"Helena, what's going on?" Alex appeared in the middle of the chaos; the music had stopped and everyone was muttering and whispering.
"Mr. Aldebrandi has been arrested... we think. No one is sure whether he was read his rights or not. But the police have taken him away."
"Why? What happened?" I turned to face her and noticed that her eyes were a little red, as though she had been crying.
"He's one of their arson suspects... Alex are you alright?"
"Fine." She replied sharply, stiffening.
"Only, you look like you've been crying."
She studied me for a moment and then sighed.
"Is it that obvious?"
"No. I'm just an expert in seeing what people try to hide."
"That's a good skill for someone as good at hiding things as you are." She snapped.
"What?" I stared at her. I thought we'd been getting along this evening; I'd even loosened up a little around her. Around Forrest. Served me right really; my walls were up for a reason. "You know what?" I said as she opened her mouth to reply. "Never mind. I should never have come to this party; I only came for-" I stopped. "I'm going."
"Helena, wait." She followed me through the crowds, all of whom stopped and looked at me. I heard someone muttering about how I had been dancing with Forrest, so I must know what was going on. I resisted the urge to snap at them and tell them to mind their own businesses, and ploughed on. As soon as I reached the fresh air of outside, the flashes of cameras started. I ignored them and headed to the car, climbing in and slamming the door. I saw Alex running out of the door, looking around, and then zeroing in on me. I started the car as she ran across the drive, and she stopped in front of me before I could get going.
"Helena! Wait!" I gritted my teeth as the camera flashes doubled, and gestured for her to get in the car. She moved hesitantly, obviously worried that I would drive as soon as she was clear. The door closed.
"What?" I murmured, not looking at her.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean... I was upset and I lashed out. Please come back inside?"
"I'm not really in the party mood." I shrugged. "Plus I have a ton of work that I should-"
"Oh please don't make work an excuse."
"It's not an excuse. UD is not the only thing I'm working on you know? I shouldn't have gotten so involved in it. It's not good for business."
"We needed you. We still do. Your other projects are clearly doing fine without you."
"Alex..." I turned to face her. "I'm going. You should go back inside though. Enjoy the party. Dance with Jack. Or... whoever."
"I don't want to."
I let out an exasperated sigh and gripped the steering wheel tighter.
"Then do whatever you want Alex. I'm not stopping you."
"Take me home?" My head shot up to look at her, mouth open in surprise. She stared me down for a moment.
"W-what?" Her eyes bored in to me, and then she blinked.
"Give me a lift home? I came in a taxi, and I'm not really in the mood to go back in either."
"Oh. Well... I..."
"Besides I've been wanting... uhm, a ride in your car since I first saw it. Nice choice." She admired the car. "Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray right? 1963?"
"You know about cars?" I asked sceptically.
"I worked on that car Trilogy remember? You pick up some things." I stared at her. "The great Helena Anderson is rendered speechless," she laughed.
I huffed in an attempt to hide my smile.
"Fine. But I'm not letting you drive her. Ever."
"I wouldn't expect you too." She grinned, buckling her seat belt. "I can't believe you've got the original interior..."
"You're such a... nerd." I chuckled, looking over my shoulder to reverse.
"Ahem, I'm not the one who owns the car, nerd." She looked back at the photographers that were almost blocking the way. "Ten points for each one you hit."
"Don't tempt me," I grinned, and revved the car so that they would move. I slipped the car out on to the road and set off as fast as I could, before the paparazzi could stick their lenses to the windows.
"Woah. This is brilliant." Alex grinned. "Where'd you learn to drive like this?"
"I was a stunt woman."
"Shut up, you weren't." She rolled her eyes. I raised an eyebrow at her and smirked. "You were? Seriously? But there's nothing about that online." My eyebrow raised higher and I looked at her again. "Okay, so I looked you up. Nothing wrong with getting to know who you're going to be working with." She flushed a little. "Of course if I'd done it before we started, I would have known who you were on that first day."
"You mean when you called me The Ice Queen?"
"In my defence-"
"-Oh please, I've been called worse." I chuckled.
"So... a stunt woman huh?"
"My little rebellion against my mother. She wanted me to be in films. She still doesn't know I have been, but not as some arm candy or love interest. I got to do the action. My first film, I raced a car through the desert with two cars after me as the sun set. It was exhilarating."
"Not Clean Break?"
"That film; it's called Clean Break isn't it?"
"Yes." I grinned. "You know it?"
"I got a crush on Lena Montgomery after that film. I thought she was a vapid model with nothing to her, and then she handled that car so well... they never mentioned a stunt driver."
"Well when your parents are as well known and connected as mine are, you can't really do anything without them knowing if you go around putting your name on everything." I stopped at the lights and looked over at her. Alex was grinning at me, her bottom lip caught in her teeth. "What?"
"This was your version of teenage rebellion wasn't it? Becoming a stunt woman and driving hot cars." I laughed.
"Well I had to do something."
"Have you ever taken this car out to the desert and just let her fly?"
"No." I studied her for a moment. She seemed excited, glowing, and her body was twisted almost fully to face me.
"I thought you wanted to go home?"
"I'd rather do this."
"I don't know..."
"Please Helena..." She gripped my hand. "I will never argue with you again. I will dedicate my next award to you. Anything," she continued, both dramatically and jokingly.
"You really are a nerd. Alright. Fine." Alex yelped and laughed.
"Oh okay, you are way cooler than I thought you were."
"I'm sure there's a compliment in there somewhere." I replied wryly.
I tried not to let on how distracting it was to have Alex next to me as we drove across the open space. She kept yelling with joy every time I did a handbrake turn, and when she had calmed down, all she seemed to do when she wasn't whooping, was stare at me as I drifted.
I did a handbrake park at one hundred and eight to stop and grinned at her.
"That was amazing." She laughed. "I don't know if I can walk but I don't care."
I chuckled and opened the car door.
"What? Where are you going?"
"I just told you I can't walk!" She complained before getting out. She did stagger a little, but she managed to join me at the front of the car. "I can't see anything."
"Look up." I smiled.
"What? I can't... oh."
"We used to stay out and look at the stars all the time when we filmed Clean Break. And we'd have parties around camp fires..." Alex snorted and I looked at her. "What?"
"Nothing. I mean... what happened? You sound like you used to be a cool nerd, and now you pretend like you're an Ice Queen in a suit?"
"Well, cool nerd doesn't exactly have the same power that Ice Queen does. She can't get companies to pay up for projects. She spends most of her time fending off men who think that they have the right to do whatever they want. She is an embarrassment to her family for not reaching high enough." I shrugged. "I never wanted to be what my mother wanted. But sometimes I wonder if I let myself become what my father wanted instead, because he didn't throw it at me quite as... persistently."
"What did your mother want?" Alex murmured.
"For me to become a successful model and actress, and marry some rich man in the business so that I didn't have to worry when my looks went south."
Are you sure? Isn't the point of parents that they just want their child to be happy?"
"Yes. But my mother knew exactly how she wanted me to be happy. She still does. She calls me at least once a day with a new man she thinks I should date. In fact, just the other week she found an article which she thought was implying that Jack and I were seeing each other."
"Well I think he's got his hands full at the moment. But if that's your type-"
"Alex... no!" I laughed. "Ew."
"So what is your type Helena?" I felt the sleeve of her jacket brush against my arm as she stood beside me.
"I... I don't know... I don't know if I believe that people have types."
"Alright... who do you like?"
"I-" I gulped. "No one. What about you?"
"What?" She sounded wary, the jovial tone gone. "I'm married."
"And yet you slept with Kamala. And I know you and Jack had a thing. I know it's a sore subject but... why are you still with him if he makes you unhappy?"
"I'm not talking about this Helena."
"Because it's none of your business. It's not impacting the show so just drop it." I heard her move away and saw the dark outline of her making her way to the car door, opening it, and slamming it. I sighed and went and got inside too. "Take me home."
"Alex... I didn't ask because of the show. I asked because... well I thought we might be... friends. I guess I was wrong, but I just really wanted to help."
"You can't." She crossed her arms.
"But-" She glared at me. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry. Let me take you home."