Kiss Me Like This
- Text Font:
- Text Size:
- Line Height:
- Line Break Height:
When her mother enthusiastically replied that she had stayed in San Francisco to shop and wouldn’t dream of missing the meeting, Serena could no longer get out the rest of what she’d planned to say. She didn’t want to blindside her mother during the meeting with Smith, but now that she’d learned Genevieve had spent the day shopping after turning Serena’s entire world upside down, all she could manage was, “I’ll see you there, Mom.”
Sean didn’t say anything after she hung up, just pulled her into his arms and held her.
Exactly the way she needed him to.
Perfectly attuned to her every emotion though she hadn’t said much since they’d left the pizza place, Sean hadn’t let go of her hand even once during the drive from campus to Smith’s house. Now, as they stood on the front steps, he gently brushed a lock of hair away from her cheek and smiled reassuringly at her. “Ready?”
She’d expected to be nervous. Scared. Sick to her stomach. But, amazingly, she was ready.
It had taken her nineteen years to get to the point where she could finally stop second-guessing herself. At least for now, she thought with a small smile. Because Sean’s mother was right—difficult choices wouldn’t stop coming after this. After tonight, however, at least she’d know for certain that she was strong enough to brave each and every one of them.
“I’m ready.” She rang the doorbell. and the door opened only a few seconds later.
“Serena, hello! It’s great to see you again. Come on in, you two.”
Serena always thought that pictures of Smith’s wife Valentina didn’t come close to doing her justice. On top of being beautiful, she was smart and nice, too.
“It’s nice to see you again, too. This is my boyfriend, Sean.”
“Lovely to meet you, Sean.” Valentina, thankfully, didn’t look the least bit put out that Serena had brought him to the meeting. “Sorry the place is a mess—we’re getting ready to head back to Seattle tomorrow morning, but we couldn’t leave without having a big Sullivan family get-together first.”
“I hope you didn’t break up the party because of me.”
“Not at all. All the babies needed to go to bed anyway. Although if you ask me,” Valentina said with a laugh, “it’s their parents who looked like they were going to fall asleep at any moment.”
Smith called down from the top of the stairs, “Serena, it’s great to see you again.”
He looked every inch the movie star even in jeans and T-shirt. After going to enough Hollywood parties over the years, Serena had eventually stopped being starstruck. But Smith was different somehow, and not just because he was a thousand times better looking than any other actor she’d ever met.
“Smith, this is my boyfriend, Sean Morrison.”
Smith shook his hand, studying his face for a few seconds before saying, “Any chance you’re related to Drew Morrison?”
Sean grinned. “Guilty as charged.”
“In that case, maybe you can put in a good word for us for this soundtrack.”
“Sure, I’d be happy to,” Sean said, before turning to give Serena another reassuring smile. Clearly, he’d guessed that she might be a little freaked out by whatever additional complications this new twist might add to the whole situation.
Just then, the doorbell rang and Serena suddenly didn’t know what to do with herself—whether to sit or stand. Or run.
“Why don’t you two have a seat and relax while I go greet your mother?” Smith suggested as Valentina brought over bottles of sparkling water for them.
Serena didn’t know what magic dust Smith sprinkled over her mother between the front door and the living room, but Genevieve was positively glowing by the time she glided in on her five-inch heels. At least, until she spotted Sean sitting next to Serena.
Like a gentleman, he stood when she entered the room. “Genevieve, it’s nice to see you again.”
Serena could read each of the not-so-happy thoughts as they crossed her mother’s face before she finally settled on, “What a surprise to see you, Sean.” She was bristling as she gave Serena an air kiss on either cheek, but was smiling again by the time she turned back to Smith and Valentina. “It’s been far too long.” Genevieve’s voice was pure syrup. “Serena and I are just so glad the movie is off and running. Aren’t we?”
It was too late for Serena to turn back. Too late to pretend she was someone she wasn’t. And too late to play by the rules of anyone else’s game but her own. It had been scary to trust her instincts with Sean and leap into the unknown, but if she hadn’t, she never would have found love.
And as he slid his hand onto hers, warm and steady and there for her in a way she could still hardly wrap her head around, she knew it was time to trust her instincts again. “Actually, that’s why I asked if we could all meet tonight.”
Her mother was just about to sit down when she abruptly came back to her feet. “You called this meeting, Serena?”
Gone was the syrup. In its place was a warning behind every word. One that Serena had always obeyed before.
“Yes, I needed to speak with Smith and Valentina,” she replied in a voice that she was working really hard to keep steady. “And you, Mom. I needed to speak with you, too.”
“Serena, there’s no need to be so dramatic—”
“Genevieve.” Smith stopped her mother before she could say anything more. “I’d like to hear what Serena has to say.”
With that, he turned to smile at Serena. His smile reminded her of the one Sean gave her when he wanted her to know that it was okay to say anything she needed to say, anything at all. Amazingly, she found herself smiling back at the larger-than-life movie star.
“Smith, Valentina, you’ve been so kind to me every step of the way,” she began. “I can’t tell you what an honor it was to even be asked to audition for your movie, let alone be given a part in it. But—”
“It is so much more than an honor,” Genevieve exclaimed. “Working on your movie is everything she’s ever dreamed of!”