Here’s the teaser I promised. Get your French Toast Sticks ready, guys. It’s on!
Rex Harper stared out of the window of the small, noisy plane. He hated flying as much as he’d hated the past year which he spent on a beach in Mexico sweating and starring in a series of shit pirate pictures.
The experience would have been different if he was making quality work and not B-pictures on an A-picture budget. The year-long shoot wasn’t to further his career as a leading man, but rather to get him out of town to avoid questioning and endless bad press coverage for a crime he didn’t commit; the murder of his wife, fellow movie star Candy Carmichael.
The only good thing about getting sent to Mexico was not spending hours cooped up in an interrogation room answering the same question over and over again. Every question could be summed up with the same answer, the statement he’d been repeating for two years.
“I didn’t kill my wife.”
Opulence Pictures advised the year in Mexico filming a three picture series was for his own protection, to get him out of town before the cops started closing in even more. The press latched onto the story and wouldn’t let go and made Rex’s life a living hell. His jaunt to Mexico temporarily subsided one layer of his own personal hell. He wanted to return home more than anything but he didn’t know what he would be returning to. Would he still be a pariah? Or would everyone have moved on to another scandal?
The closer the plane got to the private airstrip in Santa Monica the more he thought about Evelyn, something he promised himself he was going to stop doing. A part of him had convinced himself he only wanted Evelyn because she’d rejected him. Even as someone who had everything, he still wanted what he couldn’t have.
Bullshit. You’re in love with her.
Now she was gone.
Nadine Forestier, his blonde French co-star pulled herself closer to him in the already cramped quarters. They were the only passengers on the plane. Her hand landed indiscreetly on this thigh.”What is it you Americans say, ‘why so green?’ What’s the matter, darling? You look sad. Triste.” Nadine’s habit of including random French into her choppy English was something only she found cute.
“The color you’re looking for is blue.” Rex was unamused by her attempt to flirt with him. The last thing he wanted was to keep Nadine entertained. Little did she know their location shoot fling was ending as soon as they hit the runway.
Nadine was sexy in every sense of the word, but calling her batshit crazy would be doing the woman a favor. She was a pill-popping drunk and wanted to screw even more than Rex did which was truly saying something. There was no love or mutual feelings between the two of them as far as he knew and that was exactly what he wanted. God, that’s the last thing I need is this crazy bitch falling in love with me.
Nadine shrugged. Her grasp of American slang left much to be desired. “Fine. Why are you so blue?”
Rex shifted in his seat, he couldn’t wait for this flying jalopy to land. “I’d rather not talk about it.”
“You know you can tell me anything,” she whispered, moving her hand up his thigh, and trying too hard. He sensed she knew the clock was ticking on their affair and wanted one last hurrah. He thought about it for a bit and decided against it.
They were the only passengers on the plane. A private plane carrying the two stars of a very expensive and recently released picture series was a publicity stunt too good to pass up. The pilot and co-pilot would never see or hear them from the cockpit. It would be easy for Nadine to straddle him. The thought of fucking in an airplane was appealing, and he briefly considered taking Nadine up on her offer. When she decided to show him some interest (when she wasn’t drinking or in a foul mood) she clung to him like cellophane. He hoped a firm “no” would suffice and he could be free of her.
Rex lifted her hand from his thigh. Her manicure was chipped and uneven. While he found himself checking out other parts of the female anatomy, Rex paid special attention to a woman’s hands. He never fucked a girl with shitty nails more than once. He didn’t want to have an actual conversation with Nadine outside of scripted dialogue. “What’s with your sudden interest in my emotional well being? You certainly haven’t given a shit before,” he snapped, thinking maybe if he wasn’t nice she’d back off. Knowing his luck, it might attract her more.
“I do too care! If I didn’t we wouldn’t have been making love like we did. For a year!” she exclaimed, defending herself.
“That wasn’t making love, that was fucking,” Rex said then the moment of truth came.
He would never admit it aloud, but he was slightly terrified of Nadine. Once, for no particular reason she’d pulled a knife on him she’d stolen from a prop master. She apologized, but Rex treaded lightly since that incident. Women usually threatened him with words, not weapons. “I don’t love you, Nadine. Don’t get the idea this was more than a fling. You’re easy, I’m easy and we were easy together. When we get off this godforsaken plane, we’re going to smile for the reporters, deny any rumors we’re an item. Then we’re going to go our separate ways. I’ll make small talk with you if I see you in passing but don’t expect anything else from me. The End. No More. Comprendre?” he stated, whipping out his boarding school French class for the first time in twenty years.
Nadine stared at him with her mouth agape in repulsion as if no man ever spurned her before. She sat back in her chair, speechless.
“I can see we’re on the same page,” Rex added, relieved.
Nadine perked up. “Remember, we have a party to go to tonight? It’s being thrown in our honor. We must go. Together. It would be rude not to. Everyone knows we are returning today.”
“Damn it! I forgot about that.” The thought of having to attend an event with Nadine made him want to jump from the plane. “It’s not as if working constantly for over a year covered in sweat on a beach wasn’t enough, now I have to put on a happy face at a goddamn dinner party.”
“Oui”, Nadine said with a satisfied grin.
Rex hated she was getting her way and that he would have to spend more time with her. Maybe I’ll get lucky one last time. “All right, after our welcome home party we’re going our separate ways. I mean it, Nadine. We’re through.”
“Don’t be so certain of yourself. Besides, I’ve had better,” she said smirking.
“You telling me you’ve had better lays than me isn’t going to help your case. Or make me feel bad. I’ve had better myself.”
Nadine huffed in anger, her pretty face growing red. “You’re a bastard, Rex Harper! I wish I’d never gone to bed with you! I hope you rot along with your dead whore wife!”
Rex couldn’t help but laugh at her outburst. “You’re a firecracker of a dame, Nadine. That’s all I’ll say.”
She was a huge pain in the ass, but Rex couldn’t help but feel a sudden surge of gratitude towards her. He was right about her being there and being easy which is exactly what he needed her for. When he was with her, she made him forget about Evelyn. She’d served her purpose in his life and it was time for them to part ways. She was a bandage on a cut that needed stitches, now it was time to remove them. Rex wished her no harm, only that she would leave him the hell alone.
Nadine gave him a confused look and pulled out a ruby encrusted pill box and placed a blue pill in her mouth. She grabbed Rex’s flask, took a swig to swallow the pill and shoved it back at him.
He took that as she understood and continued to stare out of the window at the Pacific Ocean. He pictured the plane crashing into a mountain in a fiery mess and then falling into the ocean with a sizzle; like when water touched a hot pan.
Rex often envisioned his own demise. The thought of everything ending in a sudden blur was comforting to him. Everything wrong would suddenly disappear. This wasn’t something he thought about when he’d been happy. He would never kill himself. Suicide was for cowards and over-the-top actresses. Dying would be the easy way out of his problems. Rex knew he wasn’t that lucky. He felt the plane descend and knew they would be landing soon. He glanced over at Nadine who was thumbing through a fashion magazine. Her eyes met his and she glared. Rex shook his head and turned away.
Rex had made a to-do list for when he finally returned to his life. Getting rid of Nadine was at the top. Now that he could scratch that off, it was on to the next.
The next item being Jack Vance, the detective who had it out for him.
The man who was trying to destroy him.
The man who was convinced he killed Candy even though there was no evidence against him.
Rex knew why Vance had it out for him. It had nothing to do with Candy’s murder, which pissed him off even more…
He would do anything to convince Detective Vance he didn’t kill Candy.
He would do anything to get Evelyn back.
Even if it killed him.
*Cue dramatic music*