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“What do you mean no?”
“I’m not doing it Giles. I’m an actress not a piece of meat you can sell off to the highest bidder.”
Rupert Giles sighed as he tried to reason with his client. As one of L.A.’s top agents, he was used to dealing with temperamental starlets, but the client standing before him was a particularly hard nut to crack.
Buffy Summers had started out like most girls with stars in her eyes. She moved to Hollywood at eighteen and started knocking on doors the minute she got here. Finally, after what seemed like her thousandth casting call she got a part. It was not the lead by any means. However, it was a small part on a popular teen melodrama and it was enough to get an agent and most importantly more roles.
“Buffy just hear me out. You need to play the game. It’s not just about the acting and you know that.”
“Why not? I’m twice as good as half the actresses in this town. Why do I keep missing out on the lead roles?”
“Exposure. You need more exposure.”
“If you are telling me to pose for Playboy…” Buffy’s eyes narrowed.
“Of course not, the studios spend a lot of money promoting these films Buffy. They don’t feel you want to help them give the film and your career the exposure it needs.”
Buffy sighed knowing Giles was right. People magazine had done an article about her. The new Greta Garbo they called her. It was no secret in Hollywood that she was a recluse. On set, she was all about the work, turning up on time, hitting her marks. When the day was over, she went home, no wild parties, no quickie engagements and no scandals at all. This in turn equalled no press and no exposure. Hell, she had not even had a boyfriend in the four years since she came to this town. This was part of the reason behind Giles proposition.
“Why do you think you keep missing out on the romantic leads and being cast as the bitchy best friend? It’s because that’s all anyone sees Buffy. You need to show the studios you can fall in love.”
“I can fall in love Giles, you know that. It’s the staying in love that’s the hard part.” Buffy closed her eyes as she considered her options.
“Do you really think it could work?” she asked.
“I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t.” Giles moved beside her. “Buffy, I know what your career means to you. I really think this will help you be where you want to be, where your career deserves to be.”
“Ok, I’ll do it.”
“Rise and shine sleepy head.”
William “Spike” Simons felt as though a freight train was travelling through his skull. ‘Am I dead’ he thought to himself. As he opened and tried to focus his eyes, he saw his agent Xander Harris.
“No, I am in hell?” he groaned as he pulled the pillow over his head.
“Bugger off Harris.”
“No way British boy. You start shooting in two days, we need to get you cleaned up and sober before you start.” Xander pulled back the curtains, flooding the room with sunlight.
“Bloody hell, turn the lights off.” Spikes head pounded as he opened his eyes.
“It is called sunlight Spike. If you woke up before three in the afternoon, you might know what it looks like.” Xander then moved to pull the covers from Spike’s bed. Knowing his clients passion for sleeping naked, he turned his head.
“If you are not in the kitchen in five minutes Spike, I come back with a bucket of cold water. We have business to discuss.”
He groaned as he rolled over and stretched his aching muscles. He did not mean to drink so much last night. It just seemed lately that one drink turned into five and five turned into twenty-five. It was not his fault. He did not ask Dru to leave him.
As he staggered into the kitchen, two Tylenols and a mug of black coffee greeted him.
“You had one minute before I was coming in with the bucket.”
“Well, I’m here now.” He eased himself onto the kitchen stool. “What business did you want to discuss.” He gulped down both pills in one go and went to reach for another four.
“No you don’t.” Xander’s hand stopped him. “I need you fully coherent for this discussion pal.”
“Ok, ok. What’s up?”
“Well, there is the smaller matter of this.” He slid a copy of the National Enquirer across the bench. The headline read “Spike’s Drunken Love Serenade.” Below it was a rather unflattering picture of him banging on Drusilla's front door. Another showed him trying to break in through a window.
Spike winced as he looked at the photos and accompanying article.
“They got it wrong.”
“What did they get wrong? The part where you were so drunk you could hardly stand or the part where you threw a rock through the window?” Xander asked.
“No, those parts are right. The song it wasn’t “I Honestly Love You” that I was singing. It was “Mandy”.” He pushed the magazine away.
“Spike have you lost you mind?” He looked at his client slumped at the kitchen bench. “Scrap that, I know the answer. I have been fielding calls from the studio and the director. They are worried Spike. Shooting starts in two days. They are concerned you are a flight risk. That you will turn up on set drunk, late or worse, not at all.”
“Hey, I never let my personal life get in the way of the work and you know that about me.”
“Yes, I know that but they don’t. We need to convince them that you have settled down.”
“How do you propose to do that in two days?” He sipped his coffee as he started to feel the effects of the painkillers.
“You fall in love.” Spike promptly spat his coffee from one end of the bench to the other.
“What? You have lost your marbles mate. I fell in love and look how that panned out.” He got up to leave.
“Wait Spike, hear me out. It’s a win win situation.”
“You fall in love with your hot co-star, are seen around town, build the hype and then when the movie comes out everyone will want to see the movie they met and fell in love on. In addition, the studio sees that you have settled down and stops worrying. And you can stick it to Dru by showing her that you have moved on.” Xander could see the clogs turning in Spikes mind.
“I don’t know mate. Who did you have in mind?”
“Who?” Spike had not been big on the details of his latest project. He knew it was some big budget action flick. A no brainer, but the money was good and it was a chance to take his mind off his break up with Dru.
“Blonde about so tall, used to be in that show about high school.”
Spike raised his eyebrows. “Well that narrows it down some. What’s in it for her?”
“She keeps a very low profile, not big into the Hollywood scene. She needs some exposure.”
“I am sure I could expose her.” He leered.
“Spike this strictly a business affair, think of it as another acting job.”
Spike thought about his options. He really did not have that many. He could not keep putting his career at risk. Maybe this “relationship” was what he needed to get back in the game.
“Ok, I’ll do it.”