For Ever by Jisa Dean

Chapter One



“Crew!” I forget every good sense I have and launch myself at Crew Summit. I’ve known him all my life so seeing him now brings back all those old memories of us younger and on a television set running lines and doing whatever the director tells us to.

I run and jump in his arms to give him a big hug - a full-bodied one. His arms come up to catch me and twirl me around and around looking as happy to see me, as I am to see him. I was six years old when I first met Crew. He was fourteen and I thought he hung the moon. On the show, I played a seven-year-old and he played my twelve-year-old brother.

We spent six years on that show together, day in and day out. He practically become my real brother since I didn’t have any siblings and it seemed like Crew was always there to protect me. But everything comes to an end. And the show we were on, ended. We both moved on to other things. He went into movies since he was a teen heartthrob and twenty at the time.

I stayed in television since the timing seemed to work for me and I was used to it. But that was ages ago. Still, all those memories flood back now as soon as I see him again. He sits me down with a big smile on his face. Looking me up and down, he finally speaks and brings back even more memories of him keeping me safe on set during all times of day and night.

“Hey, pocket rocket. How have you been?”

“Good. I’ve been really good.”

“We missed you at the reunion show we did last year.”

“Oh yeah, I…was…busy.”

In truth, I didn’t want to go. All the good memories flood in but other memories come back just as sharp. This time I’m having flashbacks to four years after our show ended. To another movie set we were both on. Another time I ran unbounded to him. I was sixteen and he was twenty-four.

And his girlfriend pretty much told me to get lost. It was my own fault I suppose since I did have a terrible crush on Crew. I thought he hung the moon and could do no wrong. He was literally my first love. Not that he knew it. Or at least I didn’t think he knew it.

My mind trips back to that day, four years in the past. His girlfriend, Antonia ‘Toni’ Ridge, was gunning to be the first Mrs. Summit and was letting everyone know it. I tried to stay away from her and not rock the boat, not wanting to cause Crew any trouble. But she found me and cornered me.

“I know you like Crew.” Oh shit! You never want a girlfriend to open with that. “But you have to let the silly crush go.”

“What? No…” I try to deny but she just plows over my protests.

“Everyone can tell, Everett. It’s quite sad actually.” I try to shake my head to deny it. “I mean he’s a grown man and you’re…just a kid.”

All I can do is stand with my mouth open and try to deny, deny, deny.

“I just wanted to let you know what everyone thought before you embarrassed yourself.” She gives me a sharp laugh before continuing to drive the knife in and twisting. “I mean, worse than you already have.”

“We’re just…friends.” But she’s already gone and I’m left to wonder if we're even still that. The Crew I knew would never have been so mean or callous to me. If I told him about my crush, he would laugh and say I was too good for him and that I should find a good man - a better man. I'm sure that's what he would say because he’s said it before. But now I'm not certain. Four years might have changed who he is. He is dating Toni after all. That should say a lot about who he’s become.

Toni heads back over to talk to Crew and the people he’s standing next to, and they all start to laugh -probably at me. So, for the remaining time on the movie, I avoid him at all costs. It wasn’t hard to do since we didn’t have very many parts together. And after, I hid. I went back to the small town I came from before the series and went back to high school even.

Fast forward four years later and here we are. I graduated high school and walked across the stage with no fanfare other than my grandmother cheering me on. I went off to college and am working through my last year before I get my bachelor's degree. I’m twenty years old and should know better than to go running and jumping on grown men. But I did it anyway.

He pulls me back to the present. “Yeah, I heard you took some time off from all of this.”

I stand awkwardly for a second trying to school my features and tell myself to keep my distance. He might not be with Toni anymore, but I‘m sure he’s found a replacement for her. Or maybe he does still have Toni. They had an on-and-off-again thing for years. What do I know? My mind latches onto my best friend.

“This is Goldie. She’s my friend and assistant. She helped me through my first months of being ‘normal’ again.”

It doesn't hurt that she's also drop-dead gorgeous and doesn't realize it. Goldie’s eyes grow wide and all she says is, “Hi.”

He says hi back but turns his attention back to me. Damn.

“So, what have you been up to?” People like to talk about themselves all the time, right?

“I’m sure you know all about that drama. Seems I’m in the news for something or another all the time.” He laughs.

“Actually, I don’t.” I give him a painfully awkward smile.

“It’s been in all the papers, I’m sure.”

“I don’t actually read anything about the people I’ve worked with. It just…it’s my way of giving them privacy.”

“I wish more people were like that.” Before we can say anything else we are being called for by the director Jim Riley.

“Everyone…everyone come close.”

Saved by the director. Maybe I am luckier than I thought I was.

“You okay?” Goldie asks me quietly. She knows all about my stupid crush and Toni being an ass and me not wanting to be the laughingstock on the set.

“Yeah, I’m…I shouldn’t have jumped on him but…that’s how we greeted each other sometimes and I just went stupid and relied on muscle memory instead of thinking it through.”

“You all have so much chemistry. I can’t believe you all haven’t been with one another.”

“He was practically engaged to Toni by the time I even started thinking about things like that.”

“Yeah, but the sexual tension is off the charts.”

I frown, “What? No! We’re just friends.”

“He had his hands full of your ass.”

Did he? “Yeah, I am sure that was not on purpose at all. He probably thinks of me as nothing more than a little sister if anything other than a co-worker.”

“He didn’t move you until he sat you down.”

“Whatever.” I shut her statements out and force myself to relive ‘Toni’. Nothing will kill hope like that woman.

Once I'm sure of where Crew is going to be I finally start moving closer to listen to the director.

“Okay everyone, we’re going to be doing some soft promo stuff with the whole cast. If we could have the actors come over here, please and thank you.”

I follow behind until I can make sure I am on the opposite side of Crew. The director wants us all to squeeze into the picture and there are more people than I thought would be here.

“Let’s have some of the women sit on some of the guys’ knees to get a tighter shot.”

I’m moved so that I am sitting on the knee of my co-star, Grant Goodman. He’s supposed to be my boyfriend in the movie but he doesn’t prefer girls in real life when he dates, so I feel completely comfortable sitting on him and not having to worry he’s going to think it means something it doesn’t. It’s nice to be able to relax and smile genuinely for once.

“Hey, aren’t you Everett Bloom?”

I turn to look at the photographer who addressed me. “Um, yeah.”

It’s been a while since someone recognized me and I’m not used to being the center of attention any longer.

“Let’s put you on Crew’s lap so people see the two of you together again.” He smiles like this is the best idea of his life as my stomach plunges.

“Oh, but…he’s my,” I pat Grant, “onscreen boyfriend in the movie.” It does no good as I am pulled from one lap and put in another. But this one isn’t like the one I just left. This one means something to me and leads straight to heartache if I let it. Damn my luck after all.