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She’s out of her rut, out of her sweatpants, and out on the town.
Claire Parelli has been liberated!
Back to living it up in the Big Apple with her best friends, Claire embarks upon her dream career during the day, and steams up her nights with Daniel Chase, a.k.a. Mr. Beautiful, Hollywood’s hottest leading man. Life is simply perfect.
But for how long?
Claire knows all too well that fairy tales just don’t exist, even if she does have Fairy Slutmothers on her side. Real-life comes with real problems that don’t simply vanish with a quick flick of the wand. So this time around Claire discovers that it isn’t just a matter of trust—it’ll be a moment of truth.
I’ve always loved the buzz in the air between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year is no different. Except, well, it is. My head’s wrapped around three things: the need to finish this composition that’s driving me nuts, the future of spending Christmas in London with Dan’s family, and spotting Dan’s face on all sorts of magazines at newsstands I pass every day. But right now, thanks to Bridget, the TV in my apartment is blaring, “Up next: Dan Chase!”
“Claire!” she calls to me from the living room couch.
“Be right there! You guys want any chips?” I ask as I begin dumping some into a bowl.
“Just get in here—he’s almost on!” Bridget yells.
“I’m not sure I should watch him,” I say, carrying my drink and chips to the couch and setting them on the coffee table.
“Why not?” asks Camille. She grabs a handful of chips.
“I don’t know. It’s kind of weird. I haven’t seen him on TV since we started dating, so . . . it’s just weird.”
Camille gives me a sideways glance. “You’re weird. He wants you to watch.”
“Sit down and shush,” Bridget says as the opening to Ryan Rockford’s Late Night Show begins. The host does his monologue, and when he mentions Dan’s name, I can hear how predominately female the audience is—and how loudly they can scream, too.
It takes forever for Dan to finally be introduced, but when he is, he comes out from the side of the stage and sets the world on fire. Or maybe that’s just me because I cannot peel my eyes from the TV. There’s that smile I love, and he’s dressed in a deep green button down shirt, a relaxed sports jacket, and he’s waving to the audience. He exudes confidence and sexiness—out of all of his fine pores. My God. I’ve been under his spell many times, but seeing him through the distance of the TV, and I’m almost more mesmerized than ever. Shouldn’t I be less affected at some point?
Camille elbows me. “He looks good, huh?” She laughs and laughs because I’m only able to whimper. “And you didn’t want to watch. Ha!”
The audience has yet to calm down. Ryan laughs while Dan smiles and blushes. “All right, everyone, just calm down,” Ryan says. He strokes Dan’s arm. “He’s very soft, too, ladies.” The screams erupt again, and Ryan playfully scolds the audience to quiet down.
“So, Dan, welcome. Great to have you here.”
“Thank you. It’s nice to be here, and thank you for that welcome,” he says with a nod to the audience.
“Yes, quite the welcome. So, life’s pretty good, eh?” Ryan looks expectant, hopeful, ready to dish with Dan.
Dan smiles playfully—he knows where this is going. So do I actually, because they always wind up an audience and go for the hot gossip first. More cheers from the crowd. Another shy smile from Dan. A shriek of “I love you, Dan!” is heard clearly.
“Yes, life’s very good.”
“You’ve been working nonstop the last few months, but our lovely audience wants to know what kinds of things you do in your free time,” Ryan says with a smile that makes me nervous—not sure why. Dan seems unfazed.
“I don’t have much free time, but when I do, I pretty much lie there and stare at the ceiling. Sometimes I go really crazy and order Chinese or pizza.”
The audience laughs. I do, too. His charm is so easy, natural.
“Which is your favorite—Chinese or pizza?”
“Depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll just pour a bowl of Lucky Charms,” he says, looking right into the camera. My heart leaps—that comment’s for me—and I smile like an idiot.
Camille and Bridget crack up.
“Wow—I didn’t figure you to be a Lucky Charms fan,” Ryan says.
Dan shrugs. “Well, I wasn’t until a friend of mine introduced me to it, but now, it’s . . . my life.”
Ryan and the audience laugh again.
“It’s good to have friends who broaden your horizons, right?”
“Speaking of friends, it seems like you made some new ones this year.”
“It’s nice to make new friends, don’t you think?”
“Oh yes. Any special friends you’d like to tell us about? Maybe this one?” A picture of us in Mexico flashes up on the large screen behind them. It’s a bit grainy, but we’re mid-walk, wearing swimsuits, and are as happy as can be. I gasp.
Dan twists around to see the photo and turns back, glancing down and shaking his head slightly, perhaps trying to hide that full-wattage smile he’s wearing. He finally looks up, and his face is flushed. He shifts in his seat.
“Who’s this friend, Dan?” There are grumblings in the audience and a few boos.
Dan turns to the audience. “She’s a good friend of mine.” He smiles.
“Just a friend? There’ve been rumors that you’re off the market,” Ryan says playfully.
Dan smiles at Ryan. “We’re good friends.”
“I’d like a good friend like that, too. Have any you can spare?” Ryan says, laughing. “All right, well, we’ve got to go to commercial, but we’ll be back with more Daniel Chase!”
Ruby’s thoughts are everywhere. To harness the madness, she gave her loudest characters a playground to frolic in. Q.T. Ruby invites you to come play too!
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