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By: Jasma Pendergrass


Jason and Riley were cruising down the highway listening to the hip hop classic, California Love. The two were best friends from Winter Park, Florida who made their way to the sunny side of southern California to pursue their careers; Jason, a production assistant and Riley a successful doctor. No matter where they were in life, they always managed to find themselves back together in the same city striving to fulfill their destiny.

After a few miles and honking at random women strutting down the street, they pulled up to Jason’s place of employment, LA Premier Studios. From time to time, when Riley wasn’t busy trying to save lives, he tagged along with Jason to indulge in the celebrity world of theatrics.

They hopped out of the car, stretched their limbs and took a moment to embrace the warm spring weather. The sun rested beautifully in the sky. The atmosphere was not too hot or too cold with a light breeze that wafted courageously through the palm trees.

Within seconds, waves of chaotic sounds resonated from the building entrance. They ambled towards it. As they drew closer, no other than the rich, famous, two-time Oscar winner Chad Morris gusted past them in rage, feet bare to the pavement, uttering just about every explicit term ever created. His narrow nose and thick eyebrows scrunched against his dark polished face. His unfastened white linen shirt blew in the wind, exposing his naked oiled chest and ripped abs. Security swiftly trailed not too far behind.

Riley: Was that who I think it was?

Jason: Yep. And I think he just got fired. There is never a dull moment on set.

They made their way inside the building. More disarrayed sounds surrounded them. Only this time it was chatter just above a whisper and looks of astonishment. Jason and Riley both did an analysis of themselves and each other to see what the big deal was. As far as they were concern the action had left the building. Even more awkwardly, the director headed towards them with a look of shock.

Paul Madison- Director: You! Ah, there is a God. Yes, you are perfect. Smile for me.

Riley took a step back. He scanned the room; confused as to why everyone was gawking at him and why he was getting a dental exam. Still, despite his confusion, he presented his pearly white teeth as requested.

Paul Madison: Ah, beautiful. Just beautiful. You’re hired. Lead male. Jason, take this fine gentleman to his dressing room please.

Riley: Oh, I’m sorry. I think there’s a misunderstanding. I’m not-

Jason: Follow me this way, sir.

Beyond the LA celebrity drama, Riley liked being on set. He looked at the change in scenery as therapeutic. He was flattered to be hand-picked to be the new male lead but acting was not a passion of his.

Riley: Jason, you’ve got to get me out of this! I’m not an actor.

Jason: Oh no can do, my friend. Production is already in love with you and I love my job sooo… yeah.

Riley: C’mon, man. There must be something you can do.

They stopped in front of a white door with a big gold star in the middle. Jason swung the door open. He was stunned by what was revealed. His mancave had nothing on his new dressing room. It was decked out with all leather furniture, pool table, mini bar, snack shack and a 60-inch flat screen television perfectly mounted on the back wall.

Jason: Look at your dressing room. It’s amazing! Dude, I must say, you are blessed. You just walked on set, no effort at all, and landed a lead role in a multi-million-dollar movie. Do you know how many people dream of this opportunity? I’ve been working on set for years and nobody ever just handed me a role. Walk with me. You, my friend, are about to meet Kimberly Shovak, the star.

They made their way to Kimberly’s dressing room. The star on her door dwarfed Riley’s and made it look like an amateur sticker. Jason knocked twice and entered. On the other side stood Marisol, Kimberly’s best friend, making wardrobe selections.

Marisol: Seriously, Jason? Nobody ever taught you to wait for an answer when you knock? This is a woman’s dressing room, for Christ sake. What do you want anyway?

Jason: You. Always did, always will, baby.

Riley was confused at the situation at hand and silently questioned the depth of their relationship. Jason didn’t have a particular type but he could definitely see how Jason would be attracted to Marisol: Latina, stood roughly 5’5”, brown curly hair, flawless beige skin, curvy silhouette and obviously sassy.

Jason: Riley, this is the hot, sexy, beautiful, love of my life Marisol Ramos. She is Kimberly’s best friend and a production assistant as well. Marisol, this is my best bro, Riley. He’s the lead replacement.

Marisol: Best bro? Funny! Just because you talked to him on a five-minute walk doesn’t make him your friend. Nice to meet you, Riley.

Riley: Likewise. Actually, we’ve been friends since middle school.

Marisol: Oh, I’m so sorry for you. That’s surprising. I wouldn’t expect someone of your charm to be best friends with Jason.

Jason: You didn’t say that last night.

Marisol: Jack off.

Jason: I do it every night to your picture.

Riley: Really, Jason!

Riley always found himself being the mediator whenever Jason opened his big mouth. He was the only person who could reel him back in to reality when it was necessary.

Jason was not your ordinary guy. He was the cynical, edgy, skateboarder, round about irrational type. The type to say the first thing on his mind regardless of whether he was in a church or a nightclub. He would say and do whatever he wanted, no matter who was watching. He called it ‘the love it or hate it’ mentality.

Jason: Alright fine, I’m out. I’ll holler at you later, bro. See you on set.

Riley: You’re leaving me here?

Jason: Don’t worry, Marisol is all mouth, no bite. Speaking of mouths, whenever you’re ready to put a good use to all your built-up energy, call me.

Without hesitation, Marisol rushed at Jason all while slandering her fluent Spanish literature that Riley didn’t understand but he knew weren’t words of inspiration. Riley blocked her path to Jason.

Jason: Feisty. Just like I like it.

Riley: Bro, just leave.

Jason left with a smirk.

Riley turned to Marisol who was flush in the face, arms crossed, tapping her feet incessantly. This look was all too familiar. He’d seen this look from many women in his lifetime. More than he was content with.

Riley: Look, I’m sorry. Jason can come off as a jerk but I promise he means no harm. He has a weird sense of humor.

Marisol: No, he’s an ass! Actually, an ass is an understatement for him.

Riley: He’s not that bad once you get to know him.

Marisol: Please! I’ve worked with Jason for years and he’s like that 24/7. I’m convinced he was raised by wolves.

It peaked Riley’s interest that Jason and Marisol knew each other for so long. He never seen her on set nor had Jason ever mentioned her but it was obvious they had some built-up tension. Riley wanted to investigate but Marisol cut him off before he could say anything.

Marisol: I would love to stay and chat but I have to get to set. Grab a seat on the sofa, Kim should be out of the powder room any minute.

Marisol skedaddled out of the dressing room leaving Riley sitting in silence. There he sat contemplating how he was going to get out of the madness he was facing. He just hoped Kimberly was sympathetic to his cry for help and request an experienced co-star.

Riley checked his watch. Only a few minutes past but to Riley it felt like he’d lived three lives and was on his fourth. He was typically a smooth, calm, collective guy but his nerve was getting the best of him. He eased from his sitting position and began pacing back and forth. Before he knew it, he had perspiring palms and was amid rehearsing a lie to leave- which in his eyes would be his big debut and hopefully his grand finale.

The sound of the shower jets coming to a halt brought more anxiety. Riley quickly took a seat; then decided to stand. He didn’t want to look too comfortable.

Seconds later, Kimberly scampered out of the washroom. The sight of Riley’s unfamiliar face sent her into panic mode. She jumped back, knocking over her wardrobe rack, makeup station and reading table which, eventually, caused her to slide on the towel that was once the only piece of fabric covering her wet, nude body.

Riley rushed over to help her from the floor but Kimberly thought otherwise.

Kimberly: GET OUT, GET OUT!

She watched Riley scurry out of the dressing room as she sat exposed, helpless and poleaxed on the floor.


Riley was sitting outside in what they called the “holding area”. It was an area the movie extras would mingle, eat and patiently wait until they were needed to fill the backgrounds of certain scenes. He’d managed to draw up a large crowd of women. Some drilling him with questions of how he “made it” and others sending discreet winks and air kisses. The 101 questions, giggles and side winks ceased at the sight of Marisol marching over like a mad woman.

Marisol, without a word snatched Riley by the hand and ushered him into the hallway.

Marisol: What do you think you’re doing? You should be rehearsing your lines and the actors have their own lobby.

Riley: I’m not an actor, but I was simply waiting to talk to Kimberly.

Marisol: We’ll, you’re definitely not going to find her in there. Why didn’t you talk to her earlier?

Riley: She told me to get out.

Marisol: Kimberly said that?

Almost as if it were her introduction, Kimberly walked up.

Her hair was pulled up into a bun, face stripped of any makeup, dressed in an oversize graphic sweatshirt, ripped jeans and a pair of nude pumps.

Kimberly: As a matter of fact, I did. He was creeping around my dressing room.

Riley and Marisol turned to face Kimberly.

Marisol: He wasn’t creeping, he’s your new co-star. I told him to wait for you in your dressing room so you two could meet.

Kimberly: Huh?

Marisol: Chad Morris got fired. Surprise. I’ll tell you the details later. You two need to rehearse.

There was an awkward silence as Kimberly and Riley played the staring game.

Kimberly: No, I can’t work with him.

Riley: Yeah, I agree. I’m not even an actor. I’m a doctor.

Kimberly: A doctor? They hired a doctor to be my co-star!

Annoyed with Riley and Kim’s bickering Marisol did what she did best- snapped people in check.

Marisol: If the both of you don’t shut it and listen. Whether you two actually like each other or not, this production will continue so get with the program! We’re starting over. Riley, this is Kimberly Shovak, your co-star. Kim, this is Riley-

Marisol waited for Riley to state his last name but instead he just stared. Stared at Kimberly staring at him.

Marisol: This is the part where you introduce yourself.

Riley: Oh, right. Henson. Dr. Riley Henson.

What was supposed to be a quick introduction turned into a babysitting session. Kimberly didn’t say one word. She just held the hand Riley extended for a shake and gazed at him.

Marisol: Normal people just shake and drop. That is how a handshake is supposed to go. Normal people also don’t stare at each other when they’re two feet apart. They talk- to each other.

Marisol, being the hot-tempered Spanish woman she was, slapped both of their hands free, said a few derogatory Spanish words and walked away.


Production was doomed for failure and the crew had grown frustrated with Riley and Kimberly. They’d spent hours trying to capture one intimate, romantic scene. The soft, sensual act looked stiff and uncomfortable. Riley had the height, skin tone, physique, smile—everything for the part except the acting.

Paul Madison: Cut, cut, cut! You two need to get it together. Kimberly, you look like you’re going to hyperventilate every time he touches you, and Riley, my god, I know this is your first rodeo but she is smoking hot. I damn near want to sleep with her and I’m gay. Get it together! Take five. Actually, take five together and bond. Better yet, don’t come back until you two have said enough dirty things that you literally want to screw the lights out of each other.

Once again, there was an awkward silence.

Paul Madison: Today people!

Riley: Maybe we should take a walk.

They strolled out of the production building, through the parking lot, across the well-trimmed grass making their way to the nearby gazebo. Luckily, the usual crowd had dispersed and it was just the two of them.

Riley: Look, I’m really sorry.

Kimberly: Sorry for perpetrating to be an actor or sneaking into my dressing room?

Riley: Wow! None of that is true. I swear I didn’t-

Kimberly: I know, I’m just messing with you. You have to admit, that was quite a first impression.

Riley: Well, usually it’s dinner and a movie before a woman gets naked for me but I’m not complaining.

Kimberly: You’re an asshole.

Riley: I’m just kidding. Returning the humor.

They finally made it to the gazebo. Riley guided Kimberly by the hand up the steps. They both sat and inhaled the nature’s breeze.

Riley: To be truthful, I don’t think this is going to work out. This isn’t my thing. I’m a doctor. I don’t do this type of stuff. It’s just awkward for me.

Kimberly: Yeah, well I’m sure it’ll be awkward when you see me sweeping floors at your hospital. I am pretty sure it’ll be impossible for me to land a role after this.

Riley: Nah, I highly doubt that. I am the problem, not you. You’re perfect.

For the first time in a long time, Kimberly blushed. There was something different about Riley. Usually, she was good at reading people but she couldn’t figure him out. He seemed authentic, which was a rare find for people in her line of work.

Riley: How do you do it anyway? The acting.

Kimberly: Oh, the acting is simple. I have this saying: ‘be free but the nun is watching’.

Kimberly could tell by the baffled look on Riley’s face he didn’t understand.

Kimberly: Basically, it’s all fake. It’ll come to you, don’t worry. Worst case scenario, I’ll be a poor janitor sweeping your hospital floors. No pressure.

Her humor was appealing. Riley expected Kimberly to be one of those uppity, narcissistic, Hollywood divas but she was turning out to be quite a pleasure to be around.

He got a bit nervous at the thought of having to act again.

Riley: I know this might sound a bit awkward but do you mind teaching me a little before we go back?

Kimberly: Teach you how to act?

Riley: Yeah, sort of. Like show me what I should do. I don’t want you sweeping floors. Plus, our custodian is pretty great at sweeping floors so I probably won’t be able to guarantee you that position.

Kimberly chuckled at Riley’s shenanigan. She figured a quick lesson might be their only shot at getting through with the scene. Kimberly summoned Riley to his feet.

Kimberly: Okay, for starters, we should be this close.

Kimberly stepped into Riley’s personal space, just inches away from touching.

Kimberly: Kiss me.

Riley: What? Now? Like right now?

Kimberly: Yes.

Riley: No, that’s not a good idea.

Riley scanned the grassy perimeter of the gazebo to see if anyone was around. There wasn’t anyone in site.

Kimberly: Either you do it now, get all the first-time jitters out when no one is looking, or you do it in front of the whole crew and be uncomfortable for the entire day.

Kimberly expected for Riley to be intrigue at the opportunity to kiss her but his reaction was the exact opposite.

Riley debated long and hard about what Kimberly suggested. There was a kiss her in their love scene but he never once thought they would get that far and as much as he hated to admit it, he was attracted to Kimberly. He feared the lustful feelings that overwhelmed him in her presence.

Riley: The thing is, I’ve never even looked at another woman this way since I met my wife.

Kimberly: Oh­, you’re married?

Riley: Yeah, production told me I had to take my ring off. Jason is holding it for me until we wrap tonight.

Kimberly: Oh, I wasn’t aware.

Kimberly felt like she’d been hit by a monster truck and quite humiliated as well. She worked with married men all the time and believed Riley needed to let his guard down in order to get through the scene, but her motive was deeper. She wanted to know what it would be like to close her eyes, embrace Riley’s lips and let her vulnerability take over.

Kimberly: Well, you don’t have to. I’m sure you’ll be fine when the time comes. Just remember, it’s all fake anyway.

For an actress, she wasn’t doing a good job of hiding her disappointment. Kimberly stepped out of Riley’s personal space but Riley pulled her back in. This time there was not any visible space between them. She tried to pull away but Riley tightened his grip.

Riley: I want to.

Riley caressed the side of Kimberly’s face until her eyes were completely shut and her tense body relaxed. He kissed her softly. Their simple American kiss quickly turned into passionate French kissing. Riley knew he shouldn’t but he was a butt man. He eased his hands down Kimberly’s back and gripped her pleasantly plump buttocks.

Kimberly made no effort to stop Riley. Instead, she nested her arms around Riley’s neck, caressing his head and shoulders. She felt his manhood rise against her body. She let out a soft moan.

Riley parted lips with Kimberly just enough to ask her for approval.

Riley: Is this okay?

Kimberly: Perfect.

The mood was set and their bodies streamed with hormones.

Kimberly jumped back when she heard the sound of a camera shutter.

Paul Madison: Shit yeah! Picture-perfect. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. Damn, Kimberly, you got him all riled up. Get it? Riley? Riled up?

Riley followed their eyes and looked down at his bulging pants.

Riley: I’m going to need a moment.

Paul Madison: Or two! You know where to find us.

The director shimmied away as if he’d just won the jackpot.

Kimberly: I promise I’ll get him to delete that picture.

Riley: Please do. My life depends on it.


Moments later, Riley appeared back on set only to find that the scene had been tweaked. Kimberly was kneeling in bed, dressed in a sexy negligee getting her hair and makeup touched up. She smiled at him and surrendered a joyful wave.

Paul Madison: I thought this better suited you. You don’t have to say a thing. After she says her line, you ease over to her, casually taking your clothes off, get in bed and— well you know the rest. Ya’ll were damn near there before I busted you. Oh, and take your shoes and socks off. It’ll make things a little easier.

Just when Riley thought things couldn’t get worse, it did. He had gone from having to capture pillow talk and a kiss to a full-blown sex scene. Kimberly looking smoking hot didn’t help. He did as told; took his shoes and socks off and stood on the red “X” taped to floor as his starting point.

Thankfully, Riley was a pro at taking his clothes off in 2.5 seconds when the moment struck. He worked out five days a week so his physical appearance was nothing less than amazing. There were many people in the room but the only one Riley saw was Kimberly. Their sexual chemistry was clear as day.

Kimberly could tell Riley had found his comfort zone considering he hadn’t taken his eyes off her since he walked in. His audacious stare made her feel susceptible and a tad skittish.

Paul Madison: Alright, everybody in position. Ready? and… action.

Kimberly: I’ve been waiting on you all day.

Like clockwork, Riley came out of his clothes. Kimberly was yet again caught by surprise. Riley was even more alluring naked. He kneeled onto the bed and kissed her again and again and again.

Kimberly was stunned by the way Riley kissed her. She thought their first kiss was perfect but this… well he held nothing back. He handled her body the way a woman should be handled; just right- for her and the camera. Before she knew it, they were rolling around in bed giving the camera a site to see.

Paul Madison: And cut… Beautiful! That was perfect!

As if he snapped out of a trance, Riley jumped up. His facial expression showed discomfort.

Paul Madison: No Riley, keep that position. I just need to adjust the camera settings.

Riley simulated his position- skin to skin with Kimberly. There were many emotions and thoughts flooding his head. Mostly trying to shake the connection he shared with Kimberly. It felt like eternity since he’d been in bed with a woman other than his wife. He felt guilty ,but as time ticked he longed more and more for Kimberly.

Kimberly: Hey, you ok?

Riley: Yeah.

Kimberly: Look at me.

Riley had been avoiding eye contact. It was bad enough he was lying between Kimberly’s legs hard as a rock, imagining being inside of her. He was trying to convince himself that this connection was all in his head and was just standard acting.

A couple of crew members came and placed silk sheets just above their waist. Hair and makeup rushed in to polish their semi-perfect look.

Kimberly: Talk to me. What’s going on in your head?

Riley: I don’t see how you can do this on a regular.

Kimberly: Normally, it is mostly camera effects and angles. It’s usually not this intense.

Riley didn’t respond. He didn’t have to. That was all the clarification he needed.

Kimberly: If I tell you a secret; do you promise not to tell?

Riley: It wouldn’t be a secret if I did.

Kimberly: The nun isn’t watching.

Riley knew exactly what that meant. As hard as he tried not to, he smiled. Kimberly smiled back at him. He rested his head on Kimberly chest and listened to her heartbeat. It was beating rapidly.

Riley: Your nervous.

Kimberly: I’ll get used to it.

Paul Madison: Alright people. Let’s do another take. Riley? Kimberly? You guys ready?

Kimberly and Riley looked at each other.

Kimberly: I’m ready.

Riley: Ready.

Paul Madison: Alright. Same thing as before. And… Action.

Kimberly never felt so free. The way Riley’s body felt against hers was galvanizing. His lips were soft and gentle. His touch was nothing short of perfection and his cologne was like scented ecstasy.

Kimberly’s words ‘the nun isn’t watching’ were like a broken record stuck on replay in Riley’s head.

Once again, he knew he shouldn’t but he reached down, pulled Kimberly’s panties to the side and caressed her sugar plum. She moaned and rocked her hips along with his motions. Riley was very smooth in the bedroom and knew the impact of his well-endowed package. In one motion, Riley tugged on Kimberly’s hair all while penetrating himself into Kimberly’s body, drowning out her zealous gasps within his mouth- keeping their truth a forbidden secret to the eye.

Instantly, Kimberly knew she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. It was a bitter-sweet moment. The feeling that came over her was overwhelming. A feeling she’d never felt before. A feeling she didn’t know if she’d be able to control. In a sense, she hoped Riley felt what she felt, but then again, she was certain he didn’t.

All Riley could focus on was how mind-blowing Kimberly felt. Every inch of her gripped him so tightly he could barely contain himself. He followed the sound of Kimberly’s deep, shallow breaths as they got stronger. He admired every gasp of air, supported the arch in her back and cruised her tensing body with his deep, slow strokes making the last moments count most. As soon as he felt Kimberly’s sugar plum throb fiercely against him he allowed himself to return the favor. Their lustful musical echoed the room.

Riley rested his body onto Kimberly’s and whispered in her ear.

Riley: That was amazing.

Paul Madison: And… cut! That was magical!

Everyone in the room were on applauding and smiling ear to ear.

Riley released himself from Kimberly’s warmth and sat up in the bed. Kimberly followed suit.

Everyone crowded around extending compliments and praise.

Paul Madison: That was phenomenal. The best chemistry I’ve seen on set. I think we got it. That’s a wrap for today people. Let’s clean up and do it all again tomorrow.

Kimberly and Riley both looked at each other.

Riley couldn’t help to notice Kimberly didn’t look too thrilled. He realized she hadn’t said a word- just rendered a half-smile and nodded. He figured she felt uncomfortable.

Riley: Uh… is there any way we could get some robes?

Paul Madison: Certainly. Someone get them their robes. They’ve given us enough peep show for one day.

Shortly after, Marisol came with one hefty black robe for Riley and a silk red robe for Kimberly.

Without a word, Kimberly put on her robe and exited the set.


Kimberly was lying on the couch in her dressing room with her eyes closed, lights off, listening to Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.

Kimberly’s reminiscing was short lived. Marisol burst into her dressing room and threw a bundle of bed linen at her. She jumped up.

Marisol: What the fuck is this?

Kimberly: What?

Marisol: Don’t you fucking dare stand there, look me in the eye, and play dumb. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Why the hell is there blood on those sheets?

Kimberly didn’t say a word. In all honesty, there was nothing she could say. She knew even if she tried to explain herself she would just seem foolish. Her silence confirmed what Marisol already knew.

Marisol: You fucking idiota! Chica, how could you be so stupid? You were supposed to be saving yourself for marriage. He waltzes in here, sweeps you off your feet, goes for grabs and you fall for it.

Marisol struck a nerve. Kimberly had been replaying the day over and over in her head. She knew giving Riley her virginity was not ideal and maybe even stupid but it was a decision she made simply on her own emotions and thoughts. She understood why Marisol was so upset and if the shoes were on the other foot she probably would have been just as angry, but it didn’t stop her from jumping to defense. She took a step closer to Marisol.

Kimberly: Don’t insult my intelligence. I’m not gullible. He didn’t trick me into anything. I told him to do it.

Marisol: Are you fucking stupid? Why the hell would you do that? First of all, you don’t know him from a can of paint. Second of all, he’s married. Last but not least, it’s a damn movie. These scenes aren’t real, which I’m pretty sure he knew. He just took the opportunity because you handed it to him on a fucking silver platter.

There was a knock at the door. Kimberly quickly grabbed the sheets from the floor. Marisol yanked them from her hands.

Marisol: You’re so stupid. You’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.

Kimberly: Come in.

It was Riley.

Riley: Oh, hey Marisol. I didn’t know you were in here. I just came to–

Marisol: Hi. Bye.

Marisol breezed past Riley and slammed the door on the way out.

Riley: So… I’m guessing she knows?

Kimberly: Yep.

The last thing she wanted to do was to get into another altercation. She decided to keep the conversation short and to the point.

Riley: How are you feeling about it?

Kimberly: I’m fine. I’m grown and I must accept my mistakes for what they are.

Riley: You’re talking to me now, not Marisol.

It was written all over Kimberly’s face how upset she was. She looked like she was on the verge of having a mental breakdown. Riley moved closer to Kimberly and held her.

Riley: Oddly, I don’t see it as a mistake. I don’t view it as a slip-up, an error, a fault in judgment, or any of that. Initially, I thought I would but I don’t. Speaking from a moral standpoint, regardless of what you said or did, I’m the married one. I’m the one who crossed a line that shouldn’t have been crossed and I’m sorry you’re taking most of the backlash.

Kimberly broke free from Riley’s arms.

His words held truth but it was not what she wanted to hear. She admired his accountability, but as far as she was concerned, there wasn’t an upside to their situation. The connection she shared with Riley would forever be just a yearning within a memory- nothing more.

Kimberly: Look, what we did was a mistake. I’m the sorry one. I’m sorry about urging you into cheating on your wife and for the record, I’m a big girl. I can digest my actions on my own. Just forget about what happened, move on, and let bygones be bygones.

Riley: Interesting.

Kimberly: What is that supposed to mean?

Riley: It means that I came in here as a gentleman to ask you if you wanted to talk about it over dinner but here you are treating me like I’m an asshole- like I just came to hit it and quit it.

Kimberly: Riley, I’m not sure what you are implying but you’re married. There isn’t a future for us so technically, we hitted and quitted each other. Sorry I couldn’t be more lady-like.

Kimberly turned around, grabbed her beauty bag, and slammed the bathroom door behind her. Riley realized it was probably best to let her blow off her steam and come to terms with what happened between them.

Riley: This is too much door slamming for one day.

He grabbed his coat and left.

He spotted Jason just as he was approaching the parking lot.

Jason: Dude, I’ve been looking all over for you. Where you been?

Riley: Trying to reason with Cruella Deville.

Jason was his best friend and he could tell him anything, but what happened between him and Kimberly was something he would have to deal with on his own.

Jason: I’m sorry I got you caught up in this bro, but damn, you must admit you are one lucky ass man to be her male interest. What are you going do about your character in the movie? Your work schedule is crazy.

Riley: The question of the day. That is what I’ve been trying to explain to you people. I am not an actor, I am a doctor. My job is time consuming. You know what? It’s not my fault or Kimberly’s fault. It’s your fault.

Jason: What you talking about, Willis?

Riley: They probably won’t keep that scene anyway.

Jason: What! Yeah right. That scene was crazy epic. If I didn’t know any better or knew you personally I could have sworn it was real. And just to clear things up, you technically volunteered yourself, coming there with your muscles and sex appeal, charming the pants off everybody.

Riley: What?

Riley was so nervous about what Jason was about to say. He wondered how and what Jason knew. It had to be the director who said something. He was the only one who saw them kiss and would second guess the “acting” in their scene.

Jason: Don’t act like you woke up like that. I remember how you used to look before you grew into those big ole buck-teeth and Alfalfa ears of yours.

He was in the clear zone. They approached the car. Riley’s reflection showed that he was breaking a sweat.

Riley: Shut up and get in the car. You’re just mad they didn’t pick your ugly ass.


Kimberly was beyond thankful for her luxury dressing room. She’d never had a Jacuzzi tub on any set. She turned off the jets, let the water drain, and gracefully hopped out of the tub. She wrapped a towel around her body and wiped the dew off the mirror. She stared at her reflection. She was disgusted with herself. She just kept hearing Marisol telling her ‘you’re so stupid- you’re going to regret this for the rest of your life’, which she was certain she would. She came out of the bathroom and nearly had a heart attack.

Riley was peacefully sitting on the couch. He looked unbothered and very relaxed as if he’d been sitting awhile. He didn’t budge as he anticipated Kimberly’s moment of shock.

Kimberly: Riley, what are you doing here? I dismissed you like an hour ago.

Riley checked his watch.

Riley: Two hours and… three minutes to be exact, but I was starving and figured you had to be too so I bought us food.

Kimberly was puzzled as to why Riley was being so persistent. She was not in the mood to entertain his motives. The only thing she wanted was to be alone to clear her mind.

Kimberly: Us? Look, I’m sorry you went through all this trouble but it’s been a long day and I have a lot on my mind. I can’t do this with you right now. Please leave.

Kimberly folded her arms tightly when Riley didn’t flinch.

Riley stared at her to see if she was serious. He didn’t understand how she had gone from being weak at the knees for him to not being able to sit in the same room. He began packing up the food.

Kimberly: I didn’t say I wasn’t hungry.

Riley: Oh no, sweetheart. This is a package deal. Either me and the food, or you die of starvation.

He had a gift for making her blush.

Kimberly: You do realize there are such things as cars. I have one to go get my own food.

Riley: Well, I bought the best thing in town, which is now closed so if you like settling then fine, suit yourself.

Kimberly: You bought Bodini’s?

Riley: Yep.

Riley headed for the door with all the food in his hands.

Kimberly: You wouldn’t.

Riley: I will. Goodnight.

Kimberly didn’t know whether this was Riley’s plan from the beginning or not but she was starving and the amazing aroma from her favorite chicken shack had her stomach growling.

Kimberly: Fine.

Riley: Oh, I’m sorry. Did you say something?

Once again, Kimberly’s face flushed in admiration. Riley’s irony was an attribute she found to be alluring.

Kimberly: I said fine. But you sit over there. We don’t need two mistakes in one day.

She knew their chemistry was undeniable and opening the invite could lead to a whole world of trouble.

Riley: Sounds like you’re still thinking about this food being in your stomach.

Kimberly: Oh, I’m sorry. You’re still married, right?

They shared a moment of laughter; it was easier to laugh about it. They both got snuggled into their area and prepared to eat. Silence took over the room as they tried not to stare at each other. Riley leaned over and touched Kimberly’s hand. Chills ran down her spine. Her breathing became heavy. Everything inside of her enlivened; especially her sweet spot. Her heart was beating a thousand miles an hour. She snatched her hand away and stood up.

Kimberly: You uh – you – you should go. I can’t do this. Take the food. Just go.

Riley: Kimberly?

Kimberly: Yes?

Riley: I was trying to pray with you.

Kimberly: Oh, oh. I am so sorry. I thought – because of earlier – you know.

Riley: Nope. Just wanted to pray.

Kimberly: I’m sorry. Of course, let’s pray.

Riley: I can pray on my own if you don’t…

Kimberly: No, no, no. I do. Yeah, let’s pray. I’ll lead actually, if you don’t mind.

Riley: Be my guest.

With her humiliation set aside, initiating prayer was the sexiest thing Riley had done all day. Growing up in a religious household, Kimberly was taught that a man was responsible for spreading the spirit within his own. She was not bound to him by blood or marriage but it made her feel good to know that he spoke to God outside of the church and was willing to share a moment of spirituality with her.

Kimberly: Wisely reflecting, we use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life.

Riley rubbed his finger against Kimberly’s hand in effort to join in.

Riley: Thinking thus, we will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease.

Kimberly: Wow! I am speechless.

Riley: You and I both.

In that moment, Riley knew he made a bad a decision by going back to Kimberly’s dressing room. The prayer she started was one of the first he had learned by heart. The more he stayed around her, the fonder he became.

Kimberly: I’m surprised you know that prayer. My father was a preacher. He taught me that when I was knee high.

Riley: I learned that prayer too as a kid. Maybe I could come to his church sometime.

Kimberly: You’re more than welcome to come to our church but he doesn’t preach anymore. He isn’t in the best shape these days.

Riley: Well, you do know a doctor now.

Kimberly smiled at Riley’s invitation.

Kimberly: Well I don’t know what you could do to help. He has Rhabdomyosar–

Riley: Rhabdomyosarcoma?

Kimberly: Yeah. Do you treat patients with that?

Riley: That’s my wife’s specialty. She’s an ortho surgeon. Graduated number one in her class; ranked top five in the state. If you’d like I can set up an appointment with her as soon as possible. That is if you’re okay with that?

Kimberly’s amazement turned into fear. She thought deeply about what that would mean. Her dad would get a better doctor, better treatment. She and her family would be able to get better and longer days with him. It also meant she would have to look Riley’s wife in the face.

Kimberly: Oh boy, wouldn’t that be weird? I don’t know. I’d have to talk to him about it. He has a really good doctor and has been doing much better since she’s been on board.

Riley: Who’s his doctor if you don’t mind me asking?

Kimberly: Dr. Valeli.

Riley: You’re right. She is amazing. No offense to her craft, but my wife is better.

Kimberly saw Riley differently when he spoke of his wife. He was proud and protective. It struck a jealous nerve seeing how he lit up when he spoke about her, but that was typical of any good husband. Kimberly bet he made a great husband.

Kimberly: How is it possible that we are just meeting each other? How do you know her?

Riley: We did our residency together. Big feet Leli.

Kimberly: I thought I was the only one who noticed!

Riley: Dinosaur feet on a frog.

They laughed.

Kimberly: So, that was a Buddhist prayer. You practice?

Riley: No, I’m Christian. My grandfather was a pastor and he taught me that we as Christians aren’t to judge anyone else’s practice and that prayer is prayer. There is no right or wrong way. You pray as you see fit. What about you?

Kimberly: Similar. Growing up in the church, my dad instilled the same values but I thought it would be interesting to find out about other religious cultures, their practices, and why they do what they do. To me, it’s easier to connect with someone if you’re educated on their lifestyle and beliefs.

Caught in the moment, their eyes met. She was trying so hard not to indulge in all the educated, sexy masculinity sitting across from her.

Kimberly: I slept with you, a married man, today in front of a hundred people.

Her comment almost made Riley almost choked on his food.

He was not expecting Kimberly to say that, but it was a good thing she did because it was a discussion they needed to have.

Riley: Wow, when you say it like that it sounds horrible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s not, but don’t blame yourself for my mistake. I’m the married one. I should not have indulged in the temptation.

Kimberly: Temptation huh?

Kimberly had a negative outlook on Riley’s lecture. It made her feel like a piece of cake he devoured on his day off from the gym. Her feelings towards Riley weighed in much heavier.

Riley: You know I don’t mean it like that. I just want you to know this is not my M.O. I love my wife deeply and I’ve never stepped out on her. Ever. She’s my soul mate. I’ll admit, I went through a lot of females before I found her. She changed that when she came into my life. She’s perfect for me. Everything I could ask for and more.

Kimberly: Right.

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