Marlo makes his way into the auditorium, pulling his hat down and glasses over his face to avoid being noticed. Being famous tended to stunt the normal aspects of his life that he used to enjoy. It had also caused him great anxiety but he had managed to fair well between some therapy and medication. This book made him want to know who wrote it, to him it was something on the level of a great author even if the general public did not see it that way.
The young actor looks down at the paperback copy he has in his hands of a book that reads Heretics and Iconography. The spine is badly bent from him spending hours reading it and annotating it. He flipped it open one more time and scanned through some of the passages he underlined, as he closed it he looked at the picture on the back. A young woman with dyed blonde hair had a slight smirk on the back cover. She had an odd name, Dunya Peters, as he read it the name stuck with him. Her biography seemed like any other author, graduated with a bachelor’s of some sort, had written all throughout her life, and decided to become one during college.
Part of him had wondered what the mind behind this novel was like. What had inspired the dark subject matter? Who was the person behind this cunning sense of humor? Who was this person? As he asked these questions to himself, the picture on the back of the book seemed to appear before him at a long table on the stage. As the lights hit her and several of the other authors on the panel her features were displayed like a painting in a museum, where a specific sort of luminance was shone on them. She was tall, at least in comparison to the other authors. As she pulled out the chair to sit down, her blonde hair swept to one side. The gaze she gave the audience was saturated with an intuitive judgment, taking the darkened member of each face in.
“Hi, yes, my first question is for Dunya Peter’s,” a young man walked to the front of the mic. Marlo recognized him from events around Los Angelos, he had been interviewed by him at premieres and red carpet events. The man’s questions were often invasive, belittling, and even difficult for the sake of media attention. If one could manipulate a celebrity into saying something off putting or weird, it would be prime for clickbait and a nice paycheck.
“Yeah, shoot,” the blonde pulls the mic forward and leans into it looking a little bored. Her eyes looked sharp and decisive, if not a little dead. The smirk of the woman on the back of the cover is replaced by a straight-lipped glare awaiting the question.
“What inspired the idea for your book? It has some distinctly religious undertones to it, and I wanted to know if it was criticizing it or praising it. This is interesting since you were raised in the church.” As the reporter asked this, Marlo noticed the writer become slightly disheartened at the mention of the church toward the end, as he emphasized it as if it was odd or bad.
The eye-catching woman sighs, picking up the mic and leaning back against her chair. She was stone-faced with one eyebrow cocked and crossed arms. “There are aspects to it that mean to put attitudes surrounding religion in America under a microscope, and there are aspects to it that mean to praise the core principles of it. The main criticism of the book is the idea that a person can be spiritual, but not religious. We always find ourselves saying that, but to have any true sense of spirituality it must be put into actual practice.”
The young woman is about to put down the microphone as the reporter pipes up again. “Well, what would you say to those who disagree with you?”
Her eyes are narrowed at the figure standing in front of her like a dragon that met an intruder in its den. “I’d say they're welcome to disagree with me, but they’re fundamentally wrong,” she spits in a curt voice before passing the microphone to the next writer.
Marlo can feel his heart beat faster. Between the response, she gave in response to the first question and the deadpan shrewdness exhibited in the second he had developed a small crush on the woman upfront. He wanted to meet her.
If there was ever a time to use his fame as a net benefit it was now. He had to talk to her.
Marlo walked back to a hallway of dressing rooms with a security guard. He knocked and opened the door, telling the young woman that someone wanted to meet her. The security guard nodded to Marlo and closed the door.
“Who’s there?” Her voice has a raspiness to it. It could be heard as she projected into the microphone but was softer in the quiet room. She made her way out, instead of business attire she was now in a pair of sweat pants and a rough-looking t-shirt.
“Hi,” Marlo shoves his hands in his pocket and grinned with sheepishness. She stared his down from across the room with the same judgment that she had scrutinized the audience with at the beginning of the panel.
“Hi?” The unconventional beauty echoed back. She had a sternness to her that was neither cold nor warm.
“I’m Marlo Géroux. I’m a big fan of your work,” As he introduces himself the flaxen blonde’s face softens into receptiveness.
“Yeah, I can tell,” she laughs a little in a warm raspy tone. “I’ve seen some of your stuff, I really like it.” Her smile gave him the same butterflies that he got from the answers she gave.
“Really? I like your books a lot, they remind me of Dostoevsky,” Marlo’s face is crimson at this point looking at the writer. He can’t wipe the grin off his face that has grown from both fanboying over this girl and her writing and how ethereally pretty she was up close.
“You said that already, and thanks that’s a really high compliment for me,” she smiled leaning against the wall. She seemed to be a little caught off or awkward in nature as he did.
“So, I was wondering, would you like to grab a coffee sometime?” He spits out awkwardly, half-expecting Dunya to reject him. As much as it would have barbed him in the side, he assumed it was better, to be honest than to beat around the bush.
“Yeah sure, can you get out to get a coffee?” Her smirk from the back of the novel lit up on her face in a receptive manner.
“I’m sneaky, I can do it,” he smiles back and looks around. All he can hope to do is sew the two of them together for the future, making a long-term companion out of each of them.