No Matter When – Special online book
No Matter When, Karen Kingsbury's short story that first appeared in Crossings Book Club, is now available exclusively on Karen's website. This story gives you another look into the world of movie star Dayne Matthews, from Karen's Firstborn Series. Right here you can read all ten chapters now.
Amanda James never looked at the magazines.
But that fall afternoon – a week into her second year teaching drama at Washington’s Woodland High – after she put her Wheat Thins on the check stand, and as she reached into her cart for the ten-pack of string cheese, her eyes broke rank and she looked.
Amanda’s family made it back to Twin Rocks each of the next five years and she and Josh became friends, keeping in touch between camp visits. But they didn’t fall in love until that last summer, months before camp. Amanda had auditioned for a summer theater troupe in Seattle and won a leading role. She stayed with her aunt and uncle and on the first day of rehearsals, Josh was waiting for her at the door. The summer was magical, the two of them working hours a day on Beauty and the Beast. Camp took place the week after the show closed.
The play was Narnia.
Amanda had wanted to direct it since she was a high school theater student. Now, finally, the principal had approved it as the fall production. Auditions had taken place the first week of school and the play was cast. It was the second week of rehearsals and already she was convinced. The production would be everything she’d hoped.
For Josh Nelson, the break into acting came sure and quick.
He was in his senior year of high school when he was given the part of the surfer boy in Malibu, a new series about a class of teenagers from the beaches of Southern California. Blonde and blue-eyed, Josh had always brushed off comments about his looks. He was a singer. Music came from the center of his soul, and he never once planned on anything but a career in songwriting and performing.
There had only been one man in her life since Josh Nelson.
He was an education student at University of Portland, a safe, predictable man who adored her. They met their freshmen years and dated on and off until they graduated. With Larry she would’ve been loved and cherished all her life, but there was one problem.
Dayne brought it up again, but just once.
They were at Le Tres, the trendy hot spot lodged in the foothills overlooking Los Angeles. The music was loud but not as loud as it would get after ten o’clock, when the partying really kicked in. By then Dayne would be gone, the way he usually was when it got late. Since their last conversation, Josh wondered whether that was because of the girl in Bloomington.
Amanda was still on the fence.
The play needed work and any responsible director would be calling an extra weekend rehearsal – not taking time off to chase after some teenage fantasy. At least that’s what she told herself most of the time. But at other moments . . . when she was alone at the lake, staring out over the water, she could still hear his voice, still sense the way it felt to be caught in his eyes, the two of them lost in a feeling bigger than anything she’d known before or since.
Amanda wondered if her heart would burst out of her chest.
Ten years might’ve passed, but she still remembered everything about their conversation. Josh had been smiling, teasing her. Neither of them dreamed for a minute that it would be their last time together. They were in love, after all, with everything in common. Of course they’d see each other again.
The meeting with Dayne took place at Josh’s Santa Monica townhouse. Josh didn’t want to risk a run-in with the paparazzi. Not when his plans were so sure, so sudden. They’d have it splattered across the front of every magazine on the rack if they had their way. Especially since he and Jennifer had officially parted ways.
Dress rehearsal went until five that night and now Amanda sat on her deck, watching the sunlight fade over the lake. She hadn’t heard from Josh in a week, and so that was probably that. She wasn’t moving to Hollywood, wasn’t ready to be the girl on his arm in the dozens of paparazzi shots featured every week.