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Shadows and Truths
"Beep! Beep! Beep!"
Katie groaned as the incessant beeping of her alarm interrupted her sleep. She flung out an arm and hit the offending noisemaker until it was silenced. Slowly, she opened her eyes and ventured a look at the time. 5:30am. She was due in make-up at 6:30, just enough time to shower and dress. Katie tried to climb out of the bed, and discovered that she couldn't. She turned to see James sleeping peacefully beside her, has arm wrapped possessively around her waist. For a moment she smiled, then worked carefully on untangling herself from his grasp. He stirred slightly as she climbed out of the bed, than was silent once more. He looked so happy and content lying there, she decided to let him sleep a little. He wasn't due at Screen Gem until 7.
Katie grinned to herself as she entered the bathroom. Today was the final day of filming, Wrap Day. After tonight, she would be on hiatus until July. The best part was that so would James. They both had projects lined up for the summer, and James had a lot of press to do overseas, but they had also made plans to spend as much time together as possible. So far, none of their friends had guessed their secret, and their families had kept quiet. Once the hype of Valentine's had died down, the rest of the cast had let up a little. But Michelle seemed determined to discover the identity of her mysterious love.
Katie was unsure how long they would keep it a secret, but for now, it was fun to do things on the sly. For now. Soon, she would have to face the truth. She was falling rapidly in love.
Katie showered and dressed quickly, and then went to wake James. He had spread across the entire bed, taking advantage of her absence. She climbed onto the bed and positioned herself next to his ear.
"James, it's time to get up." She said as she began a trail of kisses from his ear, around his neck to is face. He stirred slightly, then smiled as he awoke fully. He opened his eyes, and kissed her gently.
"Mmm, morning. Can you please be my alarm clock every day?" he asked in a voice still hoarse with sleep.
"I'd love to. But after today you won't need one for a while."
"I know, it's great isn't it." He sat up next to her. "What time is it."
"Almost 6. You've got an hour before your due in make-up. I on the other hand, have to go now. Lock the door on your way out?"
"Of course. I'll see you later."
"Bye". One final kiss and she was gone.
James lolled lazily in the bed for a moment, thinking of Katie, before he got up and headed to take his own shower. He was glad that today was the last day of filming, now he could have her to himself for a few weeks, away from the pressures and stresses they were both under. He knew it was supposed to be a secret, but sometimes he just felt like shouting to all that would hear that he was in love with the most wonderful woman in the world. Well, who knew what the summer would bring? Maybe the truth would find a way of showing itself.
Katie stepped out into the bright sunshine, blinking as her eyes adjusted. She never realized just how dark the make-up trailer was until she stepped back out into the sun. She had barely taken two steps when she heard the voice of one of the publicist's for Columbia/Tri-Star, her least favorite, calling her name. Groaning inwardly, she turned to see Julie James hurrying toward her, with two identical blond teens in tow.
"Katie, there you are."
"Morning Julie." Katie smiled.
"I've been looking for you everywhere." She indicated to the girls.
"This is Sophie and Stephanie Carkeet, they're going to be following you around for today."
Katie was puzzled for a moment, then she remembered. "Oh that's right! The Seventeen contest, 'Shadow For A Day', right?"
"That's the one. The girls decided they'd like to spend the day with you, if that's ok."
Katie smiled at the two, who couldn't have been more than 16. Normally she hated these things, twitty airheads asking a whole lot of dumb questions, but today she was in such a good mood, that nothing else mattered. "It's great! You'll get to see some interesting stuff today."
"I can't believe we're actually here." Stephanie said, "It's so surreal."
"You sure you're not auditioning for the show?" Katie joked, breaking the awkward admiration the girls had been feeling. All three of them laughed.
"Well, I see you three will be fine for a while, I'll be back a little later to check on you." Said Julie as she bustled away, chasing some other
poor unsuspecting soul.
Katie turned to her 'shadows' and waved them along. "Shall we? I'm filming in a little bit, just enough time for a quick tour." The girls followed her closely as they wandered around the studio; past familiar sets and places. Katie smiled to her self as they giggled and gasped, in awe of the fact that they were here. She was hoping to find the rest of the group, so that the girls could meet them. Finally, she found Josh, Kerr and Michelle gathered the Crafts Services table, debating over the age of the donuts.
"Morning guys." She said as they walked up, "I'd like you to meet Stephanie and Sophie, my shadows for the day."
The two teens stood there awestruck, not moving, as Josh and Kerr and Michelle all said hello. Katie laughed as she poured a coffee. "It's okay girls, they won't bite."
"Well, not unless you ask." Said Josh, as he raised an eyebrow at the two. They all cracked up laughing.
"What's so funny?" All 6 heads turned to see James behind them.
Katie's heart leapt, but yet she remained calm on the outside. He walked up to Sophie and Stephanie, and offered them his hand. "Hi, I'm James." He flashed them a shy smile.
Katie felt sure that Stephanie was about to faint, but the girl regained her balance and smiled back at James. "Hi, I'm Stephanie, and this is Sophie. We're following Katie around for the day so we can write an article for Seventeen magazine."
"Getting all the dirt huh?"
"Hopefully." Sophie said as she grinned at her twin excitedly.
"Maybe you can find out who her new love is." Added Michelle, who then received a death stare from Katie. Michelle ignored her and continued, "I know we've had no luck."
Stephanie and Sophie just smiled. "We'll see what we can do."
Katie gave James a quick look while the others were busy, and he smiled back slightly as if to say, 'Don't worry'. Unfortunately, she could do nothing but. It was going to be a long day.
Finally, she had an hour to herself. Katie collapsed onto the couch in her trailer, tired beyond belief. Her 'shadows' had gone to have lunch, and she wasn't due back on set for another 45 mins. It had been a hard morning. They were filming some very emotional scenes between Joey and her father today, ones that called for the full spectrum of emotions.
She sighed and closed her eyes, hoping to catch 30 mins sleep. "Tired?" asked a voice. She opened one eye, and came face to face with James.
"You have no idea." She said as she sat up and gave him a quick kiss.
"How about you."
"Not so bad, I will be later on." He sat down next to her. "How are your shadows going?"
"They're ok, nice enough girls. They have this whole extra sensory thing going on though, which is proving to be interesting."
"It's like, they know I'm keeping a huge secret. They're questions so far have been carefully worded, but I can see that they're trying to solve Michelle's mystery for her. I'm just worried that I'll say something I shouldn't, and then they'll put it in their article, and the whole country will know about us."
There was a moment's silence, before James smiled, "So what if they do."
Katie stared at him like he'd gone mad. "What do you mean?"
"So what if they find out about us. It's no big deal, people will find out eventually. In fact, this is really perfect timing."
"Ok, the issue with their article in it comes out what, two weeks before we come back right."
"When do you finish in Pittsburgh."
"Um, around a week before that."
"I'm done in Austin at that time also. I say we tell them, let them write their article. By the time it hits newsstands, we'll be gone somewhere where no one can find us. Disappear for two weeks, let them all get used to it, then deal with them when we get back."
Katie sat, in shock, as she looked into her lover's face. His eyes were so full of hope and optimism, that it made her more inclined to agree with his plan. "You really think that will work?"
"I know it will. When are you supposed to do the interview?"
"Sometime this afternoon. Julie James has organized it with Paul."
"I'll convince Julie to let me join in, she'd never refuse a chance for publicity."
Katie stared at his, then smiled hugely, "Are you sure this will work?"
He laughed at her, then kissed her. "I 'm sure. Besides, Katherine Holmes, I want the entire world to see how much I love you."
"I love you too."
Stephanie and Sophie took their seats across the table from Katie and James. It was 5:35pm, and they were all in James' trailer. The girls had been waiting all day to do this interview, and now to have James sit in too was a total bonus.
"So guys, what do you want to know." Asked Katie. The twins looked at each other.
"Let's start with the basics. Where you grew up, how you got the job on the show. Background stuff."
Katie was startled, but continued. She'd been worried they'd launch right into the really personal questions, like so many others had. But, these girls had tact. She answered their questions, as did James, the four of them sharing a laugh now and then.
Finally, after much silent deliberation with just their eyes, Stephanie and Sophie asked the big question. "Earlier today, Michelle mentioned that you had a new love in your life, but that no one knew his identity. Why is this?"
Katie took a deep breath, and worded her answer as carefully as possible. "In this business, nothing about your life is deemed private. People want to know everything, whether we like it or not. I had someone special in my life, and I didn't want that relationship to be ruined because of the nosy paparazzi."
"You say had, is it over now?"
She smiled, and took James' hand under the table. "No, it's not. I'm very much in love with him still."
Sophie smiled evilly at her sister. "Are you willing to reveal his identity."
"Well, yes I am. He's right here beside me."
Katie and James watched as the faces of the two girls changed from smugness to surprise. It was the reaction she had expected.
"James?" Sophie managed to ask.
"Yes." He said, "We've been together for about 9 months now."
Stephanie and Sophie sat there in shock. They had planned to pressure her into admitting she was in love, but neither had dreamed that she would actually reveal her lover's identity. Let alone that it was James. Sophie doubled checked that the tape recorder was working, and then settled back for the full story.
3 months later...
Meredith sifted through the mail her assistant had deemed important. She was relaxing for the first time in weeks, just enjoying the quiet of her home in Wilmington. In two weeks, filming would start again, so she planned to make the best of this off time. She was meeting Michelle for lunch in an hour, but decided to sort the pile before it got beyond control.
Buried in the pile was a copy of the most recent Seventeen. On the
cover there was a cast picture of the six of them, with a caption that read 'Our
Trip Down The Creek. All The News on Your Favorite Teens.' Meredith flipped
lazily through the pages until she found the article. The first page was boring;
mostly background information on the show, and the two girls who had written it.
She turned the page to the interview with Katie and James, and saw a headline that almost caused her to spit coffee all over the kitchen. "Fact or Fiction? How About Both?" Below it was written "Katie Holmes gives us the exclusive on her relationship with co-star James Van Der Beek."
Meredith quickly scanned the article, then grabbed the phone. She tapped the table impatiently as she waited for her friend to answer. "Michelle? It's me. No, I'm not canceling lunch. Listen, have you seen this month's Seventeen yet, you should have received a copy? No? Then get it, now. I think we've found the identity of Katie's mystery man...
"Katie, James, if you're there please pick
up. This is about the millionth message I've left for you, where are you two?
Anyway, call me when you get this."
Josh sighed as he hung up the phone. Still no answer at Katie's and James' phone was diverting to hers, so no luck there either. The last week had been pure hell. Entertainment reporters looking for his opinion had hounded him constantly; the studios were swarming with people; it was the biggest gossip in Hollywood. Still, no one knew where Katie and James were, except for their families, who weren't talking. The last anyone had seen of them was a week before the story broke, when they'd filmed a short cameo in Scream 3 as a favor for Kevin.
Josh was still surprised by it all. He'd never thought that James was Katie's new love, he'd often said that she was like his sister. Looks like they'd been better actors than anyone had thought. Now, if only they could be found.
Katie paused at their door and turned to James. "What do you think is waiting in there for us?" she asked nervously.
He thought for a moment, "Best case scenario, nothing. Worst case scenario, the entire Hollywood Press core." He laughed for a moment.
"Don't worry, everything will be fine."
"How can you be sure of that. Why don't we just go back to France for a few years, wait until it all goes away."
James laughed, and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Because my love, for one, we have to go back to work in three days. Secondly, you have nothing to worry about. I have you, so all is right with the world." He leaned in and kissed her gently. The kiss became more involved, before the door opening interrupted them. They broke apart and were startled to see Katie's assistant Laurel standing there, an embarrassed look on her face.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't realize you were home. I just came by to leave today's messages."
Katie smiled shyly, and tried not to blush. "Hi Laurel. How have you been."
"Fine thanks. Busy though. The whole town is looking for you two. I've gotten so many requests from people for interviews, it's incredible. I've been offered money for any information I have about you two. Oh, and the rest of the cast have been calling constantly also."
James and Katie groaned in unison. "How many messages from them?"
"They filled the machine three times." Laurel said, trying hard to keep a straight face.
The couple groaned again, before turning to go inside. "Thanks Laurel, I think I'd better go make some phone calls."
Laurel laughed. "Good luck. Listen, I'll see you later. Bye Katie, bye James." She trotted down the stairs and was gone.
James and Katie disappeared into the house, shutting the door behind them. She gasped when she saw the piles of papers, and messages on the kitchen bench. "My god, half the country must have rung." She began to look through the multiple messages, but James put his arms around her waist to stop her.
"Stop that, we'll deal with them tomorrow. Right now, I order you to relax." Before she could protest, he swept her up into his arms, and carried her over to the couch, where they collapsed together, laughing. Katie nestled back into his arms, holding her left hand up in front of her, so the light hit the two rings she now wore there.
"How are we going to explain this to everyone?" she asked.
"Same way we explained it to our parents. We're in love, it's our choice, and it's too late to do anything about it now, it's legal."
Katie sighed contentedly, "You realize I'm not changing my name don't you."
"Of course I do. I'll love you no mater what your name is. Keeping your own name doesn't make you any less my wife."
"Good." She kissed her husband. "James, when we started the show two years ago, did you ever think that we'd end up here?"
He smiled lovingly at her, "No, but I'm really glad we did."
OK, let the flames begin! Yes, it's completely out there, I know. But it's FICTION people.
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