Keeping Up With Hollywood by Kellianne Gearon by Kellianne Gearon - Read Online



Samantha McAffee is at a crossroads in life. As a recent college graduate her parents send her and a friend on vacation to California. She never thought that those two weeks would change her life. After meeting Joe Mattison, an up-and-coming young actor, Samantha is convinced that she's fallen in love. It doesn't take long before she decides to move out of her parent's home in New York and start a new life in Los Angeles. After landing a great job and finding the perfect apartment, it seems like she finally has the life she always wanted. That is until she runs into troubled former child actor Chris Adams, or better known as the boy-your-father-warned-you-about. Samantha needs to make some mistakes in order to figure out that sometimes what you want in life is not always what you need.
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781611600414
List price: $3.99
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Keeping Up With Hollywood - Kellianne Gearon

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Chapter 1

I can’t even remember the last time I had purposely woken up at five o’clock in the morning. Actually now that I think about it, it must have been the day of my business management final and that was only because I had to meet my best friend Melissa to go over the notes for the exam. Even though I had been studying for more than a week I had to suffer because of her chronic procrastination. This time though, I’m awake for a good reason, an amazing reason. Thanks to my absolutely wonderful parents I’m leaving for a two-week vacation to California with my friend Kim. As a present for my recent graduation from college they gave me two roundtrip tickets (though I secretly can’t help wishing that they were one-way tickets) to Los Angeles. You see, ever since I was a little girl my dream has always been to live in California. The sunshine, the palm trees, the shopping, not to mention the beaches—what’s not to love? I used to beg and plead with my parents to sell our suburban home in New York so that we could move to a little beach house on the west coast. You’re probably thinking that I’m just another wannabe-actress who will end up as a bartender in some sleazy bar, but no. I have no desire to be famous. Who would ever choose a life where they can’t even go to 7-11 to pick up milk without being followed, no thanks, so not for me.

I rolled over to hit the snooze button for the second time in a row just as there was a light tap on my bedroom door. Sam, you up? It’s five o’clock; we have to leave to pick up Kim in a half-hour.

Yeah, Dad, I’m up. I rolled over and blankly stared at the pale yellow walls of my bedroom for at least another two minutes before I finally dragged myself out of my comfortable bed to head for the shower. Last night had been a late night. I had been trying to finish packing but every ten minutes I would get interrupted by a phone call from Kim asking me what clothes she should pack. Then my brother came home with two pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Half Baked and Phish Food—my two favorites. So we stayed up watching stand-up comedy on cable and finishing off both containers. Now I was regretting my decision to stay up so late, and to indulge in all that delicious ice cream.

With the three-hour time difference our plane would be landing at Los Angeles International Airport at ten o’clock. Our plan (without actually having a plan) was to relax at the hotel for a while and then party it up on the Sunset Strip that night. Tickets were booked over a month ago and we had been talking about this trip nonstop, probably driving all of our other friends crazy with jealousy. We were splurging (okay so my parents were splurging) by renting a Mustang convertible for the week.

After my hot shower (a plus to being up so early—more hot water for me), I quickly dressed in my comfy sweats, or as I like to call them my travel clothes, and dragged a brush through my long brown hair, then tied it back with a ponytail holder and secured my bangs back with a thin black headband. Thankfully, I remembered to put my toiletries and the rest of my last minute things into the suitcase. It would be a disaster if I forgot all of that. Even though we would only be gone for two weeks I had packed enough for a month. What can I say, you can never have enough shoes, or clothes, or make-up, or books, or magazines. So maybe I over-packed a little. Knowing me, I would probably end up borrowing most of Kim’s clothes the entire time anyway. Other people’s clothes are always so much better than your own. Why is that?

It took about five minutes to get to Kim’s apartment. She’s one of my only friends who lives on her own. She’s two years older than me and never went away to college. We met the summer after I graduated high school when I started working part time at the advertising agency that she worked for. I was so sad when she left the company; it has never been the same without her. Work used to be so much more fun when she was sitting at the cubicle next to mine, throwing paper clips and rubber bands in my direction to get my attention. For twenty-four, Kim can be a little wild. Okay, a lot wild. I sure hope I have my things together by the time I’m twenty-four. I know I just graduated college, but I have a lot of big plans for myself. By the time I’m thirty I want to be a senior editor for a posh fashion magazine, have two kids, a house in the Hills (and when I say Hills I mean Beverly Hills), a BMW, a vacation home in Cabo, oh and a really hot husband who is just as successful, maybe a lawyer or doctor. Nobody can accuse me of not being ambitious.

Hey, chica, you ready to party in La La land? Kim tossed her two Samsonite suitcases into the trunk of my dad’s car and was definitely in a cheery mood, being that it was so early in the morning.

Hell yeah, I’m ready. I can’t wait to pick up the Stang. I wonder what color we’re going to end up with. I’m hoping either silver or white.

Like you’ll be driving; I want to make it out of California alive you know. My bad driving skills have always been a big joke with all my friends, and my family too. Maybe that should tell me something.

So guess who I got a text message from last night? Only the scum of the earth. My ex-boyfriend Kevin has many nicknames amongst my friends and me—none of them are very good.

Ew, why is he trying to get in touch with you? He IM’d you the other day too didn’t he? That’s ridiculous. Tell him to get lost. Seriously, you need to stop being so damn nice. He’s a jerk. I’ll tell him what he can do with his text messages. This is why I love this girl; she will tell you how it is and will fight you to the death. Her don’t-mess-with-me attitude often comes in handy. It’s true that I can be a little too nice sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not a pushover; I just hate confrontation unless it’s absolutely necessary. Lucky for me I have some of the greatest friends in the world. We all have each other’s back and would not tolerate someone hurting one of our friends.

Don’t worry, I didn’t even respond. I looked back at her, trying to give her reassurance that there was no way I would ever get back together with him. No matter how hard he tried.

Good, he’s not worthy of the air you breathe. I looked over at my dad and he was smiling and nodding his head. He and I are really close and all of my friends love him. Instead of referring to him as Mr. McAffee they all call him Greggie Weggie and even confide in him about all of their guy problems. It’s really kind of funny. Since Melissa lives next door she is at my house all of the time. Whenever she is over my dad asks her who the flavor of the month is, which often leads into an hour discussion about who she is dating and what problems they’re having. Most of my friends’ parents aren’t even together anymore so they always like to come to my house because my family is so close. Don’t get me wrong, we all tease each other and since I’m the youngest I definitely get the brunt of it, but we still get along for the most part. I actually always kind of had this feeling that Kim had a thing for my brother John. I could never prove that because neither one of them would ever admit to me if something was going on, but one of these days I’ll get it out of her. It would actually be kind of ironic if John ever dated one of my friends, considering how protective he is of me. If one of his friends even looks at me for a second too long he gets really suspicious and freaks out. When he was away at college one of his friends from high school took me out on a date. One date. John went berserk when he found out and I never heard from the guy again. Yeah, I definitely need to find out if there is something up with those two. I need some kind of leverage.

We pulled up to JFK Airport with a little more than an hour until our flight. Just enough time to check our bags, go through security and get a Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, with an extra espresso shot of course. We grabbed our luggage from the trunk and I gave my dad a big hug goodbye.

Have a good trip. Have fun, but be careful. Don’t come home with any piercings or tattoos. I don’t want to have to disown you. Spoken like a true worried father.

Okay, Dad, eyebrow ring, tongue ring, and a tattoo of a skull head. Check, check and check. Love ya, pops. Stay out of trouble while I’m away.

He laughed at me and slipped something in my hand before heading back to the driver’s side of the car. ’Bye girls.

I looked in my hand and sure enough he had placed several twenty-dollar bills into my palm. Believe me, it’s not like my family is loaded or anything. I’m not some spoiled rich kid from suburbia who gets whatever she wants. John and I both started working as soon as we were old enough; we never just had things handed to us. We have an average-size house and live in a nice safe neighborhood, but my dad drives a Ford Focus. Nope, we are definitely not loaded.

The airport was fairly busy for a Wednesday morning. The lines inside looked like they would take forever so we did curbside check-in, passed through security and then headed up the escalator toward the gate.

Gate 22, it must be a sign. I bet you’re going to meet someone on this vacation. Kim knows that 22 has always been my lucky number. She is very superstitious and is constantly reading her horoscope, having her palm read and getting her tarot cards done. Ever since my parents gave me the tickets at my graduation party she has been convinced that great things are going to happen to me this year, starting with this trip. Sometimes I think she may have been a gypsy in her past life.

Okay, Madam Kimberly, if you say so. Will he be tall, dark and handsome—or a blond, blue-eyed surfer with a great tan and a six-pack? I grabbed her arm, pulling her toward the desk at the gate.

Laughing, she looked at me. She was beyond excited about going to California. As a kid she never really went on family vacations other than camping so this was a huge deal for her. Listen, just make me maid-of-honor and I’ll be happy.

We only had to wait at the gate for a short time before we were allowed to board the plane. It was scheduled to be a six-hour flight from New York to Los Angeles, but we were both way too wired to sleep. I started to flip through the newest Cosmo and Glamour while Kim listened to her iPod, which I’m certain, was filled with lots of Sade and Natalie Merchant. One of the movie options was The Notebook, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I tuned in to that while I sipped my steaming hot, disgusting airplane coffee with two packets of even more disgusting powdered creamer. We were definitely on a major caffeine-high by the time the plane landed at LAX.

The line to pick up the rental car was atrocious. Sure enough after thirty-five minutes on line, another twenty minutes with the clerk at the counter, and an additional fifteen minutes to inspect the car, we were finally in our shiny silver Mustang convertible and on our way to the Hilton in Santa Monica. Sheryl Crowe’s Soak up the Sun was blasting as we pulled into the parking garage at the hotel. We were laughing uncontrollably while we sang loudly off-key. The parking attendant gave us a strange look as we got out of the car. Then again we must have looked crazy with our big sunglasses, windblown hair and four extremely large and heavy suitcases. We practically threw our stuff at the bellhop while we checked in at the front desk. To say that we were excited to finally be on vacation together would be a complete understatement.

Our room was perfect. We had this amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from our balcony, which had a small bistro table with two chairs next to it so that we could sit and enjoy the view. If we looked to our right we could see the top of the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier. I was actually looking forward to watching the sunset from the balcony. The way the sky changes from blue to shades of yellow, orange and pink—there’s nothing more beautiful. Though the thing I’ve always really loved is to watch the sunrise. Mostly because it’s not often that anyone is actually awake to see it, which is what makes it so special, a new beginning to a new day. It’s always kind of been a philosophy of mine. My dream has always been to wake up with the person I love and to watch the sunrise with him while drinking a perfect cup of hot coffee. That’s when I would know it was real. When I can find the one person in life that enjoys sunrises and knows how to make a better cup of coffee than the Starbucks down the street. That’s when I would know I found my soul mate.

Earth to Samantha. Kim was frantically waving at me. What do you want to do? Should we hang out here and grab lunch by the pool? Then we can come back and get ready to go out tonight. We’re gonna go to the Strip, right? Kim was talking a mile a minute, partly because she was overexcited and partly because she was drunk on caffeine.

Sounds good to me. When we booked this trip we had both agreed that we wouldn’t really plan anything. Being Libras, we were both free-spirited and we wanted to kind of be nomads on this trip. I threw on my swimsuit, grabbed my iPod along with the newest Nicholas Sparks’ book and headed for the pool.

They be some hotties up in here. Kim giggled as she eyed the eye-candy that was hanging poolside. She is definitely the most flirtatious out of all my friends. It seems to get her into trouble sometimes. Trust me when I tell you that trying to keep an eye on her is a difficult job, and for some reason I always get stuck with the task.

Don’t you think about anything else? Maybe if you stopped looking you’d meet a nice guy instead of all these morons you keep dating. Kim is such a great girl; with long straight blonde hair and green eyes she is absolutely gorgeous. With low self-esteem, she often sells herself short when it comes to meeting men, always being drawn to the wrong ones.

She flipped her newly highlighted hair at some tattoo covered guy at the bar and glared at me. Sorry if I’m not into pretty boys like you. I have fun with the bad boys. Besides you never know, maybe I’ll meet the right one while we’re here. I’ll be right back. I’m going to get us a couple of bottles of water and a sandwich or something. I’m starving. I can’t believe they don’t serve food on such a long flight, totally ridiculous. She walked away from me and headed right toward the bar, and the tattoos. I watched her start working her magic as I laid my towel out on the lounge chair and opened my book.

We baked in the sun for several hours, sipping cold drinks and enjoying the perfect weather. It was surprising that it wasn’t humid at all since it was July. It was definitely the perfect start to our vacation.

Once we got back to the room we decided to order room service for dinner so that we could start getting ready for our first night out in Los Angeles while we waited for our food to be brought to us. From what I had heard from a few people, the Sunset Strip could get pretty wild. My brother had visited his friend from college out here last summer and he had definitely given me a heads up about people here. He categorized LA as being filled with a bunch of freaks and tons of wannabes—mostly people who wanted to be actors, models, singers or producers. Everyone was here to make a name for themselves and nobody knew how to just be themselves. I read the tabloids and I think that most of these people will just be lucky to make it out of here alive. Even though it had always been my dream to live here, I wasn’t naïve. I knew it would take a lot to be able to survive the pressure of living in this world.

Chapter 2

Even though we left the hotel at nine o’clock, it wasn’t until eleven that we actually got into a bar. The traffic was insane and the parking was even worse. Walking around the Strip was definitely interesting. After making the rounds we decided to head into the famous Serpent Club. It was definitely not at all what I thought it would be. How could a place like this be so popular? It was dark and smoky and there were tons of drugs going on. My pink sundress and white sandals, which I thought looked very Californian when we were leaving the hotel, definitely did not mesh well with the black leather and metallic Lycra that I was being surrounded by. Really, I thought bicycle shorts went out of style in 1987. The band members all looked like Marilyn Manson on LSD, and they sounded even worse. I went into the bathroom to try to get away from the smoke for a few minutes and saw some girl snorting cocaine off the sink. I jetted out of there as fast as I could. I grabbed Kim’s arm and pulled her toward the door. We’re leaving. Now.

What’s your problem? The band was just starting to get good.

Look, this is so not my scene. Can’t we just check out some place different? She looked a little annoyed, but she quickly gulped down the last of her drink, placed her empty glass on the nearest ledge and led me toward the exit.

The bar next door looked pretty crowded and the music sounded slightly less like emo, so we paid the bouncer the cover charge and went inside. By the time we got a drink from an overly friendly and overly implanted bartender it was already last call. My brother forgot to warn me that the bars closed at two in the morning on the west coast; we’re so used to a four a.m. closing. We grabbed another quick drink and attempted to maneuver ourselves through the crowd and on to the dance floor. Kim of course managed to find some very good looking, but very scary looking guy to dance with. I mean really, who wears leather in July? And don’t even get me started on the tattoo that was etched on the back of his head. Yuck. My attempt at looking cool while dancing alone with my vodka and sprite was probably pretty amusing. A few people came over and tried to dance with me, but they were definitely not my type. I had never seen so many mohawks in my life. I was beginning to wonder if it was biker night on the Strip.

The night didn’t start to get good until we were leaving. The two most beautiful members of the male species that I had ever seen were walking in right as we were leaving; just our luck.

Don’t bother, it sucks in there, Kim informed them nonchalantly as she held the door open.

I know, we were in there earlier. We just have to go back to get our friends so we can head somewhere for an after party, the taller of the two responded to her. Here we go again. I swear we can’t go anywhere without her meeting someone.

They’re coming out now. Rob said that some people are going back to his place for awhile. It was only after he flipped closed his extremely high-tech cell phone and looked up at his friend that I recognized him. He looked much taller in person, thinner too. His dark hair was shorter, slightly gelled up in the front. I was positive that this was the guy from that movie, the one where the little brother was found ten years after he had been kidnapped; he played the part of the older brother. He was definitely cuter in person, I had to admit. I was about to take out my phone to text Melissa about who I just saw when Kim started whispering to me.

So do you want to go? she asked me.

Go where? I was still kind of dazed from all the smoke in that first bar. I wondered if it’s possible to get second-hand high.

They just invited us to an after party at their friend’s house. That tall guy is so unbelievably hot.

I couldn’t help but shoot her a dirty look. Are you kidding me? I asked her. "Seriously have you lost your mind? You don’t even know this guy’s name and you want to go to his friend’s house. Do you even