Aspiring actress Eva feels like she's finally on her way to the big time she's got new friends, a new life, and a starring role in a hot new commercial. And with Valentine's Day fast approaching, she's determined to finally "seal the deal" with her new boyfriend, Danny. But all her plans turn inside out when someone from her past shows up at her doorstep with an engagement ring!?!
Eva swears the only guy she wants to be with is Danny, but he's starting to have doubts. So when she finds out the shocking truth about her father's identity, she has no one to turn to the guys are at each other's throats and her roommates are having a major catfight of their own.
Eva is about to make some tough choices...and if she's not careful, she may make the biggest mistake of her life.
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Everything She Wants
By Beth Killian
MTVCopyright © 2006 Beth Killian
All right reserved.
"So what do you think?" I held up a frilly lace camisole for inspection. "The blue or the purple?"
"Neither." My roommate, Jacinda Crane-Laird, grabbed a skimpy lace bra off the shelf at Smoulder, an upscale lingerie shop on West Hollywood's Melrose Avenue. "You want black. Black bra, black garter belt, black seamed stockings, black stilettos."
"Settle down there, Lolita." Coelle Banerjee, gorgeous half-Indian/half-Italian/All-American teen soap star and roommate number two, shook her head at Jacinda. "She's an eighteen-year-old virgin, not a Pussycat Doll."
"My point exactly." Jacinda looked around for an appropriately seductive ensemble. "If you ever want to lose that shameful status, you'd better start thinking -- and acting -- like a woman of the world." She snatched up a shiny black leather thong and steered me toward the dressing room. "Try this on. Danny will love it."
I dug my heels into the carpet. "I am not wearing leather underwear."
"You are so boring and puritanical. You know what you need?"
"A new roommate who's not a total perv?"
"No. You need to get laid."
I raised my eyebrow at the leather thong. "Not in that, I don't."
"Fine. I give up. You want to waste your life in a constant state of quiet desperation, go ahead." Shesmiled down at the thong, eyes gleaming. "I'll be living it up in leather."
"Have fun," I called as she disappeared into the dressing rooms, all bleached blonde hair and boundless moxie.
"Don't listen to the Doheny Drive Dominatrix," Coelle advised. "Pick out something you're comfortable in. If you don't feel comfortable, you won't look sexy, no matter how much skin you show."
"That's the problem." I sighed. "I can't imagine wearing any of this stuff in front of Danny without feeling totally self-conscious."
"First-time brain freeze? It'll pass."
"Yeah, I guess." I perked up as I caught sight of a fur-trimmed black negligee, then dismissed it as too Hollywood. No way could a small-town girl from Massachusetts pull that off.
"So have you decided when you're going to do it?" Coelle looked serene and wise beyond her years, as usual. She'd grown up as a child actor (think Barney, Broadway, and Nickelodeon) before landing a role on a soap opera called Twilight's Tempest, and was a seasoned professional at the age of seventeen.
"I don't know." I flushed as I contemplated the prospect of sex with my brand-new boyfriend, the divinely drool-worthy Danny Bristow. "He invited me to go with him to this winter dance at UCLA, but I've got some bad associations with that. Look what happened when I got carried away at homecoming. And anyway, I don't want my first time to be in a dorm room or in the backseat of Danny's rickety old car. That's so cliche. I want it to be romantic, you know?"
"You could always spend the night at a hotel," she suggested, running her fingers over a display of ribbon-trimmed red demibras. "Valentine's Day is coming up. You guys could get a room at Le Parc or Maison 140 or maybe drive out to the ocean -- there are some really cute bed-and-breakfasts in Santa Monica." She paused. "Does he know it'll be your first time?"
"Of course not. I may be a socially stunted pariah, but he doesn't need to know that. I told you, I want it to be romantic."
"Whatever. Just don't get so romantic you forget the condom. You don't want to end up the STD poster child like Jacinda."
"I heard that!" Ms. Moxie huffed out of the dressing room, glaring at Coelle. "And I will have you know that socialites don't get STDs -- they are merely 'indisposed' for a few days."
"Relax. Don't get your leather panties in a bunch." Coelle grinned.
Jacinda turned to me. "So? Did you make a decision yet or are you still trying to find something that'll make you look like Little Bo Peep gone wild?"
"Some guys go for bonnets and pantaloons," I assured her as I surveyed the huge array of sultry lingerie. "Maybe you're right -- maybe I should just go for basic black."
"Of course you should. Would I lie to you?"
"Uh, yes. Remember the first week I was here? The sabotage? The treachery? You were evil incarnate."
"That was ages ago. Now I'm your guardian angel."
"Listen, babe. You need to stop dwelling on the past and look toward the future: sex, parties, multimillion-dollar movie deals." She selected a gold-embroidered black bra. "Here, try this. Classic. Understated. Like a little black dress for your boobs."
"What there are of them." I sighed down at my underachieving chest.
"That's why God invented padding and underwire." She shooed me off toward the fitting rooms. "Scoot. We don't have all day -- I still want to hit Maxfield and Lisa Kline."
Ugh. For a petite old-money heiress with wrists the size of Cheerios, she certainly had a lot of shopping stamina.
"Sir, yes, sir." I saluted and headed off toward the dressing room, where I squeezed myself into the delicate black bra, assessed my bare torso in the mirror, and tried to imagine Danny's response to seeing me in something like this.
The black and gold complemented my olive skin and dark brown hair (well, the extensions that now constituted the majority of my dark brown hair -- long story). But I felt like a fraud in this expensive silk confection; the rest of my body was lanky, twitchy, far more Fruit of the Loom than La Perla. What if Danny saw through the fancy lingerie to the shy ex-tomboy underneath? What if he thought I was trying too hard and it turned him off completely?
Psychic link in full effect: my cell rang, and Danny's name flashed up on caller ID. I managed to wedge the phone between my cheek and shoulder while struggling to unclasp the bra. "Hello?"
"Hey." His warm, deep voice sounded even sexier when I was half-naked. "What are you doing?"
I wriggled back into my own bra. "You really want to know?"
"Trying on lingerie."
"I'll be right over."
"Excellent. I've been trying to hold myself back, but you know I have a total weakness for tall, dark, left-handed pitchers." I glanced into the mirror to find myself grinning maniacally. Hormones or true love? Who could tell? "Would you prefer me in black or red?"
"Both. Neither. Whatever you want." Clearly, color choices were the last thing on his mind.
"No, really. Let's say I'm lounging on a bed, pouting all seductively and batting my eyelashes in obscenely expensive lingerie." I tried to sound breathy and woman-of-the-worldish. "Would you like me better in red lingerie or black?"
"Is no lingerie an option?"
"You are so annoying." I hung up, put my shirt on, and stepped back into the main display area to find both my roommates huddled in a corner, whispering. As I approached, I heard Jacinda say, "Well, keep it to yourself. If she finds out -- "
"If who finds out what?" I asked.
Both of them jumped a foot. "Nothing," Coelle said quickly.
"Yeah, nothing." Jacinda didn't meet my eyes. "So are you all set?"
I put my hands on my hips and stared at them. "What's going on?"
Coelle cleared her throat. "Nothing?" This came out as more of a question than a statement.
"What she said." Jacinda threw her long blonde hair back over one shoulder. "Nothing."
I narrowed my eyes. "Don't lie to me."
"We're not!" Jacinda insisted.
"Please. I can tell when I'm being lied to. Between my mother, my aunt, and my grandparents, I've been honing my lie-detector skills for years. And you guys? Are lying."
Coelle clasped her hands behind her back. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You know, for an award-winning actress, you're not very convincing." I bit my lower lip as I wracked my brains. What could they possibly want to hide from me?
I shifted my gaze toward Jacinda. "Is this about another mystery boyfriend?"
Hmm. I glanced down at the bra in my hand. "Is this about Danny?"
"Of course not. You're being ridiculous."
Only one other possibility came to mind. "Is this about my mom?"
Coelle's eyes got huge.
"Crap." My hands curled into tight fists. "What has she done now? Was she in that gossip column again?"
"No." Jacinda stepped in front of Coelle. "This isn't about your mom and trust me, you should stop asking questions now."
I studied their expressions of anxiety and dismay. "Is this about my dad?"
"Well?" I pressed. "Is it?"
"Can't we just get back to talking about sex and leather?" Jacinda pleaded.
"No! You know something, don't you? About my dad?"
"I do not," Coelle swore. "All I know for sure is what you know for sure: his name."
"Then why were you whispering like you were plotting to hold up a liquor store?" I demanded.
"I..." She threw up her hands. "Listen. I don't know anything for sure. But I heard a few rumors."
"About Anatole Farnsworth?" The father I'd never met, the father I'd been afraid to investigate for fear he'd turn out to be as bad -- or even worse -- than my mother, who was an abject failure as a parent.
I braced both hands against a glass countertop. "Hit me. Tell me everything you heard. I can take it."
Coelle shook her head so fast her earrings jingled. "No. Eva, listen, sometimes secrets stay secret for a good reason, and I think your dad's identity was in that category."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It means I'm sorry I ever helped you break into your aunt's study."
Jacinda winked. "Don't worry, I'm not."
I glared at both of them. "This is ridiculous. You realize that I can just type his name into any Internet search engine and get all the information I want."
"Yeah, but you haven't," Coelle said gently. "If you really wanted to know about him, you would have Googled by now."
She had me there. I'd typed "Anatole," even "Anatole Farnswor" into the search box on Google, but couldn't quite bring myself to hit the enter key.
"I wasn't ready before," I blustered. "But now I am. I have a right to know whatever you know."
Coelle shook her head again. "Uh-uh. You'll have to find out for yourself."
My knees started to tremble, like my blood sugar had suddenly plummeted. What could be so bad that she'd stonewall like this? "Coelle. Seriously. Tell me right now."
But she refused to say another word, no matter how I begged. Finally, I moved on to Jacinda. "She told you everything, didn't she? Spill."
"What?" Her green eyes went glassy and vacant. "I'm just a dumb blonde bimbo."
"Save it for Entertainment Tonight," I snapped. "Tell me or I'm slipping henna in your conditioner."
She gasped, her hands flying up to her freshly touched-up platinum roots. "You wouldn't!"
I smirked. "Payback is a bitch, baby. Spill."
"After you threatened my precious follicles? I don't think so."
I rolled my eyes. "You are impossible."
"You're impossible. I'm eccentric."
"You're too young to be eccentric," I protested.
"When your family came over on the Mayflower and you have trust funds up the ying-yang, you can be eccentric any time you like."
I pretended to gag. "Snob."
"Ladies." The willowy redhead behind the cash register interrupted our intellectual debate. "May I help you find something?"
"No." I slammed the gold-and-black ensemble onto a shelf and stormed out to the street to interrogate Coelle, who had escaped while Jacinda and I traded barbs.
She was window-shopping a few yards away, still fidgeting and looking guilty.
"Hey." I fell in beside her, pretending to admire a display of sleek chrome furniture and abstract metal sculpture.
"Hey." She glanced down at my empty hands. "You didn't buy anything?"
"No." I kept staring at the window. "Just tell me what you heard about my dad, okay? Don't try to shelter me and spare my precious little feelings. I spent my whole life being sheltered by my family, and I don't need the same crap from my friends."
She shifted her weight and played with the ends of her long, black hair.
"Tell me," I said softly. "Please."
"You won't like it," she finally said.
"Oh, come on. How bad could it be?" I forced a laugh.
She looked at the sidewalk and prodded an old cigarette butt with the toe of her high-heeled boot.
"Coelle. I know my father's not perfect. Whatever fantasy I had about having some ideal sitcom dad out there, I'm over it." Almost. "My mom would never hook up with an ideal sitcom dad. So just give me the bad news -- is he a serial killer? A crazy bigamist cult leader? A burned-out junkie rock star?"
She kept scuffing the sidewalk. "No, nothing like that."
I exhaled in relief. "Then what could be so horrible that you have to hide it from me?"
"You don't understand, Eva."
"Then make me understand. The thought of meeting him is the only thing that kept me going through all those years without my mom. What'd he do that's making you look at me like that?"
Copyright 2006 by Beth Lavin-Macias
Excerpted from Everything She Wants by Beth Killian Copyright © 2006 by Beth Killian. Excerpted by permission.
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