Cameras flashed all around her as she walked down the red carpet, the train of her blood red Armani gown trailing behind her. The flash of light caught the reflection of the diamond studs in her ears and the rope of pearls around her neck. She held her head high, angled her face so that the cameras caught the sharpness of her cheekbones, the white of her smile, the curve of her jaw. She gave the paps an oft-rehearsed look of seduction, her almond-shaped, hazel eyes twinkling in satisfaction when one yelled, “Perfect!” and gave her a wide grin.
“Magic, over here!”
She turned, posing for another picture, but instead found a young woman with a pad and paper in hand, holding up a tape recorder. Magic sighed internally, but made her way over, holding the front of her dress so that she didn’t trip (the press would love that) and offered the woman an award-winning smile.
“Hi, Sweetie,” she cooed. “Would you like an autograph?” This girl was no older than twenty, surely. She couldn’t yet work for some big paper or website or—as it was now—blog. Right?
“Actually, Magic,” she said, keeping her voice firm and calm. “I was just wondering if you wanted to comment on a rumor that’s been floating around recently, about you and…” she looked down at her notepad, lifting one brow. “About you and Alyson Honey, the actress?”
“I’m familiar with her,” Magic said, trying not to get defensive. “We’re good friends.”
“Really? Because, according to rumor, you’re a lot more than that.”
“That’s why it’s just a rumor. It hasn’t been confirmed.”
“Are you confirming it?”
“Then you’re denying it.”
“No comment,” Magic said, her voice dangerously close to a growl. “Now do you want an autograph or…?”
“No,” the woman said. “I think I have all I need. Thank you.”
“What’s this for?” Magic asked before she could leave.
The woman shrugged. “Personal celebrity blog,” she admitted. “I was hoping for a scoop, but I think I got everything I needed.”
“Wouldn’t you rather have an interview? Like a full one?”
The woman stepped back toward Magic. “Are you offering one?”
Magic smirked and reached into her clutch, handing it to the young woman. “Give my manager a call and she’ll arrange a meeting at my hotel. I’m about to drop an album, so all publicity is good publicity, ya know?”
“You’re about to drop an album?” the woman gasped. “When?”
Magic gave her a sly smile. “You’ll find out at the interview,” she said. “Have a good evening.” She started to walk away, but then turned back as something occurred to her. “Wait!” she called and the young woman turned to her. “What’s your name?”
“Camila,” she replied. “Camila de Jesus.”
“I’ll see you later, Camila,” Magic said, giving her a wink and snorting when the girl blushed. Then she turned back to the cameras and turned up the charm.
The knock on her door came at around noon the next day. Magic had forced herself to get up early and dress in more than the robe that the hotel offered, at her manager’s insistence. She’d even showered, allowing her hair to fall down in curls around her shoulders. She hadn’t seen it curled in such a long time. She barely recognized the woman staring back at her in the mirror.
When she opened the door, even Camila looked confused. She glanced at the door, checking the number and opened her mouth to say something as she stepped back, only to be stopped by Magic’s hand on her arm.
“It’s me,” she said. “Magic.”
Camila squinted at her. “Wow,” she said. “You look…different.”
“I know,” Magic huffed. “Needless to say, there will be no photographs for your blog.”
“Then how are people going to know that I was even here for real?”
“I’ll tweet the article if I like it. Otherwise, you’re screwed.”
“Fine,” Camila sighed, removing her bag from around her shoulders. She handed Magic her cellphone and the little digital camera from inside her pocket. “No pictures,” she said.
Magic squinted at her. “Take off your jacket,” she said.
“It’s warm in here. You don’t need it and I don’t trust you. Take off your jacket.”
“Ugh, fine,” Camila groaned, unzipping her jacket and tossing it to the bed. There were no cameras beneath it, but Magic was still watching her suspiciously. “What? I swear I don’t have any more cameras on me, okay? All my stuff is in my bag and none of it catches video.”
“Okay…” Magic said. “Follow me then.”
She led her to the kitchenette in the corner of the room, pointing to a seat. Camila sat, placing her bag on the table and Magic sat across from her, staring at it.
“It’s just a bag,” Camila groaned.
“Off the record,” Magic replied, “this wouldn’t be the first time I was filmed by a bag. Please put it on the ground while we’re talking.”
“Fine,” Camila said, pulling out a pad, pen, and her tape recorder. She placed the bag between their feet on the ground. “Happy.”
Magic nodded, taking a deep breath. “Back on the record again,” she said. “What would you like to know?”
“When did you start singing?”
“I’m a gay, black female entertainer,” Magic said, “about to drop an album Beyoncé-style, and you wanna know about my childhood?”
“It’s a perfectly fine first question,” Camila defended. “Just tell me, would ya?”
“I was two and I was copying my nana. She was also a singer.” Camila nodded, writing that down. “She raised me and my two brothers after my mama left, which everybody already knows about so you can keep that on the record, too. I first got paid to sing when I was fifteen, and all I wanted to do was buy my first car, but Nana made me put it towards my education. Stubborn old woman.” Magic chuckled, shaking her head. “I miss her.”
When she looked back at Camila, she found the girl watching her with interest, not even writing. “Tell me more,” she said in a dreamy voice and Magic smiled.
“If I say something’s off the record, you listen, got it?” she said. Camila nodded. “Okay, well…”
Camila didn’t write another word, but she did get a follow up interview.