"What the hell?" Lissa exclaimed as she pulled out her phone. "What should we tell the press tomorrow?"
Lissa nodded as she listened intently on her phone.
"Ok, come by tomorrow morning before filming to help me prepare the public statement."
When Lissa hung up, she turned towards me.
"Rose, we have a problem."
"They think we're dating?" I asked incredulously.
"Read the article," Lissa responded as she handed Rose her phone.
Rose read the article over and shook her head. She had thought they had privacy in their spot at the restaurant, but apparently not. There were pictures of Rose holding Lexa's hand over the table, pictures of the two of them hugging, a picture of Lissa taking the full bill, and then finally a picture of them hopping into the same limo to leave.
'Amid rumors that the pop princess Vasilissa Dagomir was going through a break up with the hunky Aaron Drozdov, she was spotted with a new beau! While Lissa has never publicly admitted an attraction towards women, the chemistry between her and her hot new bodyguard is palpable!'
The article rambled on and on about their 'date' together, and how perfect the two were for each other.
"I'm sorry Rose, I didn't mean for you to get dragged into all of this. I've been to that restaurant so many times without being caught by the media."
"It's not your fault Liss," I replied. "We can clear it all up tomorrow."
Lissa nodded in response. "Alberta is going to help me write up a statement for when I speak with the press. They're going to try to interview you as well so you will have to sit in on our meeting tomorrow." Lissa continued to look at me apologetically, clearly feeling bad about this whole situation.
"If it gets me out of exhausting training in the morning, I won't complain," I replied, doing my best to lighten the mood. Lissa still looked unhappy.
"Lissa, it's not a big deal. While I would obviously rather not have my name and pictures splashed across gossip sites and magazines, there's not much harm that will come of this."
Lissa nodded I agreement. "You're right. I just get so annoyed when the media fabricates stories about me like this. I don't even know how they found out about my break up with Aaron so quickly." Lissa sighed. "We should go inside and get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day."
I woke up early for the briefing with Alberta. The table was filled with different fruits and eggs and breads. I salivated at the sight.
"Dig in," Lissa said with a laugh, and I was quick to oblige.
Dimitri and Pavel were also seated at the table since Alberta had decided it would be in their best interest to know what was going on today.
"I was thinking about the statement, and I think the best approach is to provide only one brief interview. All you will say is that Rose is just a really good friend of yours, and that the two of you aren't dating. If you wish, you may also confirm that you and Aaron have broken up. Once this interview is done, we will rush you inside the studio to continue filming, and will keep you out of the spotlight for the next few days." Alberta paused for a moment. "This story is actually a very good thing for your publicity though. My strategy is to get the attention off of you since I know you don't like being reported on in the media. But as your manager, I must tell you that all attention is good attention in your line of work.
"You are correct in assuming that I don't want the media attention on me," Lissa replied quickly. "We will go with your first plan of providing one brief interview that denies all allegations. I do not want to give the media or public the idea that my personal life is their business."
"Say no more." Alberta replied. "It is my job to oblige to your wishes. Rose, you don't have much experience with the media, so you must be very careful. All you should state is that you are nothing more than a good friend to Lissa. If they ask you any other questions, do not answer them."
I nodded my agreement. I had absolutely no desire to give them any information about myself anyways.
Too soon, we were pulling up to the filming studio, and the paparazzi were swarming the place. Pavel got out of the car first, and walked in front of Lissa and I, while Dimitri walked behind us. I hated this. I was supposed to be the bodyguard, not the one in need of one.
Lissa took a quick look around, and led our group towards an interviewer. I figure that she must know this particular woman from something.
"Vasilissa, would you provide a quick interview for Moroi magazine?" She asked excitedly. The woman had clearly hit the jackpot, being the one who Lissa had walked towards.
"Of course Natalie," Lissa replied with a large smile. Her head was held up high and her words were spoken so clearly and cheerfully. Lissa was definitely putting up her celebrity face.
"Thank you so much for your time! I know you must be busy, but I really appreciate you being here." Natalie gushed. I silently groaned impatiently. It was already obvious that she was a rambler.
"Well to get started then-" Natalie began. "Are the rumors true? Is Rose Hathaway your new girlfriend?"
Lissa chuckled softly as she shook her head. "No, Rose is just a really good friend of mine. She's like my sister."
Natalie frowned. "So there is no romance with her? What about Aaron? Are you two still together?"
Lissa shook her head again, but tactfully removed the smile from her face. "Unfortunately, it is true that Aaron and I are broken up. We are still great friends, but weren't meant to be."
Natalie nodded as she scribbled down some more notes. "Do you have any other romantic interests now that you and Aaron have split?"
"I decline to comment," Lissa answered.
"Everyone is dying to know Lissa. Could you at least give our readers any hints?"
"I decline to comment," Lissa replied again. Her tone was not rude, but it did hold a clear sense of authority. Lissa was not changing her mind.
"We won't twist your words Lissa, you can trust me." Natalie replied.
"She said she declines to comment," I replied with frustration, urging Lissa to head in to the studio, but she shook her head and gave me a look telling me to calm down.
"Rose," Natalie began as she turned towards me. "How did you become so close with Lissa?"
"It's none of your business. This interview is over."
Natalie's eyes widened for a moment at my tone, but she recomposed herself as she started scribbling down some more notes. This angered me. What could she possibly have to say about me?
Natalie looked back up at us and was silent for a moment. Her eyes flickered back and fourth between Lissa and I as she calculated her next move. Why wouldn't Lissa just let us leave?
When Natalie's looks became borderline creepy, I snapped. "Do you and your readers like what you see? Then take a picture, it will last longer. We're leaving!"
"Rose!" Lissa exclaimed as I walked away. How dare Natalie interrogate us like we were criminals?
"Let's go inside Lissa, like Alberta told us."
"Now you decide to listen to Albera," Lissa muttered under her breath as we walked inside.
Once we were clear of the media, Lissa turned to me. "Rose, I know that the paparazzi can be really frustrating, but you have to be patient and composed with them. You just gave them a story to write about. Next time, all you should do is continuously respond that you decline to comment when they ask questions you don't want to answer."
"Why didn't you just leave once you had cleared up the rumors about us?" I asked, still confused about Lissa's behavior.
"Once I agree to an interview, it is not in my interest to walk away from it moments after it begins. I had to at least give Natalie the illusion that she was getting a real interview out of it so that she wouldn't write me up as behaving like a snob."
I shook my head. "I'm sorry Liss, I didn't mean to reflect badly on your image."
"It's fine," Lissa replied. "I will call Alberta and we will come up with a strategy to fix this if it becomes a problem."
Lissa and I were in the hallway leading to her dressing room when we ran into Avery.
"Hi Lissa," she said with a smile, not sparing me even a glance. She is such a bitch.
"Avery," Lissa replied with a smile of her own.
"So you two are together? I'm so happy for you!" Avery said with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"No, we're-" Lissa began but was cut off.
"You should totally ignore the rumors going around about how pathetic it is that you're rebounding from Aaron with someone you hired. Hell, if Rose became attracted to you while watching over you as you changed in your dressing room, then that's no one's business."
"Shut up," I growled in response.
"I appreciate the concern, but Rose and I are not dating. I will see you later for filming." Lissa replied.
When we finally got into Lissa's change room, she slumped down.
"I hate her," She sighed.
"Why did you just take her shit?" I asked. "If I were I your position, her nose would have been broken."
Lissa chuckled. "I know Rose. But I have an image to maintain, and I have to work with her on set still. There's always been tension between us, but we both know that we have to pretend to be friendly."
"It's a good thing that one of you is good at pretending, "I muttered in response.
"Rose, just relax. I have everything under control." Lissa replied calmly.
Once Lissa was ready for filming, I took my normal spot beside Dimitri and Pavel in the waiting room.
After a few moments of silence, I turned towards Dimitri. "Time for one of those zen lessons?" I asked, waiting for him to comment on my earlier behavior.
"If you're going to make it in this line of work, you have to control yourself. You still lack discipline." Dimitri responded firmly. "You are full of potential, but it will never be realized if you continue behaving like a child."
"I'm not a child," I snapped in response.
"I never said you were," Dimitri replied calmly. "But it wouldn't hurt if you would have acted more mature."
Though I wanted nothing more to angrily retort back at him, my words fell as I found myself under Dimitri's disappointed gaze. I knew I had screwed up today, and seeing Dimitri look down on me was making my chest constrict.
"It won't happen again," I replied after a moment.
Dimitri looked a bit surprised that I had dropped the topic, but nodded.
"I care about protecting her." I said, feeling the need to defend myself. "That's why I did what I did earlier."
Dimitri nodded once more. "I know you care. But we will have to work on how you express that."
Once filming was done for the day, Alberta met us at Lissa's. Lissa and her headed to the kitchen to talk, while I headed up to my room. Lissa could brief me on how their discussion went later. Right now, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV with a box of donuts.
I hope you enjoyed it. Some of you guessed correct about what the issue was!
Rose's first real interaction with the media was less than ideal. How do you think her actions will reflect on Lissa?