Don't Look Down Read online

  Armstrong, on the other hand, he could easily see snapping that rope-

  "And I'll throw in the Wonder Woman Ultimate Sticker Book!" the guy said, desperation in his voice.

  "Fine," Wilder said, trying to come back from Armstrong and the rope. So much for comics as kid stuff.

  The guy nodded, relieved. "Great buy," he said as he went to ring it up. "Wonder Woman's hot."

  The twelve-year-old snickered again.

  "Come back when you're thirteen," Wilder told the kid and paid the guy.

  Chapter 4

  When Gloom called second meal, Lucy went with everybody else on the shuttle down to the dirt lot under the bridge, but when Connor looked like he was heading her way, she veered off from the crowd around the catering tent to cross the dark lot to her camper. The battered Roadtrak was cramped inside, but it was quiet and it didn't have Daisy looking defeated, or Stephanie being snotty, or Connor bitching about Wilder, or Althea trolling for security, so it was good.

  Lucy stepped up inside and pulled the white waffle curtains closed to shut out the darkness. Then she edged her way around the little blue Formica-topped table behind the swiveling driver's seat and into the short cabinet-lined space that separated the front of the van from the double bed that filled the back. There were apples in the little sink, but Lucy opened the undercounter refrigerator instead and got out IBC Diet Root Beer and cheese sticks. Comfort food.

  She put her iPod in the speaker dock on the counter and dialed up Kirsty MacColl. "In These Shoes." That's what she wanted to hear, a woman in control, calling the shots. Forget "Holding Out For A Hero," there were no heroes-

  The door to the camper opened and Daisy came in, looking worse than ever, and collapsed on one of the plush swivel chairs. "My God, what a night."

  "It was filled with excitement," Lucy agreed. '"And it's not over yet. Root beer?"

  "I just heard about Pepper on the bridge,"' Daisy said, swallowing. "I could have lost her. If you hadn't been there-"

  "Not me, Captain Wilder." Lucy surveyed her, trying to see past the exhaustion. Daisy was more than tired, she was beaten down, as if somebody had kicked all the sass out of her.

  "I should have been there," Daisy said, her voice catching.

  Yeah, you should have been. Lucy sat down across from her. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong anytime soon? Don't even think you're going to get away with 'I'm fine.' You're not fine. You're exhausted and depressed and you can't go on like this."

  Daisy shook her head, and then the camper door opened again and Stephanie said, "I need to see you." She frowned at the iPod, where Kirsty was singing about not making love on a mountaintop.

  Lucy frowned back at her. "We're talking here."

  "It's okay." Daisy smiled weakly at Stephanie. "What's up?"

  Stephanie climbed into the camper. "There's a problem."

  I know and I was solving it before you barged in here. Lucy smiled at her tightly. "Really? What a surprise." She looked at Daisy. "Cheese stick? Root beer?" Hemlock?

  Stephanie ignored Daisy to scowl at Lucy, her body rigid with dislike. "It's that knife of Bryce's. Friday's dailies came back. He keeps buckling it on different sides."

  In spite of everything, Lucy grinned. The knife was a real problem for continuity-that would be Daisy, who should have caught it that the knife was wrong-but Lucy couldn't think about it without laughing. A fight with a gladiator, Wilder had said. A tight-ass with a sense of humor. There couldn't be a lot of those.

  "And now he wants to strap it on his calf."

  "His calf. Lucy couldn't help herself, she laughed out loud, picturing Bryce hobbling across the set, the knife splinted to his leg.

  Stephanie was disgusted. "Because of what his consultant said."

  "Ah. His consultant." Thank you, Captain Wilder, for your inspiring lecture on jaw-jamming Navy SEALs and their handy-dandy calf knives. Lucy looked over at Daisy. "How many shots do we have of the knife on the wrong side, Daisy?"

  "Four. None on the calf." Daisy stopped smiling. "I missed it at first, but then I made sure that it stayed on that side for the rest of that scene. I don't think anybody will notice."

  "Okay, then," Lucy said to Stephanie. "For the stuff we've already shot, left, right, even Bryce doesn't know. Let the microminds find it and post it on the Internet, I don't care."

  "That's obvious," Stephanie snapped.

  Lucy met Daisy's eyes. "Go check on Pepper. We'll talk tonight after the shoot's over."

  Daisy nodded and escaped, edging around Stephanie to get out the door.

  "Sit," Lucy said, and Stephanie looked mutinous, but she sat down in one of the swivel chairs. "We appear to have some problems."

  Stephanie's chin went up. "Problems?"

  Lucy leaned forward. "I know it's been rough, losing your director the way you did, but there are only four days left on the shoot, so if you could hold it together until Friday-"

  "I am holding it together," Stephanie said sharply. "What did I do?"

  "Well, to begin with, you're gone chasing Connor most of the time, so as an assistant you're not much help."

  Stephanie jerked back but Lucy kept going.

  "Then you patronized Althea on the set today, and she's not stupid, Stephanie. She plays dumb but she knew what you were doing and she didn't like it. That's no way to treat your actors. If you want a career in film, you should know that already."

  Stephanie flushed. "But-"

  "Also, you told Althea that if she slept with seventy-five people, she'd find the right man."

  "What?" Stephanie looked outraged for a moment, and then her face cleared. "Oh, for the love of God. That woman is a moron."

  Lucy repressed a spurt of irritation. "No, she's not. She's just confused. What did you tell her?"

  Stephanie sighed. "She was flirting with Nash." Her jaw hardened. "She's been chasing him, really blatantly."

  Lucy thought, Hello, hypocrite.

  "I think maybe she wanted to make Bryce jealous, use Connor as a backup plan. I heard her talking to Connor about her future, about wanting security, like she thought he was going to give it to her."

  "Right," Lucy said. "Now, about the seventy-five bed partners…"

  Stephanie kept on as if she hadn't spoken. "And she's mad at Bryce because he's spending a lot of time with Mary Vanity so-"

  "Mary Vanity?"

  "One of the makeup girls. We always call hair and makeup the Vanities, and the one Bryce is paying attention to is Mary, so she's Mary Vanity."

  "Right," Lucy said. "So how did you get from Bryce doing Mary Vanity to seventy-five men for Althea?"

  "I didn't. I was trying to get her away from Nash, and I told her about this study I'd read that said once you'd slept with twelve people, you should pick the next best one because you'd have a seventy-five percent chance of being happy with him."

  Lucy blinked at her. "And you told her this because…"

  "I thought she had to be past twelve men by now," Stephanie said, her nostrils flaring. "And given where she probably came from, Bryce has to be the best one."

  "Seventy-one men," Lucy said. "And two women."

  "And she confused the seventy-five percent with the twelve." Stephanie rolled her eyes. "What an idiot."

  "I don't think she ever claimed to be good at math. But from now on, don't give her dating advice. Just kneecap her if she tries to sleep with anybody but our star."

  Stephanie nodded, and Lucy added, "Kidding."

  "Of course," Stephanie said, her voice as flat as Wilder's.

  "And I need the full script," Lucy said.

  Stephanie reached into her bag and handed one over.

  "Excellent," Lucy said. "Thank you very much."

  "You're welcome," Stephanie said, in a voice that telegraphed, Drop dead.

  Pepper opened the door to the camper. "Aunt Lucy, we are saving you a seat. There's lasagna!"

  "Excellent, Pepper," Lucy said. "I'll be right out."

  Pepper s