When the Lights Go Down
Genesis Neill has been doing special effects makeup for TV and movies for almost half her life and has finally got to work on the job of her dreams – an adaptation of one of her favourite horror stories with her favourite actor, Peter Newton.
Unfortunately for Genesis, the old saying that you should never meet your heroes is painfully true. Peter is short-tempered and arrogant, and always having a bad day.
Genesis is a patient person, but there is only so much she will take, and only so many second chances she can give to the man who wants to make her share his problems.
“Where are we going?”
“Home. Where else would I be going?”
“Because I want to go home, and I have to let Mara know she doesn’t need to bring in cover for my shifts.”
I felt Chelsea’s eyes boring into the side of my head. It had been the same since we left the hotel. It was all I could do not to drive off the road under the weight of Chelsea’s stare. I knew what she wanted me to say, but I had no intention of talking about it. I just wanted to get home, get into my PJs, and curl up on the sofa with a Peter Newton movie and a tub of ice cream.
“You can stay for the night if you like,” I offered her, smiling at her without taking my eyes off the road, “but only for tonight.”
“Can we just talk about it?”
“I said you can stay already, Chels, but if you’re going to make me talk, then the offer is rescinded.”
“The offer is rescinded,” she mimicked under her breath, sounding every inch like a five-year-old.
I let out a snort, not really feeling the amusement, but not wanting to make her any madder at me than she already was. She wanted to talk. She always wanted to talk. About anything, at any time that suited her. I had long since lost count of the number of times she had phoned me in the middle of the night to talk about some random thing she had thought of. But what had just happened, I had no desire to talk about. And I knew it was going to drive her crazy.
“Come on, Nessie. Can’t we just pull over somewhere? Find a cafe and talk about it?”
“No, Chelsea!” I slammed on the brakes, thankful there was nobody behind us, and turned to face her. “Look, it happened, okay? I don’t know what you’re making a big deal about it for. I really don’t.”
“But we need to talk about it.”
“No, Chelsea, youneed to talk about it. I’m putting it behind me as of an hour ago. I’m letting it go. I suggest you do the same.”
Her eyes searched my face, looking for any sign of weakness. It was how she always looked when something big happened. Not that it was really a big deal. It was only my life falling apart.
She said that, but I knew the instant we got back to my apartment she would start again. And that would be all I would hear until she left in the morning. “Can we get moving now? I’d like to be back in time to get at least some sleep before I have to go to work.”
“Fine.” Chelsea snorted in the seat beside me, and not out of amusement. She was really pissed at me. “You don’t even have to go to work anyway.”
“Yes, I do.” I faced the road ahead and pressed my foot down on the accelerator. “Just because some of us choose not to work, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for the rest of us.”