I went up to Duke's apartment, fighting past the paparazzi that were clustered around the entrance being held back by an army of security guards.
I rang his doorbell and waited patiently. I didn't move out of the way of the peep-hole. I wanted him to see me. Otherwise he'd think it was some crazed fan that got into the building somehow. After a few moments, I rang the doorbell again. I wondered if he was even home. But he had to be. He had said he was tired and wanted sleep. But then again, I don't think anyone could sleep with the amount of noise that was outside. From where I was standing, I could hear screaming fans.
Finally, the door opened. Duke stood with a slightly annoyed, but mostly weary look on his face. He was wearing a pair of dark jeans and a loose black henley.
"I'm kind of busy right now," he said. I internally rolled my eyes. He was a bad liar.
"That's all right. You don't have to invite me in. I'll be quick," I replied. He sighed and leaned against the doorframe.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I quit," I said flatly. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
"What?" he asked.
"I quit. I'm not your assistant anymore," I said. He frowned.
"When did this happen?" he asked.
"This morning. After the trial," I answered. His eyes took in my expressionless face.
"Why?" he asked after a moment.
"There are two reasons, actually," I said. He waited for me to say them.
"The first, is that a few days ago, my parents called and told me they wanted to get dinner. I agreed and during dinner, I told them that I had gotten fired from Camden, the firm I worked at before, and that I was now the assistant to a celebrity. So then they told me the real reason they called me for dinner," I paused. "They offered me a job on their team at Sparks. I told them yes," I finished.
He looked at me, a peculiar expression on his face.
"What's the other reason?" he asked after a silence. I gazed up at his face, taking in his features. My eyes wandered over his strong jaw, his perfectly shaped lips that were pursed right now, his snow-slope nose, and his beautiful blue eyes.
"The other reason," I began. "Is that it's extremely inappropriate for an assistant to be dating the person she's assisting. But I'm not your assistant anymore," I said.
He raised his eyebrows at me, confusion still etched in his face. But I saw his eyes brighten from the navy blue that they were currently to a lighter, clearer blue that I had been so accustomed to.
"What are you saying?" he asked.
"I'm saying that if you're willing to forgive me, then I'm willing to give this a chance," I answered.
He was silent for a moment, his expression contemplative.
"So you quit this job so that you can become apart of your parents' team at Sparks. And now I'm assistant-less. And you're suggesting that you want to give "this" a chance," he summarized. I nodded. "Can I ask you what "this" is?" he asked, putting air quotes around the word.
"'This' can be anything you want it to be. I'm open for whatever," I said.
"Valerie..." he said.
"Duke..." I replied.
We stood staring at each other silently for a few minutes. I tried to read his expression to see what he was thinking. Had he forgiven me? Or was he just going to slam the door shut in my face?
"Do you want to come in?" he asked, finally. I gave him a half smile.
"If it's an invitation, then sure," I replied. He stepped aside, pulling the door open. I ducked under his arm and stepped inside. There was a rolled up afghan on the couch and the TV was on mute. I knew he hadn't been busy when I walked in. He was just watching TV.
The shouting was louder in here. He had the curtains drawn. The sunlight behind the curtains was dim and cast a shadow across the room.
"You never answered," I said as he sat on the couch.
"Answered what?" he asked.
"If you were willing to forgive me," I said.
"You never asked for forgiveness. I can't be willing to give something that wasn't asked for," he replied.
I sighed loudly. He was making this difficult. I knew he was trying to test my nerves on purpose. I wasn't going to give up, though. I had to try to make an effort, even though it was hard.
"I'm sorry, Duke," I said. He looked up at me from the couch. His eyes seemed to have come alive in the past few minutes.
"For what?" he asked.
|Keira Knightley||as Valerie Sparks|
|Ian Somerhalder||as Duke Starr|
|Meryl Streep||as Patrice Jaque|
|Dana Davis||as Denise Williams|
|Jake Gyllenhaal||as Brandon Dougherty|
|Zac Efron||as Zac Efron|