Good Girl Page 65

Definitely leaning more toward the barf side of things now.

“The publicist will take care of all the coordination. All you have to figure out is what to say when you see her.”

“You got that part figured out, right?” Finn says, clamping a hand on my shoulder.

I stare down at the plane ticket. Los Angeles.

Fuck. I must really love this girl.

“Actually,” I say slowly, “I think I do.”


“Jennifer Ann Dawson, would you sit still?”

“Amber Kelsey Fuller, would you stop pulling my hair?” I retort.

“Sure, sure, because I’ll just let you go on the red carpet looking like a hobo,” Amber says, winding another piece of my hair around a curling iron.

I roll my eyes, hoping I don’t dislodge one of the fake eyelashes in the process.

I look back at my reflection.

The girl—no, woman—looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look like a hobo. She looks both elegant and youthful, poised and playful, artfully made up but also all-American.

She also looks sad. But only if you look at the eyes.

“I can’t believe you’re not coming tonight,” I tell Amber glumly.

Ever since my first awards show, Amber’s been there. I fly her out and buy her In-N-Out that she bastardizes by getting the cheeseburger with lettuce instead of the bun, and then she proceeds to show me about nine million makeup options.

With approximately a trillion makeup artists in Southern California, it may seem like flying out my best friend is overkill, but Amber doesn’t just do my makeup and hair; she’s also my date.

Except tonight I’ll be flying solo, courtesy of some bug she picked up on the airplane.

“I know, I’m sorry I’m not feeling well,” she says. I narrow my eyes, because she doesn’t really look all that sorry, but maybe that’s because she’s approaching my hairstyle with the same attention a surgeon would give a brain transplant.

“You’ll be fine, though,” she says. “You just have to smile and wave for the red carpet part, and then the rest of the time is sitting and watching a movie.”

“That I’m in for five minutes.”

“As a scene stealer.”

“I’m pretty sure that whoever made up that rumor has never actually seen the movie.”

Amber drops the strand of my hair and then bends her knees so that her face is beside mine, meeting my eyes in the mirror. “Sweetie, I love you to death, and it’s because of this that I can be perfectly honest and tell you that this cynical, bitter routine doesn’t look good on you.”

I open my mouth to argue, but she shakes her head. “I get it. You had your heart broken and that sucks, but happiness is the best revenge. If you want this Noah guy to suffer, the best possible thing you can do is put a smile on your face and look happy.”

“But what if I’m not actually happy?”

“Fake it long enough and it’ll come.”

“Says who?” I ask skeptically as Dolly comes over, putting both paws on the leg of my robe and blinking up at me until I bend over to pick her up.

Amber doesn’t answer my question but steps back instead to trade the curling iron for her hair spray.

“Close your eyes,” she orders.

I cover Dolly’s face with the lapel of my robe and cover my own face with my hand as Amber shellacs my hair. Then she checks her watch. “Dress time!”

I try to muster some enthusiasm. I used to love this part: the prettifying, the anticipation.

“Shouldn’t I be over him by now?” I whisper. “I didn’t even know him that long.”

“It works that way sometimes, I think,” she tells me sympathetically. “The faster the fall, the longer it lasts.”

“Okay, stop with the weird motivational quotes,” I mutter. “Did you buy some self-help book or something?”

“I’m just wise, honey. Now be a good girl and go change into something pretty.”

Twenty minutes later, I’m dressed in a strapless dress in a color called “pool water blue” and Amber is applying yet another coat of hair spray before dabbing lip gloss onto the center of my bottom lip and then dropping the tube into my clutch.

“Do you feel beautiful? You look beautiful.”

“I do.” I smile, but mostly I say it because she put so much work into making me Hollywood-worthy. It’s not that I don’t feel beautiful; it’s just that I feel a little sad.

“You still want this, right, babe?” Amber asks, chewing her lip and studying me.

“Want what?” I ask, turning to look at the backside of my dress, making sure there are no panty lines.

“This whole thing,” she says, waving around at the opulent hotel suite. “The fame and the movie premieres and the concerts and the Super Bowl.”

I take a deep breath. I’ve been asking myself that same question a lot lately. Nonstop. On repeat. And I’ve come to the conclusion that…

I do want it.

Louisiana may have changed my perspectives on a couple of things, but I’m still me. I’m still the Jenny Dawson who wants to see her name alongside Dolly Parton’s and George Strait’s and Garth Brooks’s someday.

And if that means playing the fame game a bit longer, I’m going to make it work.

“I still want it,” I tell her gently.

“But…?” she prods, knowing me well.

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