tagCelebrities & Fan FictionAdventures of Hollywood Jim Ch. 89

Adventures of Hollywood Jim Ch. 89

byhollywoodjim©

It all happened with a cool efficiency.

Before I could even react to Chuck terminating me, the glass door behind us slid open and the large Jason Statham lookalike who'd met me at the front door reappeared and stood in front of Chuck like an impregnable brick wall. Now I knew what his purpose was. Chuck stood up and showed no emotion whatsoever as he walked down the stairs to the beach and casually strolled off. I was unceremoniously escorted from Chuck's house and given an envelope on the way out, his severance package as I later learned when I opened it.

I sat in my car and wondered what I should do next. It had been a long time since I'd been fired and given where I'd been employed, I had a feeling this would be more complicated than simply punching a clock for the last time. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the "bodyguard" standing by the front door watching my every move. Judging by his icy stare, leaving was strongly advised.

"He did WHAT?" a stunned Roger yelled "Jim, we'll fight this! He can't just dump you because you talked to another agency! You never accepted any kind of offer! This is a clear violation of your contract! I've got friends who specialize in contracts like this and they owe me a lot of favors! I'll be with you every step of the way! I'll..."

"Wait a sec, Roger. What if Jackie Morrison's offer is still good?"

"What're you talking about?"

"Maybe the Morrison offer is something to pursue. I think she was serious."

"You WANT to leave Artists Unlimited? That's crazy! Morrison has no track record! For all we know this could be some crazy tax dodge her accountants dreamed up! I'm telling you not just as your lawyer but as a friend you should fight this!"

"But what if it's serious?"

Roger was silent, then his voice calmed down, like he was giving this some thought.

"Look, give yourself some time off" he said with a sigh "Maybe Chuck will cool off and bring you back."

"Good idea."

"Just the same...I want to look over your contract. I'm still suspicious about all this. Please, at least let me do this."

"OK, do what you need to do."

When I got home, my apartment felt even more quiet than usual. I sat in my favorite chair with the lights off looking at the lights of L.A., trying to take in all that had happened. I think even Smokie the cat could tell things had changed and he crawled into my lap. It felt nice sitting there with him. In the course of an hour I'd gone from the top of the showbiz talent ladder to being just another mortal looking to make ends meet. OK, my situation was different than everyone else's but there was still that sense of fear within me. My phone buzzed with an incoming text from Natalie;

"I'm so sorry." It said "I'll call you."

In the midst of all this upheaval in my life, an email arrived from the Aria casino in Vegas. How I got on their mailing list, I'll never know. The last time I was there I ran into an old friend who'd since made a name for himself running their restaurant operations. I dismissed the email and deleted it.

I wasn't going to feel sorry for myself and was determined to still be productive. I did a longer than usual workout at the gym and had a more leisurely reading than normal of the morning papers. But as I sat outside at Starbucks I still wondered what was going through the minds at AU.

"Hey, Jim!"

"Huh?"

"Jim? It's me."

I looked up and saw Wilmer Valderrama standing nearby. I'd met him in New York with Demi Lovato when I was the "plus one" for their mutual friend Selena Gomez. I found that he was a cool guy to be around especially when we were all snowbound for the night. And even now, he still had the "cool" vibe around him as he got his Venti latte`.

"Hey, how ya doin? Have a seat." I said as he joined me and removed his sunglasses.

"Just getting my morning jolt, you?"

"The same. How's your girl?"

"She's great, it's a lucky thing I ran into you. Did you know her birthday's coming up soon?"

"No way!"

"Uh-huh, since Demi's performing in Vegas, we're gonna celebrate it there. Wanna join us for the weekend?"

"Do I have to be someone's plus one again?"

"No! Not this time!" he laughed "Selena's busy on tour...it's gonna be a big family gathering. There might be a few surprises too." Wilmer leaned in close to me "I know things got a little, y'know, intimate between all of us that night after the wedding. If you know what I mean?"

"The thought did occur to me." I knew what he meant. I could hear him and Demi in the bedroom across from where Selena and I had an equally memorable night. We gave each other knowing smiles. Wilmer looked relieved that he didn't have to explain any further.

"OK, anyway, I guess you could hear us."

I nodded "You probably heard us too?"

He nodded and took a sip of his drink. It seemed like he wanted to say something but was clearly nervous. "Demi was happy that things worked out between you and Selena, you know all she's been going through lately" he said as he took another sip of his drink, but this one was a bit longer "There's a lot we've done that doesn't make it into the tabloids. You only see the highlights."

Maybe a trip to Vegas wasn't such a bad idea after all

"When does this big event kick off?"

"Great!" he replied with some relief in his voice "I'll text you the info." As soon as he left I went for my phone to see if I still had that email from the Aria. Maybe being on their email list (and a closet cheapskate) wasn't so bad after all either.

The Aria was a huge monument of glass and steel on the Vegas strip. The natural light that shined through its windows was unreal the afternoon I arrived. Wilmer left a message for me at the front desk that I was to check in and meet them down in the pool area where the VIP cabanas were. I quickly changed into my Ron Jon board shorts and Hawaiian shirt and headed for the vast pool area. The Vegas heat was in full effect as I strolled around keeping an eye out for them but trying not to gaze on all the bikini beauties that were everywhere I looked. Luckily my phone buzzed with a text from Wilmer saying they were at the Liquid Pool Lounge. It was hard to miss it from the techno music playing.

"Hey, Jim!" I heard him yell. He and Demi were at one of the many booths that surrounded the pool. Demi's face lit up when she saw me, she immediately scampered over to me and hugged me tightly.

"Oh my god! Wow! You're here!"

"Hey, how could I turn down something like this?"

"I can't believe you came, wow!" she said as she escorted me to their booth. She introduced me to their friends (none of whom I knew) and we were all munching on fruit and different drinks. Demi sat close to me and I could feel her fingers softly brush my cheek, as if to get my attention. I turned and got a look at that big smile she was famous for. Yep, she was happy I came. She looked flawless in an aqua colored strapless bikini. As Demi told everyone about how we'd met and our time together that weekend in New York, I saw an equally stunning woman walking towards our table in an electric red bikini with a matching wrap that emphasized her curvy figure. Her long brown hair looked incredible the way it was softly blown by the hot desert wind

"My god...who is that?" I said slowly as she stood by the pool and delicately dipped her toe in the water.

Demi heard me and called out to the woman.

"Ashley!" she yelled, the woman turned and smile widely as she walked over. She exchanged greetings and hugs with Demi and turned to me "Jim, this is my friend Ashley, she's a model. You probably saw her Sports Illustrated cover."

"Hi, Jim. I'm Ashley Graham. So good to meet you." She said as she gave me a soft kiss on the cheek. She sat down next to me and I was now in between two beauties. Demi on one side, Ashley on the other. I also couldn't keep my eyes off Ashley's body. Her tits were, well, enormous. I tried leaning forward on my elbows just so I wouldn't be leering at either one of them. But man, it was tough. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to Ashley

"What do you do out in L.A.?" she asked.

"Oh, I'm with...or should I say I WAS with Artists Unlimited."

"You left them?"

"Not exactly...I got, um, retired by them." I said, fumbling for the right words.

"How can you be retired?" she was as confused about how I could be retired as I was trying not say fired.

"Well...it's complicated, let's put it that way."

Just then one of the other guests interrupted us.

"Hey, I just got a text from the Hollywood Reporter...big shakeup at Artists Unlimited" she read "I wonder what that means?"

"Isn't that where you're at, Jim?" Demi asked.

"Well...it was."

"You got fired?" said another guest.

I nodded "Another agency was interested in me and my boss found out, so..." I said with a shrug. There was a sympathetic "Oh" from everyone at the table.

"What agency did you talk to?" Ashley asked.

"The Morrison Group. I think they're a new player in town."

"That's who I'm with!" she said excitedly "You should go with them!"

"I know them too." Wilmer added "The production company I did my TV show with signed a big deal with them for another series. They're big time, man."

Gee, maybe being fired by Chuck Tyler wasn't so bad after all.

Demi and Wilmer kept the conversation and laughs going as we sat in the hot Vegas sun. Ashley jumped in every so often and she proved to be as witty as everyone else. Demi gushed about touring with Nick Jonas and how she might team up with Meghan Trainor for the European leg of her tour.

"I'm going to cool off." Ashley said as she stood up and untied her wrap, she had a stunningly curvy figure that got more than a few stares as she made her way to the pool's edge.

"I know what you're lookin' at Jim." Demi said with a giggle behind me "Hey, I'd do her too." I turned to look at her, somewhat shocked but everyone else was laughing so I did too. In the back of my mind though, it didn't seem so far-fetched. In fact, it made for quite a fantasy. I was very tempted to join her, if only to get a little closer to her.

"Uh, think I'll cool off too." I said casually, but I knew from Demi's reaction, she knew there was more to it than that. I she knew me all too well.

Ashley had slipped into the water and moved to a shallower part of the pool where you could walk into or out of the pool as if you were at the ocean. The water rippled around her as she lay back in the sun as I stepped into the water and walked over to where she was.

"Mind if I join you?"

"Please do...this feels soooo nice" she said with a smile as she delicately splashed water on her body "I forgot how hot it gets here."

"It does, I must admit." I said as I lay back in the water with her "Uh, do you get to Vegas all that much?"

"Sometimes, it's been a while since I've been here, been working so much lately, you know."

"Ah, yes...the life of a super model."

"Yes, it's a tough one." She said seriously before dissolving into laughter "But I'll tell you, it can be fun too. You must feel the same way."

"Yeah, what I do has its moments."

"Will you continue doing photos?"

"I'd like to, but what Morrison offered was pretty big."

"What did she offer?"

"Well, it seemed kinda vague, but she wants to make me like an in house producer, whatever that is. I'd rather keep doing photos. I don't know what an in-house producer does anyway."

Ashley listened and turned her head slightly, like she was contemplating my every word "You know, you sound like someone determined to get what he wants...I like that."

"I do? Oh! Well, uh, thanks."

"If you don't mind my asking...do you think you'll take Morrison's offer?"

"It's tempting, but I have to see what they offer first."

"Smart move" she replied "Like I said, you sound determined. I'll see you at the party tonight." And with that, she slowly stood up and made an equally dramatic exit from the pool area, attracting more than a few stares along the way.

I stayed in the pool for quite awhile, absorbing the hot sun and letting the waters drift my tensions away. But I couldn't help but think about what she'd said. Me? Determined? Nah, the sun must be playing with our heads. A cold spritz of water brought me back to reality and I saw Demi swim up to me.

"Hey gorgeous...chilling out?" she said with a big smile. Even with her hair slicked down by the water, she looked just as good as ever. And she was armed too, with a pink water pistol.

"It's the only way to be."

"Yeah, you said it. I'm really happy you came, Jim. I'm glad Wilmer's here but those other people I'm not so sure about."

"Why?"

"Well...I don't know them too well and I get a little, well, nervous around people like that." Her voice showed a lot of apprehension, maybe because she was revealing something to me, even if I was a friend there seemed to still be that sense of mistrust in her mind.

"I think I know what you mean...old demons?"

She nodded.

"But you work with them, right?"

"Not all the time and not every day" she said before adding "And certainly not in a situation like this."

"Well, how 'bout this...I'll keep an eye on you and you keep an eye on me."

She giggled and moved in close to me "OK, Dr. Jimmy...I'll do that. And maybe later..." she said as touched the crotch of my swimsuit "I can have some of this."

"Uh, yes...a definite maybe." I said as Demi gave me the pistol and left me with that electric smile of hers as she swam off.

"See you at the show tonight."

Now I was the nervous one. But I looked at the water pistol and spun it around my finger like a gunslinger. I smiled and let the hot sun and cool water relax me.

I'm still "Hollywood Jim", you know.

Even though I didn't get to meet him, Nick Jonas opened Demi's show that night in the Aria's main arena and to my surprise, brought Ashley onstage to dance with him while he performed "Toothbrush". Demi gave her usual high-energy performance. The last time I'd seen her there she was doing classic rock songs like "Jailbreak" in her show, showing off her rocker credentials quite well. This time around she was giving a powerhouse take on Sammy Hagar's "There's Only One Way to Rock" as an encore. But when she was waving "Good night" to the audience, to her surprise (and the audience's) Wilmer walked out carrying a large cupcake with a candle on it. She looked stunned to see him and even more when he took a microphone and made this announcement;

"Hey everyone, did you know Demi's birthday is today?"

The audience immediately began to scream and he led 20,000 fans in a singing of "Happy Birthday" to her. She was smiling and crying tears of joy, her hand over her heart.

Demi's party was a grand event at the Aria's nightclub called Jewel that the hotel pulled out all the stops on. I could see a camera crew from "Entertainment Tonight" hovering around interviewing guests. Their house DJ spun tunes and there was plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks around. I missed not being able to at least have a beer, but figured I might later on.

This was Vegas, right?

Demi looked gorgeous as usual with Wilmer by her side. I was wandering the party, checking out everything when a familiar face appeared and gave me an enthusiastic hug.

"Hey, babe!"

It was Selena Gomez, one of the surprises that Wilmer had hinted at when he invited me.

"Geez, this is a surprise!"

"Hey, you know me. I love things like this."

"Does Demi know you're here?"

"In a minute, she will. Watch this..." Selena said with a naughty smile as she walked over and crept up behind Demi who was doing an interview and suddenly shrieked at seeing Selena. Seeing them together, the old friends they were, made me smile. It made me think of old friends I'd had, and ones I'd lost. I took out my phone and got as close as I could without being in the way and snapped a photo of them, big smiles all around. They looked so happy together. Just as I sent it via text to Demi's phone, I turned to my right and saw another sight that made me smile, Ashley had arrived. She looked great in her LBD (little black dress). Around her neck a beautiful gold chain with a small ruby-colored amulet hanging from it.

"Hey, how's things going here?" she asked.

"Pretty good, Selena just arrived."

"Oh! I didn't know she was coming."

"Yeah, Wilmer set it up. He told me there were lots of surprises in store for her."

"What else do you think he's got in store?"

"I think we're about to find out." I said as I looked toward the dance floor area where Wilmer was at the DJ station. He gave a little speech thanking everyone who came and started to read a speech talking about Demi, their friendship and how proud he was of her sobriety and her career.

"Who'd have thought that all this started with a purple dinosaur..." he said as a huge photo popped up on the video screen behind him of Demi and Selena when they were part of the "Barney and Friends" cast. Everyone laughed and Demi had her head in her hands laughing with everyone else.

"That's her?!" Ashley said with a laugh. I just nodded, making her laugh all the more "I wonder if he's got Barney hidden away somewhere."

"With him, I wouldn't be surprised."

Wilmer finished his speech and amid much applause Demi came over and they hugged. Demi took the mike and said to him "You know I'm gonna get you for this on your birthday." She turned to the audience "I'm calling his Mom tonight."

"Do you think she'll really do that?" Ashley asked.

"Oh, yeah, I don't think she's someone to mess with."

Ashley and I got a table together and not long after we sat down, her phone suddenly started playing this football fight song and the Minnesota Vikings logo popped up on the screen.

"What is that?"

"My ringtone, it's the Vikings fight song. Gotta support my team." She said with pride as she answered the phone and immediately smiled. "Hey, girl!" she said happily "I'm in Vegas at Demi's birthday party, where are you?"

"I'm over in Dubai." The voice at the other end said "Who's with you?"

"Let me show you."

Ashley started to pan the phone around the table, she'd apparently clicked on Skype and was showing off who was with us.

"Hey! Who's the guy next to you?"

"Jim, he's a friend of Demi's."

"Lemme see! Lemme see!" the voice said excitedly.

Ashley handed me the phone and I saw the person calling was Jennifer Lopez, looking so sexy as usual, even in a robe.

"Hey! Mister Hollywood! How ya doin'?"

"I'll be damned! Where are you?"

"Dubai! I'm on tour here, just wanted to check in with my girl. You haven't corrupted her yet have you?"

"Now why would I do that?"

"I know you! Or have you already forgotten?" she laughed "Hey, let's get together when I'm back home, we need to catch up!"

"OK, Jen."

"Let me talk to Ashley."

I handed the phone back to Ashley and as she talked to Jennifer, a smile came over her face, like she'd been let in on some secret.

After much food and more cake than I should've had, I was beat. I made my way to Demi's table and she gave me a big hug.

"Thanks so much for coming, Jim. I really mean it."

"Thanks, dude." Wilmer added.

"I'll see you in the morning right? You're staying over, right?"

"Yep, I'll be around. I need to get my casino fix."

As I made my way to the exit, I saw Ashley going in the same direction with a couple of other people.

"Hey! Where you headed?"

"We're gonna get a drink at one of their bars, this place called the Baccarat Lounge. You wanna come?"

"Sure! Let's go."

Baccarat Lounge was an intimate (for Vegas) lounge-type bar with cushy seats and probably pricey drinks. Ashley must've known someone there because we were immediately taken to a VIP area. She didn't appear to be a big drinker as she sipped a Cosmopolitan. I stuck to a Jack and water. It had been a long time since I'd had one and had to remember not to guzzle it like I would a beer. Everyone talked and laughed about whatever projects they had, people they knew or gossip they heard.

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