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Pizza My Heart

By:Glenna Sinclair

Chapter 1

You'd be surprised by the kinds of things a delivery person sees in a  day's work. All manners of naked people, for example, thought it was  perfectly acceptable to open the door and wedge their bodies around it,  greeting me like it was the most normal thing in the world. Chief among  these offenders were couples who thought they could beat the delivery  time having sex. I wasn't certain this was their main motivation. Maybe  they thought there wasn't anything else to do for thirty to forty  minutes, but sometimes I would ring the doorbell for whole minutes while  I heard scrambling and cursing inside, until finally someone would give  up and open the door, pizza more important than dignity.

So I saw a lot. Most times, much more than I wanted to.

None of that could've prepared me for the surprise I had the day I knocked on a door and it opened to Devon Ray.

It wasn't even a particularly auspicious day. I would've thought that  the sun would be suddenly eclipsed by the moon, sending the early  afternoon into a dusky red twilight. Instead, the weather was fair, the  world was normal, and I was standing in front of a major celebrity, one  who wasn't even staying at the nicest hotel in the city.

There he was, Devon Ray, all six-foot-whatever of him, a shining star of  the silver screen-in Dallas, of all places-ordering a pepperoni pizza  from my place of employment, of all things.

"Hello," he said, smiling, his row of white, shining teeth just as  bright and as perfect as they'd been at the theater when smiling at the  heroine in his last romantic comedy. His chin was just as chiseled as it  appeared in his promotional materials, in the tabloids, online. And  those brown eyes … they just made me want to melt into a puddle and  slither away somewhere, away from that gaze.

I opened my mouth to say something-anything-related to pizza, but my brain had other ideas.

"What are you doing here?" I demanded almost aggressively.

He guffawed, his eyes sparkling. "Am I not allowed to be here?"

My face went hot and my head went light. "No-I mean, I don't know. I  meant to say … " I'd meant to say "your pizza's here," but that hadn't  quite worked out.

"What'd you mean to say?" he asked, sounding both curious and kind. He  probably got this a lot-blathering from idiot fangirls who couldn't  perform even the most basic functions around him. I mean, I wasn't  entirely a fangirl. Nana was much more of a fangirl than I was. I knew  who he was, at least. There probably wasn't a person in this country who  didn't. But, faced with my very first celebrity encounter, I found  myself completely useless. I opened my mouth to give it another try.

"I saw your movie," I blurted out, blushing heavily as he laughed.

"Which one?"

God, why was he so nice, and how had I been reduced to a moron in a  matter of seconds? I stood on the threshold of his hotel room, shifting  from foot to foot, wondering what I was doing, what he was doing. Didn't  he have assistants to take care of something as mundane as ordering  pizza? Was he alone in there?

"Um. I don't … could I have your autograph?" This wasn't getting any  better. I became acutely aware that it might very well be possible to  die of embarrassment. It would be a mercy killing.

Devon laughed again, but the tone was good natured.

"Do you want to step inside for a minute and collect yourself?" he asked.

He stepped aside, and my feet shuffled forward of their own accord,  leading me inside the hotel room. Devon turned and shut the door behind  me, and suddenly, I was alone in a room with one of Hollywood's biggest  movie stars. I wasn't the fainting type, but now seemed like a pretty  good time to do so. The tension was electric and palpable.

"Can I take that from you?" He held his arms out and I realized it was for the pizza box I was still clutching.

"Your pizza's here," I said, too late to be regarded as anything but stupid.

Devon Ray didn't seem put off by my sudden inability to do anything  correctly. He was so gently amused that it was beguiling.  Celebrities-they're just like us. Charming, patient, as beautiful as  some fallen angel.         



Well, that last part wasn't ordinary.

"I'm not who you expected to open the door, am I?" he said, smiling and cocking his head at me.

I finally relinquished the pizza box to him, watching as he set it on a side table.

"This isn't even the nicest hotel in Dallas," I said, repeating an  observation I'd had the moment he'd opened the door. It were as if I'd  lost the filter between my brain and my mouth somewhere between knocking  on the door and him opening it.

"Well, if you expect me to be staying at the nicest hotel in Dallas,  guess who else would?" he asked, raising his eyebrows. "The paparazzi.  And guess what they'd be writing about if they see me ordering pizza?"

I stood, dumbfounded and still unable to believe I was in Devon's presence.

"They'd say I was sloppy and single," he said, laughing at himself.  "That I was letting myself go. That my career was plateauing."

He grabbed a glass on the table that I hadn't noticed before-really, it  was hard to notice anything other than Devon Ray, standing in front of  me. But the way he carefully swirled the liquid that remained in it,  making the mostly melted ice cubes clink together, made me realize that  the actor was drinking-no, he was drunk. Well before five o'clock.  Alone. Ordering pizza. In not even the nicest hotel in the city.

Celebrities-they're just like us. Day drinkers, miserable, insecure.

His apparent imperfections made me a little more comfortable to be in his presence.

"I think they only say that about actresses," I offered. "If someone got  a photo of you with a pizza, they'd say how your workout requires lots  of calories to be consumed, or that you were carb loading for your next  musclebound role."

Devon studied me for a moment before throwing his head back and  laughing, the sound probably echoing down the entire floor. For someone  drinking in the middle of the day, he sure seemed chipper.

"The drinking alone thing, though, you'd have to work hard to spin," I  said, crossing my arms over my chest and eyeing him critically. "You'd  have to say you're immersing yourself in an unsavory character for an  upcoming project. That you're method acting. And even then, there'll  probably be backlash. But you probably have a good publicist."

"Maybe I'll just hire you," he suggested. "You seem to know a lot about Hollywood."

I shrugged. "I read a lot."

"And you watch my movies."

I thought I'd been able to move past the embarrassed stage, but there I was, flushing all over again.

"I watched the latest one. The one where you're an idiot for half the movie, but you get the girl in the end."

Devon snorted. "You're going to have to be more specific. That's about half my lexicon."

"It sounds like you're not very excited about being one of the biggest  actors in the game right now," I observed. Celebrities-they're just like  us. Disenfranchised.

"Just tired right now. That's all."

He didn't look tired to me. Devon Ray was probably incapable of looking  anything except for hot and hotter. The skin beneath his eyes had  probably never bruised into circles after a sleepless night, never  bagged after having too much to drink.

"Why are you in Dallas?" I asked him again. "And why are you hiding from the paparazzi?"

"I'm not hiding," he said, grimacing as he sipped again from the glass,  moving across the room to a tray with an ice bucket and bottle of vodka.  I took the moment, away from his beauty and fame, to breathe again.  Looking around the room for the first time, I noted the piles of  clothes, the sheaves of paper spread out across one of the beds. This  wasn't even one of the nicer rooms in this hotel.

"It looks like you're hiding," I told him.

His drink refreshed, he turned back to me. "I'm just going through some stupid shit right now. Can't a guy lie low?"

"So you are hiding."

"I'm going through a breakup," he said, shrugging. "There it is. Breaking news. Post it online, if you want."         



"I don't have social media," I said, peering at him. "Nobody knows yet?"

"Just her and me."

I racked my brain, wondering if Nana had talked about it, but couldn't  come up with a face or name of an actress last seen attached to Devon  Ray.

"Well, sorry if you're having a rough time of it," I said. "I didn't  know Dallas was a place you come when you get your heart broken."

He laughed at me again, rubbing his face. "I had some business to take care of here. A couple of appearances. I'm not hiding."

He kept saying that like he was trying to convince himself it was truth. I decided not to call him out on it.

"Where are your appearances?" I asked him, out of politeness.

"Why? Are you going to come?" He stepped closer to me, and I suddenly  found myself considering all of the possible definitions of the word  come. From what I could tell, Devon Ray definitely wasn't letting  himself go. I could see the faint outline of washboard abs beneath his  thin cotton T-shirt. My eyes traveled downward, drawn to the zipper of  his jeans, the way the pants clung to him, the value of having a tailor  apparent.