Unbound [Actor Celebrity Romance] - Olivia Leighton


It was going to be a busy night and I sighed with increasing agitation. I was attending the premier of my newest action flick, which meant that there would be interviews and after-parties. Even before I stepped out of the limo, just thinking about the events of the night made me tired. I looked over to Aubrey, the twenty-two year old actress that was already getting Oscar nods, and wondered how the press would handle the fact that she would spend the night on the arm of a thirty-two year old that, quite frankly, was getting tired of Hollywood.

It hit me—really hit me for the first time—how absurd all of this had become when I stepped out of the long black car. The movies, the cameras always flashing in my direction, the whirlwind of parties, women, and jetting around the world to arrive late at an expensive movie set… it didn’t feel like my life. The red carpet below my feet seemed suddenly foolish as the paparazzi and reporters crowded around.

I saw the movie poster on the wall, nearly billboard size, bolted to the side of the theater. My face and body took up most of the space, Photo-shopped to look a bit tanner than it actually was. God, even my hair looked blonder. I was holding a gun and had a beautiful woman wrapped around my arm. My name was centered at the top in beveled steel letters: Devlin Stone.

Is that even me anymore?

Thoughts like that filled my head in growing frequency. I didn’t exactly hate what I had become but I saw no real value to what I was doing. It made me feel empty and hollow. I longed for what I had once lived for. Something with meaning and purpose—something that made a difference.

Aubrey placed an arm around me, her dress low-cut in a way that was both elegant and risqué at the same time. Her long, dark hair was done simply, cascading in loose ringlets down her mostly-bare back. I was glad that some of the reporters were more taken with her designer dress and the diamonds that she wore than they were with me. It was a welcome change. Still, I had to field the same unending questions I had been answering over the last seven years of my life as we made our way down the red carpet. I smoothed out my black suit as Aubrey and I stepped forward, closer to the wolves. God, can this night be over already?

“How was it working with Clint Andolphini?” asked some beautiful blonde reporter I’d never seen before. Here we go.

“Great,” I answered, trying to seem genuine as I paused a moment to answer her questions. “He really knows how to push an actor.”

“Was it his pushing that resulted in the extra muscle you added to achieve that gorgeous body for this role?” Her eyes slowly combed down me and she offered a coy smile, flashing her brilliant white teeth.

I chuckled and was surprised at how realistic I sounded. “That and a regimen that consisted of working-out sixty hours a day and eating nothing but cardboard.”

She and another reporter next to her laughed as I kept walking, tugging Aubrey away from a catty late-night wannabe that was making jokes about her ample cleavage.

Devlin Stone, I thought. God, how I hate my name now.

I truly did. When I came home from Afghanistan—before Hollywood had courted me, lifted me high and eventually burned me out—I had known that my name had struck something like hope into lots of people. My story of survival in the war had garnered magazine covers and eventually landed me a Hollywood agent without even really trying. But my name, Devlin Stone, no longer meant anything. It was cheap and meaningless. I hated what I had quickly become and that included my given name. I’d seen it on too many posters and tabloids. I was sick of it.

Jack, I thought as Aubrey and I finally made out way to the theater doors. Oh, to be a Jack. My grandpa’s name. When I get away from all of this and live in a cabin in... somewhere remote, I'll change my name to Jack. Yeah, Jack Keith. Grandpa's first name and my middle name. Nice, plain, simple.

The thought cheered me enough to get past the two or three other reporters that were waiting inside the theater. The lights had been dimmed and a few people were ambling about. I could tell who they were without speaking to