Set in the glamour that is motion picture marketing, Glitzbiz takes you behind the scenes of the Hollywood star-making machine with ace movie marketer, Charlie Fender. Having had the assignment foisted on her for managing the comeback of one-time teen movie idol, Gordon James, Charlie must over come the most extreme obstacles to fulfill her assignment -- and find out what forces have really been at work in her life. A little love, a little mystery, a lot of glamour, and lots of surprises, Glitzbiz entertains and enlightens as it takes a look at the life of a "good corporate soldier" where stardom is merely the window dressing that helps sell "the product."
CHAPTER TWO of Eight: There’s No Place Like Home
Charlie pulled the key to her Wilshire Corridor condo from the front pouch of her backpack. She slipped it into the bottom lock, turned the handle, pushed. She got a face full of door. Security chain.
“Damn it, Danny! Why do you always do this. Come unchain the damn door!”
“I’m sorry, honey! I forgot.” She heard the voice getting louder. “Hurry. They’re showing your premiere on the late news. I just saw you. You’ll miss it.”
Danny unchained the door, disappeared back into the living room. Charlie was livid. “I’ll never understand why you do this. You were the MVP linebacker for the Cowboys but you chain the front door of my luxury condo on the 18th floor of a security building with a doorman. You weigh 245! What the hell are you afraid of?” Charlie dropped her backpack, flung her wheeled bag against the entry hall wall.
“Come on, Charlie, you’re going to --”
She walked down the two marble steps into the living room, faced Danny flopped on the custom-made Shabby-Chic down sofa.
“Awww, you missed it. I told you to hurry.”
Charlie stood with her hands on her hips. “You didn’t hear a word I said.”
“I was watching you on TV. You looked great! You had on that blazer that makes you look like a secret service agent. The one I think looks so sexy.”
Charlie rolled her eyes. He had to be the only man alive who thought a blazer that made her look like a spy was sexier than a strapless tight black mini-dress. Issue for another time.
“Danny, listen to me.”
“Oh baby, not the chain thing again.”
“I just want to be able to get into my own house at the end of a long day.”
“Old habits die hard.”
“You’re a grown man who tackled other grown men for a living. Why would you put a chain on a door?”
Danny got up from the sofa, walked over to her, his arms outstretched to give her a hug. “How many times do I have to tell you? I was a late bloomer in a terrible neighborhood. Old habits die hard. At least I’m keeping my shirt and pants on now when I watch TV.”
Charlie shook her head, smiled. “I guess I should be thankful you’ve moved beyond that stage. . . .”
“At least when I’m at your place.” He smirked, enveloped her in his arms.
Charlie disappeared. The hug was warm, secure. Her 5’7”, size 4 frame was no match for the 6’6” giant galoof. She buried the side of her head into his firm chest, pulled away gently. Danny relaxed his hold, gave her a gentle kiss on the top of her hair. “Long day, sweetie?”
“Yeah, they always are. But they’re always worth it. Another perfect event.”
“Yeah, they were saying it was another fabulous ‘World Pictures’ premiere. And I must say you looked great!”
“Well, it was just a high angle shot, but I could see you working through the crowd and your hair looked great!”
Charlie rapped Danny on the chest with her fist. “Thanks for the compliment.” She kicked off her high heels, pulled off her earrings. She cupped them in her hand, placed them in the Nambé bowl on the mirrored console table behind the sofa.
“Tell you what, how about I make it up to you?” Danny stepped from the sofa to a briefcase, set on the top step, against one of two marble columns. “I have a little surprise for you, my sweetness.”
Charlie looked up from the massage she was giving her left ear lob. “A surprise?”
“Yup! You didn’t think I had it in me, did you?”
“I didn’t say that. You did.”
Danny pulled an envelop from the briefcase, stepped over to Charlie. He stretched his arm out, offered it to her.
She tossed her right hand through the hair on her shoulder, giggled, smiled up at Danny. “What’s this, big guy?”
“Just a little surprise from me -- for us!”
“Come on, Charlie, just open it.”
Charlie grabbed the envelop, ripped off the end of it. An airline ticket packet.
“Yeah, well, take a look to where. . .”
“Danny! What are you doing?” Charlie dropped her arms to her side, cocked her head to the left, looked at Danny.
“Come on, Charlie, just open the ticket! It’s third down, goal to go. Get on with the play”
Charlie giggled. “Okay, okay.” She pulled the packet from the envelop, tucked the envelop behind the ticket packet, peeked in the packet. Her smile turned into a furrowed brow. “There’s just one ticket?”
“Charlie, the crowd is cheering, the quarterback is calling the numbers, just hike the ball -- you’re killing me here!”
She giggled, pulled out the ticket, opened the flap to the itinerary. The ball dropped to the bottom of her stomach. “Sydney? Sydney, Australia?”
Danny jumped up and down in place, circled around the sofa, met up with Charlie behind it at the console table. “Isn’t it a great play, baby!”
“I don’t get it, Danny. One ticket to Sydney?”
“C’mon, what’s not to get? I got you a ticket so you can go with me when I cover the rugby finals in Australia next month. I thought we’d mix a little pleasure with the business. You know, have a little vacation, maybe even a pre-honeymoon thing? What do you say? Didn’t you remember I was going away for the month of May?”
“Yes, I remember the May thing. But Danny, I can’t go with you to Australia.” Charlie looked up. She watched his face sink six feet to his ankles.
“What do you mean you can’t go?”
Charlie’s neck and back stiffened. Her arms dropped to her side.
“First off, Danny. I’ve never wanted to go to Australia. It’s Europe, Danny. Europe. And the reason I want to go to Europe is not for pleasure, but to work Cannes which just happens to be in May. May Danny. Cannes is in May. I’ve been working my butt off to get Elliott to send me to Cannes --”
“And he hasn’t said anything about it, so I figured you could just go with me to Australia and forget about Elliott and Cannes.” Danny took a step toward Charlie, reached out his arms. Charlie stepped back.
“Forget about Cannes? Danny, don’t do this. You’ve got to know how important this is to me.”
“But Elliott hasn’t said anything about it.”
“Oh, so that means I can go to the other side of the world for a month! You just don’t get that I’m working my ass off for my career, Danny. This isn’t just some job I can flit in and out of to follow you around.”
“But you’re always saying we don’t take any time out for us. I thought this would be great. I’m in Australia for a month. You can join me.”
“You’re in Australia working for a month. What am I supposed to do, wait around for you? This isn’t time for us? This is a convenience for you!”
“But I thought this is what you wanted?”
“Would you take a month off to sit on the beach in France while I worked all day?”
“Aaaa - yeah! They go topless there! But let’s get into the real ballgame, here. I can’t do that because I’m spending the month of May in Australia. I’ve got my job to do -- and it’s a career!”
“Exactly my point!” Charlie slapped the ticket packet down on the table. “If you were listening to me and had any regard for my career, you wouldn’t have even thought that I could go anywhere in May because you’d know how I was counting on my own thing happening then and that that thing was so important I can’t even schedule a nail appointment for that time because it means so much to me to be able to go there this year! Have I just been talking to a tree the last eight months?”
Charlie watched Danny tense up from his toes to his forehead. He turned his head and shoulders away for a moment, spun back. His face was red, his hands clenched tightly.
“I just don’t get it, Charlie! I just don’t get it. You say we never get away, we can’t hardly find time for us and when I try to do that, it’s not right -- in fact it’s totally wrong! I can’t even get the continent right.” He glared at her. The evil death eye. He stormed past her. “I just don’t get this. You complain that I don’t put enough whatever into this relationship and then when I finally do something really big and really nice and make it a surprise and everything, it’s all wrong.” He grabbed his briefcase, stormed to the front door. “I can’t take this, Charlie. There are no more time outs. The clock ran out and you fumbled bad. I'm outta here. You got that. Out of here. Run your own damn game plan." He yanked open up the condo door. Charlie thought the hinges had been pulled off. She stepped up out of the living room. The floor and walls shook as the door crashed closed.
Charlie stood between the living room and entrance hall. Run after him?
“This day’s been too damn long.”
She walked to her bedroom, sloughed off the jacket. It hit the marble hallway floor. The little black dress fell to the bedroom carpet. Charlie ripped back the raw silk duvet, crawled into the cool, Egyptian cotton sheets, sank into the down featherbed. Her eyes slammed shut before she could give Danny Freeman a second thought.
UP NEXT: CHAPTER THREE-- Change of Plans
For the complete story, buy “Glitzbiz” by Bill McGowan, available in e-book or print formats
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Here’s what other readers are saying about “Glitzbiz” by Bill McGowan:
“…a real page turner. I didn't want to put it down. The story is intriguing and makes you want more. Great twists and a few surprises. It would be fun to have a series of "Charlie" books.
Julie Gilmore, Vancouver, Washington
“If you are looking for a fun, entertaining read add this to your list. It takes you on a ride that makes it hard to put the book down. It grabs you visually in a way that creates a movie in your head while you’re reading it. When is the next book coming out? I want to know what happens to Charlie next!”
Wayde Faust, Los Angeles, California