Stuart leaned against the doorframe, his head turned to his left, smiling, one hand in a pocket and the other holding a hat. He was at a friend’s villa where he was to be interviewed by Jacqueline Moore, a staff writer for Cosmos Magazine. They were doing a spread on him. Before the interview, he had a photo shoot which lasted for about half hour.
“And, we’re done,” Haven Barrera, the photographer said when they were done. “Thank you, Mr. Kinemann.”
Stuart smiled as he stepped outside. “I should be thanking you,” he said as they shook hands. “I can safely say that this is one of the best photo shoots I have been on.”
She smiled. “Oh, thank you so much.”
“Have you been working long at Cosmos?”
“Actually, I’m a freelance photographer. Cosmos is one of my clients. I reached out to them every month to find out if they had any photo needs and they told me about the article they are doing on you. So, I asked if I could do the shoot and they said yes. I was so excited. I’ve read all of your books. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve brought them so that you could sign them.”
“Will you be sticking around until after the interview?”
“Good. I’ll sign them then.”
“Thank you.” She packed up her gear and excused herself.
He went back inside the villa and was taken to the lanai where the interview was to take place. The interviewer, Jacqueline Moore greeted him warmly and after chatting with him for a while, she turned on her recorder. The hour went by very quickly. “Thank you for your time,” she told him.
“I hope we can do a follow up interview before Lost in Lava Swirls has been released in the movie theaters.”
He smiled. “Just contact my agent and she will set something up.”
“Thank you. I will. Goodbye, Mr. Kinemann.”
“Goodbye, Ms. Moore.” He left the lanai. Outside, he ran into Haven Barrera. They found a bench where they sat down as he signed the books.
“Thanks again,” she said when he was finished.
“Are you free for lunch?” she asked.
“I’m afraid not but thanks just the same. Goodbye, Ms. Barrera.” He smiled and walked away.
On his way to his car, he called Shandra. “I’m on my way.”
“How soon will you be here?”
“In about half-hour.”
“The food will be here by the time you come.”
“All right. See you in half-hour.”
Half-hour later, he was in her apartment and they were sitting on the terrace, having Ted’s Montana Grill burgers. His was the Green and Hot and hers was the homemade veggie burger with fries. “This burger is so good,” Shandra said. “Yours looks good too.”
“It tastes good too.”
“Maybe, I’ll have it next time. So, how did your interview with Cosmos go?”
“It went very well and the photo shoot too.”
“Who interviewed you?”
“I read her interview of Kayden Reid. It was very good. What’s she like in person?”
“Professional and pleasant. She wants to do a follow-up interview with me before Lost in Lava Swirls has been released in the movie theaters.”
“Did Natalia go with you?”
“Of course not. She would have accused me of flirting with Haven Barrera.”
“Was she pretty?”
Shandra made a face. “One of those blonde, leggy types?”
“No. She was a brunette with a nice tan.”
“Very funny. What exactly happened at that photo shoot?”
“Nothing. It lasted for half-hour and afterwards, we chatted for a bit. After the interview, I sighed her copies of my books. She said she has read all of them.”
“And what happened after you autographed her books?”
“She asked me if I was free for lunch and I said I’m afraid not but thanks just the same.”
“You want to tell me that she didn’t know that you have a girlfriend?”
“I’m sure she knows.”
“Yet it didn’t stop her from wanting to take more than your photos.”
“She asked if I was free for lunch, Shandra, not if we could go back to her place.”
“Maybe she would have gotten around to that if you had gone to lunch with her.”
“I wouldn’t have gone to lunch with her and you know it.”
“I guess not.”
“If I didn’t know better, I would say that you’re jealous.”
“I am not.” He was right. She was jealous but she wasn’t about to admit it–especially not to him.
He smiled. “Thanks for lunch.”
“You’re welcome.” She got up, took up the dirty plates and glasses and left.
He got up and stood at the rail, looking off in the distance. Then, he went inside and sat down on the sofa.
When she rejoined him, she sat on the pouf with her legs drawn up. “So, where are you taking Sophie, her husband and me for dinner on Saturday?”
“Oh. I’ve never had Persian food before.”
“If you like Mediterranean food, you’ll like Middle Eastern food.”
“Then, I’m definitely looking forward to going because I love Mediterranean food.”
“And here I thought you were looking forward to having dinner with me.”
She smiled. “I am.”
A couple of hours later, he glanced at his watch. “I have to go.” He rose to his feet. “I have to meet with Lorna.” Lorna was his literary agent.
She got up as well and followed him into the foyer. “‘Bye, Stuart,” she said as she opened the door.
“‘Bye, Shandra. I’ll see you on Saturday.”
“Yes.” She leaned against the door frame and watched him as he walked away.