Should I step down as the spokesperson?
Should I give up on my dreams?
Where was the resolve and guts-over-fear attitude I’d adopted?
Where was Violet?
I walked around the house, running my fingers over things that belonged to my parents. A photo of us on vacation in Paris that sat on a table in the den, a scarf my mother knitted for me one Christmas that hung on a peg, my father’s astronomy journal next to mine on the coffee table. With a deep breath, I opened it and traced his slanted handwriting. I flipped to the last entry, made a few weeks before his death. Emotion clawed at my chest as I read it … as I had a million times before.
“Saw a meteor shower tonight and it reminded me of Violet. Bright. Full of hope. We wait with bated breath to see how she shines.”
I set the book down.
And at the end of it all, I reminded myself that I’d survived that horrific day.
I was a fighter, and I was going to fight.
AFTER LUNCH, I went to Wilson’s after listening to his rather frantic messages about needing to talk to me. He also kept apologizing, but I couldn’t for the life of me think why.
He opened the door, wearing his LA Lakers hat, and led me to his office where I got a jolt.
Dan Hing sat in a black leather chair, nursing a drink. I knew Wilson had powerful connections, but this was odd.
“I guess I should have called. Want me to come back later?” I commented.
Wilson shifted from one foot to the other, a cagey look on his face. “Truth is I wanted to talk to you alone, but since you’re here …”
What was going on? I flicked my eyes at Hing, seeing an opportunity, but just not sure how to play it. Maybe I could salvage some of this colossal mess created by Blair. So far my name wasn’t popping up anywhere on the internet, so whatever she was planning, she was taking her time and making us sweat.
I sat down across from Hing, tension radiating in the room. I wasn’t sure why.
Weird undercurrent or not, he was fascinating to chat with. Thirty-five years old and he’d already directed and co-produced two Academy Award-winning movies, one an independent film and the other a blockbuster World War II film. No wonder Sebastian was itching to work for him. He was movie gold.
Hipster handsome with his skinny jeans and Einstein shirt, he kept sneaking little glances at me when he thought I wasn’t looking. He adjusted his black-rimmed glasses and peered at me with eagle eyes.
He didn’t miss much, and I don’t think he cared that I was aware he was staring.
“You seem to have something on your mind, Mr. Hing.” I was feeling blunt. Bruised.
He lit a cigar. “Forgive me. It—it’s just that Wilson here told me who you are, the lone survivor of Flight 215. I find it morbidly fascinating.”
My familiar walls shot up. “I’m not a freak.”
“No! Not at all.” He shook his head. “You’re gorgeous.”
Uh-huh. I narrowed my eyes at him. He wasn’t fooling me.
“I’ve had a shitty day, so if you have something to say, just say it.”
He tossed his head back and laughed, a deep rich sound. “I like your style, V, and the way you look. The hair is a bit much for me, but it suits you—and LA. The truth is, I’m looking for a new project to develop, this time as a full producer, so I’d have complete control over it from creation to the end.”
Not sure what this had to do with me.
“I’ve got thousands of scripts and novels on my desk. Five were bestsellers last year, but not one of them interests me. I want fresh. Something that’s never been done. Something that will tug at every heartstring in America, rip their guts out and make them cry like fucking babies.”
I barked out a laugh. “Want to put me in a movie? Sorry to disappoint, but I can’t act my way out of a paper bag. At my school Christmas play they gave me the only silent part, the kid who held the star up over baby Jesus.”
“That’s not what I had in mind actually.”
I slanted a look at Wilson, who gave me an apologetic shrug.
I waited. It came.
Hing said, “Wilson mentioned—”
“Nope, leave my name out,” Wilson interjected. “I told you she was a private person.” He patted my hand. “Sorry, I ever brought your name up to him, sweetheart. It all started when I invited him to the benefit and before I knew it, he’d pieced together who you were. He’s a one-track kind of guy and once he gets an idea—I’m sorry. I had no idea he was going to broach the topic here. I wanted to talk to you first.” He sent Hing a glare.
Hing chuckled. “I made him millions on the last movie I did, V. He felt like he owed it to me to tell me about you once I inquired. I’m an asshole, but I think we have the possibility of a fantastic movie here. With you.”
I felt my face redden at the discerning way he looked at me. I took to tapping my leg.
“I’m sorry,” Wilson said again, his face obviously pained as he sat across from me. “If you want to go now, I wouldn’t blame you.”
I sucked up some nerve. I had to see this through. “No, I’m good.” I turned to Hing. “You don’t want me to act for you. So what were you thinking?”
He sat there for a few beats, pursing his lips. “I want your story about the crash, your battle to escape the plane, your struggles with your grief, and even the orphanage. Of course, I’d like to take a peek at your journal as well, see if we can pull anything from it.”