Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: Both
Taking his hand, Lisa lead Ford through the fake graveyard. Grips and other hands were around the set, but most people had already left. Lisa was still in makeup but out of costume, a simple robe covering her instead. She watched him from the corner of her eye, unsure what to expect.
This was new. It had never occurred to her that her friend and bodyguard might be interested her. There had never been any awkwardness when she was naked on set or she stumbled into him when drunk. He had never said a bad word about any of her choices in companions, even though the majority were deplorable and he should have said and done something.
His brown eye caught hers for a second and he stopped in his tracks, pulling his hand free.
Lisa stepped around to stand facing him. She took both his hands and looked up at Ford. “So. What do we do now?”
He deflated slightly, head drooping. His dark sandy hair fell into his eyes. “You find another body guard.”
Lisa frowned. “Why?”
Ford sighed loudly. “Rules. Training. They all say that if you start getting too close, I don’t do a good job.”
Lisa crossed her arms. “Well, does this have to be an all or nothing? Do or die?” She snickered a little looking at the headstones around them.
Ford glanced at them and laughed too. He sighed again. “I just...I can’t be both, y’know?”
Lisa nodded in understanding. “You realize you’re talking to someone who spends most of her life being more than one person, right? Can we compartmentalize?” Ford looked confused. “When I’m at work, when I’m moving from one place to another, I’m at work, and so are you. We treat each other the way we always have.”
Ford nodding, agreeing with her so far.
“When we are checked in, or in my trailer, or elsewhere we can be ourselves...”
Ford gulped when she took his hands again. Lisa stepped closer, pulling them behind her back. She didn’t stop looking up into his eyes as she did.
“We can be ourselves,” she said again. Standing on tiptoe, she still didn’t reach Ford’s lips, but kissed his chin instead.
His hands twitched on her back and his head swayed side to side. She watched him fight himself.
“We’re safe here. Most everyone is gone. We can be ourselves.”
Ford’s jaw clenched and the tendons rose toward his temple. Lisa reached up to touch his face, to smooth the frown creases.
It was a surprise when one of his hands slid down and cupped her bottom, lifting her slightly as his face turned further down. Ford’s lips crushed her own, seeming to devour her. His kiss was hungry, needy, almost desperate. Lisa let him continue that way for a few moments before pushing him back.
“Slow down,” she said, gasping for air. “I’m not going to disappear or anything.”
“But you are. You or I will be gone.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way.”
“You are a great actress,” Ford told her. “You could pretend we mean nothing to each other, but I can’t.”
“Doesn’t caring about me just make you better at your job?”
He shook his head. “I can swap with someone. We might still be on the same jobs.” He was grasping at straws and it showed.
“Clifford.” His head came up abruptly at the use of his full name. “Did you or did you not promise my father you would take care of me?”
“You’ll be taken care-”
“Didn’t you promise you would be the one taking care of me. I’m pretty sure my dad only wanted you.”
“Lisa, don’t make this harder than it already is.”
“You have felt this way for a while, right? It didn’t just happen overnight?”
“Then why can’t you do what you’ve been doing? Nothing has changed.”
“One thing has.” He tipped her chin up and kissed her lightly this time. “I’ve kissed you.”
Lisa smiled. “And it won’t be our last. I want your trainer’s number. There must be someway this can work.” Determined, Lisa started striding off set. She was going to find a way.
Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege and the upcoming Thickness of Blood. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com