Things You Can’t Take
by Erin Lockwood
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
How far would you go for your best friend….
Abigail and Kessia shared a childhood bond that couldn’t be broken.
Challenged, yes—but never broken.
Born into Hollywood lineage, Kessia understood the risks and pressures of
celebrity life and willingly dedicated hers to serving and protecting
her best friend’s rise to stardom. But when Abigail learns of
Kessia’s own behind-the-scenes battles with a predator, her sense
of friendship drives her down a path that blurs the lines between
loyalty and revenge at all costs.
We’re belting out a song from Abigail’s playlist when Barry

pulls into the studio lot.

“Okay, turn it down!” Abigail shouts over the music.

“No, keep it up!” I yell. “I love this song.”

Barry, of course, listens to Abigail.

“I can’t,” she starts to yell but realizes she’s shouting

when the music has been turned off. “I can’t let them hear

me singing a promiscuous song. It’s irresponsible. I’m a role

model,” she says softer. “Child actors have a higher rate of

getting into trouble instead of moving onto bigger careers as

adults.”

I roll my eyes a little. “We’re just having fun,” I mumble

to myself. “It’s just a song.”

I throw my badge lanyard over my head before getting

out of the car. Abigail hoists her Louis Vuitton purse over her

shoulder, and we walk into the studio. It looks like a big

airplane hangar.

“I’m gonna miss this,” Abigail says to me.

I hook my arm through hers. “I know, but we have Paris

to look forward to.”

She smiles and perks up. We say hello to people as we

walk by, making our way to her dressing room.

As soon as the door closes behind us, there’s a knock.

“Come in!” Abigail shouts.

“How’s my favorite star?” Pete Hallman’s head pops out

from behind the door.

With my back to him, I make a face as if I were gonna

throw up. He pushes the door all the way open and steps in,

closing it behind him. I feel as if the air has been sucked out

of the room.

At least Abigail is here. I panic inside whenever I’m alone

with him. I always try to find an excuse to leave as soon as

possible.

Abigail moves to him and reaches her arms out to hug

him. “Hi, Pete. How are you?”

“I’m very well, thanks,” he says to her. Then, he looks my

way. “How about you, Kessia? Where’s my love?” He puts

his arms out and expects me to touch him.

I’ve never told Abigail the extent of how uncomfortable

he makes me because I can tell she doesn’t feel the same way.

It’s also partly because of how I was raised. My mom insists

that producers, and directors are like gods and goddesses. I

always have to use my absolute best manners.

Abigail and I have known Pete since we were seven when

Abigail joined the cast of Heart of the Family, playing the

youngest daughter. Now, she’ll be filming the final episodes

in Paris soon.

“Of course. Hi, Pete,” I say to him and move closer to

hug him.

When his arms wrap around me, he lets his fingers fall

under the top of my jean shorts, touching my bare skin on my

backside. His hand almost goes so far down that he could cup

my butt cheek with his palm, but he stops and pulls his hand

out before Abigail notices anything.

Pete stands up and backs away, as if nothing ever

happened. It makes me feel crazy for thinking that something

did happen.

His hand touched my butt.

I just wish someone could see what he does so that I

don’t have to be the one who says something.

It’s not just Abigail. Nobody ever seems to notice. If they

did, they might not say anything anyway since he’s the

studio’s most successful and awarded producer. “Walking

Gold,” is what Entertainment Weekly once referred to him as.

“Unstoppable,” was in another publication.

I step back, giving myself even more distance from Pete,

and pretend to organize Abigail’s vanity.

“So, Pete, what’s up?” Abigail asks.

He leans back on his heels and rubs his round belly. “I

thought I’d pop in and watch the final studio taping. We

might have a project for you.”

Abigail looks surprised. “Really? That would be great. I’ll

have Tammy call you.”

Pete’s eyes dart to me before looking at Abigail again.

“All right. You go get ’em, kid.” He puts his arm around

Abigail and taps her lower back. He takes a step toward me

and does the same thing, except his hand lands a little lower.

Too low.

When he leaves the room, I feel like I can finally take a

breath again.

“This is great news,” Abigail says to herself, grabbing her

phone. “Hey”—she excitedly looks up at me—“did I ever tell

you that Pete—”

“You should probably call Tammy,” I quickly interrupt

her. I do not want to hear anything about Pete.

“Right,” she says, putting the phone to her ear, calling her

agent.

Erin Lockwood grew up in Castro Valley, California and attended the
University of Oregon, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in
journalism. From there she moved to Denver and spent the next seven
years searching for the love of her life and building the family of
her dreams.
It wasn’t long until, with children starting preschool and more time
on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a
successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a
Realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book (and
binge-watching the subsequent films) in the New Adult genre. Feeling
hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story
leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she
discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in
love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first
novel in the Angles trilogy.
Erin still lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Phil,
and their three children.
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