Apologies for such a long delay in updating Taking Steps! Things have been really hectic. I hope you guys like this chapter. Please don't forget to RxR!
~x~ Chapter 69 ~x~
As soon as the door closed and the car continued down the path, a man in a suit was by her side. She didn't show any sign of confusion and simply scanned the carpet in search for Carlisle. As she searched for Carlisle, she flicked a coin between her fingers to help tame her nerves. It was an adaptation to the trick she'd discovered to calm herself thanks to Jared's suggestion back at the Seventeen Magazine photoshoot. TK found herself flicking a coin whenever she got nervous and wanted to calm down. The negative point about such a trick was that it was useless if her nerves flooded above the line.
"Miss Night, Carlisle has been caught in an interview he can't escape. I have been asked to escort you to him," the man explained to her quietly so that only she could hear.
TK realised he must have been one of the many security guards here and instantly relaxed. "Thank you. Please lead the way."
"Allow me to take your coat."
Hesitantly, she handed it to him. She didn't particularly like the idea of someone having to carry something for her, especially a stranger. But in that situation it couldn't be helped.
"You don't need to stop unless you feel comfortable with talking with reporters," he taught her. "Simply walk proudly until you've reached your safe house if that will be more reassuring."
"Did Mister Director ask you to give me a crash course?" she asked politely, tilting her head up so that she could look at him.
"Alexandra did. I've been on stand-by waiting for your arrival with strict instructions to keep you safe and comfortable."
"You know my mum well?"
"I've worked for her many times as a professional guard. My name is Sebastian. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"The pleasure's mine, Sebastian. I would've been so lost and nervous without you here."
"There appear to be some fans screaming your name over there. Do you feel comfortable enough to give autographs if they ask for one?"
"Am I allowed to just smile and wave? Or would that be rude? I don't think my hands are stable enough to write anything."
"Smiling and waving would do just fine if you keep walking. We're approaching the reporters."
"Can I ignore them?"
"Until you reach Carlisle, yes. Both Carlisle and Alexandra said to keep you away from the press if you're on your own."
"Good. I'll just keep walking until I get to either Mum or Mister Director. Do you know if my mum has arrived yet or not?"
"I believe she's around here somewhere. She's either at the centre or further towards the cinema."
"Okay, thanks." TK smiled gratefully at him. "Do you work here in London?"
"Sometimes. I go where my job calls for me to go, usually."
TK stared at him for a few moments longer and couldn't shake the odd sense of recognition she felt. "Have I met you before?" she asked with a politely inquisitive tone.
"Perceptive, just as they said you would be," he chuckled.
"I do know you?"
"You may have heard of me. I'm Carla's older brother."
"Ms. Manager's brother? That means you're Quinny's father!" she gasped.
"That's right. My full name is Sebastian Quinn. I hope Harrison hasn't been rude to you. I know how impolitely he can seem sometimes."
"This is a scarily small world…" she murmured. "Quinny's been great. We taunt and insult each other a lot but that's all playful. Wow… his father's a professional guard… He's not a very good fighter though…"
"I had tried to teach him when he was younger but he always got bored and never paid attention."
"I'll bet he's regretting that now since I can kick his ass so easily."
"Rayne!" Carlisle called out when he spotted her.
Hastily, he finished his conversation with the reporter before striding towards her with a warm greeting smile. "It's a good thing Alexandra called you, Sebastian. I apologise for not being at the car, Rayne."
"Since Sebastian was there, it was okay."
"How are you feeling?"
"I had a small panic in the car but I'm okay now."
"It was the right choice not to let you come on your own." Carlisle smiled in relief.
"Sorry for the trouble." TK apologised earnestly.
"Don't you start worrying about something like that." Sebastian chastised her. "Your duty as a young teenager is to worry us grown-ups regardless of the situation."
"Just what are you teaching my beloved daughter, Sebastian?" Alexandra mused as she approached them.
"Hi, Mum." TK greeted with a small and the two hugged. "I just realised something…" she turned to Sebastian. "When Quinny finds out you know my mum, he might freak and flip out at you."
"Carla had warned me of that." Sebastian laughed. "He wasn't happy that we didn't tell him she knew his idolised director."
"Man, imagine if he auditioned for one of Mum's works in the future! Can you imagine his gobsmacked face?"
"Director Yvanov, Director Blake, Rayne, would you mind answering some press questions?" one of the nearby reporters called out to them.
The three looked at each other and Alexandra sent TK a questioning gaze. TK gave a subtle nod and all four of them approached the woman who had called out.
"Congratulations on yet another film, Director Yvanov. No doubt this will be another box office hit for you."
"I can only hope. We've all worked incredibly hard to make it a hit. I just hope our audience will enjoy watching it as much as we've enjoyed making it."
Now, since you're both here together which is a rare occurrence, there's been a long standing joke that you and Director Blake are competing to try and outdo one another. Is this true?"
There was something sly about the reporter's tone that didn't sit right with TK. She could tell that she was really asking more than her words were expressing. The woman's tone made the question less innocent than it could have been. Because she wasn't too certain of the game the reporter was playing, she chose not to cut in.
"A little bit of friendly competition never hurts anyone if we get to create great works from it." Alexandra replied professionally, already used to these kinds of questions. She caught onto the reporter's game instantly.
"Since our styles are somewhat different, it would be hard to call it a competition." Carlisle added.
"But you are both always producing fantastic hits. Have you ever considered directing a film together?"
"If we worked together, we just might clash heads and kill each other." Alexandra joked.
"But you two are so close. Surely the difference in styles wouldn't affect your relationship to that extent."
"Isn't that the great thing about friendships?" TK cut in before she could hold herself back. The reporter turned to her with surprise glistening in her eyes. "I mean, you clash heads, kill each other a few times, but at the end of the day you're still friends and you might even have learned something from the disagreement."
TK had emphasised the words 'friendship' and 'friends' subtly but blatantly enough that the reporter got the message to back off.
"Kill each other a few times? That's quite an interesting phrase."
"Well, not literally since that would be a crime and against my morals. But a good fight and disagreement isn't bad amongst friends." TK elaborated.
"Thanks for your questions but I'm afraid they must move on ahead." Sebastian jumped in before the woman could ask anything more. He gently ushered TK away with Alexandra and Carlisle by her side.
"Sorry about cutting in like that but her tone just didn't sit right with me. I didn't like the sneakiness of it at all." TK apologised in a low voice so only the three surrounding her closely heard.
"Don't worry sweetheart." Alexandra reassured her. "Carlisle and I don't make that many public appearances together so she definitely tried to jump on this chance. I don't really blame her, she was just doing her job."
"Slowly, you will learn to adapt to that." Carlisle taught her. "You too have had your fair share of questions over the past few days."
"My interviewers asked the questions head-on rather than keeping it vague like that though… I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it if she wasn't being so… snaky about it."
"Unfortunately, that is the way many gossip magazine reporters are like." Sebastian sighed.
"I hope I don't have to talk to those kinds of reporters anytime soon." TK shuddered at the thought.
"Konstantin!" Carlisle called out when he spotted the actor a little further up ahead on the carpet.
At that moment, Konstantin was having a photo taken with some ladies who squealed and swooned. TK couldn't help grinning at that.
"Looks like your fan club is already steadily growing, KJ," she mused.
"As is yours. I've heard your name being hollered a lot." Konstantin retorted.
"Now that you are in safe hands, I think I will get away before my son arrives. I don't want to risk provoking him into causing a scene." Sebastian told them. "Enjoy your evening."
"Thanks again for helping me back there, Sebastian." TK expressed honestly.
"No problem, kid. Try to stay out of trouble and don't kick my son's butt too much. It'll probably hurt his pride. Rayne, I'll leave your coat at in the cloakroom so be sure to remember to retrieve at the end of the evening. See you later, Alexandra, Carlisle."
Konstantin waited until he was out of earshot before speaking. "Who was that man?"
"He's a professional bodyguard, Mum and Mister Director's friend and Quinny's father."
"That tall man is Quinn's father? It seems Quinn might grow even taller."
"Well fancy that, Quinny being even taller than he is now…"
"Sweetheart, reporter alert." Alexandra whispered before the reporter reached hearing distance. She gave her daughter a reassuring squeeze of the shoulder before she and Carlisle moved away to let the reporter do her work. The intent was clear that she wished to speak with TK and Konstantin.
A young lady with a badge saying 'Company Magazine' approached with a friendly smile. "Good evening. If possible, I was hoping to ask you two some questions," she asked politely, directing the question at TK and Konstantin.
Konstantin sent TK a questioning glance to which she just smiled in response.
"Of course, but only if you tell us your name so we know how to address you." TK told her with a friendly tone.
"My name is Vanessa, it's so awesome to meet you both."
"Pleasure to meet you too, Vanessa." TK simply smiled.
"Am I right in saying that this is your first appearance on a red carpet, Rayne?"
"That's right. I've seen on TV and magazines my fair share of them but I've never been on one before. It's a really exciting and nerve wracking experience to be honest."
"Why would you say that?"
"I don't particularly like being surrounded by so many cameras."
"You don't like cameras?"
"Not much, no."
"How do you feel about having people know who you are?"
"It'll take a lot of getting used to. I mean, especially here. There are just so many people who seem to know my name already and the movie hasn't even finished its filming yet… It's a little overwhelming to be honest."
"Do you think you'll ever get used to it?"
"Get used to it? I don't think so. Having so many people know my name and yet I don't know them. It sort of makes me feel odd. Like I should try to get to know them all too."
"So, now we have the possible new fast rising couple in history. We've had the 'Romeo and Juliet' and the 'Bella and Edward'. What kind of effect do you think your relationship is going to have on the public?"
"Our off set relationship would be unlikely to attract public attention since we're just friends." Konstantin replied honestly. "But regarding our characters' relationship, it's quite different to those you've mentioned. For certain it has the element of a forbidden relationship since it's between a student and a teacher."
"With Rose, in comparison to 'Juliet' and 'Bella', she's not inexperienced. Nor is she as innocent as they are." TK added thoughtfully.
"How have your relationship developed throughout the movie? You two must've had to spend a lot of time with each other." Vanessa asked with an innocently curiously tone that made TK smile.
If all reporters were like Vanessa, things would be so much nicer and relaxed, TK thought.
"It would be hard for there not to be a change since we started out as complete strangers." TK answered honestly. "We've gotten close and really gotten to know each other thanks to the amount of time we have together. But as KJ already said, I think our off-set relationship would be pretty boring to the public."
"So this isn't turning out to be one of those fantasies where the lead actor and actress end up hitting it off?" Vanessa asked with a disappointed tone.
"If I wasn't 'Rose', I'm sure that I would've been rooting for the lead actor and actress to get together. But there isn't going to be that kind of development I'm afraid."
"Well, since you two are single, we can still silently hope, right?"
"Rayne!" Karen hollered, disengaging her arm from Harrison's as she sped towards the other girl.
TK beamed and hugged her. "Hey, Kaz. You look gorgeous!"
"Thanks, Rayne. You look pretty awesome yourself." Karen giggled.
"You look normal, Rayne, as in not freaking out." Harrison mused.
"That moment has been and gone." TK scoffed.
"Have you guys had a good day?"
"Luckily, the weather has been kind to us." Harrison sighed. "Have you seen your mum yet?"
TK laughed and shook her head in exasperation. "Trust you to be the one to ask me that."
"It's a perfectly normal question," he protested indignantly.
"Yes, I have seen her. She walked off with Mister Director just a moment ago."
Before he responded, he noticed a young lady wearing a press badge lingering by them and sent her a charming smile. "Sorry, we just cut into your interview, didn't we?"
"Don't worry, I've been told that it happens at informal interviews. Would you mind if I asked you and Catherine some questions as well?" Vanessa asked politely, returning a sweet and polite smile.
Harrison and Karen shared a glance and she gave a discreet shrug. "This isn't our night since we're just guests but fire away."
"As you four are the main characters of the series throughout, are you excited by the prospect of working with one another over the next few years?" Vanessa inquired. "No doubt the movie will be a great hit."
"We can only hope for now." Karen replied truthfully. "It'd be amazing to work with each other for a few years more. I've gotten to know so many kind people on set."
TK smiled at Karen's response. Although the other actress had a screen name, she was almost no different on screen or off. "I have to say, I never really anticipated joining the industry as an actress but these guys are probably the best co-stars I could ask for as a newbie."
"Seriously, Rayne. You've got to stop sweet talking us like this." Harrison complained playfully. "We just might melt from the sugary comments."
"I can't help speaking the truth, can I?" TK scoffed. "You melting from my sugary comments is highly unlikely to happen with the insults flying around between us so much. In fact, the sugary comments probably balance the whole thing out."
"Catherine and Quinn, I know that this is going to sound a little obtrusive but as a fan, I've been dying to ask since I watched the chat show. Do you think your dating is affected by the characters you play?"
"I'd say it's the other way around." Harrison responded.
"It's a lot easier to display genuine emotion towards each other since we do actually feel it." Karen added.
"I've heard that the main cast team have a pretty gruelling schedule. Does that affect your relationship at all?"
"I've found it quite fun." Harrison chuckled. "It's definitely difficult to have time for proper dates but it's helped us take things slow and to get to know each other properly."
Karen smiled softly at him and gave his hand a squeeze. "Not to mention, the scenery around us is actually really spectacular. Thanks to that, we haven't really been that affected by the fact that we haven't had a lot of proper dates."
"Please excuse me for a moment." TK piped up before walking around the group towards where she'd spotted Kelly, James and Jake. "Guys! Over here!"
Jake's heart was caught in his throat when he saw her beaming relaxed smile. His eyes trailed down and gave her appearance a quick but observing glance. He marvelled at how at ease she looked in the dress which was a rarity indeed.
"Looking beautiful, Rayne." Kelly commented as a greeting as the trio approached.
"Thanks. You look awesome as usual, Kelly." TK laughed.
When her gaze connected with Jake's, her smile turned softer and disappointment flickered across bother their eyes. Since they were hiding the fact that they were dating, the two couldn't do anything that could arouse rumours and suspicions. Jake sent her a smile in return and the two bumped shoulders playfully.
"How was your interview with Alexandra this morning?" he asked conversationally.
"It wasn't too bad. As expected, I panicked beforehand." TK sighed.
"Rayne, have you been to a spa today?" Kelly asked abruptly, leaning close to scrutinise the younger girl's face a little more.
TK's eyes widened and her mouth gaped open. "How did you know?"
"Your skin looks smoother and your hair looks like it'd been through treatment before Adriana styled it." Kelly analysed.
"You sound like a professional beauty therapist."
"I suppose in comparison to your knowledge, I could be considered one." Kelly giggled. "Maria did a fantastic job with the design. The dress really complements you."
TK laughed nervously and shook her head. "Complement probably isn't the right word, Kelly. This dress makes me."
"Don't discredit yourself, Ray." James chastised. "Have you been here long?"
"I arrived about half an hour ago, I think." TK pondered aloud. "We should join up with the others. I'm sure Vanessa would love to ask you guys some questions too."
"She's a lovely journalist from Company Magazine." TK informed them and guided them to where the others had gathered. "Sorry about cutting in like that earlier."
"You're very polite, Rayne. I appreciate that." Vanessa gave a friendly smile. "I can't believe I'm meeting the main cast of the Vampire Academy cast. I've been waiting for this film to happen for years."
"I second that comment." TK cheered. "I've been waiting for this film to happen since I read the first book."
"It's amazing that you are a fan of the series, Rayne. I don't know how much you will be allowed to tell us but I want to ask anyway. What can you tell us fans about the script?"
"It's very true to the book." Rayne reassured her. "Having said that, we've toned down the sexual tension a little but we've amped up the action."
"Director Carlisle has great plans for the build-up of romance. He's planned the scenes with Richelle Mead very well. In fact, it's arguable that the romantic tension will be even more intense than the books." Kelly boldly proclaimed.
"I can imagine the chemistry must be pretty intense between you guys. There's more than enough romance between the characters but I've heard there are a fair share of couples off-set too."
TK laughed, thinking about the couples on set and the romantic antics she'd seen. "It's certainly been fun and entertaining."
"That's easy for you to say." Kelly complained. "With the busy schedule and all, it's hard to find some alone time with all the training James has."
"Sorry for keeping him away from you, Kelly." TK teased. "We could amp up the training so that he has more free time."
"Ray, if you intensify the training anymore, I don't think I'd be able to move." James protested.
"It's a tough life for you dhampirs, huh?" Harrison commented smugly. "No romance, intense training."
"It's the sacrifice to protect you Moroi." TK played back.
"It's fantastic to see that you have become so close to each other." Vanessa beamed. "Did you think when you first auditioned that you would make such good friends?"
"It's impossible to predict the future." Karen mused. "But I did hope that I would meet lovely people if I got the part and I have."
"Seems like I'm not the only sweet talker of the group." TK laughed.
"We all work well together." Konstantin added honestly. "There's a good balance on and off-set. Things are relaxed and somewhat wild when we're not working but when it is work related, everyone has a very professional attitude."
"Last question, what have been your favourite scenes to film so far?" Vanessa asked curiously.
"I'm really sorry but I don't think we're allowed to answer that since that might give away what we've already done." Karen apologised.
"That's fair." Vanessa agreed with a smile. "There is one other question I wanted to ask. I can recognise Catherine and Kelly's dress but where is yours from, Rayne?"
"My dress?" TK blinked, startled by the question. "Um… A very beautiful miracle worker designed this for me, actually. Her name is Maria Javavich. I've already worn a piece by her before. She's absolutely fantastic."
"Javavich? Is she related to you, Konstantin?"
"She's my sister." Konstantin replied. "I'm so proud of her for making such a dress."
"She'll save my life many times over for sure." TK added with a laugh. "I'm absolutely no good at finding dresses that suit me. I'm only good at saying no to them."
This time it was Vanessa's turn to blink in surprise. "You're not much of a dress person?"
"Not much… I'm more of a trousers practical girl." TK elaborated.
"Thank you very much for your time but I see Director Yvanov waiting patiently for you, Rayne." Vanessa smiled gratefully.
"We look forward to reading your piece on this red carpet." Kelly told her with a smile in return. "Enjoy your evening."
"Thank you. You too."