Sam was furious with her mother. She had the nerve to actually ground her and forbid her from seeing Dax for two weeks. Even on the set she wasn’t allowed to hang out with him.
When her mother pulled Dax aside and lectured him, she was humiliated. She could see Felicity smirking.
She almost wished her mother and Ragnar weren’t engaged. As long as they were together, Ragnar wouldn’t kick her off the set. It seemed like he almost wanted Dax and Felicity to get together – for ‘free publicity’ and ‘ratings’. It was awful. For two weeks, she’d had to sit back and watch Felicity move in on Dax.
Those two weeks seemed like two months. And she could finally be with Dax again. A week later, she walked into the dressing room to finish getting ready to film. She saw the latest copy of Celebrity laying on the table. That looked like Dax. She picked it up to look closer.
It definitely Dax on the front cover – with his arm snugly wrapped around Felicity. Sam felt her heart sink into her stomach. She knew that witch left it there for her to find.
“Hey Sam, are you about ready?” came Dax’s voice behind her. “We start filming in about ten minutes.”
She spun around with the magazine in her hand, hot tears already clouding her vision. When he saw what she had in her hand, she swore he blanched. “What is this Dax?” she asked. “I understand them making crap up, but these pictures are NOT made up. They’re real!” She practically spit out the last word she was so hurt and angry.
“Fuck Sam. It’s what it always is with her. You know that. She’s always all over me. Especially if there’s a camera around.”
“You look like you were enjoying it. Did she magically force your arm around her?”
“We went to grab lunch and the paps showed up. I was just tying to get us through the hoard.”
“But you went with her. You didn’t have to!” Sam was full on crying now.
Dax took the magazine from her and threw it in angrily onto the chair. “Sam, look at me,” he pleaded, “Don’t do this. Don’t fight with me. She’s nothing. I swear it. Ragnar told me to get her out of the studio for awhile and chill, so I did. Don’t be angry, I need you, you’re good for me.”
“What does that even mean Dax?” she asked as she shrugged his hands from her arms. She knew if she let him pull her to him,she’d give in. She wanted him even though she was furious.
“You ground me Sam,” he said as he released her, his tone no longer harsh. “Just like when we were at the party last month. You didn’t let me go ape shit crazy looking for Ragnar. You calmed me down. And even when Felicity came up to us, you being there helped me keep it together.”
His words were working. Because, she kinda understood. She reached up and touched his arm. “I think maybe I know what you mean. I feel … lost … alone … without you.”
“Sam … I’m sorry you had to see that,” he said and reached out to her, in an attempt to pull her into his arms again.
This time she let him and all she felt was relief. She didn’t need to kiss him, just feel him. She closed her eyes and breathed him in, listening to the steady strum of his heart. She no longer felt like she was falling.
“I love you baby,” he whispered. “Don’t ever doubt that.”
Now she did want to kiss him. But they were in the dressing room so she couldn’t. Someone might come in. But when he tipped her face to his, all sanity went out the window and she let him kiss her anyway.
When they came up for air, Dax’s hands were all over her. “We need some alone time,” he said, his voice an octave lower than normal.
She tried to clear her head and took the opportunity to push him away. He was getting too carried away. “Dax, someone might come in. Plus, we need to get out to the set.”
“Babe, they already know we’re a couple,” he said, his voice gravely. He began kissing her again.
“Well, well, what have we here?” Felicity’s saccharine voice gave Sam chills. “The little princess is no longer grounded. You know, princess, Mommy Dearest will only cut you off again if ya’ll don’t ratchet it down. I seriously doubt she’d appreciate her precious daughter getting felt up in the dressing room.
“God Felicity, haven’t you caused enough trouble?” growled Dax. “Get out.”
“Sorry, darling, gotta touch up my makeup. This is our dressing room.”
“Come on Sam, let’s get outta here.” Dax took Sam’s hand and lead her out. Sam’s heart was racing. Felicity unnerved her terribly. Her trash talk made it even easier to despise her character on the set.
As they were leaving Felicity sang out, “Aww Dax baby. You can run, but you can’t hide.”
Instead of going on the set, he took Sam behind the set where the props were stored.
As soon as they got inside, Dax took her in his arms again and started trying to kiss her. She turned her head away because she was crying. “Stop it!” she whisper yelled because she was afraid someone might hear them. Felicity was right, her mother would probably ground her again.
Finally, he stopped pawing at her. “Sam … what’s wrong?” he asked concerned, “You’re shaking.”
“I hate her, and I hate that I’m jealous of her.” She sniffed loudly because her nose was running. It only made her cry more because it was so gross and she was embarrassed.
Dax grabbed a paper towel and handed it to her. She used it to blow her nose. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled and sniffed again.
“Sam, you need to pull it together. We have another scene to shoot. You can’t go out there like this. What happened to the talented Sam that could kill any scene?”
“She just upsets me. Please, don’t tell anyone I’ve been crying. It’ll only make everyone think I can’t handle this. I can.”
“Don’t let her get under your skin. She’s just trying to push your buttons.”
“I won’t,” she said and forced a smile.
“That’s better. Just remember, it’s you that I care about.”
She nodded her ever so slightly. “M-kay.”
Dax pressed his forehead to hers and held her like that for a minute. “Good,” he finally said, letting out a relieved breath, “Now let’s get you back to the dressing room so you can freshen up.”
Outside the dressing room …
“Ah there you are,” she said to her daughter as she walked into the dressing room. “I’ve been looking for you. Ragnar is ready to film your scene.”
“I know Mom,” she snapped, “I’m getting ready.”
“Okay. You don’t need to be so snippy. Need any help?”
“No! I’m not seven years old anymore. I can do this!”
“Ohhhkay then. I only wanted to help.”
Sam’s shoulders sagged. “I’m sorry Mom. It’s been a rough day.”
Maribel noticed the magazine laying on the chair as she started to walk off. That had to be the source of her daughter’s sour mood. “Sam,” she said softly, “you saw Celebrity?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay sweetie. I’ll leave you alone. But if you want to talk later tonight, I’m around.” When Maribel had seen the magazine earlier, she knew those pictures were going to upset her daughter. She hoped she wouldn’t see it. But that was just wishful thinking. As much as she appreciated the free publicity, she didn’t like that it was at Samantha’s expense. She’d have a talk with Ragnar later.
* * *
As Maribel stepped out of the dressing room, she saw Dax and Felicity in a heated discussion. She stopped and listened rather than interrupt.
“Because … it’s just so easy darlin’,” said Felicity and rolled her eyes. “But really, why do you keep going back? I could tell you were into it the other night.”
“Sam is important to me. You’re simply a distraction.”
“Ohhh. That hurts Dax,” she said pouting.
“That’s bullshit. You don’t care about me. Not the way Sam does. You just want to be seen together to get your name out there.”
“I could say the same for you.” She lifted her hands towards the sky. “Ragnar wants it, so it shall be,” she said, then dropped her arms and tapped her chin. “Hmmm. If I could get Mommy Dearest away from the boss man for 5 minutes, now that might be quite a ride.”
“You’re disgusting. You’d screw a snake if it helped your career.”
“But you liked it,” shot back Felicity, beginning to get angry.
Maribel had heard enough and made her presence known. “Hi guys,” she said pleasantly as if she hadn’t heard anything.
The couple quickly stopped their conversation and turned towards her, guilt written on both their faces. “Sam will be out in a second,” she continued, “I just checked on her. She was upset, no doubt she’s seen the tabloids. Personally I think it’s sick, but you two should’ve warned her it was coming. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll ask Ragnar to reverse the publicity and make it the ‘Sam and Dax’ show next time. That would work too. Getting back together after Dax’s little – misstep.” She smiled and looked looked back and forth between the two of them, enjoying their discomfort.
“I’ll go get Sam,” said Dax quickly, apparently anxious to escape, leaving Maribel and Felicity alone together.
Once Dax was out of earshot Maribel pinned Felicity with a hard stare. “Doing things for publicity is one thing,” she growled under her breath, “but if you hurt my daughter, I’ll have Ragnar ruin your ass.”
“You listen to me … bitch … it’s none of your fucking business what I do or who I do. So don’t make threats you can’t back up. If you didn’t coddle Goldilocks, she wouldn’t have to worry about Dax straying. So fuck off.”
“Mom?” Sam’s voice stopped the words that were getting ready to fly out of Maribel’s mouth. She hoped she hadn’t heard what Felicity said. She turned around quickly and saw Sam and Dax were still a little ways away, while out of the corner of her eye she saw Felicity take off for the set. She breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mom, I’m sorry about earlier,” said Sam, “I’m really okay.”
“It’s okay baby. Why don’t you two head over. They’re ready.”
“Go ahead Sam, I’ll be right there,” said Dax. As soon as Sam walked off he glared at Maribel. “What did she say to you?”
Maribel was furious. How dare they all talk to her like she was nobody. She didn’t care if he was Sam’s boyfriend, if he was screwing around with that whore, then he deserved to lose Sam. “Nothing,” she finally said, “But if I were you, I’d be sure to keep it in your pants from now on.”
“She lied if she said there was anything going on between us,” growled Dax.
“Someone is definitely lying. And sadly, I don’t think it’s her. Keep. Away.”
“DAX! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!” yelled one of the stage hands.
Maribel watched with satisfaction as he jogged over to the set. He wouldn’t dare defy her. She’d talk to Ragnar about the publicity stunts. She knew he listened to her opinion and she’d get him to have Sam and Dax back as a couple again. It’d be even better that way. Sam would believe it really was a publicity stunt, even if there was more than a shred of truth in it. Plus, it would get Sam back on the front page.
A month later ….
Sam was getting ready for her date with Dax when her phone rang. It was her father. She smiled when she answered.
“Hi sweetheart! How’re things?”
“Dax and I are good if that’s what you’re calling about. The pictures in Celebrity were all just a publicity stunt. It was hard to watch, but it’s over – for now anyway.”
“Aww I’m sorry about that, I’m glad you are doing okay though. That was partly why I called, but I also have some news. I wanted to wait until you got here to tell you, but I was afraid you might hear it from someone else first.”
“Ohhh. What?” She felt her heart begin to race.
“Taysia and I are going to have a baby. She’s pregnant.”
Her heart rate went quickly back to normal. Everyone was okay. “Oh my god!” she squealed into the phone, “Daddy, that’s wonderful! When is it due?” She couldn’t help but smile. Her father sounded like he was on cloud nine.
“Thanks sweetie. She’s just 12 weeks, so in December. She’s absolutely glowing.”
“I’m so excited for you. But she couldn’t be glowing anymore than she was on your wedding day. She looked so happy.”
“We are happy Sam. You know, I’ll never forget when I found out about you. I was excited to be a father. I hope this baby is a sweet as you.”
“Oh Daddy. You’re going to make me cry!”
“I wish your brother felt the same.”
“Oh … he’s jealous I bet.”
“Yeah. That’s what Taysia said. He needs time to adjust.”
“When he sees that baby, he’ll fall in love. Ty’s a good kid.”
“I know. Just confused. I wish you could be here. I miss you terribly. When’s your next break?”
“In a few weeks. I’ll be able to come for a least a week, maybe two. We have a month off.
“Oh that’s good. Let me know the date and I’ll make the arrangements. I love you Sam.”
“Love you too Daddy. Congratulations.”
Sam was truly happy for her father. However, she was a tiny bit jealous that Tyler would have a new brother or sister and it would seem more like she was a distant aunt than the baby’s half-sister. She hoped it would be born around the holidays, and she might get to be there.
There was a knock on her door. “Samantha, Dax is here,” called her mother from the other side of the door.
Crap. Back to reality. She needed to get downstairs before her mother interrogated Dax. “I’m coming,” she called out and headed out.
Sam ran downstairs and straight into Dax’s arms. She was still smiling about the phone call. “Dax! Guess what! Daddy and Taysia are pregnant!”
“What did you say?” said her mother.
She forgot her mother probably wouldn’t know. “Taysia is pregnant,” she said to her mom.
“Oh good grief. Of all the juvenile things he could’ve done. He has two teenage kids and wants to start over. He’ll never grow up. I’m glad I got away from that.”
“Mom, he’s happy. I think Taysia probably wanted to have a baby. She’s a teacher. She likes kids.”
“Principal – that’s different.”
“Whatever,” said Sam, “We’re leaving.”
“Don’t be late,” warned her mother, “Dax, you get her home by midnight.”
“Yes ma’am,” replied Dax stiffly. Sam could hear his eye roll.
Dax took her to his apartment and ordered delivery. Then he opened a bottle of wine and poured them each a glass. He said he needed some time alone away from the media, and she could have a glass of wine without worrying about getting carded.
“So,” he said when they settled on the couch, “you’re excited about your new sibling?” Dax’s question was more of a statement.
“Of course! I don’t remember Daddy being this happy for a long time.”
“You miss him and your brother?”
“I do. I used to think I didn’t want to be around Ty because he was an annoying little brat. He’s changed so much and I think it’s because of Taysia, and well, he’s older and less annoying now too.” Sam laughed at her observation.
“I’d be sad if you ever left to go back.”
“Awww. Dax. I’m not leaving. First. I would miss you way too much, and I need to be here for the show. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. However, I am going back for a couple of weeks during our summer break. I wish you could go with me. You could meet the rest of my family.”
“I don’t think your mom would allow it.”
She knew he was right. Her mother had a split personality when it came to Dax. On the one hand she wanted her to be seen with him, but on the other hand, she didn’t trust them together. Sam’s insecurities invaded her thoughts. She tried to shake it off.
“I graduate next year,” she said and scooted around, putting her legs in Dax’s lap. “Then she can’t control me anymore. I’m sorry I can’t just do whatever we want.”
“Maybe ….” he said, and had a gleam in his eye.
“What?” she asked grinning.
“Your mother can’t control where I go on my own time. I can go out of town with you. We can even be on the same flight. I’ll get a hotel. Surely you can sneak away to come see me once we are there.”
“I’m not sure how. That’s a long time to be in that tiny town alone. Besides we risk being caught by the paps.”
Dax took her glass and sat it on the table with his and climbed on top of her making her giggle. “That’s true,” he said, “I’ll just fly in a few days later and stay a couple days. Maybe you can pretend to be spending the night with some old girlfriends.”
“Ohhh. That might work. And then I could spend the night the entire night with you!”
Dax scooted down and kissed her. “Sounds like a plan,” he said between kisses, “we’ll figure it out.”