A Time for Everything (Time Series book 1)

By: Brona Mills

Thursday, March 2, 2006

07:53 (PST)

Beverly Hills, California.

I am thirty.

‘It’s going to kill me this time, Michael,’ Audrey tells me calmly from the sun lounger.

Leaning over, I take her hand to stop her fidgeting with the blanket around her shoulders. ‘I’ll stop it. We have time here, David and me. We’ll figure it out.’

‘I don’t see how I’ll ever escape something like this.’

‘I can change things. I know I can.’ I’m clutching at straws.

‘If you succeed, I won’t be back. You’ll lose all my visits these past years.’

‘You’re more important than this.’ I gesture around the plush veranda suite of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

She gets off the lounger and navigates her way around the debris of wine glasses and plates we’ve collected over the last day. Hands resting on the balcony wall, staring at the skyline, she asks, ‘Do you have any idea what the consequences of saving me will have on your life? On all our lives? You can’t risk changing something this big.’

I follow her to the balcony. ‘How do we even know what we changed over time was the way it was supposed to be? Maybe we were supposed to let my life be different. What if you visiting was the thing we were to stop?’

‘You don’t know—’

‘No, listen to me.’ I clasp her hands in mine. ‘We would only be changing things back to before you got here. How bad could that be?’ I pull her closer to me but she gasps and seizes the side of her head.

Moaning, she cradles her head in her hands.

‘I’m going to fix this.’ Chills run through me and the hairs on my arms stand on end. What if she doesn’t make it home safely? I guide her over to the pool and we sit on the edge. Her breathing calms to match mine. I cup water and place a cool palm to her head.

‘See, I told you a private pool in a hotel would come in handy.’

She takes deep breaths to steady herself. ‘Or, you wanted one last opportunity to show off.’

‘Ah, there is the old "kick ’em when they’re down" gal I know. I just wanted you to have enough space that you could throw your head back to the sky and breathe.’

‘You’re not exactly down, Michael.’

‘Aren’t I?’ You’re leaving. What else is there? ‘It’s not all about the fame and money, you know.’ I wink, throwing her words back at her.

‘Says the man who disappeared this afternoon for his debut Oprah appearance.’ She places a hand on top of mine.

‘Hey, even I know you don’t say no to Oprah.’ I grin.

‘Yeah, but it was funny seeing you running around last minute trying to find the perfect suit to wear. You’re hot enough, Michael. You don’t need to worry about clothes hanging over your biceps the right way.’

I raise an eyebrow at her. ‘Hot enough? What would Mr. Everything say about you calling me that?’

She ignores my jibe.

‘I think that’s the only compliment you’ve ever given me.’ I smile.

‘There was an insult in there too.’ She grins.

I chuckle. ‘Seriously, though, I’m sorry for the attention and drama of yesterday. You know fine well I never schedule any work on my birthdays, it was just—’

‘Oprah?’ She giggles.

‘Unavoidable. Time with you is precious. I’m not about to let work get in the way.’

Time is always an issue for Audrey.

‘Don’t worry about it. It was kind of funny seeing you try and hide from that guy with the packet of Brandy snaps.’ She laughs.

‘I can honestly say that was the strangest fan encounter I’ve ever had. I’d take people stopping me in the street for a picture any day over that.’

She gazes at the skyline. Orange rays of the sun are already breaking through the sky, creating black shadows, which stain the horizon around the Hollywood Hills. ‘It’s a pretty amazing view—the lights from the city, the backdrop of the hills. Surely a little English boy like you can appreciate the twinkle of the big city calling?’

‘Little English boy.’ I snort. ‘I’ll have you know I’m all man.’ I nudge her.