Don't Look Down Read online

  "And the line producer went back to L.A.," Gloom said.

  Lucy stopped. "There's no producer on set? What the-"

  "Which is also when the DP quit," Gloom continued as Connor came up to the monitors.

  "Hello, love," he said to Lucy, his grin lazy and inviting. "Not the way I'd planned our reunion, but-"

  Lucy looked back at Gloom. "There's no director of photography?"

  Gloom smiled at her, radiating I told you so.

  Lucy looked over the monitors at Connor, whose smile was not quite as wide now. "Hello, Connor. Who's running the camera crew?"

  "We've got three guys," Connor said. "That's plenty. And hello to you, too. I-"

  "So forget running four cameras for the helicopter stunts on Wednesday and Thursday," Gloom said, and Connor lost his smile completely.

  Lucy leaned closer to the monitors. "Connor, why is there not enough crew here?"

  "It's a skeleton crew," Connor said, "but-"

  "I'd say you're down to bone marrow," Gloom said.

  Connor's face darkened, and Lucy braced herself for the explosion, but then he took a deep breath and shook his head. "We have what we need."

  Lucy held on to her temper. "I'll let you know what I need. Which reminds me, you only faxed me the last pages of this script. Where's the rest?"

  Connor shook his head and said, "You don't need-"

  "I said I'd tell you what I needed," Lucy snapped. "And I need the whole damn script."

  Connor set his jaw as the color rose in his face. He stared at her for a minute and then walked away.

  "Well, at least he's learned how to keep his temper," Lucy said to Gloom.

  "He hasn't changed, Lucy," Gloom said. "Trust me, I know this guy and he has not changed. Now about this Wilder-"

  "No." Lucy refused to let her eyes stray down the bridge. "This is not a social visit, I'm finishing a movie here." Pepper looked up from her binoculars, and Lucy added, "And playing Barbies."

  "Yes!" Pepper said, straightening in her joy.

  "I suppose that's a plan," Gloom said, "but-"

  "Sorry I'm late."

  Lucy looked around to see the top of her sister's frizzy yellow head as she slid into the folding chair beside Pepper, looking like a demented dandelion as she clumsily balanced her notebook, her headphones, her bottle of water, her pen, her camera, and her wide-brimmed yellow straw hat. Then she tried to hug Lucy without losing any of it.

  "Hey." Lucy hugged her back, careful not to dislodge anything, alarmed at how thin Daisy felt in her arms. "Look at you," she said, pulling back. "You look-"

  Blond little Daisy gazed up at her, dull eyed, sunken cheeked, and ashen.

  Lucy finished, "-Great. You look just… great.'' Oh, God, what's happened to you?

  "I'm glad you're here," Daisy said. She sounded sincere but tired, almost groggy, and Lucy leaned down to see her better.

  "I'm glad, too." Your kid almost fell off a bridge. Probably not the time to tell her that. "Are you okay?"

  Daisy nodded, smiling weakly.

  "Have you been sick, honey?" Lucy said, trying to see under her hat. "Are you getting enough sleep?"

  "She sleeps all the time," Pepper said, her face solemn. "And I am very quiet."

  "I'm fine," Daisy said, ducking her head down.


  Lucy looked up and saw Bryce standing on the other side of the monitors.

  "I need to talk to Lucy before I go to makeup," he told Gloom and Daisy, sounding important. "Alone."

  They got up to move away before Lucy could, Daisy juggling all her stuff, Gloom rolling his eyes. Even Pepper looked exasperated.

  Bryce was oblivious.

  Lucy watched Daisy move down the bridge, her little ex-cheerleader body slumped, five feet four inches of exhaustion. Pepper was the one who'd sounded unhappy on the phone, not Daisy, but maybe that was because Pepper knew something was wrong with her mother-

  "There's something I need to tell you," Bryce said, leaning over the monitors, his voice low. "J.T. is not just my consultant, he's my new stunt double." He shot an uneasy glance down the bridge. "I thought you should be the one to tell Nash."

  Stunt double. Lucy tried to bring her mind back from Daisy. Stunt double, that was bad, that was Connor's team, and Connor already didn't like Wilder. She glanced at Connor to see if he'd heard Bryce and saw him watching Wilder, who didn't seem to notice. She lowered her voice. "You know, Bryce, that would be really great. But it's the last week of shooting, you already have a stunt double, I don't think the production has any money left, and I know it's not insured for Captain Wilder-"

  Bryce's face was eager to please. "No, no, he's replacing my double."

  Lucy stiffened. "And where did your double go?"

  "Away," Bryce said, not being funny. "He said he had to go away."

  Sweet Jesus, Lucy thought. What do all these people know that I don't?

  "And then I ran into J.T. at Bragg, and my agent heard I didn't have a stunt double and recommended him, and I thought, 'Well, he's the real deal, Special Forces,' so I hired him. It's okay, he's on leave and I'm paying him, and I'll take care of the insurance, too. So you're saving money." He nodded at her, sure of himself as he motioned Wilder over.

  Wilder did not look happy at being summoned, but he came to stand beside Bryce, every bit as grim and efficient as when he'd saved Pepper. Lucy looked at him and thought, Who knew grim and efficient could look so good?

  She took a deep breath, trying to get her detachment back. "Ever done stunt work before, Captain Wilder?"

  "Only for real," he said without expression.

  "Uh huh," Lucy said.

  "So it's all settled." Bryce spread his hands and almost hit Connor, who'd come up behind him again. "It's a good deal tor everybody. I know these last four days are your big break-"

  "No, they're not," Lucy said, startled.

  "-But J.T. will be a help, you'll see."

  "What's up?" Connor said, clearly trying to sound cheerful and clearly failing.

  "Well, I'm trying to shoot a movie," Lucy said, and then leaned back to yell, "Gloom."

  Bryce turned back to his new best friend. "Now, J.T., I want you to meet Althea next-that's our lead actress, Althea Bergdorf-because she's nervous about the helicopter because it's gonna swoop down over her head, but you'll be in it so-"

  "What?" Connor jerked his head up.

  Oh, hell. "Bryce," Lucy began, but Bryce was all wrapped up in Wilder, oblivious to everyone else, talking on a mile a minute, telling Wilder all about the armored car robbery scene.

  Pepper climbed up on the chair beside Lucy, an apple in her hand. "Stephanie is supposed to be your assistant but she's not very good. I will be a better assistant than her. I will get you apples and water. And I will stay with you the whole time."

  She handed Lucy the apple, and Lucy said, "Yes, you will be a very good assistant. Thank you very much," and bit into it, looking around for Daisy, who had disappeared again. She was definitely going to have a long talk with her sister as soon as she got the hell off this bridge. She ate her apple and looked at the shot sheet and listened to the conversation going on in front of her, wondering which of the three men on the other side of the monitors was going to lose his temper first. Not Wilder, she decided, glancing at his impassive face. Probably didn't have a temper. Probably doesn't have a pulse, she told herself, trying for more distance.

  Then he looked over and caught her looking at him and she looked away. Very third-grade, she thought. Good thing I'm a successful advertising director or Id feel like a loser geek.

  "Lucy." Connor leaned over the monitors. "Why the fuck is Bryce telling that asshole about the helicopter stunt?"

  "Those are bad words, Pepper," Lucy said. "Do not use them."

  "Yes, Aunt Lucy," Pepper said, craning her neck to look up at Connor.

  "Sorry, honey," Connor said to Pepper, the edge in his voice disappearing. "I didn't see you there. Those are bad words." He cam