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Truly Madly Famously
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Soon to be a series on Freeform, formerly ABC Family, starring Bella Thorne.
“A must-read for anyone curious about life and love behind the scenes.”–Bella Thorne, actor and author of Autumn Falls, on Famous in Love
Table of Contents
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LAX. Post–fifteen hours of travel. Dried skin. Swollen ankles. Sunglass-covered, dark-circled eyes. It's no one's sexiest look, yet it's the one that gets photographed more than any other. I don't know why a single soul would want to see me like this. But they must. Because every time I get off a plane, at least thirty-five people are standing outside to photograph me. And the pictures will land everywhere. My rumpled jeans and matted hair will be splashed across every single tabloid the world over.
My costars, Rainer Devon and Jordan Wilder, and I are more than movie stars now. We're celebrities. We have the number one film. Locked. August, Noah, and Ed—the characters we play—are household names. Our love triangle has captivated the world. Twenty million book sales. Two hundred fifty million at the box office opening weekend. Action figures. Our faces are plastered everywhere. Billboards on Sunset Boulevard. The cover of every weekly.
LOCKED'S STARS ARE RISING
ALL THE RAIGE: PAIGE AND RAINER, LOVE AT LAST
RAINER DEVON: PAIGE IS THE REASON THIS SERIES WORKS
JORDAN WILDER AND RAINER DEVON REPAIR THEIR RELATIONSHIP
RAIGE PLAYS HOUSE
We've been on an international press tour for the last four weeks to promote our movie. Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, Rome, London. A different city every night, sometimes every four hours. I've woken up more often lately not knowing where I am than having a clue.
But now I know. Now we're home. Or, at least, in L.A.
"How are you doing?" Rainer's voice comes warm in my ear, and I let my body lean against his as we make our way off this, our last flight.
"Good," I say. "I'm glad we're here." Tour was pretty incredible. All those screaming fans, all that energy. But I'm ready for some downtime. I don't think I've slept through the night since we walked down the red carpet at the L.A. premiere.
Rainer pulls me tighter to him. It will be our last embrace until we get in our car. Tawny, our publicist and media coach, has strict rules about that—no touching when there are cameras. No touching outside because there could be cameras. Keep your hands to yourself. Sometimes I feel like I'm back in preschool.
Personally, I think it drives the mania. Hiding, I mean. People know we're together—I did announce it at a press conference, after all—but they are desperate for footage of us hand in hand. They're on the hunt for it constantly. Rainer is superactive on social media. He's always trying to get me to tweet. He showed me how it works while we were in Rome. He gets thousands of tweets a minute, most of them asking about what it's like to be us. I don't know how I'd possibly answer that, let alone in 140 characters.
Because what is it like to be us? How can I explain the dream come true it is to be a movie star? To be with Rainer? I get to live out two fantasies simultaneously. I get to be August, Noah's lover, and Paige, Rainer's girlfriend. And I'm grateful for that. But it's also only half of it. It doesn't include the parts I don't know how to talk about, things I can't mention in interviews. That I feel like I'm inside a blender. I can't tell my toes from my brain. There are times when I wonder where August ends and Paige begins, and that scares me. It scares me more than the flashbulbs and paparazzi. It scares me to think I may not know who I am anymore.
What I do know is that I'm with Rainer, and Rainer can handle this. Fame, fantasy, everything in the middle. He's not only okay in the spotlight; he thrives in it. And that's who I need by my side right now—someone who can stand with me. Even if he's not holding my hand.
As much as I'd like to walk out of the airport next to him, I'm also not desperate for photos of us making out to land at the grocery store my parents go to, either. So I'll stick with Tawny's frenzy-inducing rules.
We make our way downstairs, and at the top of the escalator, Rainer lets me go. He'll move a few stairs down so it won't be possible to get a photo of us together. I know the drill.
"The car will be waiting. Three minutes," he tells me. "It's never more than three minutes." He says the same thing to me in every city. It's his mantra. Ours.
I nod. I kiss him. Once, on the lips.
"See you on the flip side."
Our bodyguards appear, out of nowhere, and then we're down in baggage claim. I step off the escalator.
I don't know how they know when we're going to land. Especially this early in the morning. Does someone tip them off? Are our travel schedules somehow public? Do they spend every day here, waiting for celebrities to get off flights? I tuck my head down. I keep my eyes trained on the feet in front of me. One. Two. Three.
I hear them before I see them. They scream: "Paige!" My name, like a shotgun.
I see Rainer outside the glass double doors. He swings his backpack into the waiting black Escalade, and I empty out my lungs.
"Paige! Is it true that you and Rainer are engaged?" "Paige! How is Rainer handling the scandal with Britney Drake and his father?" "Paige! Where is Jordan Wilder?"
Don't react. That's what they tell you. They tell you to keep a positive face, to smile. To never let them see you sweat. But none of that helps with the giant, unquestionable need I have to tell them the truth. To set the record straight.
No, we're not engaged. We haven't even talked about next week, let alone the rest of our lives.
Not well. Rainer is not handling the fact that his father tried to sleep with his ex-girlfriend well. Thanks for asking!
And lastly: I have no idea where Jordan Wilder is.
Jordan, the third point of our infamous Locked love triangle, left London a week ago with Alexis Gibson. Alexis is playing Maggie, my—August's—sister. She was on set for maybe two days during the first shoot, but she's a major player in the second movie—and she came on the last half of the press tour with us.
According to Rainer, Jordan's always had a thing for Alexis—the one girl he's "been trying to land forever."
Not that it's my business. Not anymore.
"Paige! Will you and Rainer be living together?"
Nate, one of our security guys, holds the Escalade door open for me, and then I'm inside. Rainer is there, but he doesn't immediately reach for me. The paparazzi are still shooting through the windshield—the only window in the car that isn't fully tinted.
One more question—something I can't hear but that I see makes Rainer sink, makes him cringe—and then we're driving away.
"Not so bad," Rainer says the second we're out of sight. I reach for him at the same moment he pulls me in. His hands go around my waist then up to my shoulders and then he cups both my cheeks with his hands.
"Hey," he says. He leans down close and kisses me—his mouth presses hard over mine. My hands move up to his neck and then thread through his hair.
"Not so bad," I say. He pulls me even tighter. "I need a shower. I'm gross."
He lets his mouth rest on my ear. When he talks, I feel his breath there—warm and charged—like it carries an electric current. "Beg to differ."
I roll my eyes, but his arms stay around me, and I don't try to wriggle away. Every day with Rainer, every moment going through this insane tornado of insta-fame, makes me more certain that I made the right decision. Rainer can be there in a way I really need. Rainer is home in all of this. And Jordan…
What is there to say about Jordan that even matters anymore? Jordan has no ability to deal with fame. He's more uncomfortable with his own celebrity than I am with mine. We did one event together without Rainer. It was a Locked book launch on Maui, and Jordan completely deserted me in the crowds. If we were together, we'd probably be in a bunker somewhere, hiding out. And I haven't read all the fine print of my contract, but I'm pretty sure that's not allowed.
The second the premiere ended, and I'd chosen Rainer, Jordan and I became something close to strangers. He would barely talk to me on the press tour, and before Alexis joined us, he brought a different girl back to the hotel every night.
My best friend, Cassandra, says he's acting out, that he's trying to prove something, but I don't know. It's like he doesn't even care, like he's forgotten those moments we shared on Maui. I guess it's better if he forgets. We both should.
The one saving grace in all of this is that Rainer and Jordan are being civil. I know how painful it was when Rainer thought Britney had cheated on him with Jordan, before he learned the truth about his father. They're not besties or anything, but Rainer no longer wants to punch Jordan every time he sees him. That's progress.
"Should we stop off for breakfast?" Rainer asks me. "It is a special day."
I raise my eyebrow at him. "Rainer. Shower. Imperative."
He lets his eyes flit downward, just slightly, but it's enough to make me blush. "Home it is."
Sandy, our manager, rented me an apartment in Beverly Hills "fit for Hollywood's latest It Girl," but I couldn't bring myself to stay there alone. It was just too big and empty. So, unbeknownst to my parents, I was crashing at Rainer's before we left town. He had rented a place in Bel Air, off Stone Canyon, when everything went down with his dad at the premiere and he needed to move out of his parents'—fast.
We stayed at the Bel Air house for two weeks before we left on tour. I loved it. It's peaceful and quiet and secluded, which right now feels like more of a luxury than private jets, Monaco, and uninterrupted sleep combined. I have no plans to leave anytime soon.
I can feel my body relax as the driver types in the code and the electric gate peels back, revealing the house—all glass windows—surrounded by trees.
"I'll deal with the bags," Rainer says. "Go ahead."
I thank the driver and walk up the path. The door gives easily. I slide my backpack down in the entrance, take off my shoes, and let my toes feel the hardwood underneath my feet. Home. Or as close to it as I have right now.
My cell rings as soon as I'm inside. I hit answer. "I'm back," I say. "Just landed."
I hear my mom's voice bright and clear through the phone. "Everyone, Paige is back!" Some halfhearted mumbling and screeching on the part of my niece, Annabelle. I feel a slight tug at my chest. I miss her. She's growing so fast, and I can't help but feel kind of guilty that I'm not there to see it, and to help out with her. When my sister, Joanna, got pregnant in high school, raising Annabelle became a team effort. "How was the flight?"
"Long," I say. "Glad to be back. I got you those postcards you wanted from Paris."
"Oh, perfect," she says. "And did you get that ribbon for your sister? She wants all the bridesmaids to wear it in their hair."
"Got it, Mom." My sister's wedding is still a while away. I'm the maid of honor—a role I was born to play, I guess. Although since I'm not there, most of the role's duties have fallen to my mom.
"Honey, I was just telling your father I think this is the first year we're not together—"
I see Rainer stumble through the front door, carrying three different duffel bags. "Mom, I gotta go. Rainer is about to throw out his back."
"Have a great day!" she says. "We love you."
"Love you, too," I say, hanging up.
I go over to Rainer and loop one of the bags onto my shoulder. "Show-off," I say to him.
"Anything to impress you." He kisses me once on the lips, and I plod down the hallway to the master bedroom feeling happy.
Before the premiere it was total chaos, but tour was different. Despite the crazy call times and barely there sleep schedule, we had all of this time to just be together. For real, with no secrets. When I chose Rainer at the premiere, with all those journalists there, I solidified our fate together. And we've just been getting closer every day since. My face gets hot when I think about our recent hotel-room stints.
I close the door and peel my clothes off as I make my way into the bathroom. It's giant, bigger than my entire kitchen back home. It has two showerheads and lots of marble. You could spend a half an hour in here and never fog up the sink mirrors—they're that far away.
I step in, letting the water pour down over my head, and wash away the flight, the airport, the last month. It feels so good. I exhale everything I've been holding in.
As I start lathering up my hair I think about today. No schedules, no interviews. Free zone to do whatever I want. We can order pizza. I can let my hair air-dry! That one thought alone makes me giggle in the shower.
I finish, dry off, twist my hair up in a towel, and slip on a fluffy white bathrobe—a gift from Rainer. It's even monogrammed with his nickname for me: PG. Every fan wants to know what he's like as a boyfriend, and here's the truth: He's just as great as you think he is. There are plenty of things I have to lie about. My sleep schedule (I like to get eight hours!), my beauty regimen (masks and moisturizer!), my diet (no cheeseburgers!), but I've never had to lie about how wonderful Rainer is. The world is right—when I'm in a blender, he's the off button. I'm crazy lucky.
My wet feet make smacking sounds on the wood floor. The house is strangely quiet. "Rainer?"
I see him sitting on the couch in the middle of the giant living room. There isn't much furniture in this house, just the basics. I love that about it here. There is so much excess everywhere else in our lives right now, it's nice to come home to somewhere that is just essentials, just what we need.
I see him hunched over the coffee table. I start walking to him, but before I can ask what's going on I see the stack of mail in front of him—everything we've missed while we were gone. Newspapers, magazines. I let my palms move over them, spreading them slightly. They've all splashed versions of the same headline across the cover page: Greg Devon, studio executive, dethroned.
GREG DEVON DENIES SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS
On and on and on.
I sink down onto the couch next to Rainer. I put my arms around him. The towel falls, and my wet hair tumbles down onto his face. I push it back. I pick his face up to look into mine. "I'm here," I tell him softly. "We're in this together." I can't imagine what it must be like for him—to have his family shamed so publicly. I know he hates his father, as he should, but I also know it's not easy to see a man he loved, and respected, be ground to a pulp—even if he deserves it.
Rainer slips his hand into mine. He squeezes. "I know," he says. "And thank you. But I don't want to get into this now." He pushes the papers away. "I'm not ruining today." He cups my chin in his hand, and then he's kissing me, gently at first, and then stronger.
"You want coffee?" he asks me, a little bit breathless.
He gets up from the couch. He's wearing a T-shirt and gray sweats. His hair is still rumpled from the plane. God, he's cute.
"Stop staring," he says, smiling. "We have a lot to do today."
"I don't want to do anything today," I say. "I just want to hang out here with you."
He raises an eyebrow before he disappears into the kitchen. "Listen, if what you really want for your birthday is to take advantage of me, I'm not going to argue with you."
He pokes his head out from behind the wall. His dimples are dancing. "Your birthday, PG. Otherwise known as the day I get to stop feeling like such a cradle-robbing old man. You better get on U.S. time quick."
April 5. Eighteen.
"I totally forgot."
"Well, lucky for you, your boyfriend didn't." Rainer comes back and sets a steaming mug down on the coffee table. Before I can form another thought, his lips brush mine. With his free hand, he traces his fingers down my shoulders, wraps them around my back, and pulls me closer. My hands flutter to his shoulders.
"You know, if I took a picture right now I could sell it and retire." I break away from Rainer and see Sandy standing in the doorway, her arms crossed, a horizontal smirk on her face. "Welcome back, guys," she says. "We need to talk."
Sandy comes toward us, a whirlwind of cream and silk in the form of a slim, blond, forty-something woman. She surveys us, her hands on her hips. "Happy birthday, PG," she says.
Sandy is Rainer's manager and now mine, too. I hired her before we left for tour, but she's been my acting manager practically since I got the role of August in Locked—and more than that, she's been a mentor and friend. She's basically acting as a mom to all of us.
"Before you guys make any plans, we have to talk about those offers that are rolling in for the two of you." She looks at me and says, "Sorry, kid, the machine rests for no birthday. You're lucky I didn't show up at the airport." She cocks her head at Rainer. "How do you feel about being a young Superman?"
He gasps. So do I. "Are you serious?"
"Dead. And you—" Sandy loops her finger in the air. "Have you read any of the scripts I gave you?"
"A few," I say. She sent twenty: romantic comedies, a few high school dramas, and one totally amazing script called Closer to Heaven about a girl who leaves home at sixteen to join the circus and ends up becoming the greatest high-wire artist in the world. It's one of the most beautiful scripts I've ever read, and that's saying a lot—there was a time in my life when I read ten a week, easy.
"Closer to Heaven," I say. "I want to talk to the writer."
Sandy bites her bottom lip. "I was afraid you'd say that. They got Billy Zack to direct, and he thinks you're too blockbuster. There wasn't anything else in those twenty?"
"That's insane," Rainer says. "Why are you sending Paige twenty scripts? I only ever get three."
"Because I know what you like. Anyway, Paige, you'd be better off doing something else. That one will pay nothing."
"I don't care," I say. "It was the only one I read that I loved."
"Listen," Rainer says, reaching over and kneading one of my shoulders. "I think this is a conversation for another time. We just got home. It's Paige's birthday."
Sandy nods. "But I need you to move forward with something soon," she says, pointing her finger at me. "And I came all the way up the canyon to impress this upon you in person."
"Hey, have you heard from Wyatt?" Rainer asks. We read online that Wyatt wasn't directing the next movie, which I guess would explain why he left the tour after the first week. He was tough, but we loved him, and it feels weird to be moving on to the next movie without him. "He isn't returning our calls."
"He's doing another movie," she says. She looks resigned. "I haven't even heard from Wyatt. But we need to get comfortable with the reality that he's not going to be with us on the next film." She runs a hand over her forehead, and I know there is more at work here than just business. I always suspected Wyatt and Sandy had a complicated "friendship."
Rainer exhales. "We just want to talk to him."
It's almost odd seeing Rainer this attached to Wyatt—after all, they clashed for most of the movie. But by the end, Wyatt became like a dad to us. I know Rainer can't imagine losing him now, either.
Sandy flips her wrist to look at her watch. "All right, moving on. Your father called."
"Not this again," Rainer says.
Sandy sticks her hands on her hips. "Look, you don't want him to be your father? Cool. I don't think anyone could blame you. But he's still your producer."
Rainer turns around and crosses his arms. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Sandy gives her best come on expression. "What do you think it means?" she says. She's playing hardball with him, and he knows it. I see him hiccup back a laugh.
"You think I care?" he says.
Sandy shrugs. "About being replaced in this franchise? Yeah, I kinda do."
Does Greg Devon have that kind of power? Of course he does. He hired us all; there's no reason he couldn't fire us.
"Hey, Rainer, can I see you for a minute?" I say.
Rainer follows me into the bedroom. When we're alone together, I feel the quiet of the room palpably. It's like there is someone else in here that is taking up all the space, all the air. He goes over to the window.
"She's right, you know," I say.
Rainer doesn't respond.
I move closer to him and put my hand on his back. He flinches, but he doesn't move away from my touch. "Maybe you should talk to him."
"How can I?" he asks. His voice is quiet. I realize: He's not angry—he's sad.
"He's your father," I say. "No matter what else has happened, that's still true."
He turns around to me, and I see that his face is hard, set. He's so much paler now that he's not playing Noah. He looks almost ghostlike compared to how he was on the island. "He tried to sleep with my eighteen-year-old girlfriend," he says. "How do I forgive that?"
"I don't know," I say truthfully. "Maybe you don't. But you can't cut your family out forever."
Rainer's eyes are cold. "Why not?"
"Because you heard Sandy: He's our producer, too. He's going to be in our lives." I hug my arms around me. I want to reach out and touch him, but I'm not sure how I would be received.
"Maybe, maybe not." Rainer shakes his head, turning back to the window.
"You know we don't have a choice. If they want us for the next movie—and it's pretty clear they do—we have to do the next movie."
Rainer doesn't turn. "It's humiliating. The thought of being a part of something he created, that he made happen? I hate it. And now Wyatt might not even be on board. Who knows what kind of shitty sequel this could be?"
"Well, I'll be in it. And so far my track record is pretty good." I'm trying to lighten the mood, but a part of me worries that Rainer could find a way out of it. How could I even think of doing these movies without him? It's us—on camera and off. I need him next to me in all my worlds.
Rainer sighs, and then he finally turns to face me.
"I'm sorry," he says. He puts his hands on either side of my face, and then he's drawing me toward him. His lips meet mine, and his hands move down my back. They feel solid there, strong, and I let myself go pliant against his chest, the tension of the last minutes flowing out of me. "I don't mean for this to involve us." He pulls back and touches his forehead to mine.
A knock on the door makes us lift our heads up, but Rainer keeps his arms around me.
"Yeah?" he says.
Sandy comes into view. "I'm heading out, but don't forget the Awards next week. The stylist is coming by tomorrow with some dress options for you."
The MTV Movie Awards. I'm nominated for Best Female Performance and Best Kiss… twice—once with Rainer and once with Jordan. My first awards show, and there's absolutely no chance Rainer and I are not going to win Best Kiss. As proud as I am to stand beside him on the carpet, I don't love the idea of having to kiss him onstage in front of all those people. Especially since I know Jordan will be watching us, sitting right in the front row.
"You look like I just sacrificed a puppy," Sandy says. "It's an awards show—you dress up, you get your picture taken, you watch some people sing and dance and say things they'll probably regret the next day.… It's fun. Speaking of which, have some fun today. Just don't get photographed with a champagne bottle between your knees."
"You'd be surprised," Sandy says, waving good-bye.
"Wow," Rainer says. He's leaning against the bedroom door, dressed in jeans, a button-down, and a navy blazer. My breath catches a little when I look at him. He is so damn handsome. "You look incredible."
I glance down at my black slip dress—something Tawny got me for press tour that I kept, because it was one of the only things I actually liked. It's not as binding as everything else they had me in. Tawny said it was sexy, but understated—which fits the bill for tonight. Rainer and I are going to dinner, just the two of us.
I have my hair up in a loose ponytail, and I'm wearing the gold cowrie shell necklace Rainer gave me at the end of the shoot. I've even put on some makeup—I learned a thing or two from hours in the chair with Lillianna, our makeup director on the first movie. "Thanks."
He takes my hand and leads me over to the bed.
"I just want to give you your present."
I look at him, his dimple winking. The box is blue velvet, and small. The size of a ring. I feel my heart begin to pound in my throat. He wouldn't. I know he wouldn't. I don't care how many tabloid stories about his proposal there have been. We haven't been really, truly together that long, and I'm only eighteen—he wouldn't ask me to marry him. Would he?
He shifts on the bed, and I feel my pulse in my ears. He's twenty-two. In Hollywood that's close to forty.
"It'd be nice to give it to you on your actual birthday," Rainer says, nodding toward the box. "Any day now you can open it."
Praise for Truly Madly Famously:"This follow-up to Famous in Love (2014) stands alone, and teenagers interested in a look behind the Hollywood curtain will be as thrilled as existing fans."—Booklist
Praise for Famous in Love:"Rebecca Serle completely captured what it's like to be a part of Young Hollywood. I absolutely loved Famous in Love. A must-read for anyone curious about life and love behind the scenes."—Bella Thorne, actor and author of Autumn Falls
"The first-person, present-tense narration highlights Paige's internal conflict, with step-by-step descriptions of swoony kisses for romance-loving readers. This frothy but not frivolous drama is wish fulfillment for any teen who wants to feel the thrill of celebrity and love."—Kirkus Reviews
"Serle establishes a glamorous premise in a gorgeous setting, as well as an enticing romance-within-a-romance framework."—Publishers Weekly
"Famous in Love is so fun, fresh, and delectable, I'm hooked. More, please. And soon."—National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti, author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
"Fantasy becomes reality in this exhilarating love story you won't want to put down."—Susane Colasanti, bestselling author of When It Happens
"With just the right mix of celebrity fantasy and real-girl relatability, this clever Hollywood romance packs more plot twists than the book-to-film blockbusters that inspired it."—Megan McCafferty, bestselling author of Sloppy Firsts and Jessica Darling's It-List
"I could not put down this book! Loved, loved, loved it. So much romance, so much Hollywood gossip, so much fun."—Sarah Mlynowski, bestselling author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
- On Sale
- Oct 13, 2015
- Page Count
- 320 pages