one : blood debt
H E R A
♥ ♥ ♥
THE LIGHTS FLASHING around me is always something which I will never get used to. The sound of people calling my name, dying to ask me for an autograph, a photo with their all-time favourite actress or rather more, a number.
But I would hardly give away my number to the first person who would give me a smile which says everything which they went from me.
I’m not that stupid.
“Hera Langford!” a woman shrieks from beside me. A microphone in her hand while a backstage pass hangs from her neck. Her blue eyes look at me but I don’t look at her. Hell, I hardly even acknowledge her.
Something which I have learnt in this line of work is to always leave the audience leaving more than they need.
That way . . . they will come back for more. I would be able to get more offers in big-time movies from my agents and be able to land more movie roles as the lead.
Just like this one which I am at.
After a few moments, I turn from my place at the red carpet. The shimmering silver gown which I chose for this event moving with me and my brown curls in an up-down style which my stylist is did for this red carpet being shown as utter perfection.
Placing a small grin upon my face, I give the woman a small signal, hoping that she has got my attention and that she has just s small portion of my time
And when I see a sparkle in her eyes, I know that she knows that now.
“Hera,” she breathes out before looking at the banners of the newest movie which I’m staring in behind my form. “I would just like to know what is happening between you and your co-star, Colin Addington,” she takes a gulp, “after all, it is said that the two of you have been seen getting . . . acquainted in a restaurant just a few days ago, late at night.”
My mood dampens at knowing that the people around me, the paparazzi are more into the fact that I went to have drinks with Colin after a day after a shoot. But I don’t show my emotions.
I know how the paparazzi act. They are like bees to honey, a predator to its prey. They will take anything and everything which I do and make it into something big when unfortunately . . . it’s anything but big. The paps don’t give a damn about my feelings or emotions. All they care about is getting a huge scoop, giving it to their agencies and at the end get a big fat check with their name written on it
They don’t care about the sort of backlash which they will get at the end.
Damn the consequences which are to come.
All they know is money. Money to survive, money to feed their family, money to spend on useless things, money to buy alcohol, money to go on vacation to the nearest island.
Greedy little bastards.
“Oh, nothing!” I wave off the words while keeping a bright smile on my face before looking around at the crowd, their eager eyes on me and waiting oh so patiently for me to answer her questions. My hazel green eyes look over at the people before looking at that same woman. “It’s just Colin and I . . . we just wanted to go out for the day. Have some fun after a long day at sets,” shrugging my shoulders, I continue on, “nothing had happened and I can assure you that he will say the same words as me.”
I turn from her and towards the other people with their microphones and their flashing cameras which are capturing all the small subtle movements which I am making.
All the people around me start speaking all at once and I could barely hear what they are saying but I know that I will have to answer a few more questions so that they could satisfy their hunger for gossip and so that I can head in for the screening.
I look at them before picking a male from the back. He was kind of cute. Small black frames on the length of his nose and a bit of nerdiness to him which makes him different from the others around. The length of his brunette hair is styled back with gel but with all the heat which is being made from the others, you can see the slight sweat building up on his skin
With a fake smile, I give him to a small signal and a huge bright grin comes onto his face but you could also see the surprise in his features because I picked him. This is something which he never expected to happen to him. “I would just like to know that, ummmm,” he stumbles on his words while bringing the microphone closer to me, using his other hand to push the glasses further up his nose, “that is there going to be any knowledge of your past? I know that everyone here would want to know about your past and what has made it so that no one knows anything about you and your past?”
Now I couldn’t stop the falter of my face. The smile on my face vanished while my stone-cold composure came into existence. My shoulders sag and a slight quake builds up in my legs and I could have sworn that I would have fallen onto my knees soon.
I don’t know what to say.
I know that all of New York would like to know where I have come from. I just came out thin air; no record of social media from the last few years and the way in which they can find no public record of me ane who I am. No parents, no social life, no public records, no school photos.
But I will not tell them a single snippet of information about my past.
I am a woman of mystery and I sure am going to leave that mystery for a long as I can.
Looking around the red carpet, I can see that everyone has quietened down by the question. They all just stare at my figure, waiting. They all want to know the answer and I’m sure that I have no intention to tell them anything about that topic
“Ummm . . .” I keep on looking around, biting my lower lip. “I feel that something like this is just—”
“I think that this is enough questions,” a voice speaks from behind me and this time, my shoulders sag in relief and I could feel the tension leave my body. “Don’t you think, Hera?”
Slightly turning in my place, I look up to gaze into the soft chocolate brown eyes of Colin Addington and he turns his face slightly in my direction, his lips slanting to a grin before looking back up. The cameras start flashing at us, taking photos of the two of us together. The sounds of questions start up again.
He raises a hand. “I think that is enough questions,” he repeats more firmly, “the both of us hope that you enjoy Black Marks and that you would give it the love which it deserves.”
Then he grabs onto my wrist, dragging me down the red carpet and towards the entrance. I was being dragged across the red carpet, the theatre insight and I could feel my breath escaping me in heavy pants with the force Colin is using to pull me. From behind me, I could still hear the sound of questions coming from the reporters and I didn’t answer them.
Giving them nothing will hope that they will get nothing in return and will only write on the move. Or more than likely, how the charming and dashing Colin Addington swooped in to save the flustered Hera Langford from a bunch of reporters.
More likely the latter than the former.
Upon entering the room, I stopped so that I could catch my breath. I might have played in action movies, just like this, one but that does not mean that I can still be able to lose my breath.
“Just a—a moment.”
“Well, don’t take that long,” Colin said, glancing towards the door towards the theatre. “Because I can see that the guard at the front is giving me a glare,” he shudders, “and not a nice one.”
I glare at him. “You could wait a moment.” I snapped right back at him before standing up straight, glancing at my dress and running a hand over the material. “Now we can go.”
I grab the hand which Colin holds out for me and the both of us head over towards the door but then we stop. More like I make the two of us stop.
A feeling rises through me
A feeling that I’m forgotten something, Something important.
Colin lets go of my arm before turning to face me once again, an annoyed look on his face. He’s pissed, I know that. He just wants to go back into the room, watch the movie and then go and fuck a girl at the end of the night.
The most perfect way to end the day of his big premiere.
And a most classic move which I have ever seen.
But he does not say a word. No, instead he allows me to just stand there, a look of thought to cross over my face while I think. I know that I have forgotten something.
“What are you standing there for?” Colin asks, his brown eyes narrowing onto my figure before looking back towards the door. “Because I can see that the pap is getting excited about the two of us just standing here.”
That’s when I could see the lights flashing behind us. Turning to face the door, I could see that the people with cameras are really excited. More excited than when the two of us on the red carpet.
“I don’t think that we are . . .” I trail off when I see a figure walking closer and closer towards the two of us.
Just from the narrowness of her lime green eyes and the way that her blond hair is tied up in a sleek low ponytail—her signature hairstyle—and the low cut dress, I know exactly who it is. Hell, I could have known who it is just with the way that she has that hourglass figure and that every man gaze follows her whereever she goes to.
“I told you to wait outside for me and this is what you’re doing,” she gestures her hand towards the two of us,” having the time of your life with my best friend and potential model.” Then she winks, a giggle escaping her lips from the horrified look on Colin’s face.
Brooklyn Whittaker is a ray of sunshine in the cloudy city of New York.
Known as the ‘Diamond in the Rough’, she has landed many modelling gigs from a small smile towards the judges and a twirl of her hair. And the fact that she is just a year younger than me and that she has gone a long way is still quite astonishing towards me and the others around her.
But I think that is mostly to do with her and her family.
The Whittakers are the largest and most powerful family in America and they don’t hide their power to anyone. Especially when their name is plastered on half of the things in New York and around America.
But the thing about Brooklyn is that she does not flaunt her money, her privilege and her power in the face of others. Around Colin and I, she is just plain old Brooklyn.
Not Brooklyn Whittaker.
“I knew that I was forgetting something.” I sent a small smile towards her and the blonde was more than happy to return one to me. Then I turn to face Colin, narrowing my eyes, “Why didn’t you remind me that Brooklyn was coming today. Better yet, why didn’t you remember?”
“I—I—I” Colin has no idea what to say. I could see it with the tremble of his lower lip. The way in which his eyes glance back and forth between me and the exit which is bombarded by other A-list celebrities, flashing lights and a hundred different questions coming from the paps’ lips.
But then he sighs, his shoulders falling before glancing back at me. “I have no idea why I didn’t remember our dear friend, Brooklyn.” He turns to face her. “I’m sorry, Brooks.”
Her lips thin out. Those lime green eyes darken from the fact that there is not that much lighting in the theatre. She wraps her arms over her chest before looking towards Colin. She does this for a few seconds. But that’s until she would not let go of the idea of hurting Colin for any longer and instead, jumped across me and towards him, pulling him into a large and deep hug.
I could physically see that she was crushing all of the important organs in his body.
“You’re forgiven, Colin!” Brooklyn sheriks.
Colin just stands there, his hand out by his sides while his mouth is open like a fish out of water. A chuckle escaped from my lips at the thought. But then he wraps his arms around her and leans into the hug, letting Brooks know that she is completely loved.
“Now, now, Brooks,” he taps her back before looking at me. I say nothing in return to his look. “I don’t feel like dying before the premiere of my—I mean our movie.”
I glared at him when he said ′my’ in his words. He wasn’t the only one who placed a lot of work in the movie and that means that he just can’t take all the credits of it. There are others, not just him.
I roll my eyes. What a self-absorbed prick.
“I say that we should head inside,” I said while gazing past the two, at the guard who stands outside the room, glare on hand. “I can see that the man is mad just from the way in which he hops from one foot to the other . . . and also, the glare.”
Brooks lets go of Colin before she too, looks back at the male, her nose scrunches at the guard staring at the three of us.
“You’re right,” she says before turning to face us, her eyes narrowed, “I could feel his eyes looking at my body like I’m . . . like I’m gonna be his last meal.” She shivers at her own words.
“That’s disgusting,” I spit out.
“True but I’m just not gonna look at him and just ignore him,” Brooklyn walks forward before whipping her head behind to us, “maybe then he would keep his eyes off me.”
Colin snorts. “I highly doubt that.”
“Do you doubt my capabilities, Colin?” the blonde says, placing her hand on her hips.
“No . . .” he stops for a moment, a hand running through the brown strands before glancing back at the guard. “It’s just that I know men like that and they don’t stop unless some man comes and kicks him in the balls.”
Brooklyn rolls her eyes. “Now I’m not that surprised.”
Then she turns, walking towards the entrance of the theatre and just like she promised, she completely dismisses the guard and right when she enters the doors, he leaned forward, looking at her ass and then at her whole body.
Looks like that she was right.
I started to walk in that direction, my arm linked with Colin’s elbow and when I passed the guard, I just couldn’t hide my distaste for him. I narrow my eyes at him. He narrowed right back . . . for a second right before he physically shrinks back and plasters a smile onto his face, bringing a hand out to gesture towards the door. “It’s nice to meet you, Miss Langford, you’re one of my all-time favourite actresses and can I just say that I love all of your works,” then he coughs, looks at his watch before back at me, “and I would love to tell more but the premiere is going to be starting soon.”
I send him a fake smile. “Is that so?”
I nod right back before entering the room when I could feel Colin tugging on my elbow.
But then I stop in my steps.
Colin stops too and turns in my direction, eyebrows raised. “Do you have to pee now?”
“No.” I shake my head before glancing out at the door. “Why is it that those words are the first thing to come to mind to you?”
“Don’t know really.”
I stare at him. “Let’s move past that,” I wave my hands. “It’s just that I have to do something . . . something important.”
“Fine,” he bites out, “just don’t take that long. I don’t want to have to explain what happened to Brooks about you disappearing once again.”
“Great!” I pull my arms from his, pull him into a small hug before sprinting out of the room right when the doors were going to close on me.
The guard’s eyes were wide when he saw it was me and for some odd reason, a feeling of giddiness started to fill my chest.
“What are you doing out here, Miss?” he sputters out, cheeks a bright red while glancing at me.
“Nothing. ” I wave off the words. I know that it is nothing really. He knows that it is nothing really. I take a step forward. “It’s just that I saw you looking at my friend and I was wondering . . . why exactly were you looking at her?”
“Ummm . . . ” he was speechless.
Good, I think harshly. Better feel all the rage that I’m feeling.
I take a step closer. “I am not going to sugar coat it—” I look at his clothes, “—Pete, but I suggest that you stop staring at my friend’s ass or otherwise I will ruin your life and the people near you. Okay?” I knew that what I was saying was harsh; that it was out of line but when someone treats your friend like she is just some toy, I’m gonna make a stand . . . and I don’t give a shit of who’s watching.
Taking a step back, I send him a smile. “Good chat, Pete, right?”
He was scared but in the end, he quickly nodded his head. “Y—Yes.”
I head towards the door, a jump in my step while throwing open the doors, hearing the footsteps of people coming from behind me. Eager people who want to see the movie Black Marks.
I launch myself down the stairs, in the direction which I know that Colin and Brooklyn would be in and when I see a patch of golden locks, I walk down the steps.
“What took you so long?” questioned Brooks, her eyes looking me over.
I just shrug my shoulders. “Nothing important,” I take the seat near Colin while sending him a smile. Since it was still very bright in the room, he could see it perfectly clear, which explains the reason why he sent me back a smile.
“Let’s hope so,” he mutters, turning to face the big screen.
And that’s when the lights turn dark in the room.
♥ ♥ ♥
THE THREE OF us exit from the theatre, three huge grins on our face while walking out.
By hearing the sound of applause still coming from the room, I could tell that the movie was a huge success. The crowd cheered at the right time, they laughed at the right time and they cried at the right time.
Right time being when Colin jumped right of a roaring waterfall to his doom.
Well . . . that was what was shown on the screen.
That scene was made by an amazing green screen and our editor. It looked so lifelike that I sheed a tear or two while watching it.
All in all, it was the most perfect way to end the day and I loved that everyone loved Black Marks because let me just say that it was a damn near bitch to film being that it was an action movie
And with me being a secret agent.
I turn from my step to face the room and can still see that the last bits of credits are still rolling and I smile. “We did it, Colin!” I squeal while still looking in. “Our hard work has paid off.”
“I know, Hera, I know,” he says, placing an arm around the area of my shoulders and pulling me into his chest. “We worked our asses off for this movie and for it to be a hit . . . that just makes it even more better.” He sends me one of his charming grins at the end.
I quickly bob my head to his words, “I know,” sighing out, “it’s just that another movie that I have been in is yet another, blockbuster hit. It’s not that much of a surpise to me but to feel that again, it’s just magical.”
“Do you always need to rub that fact in my face, Hera,” the brunette male mutters under his breath, “I get that you are exactly what everyone wants but that does not mean that you can rub it in my face.”
“I know,” I repeat again.
“We should be going soon,” Brooklyn said from beside us, “I have that family dinner which I have to be getting to soon and you have that after-party to get to as well.”
I frown. “Family . . . dinner?"
“Yes, family dinner,” she snaps, “turns out that Mum has something which she wants to celebrate and she wants the whole family to come,” then she shudders, “which explains the reason that Dad is flying from Texas as we speak.”
Colin grins. A crazy grin. “Well, have fun!”
“More like not,” Brooks says, running her hands over her sleek ponytail, “I would rather much go to the after-party than the family dinner. Do you think that you could take my spot, Hera, so that I can be able to go to the party?”
I could see the desperation in her eyes and her face. She wants me to go to her family dinner. But I know that if I go . . . then things will become much worse for her and her mother’s relationship.
I know that Brooks’ mother and she herself have a really bad relationship. Her mother does not like that she is a model—Victoria’s Secret model to be more specific—and wishes for her daughter to take a more respectable job than showing off her body for money.
But I know that Brooklyn would never give up her job because she loves it so much. She loves that she feels so much more powerful when she walks the runway, the way in which she portrays herself and that she commands the whole entire room with one single sway of her hips while in tune with the music. She loves that she can be herself on the runway; that on a catwalk, she doesn’t have any reason to rely so much on her last name but more on what she is. Brooklyn has always wanted, more than anything is to have a reason to pave her own path in this world.
Even if she doesn’t have the support of her mother along the way.
But her father loves it when she does her own thing.
And that is the reason that whenever her father is in town, she always rushes towards Whittaker Manor to greet him.
“I would love to,” I say, fiddling with my fingers while coming back from my train of thought, “but I have to go to the party or otherwise there will be a lot of stories going around.”
Brooklyn sighs. “I understand,” then she glances over towards the entrance and then back in our direction. “Then I should start heading back to the manor before Winston comes with the Mercedes and takes me back forcefully.”
“Then I think that you should get going,” I walk up to her and pull her into a deep hug, patting her back as well, “and I say that it should be a good idea that Colin drops you off at the limo.”
“No buts,” I said to Colin firmly, “and besides,” I shrug my shoulders, “I need to do my lipstick and check that my make up is alright before I meet the press. Shall I meet you at the front door, Colin?”
Colin bites his lower lip in response but slowly, nods his head in return. “Fine. But I’ll be right back. Don’t go any further than the bathroom. I don’t want to have to miss the party all because you take forever to take care of your makeup.”
“I’m a girl," I bluntly say towards the male. “Taking forever to do one’s makeup is a requirement of our gender.” And then I give one more large hug towards Brooks, say my goodbyes to the both of them and then head towards the bathroom.
Upon entering the room, I could just feel the money which was made to make the room in a footstep.
The golden handles of the tap glitter under the small gold chandeliers and the black and white checkered floor tiles sparkle too.
But I just head towards one of the three mirrors and place my bag on the side. I go straight to open it and take out my bright red lipstick and start reapplying it.
My stylist thought that it was best that I wear a dark red lip because of my silver dress. Something about the two colours complementing each other and the fact that it would look stunning in me. I heard the last one, not so much as the last one.
I continued swiping the stick back and forth until I could feel that the texture of my lips is not that clumpy, instead nice and smooth. Leaning closer into the mirror, I could see that the colour had managed to crease at the corner and, in response, I sigh, shake my head and pull out a makeup wipe to the corner of my lip and start taking the red off. I just continue to do this until the colour is gone and my lips look the best that it can.
Then I pull back from the mirror, stand to my right frame and gaze at myself.
I look good.
I do a bit of movement with my lips so that I know that nothing bad is going to happen in front of the press.
That’s when the door opened.
My eyes instantly snap towards the door to look into dark ocean blue eyes.
And I just scowl at her and ignore her, focusing on my task at hand.
Nadine walks past me and towards the mirror beside me and places her own bag on the table. Then she opens it and pulls out a powder and opens it
I don’t look at her. I just pull out a tube of mascara and do a few strokes.
“I saw the movie.” a voice says beside me.
I freeze upon the voice but then continue on, hoping that she does not notice. “And?” I stroke once before leaning back, glancing at the mirror.
“It was good,” she responds back, coating her skin with the powder before closing it harshly. “But that is not why I’m here.
Like I didn’t know that, I grimly think.
“Really?” I hope that the emotion of surprise shows in my voice. “Then what other reason would you be here?”
Nadine places the powder back in her bag and then pulls out a blush. She opens it and does the same thing with the powder: dabbing it on her skin near her checks. “I heard what the paparazzi were asking you on the red carpet. You know . . . about your past.”
“Oh don’t seem so shocked, Hera. I just thought that you wanted to know that I have something.”
Please don’t say what I think you’re gonna say. “About what?”
And then she says it.
“About your past.”
I couldn’t hide my shock this time. The mascara wand fell from my hand, dropping onto the sink where it stains black. My eyes widened along with those words, my hand frozen in its place beside my eyes and when I looked myself in the mirror, I looked like I just saw a ghost.
Well . . . I really did see a ghost.
“And? What are you going to do with this information, Nadine? Are you going to give it to the paps on the hops that your own career can flourish as mine did?” I regained my composure and looked at Nadine Nix
“You just had dumb luck.”
“This dumb luck, ” I snapped back in anger, picking up the wand and putting it back where it belongs before narrowing my eyes onto her. “Has managed to become something within my first few movies. Hell, my first few jobs managed to become big hits in just a matter of days.
Nadine loses her blush and glances at me. Those ocean blue eyes of hers sharp while the strawberry blonde hair is in angry curls around her head. “Just like I said before,” she hisses, “dumb luck.”
“Good to know.” I pick up my bag, zip it up before heading in the direction of the door but then I stop once again at her words.
“I know about your . . . problems."
Damn her and damn her nosiness.
I turn. I am angry, enraged and it is taking a lot of self-restraint for me to not sprint across the room and allow me to pull on her fake extensions on her head. “So you’re gonna rat me out to the world,” I allow a fake laugh to escape from my lips, “how predictable.”
“You think that I am so predictable don’t you?”
I look her straight in the eye. “Isn’t that what I just said? Don’t tell me that you’re getting hearing problems now?”
Nadine’s eyes darken. “Don’t tempt me to do something, Langford, because I’m not afraid of you.”
Taking a step forward, I say, ” You should be.”
Nadine takes a gulp of air. I could see her body shrinking down for just a second. Just a second before she stands straight and tall before walking my way
“I don’t care about what you think but . . . you should care about what I can say. And let me tell you this, Hera is that I have proof. Proof of your past and what has happened to you. About your life before you become the Hera Langford of New York, the Gold of the Depths.′"
I try my hardest to not show my fear but that was easier said than done. “What do you want from me?”
“It’s rather simple if I say,” Nadine places a finger on her chin, fake thinking. “I want you in a week’s time to leave New York. Disappear as you did before moving here and I will forget about your little past and make a future for me.” Then she pulls something from her bag and displays it. The metal USB glares at me and I couldn’t stop myself from glaring right back.
“And if I don’t?” I raise my eyebrows, arms crossed over my chest.
“Then your past will be displayed in your present and it will affect your future.” Then she shoves the stick in her bag and starts her walk out.
But then she stops right beside me, leans in and whispers, “Tick tock, Langford. Your time starts now.”
Then she was gone.
And me, I was left in a pool of my own anger and a huge dilemma on my plate now
I take a deep sigh.
What am I gonna do now?
♥ ♥ ♥
first chapter is out!
so . . . what do you think?
i personally think that this was a great way to start the book and that there is already some mystery happening to out darling main character, hera.
i can’t wait for you to meet the billionaire tycoon, phillp in the next chap!