Falling From Grace

By: Alexx Andria

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Danielle St. Claire rose blearily from the tangle of naked limbs in her expansive California King bed and stumbled away from the stale smell of bad choices and questionable judgment, needing space and a fucking Excedrin to still the pounding in her head. She grabbed her robe and tucked it around her, banging her toe on the stupid day sofa as she passed by. Who the hell put a sofa in a bedroom? Well, when the bedroom was as big as her entire house growing up, you might as well throw a sofa in there, she supposed grumpily. This house, this place, she didn’t know any longer who it belonged to because it sure as hell didn’t feel right for her. The parties, the sex, the drugs…it was too much for the small town girl she’d once been. Stop being a damn cliché, she thought as she grabbed a bottle of Excedrin and popped the top, shaking out a few to toss back with a bottled water. The entire house was dead silent even though it was close to noon and there were at least ten people scattered about in various rooms. People, she didn’t even know, she might add. Everything was spinning out of control. Fame — money — endless nights spent at the clubs…what day was it? Monday? Saturday? She didn’t even know anymore.

Needing something healthy to balance out the terrible damage she’d done to herself last night, Dani grabbed a banana and choked it down, her stomach threatening to launch whatever she had in it but she managed to keep everything down by force of will. So much had changed in a year’s time. Once Judgment had come out, her world had tipped upside down in a dizzying whirlwind of change. Suddenly, everyone had wanted a piece of her and it’d been intoxicating but now, she just wanted some peace and quiet. Was that possible? People had warned her that fame was a mixed bag but she hadn’t believed anyone because she’d been so damn hungry for the spotlight. Now it was fucking blinding her.

She returned to her bedroom and stared at the three people sprawled there, snoring in oblivion. Two guys, one girl. Had she had sex with a woman? Her cheeks crawled with shame and revulsion because she couldn’t remember, or maybe she didn’t want to remember. She vaguely recalled bits and pieces of last night, and her snippets definitely included getting railed by at least one of the guys. Which one? Hell, she couldn’t say even if her life depended on it. One of the guys opened his eyes and raised his head to grin lazily at her, beckoning her to come to him but she turned away, fighting the urge to vomit that banana. He wasn’t even her type. The dark-haired guy was all beefy muscle and cock-sure laziness wrapped up in one over-privileged package. Trust fund baby, most likely seeing as she’d picked him up at Crimson last night. Probably never worked a day in his life. Nor would he.

“Come on, baby…I got breakfast right here for you…full course meal.”

“Go away,” she muttered, needing to get away this very instant before she started freaking out and landed herself in the gossip rags — again — for everyone to pick apart. Her agent was constantly squawking at her to clean up her act and she’d tried but somehow, someone always dragged her back into the wild and crazy. The word rehab had been floated past her but she’d scoffed at the very idea. She wasn’t a drug addict; she was just having a good time. Right? Funny, nothing seemed all that fun right about now. She grabbed a pair of jeans and the first shirt she could find and then hustled out of there as if the devil were on her heels.

Tears burned at the back of her eyes as she ground them out. Somehow her life had spiraled out of her own control and she didn’t know how to put it straight again. What could she do? Everyone expected her to be the life of the party, the one with the bright smiles and infectious wit and it was important to protect the illusion of who she was or else her fame might dry up and then where would she be? She rubbed at her eyes, trying to put her thoughts on a straight course but her brain wasn’t actually cooperating. Raina kept dragging her to the clubs, insisting that the right people were watching. Watching what? The entertaining freak show of starlet Danielle St. Claire…

Jesus, help me. I’m so lost…

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Miles had just finished off the world’s best hamburger and was reaching for his beer when his cell went off. Lindy, an actress he’d met when he still lived in Los Angeles, was on the other line.

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