Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Sneak Peek #2

Last Saturday I posted the first sneak peek into Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, my upcoming fall release.  Today, we’re going back to movie star Vaughn Breland’s Telluride, Colorado hospital room:


My drug-addled mind drifted backward. I gradually recalled smiling to myself as my brand new fire engine red Lamborghini Aventador J, that I had affectionately nicknamed AJ, hugged the pavement and maneuvered the snow-covered curve in the mountain road. She gently leaned like a palm tree in the Santa Ana wind. It had only been a month since I’d bought the luxurious automobile, a gift to myself after I had received the nomination for best supporting actor in a recent blockbuster film. This was the first time I’d driven it out of state, and so far she’d performed like a prize thoroughbred.

Of course, I could’ve flown, but then nobody would’ve have been able to see my new ride. I remembered bobbing my head to the thumping beat of the song playing through the superb sound system. Thank God for satellite. Up in the mountains, regular radio reception would probably work a brother’s last good nerve. Thankfully, the snowstorm that had just visited the Telluride area was now over, but I’d silently wished I had left Los Angeles earlier. The sun was slipping behind the mountains and the impending darkness made me jumpy. Heavy rain and some minor mudslides were the worst weather I’d ever dealt with in my fifteen years living in California. But, even as a Chicago native who had learned how to drive in snowstorms, my stomach clenched and I eased off of the brake when the car’s rear end fishtailed. Probably not the best car for mountain climbing. Maybe I should’ve rented a Range Rover. Why worry about that now? According to the GPS, there was less than an hour left to my destination.

I remembered turning up the volume, switching my thoughts to the little bon voyage party I’d had the night before with Reese and retreating into my thoughts. The descending sun and visions of that sweet, young thing riding me like her life depended on it took my attention from the road sign warning of a barely visible hairpin turn up ahead. Once I realized the danger ahead and eased onto the brake to prepare for the turn, it was too late. At only forty miles an hour, the road conditions and the fact that the car had no weight in the rear made it impossible to handle the turn. The sight of a jagged mountain wall rushing toward the windshield was last thing I remembered.

“I can’t feel my legs. Am I paralyzed?”

“Oh, no, Mr. Breland. The surgeon administered a local anesthetic and also prescribed a morphine drip, so you wouldn’t experience any post-surgical pain.”

I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment while I tried to make sense of everything I’d just heard.  “But my head hurts,” was all I managed in response.

“You have a concussion. I’ll make sure the doctor is aware. We can’t give you anything else in addition to the morphine without his order. He should be here shortly.”

“Does anyone know I’m here?”

The brunette checked his chart on her hand-held computer. “It says here that EMS contacted someone, but I don’t have that information either.” She apologized again. “You do have a visitor in the waiting room. He’s been here for several hours.”

“Who? '

“It’s Devon Burke,” she answered with restrained excitement in her voice.

“Can he come in?”

“Certainly. Will you get Mr. Burke, June?”

Maybe it was just the heavy narcotic playing tricks with my mind, but I thought I saw Nurse June smile on her way out of the room. Almost everyone knew Devon these days, since he was blazing a trail in Hollywood as a sought-after leading man. I closed my eyes and didn’t open them until Devon’s heavy baritone punctuated the rhythmic beep of the monitor.

“I can’t leave you alone for five minutes without you getting into some kind of trouble,” Devon said from the doorway with a trace of laughter in his trademark voice.

“Don’t make me laugh. My head hurts.”


“That leash Shontae has you on stretches this far?”

“Oh, you’re laying up here looking like The Mummy Returns, and you got jokes?” Devon moved closer and suddenly stopped. “I got a call from Craig last night. Shontae and I didn’t want you to be here alone.”

“Thanks, man.” I sighed. “Looks like I really effed it up this time.”

“Hey, you’re alive. That’s all that matters.” Devon approached the bed again with hesitant steps and just stared for a few beats. “Damn, V. What happened?”

“All I can remember is trying to take a curve on 141. The next thing I knew, a mountain was coming at me.” I groaned. “What’s taking that doctor so long?”

“You want me to go find out?”

“No.” I’d answered too quickly. Devon didn’t need to know how hospitals scared the mess out of me. “That’s okay.”

We had been friends since we starred in a film together a few years earlier. Before he permanently relocated from New York to California, Devon often camped out at my apartment whenever he came to L.A. for auditions. In spite of our personality differences, our relationship quickly developed into what some Hollywood reporters had the nerve to call a “bromance.” Dev was my boy. We shared the personal details of our lives that couldn’t be revealed to others, and we trusted each other implicitly. Both of us had learned early on that our lives in the Wood required a certain amount of discretion. It felt good to have a confidante in a town where private lives were considered everybody’s business.

Devon sank into a chair in the corner and angled it toward the bed, but he seemed to be at a loss for words. I must look like hell.

 “They say,” Vaughn hesitated for a moment. “I broke both my legs, dislocated…my hip and…” The words in my head wouldn’t come out of my mouth. The morphine must’ve finally kicked in. “Uh, my hip, and…my face is jacked…up.”

“You don’t have to talk, man. Try to get some rest. I’ll be here when you wake up.”


Diana Driver said...

Grat excerpt!! I really like it and am looking forward to reading "Ain't Too Proud to Beg'!

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the release of this book. You have hooked me and I need more.