Don’t Compel Me!

After we ate I sat back in the chair and patted my stomach, “The meal was delicious.”

Luka looked at his watch, “You should go change.”

“I’m wearing this.”

He knitted his eyebrows together. “I know you aren’t interested in participating but you should realize if you wear that tracksuit you will be setting yourself up to be ridiculed. Not just by the other contestants but by the viewers. Stop your self-defeating behavior.”

 “I really don’t care.”

“I’m beginning to wonder if you want to be an actress.”

“I do. Maybe you don’t understand this business. I have no backer and have lost several roles not due to lack of talent but for a variety of different reasons. No matter what I wear it won’t equate to me getting more roles. I don’t want to be here so dressing casually is my silent protest.

“You could have a backer now.”

 I picked up the empty dishes to take to the sink. “Stop dangling carrots in front of me. I’m tired of being a fish on a chopping block.”

 Luka shook his head, “You really like to reference food. Do the show well and I will reward you. No strings attached. I don’t want my brother to have the satisfaction of destroying my production company’s first show.” 

 “ I will think about it.”

 After I left the kitchen I ran into Louie and he pulled me to the side. “If anyone finds out you and the producer..well.”

  “Louie, thanks for your concern but there is nothing going on between us. I happened to go into the kitchen to fix food and he was there.”

  “That is a relief. Watch out for Vivienne. I think she wants that Bachelor, she might play some dirty tricks.”

  “Vivienne, the Supermodel?”

  “Yeah, rumor has it she wants to break into acting. This production company just acquired the rights to The Woman In The Tower.”

  “Really? I thought the author refused to have his book turned into a movie.”

  “I don’t know the details, he was persuaded somehow.”

  Hmmph, persuaded or compelled? I patted him on the shoulder, “Louie, you are wasting your talents as a cameraman you should be a gossip columnist.”

  He crumpled the Coke can in his hand then tossed it into the trash. “Haha..probably make more money.”

 While we were talking the Director came rushing down the hallway followed by a terrified Nicole who from the murmurings apparently discovered Nina Cruz in the lake.

The Director was sweating and his eyes were filled with worry. “Where is the ambulance? It should be here by now.”

  The sound of sirens could be heard as one of the crew members carried Nina Cruz in the French doors that led to the garden. Her short brown hair was dripping water, her face was deathly pale and her lips had a bluish tint. The blanket wrapped around her was wet. 

   I was puzzled, what the hell happened to Nina? Did one of her tricks go awry and she ended up in the lake? I doubt a selfish person like her would commit suicide.

  The man carrying Nina put his finger under her nose. “I think she stopped breathing. Does anyone know CPR?”

  Looking around I hoped someone would step forward. When there wasn’t a peep I said, “Lay her flat on the ground.”

  The Director gave me a grateful look that I disregarded and then he yelled at the man holding Nina, “Put her on the floor!”

  Regretting taking CPR classes and having a conscience I knelt on the floor next to Nina then pinched the cute little upturned  nose on the face I hated. I was about to begin when a hand pulled me away. I looked up to see Luka with an angry expression. ”The ambulance is here.”

  A man in an EMT uniform rushed over and began CPR then they lifted Nina onto a stretcher. 

  The Director held onto the side of the stretcher, I could see his desperate expression as he followed them out the front door. Hmm..If Nina survives she definitely has the part in his next movie.

  Luka’s piercing gaze was riveted on me and I saw a flash of red flames in his eyes.

 “What?”

 “Why would you help a woman that almost killed you?”

  “Because no one else knew CPR.” 

  “You are stupid.”

   “I have had enough of your judgy comments. I couldn’t not do anything, I would feel guilty. I wouldn’t be any better than Nina.” When I saw the disgusted look on his face I spitefully added, “It’s called being human.”

  “Naive. Being human? I have seen too many humans destroy each other without a trace of remorse. Did she feel an ounce of pity for you when you almost drowned?”

   “Luka, I do what I think is right. Was I happy about being the one to volunteer? No. Anyway with the Director going with her to the hospital, the filming will be delayed. I am going to my room.”

   As I walked up the stairs Nicole came rushing up behind me. She grabbed my arm and her eyes darted around, “Bliss…I am afraid.”

  “Why?”

 She shivered and her voice trembled, “I was walking in the garden..well..come to my room okay?”

  She gripped my arm and I was surprised how strong she was as she dragged me down the hallway. Once we were inside the room her eyes widened, “I saw Nina by the lake. I called her but she kept walking into the water. Like she was in a trance. I ran up to the lake but she was already in too deep.” 

   Suddenly Luka appeared in the room and before Nicole could say another word he held her by the shoulders. His eyes turned crimson red as he compelled her to forget. I stood there motionless watching him then he turned towards me. 

  I saw the blank look in Nicole’s eyes and I was angry. “Are you going to compel me too? It was your doing? Nina drowning?”

  “Yes. I had Lorena compel the bitch. She deserved to die for harming you.”

  “What gives you the right? You are unbelievable!”

  Luka’s eyes were dyed scarlet and his razor sharp fangs were visible as he lifted my chin and squeezed, “I didn’t want to have to compel you Bliss Quinn but I can see you won’t accept me if I don’t.”

  I struggled when he grabbed my shoulders, “Luka Lenovich! If you compel me, I swear I will never speak to you again.”

  Luka laughed, “I feel if I don’t compel you that will be the outcome.”

  Hating the fact he could control me and that I was helpless to prevent it I pleaded, “Don’t. I will try to understand you. I know you did it to avenge me but you can’t interfere in my life.” 

   After tenderly brushing my hair back he stroked my neck with his finger. His deep and seductive voice was full of evil charm. “Will you?”

   I felt a rush of heat in my body and I wanted to swat his hand away. I bit my lower lip and looked away from his mesmerizing eyes then answered, “Yes. Yes, I will.”

  He hugged me and my face was pressed against his chest. I could hear his heart pounding and wondered if that was normal for a Vampire. When he let me go he whispered something in Nicole’s ear then disappeared out the door.

  Sounding annoyed Nicole scrunched up her pretty face, “Bliss Quinn, why are you in my room?”

  “Ah..I came to borrow..ah..”.I looked around, “Your blow dryer. I didn’t bring one.”

   Nicole picked up the blow dryer and handed it to me. “Well, you better hurry, we need to go to dinner soon.”

  “I don’t think they will film tonight, there was an accident. The Director’s assistant fell into the lake.”

  “Oh my God! Is she okay?”

   She really had no recollection of what happened. “They transported her to the hospital.” 

   “I hope that doesn’t interfere with the rest of the filming. Tomorrow we are supposed to have our one on one with the bachelors. I drew the most handsome of the three, Luka Lenovich. I am so excited!”

   “…”

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