Gettin' Lucky at Lucky Red

Lucky Red was loud and crowded, and Rome wished he hadn’t bothered to come out at all. Even after a couple of beers, he wasn’t feeling any more relaxed.

“Would you lighten up?” Mark urged him. “Come on, man. Rosa’s looking hot tonight. She keeps smiling at you, and you’ve only got eyes for your beer.”

Rome looked over at Rosa. She was hot. Long, red hair, and legs that never ended. She was definitely someone he’d be interested in getting to know better--if it weren’t for that phone call earlier. All he could think about was Ella. He’d even looked around the club, wondering if any of these girls could be her. But none of them looked like the picture he had of her in his mind. Dark hair, wide eyes, a beautiful smile…. No, he had a feeling his Ella wasn’t here tonight.

“You should at least get up and dance,” Bart said, nudging him with his shoulder. “I need a wingman.”

“You are a wingman,” Mark joked. “You’ll never be the main dude.”

“Bite me,” Bart shot back. Then he looked around. “I could get that brunette over there easy.”

“There’s a ton of famous dudes in here. Brah, you’re a photographer. What the hell would she want to do with you?”

Rome checked the girl out for Bart. She wasn’t that pretty. “He could get her easy.” He took another drink of his beer.

“Good. Then come talk to her friend.” Bart was practically begging now.

The friend was a blonde. When she turned around, Rome realized he knew her. It was the blonde girl who lived in his apartment complex. She saw him looking and waved. He averted his eyes. The last thing he needed was for her to come over and start chatting him up. “No can do, brother. I know that chick.”

“Say what now?” Mark asked. “That blonde with the big boobs? You do?”

“Yeah. She lives in my complex.”

“Well, come on then. Introduce me,” Mark said, his hand on Rome’s back.

“Nope. Don’t know her that well. Besides, she’s kind of made it obvious she’s interested in me.”

Bart was shaking his head. “You’re saying no to that? What’s gotten into you?”

“Are you still upset that you auditioned for a soap opera today?” Mark asked him before finishing off his beer.

“No. It’s just…. Hell, I don’t know. I think I’m getting too old for this scene.”

“Dude, Bradley Crews is over there. He’s, like, fifty.” Mark was clearly baffled.

“Yeah, and Ryan Reeves is here, too. He’s my dad’s age,” Bart added.

“You two go ahead. I’m gonna finish my beer, and then I might go home.”

“You are such a loser. I’m going in.” Mark wiped his mouth on a napkin and headed over to the blonde and her friend, but Bart stayed behind.

Glancing up at his friend, Rome could see he was truly concerned. They’d known each other since grade school. Bart’s dad, a famous cinematographer, owned the mansion next to Rome’s family’s place, so they’d spent a lot of time together. Now that Rome no longer lived there, and Bart had taken the guest house, they still made time for each other a few nights a week. Rome had always thought of Bart as the brother he never had.

“What’s going on, Rome? I haven’t seen you like this since your dad chewed you out for being in that movie marketed by Sinders.”

“That was only a few months ago, Bart,” Rome reminded him.

“I know. But you’re rarely in a mood like this. What’s going on?”

Rome shrugged. “It’s nothing. I just don’t feel like trying to hook up tonight.”

“But why? Did something happen?”

Rome didn’t really want to get into it. He figured it would sound stupid saying out loud. But if anyone would understand, it would be Bart. “Okay, so when I called Mark earlier, I dialed the wrong number. I got… this girl. We started talking. She sounded really… cool.”

Bart was quiet for a few minutes. “And?”

“And… I don’t know. I just sort of liked her, that’s all.”

“So… did you ask her out?”


“No? Why not?”

“Hell, I don’t know. I don’t even know what she looks like. I just know she had a really nice voice. And her name is Ella. She’s twenty-two. She lives in LA now, but she lived in France for a long time. She works for customer service for Sinders.”

“Sinders?” Bart repeated. “As in Lloyd Sinders?”

“Yeah. What are the chances, huh?”

“Dude, you can’t date someone who works for Lloyd Sinders. Your dad will kill you.”

“Like he will find out where my girlfriend works. Only if I tell him. Besides, she can always get another job.”

“What if she likes her job? Or… no, never mind.” Bart stopped talking and took another drink of his beer.

“What?” Now, Rome had to know what he was going to say.

“It’s nothing. It’s stupid.”

“What?” Rome demanded, pulling on his friend’s shoulder.

“It’s just… have you heard the rumors that Lloyd Sinders had a daughter with his first wife, one that he sent away after she died? I know he’s got those two slutty stepdaughters with that washed-up model wife of his now. But, I’ve heard he had another daughter with that beautiful French model who died a few years after he married her. What was her name? Chantel Bisett.”

“Wait--wasn’t she Tim Bolt’s aunt?”

“Yeah. His mom’s Chantel’s sister. Her name’s Genevieve Bisett Bolt, right?”

“I think so. She was in a few movies when she was younger. So… you think the Ella I was talking to today might be Tim Bolt’s cousin? Shit, man. You know that guy hates me.” Rome shook his head, wishing he had a fresh beer.

“He hates you because you’re a Verona. You’re your father’s son. He’s part of the Sinders clan. He hangs out here sometimes. We should see if we can find him, ask him if he has a cousin named Ella.”

“Sure, so he can punch me in the face. No, thanks, Bart. I have an audition in a few days. For a movie--not a soap opera. I’d just as soon not have a black eye.”

Bart chuckled. “I’ll just send Mark then.”

“Ha! Mark Hutio hates Tim because once, when the three of us were on an audition, Tim told him it looked like his stage makeup had been painted on by a whore--or his mom--same difference. Mark almost decked him right there in the audition room.”

Laughing, Bart covered his face with one hand to keep beer from shooting out his nose. “I can totally see that. Mark is such a hot head. He’s going to get himself into real trouble with that fighting one of these days.”

“I agree. And Tim’s not any better. No thanks, man. I’ll just call Ella myself and ask her her last name. That’ll work.” With that Rome finished his beer.

“Right now?”

“Hell, no. I only have her work number. I seriously doubt she sleeps in her office.”

“True. Okay. Well, I’m gonna go see about that brunette now. It looks like Mark’s making progress with your blonde bimbo.”

“He can have her. I’m out.” Rome waved at Mark and headed out of the bar, wishing he could call Ella right then. He should’ve asked her out. Hopefully, she was the only one who answered that particular number, and he could talk to her tomorrow. He was dying to know what she looked like, what she liked to do in her free time, what she smelled like. And he wanted to make sure she wasn’t really a Sinders. That would be a problem….

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