Acting Friends

Acting Friends by Sophie McKenzie Read Free Book Online

Book: Acting Friends by Sophie McKenzie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophie McKenzie
everything else. I pressed down on the bar and went outside. Light flooded in from outside, far brighter than the party room. Was it really still daylight out here? It felt like midnight.
    I slipped outside and leaned against the wall. I was in a dirty, empty alleyway but the air was mercifully cooler out here. I suddenly remembered I’d left Emmi’s cardigan in Madame van Persiana’s hut. Damn, I’d have to go back for it. I looked over at the bin bags piled in a heap opposite me. At least they didn’t smell. I let out my breath in a sigh.
    Was anything Madame van Persiana had told me true? Now I was away from her, I was starting to doubt everything she’d said. And yet, at the time, it had felt totally convincing. An actor, whose name began with ‘F’, would be my true love. Could that be Frankie? But there would be ‘much time’ before he came. And there would be secrets.
    No, it was crazy. She was just—
    ‘Hello.’ A smooth, male voice that sounded strangely familiar spoke beside me.
    My eyes snapped open.
    Oh. My. God.
    Frankie Clarke was standing right in front of me.
    I stared at his face which was at once wholly 56
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    recognisable and yet completely new to me. In a split second I’d taken in those dark, soft eyes, the snub nose, the curve of his cheek. Close to, he wasn’t much taller than me – maybe just a few centimetres.
    And more slightly-built than I’d thought. But he was still totally gorgeous.
    ‘Oh,’ I said.
    Frankie smiled. ‘Sorry, did I make you jump? I was just wondering if you were all right. You looked like you might be ill.’
    I pushed myself away from the wall.
    Frankie Clarke is talking to you. Be cool.
    ‘I’m fine,’ I said, speaking far too fast. ‘Fine.
    Totally fine. Great.’
    Shut up, River, you sound like an idiot.
    ‘Good.’ Frankie moved a little closer. He had long, fair eyelashes. ‘So, what did you think of the film?’
    Film. What film? Oh, goodness, he must be talking about the movie he was in – the one that this was the launch party for. Its name had completely gone out of my head.
    ‘Er, I haven’t seen it,’ I stammered. ‘But I’m sure you’re really good in it.’
    Frankie’s smile deepened, his mouth a crooked line. ‘Didn’t you come to the screening, yesterday?
    That was when we had the first party.’
    ‘No.’ Thoughts careered wildly through my head.

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    There’d been another party? I didn’t really follow, but I didn’t want to look stupid, either, so I said nothing.
    Frankie looked deep into my eyes. ‘You’re really pretty,’ he said shyly.
    I could feel my face burning now. Pretty? Frankie Clarke thought I was pretty?
    ‘It’s so nice to talk to someone around my own age,’ he went on. ‘All the older people here are really boring.’
    I nodded, feeling pleased now that I’d taken off my cardigan and worn the strappy top. It obviously made me look more mature. Frankie moved a little closer. His gorgeous face was just centimetres away from mine now. ‘It’s really busy out there, but maybe I could see you later?’
    ‘Okay.’ I could barely speak.
    ‘Shall we take a picture . . . as a keepsake of our first meeting?’
    First. That meant there would be others. I nodded.
    Frankie took out his phone and held it away from him. He extended his arm round me. I huddled closer. This was totally surreal. I racked my brain, trying to think of something interesting to say.
    Nothing came.
    ‘A bit nearer.’ Frankie’s hand closed on my shoulder.

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    I shuffled closer. Our heads were side by side.
    Frankie held the phone steady then turned towards me. I could feel the brush of his lips on my cheek as he clicked down on the phone. My heart pounded.
    And then Frankie drew back. He pocketed his phone.
    ‘Thanks,’ he said, running his hand through his hair. ‘I’ll send you a copy.’ He

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