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Persona (The 'Professional' series), page 1

 

Persona (The 'Professional' series)
 


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Persona (The 'Professional' series)


  Persona

  (Book 1 – ‘Professional’ series)

  By Ceri Bladen

  Copyright © 2012 by Ceri Bladen

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author: [email protected]

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. The author acknowledges the trademark status and owners of various items used by the author, which have been used without permission. The publication on/use of these trademarks is not authorised, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

  This ebook is for personal use only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Acknowledgements

  A huge thank you to my husband, Marc, and children, Caitlyn, Thomas and Daniela, for supporting me and letting me have time in my imaginary world!

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 1

  She faltered over the button. After the moment of hesitation, she pressed ‘send’ on the text and felt the relief flood through her.

  She hadn’t sent him a text in a while. She had been feeling depressed and hadn’t wanted to frighten him with her dark thoughts.

  As she looked blankly out of the window, she twisted a strand of hair between her fingers and bit her bottom lip. It bled.

  He had been a good boy lately, not too many women. She did love him after all. One day he would love her…

  Chapter 2

  Bored, bored, bored.

  Daniel Spittle couldn’t remember the last time he was this bored. He moved his eyes around the room to search out his friend, trying to keep his forced pose for the photographer. “Hey Eric, tell me again why my agent said this photo shoot was a good idea?”

  Eric Spalding, Daniel’s best friend since school, grinned as his friend looked uncomfortable. “Your last film was a hit, but it was a while ago. You need to keep that ugly mug of yours in people’s minds?”

  “Why don’t you write me a film script then? You’re supposed to be a writer.” Daniel light-heartedly hissed through gritted teeth.

  Eric smirked, knowing his friend was pulling his leg. “I keep telling you, I am an author, not a script writer. Completely different. Now come on, pay attention, your photographer calls!”

  Daniel forced himself to pay attention to the photographer again. He was hoping the look was the smouldering one that the photographer wanted, not one that looked as though he was in pain, which he was.

  He had endured, and to Daniel, it felt like enduring, hundreds of photos taken throughout his career. Some were professional shoots, many more were the paparazzi taking shots of him coming out of clubs with his latest squeeze. The camera always gave his face and body justice, he was naturally photogenic, but he still did not feel comfortable sitting and posing for staged photos. Daniel sighed, no doubt, the prints would be photo shopped to the hilt after.

  He was a professional actor, but it still took him outside his comfort zone to pretend to make love to the camera. It wasn’t a woman for goodness sake! Christ, he had no trouble with women, he had plenty of them, but looking into the camera as though it was a woman wasn’t his thing. Daniel looked towards the camera and tried to concentrate on getting the job done efficiently, so he could leave as quickly as possible. At last the photographer seemed happy with what he had.

  Daniel walked over to the coffee pot that was in the corner and poured himself a tepid cup, it looked like thick molasses. At least it would fire his system.

  He rolled his shoulders and stretched his neck, hoping that some of the tension would disappear. Over the rim of his plastic cup, he watched the photographer look at the shots on his camera, smiling. Good, it looked as though the job was over, the last thing he wanted was to sit through that again. He would have to have a word with Mz Alice Hall, his agent, there must be other ways to keep his face in the public domain.

  Eric started flipping through Daniel’s mail on his phone. “Ah, Stalker X is back!” he laughed. “I thought she had grown bored of you! You haven’t had a text from her for about a month!”

  “What has she got to say this time?” Daniel continued to take off the studio clothes, not that there were many of them, as the photographers always seemed to want his ‘six pack’ on the photos as much as possible. Daniel shuddered as his previous waxing session was remembered. He personally liked his chest hair, but it had to come off for photographs, or when he was filming.

  “She is in a good mood this time! She is on about your blue eyes that I want to drown in, and this is a good one, she would love your hot, hard body to squash her into her mattress!” Eric carried on reading the rest of the text. “Wow, she is hot for you at the moment! Last month, she wanted to claw out your wandering eyes and feed you until you become fat, if I remember correctly!”

  Daniel sat down and pulled on his comfortable, leather Timberland boots. “Yep, she’s a weird one at times. Let’s hope I never meet her, especially down a dark alley, I wouldn’t know if she wanted to kill me or jump me!”

  He shook his head. Luckily most of his fans were great, but most stars had to deal with the slightly deranged at times. ‘Stalker X’, as Eric had named her, seemed harmless enough. It all came with the territory of fame and looks. Some people thought they had a right to have a bit of you. Some thought they knew you, even though they only knew the characters you played on screen.

  Daniel recognised that he was born with good looks, he worked hard on his body too, but sometimes, when he was alone in bed, he was plagued by the thought that he would not be experiencing this fame if he didn’t look like he did. It was not a comfortable thought. He was really a nice, genuine person, but in his line of work, that was usually seen as a fault.

  Over the years, when he was in the public domain, he had developed a persona, an alter ego, mainly to protect himself. He had fooled people into thinking that he was a certain way, a womaniser, a player. Hell, it seemed to get you further in this business to come across as slightly arrogant, weaknesses were not readily tolerated. Only Eric, his best friend since school knew him properly, the only person, other than his family, he allowed close to him.

  Daniel smiled to himself as he finished the last of his coffee; there were plenty of good sides to fame too. The women! There seemed to be an endless supply. Some were only with him because both sets of agents thought it would be good for their public image, but others, well. He couldn’t say that he didn’t enjoy making love to them whenever he could; he was a man after all!

  Only when he was alone, very occasionally, did the re
alisation flit through his mind that he might want more than just a gorgeous, flawless body under him, he might want marriage. A shudder went down his spine. Or perhaps he didn’t!

  “Come on Eric. Let’s get out of here before he makes me wear that!” He nudged Eric, laughing as he pointed to a tiny, leopard print thong hanging on a peg.

  Chapter 3

  “Hi Lindsey, is Alice ready to see me yet?” Daniel strode into his Agents outer office.

  Alice or Mz Hall, as she liked to be called, had phoned him asking for him to come in and see her. She had something lined up that he might be interested in. Anything other than another modelling shoot would suit him at the moment.

  Lindsey looked up from her typewriter, a flush rising into her cheeks. “Mz Hall will be about five minutes. Would you like a coffee?”

  “Sure darling. My usual, strong and creamy.” Daniel watched as even more colour rose in the secretary’s face. Daniel sighed, you would think after nearly ten years with the same agent, the secretary would have got past being embarrassed when he entered the room.

  He watched her as she poured the coffee from the pot, which was shaking slightly in her hand. Her straight brown hair fell in front of her face and she pushed it back behind her ears, which were already holding the arms of her glasses. She reminded him of a terrified mouse in her tweed, brown suit.

  What was she, about mid-twenties? Why on earth was she wearing that frumpy suit? He had an idea. Perhaps he would send her a more fashionable one when he was next dragged shopping by Cassandra. Cassandra, his girlfriend, would be able to pick a nice suit for her. She certainly had enough practise!

  Lindsey’s hazel eyes met Daniels as she handed him his coffee. He was slightly annoyed to see her lowering them immediately. What was it about him that made women either come on strong or be in such total awe that they were like frightened animals?

  Daniel’s agent’s voice suddenly broke the silence over the intercom. “Is Daniel there yet? Send him in please. Could you finish typing up that agents’ contract if you haven’t. I would like to send it out tonight? Thanks.”

  “You can go in now Mr Spittle.” Daniel noticed she still had her eyes averted from his, he sighed as he opened the door, trying not to spill his coffee, which was in the other.

  “Well, hello darling!” He put on his megawatt smile. “You are looking good today! You look so much younger than even the other week! Come on, what have you had done?”

  “Still a smooth one!” Alice mumbled but smiled anyway. “Well, actually, I have had a little filler here and there. Agents have to look the part too you know. Anyway enough about me, I wanted to see you as I had an enquiry yesterday about you.” She indicated for him to take a seat in front of her desk.

  “Absolutely Magazine would like to do an article about you. Usual type of stuff for their readers. They want one of their writers to follow you for a while. To get to the real Daniel Spittle.”

  “Really?” Daniels spirits flagged. He had hoped his agent had something exciting for him to do. “Why does someone have to trail me? Surely there is enough written about me already? They can just change it all around, put in a couple of photos and, hey presto!”

  “Nope, sorry. They were adamant that they wanted a reporter to follow you for a couple of months actually. They want to get past the, quote, drop dead gorgeous looks and body, womanising ways to get to the real Daniel Spittle that the public doesn’t get to see, unquote.”

  “But who is to say that isn’t me? I am a womaniser, aren’t I?” A large wicked grin was splitting Daniel’s face.

  “Daniel, love. I know what the public know about you, but I also know that most of it is an act. You are an intelligent man, perhaps it is time for everyone to get past your looks and see a different side to you. How old are you now?”

  “Twenty eight.”

  “Yes, well one day, you might not be able to rely on that face and body.

  I just think this is the right time, right opportunity for you to get out to the public that you are more than the outside package. I also think that Absolutely Magazine is the right one to do it. It is ‘middle of the road’ and reaches the masses. Now, it is entirely up to you of course, but I advise you to do it.”

  Daniel huffed and crossed his jean clad legs at the ankles. “Who is going to be cramping my style then?” His look was direct and slightly brooding.

  “Let me look.” Alice searched thought the stack of papers on her desk. “A lady called Ella Hender.” Alice looked up in time to see the smile forming on Daniel’s face, his previous annoyance quickly evaporating.

  “Young?” he enquired.

  Alice sat back in her seat, tapping her finger tips together. “Now Daniel, try to be yourself. Don’t treat her like all those other women. She is not a date, she is a professional reporter. Got that?

  Now off you go now. I have another appointment in five minutes. Lindsey will send you the information, times, everything that you need.”

  Daniel rose from the chair and picked up his empty coffee cup. “I won’t do anything but treat her with the upmost respect!” Daniel laughed. “How old is she? You didn’t tell me,” he asked as he reached out to open the door.

  “Go on out of here!” Alice tried to hide her snigger. “She is about sixty!”

  “Ooh, an older woman, nice!” Daniel ducked as Alice threw a pencil at him.

  As he exited the building, Daniel took in a big lungful of fresh air and spotted Eric patiently waiting for him in his convertible.

  He started to stride over. He could not wait to get home as it had been a long boring day so far. Before he made it to the pavement, he was stopped by a couple of giggling schoolgirls, waiting for his autograph. Daniel made sure they got their autographs, and a kiss on their cheeks. He watched them giggling and hugging each other as they walked away down the street. He had to keep the fans happy!

  He slipped into the car seat. “Hey Eric, get me home. I could do with a nice steak and glass of wine. Mind you, after today, make that a bottle of wine!”

  “Good job I went shopping when you were in there with Mz Hall,” Eric put emphasis on the Mz. “And I got steak! You can cook it though, you know I cremate anything I put near heat!” Eric looked in the car mirrors and moved the clutch into gear.

  “I wouldn’t let you anywhere near my steak. I don’t like the taste of burnt leather! Hey I’m the star. Aren’t you supposed to be useful and cater to my needs?” Daniel gave a throaty laugh, they always liked jesting about their supposed roles. “What happened to those cooking lessons I arranged for you?”

  “I burnt too many things! You are such a good cook. Besides, you have a cleaner who always brings us food. Why do I need to cook? What did old battle axe want anyway?”

  “Alice isn’t a battle axe, Eric. She is just ultra-organised and just a tad pushy at times! Absolutely Magazine want to do a write up on me, a Day in the Life of Daniel Spittle.” He pulled a face. “They are sending over a writer tomorrow to follow me around for a couple of months. I cannot wait!” he muttered sarcastically.

  He put on his seatbelt and leaned back to close his eyes. He did not relish the thought of someone trailing him. He liked to leave his persona outside his house. When he went home, it was to be the real Daniel Spittle, and the last thing he really wanted to do was to keep the façade going for twenty four hours a day.

  “At least they are sending over a woman. Perhaps I can charm her into bed and then they will produce a fantastic write up on me!” He looked sideways at Eric through one open eye.

  “No, don’t you dare!” Eric took his hand off the steering wheel and waved it at Daniel. “It is more likely that you will get bored after you have slept with her, she will become bitter, then you will have the worse write up ever!” Eric tried to look horrified, while stifling a chuckle. He knew his friend was only joking.

  Daniel chortled and then closed his eyes for the rest of the short journey.

  He heard the indicators of the car, opene
d his eyes and watched as Eric turned into the driveway and parked the car. He turned back around to grab the shopping Eric had purchased and continued with the previous conversation. “Alice said it is a good time for the public to get to see the real me. I don’t think I really know who the real me is anymore.”

  “Give yourself more credit,” reprimanded Eric. “You are a good, kind, down to earth type of guy.”

  Daniel gave him a pretend punch with his free hand. “Oh stop, you’ll make me cry!”

  “Ha, ha! No, what I mean is, that you are very different from the screen you. Perhaps it will be a good thing for people to realise your needs are not so different from theirs.”

  “Before I became famous, I used to look at my parents and think I wanted the same. Find a good woman, settle down and have a family. Now, I don’t know if that has been buried too deeply somewhere inside.

  I am quite happy meeting and sleeping with all these different women. Nobody has made me think any different in the last ten years, so now I don’t know if I actually do want the family thing. Perhaps, the front I have put in all these years is actually the real me?”

  “You are just around the wrong type of people. Most of the people you know have relationships to please the media, not themselves. They are more interested in their careers than their partners’ happiness.” Eric briefly stopped walking to emphasis his point. “Christ, you have seen it first-hand. So many actors and actresses have affairs when they are away filming. Flying, here and there over the world, while their partner is somewhere else.

  Can you remember what Joan Collins said in that interview with Ruby Wax? She asked Joan if she was unfaithful and Joan replied that she was, but only on location. Then she said that it did not matter when you were on location as everyone was having flings, so wasn’t counted as an affair! It is no wonder you are confused about what you want if you are around that mentality all the time. If you ask me, no wonder most famous peoples’ marriages fall apart.”

 
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