Finding Home

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Chapter Three

“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” the young woman greeted Matty and I as we entered her office. I never thought I’d be going to couples therapy before, let alone with Matty of all people. “My name is Doctor Caroline Nickels.”

It’s nerve wrecking to know that we are relying on someone else to hold our relationship together once it gets back to one piece. But it seems like it’s the right thing to do. Not only will it be great for myself to talk openly in a neutral setting but a place where Matty also can talk about his past and talk openly in a neutral setting, too.

“Hi, Kiera Johnson.” I stuck my hand out to shake her hand before I sat down on the red velvet loveseat.

“Matteo Santiago.” he sat down on the loveseat without even glancing at Caroline. I can tell he’s not happy to be here. But I don’t care.

“Alright. Why don’t we get started with you guys telling me about your marriage?”

“Oh, no. We aren’t married.” I instinctively said. I wish we were. I wish we were married right out of high school and he never left for the military. But we didn’t, and we aren’t.

“Okay, then why don’t you guys tell me a little bit about yourselves? Your profession, hobbies, pets, etc.” she looked flushed, “Matteo, you can start.”

She can’t be more than twenty five to thirty years old. She’s still so young, maybe she’s new at this and that’s why she assumed we were married. Any skilled therapist wouldn’t just assume some are married.

“Matty,” he scoffed at her without breaking eye contact with me. His looks are angry, but more leaning towards tired. I’m sure he is tired from being angry all the time. He won’t even sleep on the same bed as me but sleeps on the couch. I lightly pushed at his arm to nudge him towards calming down and being respectful. He broke eye contact with me and finally turned his head forward to look at Doctor Caroline while he looked to be thinking.

“I apologize, Matty, you can go whenever you’re ready.” she lightly smiled at him and wrote something down on her notepad.

He continued thinking. He didn’t even care what he looked like, he just stared at Caroline while thinking like he was stuck. My poor baby isn’t handling this well and I don’t want him to have a panic attack or cause himself to pass out from thinking too hard.

“I’m Kiera. I’m currently working with the IMG modeling agency, mostly print and music videos right now. We own a German Shepard, Duma, I believe we’ve had her since my freshmen year of high school as a gift from Matty’s parents. We have a five year old daughter, Kelia, so if I’m not at the office then I’m caring for her. She’s so bright, you’d like her if you met her.” I smiled at the thought of my daughter. Not only is she the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever laid my hands on but she might be the reason that Matty and I actually work this out. I’ve always wanted us to be a family. “But when I do have the free time, I like to read or tend to my garden.”

Caroline never made eye contact with me while I was speaking, she wrote every single thing down that I said I’m assuming because her paper never left the paper. “And, Matty?”

I don’t know, maybe I’m overthinking this whole thing but I feel like she just ignored me.

He took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, “I’m Matteo, you can call me Matty. I’m currently unemployed due to the standing circumstances, an honorable discharge if you must know. I used to play football in high school, and I like to watch movies in my free time.”

She lightly hummed until she finished writing and she set her notebook on her desk. She began studying us, our posture and all. “I believe Kiera mentioned over the phone that you just came home a few weeks ago? Have you guys had a chance to talk about what happened?”

“I’m not ready to talk about it right now.” he answered quickly and fixed his posture up straight.

“Okay, how have things been at home? I’m assuming you guys have been spending some quality time together and catching up?”

We both looked at each other hesitantly and both nod, “Yeah. It’s been great.”

She grabbed her notebook from behind her and began writing again, “what is it you guys have been doing?”

Why is she writing again? I hope she isn’t a fucking journalist trying to make a story because Zendaya offered me Caroline’s help when I was in need. And I’ll mess both of them up if they cross me.

“We watch movies.” Matty lightly chuckled like this is a joke and I for some reason found it funny, too.

“Kiera, would you excuse us for some time?” she slammed her yellow notepad onto her desk behind her and rested her elbows on her knees while staring deathly at Matty.

I paused for a second. It looked like she was going to put him in his place any second and then I’d have to get involved and those MMA Judo lessons are what she will have to worry about putting in place. “I’m not worried, but why?”

“Some people need their first session to be alone while others are happily able to open up in front of the other.” she sighed and relaxed her shoulders. “I’ll call you back in when it’s time, I’d just like to get to know Matty with a little one-on-one time.”


I exited the room and sat in the waiting area for what felt like hours. Every thought is running through my head every second that the long hand progresses forward.

Are they talking about me? Are they talking about himself? Are they talking about his time out in the field? I don’t know, but I know that I’d be hurt if he trusted to tell this random female about his experience before he told me, his long lost girlfriend and the mother of his child.

Maybe this wasn’t such a bright idea. Maybe I should’ve just bit my tongue and let him act out like a teenager. Or maybe I should’ve just disappeared like he did for nearly six years and allow him to feel what I felt. But then I’d be the worst mother and girlfriend ever to be on this planet and I could never see myself doing that. Even if it’s crossed my mind several times.

“Kiera?” Caroline called for me with her head sticking out in the open doorway, “Would you mind joining us?”

“Yes, thank you.” I reached for my purse on the chair beside me and I walked into the office with the door shut behind us. At least we were able to do this late at night and in Caroline’s home office. I’d hate for the media to know any of this is going on.

“Go ahead and take a seat. Matty and I spoke, and I think we are at an understanding now.” she glanced at him before looking at me. “You guys came here for my help, obviously. Although it’s noticeable that one has many more problems going on in their life than the other, I want the truth from both of you from here on out. I wasn’t too worried about you, Kiera. You played a roll in that episode, also.”

Is she referring to the joke that Matty had made? I thought he was adding light to a dark situation. “Yes, ma’am.” Matty saluted her and fixed his posture. He lightly placed his hand on my thigh and gave me a light squeeze.

I know he’s meaning reassurance and that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to know that he is going to get on board with this sooner or later. “Great, lets restart this shall we? We won’t get far due to only having thirty minutes left but we will make it work.” Caroline grabbed her notebook from her desk and began writing on her lap again. “Now what is it that you guys do at home?”

“Nothing.” Matty answered for me in a second, “We don’t talk, we don’t watch movies, we don’t do anything.”

“Correction; you don’t do anything. I tried talking to you, I tried figuring things out and you pushed me away.” I smiled gracefully at Caroline. Honestly, I was kind of scared to see Matty’s facial expression. It hurt saying it aloud, at least when it was being avoided I could think about other things like Kelia or work or Duma.

“You kissed another dude.” he spat at me and quickly removed his hand from my thigh. I forgot that was the first time he has touched me since I blurted out that Luka and I kissed. And it quickly vanished with my cruel words.

“You left me with our newborn daughter to raise by myself at sixteen years old!” I spat back at him in anger. Did he expect me to never love again after him? I waited nearly four years to even make any physical contact with any man for that matter.

“Well, you’re certainly just like the other girls in our school.” he whispered under his breath.

“I’m sorry, what the hell did you just say?” I stood up from the cushioned chair in disbelief. Is he implying I’m like the other girls because I kissed another man? Is he saying that I’m like the other girls because they got tossed around while we were in school? Because I won’t stand for that.

“I said what I said,” he chuckled at me.

I was speechless, really. After all that we’ve been through together and we are five minutes into our session and this is what he leads with? I thought Caroline talked some sense into him but she must’ve caused him to get angrier or something.

“Well, you certainly are just like every other baby daddy. Absent until convenient for your sake to come around.” I reached for my purse and walked out of the room angrily. I am more angry that he has left me in the dust and caused me to say to that to him. I would never think of him as my baby daddy. I loved him for a really long time, I still love him, and I will always love him. He’s the father of my baby girl and I want nothing more for him to be in her life as a family.

I walked to my car that was parked in her long nicely paved driveway and I sat in the front seat with my head resting on the steering wheel.

Of all the way I saw this going—this wasn’t it. I expected maybe we’d find peace and can go back to the way things were. This is all too stressful for me to handle all at once.

There’s no way he can actually think I’m like the other girls—like I sleep around and cheat and party. I party because it’s part of my job but I’ve never cheated or slept around for any matter. And I never will.

I can’t believe I just said that to him. I can’t believe this took such a wild turn so quickly. I can’t believe any of this.

I was startled by a light knock on the passenger front car window and I saw Matty and Caroline standing in front of me. Caroline looked pissed off and Matty looked even more pissed off that he was out here watching my cry dramatically.

He tried opening the door but I had it locked and I had no intentions of unlocking the door for him anytime soon or until I get an apology. I rolled down the window and Matty leaned against the doorframe, “Can we talk?”

“You said what you had to say,” my voice cracked, “let sleeping birds die.”

“I’m sorry—I didn’t mean it like that.” he tried opening the door again so I finally unlocked it because his apology seemed pretty genuine. He entered the car and shut the door while watching Caroline.

“What did you mean then?” I wiped the long trails of tears from my cheeks.

“Since we started hanging out I’ve always viewed you as mine, I’m not sure why but I feel this need to protect you from any harm in this world and it’s not because you were pregnant with my daughter. You’ve always been mine and I don’t want to let you go or allow you to love anyone besides Kelia and I. I’m sorry for what I’ve said and I hope I didn’t blow my chance of getting back into the family and working things out here with our mean ass therapist.” he placed his hand on top of mine that was squeezing tight on the wheel, “I love you, Kiera. And even though it infuriates me that your lips touched another man, I believe you when you say nothing else happened.”

“Matty, I—,”

“Don’t make a decision now, please don’t. I want to fix this, I want to fix us. I’m just so angry with my life right now that I don’t have the control over my anger and my outbursts. But I promise I’ll work on it, I’ll see Caroline one-on-one if you’d like to help with my mental health. Please, don’t make a decision now.” he begged while the tears built heavy in his eyes, “Please don’t leave me.”

“I was going to say I love you, too, Matty.” I smiled at him while tears poured out of my eye sockets and down my neck. “If you want to fix this then lets fix this.”

“It might take time.” he opened his door to exit the vehicle.

“Patience is a virtue, Matteo.” I opened my door and exited to meet Caroline with him by my side. “Only time can heal what’s been done and I intend to be here for every second of your healing process whether you want me there or not.”

“I couldn’t expect nothing less, Kiera.” we approached Caroline, “I’m sorry for our outburst, and I understand if you don’t want to see us anymore but we would really appreciate your help no matter how terrifyingly mean you are and brutal you are. We talked, and I believe we both are ready to start the process of healing from what happened.”

She wrote something down in her notepad with an evil grin that grew on her face when Matty called her mean, “This was probably one of the best first sessions I’ve had with a couple—ever. You may not see it right now, but we made tons of progress in the hour that we’ve been here. Unfortunately, your time has run up for today but I’d like to give you both a list of exercises I encourage both of you to expedite and we can set up another appointment for next week when your schedules are available.

“So, you’ll see us again?” I couldn’t be more happier, she seems to know what she’s doing. And I’m positive my girls would never steer me in the wrong direction.

“Yes, as long as you both promise to do as I say and move forward after today.” she winked at me, “You two did great today, lets head into my office so we can get the appointment set in place and the few exercises I have for you two.”

“Thank you so much, Caroline. We really appreciate it.”

“Thank you! I know Zendaya talked very highly of you and I was excited and honored to be the one to help you out when you needed it.” she is so sweet. I don’t understand where Matty sees her as mean and brutal.

“Hi, my name is Kiera Johnson.” I greeted the cashier in the front of Carlo’s Bakery.

“Oh my god! You’re the Kiera Johnson?” the middle aged blonde woman screeched in excitement.

“Yeah, that’s me.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her, in a good way of course.

“Oh what can I do you for sweetie? Choose a cupcake to taste, on the house.”

“Thank you. But I’m actually here for my daughter, I was wondering if Buddy was available to talk? I could come back later if not now.”

Kelia wanted her birthday cake to be from Carlo’s Bakery, with a mermaid theme and chocolate. And I’m going to give Kelia the best birthdays ever with anything she wants, to show that she saved me when I was ready to give up.

“Let me go check on him in the back, would you like a cannoli or anything to munch on while you wait?”

“Uh sure, I’ll take a cannoli.” Kelia would be so mad if I didn’t take one.

“I’ll be right back, and it was so amazing talking to you.” She placed a cannoli and handed it to me.

“Of course, thank you. It was a pleasure to meet you.”

I stood in the crowded bakery and waited in line while I tasted the cannoli. It was delicious, my taste buds started dancing as I took another bite. I wish it weren’t so small, it’d be amazing if they were bigger than two bites.

“Kiera?” the blonde woman approached me from behind the counter.

“Yes?” I wiped my mouth of any crumbs with a napkin.

“Come on back here, Buddy said he will see you.” she said with the happiest smile on her face while opened a large door behind her.

“Thank you, again. The cannoli’s are amazing.” I hugged her. “Do you want to take a picture?”

“Oh, you know I do!” she screeched while pulling her phone out of her pink sweater pocket.

“The only thing I ask is if you can wait a week, until after my daughters birthday party. And don’t forget to tag me.” I posed for the front camera.

“Oh, okay.” she whined happily. “I’ll wait.”

“Mary? Leave her alone! Go attend to the front!” Buddy walked into the room.

“She wanted a picture with me!” she shouted at him. “I didn’t do anything!”

I think it’s best I sit this one out, especially with cameras around me. Getting involved wouldn’t be my best interest.

Buddy sat down at the tall table where he did his usual consults. “I’m sorry about her. She’s the weird one, I swear.” he chuckled as he watched her leave the room.

“No, no. It’s okay, she was really cool.” I said loud enough so she could hear. I heard a distant screech at the door.

“What can I do for you, today?” he wrote something down at the top of a paper.

“My daughters surprise birthday party is this coming Saturday, she just turned six two days ago and she mentioned wanting one of your personally made ones.”

“Huh, just turned six? They grow right before your eyes.” he chuckled while writing on the paper again.

“Yeah, before I know it she will be in high school and will think she doesn’t need me anymore.” I giggled with him.

“Yeah, I’m afraid I understand what you mean. Did she by any chance mention the basics of the cake?” he stopped writing and looked up at me.

“She wants it to be chocolate cake, she loves chocolate. And her party is mermaid themed, there is even a pool involved with mermaid swim suits.”

He started writing again, “And how many guests will there be?”

“Between seventy five and one hundred.”

“She’s popular.” he laughed.

“Yeah, she gets along with most of my friends’ kids, and I’m flying family in.”

“Wow, a lot of family?”

“Oh yeah, a ton.”

“Okay, and when do you need this by?”

“A week, at Floating Pool in The Bronx.”

He stared at the paper for a few minutes before saying anything. “Okay, okay I got it.”

“Don’t tell me, I want to be surprised.”

“I think I can do that.” he smiled at me and circled something on the paper.

“Because you’ve done so much for New York, I’ll take a few dollars off. Is there a spending limit?”

“Not at all, just make it your best.” money is never an issue.

“You got it. Thank you for coming by, and we look forward to seeing you in a week.”

“No, thank you. My daughter is such a fan and is going to love it regardless of what it looks like.”

“Thank you, that’s my goal.” he chuckled while holding his hand out for a handshake.

“Pleasure doing business, Carlo.” I shook his hand and stood up from the tall chair.

I walked out of Carlo’s Bakery and I got into the black escalade to leave home. Matty is at home with Kelia watching her while I made this whole party possible and I’m grateful for that but I’m also slightly worried due to his mental health. He admitted it himself that he needs to work on his mental health, but at least he can admit that he needs the help.

Garrett pulled into the parking lot of my apartment building and found our parking spot before I exited the car and I entered the building with my keycard. I’ve had a long day setting up decorations with Matty by myself and my final errand was to go into the bakery and arrange cake decorations. I was excited to get home and argue some with Matty and then go to sleep alone.

I walked into the front door after unlocking it and I was greeted by Kelia and Duma immediately, “Hi, babies. I missed you guys so much today.”

“Guess what daddy and me did today, mommy!” Kelia jumped in excitement.

“Daddy and I, Kelia.” I corrected her grammar, “What did you and daddy do?” where was he and why was he not watching my daughter in the living room where she was?

“We made you dinner while you were out all day because he said you would be hungry.”

“Wow! Thank you so much, princess! You guys were right, I’m extremely hungry and I can’t wait to shower and eat what you guys have prepared!” I leaned down and kissed the top of her head, “Where is daddy now?”

“He’s in the kitchen serving our plates now! He asked me to set the table with cups and silverware while he dished everything out for us.” she began dragging me towards the kitchen. “He says you’re going to love it, mommy!”

“I’m sure I will!” I giggled at her excitement.

We quickly slid through the open arch and I saw Matty standing at the marble island with three plates nearly set with colored rice, fried pork chops, and a tossed salad. He was right, I would love it. It’s my second favorite meal that he has ever made for me.

“Wow, it smells delicious in here.” I greeted him with a friendly smile. I hope we won’t fight tonight but with the way it’s been going I highly doubt it. We left straight from our therapy session and boarded the plane with Kelia and the boys immediately after. And for the past two nights that we’ve been here, we’ve argued every night before bed.

“There you are, I was beginning to worry.” he smiled back at me and finished setting the last plate with a scoop of salad. “How was your errand?”

“It was great, I think it’s going to be a great project. What did you guys do while I was gone?”

“We cooked and cleaned, then we watched some reruns of Grey’s.” he grabbed a bottle of red wine and walked to the dining table that was set neatly by Kelia. Three napkins that held a butter knife, a spoon, and a fork. She had two empty crystal wine glasses set at the table and three glasses filled with water at each chair that was to be used. I’m proud that my daughter properly knows how to set a table.

“Sounds like you guys had a blast. I wish I could’ve been there to help.” he’s being extremely nice.

“I wish you could’ve been there, too.” the corner of his mouth grew lightly before going back to his normal grin.

Even though his smirk disappeared, I loved that I was able to see it and I love it even more because he actually wishes I was home to help cook and hang out with them. I miss hanging out with him. I miss hanging out with my best friend and I miss talking to my best friend. Matty was my best friend and I loved the idea of marrying my best friend.

“Kelia, would you mind setting the plates at the table and watching Duma while I talk to mom?” Matty lowered the plates to Kelia for her to grab them.

“Yeah!” she said in excitement while grabbing the two plates and exiting the kitchen area.

“What’s up? Everything okay?” I asked as he walked around the marble island. He quickly wrapped his arms around my shoulders and hugged me tightly while burying his head into my neck. “What’s wrong, honey? Talk to me.”

“I’m so tired, baby. I’m so tired and I just need your embrace right now.” he choked on his words without lifting his head.

“I’m here, Matteo. I’m right here.” I rubbed my fingers through his soft curly hair, “Let’s go eat, I’ll shower Kelia and put her to bed and then we can go to bed.” he hasn’t even been sleeping in the same room as me. He’s been crashing on the couch every night and it really bothers me because I don’t think he is sleeping at all. “That is if you want to sleep in the room with me.”

“Do you mind?” he pouted into my shoulder while keeping his grip tight on me while Kelia walked in to grab the last plate from the counter and exited, “I don’t want to be a burden.”

“Matteo Santiago,” I pulled him away from my body and kept my hands on his waist, “I would call it a blessing if you would sleep in the room with me tonight.” I missed his touch entirely. It’s my responsibility to help him heal and we’ve got nothing but time for the rest of our lives.

We quickly ate our meals and I gave Kelia a shower before I walked into the bedroom to see Matty laying in fetal position on the left side of the queen sized bed. “She is going to absolutely love this, and she doesn’t even know that some of her friends from school are coming.” I laid on my side in fetal position with Matty the same way.

“This is going to be epic, we actually did a great job decorating.”

“Yeah, I’m never doing that again. Let’s leave it to the professionals next time.” I laughed as the horrible memories came caving in, “It was easier when she didn’t have many friends.”

“I’ll do it,” he smiled, “I unbelievably had a lot of fun. Plus I missed four of them.”

“You think you can handle that when she hits her teenage years?”

“Probably.” he yawned.

I leaned in and gave him a sweet peck on his showing cheek, “Goodnight. I love you.”

He kissed my cheek when our skin connected, “Goodnight mi amor. I love you.”

I rolled over and Matty brought his body to mine and rested his arm around me.

I love being the small spoon.

I woke up to the smell of bacon filling the air. I rolled over to a cold empty bed, which could only mean Matty had decided to cook this morning. I grabbed my phone from my night stand and I unplugged it from the charger to check for any messages. Unfortunately, while I’m on this small vacation, I do get to go on The Jimmy Fallon with my co-star, Luka Sabbat, later tonight.




Hey I just woke up sorry. What’s up?


Idk if Ryan got ahold of you but he wants us to meet early at set.

Is 6:30 cool?


Yeah I’ll be there thanks.


You excited? 😏


Super, mixed with a bit of nervousness.😬


You’ll do fine girl you’re a natural. 💖🥵


Thanks. 😇 I’ll see you then.

Btw what should I wear?

I lifted myself from bed and walked into the bathroom. I turned on my hair straightener and quickly went over the waves that formed while I was sleeping.


Don’t worry about it Jenny is goin to be there when you get here.


Thanks, Luka!!


I think we should talk after the show if you’re okay with that.

No reply.

I haven’t heard Kelia, not once. Which was weird because she usually always wakes me up. I walked into the living room to see Kelia on the couch watching TV by herself.

“Hey princess, where’s daddy?” I sat beside her.

“In the kitchen cooking.” her eyes didn’t move from the TV so I stood up from the couch and walked into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Ki.” Matty greeted me once I walked into the open arch.

“Morning, honey.” I walked over to him and kissed his cheek. He has such kissable cheeks, I love them so much.

“How’d you sleep?”

“Like a log.” I laughed, I noticed a bowl of fresh cut up fruit so I grabbed a piece of watermelon, “What do you have here?”

“Fruit salad, fried eggs, rice, and bacon.”

“Wow, it smells absolutely delicious.” I took another deep breath in.

“What time are you leaving today?”

“They want me there at six thirty so I’m leaving at six.”

“I can’t wait to see you on television.” he leaned against the white marble countertop. “And I’m sure Kelia is excited for you, too.”

“You don’t think she’s mad at me for being gone so much?” I glanced at her through the opening of the arch.

“Why would she be mad that your career is booming?”

“Jackie said I wouldn’t be able to do it all—modeling, acting, and parenting. What if she’s right? I’m barely ever home now.”

“Yeah, but you’re doing it for her right?”

I nodded as I continued watching her. I felt like an awful parent. I’d be lying if I said rehearsals weren’t taking up most of my time, causing me to get home late and not have enough time for my family.

But I’m doing this for Kelia, it’s always for Kelia.

“Then there you go, she will understand. She’s a bright child, and she has you to thank for that.” he walked over to me and wrapped his arms around my waist.

I kissed him lightly on the cheek, “I love you, you know that right?”

“I love you, too.” he pecked my lips before letting go of me and walking back over to the stove.

“How’s counseling going?” he asked if he could have daily appointments because of how bad his sleep has been since we got here and for the past two nights he has been FaceTiming Caroline for an hour to talk about whatever it is that they talk about.

“It’s uh,” I turned to see him take a deep breath, “It’s going good.”

Uh huh, good.

I would never force Matty, or anyone for that matter, to talk to me about something they aren’t ready for. But I wish he would trust me enough to talk to me, at least tell me how it’s really going. “That’s good. Did you sleep better?”

“I only woke up three times last night.”

“Matty that’s good news!” I screeched. He usually wakes up seven to ten times a night either screaming in horror or he wakes up in a cold sweat. The military broke my Matty, my poor Matty.

“Yeah.” he shrugged me off with his back turned to me.

“Alright, well I’m going to call Allen and Roxy to see how they’re doing.” I said as I awkwardly walked away with my phone in my hand.

I walked into the bedroom and shut the door behind me before dialing Allen’s number.

“Hello?” he answered after three rings.

“Hey.” I sat myself on the bed.

“What’s going on? Everything okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Everything is fine, was just calling to see how you guys are doing.”

“We’re good, we’re really good.” you could hear his smile through his voice. “How are things over there?”

“They’re good. You guys are still coming this weekend?

“Would I miss my nieces sixth birthday party? Plus, the internet says you were looking busy at that bakery.”

“Shit, I forgot about the paps.” I mumbled under my breath, “There goes the surprise.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t even know, and she will be surprised when she sees the final piece, correct?”

“Yeah, you’re right. Are you watching the show tonight?”

“You mean the one where my famous sister is going to be on The Jimmy Fallon show?”

“Yeah? Why do you keep asking everything in a question? You’re acting weird again.”

“Sorry. I’m just in a really good mood.” he chuckled.

“What’s going on?”

“You’ll have to wait, sis. I’ll see you on TV tonight, love you bye.” he hung up before I could object to ending the call like that.

“Well, I want to know.” I snarked to myself.

“Breakfast is done babe!” I heard Matty shout from afar.


“Remember, don’t release too much information on the movie but leave them wanting to see more. And don’t forget, don’t get too personal. It only leads to bad things.” Luka said to me while we were getting dressed in our small changing booths.

“Right, enough details but not too many details about the movie and not too much personal information about me. Got it.” I ran it over in my head again.

“Are you really nervous? You walk runways for some of the biggest companies.” he chuckled.

“Yeah, that’s different than going on live television for a real life interview. When I’m on the runway,” I almost fell slipping my leg into the top of my burgundy red short dress, “everything just comes so easily. You’re in and you’re out. No talking and no confrontation.

“Relax, I said you’d do just fine. I know you will, babes.” his said softly. Sure, Luka is a little too friendly and his pet names are out of context sometimes. But he knows where I stand in this horrible situation.

“Whatever you say.” I took a deep breath in as I finished fixing the tight elastic dress around my waist.

We finished dressing ourselves and we walked out of the dressing room while making our way to Jenny and Carlos who finished off our looks with some small accessories.

“What is up you guys? Today we have very special guests on the show tonight. But before we do that, we have something we want to show you.” I watched as the lights went dim on the stage set and the large TV behind Jimmy Fallon had turned on. We finally finished the movie trailer, being it took us an entire month to do it.

We watched as the trailer to promote the movie had finished and the lights had turned back on. I had to admit it, the previews turned out amazing. I can only imagine what the actual movie is going to turn out to be.

Everyone had started clapping, including all of the backstage people and Jimmy Fallon himself. “Gosh, that movie looks good! Please welcome Luka Sabbat and Kiera Johnson!”

Luka and I walked out on command and we sat down on the couch beside Jimmy’s desk. Everyone immediately started clapping and lights started flashing, thank goodness I’ve got this walking thing down. If it was me three or four years ago I probably would’ve fallen and embarrassed myself on live television.

“Can I just say you look wonderful tonight, Luka and Kiera? Almost as if you guys planned to match.” he teased with a friendly smile.

“Thank you, Jimmy.” both Luka and I said at the same time while everyone started clapping in the background.

“That movie promotion was really something else, how long did it take you guys to make that?”

“About two weeks, actually. We did it in less than twenty takes.” Luka answered proudly.

“Wow that’s incredible! And Kiera, I believe this is your first movie?”

“It is, actually.” I said with a smile.

“How is it?”

“It’s,” I paused to think about the right words to use, “Engaging. I’ve only been doing it for a little over a two weeks now, and I can say I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know my co-stars like Luka here and all of the others.”

“So you don’t mind it? Do you see it being a future career?”

“I do, yes. But I also love modeling, and being a full time parent, too. So I don’t know, maybe it could be a future career.”

“That’s right, you have a daughter don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“She’s the one on your Instagram, correct? Because, girl let me tell you she is the cutest child I’d ever seen.” he said with a feminine accent as he held up his phone with Kelia on the screen.

I laughed with everyone in the crowd, “Yeah. That’s her, she actually just turned six three days ago.”

“Wow, you’re so young. How old are you?”

“Twenty two, I actually had her when I was sixteen.” I smiled at the memory.

“And yet, here you are making it in the big world perfectly fine. The father? I’m assuming it’s the guy all over the internet?”

“Yeah, she’s actually at home right now watching the show with him.”

“And you guys are together?”

“We are, happily.” I lied, but I don’t want to get into anything too personal like they told me.

“Could you blame yourself? He’s a hunk.”

“Yeah, I’d like to say so myself.” I winked playfully at Jimmy.

“And what about you, Luka? Have you had fun getting to know Kiera here?”

“I have, and she’s probably the most funniest person I’ve ever met in my entire life. Shooting this movie is going to be the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

“Why don’t you tell us about the movie? Any spoilers you think you can release?” he whispered loud enough behind his hand so the crowd could hear.

“Well, Jimmy. You know we can’t tell you too much, but we can tell you that it is a comedy romance and you’re going to want to cry and laugh at the same time.” Luka described it better than I ever could.

“You two are obviously the main characters, are you two the main love interests?” he raised an eyebrow at me with a devilish smirk on his face.

“I can neither confirm nor deny anything of the sort.” he smirked at me and then back to Jimmy.

“Okay, fine I’ll wait. But because of that, we’re going to play a game.”

“A game?” I glanced at Luka and he was just as confused as me. “There wasn’t any mention of a game.”

“Oh you know, lets just play. It’ll be fun.” he chuckled before standing up from behind his desk and walking around it, “Follow me.”

We stood up in sync and walked behind Jimmy to the open stage where there was a colorful spinning wheel with an arrow. Am I playing The Wheel Of Fortune? There were different colors of the pie and each had different numbers of them, one through six.

“Alright, basics of the game. We are going to spin the wheel once, fan-made dares hide behind each plaque. Whatever we land on, we have to pick up the card and see what the dare is. Only rule—you have to spin as hard as you can. You can accept the dare, or you can decline it. But if you decline, you have to sing a fan picked song in front of everyone.” he had an evil smirk on his face. Which can only mean one thing, these dares aren’t going to be normal dares like send a message to your crush or anything easy.

“Sounds easy enough.” Luka smacked his hands together and rubbed the palm of his hands against each other.

No, Luka. It doesn’t sound easy enough.

“Sounds lovely, why don’t you go first then Luka?”

“Yeah. Why don’t you?” I pat him on the back with a grin on my face.

“Don’t mind if I do.” he walked over to the wheel and positioned himself.

He spun the wheel and landed on the number three. He picked up the card and below it there was a small handwritten dare.

I dare you to remain the rest of the show only in your under garments.

“First of all, what would’ve happened if I landed on that?” I laughed with the crowd. That would’ve been an awful view for my daughter to see.

“Do I really have to strip?” he glanced at Jimmy with a playful smile. “I thought this was going to be high school dares.”

“Well you don’t have to.” he laughed.

“I’m not one to live down a dare.” he started taking off his clothing and stripped to his boxers.

I did everything in my power to not glance at his luscious body, I don’t need the paps thinking they caught something that isn’t something. I chose Matty and I’m glad with the choice I had made.

“Your turn, girl.” he stepped aside of me.

“God.” I muttered as I walked away.

I gave the wheel the best I could and it spun around a few times before slowing down and landing on one.

I dare you to eat a spoonful of soy sauce or Franks red hot sauce.

Yep, I knew I was going to regret this.

“Oh my gosh girl, I thought I had it bad.” Luka said and the crowd started laughing.

“Screw it, bring me the hot sauce.” I love hot sauce, as a sauce. Not as a spoonful of it without anything to even it out.

Jimmy pulled a tray out from underneath the stand that the wheel was standing on. I saw a bottle of soy sauce and a bottle of the red hot sauce and he started pouring the liquid on a huge soup spoon.

“Alright this is all you, I would’ve personally sung a song for this one.” Jimmy teased while handing me the spoon full of the red thick liquid.

I took a deep breath before shoving the spoon in my mouth with my nose plugged before swallowing. It wasn’t bad, I actually didn’t even taste anything.

“Well, how do you feel?” Jimmy was holding back a laugh.

“I feel fi-,” suddenly my insides began to feel like they were heating up and my throat felt like I haven’t had a drink in days. “Oh god.”

Jimmy and everyone else began laughing at me. “You, you need, you need to see your face.” he brought out a mirror from behind the wheel and handed me it. My face was beat red and my eyes were watering like a waterfall after a rain storm.

“Luka, go.” I walked away while taking in deep breaths to cool down my insides.

I dare you to give yourself a mohawk.

“Nah, nope. Song request please?” he didn’t give it a second thought and took the microphone from Jimmy.

“You aren’t even going to think it over?” Jimmy started dying of laughter.

“There’s nothing to think over, my hair is my signature.”

“Fine, fine. First song request is Single Ladies by Beyoncé.”

“Oh I could so do that.” he said into the microphone. “Give me a beat.”

Luka’s performance was definitely something else. He tried hitting all of the high notes but he didn’t quite make it which made it all the more funny. Plus, he started doing the entire dance to Single Ladies while singing the entire song.

“You should ask Beyoncé to give you a remake collab.” I said when Luka finished singing.

“You think so? I think I did it better than her.” he said with a feminine accent.

“Your turn.”

I dare you to make up a rap about pizza and koalas.

Seriously? Pizza and koalas?

Luka pointed the microphone to me with his arm crossed over his chest and a smile on his face, “I can’t wait to see this.”

“Shut it.” I snarked at him playfully while taking the microphone from him. “Alright, give me a beat.” I shouted to the DJ in the booth.

“Koala, koala, koala, found the love for a guava, never wanted another koala, only a guava, guava juice, guava fruit, guava, guava, guava, even added it to a pizza, guava pizza, guava pizza, guava pizza, Koala, Koala, Koala.” the beat stopped and everyone started clapping.

“Why aren’t you a rapper? God girl, you could be the next Cardi.” Jimmy said while laughing.

“Yeah, sure.” I laughed, “I can’t believe I just did that and pulled it off.”

“You think you pulled that off?” Luka was surprised, “You’re right, that was a perfect rap.” he said sarcastically.

I dare you to call your mom and tell her you’re pregnant.

“I’m a dude?” he looked at the crowd.

“Sing it or do it.” the crowd shouted at him with me.

“Awh shit, what do I have to lose.” he pulled his phone out and clicked on the screen twice before holding it in the air on speakerphone.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Hey ma.”

“Hey baby, what are you doing?”

“Oh nothing, just chilling. I need to talk to you.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’m pregnant.” he was trying his hardest to hold his laugh from coming out.

“You’re pregnant?”

“Yeah, I took two tests and they came out positive. And my stomach is growing with my boobs and nipples. Mom, I need help. I can’t have a baby.” this was hilarious.

“You’re a guy, Luka. You can’t get pregnant.” she giggled over the phone.

“Ma, I’m telling you I feel this baby inside of me.”

“Well we can go to the hospital, either they’ll tell us you’re pregnant or they’ll lock you in a room for observation.” she sighed in defeat.

“Thank you, ma. I knew I could trust you. I’ll meet you at the house so we can go.”

“Okay sweetie, I think we best talk before we leave. You can’t actually think you’re pregnant.”

“Look, I’ll show you when I get there. I’ll talk to you in a bit, I love you bye.”

“I love you, too. Bye.” she hung up.

“Uh, wow.” Jimmy was surprised at the end results.

“She doesn’t actually believe that you believe you’re pregnant do you?”

“I hope not.” he laughed.

I dare you to call your crush and tell him you’re stalking him.

That’s easy, Matty is my crush and he lives with me. I can’t wait to see what he is going to say.

“Hello?” Matty answered as soon as I dialed his number.


“Hey. What’s up? I was just getting popcorn for Kelia.”

Good, he has no idea about this then. “Yeah, I was just calling to tell you that I’ve been stalking you for the past three nights and I’ve been watching you get dressed and undressed.”

He didn’t say anything, “Hello?”

“What the hell am I supposed to say to that?” he started laughing over the phone.

“Good talking to you, see you later.” I hung up the phone and shoved it in my back pocket before he could question me.

“Alright everyone, give it up for Luka Sabbat and Kiera Johnson!” everyone started clapping along with Jimmy.

“Anything you’d like to say before we say goodnight?”

“Thank you everyone, we can’t wait to see what you guys think of One Night Stand-ish!” I waved at the crowd behind the cameras.

“Goodnight everyone!” Luka shouted while bumping his fist to his chest and showing a peace sign to the crowd.

“You were so good out there mommy! I can’t believe you were on TV!”

“I know, I honestly can’t believe it myself.” I sat with Kelia on my lap.

“You think your movie is going to be good?”

“I do, but you aren’t quite old enough to understand most of it.”

“When will I be old enough?”

“Never, because you’re going to stay my baby forever.” Matty interrupted us as he plopped himself onto the couch beside Kelia and I.

“But daddy!”

“Nope, now say it with me. Boys are gross and carry cooties.”

“Boys are gross and carry cooties.” she laughed while we started lightly tickling her.

“Stop! I can’t breathe!” she shouted in laughter.

“Nope, not until you mean it.”

“Okay! Okay! I mean it!” she laughed until we stopped tickling her.

“You ready for bed, Princess?” I asked Kelia.

“Yeah. But can I watch Old Yeller?”

“You always cry when you watch that movie, don’t you want to watch something else?” I sat her up straight.

“Yeah but I like crying to it. The puppy deserved better, they should’ve fixed him.”

“You know, not everything can be fixed. It happens, sweetie. Come on, you can shower and get dressed while I get it set up.” she lifted herself from my lap immediately and ran upstairs where our bedrooms were.

“Hey.” Matty got my attention while I took my phone out and was reading an email I had got.

“Yeah?” I didn’t stop reading the email.

His finger lifted my chin from looking at my phone and turned to the face him, “You were great out there.”

“Thanks, I didn’t do too bad?”

“You did perfect, I just wasn’t sure how I felt with Luka all googly eyes over you but I’ll live.”

“He’s only a friend, Matty. You know that right?” I assured him with a small peck on his cheek. I want to suck his face in but Caroline feels the intimacy should be put on standby.

“I know.” he kissed me more passionately before pulling away, “You’re mine.”

“And you’re mine.” I kissed him back.

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