Cate awoke to the feel of a gentle breeze brushing over her face. She eased one eye open, then the other, and blinked sleepily. Everything was fuzzy, then slowly the room swam into focus. She was lying curled on her side, facing away from the middle of the bed. She lay still, listening for Jon’s breathing behind her. But she didn’t hear him.
She turned her head to look over her shoulder. In the faint light she saw rumpled sheets and pillows, but no Jon. She was alone in the big bed. Cate turned her head back and drew her knees up a little closer to her chest under the soft blue sheet. Where is he? she wondered sleepily.
She could tell from the dim light that it was just before dawn; the sun hadn’t yet crept above the horizon. She shivered as another breeze wafted over her body. Then she realized that the door to the small patio off the bedroom was standing slightly open.
Yawning, Cate pushed herself up on one elbow and looked toward the door. She held her breath as she heard Jon’s voice, intermingled with the soft rush of the waves. She couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, but it was obvious that he was talking to someone on his Blackberry. Cate glanced at the clock and saw that it read 5:13. She wondered who Jon was talking to at this early hour.
Cate yawned again and sank back down against her pillow, snuggling her shoulder back under the sheet as the breeze continued to swirl around the bedroom. She lay quietly, awake but not wanting to get out of bed. Her body was still weary from the long day she had endured yesterday. She let her eyes drift closed again, shutting out the soft light.
Her mind wandered back to the events of the previous evening. It all seemed like something she had observed, not participated in; like she had watched a movie before bed. But it had all been very real. The tension between her and Jon on the range, their duel for control, then the explosion of their passion in the fierce, primal sexual encounter on the hood of the patrol car… it had all really happened.
Then after that, she had almost made a horrifying, deadly mistake when Jon had crept upon her in the locker room. Cate felt a tightening in her stomach as she recalled how sick she had felt when she realized how close they had come to disaster. But then Jon had soothed her conscience and her soul, as they had cleansed and pleasured each other in the steamy shower.
Cate felt little tears form under her closed eyelids as she remembered the look on Jon’s face when he begged her to come back here, to his bed. The raw emotion in his eyes was heartbreaking, leaving Cate defenseless against his pleas. How could she deny him, when she looked into his soul and saw that he needed her?
But she had to try to protect her own heart, too, so she had sworn him to their pact. They would live out the fantasy until Friday, then they would say their goodbyes and walk away without looking back.
Cate sighed against her pillow. Not wanting to think about the end of the week, she started to go over the day’s schedule in her mind. But she was having trouble focusing on the tasks ahead; her heart kept dragging her mind back to the bliss she had felt, nestled in Jon’s arms as he held her through the night. She was wrapped up in the gentle memories when suddenly they were pierced by the sound of Jon’s voice.
“I don’t give a FUCK, Ken!” she heard him swear sharply.
Cate opened her eyes and looked toward the patio doors. Through the sheer curtains that covered the glass panes she could see Jon pacing back and forth across the small deck, holding his Blackberry to his ear. He was bare-chested, wearing only a pair of jeans. She watched him run a hand through his hair, pausing with his hand at the back of his head as he listened. Then Jon dropped his arm to his side as he spoke.
“You tell that Motherfucker that it’s non-negotiable! That’s it, plain and simple!” he barked. He paused for a moment to listen to whatever the man on the other end of the connection was saying. “It’s in my contract. I’m not asking for anything extravagant or unreasonable, here, Goddamnit! In fact, I’m not asking, I’m TELLING them. Either they agree or I fucking walk.”
Jon snorted as his conversant said something else. “Yeah, well FUCK them. This isn’t about some favor, or some grand fucking gesture. I want her. Plain and simple. And if I don’t get her, then they can fucking recast the Goddamn role and lose another two months of production time.”
Cate saw Jon turn toward her and look through the door at the bed. She half-closed her eyes and lay still, not wanting Jon to think he had awakened her. But inside she was wide awake, her heart beating faster as she listened to his agitated rant. What the Hell is he talking about?
It was obvious Jon was talking to someone about his movie role, but what was the problem? Cate felt her heart flip as she recalled his last statement. Is he thinking about dropping out of the movie? Oh my God… Cate felt a little sick as the thought struck her. Oh, Holy Hell… I hope he’s not thinking about giving up this role because of me.
“DAMNIT, Ken!” Cate heard Jon explode. He turned his back to the door and stepped over to the rail of the deck, looking out toward the ocean. “That’s IT! I have everything lined up here. All they have to do is say yes. It’s not about the fucking money, and you know it! And they can threaten to sue me for breach of fucking contract all they want… I have more than enough money to settle any legal bullshit they wanna try to throw at me, and a stable full of fucking high-priced lawyers to eat their Goddamn lunch for them. They’re not gonna pull that intimidation bullshit with me! I’m fucking ITALIAN, for Christ’s sake! Those Motherfuckers don’t scare me!” Jon was practically yelling into the phone now, and Cate could hear him clearly as he swore a blue streak at his caller.
Cate bit back a laugh at Jon’s last statement. Although she wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that infamous Bongiovi temper, she was certainly finding this rather amusing.
She listened more intently as Jon quieted for several minutes, listening except for an occasional “Yep,” “Nope,” or a growled expletive. Her mind went back to his earlier statement: “I want her, plain and simple. And if I don’t get her, then they can recast the role...” Cate wondered to whom Jon was referring.
He hadn’t mentioned working with an actress, though Cate knew from reading the script that there was a female lead who was Jon’s character’s love interest. Maybe they were still negotiating that part.
Cate felt a little stab in her gut as her mind involuntarily flew back to the nightmare she had experienced the last time she had slept in this bed. Her psyche had released her doubts and fears into her consciousness as she slept, in the form of the gorgeous blonde woman in the nightmare. She was the representation of the woman who would eventually replace Cate in Jon’s heart and in his bed, once he moved on from his training here. And just maybe he would find that woman on the set of his movie. Or maybe he already had.
“GODDAMNIT, KEN!” Jon’s shout startled Cate from her thoughts. Her eyes widened, then she quickly half-closed her lids as she saw Jon turn toward the door, looking back into the bedroom to see if he had awakened her. His voice quieted a bit, but lost none of its sharpness. “Do I have to call Brian Grazer myself? ‘Cause I fucking well will, and you know it!” Jon let out an exasperated sigh. “Look, it’s morning here. I gotta go.”
Cate saw Jon again glance toward the bed as he shook his head at whatever “Ken” was saying to him. “I don’t fucking care HOW you do it, just make it happen. And make it happen FAST. If it’s not worked out by tomorrow afternoon, my time, I’m walking. And they can have a good fucking time casting themselves another Goddamn male lead.”
Jon stood still for a moment, listening to his caller, then shook his head again. “Yeah… Yeah, I know. But this is important. Keep me posted.” Jon listened again for a moment, then closed the call with a terse “Yeah, Bye.” He lowered his Blackberry and let out a heavy sigh, then pushed open the patio door and stepped back inside the bedroom.
Cate closed her eyes and lay still, slowing her breathing, not wanting Jon to know she was awake. She felt a little guilty for eavesdropping on his call, but that wasn’t why she didn’t want him to know what she had overheard. It was because whatever he was talking about was going to happen after his time here with her was done. And under the terms of their pact, anything involving what would happen after Friday was a topic that was off-limits.
But what if Friday comes, and he doesn’t leave? Cate thought, her heart giving a hopeful little squeeze. What if he really does quit the movie?