Cultivating Trust

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The next day I woke up, showered, and got ready before Brandt even got out of bed. I made sure to use the hall bathroom, so I wouldn’t wake him, but he still managed to rouse before I left, and even gave me a kiss and told me to have fun as I excitedly programmed the car with Hailey’s address.

Hailey lived in a gorgeous house closer to Hollywood in a gated community, very secure but a little sterile for my tastes. She greeted me at the door, just as excited to see me. “Chelsea! We will have so much fun today.”

"Hailey, your house is beautiful.”

She beamed with the compliment, “If we had more time, and if Dex weren’t still sleeping, I would give you a tour. Maybe when we get back, but we should get going. You never know what traffic will be like.” We headed to her garage, and she brought me to her sports car. A convertible, of course, as most rich people had in California. It was yellow and had all the modern conveniences as Brandt’s cars but I still fawned over it.

We talked all the way to the studio. She told me her story of growing up an only child, lonely most of the time, and the fact her parents ‘saw’ something in her so they pushed her into the business starting with smaller parts in television. The other kids didn’t like it, calling her a snob or jealous of her acting roles, so she never acquired a lot of friends. Was that why she took to me so well? I wasn’t complaining. I needed a friend, and although we seemed to have our differences, I liked her.

Hailey told me she finished high school and took some college courses but never saw herself graduating, so when she finally landed a steady acting job at nineteen, she left to act full time. She told me she dated actors mostly, so when she met Dex at a party he seemed ‘a breath of fresh air.’

“He was so wild and carefree and hounded me forever until I gave in and dated him. Three weeks later we eloped. My dad was so mad, but I looked at it as a way out. They couldn’t control my career anymore.”

So, she used Dex as a way of getting her independence? “Couldn’t you have left on your own?”

“I wasn’t the same person I am now. Hollywood has a way of aging you.” Aging you? She had to be at least my age at twenty-four. I wouldn’t call that old by any means.

“Well, thank you for bringing me with you today. I always wondered what went on behind the camera.”

She laughed, “It will probably bore you. It is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ with pettiness and bitching thrown in.”

“Well, I still thank you.”

We pulled into the lot, and the security guard checked us in, giving me special clearance for today as a guest, and we pulled into the lot. Still early, the whole area bustled with people and props moved here and there, and I stared at it all in wonder. She took me into a big building finding her dressing room. The minute she walked in, she was brought into an area with a hairdresser and makeup person ready to pounce. I sat back and talked to her while they fawned over her constantly, amazed at the commotion.

Fascinated, I watched as people came in and out to talk to her. There were people from wardrobe, scriptwriters, and then the director for the shoot. She told me her day would be short because she was only in the smaller commercial they would be shooting. Being on this side of the camera afforded me a look at the filming process few get to see, and she wasn’t kidding when she said most of it was a lot of waiting.

The camera angle had to be just right. They checked the lighting and sound. The props had to be changed twice, and then the actors were primped on screen and then primped again off-screen. The director yelled, which caused other people to yell in his wake. It amazed me to see only one shot completed before someone called for lunch. Seriously? It didn’t seem very efficient. But what did I know?

Hailey and I were talking when a very nervous woman approached. ”Hailey, we may be done earlier than we thought. The clerk didn’t show up.” Hailey introduced me to Patrice, who oversaw casting the extras. She had the look of someone on the verge of a heart attack with prematurely graying hair and wrinkles. She held more weight on her short frame than was deemed healthy and it made her frumpy looking. I felt sorry for her when she came to us so panicked.

“Don’t worry Patrice, Chelsea can do it.”

I stared over to Hailey, “What? I can’t--”

“Sure, you can. You told me you worked as a clerk at a women’s store before. You can definitely do this.”

"Hailey, I don’t know how to act.”

“Then don’t, just work as a clerk.” I shook my head, but she ignored me talking to Patrice, “Of course she can. Don’t worry, Patrice.”

She wasn’t listening, ”Hailey--”

Patrice grabbed my arm, “I need you in makeup and wardrobe right now.” She dragged me through to a much smaller area than Hailey was in. I supposed they meant it for extras and not real actors. Hailey just smiled and waved as I looked at her incredulously while she went back to the set.

Taking in a deep breath, I tried to calm myself. The flurry of people overtook me as well as having Patrice yell orders all around me. I was so nervous, but part of me was excited too. Me on television? I couldn’t wait to tell my family.

On set, they gave me my lines. Well, more like two words. I was to say, ‘thank you’ and hand them a bag of stuff. It wasn’t any different than what I did for years in Wisconsin, right?

When the time came, they told me we had a practice run. I delivered my line and the bag of stuff and was waiting to see what I needed to change for the next take. Hailey grinned at me as she clapped and smiled at the director, and he informed me we already shot all footage needed. Hailey tricked me into thinking the camera wasn’t on, so I wouldn’t be as nervous. She was right, and it worked to my advantage.

After leaving the set with Hailey, I excitedly exclaimed, “I can’t believe I just did that. It was so fun. I can’t wait to tell Brandt.”

“Chelsea, you did great, and now you have something to put on your resume.”

“Resume? Like I will do that again.”

“Think about it, Chelsea. You need a job that will be flexible. You can work as an extra and make a little money. Background work is short-term work you choose what to take and when to take it, making it possible to work around his schedule. It could work.”

It made me think. Could it really work? I could earn a little money. Work one day here and there and still meet Brandt out on tour. The amount of money I’d made for the small two word acting debut would be more than I could make a day at a department store. It wasn’t nearly as much as Hailey made but not bad for one morning of work. Besides, there was no way I could clerk or waitress and be able to take much time off to see Brandt on the road. This would work as long as I kept more behind the scenes. Of course, I would get nervous, but if I was just walking in the background or acting as a store employee, then I could do something fun and earn enough money to buy Brandt things as I wanted.

Hailey was done early afternoon, and we left for her car. She rattled off all the information she found important for me in the lines of the job. My head clamored with the information as I tried to take in all her advice. She said I needed an agent and would talk to hers for me. I had to decide about a SAG card, whatever that was. I would need to decide on a name, a professional name, or to use my real name. Evidently, Hailey’s real name was Heather. It shouldn’t surprise me as Brandt too had a stage name. His real name was Robert Brandt Stennet, but he used Brandt Roberts, a play on his given name, to give him enough anonymity when he wanted it.

Hailey helped me come up with ‘Elsie House.’ House proved nondescript and easy to remember, and Elsie was what my niece and nephews called me when they were little because they couldn’t pronounce Chelsea. And it wasn’t too far off my real name, so at least when people yelled it, I might think they were talking to me.

This whole day so far was a whirlwind, and when she said she didn’t want it to end, she suggested we spend the rest of the day at a spa. When I told her I didn’t have money, she just laughed at me. She used this salon exclusively and left generous tips so she said a ′tag along′ wouldn’t be a problem. The spa sounded fun, but in the end, it disappointed me.

The spa personnel harshly told me I did my hair ‘all wrong,’ and they seemed mad when I wouldn’t let them dye it or take much off. Then I didn’t have the right skincare regimen but wasn’t interested in the salon’s pricey products. Next was the way I shaved my legs and would not even let them look at my bikini area. This spa day turned out to be a letdown. I thought it would be fun, and it ended up being snooty people trying to belittle me. Well, I didn’t need it. I figured if I could get hired as an extra looking like this, then I didn’t need to change.

Afraid of offending Hailey and her generous gift today I tried to keep my opinions to myself, but she just laughed at them when they tried to convince me to put mud on my body, and I told them to stick it. We were heading back to her car, and I felt the need to apologize, ”Hailey, I am sorry I ruined our spa day.”

She chuckled some more, “Chelsea you called them out on all of their shit. I think you will do just fine in Hollywood.”

“Then you aren’t mad?”

She put her arm around my shoulder and smiled, “I’ve needed a friend like you for a long time. Promise me you won’t change.”

I smiled back at her. “Wouldn’t think of it.” And then I added, “I do think if this extra work doesn’t pan out, I could sell mud to these people though.” She laughed harder as we got into her car taking the route back to her house.

Back in her neighborhood, she pointed to a tan stucco house, large and beautiful with a sprawling manicured lawn, only four houses down from hers. “That is where Austin lives. Dex insisted we get a house in this neighborhood because of the close proximity to Austin so they could do stuff together. The only ‘stuff’ they end up doing is drinking.” She looked a little down. “The band goes back on tour soon, and he promised to be home more, but it is almost a relief when he is gone.” Her confession surprised me knowing it would be so hard on me when Brandt left. I couldn’t imagine wishing he wasn’t with me.

We pulled into the driveway, and she invited me into the house. We were greeted by the housekeeper on her way out. This one looked like a housekeeper, uniform and all. Hailey talked to her in Spanish, and I did not understand what they were saying. I never took a foreign language class in school and almost wished I did. Hailey looked a little down after talking with her, and I asked, “What did she say?”

"Dex left early today and didn’t say where he was going. Oh well, I guess he had stuff to do.” By the sounds of it, he must be gone a lot. I remembered being excited to think they made their marriage work with their crazy lifestyles, but I got the feeling it wasn’t exactly working. What kind of marriage could survive with them being apart so much?

Then I thought about Brandt. If I didn’t go on the road with him, were we doomed to the same thing?

But I couldn’t go on the road with him. That wasn’t my lifestyle, and if I bent for him, I would lose myself. I hoped we could come up with a compromise. Without one, it was looking more and more like it could tear us apart.


The studio session dragged on, going slower than how Ron wanted it to, but we were taking our time and making sure we put out a spectacular record. This would be more of our breakout record than the last one and would prove we were not a ‘fly by night’ sort of band. Ron just wanted us back on tour where the real money was made, and I couldn’t help to get excited for Chelsea to be with me this time.

On the way home, I stopped by a higher-end clothing store. The awards show was coming up, and I figured Chelsea wouldn’t dare say no if I had a dress for her to wear. It didn’t take long to see one that would look killer on her. The sales lady described it as a sheath dress and I knew it would cling to her curves perfectly. It was in a delicious color of red too. I only had an idea of her size, but if I guessed wrong, she could always get it altered if needed. Now, how to spring it on her?

It surprised me she wasn’t home when I got there. Maybe she and Hailey went out to eat or something, and at least it gave me time to smuggle the dress up to the spare bedroom closet as well as time to think how to talk to her about it.

Going down to the kitchen to find something to eat, I decided on leftovers. There were plenty now with Chelsea here cooking all the time. My mind kept drifting back to me almost losing her. Again. I couldn’t let that happen. I needed to show her how much I loved her and needed her. Things will change Chelsea. You will see. No more pushing. If she wasn’t ready or willing to do something, well, then fuck it. I promised her father I would earn his trust. It was time to put my money where my mouth was and man up. As long as I had Chelsea by me, I didn’t give a shit about the rest.

Retiring to the family room, I sat on the couch, engulfed in the entertainment news, concentrating on anything to do with music, our band especially, when she came in through the kitchen. Looking up from my tablet, she almost vibrated with excitement, “Brandt!” She paced in front of me and talked so fast I had to concentrate on her words, “You wouldn’t believe the day I had.” Her excitement contagious, I smiled along with her knowing this was what I wanted for her always. This look of joy. She deserved it, and I hoped today only added to the start of her contentment with me and with moving out here to California.

“Well, it looks like you had fun.”

“I did.” I listened to her talk about being an extra on set and thought it would seem exciting for her. It explained the hair and makeup. She had her hair styled differently from when she left. Not better but different. And her makeup was caked on. Probably from the studio. I didn’t like it though, knowing she had such a beautiful face without it.

She went on to tell me she went with Hailey after for a spa day. I got a little anxious when she mentioned all the things they tried to push on her, but she said she blew them off. That’s my girl. You are stunning just the way you are.

Then the ball dropped.

Chelsea talked about how a job as an extra would work out with my schedule, and she could earn her own money. I hoped I wasn’t hearing her correctly but when she talked about whether to get a SAG card and an agent, all hope went right out the window. She wanted to become an actor? It worried me, having her be in the business that killed the dreams of ninety-nine percent of the people who tried it. Did Hailey plant this in her head? I knew she would be trouble.

“Oh, and I decided on a stage name too: Elsie House. What do you think?”

Unable to hide my disappointment, my face turned grim. I would have never let her go if I thought it would have ended like this, “Elsie House? An extra in a show? Chelsea, what are you talking about? I am sure it was fun, but you don’t need a stage name for one day. We will be going on tour in a while and doesn’t it seem a little overkill?”

Her smile faded, and I felt bad being the cause of it. “Brandt, this is how I can earn extra money. We talked about it.”

“Chelsea, you don’t need any money. Once we get on the road, everything is paid for by the tour, and what isn’t I can definitely afford.”

“Brandt, I don’t want to go on the road with you. I told you that.” She had told me before, but I had ignored her, hoping she would change her mind.

I got angry even though I tried not to, “Chelsea, do you really want us to be apart? You know I have to go back on tour. I don’t want you here by yourself. I worry about you.”

“You don’t need to worry about me. I lived on my own before.” What could I say to change her mind? I worried about her and not just living alone. With the relationship being new, it would be a strain on us to be apart for so long. She could even find someone better.

That was not fair. Just because it happened with Cami didn’t mean Chelsea could do the same thing, although my recent common sense did nothing to quiet my fears.

“Wisconsin is very different from California.”

“You don’t have to tell me that. Listen, this is the best of both worlds. You will see. I can pick up a job here and there and fly out to see you. I will spend time with you on the road just not every day.”

She didn’t understand. I couldn’t help feeling as if I was losing her. She would change. The business changes you and then I wouldn’t be good enough anymore. I couldn’t help feel she was slipping through my grasp.

“Brandt you said I could have a job if I could make it work. This is the best way I can make it work. I promise.”

“You don’t understand, Chelsea. I have seen what this business does to people. It changes them. Hollywood will eat you up and spit you out. It crushes people until there is nothing left. They will tell you that you are not tall enough or skinny enough. Not blond enough or too blond and you will bend over backward to make yourself into a mirage until you don’t even recognize the person in the mirror.” I needed to make her see this.

“That isn’t me, and you know it. I am stronger than that.” My eyes lowered and I sighed in frustration. She walked over by me and waited silently until I looked up at her beautiful face. She slid her hands up her skirt, and I watched as she lowered her panties all the way down and kicked them off. As exciting as it was to have her lusting after me, I couldn’t help but feel distressed by the way she appeased me to end the discussion.

Chelsea sauntered over and sat on my lap, facing me. Unable to look at her for fear I would cave to my inability to grant her everything, I focused on my lap. Specifically, my traitorous dick thickening in my pants. Taking her index finger, she placed it under my chin, lifting my head to look in her eyes, “Brandt, I love you more than anything, and you love me for who I am, right?” Still concerned, I nodded my head. “You fell in love with the Wisconsin, country girl. The stubborn, viciously independent, strong-willed girl who once told you to piss off, right?” I laughed despite myself. That was the girl who stole my heart. Only after I acknowledged she was right did she continue, “I don’t want to change. I want to be the girl you fell in love with. We can make this work I know we can. Please trust me.”

She said it. She asked me to trust her. I had been craving her trust since the moment I met her, and now when the tables were turned, I couldn’t give it back to her.

“Remember, I don’t need this job. I can take one here and there and not need to change my integrity for money. I have the power to be picky. You gave me that. You supply anything I could ever want or need. Please let me try this.”

I sighed and leaned my head on her shoulder, “Chelsea, I don’t want to lose you.”

She whispered in my ear, “You won’t, I promise. You asked me once to trust you, and I did. Now I am asking you to do the same.” I lost her in that last sentence, knowing it would be a slow, cruel voyage, but I needed to do this for her.

Forcing myself to look in her eyes and not appear as powerless as I felt, I gave in, “I trust you.” I did. I trusted no one else, and that was why I would lose her. Oh, please God, please don’t let her leave me. She gave me one of her biggest smiles and a deep kiss. I relented and gave in to her. I wanted to feel her close for the time I had her. And as God as my witness, I would fight anyone to keep her.

She nibbled on my ears and neck when I felt the need to adjust myself. She had that effect on me, and I needed her now more than ever. Starting my own assault on her collar bone, I moved up to her lips to kiss her as deeply as she kissed me. I couldn’t stop touching her body with possessiveness, thinking I could burn my ownership into her skin for all to see. I wanted her. Forever.

Lightly, I nipped at her neck and sucked on the divot by her collarbone in just the right area to make her shake above me. I removed her shirt and kissed her chest while she ran her fingers through my hair, cupping my neck, and holding it to her excited skin.

The bra was next as well as my own shirt, and we were now skin to skin. Chelsea’s flesh heated to my touch. Her hands followed the curves of my chest muscles, knowing how to caress me the way that made my desire for her burn brighter. She grabbed the back of my head to guide it to her naked breasts. She loved it when I tugged at her nipples with my teeth. Chelsea had such sensitive nipples, and I sucked and nibbled on them as my hands stroked her ass under her skirt.

Seizing her firm ass, I ground it into my clothed cock, darkening the fabric with her scent. Squeezing her flesh to me, I couldn’t help but think how much I loved this ass and pushed it back and forth on my erection as I continued with her nipples. I heard her suck in her breath and I knew she was wet and waiting for me but I controlled it, controlled her. Even with her on top, she knew who had the power.

“Take down your pants. I need to feel you in me.”

She wanted me and I savored the feeling. She tried to move to give me room, but at this moment, all I wanted was the connection we shared. I wanted her close. Please don’t leave me. The notion still lingered in the back of my head although I tried to quell it. I moved her forward just enough to loosen my pants and brought them down far enough for her to mount me. I continued kissing her as I brought her closer all the while feeling inside her wet folds with my finger. She was ready, but I could’ve guessed this without checking by the moaning sounds coming from her throat.

Having no more hesitation, I picked her up and lowered her onto me inch by inch, feeling the full sensation of her taking me in all the way. She sucked in her breath and arched her back so fucking responsive, it caused my senses to come alive. Her head hung back, and her long hair brushed my pants as she lost herself in her own response. It was so erotic watching her work on her own pleasure as well as mine. She moved up and down on my cock, and I let her go as slow as she needed to, reveling in the feeling of her tight pussy clenching me.

She undulated on me, and I helped her set the rhythm. My hands were digging into her hips, and I watched as once again, she gave up control. This wasn’t enough stimulation for her even as I worked her up and down on my shaft, and I moved her back gently to finger her clit. She leaned back, opening to me, wanting the stimulation. I circled it, and it grew harder with each rub. When her thighs started to shake around me, I knew she was close.

Sex with her had always been incredible. I used to love the variety in women, but now I constantly craved this one woman. My woman. She had her quirks. She was stubborn and riddled with anxiety at times which led to more than one disagreement, but she was mine. I did not always get her to orgasm, with her mind being so hard to control, but I knew every nook and cranny of her body and rejoiced in the fact that we were a pair. A system. A well-oiled machine. When she finally shut down her mind and lived in the moment our sex was extraordinary, and tonight was no exception.

Her body started to redden, ready for her climax and I removed my hand from her clitoris, wrapped my arms around her, and shoved her down on my cock as far as I could. I went deep, grinding her on me, knowing it would give her release. She spread her legs farther to take me in full and in her excitement, she guided me to her breasts again. Not to stimulate as much as to have the closeness she craved. It was my craving too, and then I felt her let go. The spasm affected me in ways no one else had. I shook and rocked into her as I jetted inside her pulsing channel.

I concentrated on how to help her down from her climax the best I could. Sometimes it was weak, and I could barely feel the electricity of her pussy, but tonight the throbbing went deep inside her and seemed to go on forever. She needed the close contact to prolong the feel and I waited patiently as her breathing went back to normal and the fluttering subsided. She had told me on more than one occasion that the longer I was inside her, the more she felt her climax, so I appeased her and gave her all the time she needed. We relaxed in this position until our breathing returned to normal. I looked up at her and she had the best look of tranquility on her and I loved being the reason.

She broke the silence first, “I don’t want to move. I want you to stay in me forever. Even now it feels too good.”

I smiled, “I was just thinking the same.” It would make it harder for her to leave me.

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