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buzz: slang for the sense of excitement, expectancy, and hype that surrounds a film, an actor, or director




Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


 

TAKE 14

The first week of the New Year served a vehicle of firsts for Tallulah. In the early hours of January 1st, a sober Nick carried her drunken ass into his West Village townhouse after they attended an old rocker’s NYE bash, christening their vacation bed with an alcohol-induced sloppy top. On January 2nd, Nick took her and Milo to a hole-in-the-wall joint in the Meatpacking District where they munched on their first slice of NYC pizza. On January 3rd, their little family did touristy things to sate Milo’s thirst for exploration and adventure, paying visit to the Statute of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Museum of Natural History.

However, on the fourth day, Tallulah was faced with a terrifying first arranged by the collaborative efforts of her ex-husband’s publicist and her own talent agent: a magazine photoshoot and interview. The arrangement had been made shortly after the celebrity gossip blog Hollywood Laundry “aired” Nick’s dirty laundry and paparazzi photos of their first family outing.

A flood of lucrative proposals congested Tammy’s email box as magazines, tabloids, and entertainment television programs clamored for dibs on her first tell-all interview. Juan advised her to select celebrity publication heavy hitters like People or InStyle, but Tammy pushed for a televised sit-down interview with Entertainment Tonight or Inside Edition.

Nearly every emailed pitch centered around one single question: “Why did you keep a child secret from his father?”

Tallulah recognized what she had done was harmful to Nick and Milo, but she refused to further tarnish her reputation by knowingly walking into an interview intent on justifying the worldwide ridicule of her. In the sea of impending public relation disasters, one proposition held promise. Big Bold Beautiful, a leading plus-size lifestyle magazine, offered a different angle: “How did you survive single parenthood, a discriminating industry, and fatphobic haters like a boss?”

She had never thought of herself as a survivor or a boss, but the pitch empowered her to do so. Now, she hoped the photoshoot and interview would inspire and empower big women everywhere.

The magazine provided a complimentary chauffeured ride to their headquarters within a Fifth Avenue skyscraper. Lanya and Christophe accompanied her there. The infamous traffic jam gave her time an abundant of time to overthink. As she maintained a calm disposition, internally she suffered through a nervous breakdown.

What if she botched the interview? What if she looked like an ugly fool in all her photos? What if this exposure did more damage? What would Nick do? What would Nick say?

Why didn’t you ask him when you had the chance, you idiot?

“I don’t know why,” she muttered aloud, gently tapping her temple against the tinted window as a tiny act of self-inflicted punishment.

“I’ll be sure to forward the information to Ms. Edmond and I’ll contact you soon regarding her decision. Have a good day.” Lanya concluded the business call, plucking out her Bluetooth headset’s rubber ear plugs. “That was Nikita Spire, the owner and lead designer of House of Spire.”

Tallulah appreciated the conversational reprieve. “Never heard of her.”

“But you have heard of the luxury fashion brand High Spiral? Well, Nikita was the creative director for twenty-three years,” Lanya informed, “until she found out her CEO husband enjoyed taking clothes off models more than dolling them up with his wife’s designs. However, she agreed not to air his affairs if they split and she could keep the last name to start her own fashion house. Well, he’s been slandering her to scare away any potential business. She needs a big-name client and you need a dress for the Oscars. It’s a win-win.”

She winced at the mention of the Academy Awards, becoming increasingly less receptive to the idea of being her ex-husband’s companion to the biggest event in the film industry. In the beginning, being unable to find a designer for a red-carpet-worthy dress was the perfect excuse to witness Oscars Night unfold on a 90-inch flatscreen television.

A dream never to be if she agreed to partner up with Nikita Spire.

“You can’t not go, Tally. If you stay home, the haters win,” Lanya counseled. “You can’t grace the pages of Big Bold Beautiful claiming you’re a boss and not own up to it. If Nick goes alone and he wins Best Actor, you’ll be called a selfish bitch. If he goes alone and loses, you’ll be called an unsupportive bitch.”

Tallulah countered, “And if I do go, I’ll be called the fat unworthy bitch who doesn’t deserve to be at his side.”

Lanya boosted her plucked eyebrows, presenting a manicured finger to accentuate a point. “But you’ll be a fat unworthy bitch serving looks in a dazzling custom gown as Nick Bryant escorts you down the red carpet. Unworthiness would never look so good.”

Her personal assistant’s vivid encouragement sparked a realistic fantasy. As she got lost in her imagination, her wobbly reception firmed up. As she imagined herself arm-in-arm with Nick, she quickly discerned the error of her ways. Regardless of whether he won or lost, she’d never forgive herself if she stayed behind. Years ago, they routinely laid in bed, dreaming of starring roles and Oscar wins.

Back then, the dream seemed impossible, but now, it was as real as life itself. The announcements of the 91st Oscars nominees was eighteen days away, creating mounting tension. The studio behind Nick’s spy thriller, Wicked People, intended to jet its leading man anywhere to keep the film in the public’s eye. A logical tactic as it coughed up over ten million dollars to bankroll its campaign for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay.

The Bryant family and their entourage didn’t come to the Big Apple solely to bring in the New Year. Tomorrow, Nick was scheduled to do a televised interview with a popular late-night talk host. An appointment which had been in place well before that fated day her world collided into his once again. Tammy and Juan thought it best to book the Big Bold Beautiful gig on a justifiable date to maximize convenience and eliminate cross-country travel.

“Alright, you win,” Tallulah exhaled defeatedly. “When can she fit me in?”

You decide,” Lanya said. “Her schedule is wide open for you.”

The Academy Awards was seven weeks away. As Nick Bryant’s plus one, she had to slay on that red carpet to make a statement: He was hers and she wasn’t going anywhere.

“Arrange an appointment for the ninth at ten o’clock,” she instructed.

Lanya’s adept thumbs danced across her smartphone’s keyboard to input the mandate on a lengthy to-do list. “I’ll get right on it.”

An hour later, she was on the 23rd floor of a skyscraper headquarters of a mass media corporation which owned and published over 100 magazine brands. A melanin beauty served as her hairdresser, taming her tresses with a ponytail, sectioned plaits, bobbing pins, and ingenuity to fit on a mesh cap. A bone-straight wig was placed on her head like a crown, its blunt bang veiling her forehead. A platinum-haired makeup artist transformed her plain features into a sophisticated full-beat look, gifting her glamorous cat eye so thick and sharp it weaponized her face. As her makeup was applied, a session manicurist freshened up her nails.

Tallulah peered into the Hollywood vanity mirror adorned in light bulbs, a boss lady staring back right back.

“Wow,” she uttered softly as she delicately grazed her temporary locks. “Can I take you guys home with me?”

Her question garnered laughter, but she was more than half-serious. She needed miracle workers to prepare her for the red carpet. Tallulah was no amateur when it came to makeup, but she had never looked this stunning in her entire life. The magazine’s beauty professional duo knew how to make a plus-sized woman feel big, bold, and beautiful.

The photoshoot’s wardrobe stylist outfitted her with a rich wine-hued half-sleeve bodycon pencil dress and four-inch pumps.

“Well, damn.”

Tallulah’s attention strayed from the diligent woman cinching her into an extravagant box belt. Air evaporated from her lungs as her ex-husband sauntered into her dressing room, garbed in an olive-green parka, a black beanie, impenetrably dark shades, street clothes, and snow-fighting shoes. His arrival altered the atmosphere’s texture.

Relaxing on a complimentary couch, Lanya straightened her spine and uncrossed her legs as shock visibly seized her, signifying to Tallulah her personal assistant had no clue about this visit. Lanya and the magazine staff willingly departed to allot the couple a sense of privacy, but the wardrobe stylist stayed behind as her job was not yet done.

“Nick, what are you doing here?” Tallulah remained still to act as a living doll as a simplistic but elegant tennis necklace wreathed her neck.

He grinned and hiked his eyebrows. “You seriously thought I’d miss your first photoshoot?”

“You didn’t say you wanted to come,” she voiced as a petite diamond watch enclosed her wrist before the stylist quietly peaced out.

“It’s called a surprise, Desiree,” Nick teased. “A favorite tactic of mine I use to always keep you on your little suckable toes.”

A flash of arousal poured down her spine as she envisaged him backing her into the foldable makeup chair behind her, slipping off her high heels, and using his mouth to worship her feet.

Tallulah cleared her throat. “How did you get here? Where’s Milo?”

“I took the subway and walked the rest of the way,” he answered, advancing to her. “New Yorkers don’t give a fuck who you are as long as you stay out their way. As for the little rugrat, he’s back at the townhouse with Aishwarya teaching her how to play Minecraft.”

He then grasped her hand. “Now, let’s have a good look at you.”

He twirled her slowly, admiring her at all angles. Over his shades’ rims, his eyelids lowered half-way as a veneer of desire stained his gaze focused solely on her.

“I love your shine, Diamond,” he complimented, steeping his tone in a suggestive huskiness as he lured her into his arms.  

“You only call me that when you’re doing something naughty to me,” she noted.

Nick skirted his arms around her waist, smoothing his palms over the lush hills of her ass. “I was getting to that part.”

He dipped his head to kiss her, but she panicked and dodged him. “You better not, Nick. I don’t want to mess up all everyone’s hard work. I came to them looking like trash and they really outdid themselves.”

He struck her right asscheek, kindling a squeak and a momentary grimace out of her.

“Ow, what was that for?”

“I ain’t gonna let you put yourself down at your own goddamn photoshoot, Desiree,” he said, his southern accent springing to life, “nor am I goin' to stand by and let you tell a boldfaced lie to me or yourself. You ain’t ever looked like trash a day in your life. I should know ‘cause I wake up to you in the mornin’ and I hold you close at night.”

A slight smile twitched her lips upward. “You’re an excellent cheerleader. Maybe, I should buy you some pom-poms.”

A crew member rattled their knuckles on the dressing room’s door. “Mrs. Bryant, everything’s ready for you.”

Every time someone addressed her as Mrs. Bryant, it felt oddly right even though it was a complete falsehood. The world still believed she and her ex-husband eloped lavishly back in November. Because she was forbidden from directly reading sensationalized entertainment gossip stories, Lanya was tasked with keeping her informed on circulated lies.

Tammy regularly contacted her about seven-figured offers for wedding photos. Desperate gossip rags resorted to bribery, but their loyal staff refused to entertain the idea of deception. Tallulah was grateful to be surrounded by individuals who cared about her family’s security and privacy. All rare finds in a celebrity-studded world where trusted faces lurked behind the anonymous close sources feeding hungry gossip columnists.

Nick rested a tender kiss on her nose. “Now’s your time to shine, Diamond. Dazzle ‘em.”

The photoshoot’s first location was in a corner office located on the 23rd floor’s opposite end. Photography equipment and crew clogged much of the capacity, edging up to the mahogany executive desk. The photographer instructed her to sit in the high-back tufted office chair and prop her feet up. She did as told, crossing her ankles.

Nick leaned against the office’s back wall, regarding her steadily. When their stares intercepted, he looked over his aviators and casted a wink.

“Gimme a resting boss face,” the photographer directed.

Tallulah obeyed and labored to keep from squinting at the camera’s rapid flashes as the photographer fired away. With each shoot, her empowerment withered and her insecurities flourished.

Do I look stupid? I feel stupid, she thought.

The photographer ceased and went to the computer monitor his camera was tethered to, studying the captured shoots. She discerned a trace of disappointment in his expression, but she reasoned it was her worry polluting her head with illusions.

“Let’s try a different pose,” the photographer encouraged, his sympathetic delivery confirming her suspicions. “Stand up. Hands on the desk. Show us you’re the boss of the world.”

She executed the first two directives but floundered pathetically at the final one. She could act her ass off, but she couldn’t pose for a goddamn picture?

Nick pried himself off the wall and approached the photographer. “Mind if we take five?”

The photographer agreed to the request. The volume of bodies dwindled until only Tallulah and her ex-husband remained. He crossed the distance between them and rounded the immense desk.

“How bad am I?” she groaned.

He plucked off his shades and propped the pair atop his head, the wrinkles around his brilliant blue eyes crinkling as a telltale sign of his amusement. “You aren’t bad.”

“But I’m not good either,” she countered.

His warm rough hands cupped her cheeks. “If you want to survive this photoshoot, you’ve got to have confidence, Desiree. You don’t trust yourself.”

“You picked up on that, huh?” she sighed.

“Everyone did,” he said, smirking, “but I know exactly what you’re capable of. You love to boss me around and you make me stiffer than starched pants when you do it.”

His analogy induced her laughter. “Because it’s you.”

“Then pretend nothing else and no one else exists beyond you and me,” he counseled. “You get this indescribable look in your eyes when you show me who’s boss. And holy fuck I love that cocky ass smile you give me when you’ve got me eating out the palm of your hand. You’re not doing this for them. You’re doing this for us, but most importantly, you’re doing this for yourself.”

Nick sandwiched her against the desk’s lip. “And the sooner we get this shit done, the sooner I can kiss that lipstick off your face.”

Tallulah used her index finger to poke his chest’s center. “That’s if I think you’re worthy.”

“Mm, that’s my girl. Put me in my place,” he purred as he grasped her hips. He eased a step back to provide a slither of space and gently swiveled her around to face the photoshoot equipment.

Her eyelids drifted shut as he brushed aside her wig tresses and his mouth skimmed along her ear’s edge.

“Hands on desk. Show the world you’re the boss of me,” he muttered, altering the photographer’s former behest. He abandoned her as the magazine’s photography unit funneled back once the time ran out on that five-minute break.

He left her, but his words stayed behind as the fuel to her determination—her confidence. Behind a dark glistening camera lens, the photographer directed her, an impressed smile widening as she executed every cued pose. As flashes assaulted her, an assertive feminine persona stirred within her, a fierceness varnishing her face.

Nick watched on as this facet of herself caught fire, confidence smoldering bright in her eyes. Stationed near the office’s rear wall, he lingered beyond the crew and equipment, his heavy gaze broadcasting a message to her.

He couldn’t wait to be burned by her.

{}{}{}

Milo Lachlan Bryant was truly the son of actors. He had perfected a puppy-eyed technique and performed it to the fullest as he dropped to the kitchen floor on his knees and clasped his hands together. Such a shame his mother was his only audience.

As their holiday vacation neared its end, Tallulah gave all staff the Saturday night off. A perfect time for drinks and clubbing in a city that never slept. Though it took a bit more elbow grease to dismiss a reluctant Christophe, but she provided repeated assurance she and Milo would be fine. Her staff often forgot she survived the dog-eat-dog world of Hollywood and single motherhood for over eight years. In all honesty, it was nice to have the four-story West Village townhouse all to themselves.

“Please, please, please, Mom,” he pleaded. “Just this one night.”

Tallulah poured herself a glass of chardonnay, pretending to be unaffected by his little performance. “The Extra Late Live Show isn’t meant for children, Milo. If it were, it wouldn’t come on at 11:35 which is generally well past bedtime for eight-year-olds.”

Milo opened his mouth to make another plea or a counterpoint, but she shot him a motherly glare which clamped him up. “I know you want to see your dad on television, but sometimes, we don’t always get what we want. This is one of those instances, Milo. Now, go get ready for bed.”

Tallulah sipped on her wine as he pouted and skulked away.

In cases like this, she hated being his villain, withholding him for his father even if it was the televised version of the man. However, The Extra Late Live Show catered immensely to its adult audiences, its infamous host a master of sharp sarcasm and crude humor. Its hold-no-bars philosophy attracted millions every Saturday night, crowning it the highest-rated show on its network. A perfect platform to keep the masses interested in Wicked People.

The right amount of buzz could make or break an Oscars campaign. Lobbying, ads, parties, private screenings, and talk show rounds were weaponized to ensnare the powerful academy members. Over nine thousand film professionals would be able to cast a nomination ballot on this upcoming Monday. Many of which rubbed elbows with Jarrett Spencer, the offspring of an Oscar-winning actress and an acclaimed executive film producer. His bloodline of Hollywood pedigree secured him the late-night talk show gig.

Tallulah drained her wine; anxious for the show to begin.

“Three hours to go,” she muttered as she fixed another glass.

{}{}{}

“Allow me to introduce the one and only Nick Bryant,” the talk show host announced, rousing a strong gust of applause. The guest of the hour swaggered onto the sound stage, acknowledging the energetic audience with a charmed grin and nod. The two men shared an amiable handshake before they settled into their respective places: on a couch and behind a host’s desk.

Tallulah curled her legs onto the couch she lounged on, imagining how perfect and untouchable her ex-husband looked to the hungry masses who watched on from within the live studio and homes. His celebrity status swathed him in a godlike aura and fashioned him into an idol destined for shallow worship. If only his fans understood he didn’t want to be seen as a wet dream. He wanted to be recognized as a flawed flesh-and-blood man.

She memorized and adored all his flaws.

A studio camera panned to fangirls wagging their homemade posters, shrieking ardently, “Nicky! Nicky! We love you!”

Nick grinned and casted a dreamy wink at the cluster of admirers high up in the studio’s seating, kindling higher-pitched screeches.

“Alright, alright, ladies. We get you want him to make you a single mom for nine years,” Jarrett cracking, triggering robust laughter.

Nick seemed unphased by the joke, his grin widening.

The talk show host shuffled to his topic cards, smirking. “Speaking of which, we conducted a national survey about your overnight rise to fatherhood and found 94% of women disappointed for obvious reasons, but a resounding 97% of men expressed relief knowing that their wives’ celebrity husband also has difficulty pulling out.”

He laughed, shrugging, “When it’s sensational, you’re doomed.”

Tallulah choked on her wine mid-sip as shock seized her throat. Her eyes bulged as her brain apprehended her ex-husband admitted her pussy was sensational on national television.

“Fatherhood normally drains the life of a man, but it seems to have done the opposite to you,” Jarrett noted as the classic cityscape backdrop dissolved away to introduce a slide presentation of father-son photos from Nick’s social media. A swimming lesson at their Trousdale home’s pool. A sandcastle contest on Kauai’s pristine beach. A three-day-old snapshot of Nick crouched behind a fascinated Milo pointing up at a Corythosaurus fossil in the American Museum of Natural History.

The crowd chorused a sound of adulation.

“I gotta admit the kid’s got amazing genes.”

Nick eyed the endearing images and stroked his thick beard. “He gets it from his mom.”  

A studio camera zoomed in on the talk show host’s face to catch a flicker of subtle comical expression of disagreement. His lips twitched as he withheld a laugh and cleared his throat to dispel the urge. A scarce flock of shattered titters filled the air.

Disappointment swelled in Tallulah’s chest at the unvoiced insult.

“Right, of course,” Jarrett concurred lamely, proceeding to the next topic card. “Wicked People has been touted as—”

Nick narrowed his eyelids. “It’s one thing if you’re a disrespectful jackass to me for cheap laughs and ratings, but I won’t let you disrespect my wife.”

“I’m sure your wife has a lovely personality,” Jarrett said.

“I know she does, but this isn’t about her personality. You taunted her appearance,” he said.

Jarrett insisted, “I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t need to. Your actions spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.”

Attempting to dissipate the elevating tension, he chuckled, “Listen, man. If she’s your cup of tea then drink away. I’m honestly glad you’re off the market. It’s hard to shop for a top-shelf babe when you’re my competition.”

It was obvious he anticipated a positive crowd reaction to his light-hearted rebuttal, but all he got was crickets. The failed joke was downright painful to witness. Even though he didn't deserve any bit of her sympathy, secondhand embarassment coursed through her. 

“I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Jarrett. You might come back from your shopping trip empty-handed. It’s common knowledge ladies with good taste are allergic to guys who lack it,” Nick disputed coolly.

The audience erupted into a fit of surprised ooh’s.

Tallulah choked a gasp.

“If you’re trying to hit me below the belt, it’s not going to work, my friend.” Jarrett smirked.

“I don’t think I could even if I tried. Since there isn’t much below your belt, I doubt I’d do you damage,” Nick articulated, a deviousness glinting in his blue eyes.

Her palm muffled an ‘oh-shit’ remark at her ex-husband’s brilliantly ruthless comeback. A multitude of laughter flooded in, its profuse abundance signifying the conflict’s victor. A ruffled Jarrett flashed a tight smile at a different camera.

“We’ll be right back after a word from our sponsors,” he spouted.

A snippet of the show’s theme song played as a camera crane swooped away from the TV set, a title card pasting itself over the shot.

{}{}{}

HOLLYWOOD LAUNDRY EXCLUSIVE

Don’t start none, Won’t be none!

It’s no secret Perfect Angle Cinema, the studio behind the widely acclaimed Wicked People, has pulled all the stops for its darling film to be an Oscar contender. With nomination season a stone’s throw away, they sent their star-power atomic bomb to ignite more buzz, but we’re sure they didn’t expect such an explosive result. Nicky visited the Extra Late Live Show as the last stop on the Oscar campaign and had to take down jackass Jarrett Spencer a much-needed notch.

After receiving third-degree burns on live television, Jarrett became a burn victim after losing a heated confrontation backstage. According to our sources, it took five security guards to pull Nicky off and hold him back. Papa Spencer, a Perfect Angle Cinema executive producer, allegedly wasn’t pleased with his heir insulting his leading actor’s wife nor was the network after #jackassJarrett and #extraLAMEliveshow trended all over social media.

An impressive 5.3 million posts lambasted the talk show host for his behavior.

Word has it, a televised apology is expected on next Saturday’s episode.

Don’t start none, won’t be none!

  COMMENTS:

bonehugs&harmony: The southern rose up outta Nicky and got him out here throwin bows for his bbymama and shit. He’s a real one.

BeyHiveBzz: #jackassJarrett really tried to come for Tally. Keyword: TRIED.

Anonymous38471: It’s always dudes who are bottom barrel scum aim for “top-shelf babes”

HotGirlMegatron: Nicky said his woman’s goodies was SENSATIONAL. You love to see it, hunty!

Scorpio88: #unpopularopinion but no pussy good enough in the world to go to jail over.

FloridaMan904: I’d go to jail for Tally’s kittycat. He wouldn’t be with her if she weren’t giving him that good cat’s meow in the bed.

And-I-OOP: How did Nicky know the tea on Jarrett’s tiny peen?

ratchetTonguepop: @And-I-OOP, they got the same ex. Jarrett dated Avalon Dillard in 2015 and Nicky got with her in 2017. All that good D must’ve knocked all the hot tea outta her.

naominator: Esta no es la Nicky que conocemos en absoluto! >:{

DragonballDurag: LMAO! Nick going buck over Tally got @naominator falling out in Spanish.

 






Chapter End Notes:

I've been trying a new writing strategy to churn out updates quicker. Unscripted has seven more chapters to go and the fun's really about to get started. The next update is Valentine's Day which happens to be Tallulah's birthday. Ya'll know how Nicky likes to celebrate special occasions. 😜

 

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.