Wild Things 6: Soaked
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Copyright ©2013 Jocelyn Michel
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Since Andrei Dinu, my vampire lover, was also a co-worker, we tried to keep our sexual relationship low-key. In truth, it was anything but. Andrei thrilled me in more ways than I could count, and I was very glad our Wild Things adventures involved only the two of us.
Not that the crew didn't suspect we'd hooked up. They more than suspected; they knew I'd fallen for my guide/cameraman/protector. I was female, after all, and couldn't always hide my emotions. But we still maintained professionalism when anyone else was around. That meant we hadn't really hung out as boyfriend-girlfriend or done normal things a couple might do in public. Instead, we'd wrestled snakes, bargained with a fire demon, and scared the piss out of a long-dead pharaoh. For that reason, I was thrilled when Andrei agreed to watch the pilot episode of our series with me.
We were stateside, a rarity of late, secretly sharing a hotel room in New York even though Andrei had one of his own down the hall. Beau Truman, my director, always made sure of that. I think he hoped Andrei would suddenly flip sexually and invite him up for drinks or something. Yeah, Beau had a hopeless crush on my guy even though Andrei had made it plain he wasn't gay or even bi.
"What time is it?" I asked, noting he'd already stretched out on the bed. He wore a pair of black boxer briefs and nothing more, which made it difficult to look anywhere else.
"You have five minutes."
"Awesome. Just enough time to pop some corn." I located the complimentary popcorn that came with every room, set it in the microwave, and punched the right button. I next looked through the mini-fridge for a not-so-complimentary soft drink that would probably cost Earth Broadcasting Network and its owner/CEO Sean Kerrigan at least five dollars. Did I feel bad about that? Not so much. Sean, aka Dad, and I had issues that began when he dumped my mom for a younger woman. His insisting I host Wild Things, a series I'd created and pitched, hadn't helped since I'd never intended to be the star.
In seconds a heavenly smell permeated the room. My mouth watered as I watched the time wind down: five, four, three, two, one. Ding! I opened the door to the microwave and pulled out the steaming, puffed bag by one corner. "Do you miss popcorn?"
"Never had it."
"Poor baby." Though well in step with my human world, Andrei experienced it from a vampire point of view, which meant he'd missed so very much in the hundred-plus years that were his afterlife. With my popcorn and soda in hand, I walked to the bed and sat next to him. He propped a couple of the pillows against the headboard for me. I leaned back against them.
"Show time." Andrei changed from CNN to EBN just as the words Wild Things flashed on the screen.
Though I hadn't had any say in logos or program design, I liked what had been chosen. In seconds I saw myself introducing the show in Romania, location of the first episode. "Oh, God. Is my butt really that big?"
"Your butt is fine. TV screens put ten pounds on everyone."
I groaned. "Someone couldn't have warned me? I'd have dropped some weight before we started filming."
Suddenly Andrei was in my face, and popcorn was all over the bed. "Don't even think about it. You're perfect as is."
I snorted. Though I could think of lots of adjectives that described me, perfect wasn't one of them.
"I'm serious, Kerrigan."
"You should know by now that I love food too much to starve myself." I crammed a handful of popcorn into my mouth to prove it. That seemed to satisfy Andrei, who settled onto his side of the bed again. A glance at the TV revealed that he and I were now deep in a dark Romanian forest, looking for werewolves. Though I'd been there and knew exactly what happened next, I still got that edgy feeling any civilized person might get if they imagined themselves in my situation -- strange country, bad weather, scary myth that just might be true.
So far so good, right? Wrong. By the time the show ended, I felt like a total idiot. Though a skilled editor had somehow done an excellent job in keeping the episode cohesive, I'd still come off as a bimbo brunette on the misadventure from hell. And if no one cared when I promised another search for the truth the following week, it wasn't anyone's fault but Dad's for insisting that his unadventurous daughter star in the adventure series she'd created.
With tears of disappointment in my eyes, I risked a glance at Andrei. "Well?"
"I predict a five-year run at the least."
My jaw dropped. "But it was horrible."
"What are you talking about?" He sat up, frowning. "It was fantastic."
"But --" My cell phone blasted. Just as I reached for it, the room phone rang, too. Then Andrei's cell lit up and began dancing all over the nightstand. Since I could always return the cell call, I went for the room phone. "Hello?"
"You're a hit!" Beau screamed in my ear.
"A hit! You're a hit!"
"How could you possibly know? There hasn't been enough time for anyone to review the series or --"
"Haven't you heard of social media?" he retorted, his voice shrill with excitement. "You're all over the Internet! Daddy's gonna be so pissed. You've won, honey child! You got him big time!"
My victory slowly sank in, and my smile widened as it did. "Really?"