Tabloid Teacher By: Dominique Butler
Sam Saunders finally has a quiet life. After years of unexpected pregnancies, two marriages and subsequent divorces she is unnerved by how routine life has become. Her life is stable, her kids are happy, so why does she have a nagging feeling that everything is about to change? When she finds herself at the center of a practical joke involving her favorite movie star proposing to her, she finds it hard to keep her-self grounded. Could this be the change she had sensed?
Jake Jameson has made a career out of romantic comedies, but his love life is far from it. He's going through the motions and everyone knows he's lost his spark. After his fake proposal is televised, he finds that having a family could be what he's been craving. Will the media scare off his fake fiancé before he figures out what he wants?
The following day Sam seemed to float along. The memory of Jake Jameson in her apartment fueled her. She taught with an energy she hadn’t had in years. Whenever she had a moment she replayed the memory in her head. The awkward moment as they danced around each other when she tried to get into the kitchen; the brief eye contact while they sipped their drinks in the living room; the kiss on her cheek as he walked out the door. She saw it all with a new glow. It was too good to be true.
That’s because it’s not true. She reminded herself. The guy made a juvenile bet and made a fool of himself on national TV. Now if anyone asks, you’re supposed to play along to cover his ass. Get your head on straight and don’t turn this thing into anything more than what it is. She tried to speak to herself harshly as a reality check, but other thoughts intruded. Your life is pretty boring. This is exciting; enjoy the moment. Other more disturbing thoughts crowded her mind. This could be your chance Sam. You can be just as pretty and just as charming as any actress that guy has dated. Stop! This isn’t real you are not dating him and you never will be. Her internal debate continued and each time she replayed the prior evening in her mind she tried to deduce whether or not there had been an actual spark, a connection, a glimmer of hope or was she so desperate for change she imagined any of those things. She felt nervous and ill at ease though equally ecstatic.
Jake woke up and began to finally return phone calls. He chose to start with people who were not as close to him. He found it easier to lie to them than to lie to those who were closer to him. The easiest phone calls were to his buddies in
. They were more interested in
giving him a hard time than asking questions and getting information. After
calling the “guys” he called a gal pal whose friendship went back to his first
film. The conversation was difficult as he was trying to lie within the truth. Los Angeles
“Becky?” he asked when the female voice answered the phone.
“Jake! Congratulations!” she shrieked. “What is going on? I was so surprised when I saw you on T.V.” Jake laughed nervously as Becky continued. “I want to know everything. How did the two of you meet? What’s she like? Everything.” If anyone could test how well Jake could lie, it would be Becky. He met Becky on the set of his first film. She had been his make-up artist. She was able to give him helpful tips on how to fit in, in
and had endeared herself as a true friend. Every film he had worked on since,
he tried to bring her on as his make-up artist. Sometimes he was successful and
sometimes he wasn’t, but he felt his performance was improved when Becky was
around. She was very down to earth, never shy to offer an opinion, and not at
all attracted to him. He always felt comfortable sharing the most intimate
details of his life with her. He had even gotten some tips on proper bedroom
behavior to satisfy the most demanding partner. Now, after fifteen years of
friendship he couldn’t bear to tell her the truth. For one thing, Becky was too
well connected in Hollywood ;
if she let the secret slip accidentally it would spread like wildfire. Another
reason was just the sheer embarrassment of admitting his stupidity. The final
reason was that if he could lie to her it would be good practice for the
conversation with his mother. Hollywood
“I don’t know where to begin.” He admitted honestly.
“Well, where did you meet her?”
“My aunt introduced us.” Technically that was the truth. He decided to keep his answers short and stay as close to the truth as possible.
“Okay, that was informative.” Becky said slowly. “How long have you known her?”
“Oh, we go way back, but mostly it’s been a long distance thing.” He felt proud of himself for getting this far.
“What are you hiding Jake?” Becky asked bluntly.
“Nothing, why do you ask?” His pride quickly faded into defeat. Becky could always see right through him even over the phone. There was no way he could succeed with his mother.
“I know you well enough by now Jake. Something’s going on. Who is she? Is she pregnant?” Becky’s accusing tone tore through him.
“She’s not pregnant.” He retorted. At least I hope not. He thought.
“Then why aren’t you talking? You’re not being yourself. You’re a celebrity, Jake; whatever you’re hiding is going to come out in the open sooner or later.”
Jake sighed. “I know, Becky. It’s just she’s not a celebrity. She’s a schoolteacher. She has two girls and she just floats along as if no one can see her. I’m about to change all that.” The words tumbled out of his mouth and he repeated them again softly. “I’m about to change all of that.” That was the reality of it. Real or make belief everyone was about to meet Sam whether she wanted that or not.
“I didn’t mean to jump down your throat.” Becky said. “It’s not easy. You managed to keep her secret for quite some time. Now everything is going to change. Are you afraid of how she’ll react?”
“A little.” He was once again being honest. So far he had managed to have a completely honest conversation based on a fabrication.
“If she said yes then she must be aware of the consequences also. Right?”
“You know it’s not that easy. We all think being a celebrity is going to be wonderful. It sets us aside from everyone else. We travel, make money, go to parties, yadda, yadda. Then you start seeing your life documented in the grocery stores, on TV, and on the Internet. It gets to be disconcerting.” It was so easy talking about his feelings with Becky.
“So you’re worried about it going to her head?” Becky asked.
“No, not really.” Even from the little he knew about Sam he found it hard to imagine her ever becoming diva-like. “I’m more afraid of her getting hurt.”
“Sounds like you really are in love, Jake. I’m happy for you.” Becky had been happily married ever since he’d known her. She married her high school sweetheart. They were the kind of couple that kept others believing in true love.
“Thanks.” He mumbled.
“I have to go, but we’ll talk more later. I can’t wait to meet her.” The two friends exchanged good-byes and hung up.
Jake sat back and thought about what he had said. He truly was afraid of Sam getting hurt and the girls as well. He was surprised of himself. He had not thought of how this affected him all morning. All he could worry about was Sam and the girls. She didn’t ask for this. She didn’t even hit on me like other women probably would have in her position. She seems perfectly content living her quiet life. I should definitely get her a real ring that she can keep when this is all over. It’s the least I can do after causing this trouble. He made up his mind and went shopping right away.
About the Author:
Dominique Butler is currently a Special Education teacher with a Bachelors Degree in psychology and a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. She has written stories for educational purposes and is now writing fiction to entertain. She currently resides in
with her two teenage
daughters, three dogs and other assorted animals. Miami,