Then Jill closed the gap between us and wrapped her arms around me. “How are you? So good to see you again. How’s everything? Are you almost done with school?”
“Soon. I graduate in a few months,” I said with a huge grin. She was so genuine. “What brings you to Los Angeles?”
She pointed her thumb at her husband, the dreamy, broody, blue-eyed Davis Milo, a legend on the Great White Way and in Hollywood, too. He’d already won an Oscar for a film he directed, along with three Tonys. “We’re shooting the movie adaptation of Crash the Moon. Davis is directing me again.”
“It seems we enjoy working together,” he said, chiming in, then he extended a hand and officially introduced himself to me and to William.
We chatted more, and as we were about to say goodbye, Jill glanced down at my camera. “Are you working right now?”
“I was this afternoon,” I said, because she knew I was a photographer, but I didn’t want her to feel like I’d been angling for a shot.
“Want to take our picture?”
I beamed. I’d never turn down a shot. “Sure.”
“Candid is better, right?” Jill asked with a wink.
“Usually, but you don’t have to stage something. I can just snap a picture of the two of you.”
“Oh, this won’t be staged,” she said, then turned to her husband, cupped his cheeks in her hands, and brushed her lips against his in a gorgeously unstaged kiss in the afternoon. They lingered on each other, and his hand skated down to her hips, as if he couldn’t resist tugging her closer.
When they separated, I showed it to them on the back of the camera. “I love it,” Jill said, then hugged me once more and said to keep in touch before they headed in the other direction.
“This will be great. J.P. loves a great kissing shot. Especially when they’re so in love.”
“They did seem to be on somewhat decent terms,” William said in a dry voice.
“Yeah, just a little.”
“Jess,” he said as we started to walk towards our respective sets of wheels.
“I had fun with you today.”
“I had fun with you, too, William.”
“But I have something really important to ask about tonight.”
I tensed momentarily. I had no idea what he’d want to ask or talk about. Or if he was assuming things were going in a particular direction, when I honestly wasn’t sure of a thing. “What is it?”
He dropped a hand to the small of my back, then dipped his thumb under the hem of my shirt, tracing the skin on my back. “Is your roommate going to be home tonight?”
I reined in a naughty grin. “No. She has screenwriting class tonight. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to…” I couldn’t finish.
“I know,” he said, and stopped walking, pulling me against him on the sidewalk. “But even if I’m only kissing you, I’d really like to be alone with you,” he said, and my stomach cartwheeled. “Would you like that?”
It was my turn now to breathe out a barely audible yes. A single syllable constructed from hope and hormones and the wish for more with him. Then other words tumbled free. Words I’d wanted to say earlier. Words I could only say now as I started to relinquish another sliver of my carefully constructed control. “I adore kissing you.”
Too bad I wasn’t a makeup hound. I could have cleaned up in my mom’s bathroom cabinets. Inside the white cupboard underneath the double sink was a makeup archaeologist’s field day. There were eyeshadows in sky blue, electric blue, and sea green; eyeliners in black, cobalt, and chocolate brown; lipsticks in coral, rose, and scarlet; not to mention endless tubs of foundation and powder in every possible shade of skin. To top it off, the makeup here wasn’t even in rotation. In her makeup suitcase—three cases tall with its own set of wheels—were the colors and cover-ups she brought with her on her jobs. I grabbed several tubs of foundation, as well as a handful of powder puffs, then left her room.
The scent of couscous emanating from the kitchen was strong and tasty. “Smells good, Mom,” I called out.
“Tastes even better,” she shouted in return. “You should stay.”
“Can’t. I have a date.”
“Ooh. Tell me more.”
“Ha. As if I’m going to share details of the Hot British Guy with you.”
“Fine. Then just make sure you don’t fall behind on homework,” she said as I popped into the kitchen to give her a peck on the cheek.
“Mom, I’m ahead on homework. By the way, I told Bryan your new favorite names for twins are Bert and Ernie for boys,” I said.
She narrowed her eyes and pretended to swat me with a kitchen towel.
Shrugging playfully, I egged her on. “But Kat loves those names. I’ll tell her you don’t and that you prefer Cagney & Lacey. That work?”