A/N: Great Googly Moogly I haven't done this in a while… Anyway… Welcome back me. I'm rewriting this story, not because the old one sucked, but because I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands, and because I finally remembered the password to this damnable site. Most of my readers have moved on—that kind of makes me sad, because I made some great friends here, back in the day. Oh well, time for some new ones I guess. Like I said, this is a rewrite of an unfinished story that I had posted on here… oh… at the beginning of the new millennium? It's a future fic (if you hadn't guessed already from the title) and as I've been working on this for a while, I have several more chapters ready to post.
Disclaimers: Yeah… I'm 99 percent sure that Disney's lost the copyright on this show already… but I'm gonna go ahead and give it to them anyway, seeing as the Disney corporation terrifies me. Don't own them, just borrowed them for a while. Rated… strong PG13 for some language, for now, though that is probably gonna change. It's a long one guys, and T/V… cause I'm a sucker for a blonde love story.
It's good to be back -- Makati
"Call me Val"
Lunch breaks at Click! Magazine began precisely at 11:30 AM. On any given day even a minute past the half hour would find the office space deserted as staff members rushed out to grab macrobiotic salads, organic juice smoothies, and quick 30 minute yoga sessions. Today however 11:30 had come and gone unnoticed. Instead, the small office suite was bursting with makeup artists, fashion editors, lighting technicians and hairstylists, all barking out orders in an atmosphere that can only be described as purposeful hysteria. Today was the third of the month, and they were doing the cover.
Amidst these immaculately dressed and the woefully underfed professionals a cluster of bodyguards had positioned themselves around their charge, the up and coming actress that had been handpicked to grace the October issue. At the moment she was smiling demurely at the camera for one last photo before they finally broke for lunch. Val Lanier was the embodiment of everything Click! strove to provide to their readers: sex, fashion, fun, fame… The twenty six year old actress' blonde good looks made her a fan favorite on the hit show "Ward" in which she played a depressed and love struck teenager in foster care. Off-screen, her party girl reputation made her a paparazzi darling, and their attention helped placed her amongst Hollywood's most watched crowd of "it" girls …But back to the scene at hand. The flashbulb exploded with a final poof, and freed temporarily from the glare of the hot lights, she bounded back to her dressing room with an excited cheer. Her stomach growled (not an unfamiliar feeling these days) but she had purposefully ignored the table laden with the low-carb, low fat, whole grain, organic and salad options set out by the magazine's catering service. Instead she retrieved her duffle bag, in which she had hidden a contraband double cheeseburger combo from In 'n Out burger. Feeling much like a drug addict, Val surreptitiously nudged the door to the dressing room closed and unwrapped the greasy mess, but no sooner had she taken a bite when she heard an angry harrumph from behind her. Standing in the (now open) doorway was Helen, her manager, with an angry glare and a dressing-less salad, both of which were presumably for her.
"Congratulations, in one bite, you have consumed your recommended daily caloric intake for an entire day." She scolded, taking the sandwich from her client's hands and tossing it out of the dressing room. The actress pouted and crammed a French fry into her mouth before those too were tossed out into the hallway.
"I'm hungry and you're littering" she muttered petulantly. Helen rolled her eyes and placed the salad in front of her. Raw spinach, pine nuts and dry chicken. The young blonde pulled a face. "Okay, now not so much. Can you throw this in the hallway too?" Helen smiled patiently at her client's childish antics and spritzed the salad with a light coating of fat free dressing.
"We eat to live darling, not for the taste. Now, before you go into the interview I'm going to go make sure the editors have the cheat sheet that the show's publicist drew up. Just answer the questions on the sheet like we practiced, don't get thrown off on one of your tangents and for God's sake don't answer any random questions that reporter tosses at you. Remember what happened to Lacey? Poor dear, she was ambushed by that reporter at People and now the whole world thinks she's an idiot hick."
"She is and idiot hick Helen, why do you think she plays one so well on TV?" Val replied, muttering "southern belle my ass…" snidely in a tone that most bats would have difficulty picking out. Nevertheless, Helen gestured to the still open doorway and shot her a warning glare. It took three charity appearances and a Disney channel special to kill rumors of Val's bitchy attitude, and if the press got wind of another "Ward" catfight, not even a starring role as Snow White would save her from public scrutiny. She regarded her client with a frown. It was her job to scrutinize Val, to find and fix flaws that the press would have inevitably found and exploited themselves, so of course the blonde's increasingly common mood swings and erratic behavior over the past few months had not escaped her notice. Twice in the past 3 months of filming Val had stormed off the set in a fury, only to reappear two or three days later, smiling as the infuriated producer threatened and bullied Helen in her stead, screaming that he wouldn't hesitate to kill her character off once and for all. Her glare softened into something akin to pity as she regarded the petite blonde who was seated cross legged on the carpet in front of her, picking at her salad with a childish grimace on her face. That Val was cracking under the pressure of being Val Lanier was easy enough to figure out. Under the fake smiles and the cheerleader enthusiasm Helen could see the eyelash thin fractures that threaded through her carefully constructed veneer. Turning to walk out of the dressing room, Helen put in a mental note to call Dr. Ramalash for some more valium, just enough to let her client last until the season wrapped.
Hunger won out over attitude, and Val ate the salad. Helen reentered the dressing room to catch her snacking on the leftover pine nuts. "You have an interview with Miss Cleary for the magazine before the last round of pictures." She said, trying not to smirk at the actress' loud groan. With a roll of light blue eyes and a defeated sigh Val allowed Helen to lead her into the fashion editor's office, where they were immediately and eagerly greeted by Miss Cleary herself. At 43 years old, Miss Cleary, or Wendi, as she insisted Val call her, was 20 years older than the average Click! Magazine reader, but nevertheless her energy and enthusiasm, not to mention her wardrobe, matched that of any teenager. She was dressed in pencil thin jeans, a vintage Blondie t-shirt and spoke mostly in exclamation points. Val liked her immediately.
"So glad to meet you! Have they been treating you well in the photo department?" Wendi said breathlessly, thrilled to finally be meeting one of her favorite actresses.
"Oh, yes, the photo shoot is going great, Miss Cleary."
"Call me Wendi."
"Oh, all right Wendi. The photo shoot is going great, but it's a bit tiring. You'd think that after the first few I'd be used to it by now" she laughed. Helen quietly slipped out of the room to give the two women time to chat. Wendi gaped at the beautiful young woman standing in front of her. Barely 26 and yet, here she was, Val Lanier, winner of this year's Emmy award for Best Actress, star of her own TV show, one of People's 100 Most Beautiful People…
"Um, H-have a seat Miss Lanier." She stammered nervously, motioning to the comfy-looking couch resting against the wall of her office. She was met with another brilliant smile from the young actress.
"Please," she giggled, "call me Val."