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Authors: Shannen Crane Camp

Tags: #celebrity, #hollywood, #coming of age, #lds, #young actor, #lds author, #young aduld, #hollywood actress

Finding June

Finding June

by

Shannen Crane Camp

 

Cover design by Jackie Hicken

Edited and typeset by Jackie Hicken

 

SMASHWORDS edition

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system without written permission from the
author.

The characters and events portrayed in this
book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or
dead, is coincidental and is not intended by the author.

For Sharon, Ben, Darl, and Dean, who—against
my will—taught me to love silent films, and for The Husband, who
puts up with my odd taste in movies.

CHAPTER 1

The thick green liquid in the glass in front
of me bubbled ominously. I sniffed at it, hoping that it was like
the green Jell-O we seemed to have at every church party—pretty
disgusting looking, but overall quite harmless and kind of
tasty.

“Why am I drinking this, again?” I asked my
grandma, who sat next to me nodding her silent encouragement.

“Because, June, it will make your skin glow
like a sunrise,” she replied with a grand wave of her hand. I
started to relax slightly.

“Okay, so then I’m putting this on my face?”
I asked hopefully, praying silently that she would answer in the
affirmative. She simply stared at me with one raised eyebrow,
wordlessly asking why I was being so naïve. After all, this wasn’t
my first encounter with the dreaded health food monster.

“June, do you know what this really is?” she
asked, though I was pretty sure it was a rhetorical question. She
gave a dramatic pause for effect. “This is the difference between
getting cast as the leading lady and being cast as frightened
citizen number three.”

“Does frightened citizen number three have
any speaking parts?” I asked with a sly grin.

“Drink,” she commanded, getting up from the
table to answer her buzzing cell phone.

I sighed deeply and stared the glass down
once more, trying to frighten it into tasting like something other
than sour, gritty oatmeal. “All right I can do this . . . I think.
It can’t be any worse than the time I played a crash victim lying
in the rain for eight straight hours.”

The goop bubbled at me again, letting me know
that it could, in fact, be worse than that. “You don’t scare me,” I
said boldly as I picked up the full glass. I took a few deep
breaths through my mouth to prepare myself for the horrid event
before gulping the liquid down. Well . . . gulping as well as you
could gulp something that was the consistency of applesauce.

My gag reflex instantly voiced its opinion of
the health drink but I quickly regained control of my body, making
sure I finished the entire glass. I was pretty sure that even if I
did throw up, I wouldn’t get out of somehow drinking this
monstrosity. Gran would see to it.

My gran and I had a very complicated
relationship. As much as I liked to pretend she’s a slave driver, I
had to admit I’d be lost without her. After my mom died she moved
in right away and took up the role of "woman of the house," which
turned out to be a good thing since my Dad constantly traveled for
work. He was some sort of math genius, but we didn’t actually know
what he did. All we knew was that the government paid for his
schooling and most of the time he wasn’t at home. It was like being
the daughter of James Bond . . . except with math instead of guns,
I guess.

Most of the time it was just Gran and me. In
fact, Gran was so much a part of the family that the house had been
completely transformed into her own personal "acting Zen zone." I
kind of liked it, and Dad wasn’t really home enough to notice the
very non-masculine vibe of the house.

“Did you drink it all, Bliss?” Gran asked as
she re-entered the room. When she wasn’t being stern or going all
"acting coach" on me, she liked to call me "Bliss"
because—according to her—June was the marriage month, which made it
the month full of bliss. Personally I thought that would make it
the month full of chaos and fake tans, but maybe that was just
me.

“Down to the last blob of green stuff,” I
said, smiling sweetly.

“Throw your sarcasm around all you want, but
when Hollywood comes calling, you just remember who helped you get
there.”

“Duly noted,” I replied, grabbing a non-fat
bran muffin from the counter and taking a sizeable bite. “So, who
was on the phone?”

Gran shot me a look for talking with my mouth
full, but didn’t scold me. It must have been an important call.
“That, my dear little starlet, was a casting director I’ve been
talking to. I have an audition for you tomorrow. He saw your
headshot and asked to meet with you specifically,” she said with a
grin.

I waited to react, knowing that there had to
be more since she looked like
not
spilling the news was
physically painful for her.

“It’s for a television show and . . . wait
for it . . . it’s a recurring role,” she practically shouted.

My eyes widened slightly at this news. I had
been on TV shows before, but never anything big. I mostly played an
extra with a speaking part or just did commercials. Actually, my
first role ever was for a diaper commercial when I wasn’t even old
enough to walk. That first commercial was the thing that firmly
cemented the idea that I was destined to become famous. At least,
that’s how Gran felt.

“How many episodes do they want me to do?
What’s the show?” I asked, excited by the prospect of this new
role.

“I can’t quite remember the name of the show
but it’s one of those crime dramas.”


Forensic Faculty
?” I offered, naming
the most popular crime drama on TV. If I was going to dream, I
might as well dream big, right?

I was, of course, completely shocked when
Gran said, “That’s the one.”

“Wait, are you serious? The audition is
actually for
Forensic Faculty
?”

“It sure is Bliss,” she replied, tapping her
nose knowledgably.

I sat back in my chair happily, wiping a few
muffin crumbs off of my yoga pants as I did so. This was really big
news. If they wanted me on the show in a recurring role, that
probably meant I wasn’t a dead body or a character that they
suspected to be the murderer for ten minutes before catching the
real killer. This could be a really big deal.

“So, what time is the audition?” I asked,
having to pull myself back to reality for a moment, even though my
daydreams were a far more pleasant place to be.

Gran looked down at her little black planner
where she had quickly scribbled the details. “Twelve o’clock on the
dot,” she said, snapping her planner closed in a crisp, precise
manner.

“Wait, twelve?” I asked, though I had heard
her the first time.

“Is there something wrong with twelve?”

“I’ve got a test at twelve thirty. There’s no
way I’ll make it back to school in time,” I said woefully.

“What class is it for?” she asked over her
shoulder while she put my now-empty glass in the sink.

“English,” I replied, still trying to work
out some way I’d be able to do both.

“Oh Bliss, that’s an easy one. You had half
of Shakespeare memorized before you were four. I think your teacher
will understand why you can’t make it for her little ‘test’ when
you have much bigger fish to fry. Does she think Hamlet would come
to school and take a test when the Danes are out there waiting for
him to conquer them?”

“Gran, Hamlet was Danish,” I reminded
her.

“Regardless, she of all people should
understand that sacrifices must be made for art,” she said grandly.
Gran always had a way of making everything she said seem grand and
important. I wasn’t quite sure if it was her larger-than-life
gesticulating or just her grandiose tone. There was just something
about her that seemed important. If she were still acting, I bet
she’d always get cast as the queen in period pieces. She tucked a
bright red strand of her short, curly hair behind her ear.

“I guess you’re right,” I conceded. “I’ll
just have to send her an e-mail tonight to see if I can make up the
test.”

“That’s my girl,” Gran said with a smile.

“So what else do you know about the role?
Besides the fact that it’s recurring.”

“Not much. But Andy did mention something
about the whole 1920s thing, which I thought was a bit odd. Isn’t
the show modern?”

“It is, but maybe they want to put a
different spin on it,” I replied, though I was equally as puzzled
as to why a modern crime drama would want me to audition because I
look old-fashioned.

It was no secret that I had a very distinct
look, which made me kind of a novelty in the acting world. This did
prove to be a little troublesome when trying to land more
mainstream roles but so far it had actually helped me get a few
artsy commercial parts.

When most casting directors met me, they'd
say I looked like Lillian Gish reincarnated. Between my pale skin,
long, curly, dark brown hair, bee-stung lips, and big brown eyes, I
was like a walking silent film. Gran loved it. She said it was yet
another sign that I was meant to be a great actor.

“Well, we don’t question our good fortune,
Bliss, so get lots of sleep tonight and be ready for me to pick you
up from school at eleven. We don’t want to hit traffic coming into
L.A.,” she said seriously.

“Aye-aye, captain.” I said with a mock
salute. Gran just rolled her eyes with a smile.

“Goodnight Bliss. I love you,” she said.

“Love you too, Gran.”

*****

The second I went upstairs into my room, I
pulled my cell phone out to tell my best friend about this
unexpected opportunity. Joseph Cleveland had been in my life for as
long as I could remember. Our moms had been best friends growing
up, and for the short time my mom was with me before she died, she
made sure Joseph and I had a play date just about every day. His
mom, Claire, had always been like a second mother to me (Gran being
the first) so it was only natural that Joseph and I were destined
to be best friends.

I fell back onto my black wrought iron bed,
which had a bronze and black 1920s art nouveau bedspread, as I
dialed his number. I definitely played up my inner silent film star
at every opportunity.

“Hey June,” he said by way of greeting, never
bothering to do the questioning "hello?" that we all seem to do,
even when the caller ID tells us who’s calling.

“Well, Joseph . . . I just thought you would
like to know that your best friend might not be able to go out in
public without being ambushed pretty soon,” I said, in what I hoped
was a cool and matter-of-fact way.

“Oh my gosh, June, how many times do I have
to tell you it’s really not that bad? Yes, it kills the first day
and your face will swell up like a balloon, but that’s when I’ll
come over with about twenty awesome movies and a shake with no
straw to make it bearable,” he replied with some exasperation.

“What the heck are you talking about?” I
asked, so thrown off by his reply that I couldn’t even begin to
understand where it had come from.

“Wait, what are you talking about?”

“I have an audition for a pretty big part
tomorrow,” I replied, happy to finally be getting to the big
news.

“Oh, okay. That probably makes more sense
than my thing anyway,” he said, embarrassed.

“And what thing was that?” I asked with a
laugh.

“It’s nothing. I just assumed . . . because
you’ve been stressing over it and everything. I thought maybe you
were finally getting your wisdom teeth out,” he said.

“Gross, no. I’m putting that day off for as
long as possible,” I said with a shudder. I’ve never been very good
with dentists. Or doctors. Or even dermatologists, for that matter.
There was just something about people poking you and the potential
for intense amounts of pain that I couldn’t get over. So unless my
Gran was going to heavily sedate me and drag me to the dentist, I
was never going to get my wisdom teeth out, which I told Joseph on
a regular basis. Thus, any time I called him in a panic (or in this
case, in extreme excitement) he assumed the day had finally come. I
sometimes got the sneaking suspicion that he wished someone really
would pin me down and pull them out so he wouldn’t have to hear me
stressing over it anymore. Luckily for him, he had already gotten
his out. He called it mission prep.

“We’ll see. One day when you least expect it,
you’ll get them out and then you’ll figure out that I was always
right and you were always wrong.”

“And then we’ll go to the park to watch the
sunset with all of the pigs flying by,” I said with mock sweetness.
Joseph just laughed.

“All right, fine, you win for now. So what’s
this life-changing audition you have?”

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