“Where the hell is Xayla?” Leisa screams at anyone who is anyone in earshot. Which means she’s yelling at all of us.
I mean, Xayla is typically late to set but not four hours late. Unless she got high and passed out, which is possible, she’s been using less but still uses. So, I can’t rule out that possibility, especially since she’s not answering my phone calls or text messages. Which, again, isn’t unusual for her. “Thomas, have you heard from her yet?”
Looking down at my phone once again, “Nope. Nothing.”
Leisa throws her hands up in the air in pure frustration, “Great. Just great. Someone, go, get Martha. We’ll just do the scene we need with her tonight and reshoot the one with Xayla tomorrow or some shit.” She states, storming off, “God, I swear to god. How hard is it to do your god damn job?”
I can’t help but laugh at Leisa’s frustrations. I’m not sure what she was expecting with Xayla, an easy actress to work with? I love Xayla, she’s incredible, but she marches to her own damn drum and has her own set schedule. There is no changing that for her. One of the many reasons why I love her and the main reason people want her in their movies, shows and represent them. In this industry, they don’t care about your struggles. It’s all about the exposure, and Xayla can get anyone and anything exposure.
One time she got a sunglasses deal because she was photographed hungover. She looked good, and as soon as her fans saw her wearing the large round framed tortoiseshell color shades, they were flying off the shelf. The company saw an opportunity, and they pounced.
“No word from Xayla then?” Andrew asks as he takes a seat in the chair next to me. I shake my head, “Shouldn’t surprise me. Do you think she’s passed out somewhere?”
“Who knows. But I’m sure this is her way of doing one last hurray at pissing Leisa off before everything comes to an official end.”
“Probably,” Andrew says with a laugh.
I start scrolling through my emails and my calendar just to stress myself out more at what the next couple of months hold. Traveling and interviews with the occasional rest stop at home. Ryann has agreed to accompany me on all trips. Mostly because I don’t want her to be left alone with her dreams, and I can’t ask Val to stay and watch her, and I know Ryann will be pissed if I ask someone to babysit her while I’m away.
My phone lights up with a phone call, and Allison Drake’s name pops up on my phone, causing me to frown with confusion and sudden worry. Something must be seriously amiss if she’s calling me.
“What’s wrong?” Andrew asks.
“Allison is calling me.”
Andrew arches a brow, “Allison? As in Allison Drake?”
Answering the phone, “Yup....Hello, Allison, what can I do for you today?”
“Thomas? Have you seen the media reports?”
“Uhh, no. Why would I need to?” I catch Andrew looking at me with a puzzled-curiosity.
I’m up out of the chair and ready to bolt offset, only to be stopped by Andrew, “What do you mean it’s Ryann?”
“I don’t have the full details, but videos are circulating on social media of a fight between her and what looks to be an ex. Xayla and Valerie were involved too.”
“What are you talking about? And what videos?” I nearly growl out. I’m going to kill someone because I should have been fucking called. Why wasn’t I called?
I hear Allison sigh into the phone, “Thomas, I think you need to go to her if you’re not already home. I’m digging for more information on my end, but I’m warning you, this Jamie guy, even though he’s been arrested, he’s talking to the press, and it’s not pretty. He’s saying some pretty controversial things about Ryann.” She pauses for a moment, “He’s claiming she’s a pill-popping whore who is only in LA to nab Hollywood’s finest.”
I’m going to fucking kill him. That mother fucking prick. “Thanks, Allison.” Ending the call, I nearly throw my phone across the god damn set.
“What was that about?” Andrew asks.
“I need to leave. Ryann was assaulted by her ex, and apparently, there is a video going around.”
“I don’t know. But what I do know is that I need to go home.” And like some fucking cosmic cue, my phone starts to vibrate again in my hand. This time it’s Pearl’s name on my screen. The grip on my phone is firm, and for a brief second, I think I’m about squeeze the device in half, “What?” I bark into the line as I answer it.
“Whoa, someone has seen the entertainment media reports.”
She can’t be serious right now. “Is this the only reason why you’ve called me?”
“Well, no,” she mocks a hurt and shock tone. “I wanted to see what you needed me to do to help. I mean, this is a serious matter, Thomas. I think a piss test may be in order before Ryann continues on employment....”
“She does not work under you. It’s best that you remember that. She works for me. And I suggest the next time you call about a personal matter. It does not have to deal with degrading Ryann.” I’m so ready to fire her ass right here and now. Just tell her to forget her job and move onto some other poor soul who is desperate for PR from the famous Pearl Mead.
At this point, I’m willing to pay her salary for the rest of her life if it means she’s no longer employed under me. But I want her gone from my life entirely and from Ryann’s. I don’t need to worry about her lurking around every corner, ready to strike.
“Well, I know. That’s why I’m calling. Since she works for you and is no longer under my employment, I do not hold any obligation to release a PR statement in her defense.”
Trust me, I wouldn’t have dared to ask you to release a damn statement on Ryann’s behalf. Thank god for Valerie, and thank god, Ryann made a lasting impression on Allison Drake. I’m just praying everything else falls into place and that I can keep Ryann from drowning.
“Noted, is that all?” I say through my teeth.
“Oh, and Thomas, can I offer you some advice?”
I end the call without so much as an answer to that fucking question. Because the answer is simple and easy. No fucking way.
Raking a hand through my hair, I look towards the set and see Martha walking in as she scrolls through her phone. I know she’s seen the entertainment reports. She always knows what’s going on in the entertainment world before the press even do.
“Leisa,” She declares with triumph like she’s found the needle in the haystack no one else could find. “I’ve found Xayla. She’s with Thomas’s assistant.”
Leisa turns towards me with a complete bewildered look, “And why is your assistant with Xayla?”
“According to Susan, who knows a girl who knows a guy, whose cousin was in the alleyway. Xayla intervened in some sort of altercation and threatened this dude with her shoe.” Okay, that does sound like something Xayla would do. “Then his,” Martha states, pointing at me, “what is she now? The planner person got involved in the fight, and then his driver like tackled the poor guy to the ground. Roughed him up a bit too.”
Leisa looks at me like this is some sort of daytime drama shit she’s not believing, “What the hell Thomas? Did your staff and Xayla decide to have a Jerry Springer episode in the middle of an LA alleyway?”
Annoyed and done, I disregard the cast and crew now looking at me for answers. Answers I don’t have and answers they’re sure as hell not getting. “Ya, well, none of my employees are in jail. Sit on that.”
AKA fuck the hell off!
Whispers erupt as I make my way out of the fucking set. I pull Travis’s name up on my phone and dial him. I hear someone running up behind me, and I know it’s either Andrew or Leisa. And if it’s Leisa, she’s going to demand that I stay on set. Fat chance in hell of that happening.
“I’m out in the lot waiting for you,” Travis answers. “I’m assuming you’ve seen the reports, sir?”
“I should have been fuckin’ called when this happened.” I grate into the phone. “Why the hell wasn’t I called?”
“Because Ryann didn’t want you to be dragged into it. Police had been called and interviews....”
I stop in pure outrage and send my fist flying through the wall of the hall. Drywall dust and particles fly everywhere, causing Leisa to scream out with the sudden act of violence. Andrew rushes over, taking Leisa by the shoulders, and guides her away from me as he mumbles something along the lines of, he needs a minute and won’t be returning.
And I’m going to have to pay for this fucking hole too.
Pulling my hand from the wall, I see a couple of busted-up knuckles and a sizeable swelling starting to form. Great, something else for Ryann to worry about.
“I don’t give two fucks what the hell Ryann wanted. I should have been called.” Killing the conversation, I march my way out into the lot and find Travis waiting for me with the back door already open, “Where is she?”
“She’s at home with Xayla and Valerie.”
I sigh a breath of relief, “Is she okay?”
Travis gives me a tight smile, “I don’t think so.” Travis rushes me into the car and slams my door shut before getting into the driver’s seat. Before saying another word to me, he peels out of the studio lot like he’s driving for the Indy 500. “She has no physical wounds, but emotional damage was done.”
“Her and Valerie got into a disagreement about.....” he trails off as he looks up at me in the rearview mirror. I can tell he’s trying to dance around the words he has formed in his head, “You’re going to have to ask Ryann, but she ended up running. Xayla said she was leaving a shop when she heard a familiar voice and saw Ryann being caged against a wall by Jamie. She intervened. She said that Jamie was trying to convince her that Ryann is sick and needed to come back home, and well, she didn’t buy into his bullshit and called him out.”
“And you and Val?”
Travis scratches his head in uncertainty, “Valerie called me and told me that Ryann took off, and she lost track of her. I guess Valerie found her before I did. I pinged Ryann’s phone, but I wasn’t quick enough. I tackled Jamie to the ground when the girls tried to get Ryann out of the alleyway and placed him in cuffs until the cops were called. There are surveillance videos from the surrounding stores that contradict Jamie’s story. And someone has come forward with the altercation from start to beginning.”
Running a hand through my hair, I want to know how the hell Jamie knew where to find Ryann. LA is a colossal ass county. How in the world could he have narrowed it down to the fucking block? Someone will have some answering to do, and I don’t intend to tell Ryann my plans either.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Travis tells me.
“Yes, because it’s the same thing I’ve been wondering, and I want to know. How did he find her?”
“Any ideas?” I ask.
Travis shakes his head, “No, and I questioned Jamie and went through his phone. I’m pretty sure the phone he had on him is a burner phone, and I found some pills on him too.”
My heart sinks into a black abyss. If Xayla hadn’t intervened, what the hell would have happened to Ryann? Jamie came out to Cali for a reason, and my guess it’s to bring Ryann back home. I want to know what’s in it for him because the protective side isn’t going to accept an answer that doesn’t result in my fist clashing with Jamie’s face.
“Ya, well, someone is going to be answering for this because I know she hasn’t talked to Jamie since she left him.”
“Do you suspect her family?”
I want to laugh out at that statement. I have it narrowed down to three people. Jennifer, Max, or her father. Why not start with the easiest target and the person who seems to be having a change of heart towards her sister, Jennifer.
I only hope she’s ready for a phone call from me because it’s going to be a far cry from welcoming.
“I have three suspects. One will be getting a call tonight, and maybe that will put pressure on her and her family. Can you do me a favor and do not let Ryann know what I’m about to ask of you.”
Travis snaps his attention up into the review mirror, “Do you want me to look into someone?”
Nodding my head, “Yes, her best friend, Maxwell Johnson.”
Because I know as much as Ryann wants to believe her nightmares are spliced memories that she can’t trust, I think they’re spliced memories that she should trust. I know deep down the truth that she’s not fully accepting will potentially destroy her. But I cannot allow a man masking as her best friend to continue to be in her life. The one thing that I know about Maxwell, he can’t be trusted.