Dinner with Lou couldn’t come fast enough. Linus had left her on her own for breakfast, thankfully, but she could practically feel his anxiety swarming through the loft as he waited elsewhere, barreling in the moment she put her fork down, buzzing hard enough she thought he might explode.
“I take it you found Lou’s directions,” Debbie smirked. Poor kid. He was probably used to waiting hand and food on celebrities who couldn’t give a damn what his name was or what he wanted out of life. She knew Lou was the furthest thing from that. And if he truly was solely Debbie’s, he was in for the culture shock of his life.
“Ms. Miller left me a list—well, you know that. I mean, the list is more for things for us both to do. We could go over it if you like?”
“Please,” Debbie smiled, motioning to the empty chair beside her as Linus teetered nervously in place. “You can sit down. I’d rather you would actually. You’re making me sweat with all the pacing. Take a breath. Eat something.”
“Oh, I couldn’t. I—“
“Please,” Debbie repeats, chuckling at him as she pulled back the chair, offering her hand out to take the list, grinning at Lou’s messy scrawl. “Get some food in your stomach. As your apparent boss, I insist on it. Let’s see what Blondie’s thinking for us today.”
Linus gave her another look, just to be sure, before her slowly started to break into the spread, excitedly talking with his mouth full while Debbie’s wide eyes glazed over the list.
“A publicist? Really?”
“There’s stars next to the must haves but not all of them are necessary. Like a nutritionist for example.”
“A nutritionist,” Debbie grumbled. “That’ll be a cold day in hell. Literary agent, make up artist, stylist, hair stylist, jewelry consultant…what the hell do I need all this for?”
“I mean you’re a celebrity now,” Linus shrugged as if it took away the absurdity of it all. “You’ll be on every VIP list that Ms. Miller is on. You’ll be invited to every premiere and red carpet and preview that she is. And then you’ll have your own affairs. Interviews about what you like to do. Something you and I should also take a stab at today. I know you owned a bookshop. Do you write? Do you edit? We could call some publishing houses. And there’ll be interviews about I don’t know what’s your favorite Lou Miller song? What’s it like being engaged to a celebrity? You know the gist. They’ll probably want you to work with a fashion house. Or be the face for a fragrance. Or—“
“This is insane,” Debbie shook her head. “You know that, right? This fame isn’t mine. I’m just Joe Shmoe. It’s Lou’s fame. Her talent. I just…”
“Are the missing piece to her love life that everyone’s been talking about,” he smiled dreamily. “The subject of her hit surprise song. Her future wife. Whatever life you had before, it’s tripled. Quadrupled. You’re famous, Ms. Ocean.”
“Debbie,” she reminded him. “I’m just Debbie.”
“Not anymore,” he grinned, chewing happily.
The words stuck with her throughout the day. And it didn’t help that she was picking and choosing what staff she wanted to have so that Linus could get them onto Lou’s payroll. Or that he was keeping track of brands and promotions she liked and people she’d be interested working with.
She didn’t know what career she wanted. What interviews she should do. Did she need a stylist? Should she use a nutritionist?
She wanted to run away. She wanted things to be simple again. But she couldn’t. She wanted Lou. She wanted to run straight into her arms. This was simple. Choosing Lou was simple. But now everything was so vastly complex.
She had decided to clear her head. To try her hand at shopping as a distraction. A new date night outfit would do her some good. But that was how she learned she had a chauffeur. And that Lou had booked her private time at a selection of shops with pre-selected outfits. And that Linus liked to talk a lot. And help a little too much. And that wasn’t this showroom a bit hot and this dress material was a little thick and couldn’t she just get a glass of water and—-Darkness