever.” He put as much reassurance as he could on his words.
It was true though. If anyone knew anything about sluts it was Vin himself. At the end he had dated so many of them over the years.
Lorraine noticed and smiled in gratitude. “Thank you, Vin.”
“You’re welcome. Now keep making that coffee, girl.” He teased her a bit, releasing her hand and lighting a new cigarette. “So, tell me, what are you planning to do with that scholarship?”
Lorraine grinned. “You’re not gonna believe this, but I’ve been admitted to the Actors Studio Drama School.”
“Really?” Vin blinked, pretending to be surprised, even though he already knew that. “That’s really great news, babe.” Vin grinned, but deep down he felt like shit, for lying to her.
Marcela had reluctantly pulled some strings to ensure that Lorraine was admitted at the prestigious acting school after Luna had suggested that it would be only fair. After all, Lorraine had seen her named dragged through the mud; she had been just an innocent victim of circumstances. Besides, her registration on the school wouldn’t cost any of them a penny, since Vin’s lawyers had found the perfect way to make Vin’s money appear as a scholarship for the acting school.
However it was the best thing to do, otherwise she wouldn’t be able to get a new chance, at least as long as people remembered those damned screen caps. And even though most people would likely give a shit about that in a few months, there would be always somebody who would remind the world that Lorraine had been caught making out with Vin Diesel. Lorraine would have to learn to live with that shit for the rest of her professional career.
“Yep. I’m so excited. I’ll start when the shooting is done.” Lorraine smiled brightly. She couldn’t believe her luck. “It seems that after all my mother was right when she said that every time a door closes, a window opens.”
Sayings, Vin chuckled. Lorraine’s and Luna’s similarities seemed endless.
Lorraine grabbed the coffee pot and filled one cup, placing it in front of Vin.
“There you go.” She smiled again.
“Thanks.” Vin sipped and hummed his appreciation. “How do you know how I like my coffee?” He didn’t bother to hide his genuine surprise. “Did Oliver tell you that already?”
Lorraine grinned, shaking her head ‘no’. “I watched Sandra making coffee for you a lot of times during the shooting of ‘SETH’.”
Lorraine even remembered Sandra quoting Vin, saying that he liked his coffee the same way he liked his women, strong and unadulterated.
Lorraine kept that thought to herself; it wouldn’t be appropriate to repeat Vin’s words aloud, much less in front of Vin himself. Still it was funny considering that, with the exception of Luna, all the girls that had been sentimentally linked with Vin in the past might be strong, but certainly they couldn’t be considered unadulterated.
Vin smiled and sipped once more, hissing a bit. It tasted like heaven but it burned like hell.
“Speaking of shooting,” Vin straightened a bit and lowered his tone of voice, leaving aside his cup of coffee. “Do you remember what I told you at ‘Privilege’ about Dave?”
Lorraine tensed a bit, watching the deadly serious expression written all over Vin’s face, but she recalled his exact words.
“Stay away from guys like me and don’t come close to Dave, ever.”
“Yes.” Lorraine whispered, nodding.
Vin nodded too and lowered his tone of voice even more. “I can’t keep an eye on you while shooting, so no matter what, do not be alone with Dave, okay?”
Lorraine shuddered, swallowing forcefully but once more she nodded ‘yes’.
“Make sure you’re always with somebody else, okay?” Vin insisted, his voice as serious as a heart attack. “Joe or Mike, or even Oliver, but never alone, ever, you understand me?”
Again Lorraine nodded ‘yes’, aware of the unsaid risk Vin was warning her about. She wasn’t stupid and Luna had already told her what she thought Lorraine needed to know about Dave. Still Vin’s words touched Lorraine and his unveiled concern caused tears to blur her vision. This was the man that claimed there wasn’t a single shred of decency left in him?
“Okay.” Lorraine whispered over the invisible knot in her throat, blinking tears away.
Vin wiped a stray tear that had fallen unnoticed along Lorraine’s cheek with his thumb and smiled. “Good.” He stood and picking up his coffee, Vin turned around, padding to his bedroom within the suite, closing the door at his back.
New York. Luna’s condo. (Later that day)
Allison collapsed onto the couch, kicking off her shoes. Her feet were killing her; she should have known better than to wear heels while walking around the city. Apparently she had gotten used to, in record time, to being driven around instead of getting the subway or the bus.
Hard not to, Allison sighed heavily, looking around.
Anyone might be able to adapt to this lifestyle really fast. Living within a luxurious condo, having a driver at their beck and call 24/7 sounded pretty good; having money to spend without worrying about bills to come and unexpected expenses was in itself a luxury out of most people reach.
Luna used to say that there was enough downside to this lifestyle, always being in the spotlight, exposed, being watched and followed around to not enjoying the few perks this lifestyle provided. She also used to say that there was nothing wrong in indulging in a luxurious caprice most people might consider bizarre now and then, such as flying around in a private jet or getting a helicopter to avoid a traffic jam in order to go shopping.
Allison rubbed her forehead.
This was not her life; it was Luna’s life and it was Luna’s money. Well, actually it was Vin’s money that paid for almost everything, including Tyrone’s expenses. Luna seemed to not care too much about that fact as long as she could help the people she loved. But Allison cared and she couldn’t stop thinking of herself as some sort of parasite, living off them.
“James Haltom is a private detective I hired before I moved in here.”
Luna’s smoky voice pulled Allison out of her thoughts and she lifted her head, finding Luna standing in front of her. Luna’s face showed concern and Allison straightened a bit on the couch.
“Why did you hire him?” Allison frowned. She suspected the reasons but wanted Luna to confirm them.
Luna sighed hard, took a seat across from her best friend and explained everything to Allison, including her motivations and her goals.
By the time Luna was done talking, sharing every single piece of information that James Haltom had found, following her precise instructions, Allison found herself thinking she didn’t recognize the woman sitting across from her.
“Oh, God, Luna, have you got any idea of what kind of shit you’re getting yourself involved in?” Allison shook her head, a bit disappointed.
“I’m very aware of the risks I’m running.” Luna answered calmly.
“No, sugar, you are not.” Allison sighed heavily. “Richard Hopkins has very powerful friends; he plays golf with politicians and throws parties for people with ties to the fucking White House! He’s not a man to mess with. You might end up deported or worse, in prison!”
“I’m not stupid, Allison.” Luna rolled her eyes.
Allison shot Luna a doubtful glare. “You could have fooled me.”
Luna went on the defensive. “I know what I’m doing, okay?” She hissed.
“Luna, listen to me and pay attention, would you?” Allison took a seat at Luna’s side and tried to reason with her. “This is not one of your stories, sugar. You cannot control everything. This is not one of your brilliant plots and the characters are not products of your imagination. They are real people and this is real life.”
“I already know that, Allison, but…”
“No, you don’t, sugar. Do you really think people are going to act the way you expect?” Allison sighed, frustrated. “And what’s that shit about dealing with Dave when the real time comes, anyway? He’s a dangerous fucker, Luna. I know what I’m talking about. I grew up surrounded by guys like him. Hell! Tyrone’s father was like Dave!”
“Dave’s just a loser.” Luna muttered in disgust. “I’m not scared of him.”
“You should!” Allison retorted sharply. “Dave’s a street kid. He made it this long alive and kicking because of his strong survival instinct. Dave wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of you, literally, if you become a real threat to him, goddamnit!!”
Luna swallowed hard. “He wouldn’t go that far.” She bit out, shivering uncontrollably.
The idea of Dave being that dangerous had crossed Luna’s mind, but she had dismissed it.
“Dave wouldn’t run the risk of landing in prison just to protect a lifestyle he wouldn’t be able to enjoy either way.” Luna whispered, a bit lost in thought. She wasn’t so sure about that now that Allison had pointed it out.
“Like hell he wouldn’t!” Allison snapped roughly.
She was not only getting frustrated and pissed off with Luna’s stubbornness but also scared of her obvious recklessness.
“Luna, I know you’re hurting and pissed off but, please, stop this craziness before it destroys you.”
“It’s too late for that shit.”
“No, it’s not.” Allison shook her head. “You gotta get over all that anger and pain that is eating you alive. Find professional help if you need to, but please let all this shit go before it’s too late.” She pleaded, tears welling in her eyes. “Work things out with Vin or let him go for good, but stop plotting and scheming. This is not healthy, Luna. All this shit is changing you and you’re not even aware of that fact.”
Luna gritted her teeth. “I can’t.” She rasped out.
“You mean you don’t want to.” Allison whispered sadly.
“Fine. I don’t want to let go.” Luna replied defiantly. “I don’t want to go over anything. I want revenge. I want to get even. I want them paying for what they did to me!” Unnoticed tears spilled down her cheeks and Luna wiped them roughly. “I want them knowing I’m not a woman to mess with. I want all of them thinking twice before fucking with me in the future.”
Allison shut her eyes and hung her shoulders, defeated. She knew Luna was stubborn as hell. There was no way she was going to let go anytime soon, no matter what Allison said. Arguing further would lead her nowhere and Allison already knew that.
“Okay, do whatever the hell you want,” Allison lifted her face, meeting Luna’s eyes, “but I won’t be part of it. I won’t help you, not this time.”
“I didn’t ask for your help.” Luna retorted angrily. “You wanted for me to trust you and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m trusting in you and you’re judging me.”
“I’m not judging you, Luna, but I worry for you.” Allison tried to reach Luna once more, appealing to her common sense. “I’m scared for your health. Your heart won’t resist all this tension, sugar. All this stress will end up taking its toll on you.”
“I’m fine.” Luna pointed out, ignoring the fact that her heart was beating erratically.
“No, Luna, you’re not fine.” Allison whispered sadly, doing her best to regain control of her temper.
Even in her state, Allison could see Luna’s breath had become ragged and bet money that her heart had started beating faster or worse, erratically. But once more, Luna was so blinded by her anger that she wasn’t even realizing that fact or just simply she didn’t care.
“You barely sleep; you barely eat and you’re smoking much more than ever before.” Allison’s deep concern was so obvious that no one would have been able to miss it. “You spend all your free time in front of your laptop yet you haven’t written one single line since you were released from the hospital.”
“So what?” Luna blinked, not really understanding where the hell Allison was heading. “I haven’t written anything because I don’t feel inspired.”
It was a lame argument and they both knew it. Luna’s lack of inspiration never stopped her from writing before. Maybe not a story with real quality that would end up being published or sold to a TV channel or to a production company, but some short story without meaning, just for fun.
“That never stopped you before and you know it.” Allison replied; she didn’t feel mad anymore but really sad and disappointed. “For you writing is not just a way to make a living but almost therapeutic. We both know you heal your wound