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Brush With Fame

By heatherlloyd1217 All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Mystery

Blurb

Olivia Sterling has been married to Craig for two miserable years. She thinks Craig is trying save their marriage by booking a Vegas trip, but soon finds out he has more nefarious plans. Constant flirting, inappropriate behavior, and secretive absences by Craig during their time in Las Vegas have driven Olivia to her breaking point. Facing the unavoidable end of her marriage from Craig, Olivia has a chance meeting with Ryan Paxton, one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Suddenly, she has no privacy any more, there are cameras and recorders everywhere, and worse, someone is stalking her. Olivia must decide if she’s strong enough to make it in this brave, new world and if it is worth all the trouble that is happening to her because of this Brush with Fame.

Chapter 1

I’m on a plane headed to Las Vegas, Nevada with my husband, Craig, son to be ex-husband. He gave me the tickets for my 30th birthday and said it was a present for ‘us’. Up until yesterday, I thought this trip was Craig’s way of trying to make our marriage work, bringing it back to what is was…what it should be. Boy, did I have blinders on. I was fantastically wrong about my lying, cheating, deceitful husband.

Now, he has no clue that I know about his, uh, let’s say extracurricular activities. And, yes, I am still on this trip with him. First, I only found out for sure about Craig yesterday so I did not really have time to change my plans. Craig has been so excited about this trip. My best friends, Taylor and Sarah, and I discussed pros and cons of going. We decided I needed to try to find out the reason Craig why has been so excited about going to Las Vegas and why he insisted that I had to come with him.

Regretfully, now I get to be sickened by seeing how excited he is to get to Las Vegas, especially since I know that this trip has nothing to do with me, my birthday, or our marriage. I have no clue what he has planned, but he is amped up about it. He is so jazzed that he doesn’t notice my short, cynical responses. I try really hard to sound normal when I talk to him, but it’s challenging. I am steadily getting more and more pissed off at him.

“Hey babe. You know, I’m going to be…uh… gambling a lot on this trip. So why don’t you go off and do your own thing. You can go shopping, get your hair done and see those shows that you always want to see. You know, all the things that I don’t like,” he smiles. What I wouldn’t give to wipe that smile right off his face. Better yet, punch him in that smile. But not yet. Not until I find out what is going on. But man, this is going to be tougher that I thought.

And now he is trying to plan things to keep me busy, like I am really planning on doing anything with him anyway. My acting skills aren’t that good.

“Sure, Craig. That’s fine with me,” I placate him.

“Sweet! That way we’ll both have fun,” he says completely enthused.

The pilot announces that we are descending into Las Vegas. I look out the window at all the hotel/casinos and ignore Craig. The plane finally lands and we taxi to the gate.

“Livey, we’re here!!”

God, I hate that nickname. He knows I loth that nickname, yet he still uses it. My name is Olivia, you ass. I roll my eyes. God, his enthusiasm is so sickening. I have to hold back the bile that starts rising from my stomach.

When we stop at the gate and are allowed to leave the plane, we have to walk down a long corridor and go down escalators to get to the baggage claim. By the baggage carousel there is a chauffeur holding a sign with our name on it. Craig walks right went up to him. I freeze and my mouth drops open. What? A limo? Seriously? Uh, this is an extra luxury that Craig would never have thought of. What is he up to? Something isn’t adding up here. I have to think. I wander over to the baggage carousel to look for my suitcases.

Once all our bags are retrieved, the chauffeur leads us to the limo with the Bellagio logo on it. Seriously? We’re staying at the Bellagio, and he’s utilizing the limo service. Bellagio - my favorite hotel. Yeah, something is definitely not adding up here. This is just not something Craig would do, unless he got a package deal. I look skeptically at him again but I don’t say anything. The luggage is loaded into the trunk and we head to the hotel. I turn away from Craig to look out the window. This trip is already full of surprises. I wonder what else is in store for me during this trip.

Once we arrive at the Bellagio, a bellman retrieves our bags for us as we walk into the lobby to check in. A huge, blown glass flower sculpture called the Fiori di Como hangs beautifully in the ceiling of the lobby. And directly in front of me are the botanical gardens. I am excited now. This place makes me happy. I decide that any time I come out to Las Vegas, I will be staying at the Bellagio.

Before I can get in line with Craig to check in, he stops me, nervously tells me that he will check us in. What? Who is this guy and why is he acting so…so gentlemanly? Confused as ever, I agree.

While I wait for Craig to check in, I take the opportunity to call Taylor and Sarah.

“Guys. Sorry for the three-way call, but I don’t have much time and I wanted to talk to both of you. So, get this. He got us a limo to bring us to the hotel. Well, I’m thinking it might have been part of some package deal, because obviously, Craig would never think about doing that. And it’s also not like him to spend the extra money. Anyway, guess what hotel we’re staying at?”

“No clue,” Sarah says.

“Some craptacular hotel?” Taylor asks.

Sarah laughs.

“No. We…are staying…at… the Bellagio.”

“What?!” they both say at the same time.

“Yes, you heard me correctly. We are at my favorite hotel - the Bellagio. When he told me he reserved the hotel and had everything taken care of, I was honestly expecting to stay at some cheap place off strip.”

“That’s what I was thinking, too,” Taylor admits. “I figured that was why he wouldn’t tell you anything else.”

“Exactly.”

“What… Why…” Sarah stutters and then is quiet like she can’t put together the right words.

“That cheap ass wouldn’t spend his money on that luxury,” Taylor hisses.

“Oh, honey. I know. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure it out, but I haven’t thought of a single idea yet. And get this. He asked me to wait and he would check us in, like the perfect gentleman – the attentive husband. Makes me want to puke. He looks so smug right now. I want to say something so badly about his girlfriend just to wipe that smugness off his face.”

“No, don’t do that. You may never figure out what the damn trip is really about. Maybe he stole someone’s credit card or something? Is this really a work thing he’s trying to disguise as a vacation to impress you?” Taylor questions.

I laugh. “Your guess is as good as mine right now. But I don’t think it’s a work thing. And, hell, he wouldn’t be trying to impress me. No reason not to tell me that works paying for it. In fact, he’d be bragging about how awesome his work is because they paid for a trip to Vegas. I’ll let you both know anything as I figure it out. Oh, I’ve got to go. He’s headed back my way.”

I end the call and am putting the phone back in my purse when Craig got to me.

“Who were you talking to?” he asks.

None of your effing business, ass.

“No one. Just checking voicemail.” Not sure why I feel the need to lie, especially since I was just talking to Taylor and Sarah. I guess I feel like I am done with him so I don’t want him knowing anything anymore.

“Ok. Well, here’s your card to the room. You ready to go check it out?” he asks. “The bags will be brought up in a little bit.”

We walk to the set of elevators that will take us to our floor. We are in the main tower. A lot of people are also waiting with suitcases and bags. We all cram in and ride up, stopping at a lot of floors before we finally get to ours.

Finally, we get to our floor. Craig leads the way to our room, about halfway down the corridor. He sticks the card in the door and turns to me. “Ready to see what it looks like?”

I nod trying to look casual. I really am excited to see the room. I have loved the Bellagio since it opened and really wanted to stay here in the past but could never afford it. So, inside, I am eager to see it but don’t want Craig to know.

Craig swings the door open and walks in without holding it open for me. Well, there goes the gentleman acts. I stop the door before it hits me in the face and take a look around.

The room is beautiful. It has a classic feel to it. The walls are a pretty, light gray with white outlines of a geometric design running throughout it with small blue bricks holding the designs together. The headboards - yes, thank God there are two beds – are a gray/taupe, as are the two chairs by the window. The bedspreads are white with the gray/taupe accents. Window curtains match the bedspread. And there are several pillows on each bed. I pick one up and hug it; they are good, plump, fresh pillows.

I walk to the window that overlooks the fountains. This is pure luxury. I allow myself a smile before I put on a neutral face and turn around to face Craig again. But he isn’t paying any attention to me. He’s texting on his phone, of course.

Next, I check out the bathroom next. Wow! It has sand and white marble floors and counters, flowered taupe wallpaper with a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. It is gorgeous.

I am interrupted by a knock on the door, probably our bags.

“Wanna get that, Livey?” Craig asks. He has laid down on the bed and obviously doesn’t want to get up. Or is it just an excuse so I’d have to tip the guy? I let it go, it isn’t worth the fight or frustration it would cause me.

Opening the door, the bellman brings our bags in. I tip him and he leaves. I take a little time to relax, get settled and I freshen up from the trip. Craig is just lying on the bed, texting. I wish he would leave to gamble like he said he was going to do.

I turn on the TV to a local station. The early 4 o’clock news is on. There are reports of burglaries, shootings and famous people in Las Vegas this week - most of them have interviews with this station. Hmm, my friend, Ally, was right. Mr. Hollywood, Ryan Paxton is in town. Ryan is our little group’s current crush. He is the “in demand” actor. He has been in some awesome moves. He is cute, built and single. Very drool worthy.

Interesting. According to this report, he is staying here, at the Bellagio. Maybe I will get to see him and get Ally a picture. We shall see, though usually that type of thing does not happen to me.

“Want to go out for dinner?” Craig asks me.

Huh? He wants to go to dinner? I’m so shocked that he asked that I have no excuses readily available.

“Uh. Yeah, sure. That’s fine,” I reply. It’s only one night. A couple hours at the most. I can handle him for one night, right? Oh God, I probably just cursed myself.

It is a bit early yet, so Craig and I walk around for a little while looking at all the strip has to offer. We end up walking to another casino to eat at one of their restaurants. I eat way too much but it is so good. Craig and I actually have a decent time talking. At one point, I catch him staring at me thoughtfully. I wonder what he’s thinking, but the moment passes and he is back to his old self - winking and smiling at a couple of girls that are seated just a few tables over from ours. When the waiter brings the check, Craig asks if I would pay for it this time. I figure since he set up the whole trip I can at least buy dinner.

We walk around the mall of the casino for a little bit longer. I do a bit of shopping, while Craig complains the whole time. I do my best to restrain my annoyance with him, but he is really grating on my nerves.

Finally, I snap at him, “Then go and do whatever you want to do.”

He just mumbles something inaudible but keeps following me.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only one night that I have to deal with him. He is so flipping annoying. When he isn’t complaining, Craig either acts like we are a happily married couple – even tried to hold my hand at one point, which I promptly pull away from him and asked him what the hell he was doing. Or, he is inappropriately flirting with any and all women in the stores I go into. How embarrassing and degrading. Maybe he’s bi-polar or schizophrenic, with his many different moods and actions.

“What do you want to do now?” Craig asks as we walk out of the building. He is watching a trio of young girls walk into the casino. They must be going to a club because they are wearing dresses that barely cover their asses and have on the tallest heels that I’ve seen in a long time. Funny thing is that I am still taller than them and I am wearing flats.

Craig whistles at them. They giggle a hello to him as they walk past. Oh my God, I see how Craig looks at them - lusts after them. I feel that bile rising in my stomach again. I am extremely pissed off at this point.

Relax, I tell myself. He is not worth getting myself all worked up. He does not matter anymore. I close my eyes and breathe in, breathe out. Without a word to Craig, I start walking back to the Bellagio.

“Hey, wait up. What are we doing now?” Craig asks again once he’s caught up to me.

“Do you have to do that when I’m around?” I ask as I stop walking and turn to him.

“Do what?” he seems completely oblivious.

I stare at him incredulously. It seems like he genuinely has no idea what I am talking about. Not worth it. “Never mind,” I say, shake my head and start walking again.

“So what are we doing now?” he asks for a third time.

I can get through this, I tell myself. I can do this. Hopefully I just have to deal with him this one night and then the rest of the trip I can relax.

“Good God, Craig. Why are you so needy tonight? I’m going back to the Bellagio to do a little shopping, maybe some gambling,” I tell him, with bitterness flavoring every word. “I’m a little tired from the flight and kind of want to stay close to the room.” And so I can escape from you if I need to, I add silently. “You are free to do whatever you want.”

Back at the Bellagio, I browse around some of the shops; Craig follows me. I decided to go into all the stores at the Bellagio to see how long Craig will stick with me and hoping it will annoy him and he’ll leave me alone.

Most of the shops are upscale stores. Obviously, I am not going to buy anything. I can’t figure out who wears some of this stuff. It sure doesn’t look comfortable. And the price? OMG. I would never, ever spend that much money on one item even if I could afford it or liked it.

Why Craig is following me around? I thought he would go gamble since we are back at the hotel. But no such luck. True to form, Craig flirts again with the sales clerks and other shoppers in each store. My temper is that much closer to blowing as we go into each store. What the hell is with him? Could he give me a little respect? I am right next to him. He wasn’t always like this, so what changed?

We are in one of the souvenir stores and Craig is hitting on the sales clerk, asking when she gets off and what she’s doing after work. You have got to be fucking kidding me. I see the other clerk look at me with sympathy.

That is it. I cannot take it anymore. I have to get out, away from Craig or I am going to hurt him. How dare he treat me this way? What have I ever done to him that would make him act like this towards me? Nothing! I am so mad I can’t even see straight. I feel like I have a red haze around my eyes. I weave my way through displays and racks of cloths, bumping some of the racks out of place. I turn back to see if Craig notices me rushing out. That’s when I crash right into someone in the hall.

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