An Unexpected Guest
It was the insistent tapping sound that woke Ines Andrada up. Blinking at the morning sunshine that assaulted her eyes, she looked around to discover she was still in the driver’s seat of Piper Scanlon’s car.
Once again, the police officer rapped his knuckles on the window of the Porsche.
She rolled down the window. “Sorry, officer,” she said. “I was waiting for my boss and I must have fallen asleep.”
The officer glanced at her outfit. “The Fischer party?” he said.
“Yeah.” She smiled apologetically. “Parking was full inside the house.” Half the guests had parked along the road in front of Ester Fischer’s mansion.
“Fine.” He nodded. “Just so long as you move on along—”
“Oh, I will.” Ines gunned the engine to life to demonstrate that she was, indeed, leaving.
Satisfied, the police officer left to go back to his patrol car. Ines picked up her phone which was lying on the front passenger seat. She gasped in horror when she saw it was nine thirty a.m.
There was one message from Piper:
Leaving with Tom Stockwell. I won’t be needing you till Monday.
Ines groaned. The message was sent at 4 am. She’d been waiting for Piper since two, and she must have fallen asleep right before her boss had texted her. A certified Hollywood A-lister, the actress either had Ines rushing to fulfill her demands or waiting hours while she took her own sweet time doing whatever it was she needed to do, whether hobnobbing with the rich and famous or getting her nails done.
No, Ines was used to this kind of treatment. The problem was that she had an appointment with film producer Jamie Kilborne in an hour.
She started driving towards the address Mr. Kilborne’s assistant had given her. There was no time for her to go back to Piper’s house to retrieve her car, or to change out of the white evening dress she had on. As it were, she’d have to hurry if she wanted to make it to Kilborne’s place on time. Luckily she had a copy of her manuscript in the bag she’d stashed in the trunk.
She couldn’t screw this up. It was already a huge risk trying to get her screenplay into the hands of a film producer— or anyone else, for that matter —without tipping off her employer. She was almost entirely certain that if Piper ever found out, Ines would not only lose her job as Piper’s assistant, but she’d be blackballed from working in the industry ever again.
It wasn’t fair. Piper knew she had taken this job as a way into Hollywood. Being Piper Scanlon’s assistant was supposed to open doors for Ines, give her opportunities to meet people who might give her a chance at working as a screenwriter. Instead, the actress assured her she would personally have her agent shop her script around to the right people and that Ines should focus her energy on her job as an assistant.
“You can trust me,” Piper had said. “And in return, I’ll trust you not to make any moves to get an agent on your own. I can’t have my staff signing up with just any two-bit con artist out there. I have a reputation to protect.”
However, a year and three scripts later, she hadn’t heard from anyone. Whenever she asked Piper for progress, all her replies were vague and discouraging. It had become painfully clear that Piper had no plans of helping her.
And why would she? Ines knew she was the best assistant Piper ever had. She was the only one who could put up with the woman’s unreasonable demands day in and day out without breaking down in tears.
Not anymore, Ines thought. She’d had enough of Piper’s b.s. to last her a lifetime. She was going to risk her boss’s ire by doing what she should have done a long time ago —get herself an agent. Or even better, an actual job writing movies.
Jamie Kilborne was an opportunity she wasn’t going to waste. His assistant Mikey Tobin was an old college friend of hers, and he called her up yesterday to say Kilborne was willing to meet with her and take a look at her script. Most important of all, if he decided he wasn’t interested, he would keep the meeting confidential.
Piper would never find out.
The girl will be there at 10. You’ll like her, I swear.
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