Sydney woke up early the morning and as expected her mother and brother were still asleep. They were laying on the sofa in the living room, cuddling together. They probably might have fallen asleep in the middle of their argument. Their pitiful sight saddened her and she wished they did not waste their lives this way.
Picking a blanket from the adjoining room, she covered them with it. Before she left the house, she made chicken soup. It always helped them with their hangovers.
Sydney rode in the first taxi, which came her way all the way to the studio. Almost everyone was in and the props were being set up. As usual, she got into the changing room and the stylist started with her hair.
They got busy shooting scenes from eight am until lunch break at one pm. Sydney ordered her usual lunch, salad and sat alone in her changing room, eating.
There was sudden knock on the door and she said. “Come in.”
Two men, dressed in suits entered. One looked younger than the other one and the older had a briefcase with him. Sydney swiveled the chair around and faced them.
“Good day, Miss Whyte.” The older one greeted and she replied.
“Good day. How may I help you?”
“Can we sit down for a moment?” The same man asked.
“Yes, please. Make yourself comfortable.” She pointed at the sofa in the corner of the room and they went and sat down.
“I am attorney Greg from NBC and this is Mr. Niles.” The older man introduced them and Sydney nodded. “We understand that you’re an up and coming actress.”
“Yes.” Her heart leaped.
“We would like to give you the opportunity to work with us. You see we need an actress to take up a very important role because our work is very important for us.” Attorney Greg said.
Sydney was at the edge of her seat. She was nervous and excited at the same time. She has always been waiting for this opportunity. These men, where from NBC! Although, she had no idea what it was, she guessed it should be a huge production company in the city.
Oh, my lord I am going to be famous!
“Okay.” She replied calmly and held her hand tightly together.
Attorney Greg opened his briefcase and removed a brown envelop.
Oh, my lord it is a contract already. Thank you.
“Miss Whyte, pardon us for making a background check on you. However, we wanted to know more about you before coming over.” Attorney Greg said and she shook her head.
“It’s no problem. Production houses have to know more about who they are interested in, isn’t it?” She said and he nodded.
“Thank you for understanding. Now before we go any further, I would like you to know something.” Attorney Greg glanced at Mr. Niles, who nodded at him as if giving him permission to continue. “We are not hiring you to play a movie role.”
Sydney felt disappointed. “Oh.” She said.
“It’s because, you will actually be playing a role in real life.” He added.
She was confused and did not under what he meant by playing a role in real life. “Would you please explain further?” She asked.
“Of course, Miss Whyte. We want to hire you to play the role of a fiancé to a man.” He said and her jaw dropped. “We know we are asking for something a little difficult, but we will pay you well. You do not have to worry about the money. Actually, my client wants to give you the chance to ask any amount you want.”
“A fiancé?” Sydney snapped out of her dazed state. “You want to pretend to be his fiancé?” She pointed at the younger man and he shook his head.
“No, it’s not me but my brother.” He spoke for the first time and she looked in his direction. “I prefer the word act, not pretend.”
“Your brother?” She gasped. “Wait, wait…” her hands came up to stop them from speaking. “So you’re not from a production company?”
Mr. Niles nodded and explained. “We’re actually from Niles Business Corporates.”
“So you want to hire me to act as your brother’s fiancé?” She asked.
“Yes. I am sorry he couldn’t make it, but he is a very good person.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t.” Sydney told them and then rose to her feet.
“Miss Whyte, please listen to us.” Attorney Greg said and she stopped.
“Please Attorney. I don’t want to play the role of someone’s fiancé.” She told him.
“Yes, we understand why you’ll not want to do it. That’s why we have the intentions of convincing you to accept the offer.”
“Convince me?” She huffed and he nodded.
“If you would please give us two minutes. That’s all we ask.”
Sydney only agreed to listen further because the attorney was very polite. She returned to her seat and crossed her arms.
Attorney Greg opened the brown envelop and removed some papers. At the top left of the first paper, she saw her picture.
“Miss Whyte, we understand that you live with your mother and brother in a rented apartment. Your mother, Adeline Stewart and brother Caleb Whyte have an addiction. They also gamble a lot and in fact gambled away all your savings. We also understand that you haven’t paid rent in two months and your landlord is threatening to kick you all out on the streets.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Sydney raged. “You want to blackmail me now into doing this?” Her chest rose and fell rapidly.
“No, we apologize for digging deep into your personal life. And we do not intend to blackmail you whatsoever. All we want to do is help.”
“Yes, you’ve helped. You helped remind me of my problems. Mind you I don’t need anyone’s help fixing my family problems.”
“We understand that you are a determined woman who works hard to get what she wants. That is what we want from you, to work for us. Playing my client’s fiancé is a job we will be paying you to do. Just think about it Miss Whyte, you have the opportunity here to demand any sum of money.”
“You can use that money to help your mother and brother get over their addiction. I know you do not enjoy seeing them in their condition. You will be helping them a great deal. ”
“And that’s not all.” Mr. Niles chipped in. “Not only will you be paid money, my brother will be willing to treat you as a friend. He also has intentions of getting you a role in the biggest movie showing on TV right now.”
“Paramour?” Sydney gasped.
“And that’s only the beginning.” He added. “See Miss Whyte? If you accept this, you will not only be helping your family, but also realizing your dreams. And I know you don’t want to stay forever in this small town, taking small roles and earning very little money.”
It was getting into her head. Everything was getting into her head. The money, her family, the big movie role. It was very tempting. The money was very important. The amount of debt her mother and brother has brought home was so huge even if she took two jobs it would not be enough to pay it all.
Also taking them to the rehabilitation center has always been one of her main priorities. She had always wanted to that, but the money was not available.
Finally, her greatest ambition: getting a role in the biggest TV show. It was all so tempting she could not say no.
“Let me think about it.”