Oh. My eyes widened. But how—
“I saw it lots of times at your house, V, but I swear I never read it or even touched it.” Wilson grimaced. “You know I have my own grief with my wife. I’d never betray that.”
“Don’t blame Wilson. He let it slip about the journal, and once he did, I convinced him you wouldn’t care if I approached you. And, if you say no, then there’s no harm, no foul. We can forget we even spoke, and I’ll write you a check for ten thousand dollars today for your orphanage. Either way.” He paused. “I am not here to ambush you, and in fact, I had no idea you were coming over. I was here to convince Wilson to let me call you up. He was refusing, of course.”
Wilson grunted. “Like you’d listen.”
I waved him on with my hands. “Fine. Make your spiel to me. You’re not the only Hollywood person who’s ever tried to make a deal with me.”
His eyes gleamed. “But you’ve never talked to anyone as big as me.”
What was up with the level of male cockiness in this town?
“First off, I want to make this film about hope and music—I know that’s important to you. I want to focus on how you grew up in this idyllic setting—Park Avenue apartments and a beach house at the Hamptons—but you lost something vital when your parents were killed …” and so he talked, and I listened.
He promised me millions.
“I don’t need your millions, Hing. I have my own.”
He pondered me. “But what if I told you that I would make you a permanent fixture on my set. You’d be able to see it in production. We could talk about your concerns.”
I smiled coolly. “Hypothetically, if I sold it to you, I’d want more control.”
He smirked and took a swig from a drink Wilson had poured him. “You’re tougher than you look, V. First, I’d have to read your story to even know that if it had what I wanted.”
“Don’t get coy now, Hing.”
He sucked on his cigar.
I shifted around in my seat, getting comfortable. I took my time as I eyed him, sipping on a glass of water. I set it down. “Do you know how terrifying it was to see people sucked out of a plane? And for some reason people want details.” I got light-headed talking about it, but it wasn’t as bad as in the past. I had to do this. Face my fears. A sense of calm came over me. “Did you know that nightmares have haunted me for two years, and it wasn’t until recently that I pieced together that my father actually saved me? Now, I can recall him fighting to get me on that seat cushion. He put me there, and then let go. So I could live.”
Hing’s mouth parted.
I continued. “I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of them hauling me up in the harness to that helicopter, but what you may not know is technically I had no heartbeat nor was I breathing. The medic brought me back with CPR. Wouldn’t you like to know what I saw when I was dead?” I said softly.
His hand stilled its tapping against the desk.
“If you want my story, then give me what I want.” I had no idea what I wanted. Not yet.
He nodded. “Fine, I’ll make you an associate producer. You can be there from day one. You will have a vote in wardrobe, talent, location, hell even the damn gripper boy. Does that make you happy?”
I kept my face blank.
“Think on it, V.” He grinned. “Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Sebastian Tate.”
My mouth flew open and my eyes went straight to Wilson.
Could he not keep any of my secrets?
He held his hands up. “I have no idea what he’s talking about. Swear.”
“What?” Hing said. “Does this mean you and him are—a thing? All I meant is that he’s your neighbor and I was wondering if you knew him. I was under the impression he was dating Blair Storm? Am I wrong?”
“It’s not what you think,” I said hurriedly.
Hing’s eyes gleamed. “You’re the Mystery Girl from the Hollywood Insider, aren’t you? The one he was caught kissing.”
He settled back in his chair. “I don’t believe you. Is he dating Blair Storm or not? If we’re going to work together, we need full disclosure, V.”
“I never said we were working together, Hing.”
He smiled. “Touché.”
I focused on staying cool. This was Sebastian’s movie career here. “I know that you didn’t choose him for your zombie movie.”
“True. When the story broke about him and you, I assumed there was truth to all the rumors that he was irresponsible. Plus, if I went with Blair, I wouldn’t want any lover’s tiffs.” He tapped his ashes. “What do you know about him?”
“He’s worth a million Blair Storms.”
“Go on, I’m listening.”
I sat there, mulling, searching for the right words. “His parents were murdered when he was eight, and even though he could have let that define him, he didn’t. He’s the strongest person I know, and he believes that life is good. His grief never broke him like it did me.” I looked at my twitching hands. “He left home at eighteen, forged his own way and has managed his band ever since. He moved here for two reasons: to make a movie with you and get his friend and bandmate Spider off the road for a while. Spider is irresponsible and maybe even an alcoholic, but Sebastian is determined to take care of him. Sebastian’s a lot like you. He sees what he wants and he goes and gets it any way he can. Not many twenty-three-year-olds can claim that.”