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Cody Raynes watched as Raven did a cartwheel and knocked out two of her 3 opponents. What often impressed him and her audience was that she was doing it in 4-inch heels and tight black leather. Of course, that was part of the Raven character. Cody was more impressed because Raven was almost 34 and still insisted on doing all of her own stunts. She looked great doing them, too. Even up close, you couldn’t tell she’d broken both of her arms and her nose — twice. She was still almost as stunning as she had been all those years ago when an eleven-year old boy got his first crush on a Hollywood action star named Raven.
Most boys Cody’s age were still into GI Joe or Pokemon or Transformers. From the very first moment Cody saw Raven — The Raven as she was called in her weekly TV show — the young boy was transfixed. He watched every week, sometimes twice. He found the show in reruns and watched the previous seasons. He dug up as much information on Raven as he could find and made a scrap book filled with Raven clippings. Cody discovered there was a poster of Raven and begged his mother to buy it for him. When for some inexplicable reason she refused, he got a paper route and bought it for himself, plus earned enough to buy the DVDs of all three seasons. He couldn’t understand why his mother got so bent out of shape over it. Raven’s series was sexy, but clean enough and she presented a very positive role model for her young fans. She was strong, smart and capable and she couldn’t help it if she just happened to be sexy. Even at a young age, Cody knew Raven had it, even if he didn’t know just yet what it was.
He had no idea why his mom objected so much to his minor crush on the beautiful actress. Cody didn’t care, he looked at her poster and the magazines he could afford and read all about her glamorous lifestyle. When her TV series was cancelled, Cody was crushed. He wrote her a long fan letter that he later regretted. He was sure it was an embarrassment. He told her that he thought The Raven was a great show and he hoped she would show up in another show again someday. He also added that if he ever got to visit Hollywood, he would love have the opportunity to meet her.
He didn’t hear back, of course, he hadn’t really expected to. Some of his friends teased him about his infatuation. It didn’t matter to Cody. He kept his eyes open for any news about Raven and clipped articles about her whenever he found them. He remained a staunch devotee of the lady named Raven. By the time he was 14, he was no longer the only one in his group. Some boys with budding hormones began to see what Cody had known since the beginning. Raven was hot. It wasn’t just her tall, long-legged body or her beautiful face or her long, jet-black hair or even her unmistakable green eyes. There was something about her that made you take notice of her. Even when her TV show was cancelled, her fans didn’t forget about her. Like fans of Star Trek or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, they were devoted. Raven fans wanted to see more of her. They started sending cards and letters to the studio that had produced her series and to the network and to Raven herself. Cody himself must have sent over a dozen and encouraged his friends to add to the pile.
When his diligence paid off, no one was happier than Cody Raynes. The studio announced that The Raven would be returning as a series of big-budget feature films with all the cast intact and more involved storylines. The fourteen-year old boy was thrilled and when that fifteen-year old boy sat in the theatre and watched his favorite actress kicking butt and taking names, there wasn’t anyone happier on the face of the earth. He saw the first movie no less than 6 times. He decided to write Raven a long fan letter. It was a bit better worded than the one he’d written her years earlier. Of course, he didn’t expect to hear back. She was busy and her career had returned to high gear.
Imagine the surprise and joy of a sixteen-year old fan when an answer came to his letter. Imagine, if you will, the thrill of seeing that response came from Raven herself. Continue to imagine the euphoria when that young man sees the letter is written in longhand and signed by Raven herself.
Cody thought he should likely pinch himself and read the letter over and over again. He wanted to put the letter somewhere for safe keeping. He would show it to his pals and make them eat their hearts out. Turn green with envy. Wouldn’t they be sorry that they hadn’t listened to him earlier? Perhaps if they had, they too, would have received such a letter. He was searching for a place to keep the letter when something fell out of the envelope and fluttered to the floor. He picked it up to see what it was.
It was a picture of a teenage girl and a smiling, cherubic baby boy. Cody stared at it for a few minutes and he realized that the girl in the photo was Raven herself. There was no mistaking those luminescent green eyes of bursa escort hers, even as a teenager. He wondered who the baby was. Had she been an unwed mother and hence, the name change? She rarely spoke of her past during her television interviews. He looked over the picture carefully and then, in shock, it dropped back to the ground. His jaw nearly went with it!
The baby in the photo was him!
Cody picked up the picture and stared at it, like, for an hour (actually, about 5 minutes). He realized instantly that Raven couldn’t be his mother, he had seen plenty of pictures of his mother and himself together at that age, including ones from the hospital. So why was a young Raven holding him and smiling? He wanted to ask his mother but she wasn’t home from work at the library just yet. It seemed like an eternity (actually, about an hour) before she finally arrived home so that he could ask her about it.
Coral Raynes had not been in the apartment five minutes when her son approached her. “I got an answer to my fan letter today,” Cody told his mother.
“Who did you write?” Coral asked. She knew the answer but hoped it would be something else.
It wasn’t. “I wrote to Raven and she wrote me back — personally,” he told his mom.
“Oh honey, they have staff people who answer those letters for them and make it seem like it’s …”
“The letter was in longhand mom and that’s not all. She sent this picture.” He showed his mother the picture and Coral’s heart sank. “Why does Raven have a picture of herself holding me as a baby?” He voiced the question Coral had been dreading for several years now.
Coral knew she had run out of options. She sat on the couch and folded her face in her hands and then looked up at her sandy-haired, curious son. “She has that picture because she’s your older sister. You and Raven are brother and sister.”
If she had told Cody he was rightful heir to the British throne, he could not have been more astonished. His mother looked up at him and said “You know your father and I have been divorced for years and you’ve asked why I don’t talk about him or have photos around the house. This is why. I couldn’t trust him. I was sure that he had fallen in with a very bad crowd and was up to something shady. I told him I wanted a divorce and when I discussed it with your older sister, she wouldn’t believe me. She sided with your father and as she was sixteen at the time, there wasn’t much that I could do about it. The judge told Helena — that’s your sister’s real name, Helena — that she was free to live with whoever she chose and she chose your father. They moved to Los Angeles and soon after, she stopped writing to me. I don’t think she ever forgave me for divorcing your father. I’m sorry to have kept all of this from you, but I honestly believed and I still DO believe, that your father is a very bad man. That’s why I changed back to the name I had before I married him,” Coral told her son.
“So, Raynes isn’t my real last name?”
“No. Your real last name is Layton, you’re Cody Layton and Raven — your sister — is Helena Layton. Your father’s family are all deceased, so there was no one going to come looking for you,” Coral explained. “Helena was almost 15 when you were born, they left for Los Angeles about 6 months after that picture was taken.”
“Wow,” Cody said to his mother. “This is a lot to take in. Raven is my sister. Holy shit.”
“Watch your language, young man,” Coral said to him. “I don’t know why she saw fit to tell you now, but since she’s seen fit to let you know the family secret, I can’t stop you two from communicating. I can say that I think you should avoid communicating with your father. I have sole custody of you for a reason. You’re free to write back to Helena and let her know we’re okay and that her mother still loves her,” Coral said, choking up on her final few words.
Cody went to his room and got on his computer and typed out a long letter to his older sister. He told her about himself and his friends, their family, cousins she hadn’t seen in years, their grandparents and their mother. He went over the letter until it was perfect and then he printed it out. He looked in some photo albums and sent her a few family photos, including a recent one of his mother — their mother. He still could not wrap his head around the fact his long-time crush was his older sister. Cody realized now that all of this had likely caused his mother some pain. Perhaps now she could move past it and he could help affect a reconciliation between mother and daughter after all these years. He put everything into an envelope and placed it beside his backpack so he would remember to mail it before school the next morning.
He and his sister started exchanging longer letters. One seemed to arrive every other week. He could always recognize her letters by her beautiful handwriting and the fact they always smelled of her sweet perfume. It bursa escort bayan was nice to have a big sister, although it was a bit weird, because his crush still lingered. She sent him some really nice photos and when some of his friends asked where he got all the really cool photos of Raven, he had to play dumb for a while. Eventually, he let some of his closest buds in on the secret. It made him a superstar in their eyes.
Cody needed little else to be a superstar, but he also was growing academically and in height. Around school, he had several admirers. He was a very handsome young man and played a lot of sports, so he was in great shape. Sadly, around the young ladies at his school, he was tongue-tied. He dearly would have loved to have asked out Gigi Nelson, the pretty blonde who sat behind him in his English class. She was bright and perky and more than a few of his buds said Gigi would dump her boyfriend in a minute if Cody even looked her way. Cody looked — oh, did he look — because Gigi made it hard not to! In her pretty white sweaters and short blue skirts with high heels she almost always wore, she was far beyond her years in looks. She was nice too and he could talk with her when they passed in the halls, he just couldn’t get past the hurdle of asking her on a real date.
He mentioned her in passing to his sister and he told Helena (he called her that in his letters) that his graduation was coming up and asked if she could perhaps come. He knew it was unlikely, but if she did, perhaps he could bring his mother and sister back together and make his mom happier.
He was right, it didn’t happen, but something amazing did. Helena wrote back and invited him to Hollywood for a visit. All at her expense, the entire summer after graduation. Cody couldn’t believe it. His eleven-year old self would have been in shock. He was going to meet Raven, even though he knew a lot about her by now, he was going to meet Raven!
IF his mother allowed it, of course.
Coral looked at her son and the expression on his face when he asked her and she sighed. “Of course you can go, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t let you? Besides, you’ll be 18 at the end of June, an adult. We’ll make sure to get you some nice clothes and new luggage and give you a big party before you leave.”
His 18th birthday was a nice shindig and there were about 15 people there. Gigi Nelson gave him a nice present and a lingering kiss on the cheek. “I can’t believe you’re going to Los Angeles for the entire summer, that is SO cool,” she said, very impressed. Aside from his closest pals, others had only been told he was staying with “a relative”. “I was hoping we could hang out and go to the beach,” she said with the faintest sound of disappointment in her voice. The thought of seeing Gigi Nelson in a bikini almost made him weak in the knees. “I’ll miss you, when are you coming back?” She asked.
“The last week of August, just a bit before school starts, so if you want to hang around then …?”
“COUNT on it!” Gigi chirped before she ran off to join a few of her friends that were in attendance. Had he just made a date with Gigi Nelson? Could this summer get any better?
It was a thrill to enjoy his first plane ride and when he got off the plane, there was a car waiting to take him to his sister’s beautiful condo. He wondered why she didn’t live in some fancy mansion, not that the place he entered wasn’t gorgeous. The weather was a lot nicer than back home but all he could think about was not to make a fool of himself around Raven — Helena. What would she prefer to be called?
All of a sudden, there she was, right in front of him. For once, she wasn’t wearing black leather, but a very attractive pleated skirt, high heels and a gauzy blouse. He still would have known her anywhere simply from those eyes of hers. She hugged him and hugged him until those eyes were wet with tears. “Welcome, little brother,” she said in between little breaks to wipe her eyes. “It’s good to see you after 16 years, although I guess you aren’t my little brother now.”
It was true, if Raven hadn’t been wearing her customary high heels, he would have been a few inches taller than she. He felt like an adult at that moment as he picked up his bags and went inside her home. There were photos all over her walls of herself in her various TV appearances and with actors he knew. He noticed that pictures of his father were conspicuous in their absence.
Raven / Helena gave Cody the nickel tour of her place. He had the presence of mind to ask her “Would you rather I called you Raven or Helena?”
She smiled. “When we’re out in public, Raven, please. Most people don’t even know my real name is Helena. When we’re here and in private, please call me Helena.” She smiled again. “I’ve missed hearing it. It’s been a long time since anyone called me that, even our father …” She stopped speaking at that point.
“Okay, escort bursa since you’ve brought it up — there aren’t any pictures of our father here, not a one. Mom won’t talk about him except to say he was bad news and I should keep away from him. What’s the story on that?” Cody questioned.
His sister sighed. “You won’t have to worry about keeping away from Daddy,” she said as she turned to him. “Mother was right, I wish I’d seen it. When we moved out here and my career took off, Daddy was my manager. What I didn’t know was that he was in bed with some very, very bad men and he was in deep. He owed a lot of money. So, instead of asking for my help, which I would have given him because he was my Daddy and I loved him, he pilfered it and used it to pay off his debts. I caught him and confronted him and that was the end of it. I called the police, called my lawyers, had him arrested, charged, tried and convicted. He’s in prison for the next 7 years, far away from me and out of my life,” Helena told her brother. “It’s going to take me years to undo all the damage he did to my finances.” Now Cody knew why his sister didn’t have a big Hollywood mansion — she probably couldn’t afford one just yet.
“Why don’t you call Mom and let her know all of this?” Cody asked. “She misses you so much and she’d probably be thrilled to learn you’re safe and our father is out of your life.”
“I’m not ready Cody, not just yet,” she smiled as she tousled his hair. “Someday, soon, I hope, but not just yet.” She decided to change the subject. “Want to come along and watch me film the final scenes for the new movie this week?” She asked. “I’ll introduce you to some of the other actors and the Craft Services table is unbelievable.”
Cody knew his sister was trying to change the subject but he let her get away with it. A chance to visit a real movie set was too good to pass up! He nodded and after they had dinner, he crashed. Raven had an early call. Cody himself was far too excited to sleep well.
The set was a whirlwind of activity when they arrived. Raven introduced him to everyone as her brother, which surprised them all. As she was getting made up, a petite, very attractive redhead walked by. Cody recognized her at once.
“Hey Raven, how goes …? Well, my goodness! Who is this handsome young stallion?” The girl asked.
“Summer, this is my brother, Cody. Cody, this is Summer Calhoun.” Summer played Raven’s sister in the series. She gave Cody her hand and flashed him a winning smile.
“Hello there, handsome. We didn’t even know Raven had a brother. Tell you what, if you get bored, my trailer is right over there,” she pointed as she walked away with a little sway.
Cody wanted to pinch himself. Summer Calhoun had just been flirting with him. Was it weird that his sister’s movie sister had been flirting with her real brother? Raven looked at him with a bit of surprise. “I think the lady likes you,” she laughed. “If you want to take her up on her offer, I promise not to say a word.”
“Aw, she was just fooling around,” Cody answered. “Why would someone as gorgeous as Summer Calhoun be interested in me?”
Raven looked at her brother as if he had said something incredibly ridiculous. “We’ll talk later,” she told him. “I have to get to work.”
So, here Cody was, watching his sister kick butt and interact with everyone on the set. She was still beautiful but now he knew her better as a person. Everyone she worked with held her in high regard. She finished her scene and was offered a towel to remove all the sweat and grime. She walked towards her brother and sat down beside him. “So, did you visit Summer while I was working?” She asked.
“Are you kidding? I couldn’t take my eyes off of you the entire time, you’re so gorgeous to watch,” he let slip. Raven smiled and told him she was done for the day. She went to her dressing room to change and told him they were going to dinner after. She warned him there would likely be a lot of photographers watching them and to be careful. Cody was looking forward to it. His friends back home would be green with envy and he would sure look big in the eyes of Gigi Nelson.
She took him to Cinespace and as predicted, cameras followed them everywhere. “You’ll be in the Sun tomorrow morning,” she grinned, speaking of their hometown paper. She had them seated discreetly out of the way of everyone so that she could talk to him privately. “Why were you so shy around Summer? Don’t you like girls?”
“I didn’t want to be rude and ignore you on your own set,” Cody told his sister. “Hell yeah, I like girls — couldn’t you tell from all those gushy fan letters I used to send you? I just — I never know what to say or do around a pretty girl.”
Raven / Helena looked at him with genuine, sisterly concern. “Well, maybe we can fix that for you while you’re here. Order whatever you want, the food here is really good and I know most of the staff.” She winked at her brother. “The servers here are pretty cute, too. Hey, did you like what you saw of the movie?”
“Of course, I’m a huge fan,” Cody enthused. “When it is due out? I want to be first in line back home.”
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