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 SEVEN of Eight: Checking In
“Let’s see if we can get you inside.”
“Nice trick since we don’t have the key yet.”
Charlie stooped down next to him, brushed a lock of his hair off his forehead. She smiled. A shiver rushed through her body. She bolted upright.
“I’m freezing!” She picked at the damp clothing that clung to her body. “Can we make a deal right here and now?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Can we say this is enough adventure for this junket?” She grabbed her shoulders, sneezed. “And if I get a cold out of all this, you’ll have a lot more than bruised ribs to deal with.”
“Frankly, my dear, I’m not in a position to argue with you right now. Whatever will make you happy.”
“What will make me happy is getting out of these clothes and into something warm and snuggly.”
“At the risk of tainting my macho image, that sounds very appealing right now.”
The elevator chimed.
“Please, no more surprises.” Charlie stepped to the opening elevator doors.
The bellman looked up as the doors opened, started to walk out. Charlie planted herself in front of the door, preventing him from leaving the elevator. “Ah, Ms. Fender?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Well, here you go. The keys to the suites, ice and some baggies.” He held them out for her. Charlie took them, thanked him for his troubles.
“Didn’t give him much of a chance for escape”
“I didn’t give him much of a chance to see anything. I didn’t feel like spending another hundred bucks.”
“My hundred bucks, thank you.”
“Whatever.” Charlie opened the door to Gordon’s suite, stepped back to him. “Shall we see about moving you?”
“I can manage if you can just help me up.”
She reached over, helped hoist him from his elbow. He looked so helpless, like a little boy trapped in a mature man’s body.
“Can you walk?”
“My legs aren’t the problem. I think it might be a bit early to try to stand up straight, though.”
The two shuffled into the suite. “Couch or bed?”
“Bed. That warm and snuggly idea seems perfect for me, too.”
“Let me help you to it.”
They shuffled into the bedroom. Charlie eased Gordon gently onto the comforter.
“I guess I’m not as young and durable as I used to be.” Gordon grunted, groaned as he stretched out his battered body.
Charlie stood by the bed, wrapped her hands around her upper arms. Shivers. Chill.
“If you need anything, I’m just next door. You be sure to get out of those wet clothes,” Charlie walked from the bedroom.
“And into what?” Gordon tried to lean on his elbow. “Oww! That really smarts!” He winced, dropped back to the pillow.
“That’s right, the suitcases haven’t made it up yet. I’ll get the robe from the bath,”
“Perfect. Just throw it over me.”
Charlie draped the robe at the foot of the bed. “Don’t be ridiculous. The last thing I need is for you to catch cold. Here, let me help you get out of your jacket and shirt at least.”
“Are you offering to undress me?”
“Just think of it as unwrapping my product.” Charlie placed her hand and forearm under his back. “Here, let me help you up.”
She gently pushed Gordon into a sitting position, carefully pulled the rumpled, damp suit jacket from his arms. She loosened, removed his tie, unbuttoned his shirt. She pulled it from his arms.
Gordon dropped back onto the bed with a grunt.
“Here, let me get a look.” Charlie scanned every square inch of his bare chest. “No visible bruising yet -- that’s a good sign. Where does it hurt?” She pressed his rib cage with her fingers along his right side. He jumped.
“Okay! Seems we found the tender spot.”
“That’s about it, I think.”
“Let me go get that ice.” Charlie got up from the bed, walked out to the hallway. The ice and baggies were on the console table. The roses were strewn across the carpet. She scooped them up, brought everything back into the suite. She dropped the roses on a table by one of the couches in the sitting room, brought the ice bucket and baggies into the bedroom. She filled up two of the bags, sat on the edge of the bed.
“This is gonna be cold!” She placed the bags around the tender ribs.
“You know, this takes me back to when I was a kid. You’re fussing over me like my mom used to.”
"That's funny, I didn't know you had a mother."
"Of course I had a mother, thank you! No more jokes, okay?"
"What, you don’t want me ribbing you in your weakened state?”
“I know you had a mother, it’s just all the stuff about you and her starts after Elliott discovered you.”
"That's ‘cuz the subject of my pre-Hollywood life never gets talked about.”
"All I’ve read is that you were born in the mid-west. Didn’t you have a happy childhood?”
“Actually, it was pretty good. I got into a few scrapes as a kid, but my mom was always able to patch me up. We were very close.”
Charlie noticed his breathing was less labored. His eyes were closed. She reached for the robe, placed it over his bare chest.
“What about your dad? Were you two football fans together?”
“Dad worked the farm. Died when I was 10. Tragic accident. I should’ve been there. Football I picked up later, kept my mind off the streets, helped me feel connected.”
Charlie wrinkled her brow, looked at Gordon. His breathing fell into a soft, rhythmic snore.
“Keep your mind off the streets?”
No answer. Gordon drifted off to sleep.
Charlie slid gently off the bed. What did that mean? She tried to run her fingers through her tangle of hair. She slipped out the door of Gordon’s suite, stepped to hers. Shivering. Uncontrollably. Hot bath.
Charlie peeled off her clothes, made her way to the bathroom. Deep soaking tub. Perfect. She turned on the water, climbed in. The flowing warmth felt wonderful against her cold, clammy skin. She leaned back, stretched out the length of the tub.
UP NEXT: CHAPTER EIGHT – Side of the Road
For the complete story, buy “Glitzbiz” by Bill McGowan, available in e-book or print formats
For e-book, go to: Scribd.com, or Lulu.com
For printed book: Lulu.com
At either site, search Glitzbiz, place your order.
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