This is the seventeenth part of a fiction serial, in 757 words.
Gabrielle Louise Parker.
As he walked across to the cabin, the door opened and a young woman walked out, smoking a cigarette. Steve straightened up, adopting his most determined stance. She shook her head, and smiled at him.
“You took your time mate! I was expecting you to show up at least a week ago. I gave that fat boy enough chances to take photos of me, but he dragged his heels getting in touch with you. Come in, and we can have a drink”.
It was not often that Steve was caught on the back foot, but he stopped walking and found himself nodding like some dumb bloke. Then he followed her in through the open door and closed it behind him. The brown wig had gone, and the cropped hair hadn’t grown back that much. Her mouth still looked so inviting, and the gentle curves under her clothes made him fully aware why so many people had fallen under her spell.
He was not about to join them, that was for sure.
“Vodka alright? It’s all I got anyway, so take it or leave it”. Steve reached out and took the glass. He still hadn’t spoken, hardly able to get over the shock that she had been expecting him.
“Sit yourself down mate. You’ve had a long drive. Then I will tell you what’s gonna happen”. Her accent was harsh, a sure sign that she had gone back to her roots in London, and was no longer adopting that international unspecified English that people had described to him. “I got a microwave spaghetti thing if you’re hungry?” Steve was famished, but shook his head. He wanted to get on with it. So he let her talk.
“Tomorrow, we are going to take your car and go to Perth. That’s the nearest big place worth seeing anyway. I have the name of a solicitor there, and I’m sure he will be capable of drawing up a legally-binding contract for us both to sign. There are two spare rooms in this dump, so you can kip down in either of them when you want to. You will get twenty percent, non-negiotiable. I’m not talking about some crappy paper headline either. This will be a book, maybe a film, at least a mini-series on the telly. You can use all your contacts to tell my story. You are going to make me famous, but not just as the girl who disappeared from university”.
Steve downed half the vodka, and felt it warm him up. Gabby took his silence as agreement, and carried on talking.
“Took me six years to plan this. I had it in mind since I was hardly fifteen. People get famous for doing shit these days, and I have done stuff that will sell books and make people interested in me, you wait and see. You want that spaghetti thing or what?” He knew he had to eat, so nodded. She brought it back still in the container, resting on a tea plate with a fork to eat it with.
As he ate, trying not to gulp it down, Gabby carried on.
“You tape it all, I won’t keep anything back. Then you find someone to write it up, just as I told it. You can add stuff about those losers at uni later, to round it off nicely like. Then tout it around your contacts. I want a real book deal with an advance, and all the options on everything from film rights, to DVD sales, and any merchandise. I want a say in who plays me in the film or on telly, and some control over the script, so they don’t make me out to be nuffin I ain’t. Okay?”
Swallowing a mouthful of the chicken carbonara, he nodded again. Christ, this girl was the real deal, and no mistake.
“How much did the fat boy want for the address?” Steve held up five fingers as he chewed. “Five hundred, what a mug. Bet you gave him nuffin anyway. Good. We can use that cash to pay the solicitor. I need to hang on to what’s left of Kim’s money, and I need to extend the stay here so we can get to work. You might have to buy some clean underwear in Perth tomorrow, ’cause we ain’t going nowhere until it’s all signed and sealed”.
That night as he tried to get to sleep on the single bed in the tiny spare room, Steve was smiling.
She was his kind of woman.