I never thought that being in the eye of the public would have been so hard. When I was younger, I thought that the hardest thing would be standing under the heat of the flashing lights all over. So captivated by the fashion and hair; the makeup and nails. I was enamored by the glowy and glittery as a kid. It wasn’t until I was cast in my first couple of movies that I found that my childish fantasy about being an actress was completely off. There was so much pressure that I had never thought about. There were so many things that I had to hide. So many things I had to broadcast and even lie about.
For some background, my name’s Stellar Clementine, movie star. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard of me before. I’ve been in a number of award-winning pictures: The Fall, Monuments, etc. I’m the real deal—let me tell you.
Anyway, there were so many things I didn’t think I would have to hide once I became famous. When people have this image of you in their heads, it’s best not to go against their fantasies. One thing I never thought I would have to hide was my relationships. People want to see me with the hottest hottie. You read it in all of the tabloids: “Stellar Clementine with Mystery Boy: Who Does She Fancy?” Honestly, it’s sickening. I’ve always tried to keep my relationships under the wraps, but the paparazzi are relentless! I never understood why people thought that it was their right to decide who exactly I should be with. “Stellar Clementine and James George: True Love or Dine and Dash?” Ugh! Why must they pair me with the most repulsive actors in this stupid town?
I remember when that article was released. I was so angry that I crumpled the edition I had bought and threw it away. My manager, Rosaline, couldn’t calm me down; I was in such a rage. I bought out all of the magazines stocked around the corner and had them burned. Now that I think of it, buying them didn’t help much. That disgusting magazine is probably still raking in money, even without me buying an entire store’s worth. It did make me feel better—watching the flamed pages flutter in the air around my brother’s backyard grill. Bill had moved to the city not too long before I got here. He was the person I leaned on when I tried my luck in the big leagues of acting. Even to this day, he and Rosaline always have my back. They’ve made me the star I am today. I could never lie to either of them.
Which is why Bill was the first person I revealed my relationship with Rosaline to.
Being bisexual wasn’t a complete shock to my family. Uncle Ned loved men his whole life and was never apologetic about it, though he couldn’t exactly be open about it to the public. Having such an accepting family was amazing growing up—it allowed the children to explore themselves before having to feel guilty about who they were. I was unapologetic about everything going on in my life: my hair, my fashion, my lovers. As a star, however, I had to be cautious about all of that. One wrong move and I could be barely making it by with acting in fungal cream commercials. Living in a world where the heat of judgment was enhanced by a magnifying lens, I quickly found out that I could never show who I truly was.
I don’t believe our relationship was the outcome of professional misconduct. We were very respectful of each other—Rosaline and I. We had left subtle hints to each other at the beginning of our infatuations. I smile every time I think about it. We were listening to Charging by Rachel Song in her office, finishing our discussion about my contracts. She wore a striking blouse—blue, which happened to be my favorite color and shade. Her pants hugged her well, and I remember wishing that I had an amazing figure like hers. Honestly, I couldn’t keep my mind on the papers I signed; I was completely absorbed with the sight of my manager. It couldn’t have been but the first couple of meetings I had with the woman, but my heart skipped and fluttered, rolled and tumbled whenever she’d look my way. I could have sworn that she felt it, too—the electricity between us. There was this celestial connection; the stars had prophesied this for us. I didn’t say anything other than a few hums and murmurs. She explained everything and apologized for the music. It helped her concentrate. I told her I didn’t mind. She smiled her lovely, almost whimsical smile. She brushed a strand of thick, brown hair out of her face.
“Really, I’m sorry about the music. It’s a habit my ex gave me.” She rolled her gorgeous brown eyes as she apologized again in her lovely Hispanic accent.
“He must be some kind of stupid to let you go,” I mumbled carelessly to myself.
Rosaline glanced my way again, one of her fingers pointing at a line for me to sign. “She.”
That tiny bit of clarification was enough to make my heart want to burst out of my chest. With that one word, she told me that I could attempt to step in. I wanted to jump up and make her mine then and there, but I knew that would have been too hasty. I took my time, and so did she. I gave her a decent amount of space during the beginning of our work together. I had learned so much about her while being her friend: she was shy, but she loved music—especially jazz; she wasn’t lactose intolerant, but she didn’t drink milk; no ice in any of her drinks. I guess I took too long in asking her out because she did it for me. Love works in odd ways.
But my job was so knit-picky with the types of relationships allowed. I hated hiding that I was dating Rosaline because of my occupation—a trait that Rosaline had quickly made me aware of at the beginning of both our sexual and professional relationships. My private affairs hadn’t been an issue until the airing of the “Stellar/James George” magazine publication. At the time, the movie that I had a lead role in just hit the big screen. I had become a hit sensation overnight; my name was in everyone’s mouths. Unfortunately, so was my costar, James George. He had been in countless other big hits, so he was an obvious choice to pull in the crowds. It was God awful working with him. Everything had to be perfect: the way his assistants woke him up in the morning to get to work, the food he ate during breaks. I’m getting angry just thinking about him. Aside from that, everyone was crazy about us—they couldn’t get enough! It got to the point that people were romanticizing our relationship, which had been far from friendship to begin with. I was driven mad with all the papers published about it.
There came a time where enough was enough with all the rumors. James George’s manager approached me sometime during the madness of movie premieres. He proposed that I got into a relationship with the brute he represented! I was mortified. With Rosaline, the love of my life, in the room, I stood there dumbfounded; I couldn’t decline the offer fast enough, and even though I said no, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My fans and the paparazzi were all over this ideal relationship between myself and a man that was terrible to everyone he met. I tried to find a way for people to stop dreaming of this relationship, but it wasn’t until I was on a date with Rosaline when it hit us: I had to find a boyfriend.
It would have been so hard for Rosa and I to come out together on the red carpet—critics hated lesbian couples.
“I wouldn’t want to be with anyone except you.” I held onto my beloved’s hand. She had been the one to suggest that I got a boyfriend.
Rosa simply nodded and agreed, “I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. This situation with you and the tabloids is eating you alive, and there are so many people out there...”
She continued to explain to me how we could find someone as a cover for our relationship. Someone would take a few photos of us on a date, the photos would be published all over the place, and I wouldn’t have to spend my nights fretting about the crazy misconceptions people fantasized about. Unfortunately, I was still a little worried.
“Wouldn’t I have to spend too much time with him?” I asked Rosa. At this point, we had been throwing the idea back and forth for a couple of days. Sometimes, I would bring it up; others were from her. We couldn’t be too careful at this situation—not only would we have to trust someone to live our lie with us, but there would be a chance that it would tear us apart.
“You don’t have to worry about that, mi amor,” through the phone, Rosa’s voice filled me with a sense of ease. Assuring me that she would take care of everything, we agreed that this would be something that we made sure would work... after making some ground-rules first.
Over the span of two weeks, Rosaline and I made quick rules for ourselves and my new beau whenever he was to arrive. After many discussions, we decided on two very important rules:
- He could not know about Rosa’s and my relationship at all. This would prevent any information getting out into the hands of the magazines. It also meant that Rosaline and I would have to be more secretive toward the poor guy duped into dating me.
- While he did know that the relationship is a farce, he was allowed into my home at opportune times; I think that was so we could sell the whole dating situation.
The guy Rosaline found was Nathaniel. He was cute, but a little on the gruff side—quite tall, but I didn’t trail far at 5’11”. Nathaniel was a less than common actor with a mediocre repertoire of small parts under his belt. He was an obvious choice made by Rosa, who had worked with his manager a couple of times before. Nice guy, really—I liked him immediately, and of course, I found him attractive. Aesthetically, we matched each other pretty well. On our “dates,” he was always kind and funny. He had a twang in him—manners from a country upbringing, much different from my own. The magazines ate it up: “A Match Made in Heaven,” “Opposites Attract.”
There were so many interviews to take together. Of course, we would be flirtatious: a hand would slip on each other’s thighs—Nathaniel was very good at his job. The people ate our little act up, and sometimes I would feel a butterfly or two in my stomach.
Rosaline and I were rather fond of Nathaniel. Whenever the three of us were together, an adventure was always bound to find us. We’d often get coffee together and walk in the park. Rosaline would always spot the cutest and friendliest dogs; Nathaniel would have the courage to ask if we could pet them. This would make beautiful platforms for photoshoots. We always had a wonderful time together. When our dates were over, Rosaline and I would return home, quick to want to talk about our friend.
We liked him. Nathaniel was cute and funny and smart. He was rather dreamy, in fact. There were times when Rosaline and I have admitted to wanting Nathaniel’s attention. Oddly enough, those times included intimate ones. It was a confusing situation to broach with the love of my life. Why were we so interested in this person that didn’t have anything to do with our sexual partnership? Sure, I was attracted to men, but I hadn’t had this strong of an attraction to anyone except my lady love in a very long time. I hadn’t even known that Rosaline liked guys, even after all the time we’d spent together.
Nathaniel was charming, but neither of us was prepared for just how much charm he possessed. There were moments where I found myself grimacing when he lightly grazed his fingers across the forearm of Rosaline and times when I noticed how delicious I found his smile to be.
In an interview for Moment Magazine, Nathaniel and I were asked about some of the time we’d spend together. Quickly, I answered, “My manager and I are girl friends. We have movie night every Monday. It was only natural that we allowed him in for the weekly ritual.”
Movie night with Nathaniel started innocent enough—we all had our own spots on the couch. Nathaniel was between Rosa and me as to not raise suspicion to our relationship just as rule number one had instructed. It didn’t take many more visits before Nathaniel pulled me closer to his side, wrapping his arm around me.
At first, this gesture took me for a loop. I had to stop myself from making a face at Rosaline, questioning what was happening. I could feel her eyes on us. There was a burning so palpable I could feel it—was that my face or her glaring? Of course, Nathaniel knew that we weren’t really dating, and we wouldn’t have to put up an act in my own home. So why was he so comfortable with doing something meant for people who had feelings for one another?
During the movies, Nathaniel had continued to get closer to me. It wasn’t too obvious at first. Then, I found myself leaning my head on his shoulder. Looking to my right, I noted how Rosaline was mirrored to me. While Nathaniel had been pulling me closer, he had done the same with Rosa. The woman that I had come to love was so close to me; I had to thank Nathaniel inwardly, taking Rosaline’s hand and smiling.
It was toward the middle of a movie when Nathaniel shifted, positioning himself more comfortably in our cuddle, when he said, “Y'know, you two’re awfully close to one ‘nother.”
Neither of us answered his comments. We had been rubbing the backs of each other’s hands—a comforting gesture that we often used even before we knew Nathaniel. Our faces blushed a wilder red than a California forest fire, and we stared at each other. Nathaniel let out a hearty laugh.
“You don’ hav’ta hide it from me; I’ve come to believe that we’re friends a’ least.” His accent graced our ears and we turned to him quickly. “I’ll keep yer secret.”
Nathaniel then leaned to his right and kissed the top of Rosaline’s head. It seemed like an odd gesture at first, but it was sweet. I found myself relieved that we could trust someone like him. I watched as Rosaline received affection from our friend. Slowly, he leaned down to kiss her cheek; I could see her red face and she moved back a bit.
“Nate, what are you doing?” Rosaline’s reservations had shown through her voice as she leaned away from me and Nathaniel.
Nathaniel shifted a bit under me. “What—you two aren’t up for a little fun?”
Even I was shocked for a moment. We hadn’t known Nathaniel but for a couple of months, and even though Rosaline and I had fantasized about being with him, it was only a fantasy at best. We never assumed that we’d get an opportunity like this. I glanced at Rosa for a moment.
“I can understand if ya don’ wanna.” Nathaniel let go of me as well as my love. “I guess I read th’ situation wrong.”
“N-no!” Rosa interjected, a reaction that I hadn’t expected from her. She placed her hand on Nathaniel’s forearm and stared at me. “W-we just weren’t expecting this to actually happen. We talked about it before, but I at least never thought something like this would happen.”
That was just like Rosa, always saying whatever it was on her mind. She was so quick to express herself. I couldn’t hide my smile—this was the woman I loved.
“We’d like to have some fun with you.” Rosa’s hand trailed up his arm and her thin fingers pressed against his chest.
Taking in Rosaline’s invitation, Nathaniel smiled and pulled me closer to him. That night, we allowed each other to fully explore the physical ranges of the human body. Much unlike the times that it had been just Rosaline and me, Nathaniel was able to give a completely different sensation to the mix. There was a pulling force between the three of us that night—a sort of gravity that attracted us toward each other. It was more than lust. I felt it just as Rosaline did even after Nathaniel left us in a heap of flesh.
After that night with Nathaniel, it was clear what Rosaline and I needed. Nathaniel had to be put in our inner circle. He created a hole in our relationship that only he could fill. There was an afterglow when he left, and we needed the light to return. Rosaline and I became restless after. We couldn’t get our minds off of how we needed him to be ours. It quickly came to the point where we had to express our feelings to Nathaniel.
The opportunity came to us when Nathaniel had invited us to dinner at a restaurant that he often frequented. Because we hadn’t seen him in a while, it was a well-needed date for the three of us. Rosaline and I were like little girls at this point; we spent hours combing through our hair and fretting over what to wear to impress him. Neither of us said a word about it to each other, but we could feel the excitement between us.
The restaurant we were seated in was a quaint place. The walls were painted in an earthy tone of red. There weren’t too many people inside, but a few of them gasped when they saw Stellar Clementine walk in with her boyfriend. I smiled and waved to a few of the starry-eyed fans. Yes, this is my boyfriend and gorgeous girlfriend. The staff was kind enough to seat us in the back booth away from prying eyes and ears. I sat with my back facing the door.
“I was thinkin’--” Nathaniel started after we quickly placed our orders, but I interrupted him.
“That’s good because so were we.” I took Rosaline’s hand from across the table; Nathaniel sat to my right as I glanced his way. “We want you to hold a more permanent position in our relationship.”
“Relationship.” The look on Nathaniel’s face turned to confusion. Was there a hint of disgust? “Stellar, Rosaline; I’m not lookin’ for that. It was just a night of fun—nothin’ special.”
Nathaniel waved his hands out in front of him as he shook his head. After receiving confused stares from me and Rosaline, Nathaniel gave a nervous chuckle before starting to stand, “I’m sorry for the confusion, but this isn’t what I signed up for.”
Nathaniel left without saying another word. Rosaline and I were dumbfounded. How could we have been so stupid as to assume that was what he wanted? We had been so content with each other until he came into our lives but lost ourselves in his charm like schoolgirls. Silently, we ate together and took what was left over home.