Rina begrudgingly allows the revised scene to stay but demonstrates to Gabriella that she’s still in control by asking her to leave camp to scout out Bulgaria filming locations.

“How many scenes do we have left for this site?” Connor asked, squinting to the side as he calculated.

Gabriella hated involving an outsider in her ridiculous power struggle with Rina, but she’d shown up in such a bad mood this morning that the DP couldn’t help but ask why, and besides, he was the only one who could help her.

“Two. Really, it can go fast, if—”

“If.” Connor nodded wisely. If Rina didn’t slow things down, like she always did.

Gabriella ground her teeth as she paced back and forth inside the cabin. “It’s insane, what she’s doing!”

Connor nodded. He stood silently, chewing a piece of gum, before saying slowly, “You know, I have another job scheduled next week. This shoot was supposed to be over by then.”

Gabriella stopped and stared at him. “Next week? Why didn’t you say anything? Does Rina know?” Suddenly, she laughed. “That solves everything!”

Connor’s lips curled. “Convenient, huh?”

“Wait a second. For real?”

Connor shrugged. “If you want it to be.”

Gabriella raised her eyebrows in surprise, then laughed again. Convenient, totally. She could tell Rina that, in any case, they needed to finish up the shoot by the end of this week, and that she’d fly to Bulgaria afterwards. Really, the lie shouldn’t bother her a bit. Dragging this shoot out was pushing them way over budget. Even if Rina seemed to feel herself above such mundane matters as money, Gabriella knew that any competent director needed to keep that in mind.

Still, the idea of conspiring together with Connor against Rina gave her a twinge of hesitation. It seemed wrong. Inappropriate.

But it really was convenient right now. And besides, Rina was the one who was forcing her hand, by bringing up this ridiculous Bulgaria scheme.

“Let’s tell her right now,” Gabriella told Connor.

Huvy dipped a finger in the lake water as Atara gave a vigorous row of the oars.

“Isn’t this fun?” Rina exclaimed brightly, tilting her head back to gaze up at the cloudless sky.

Huvy had been startled and somewhat amused when Rina had woken her up early this morning with a cheery, “Rise and shine, we’re going rowing. Girls’ morning on the lake!” By girls, she meant Rina, Huvy, and Atara. It was her mother’s typical spontaneous style, but as Huvy drowsily got dressed, tiptoeing so as not to wake her sleeping bunkmates, she reflected that her mother hadn’t thought to do any impromptu mother-daughter activities before Atara came.

“Awesome!” Atara exclaimed now. She propelled them forward with another energetic row.

“It’s beautiful here,” Huvy said softly.

Rina looked at her. “I haven’t gotten to talk to you much, things have been so busy. Are you enjoying the filming?”

“Yes, enjoying a lot,” Huvy said. She kept her eyes on the water. She’d always been a terrible liar, but her mother heard what she wanted to hear.

“Great!” Rina said enthusiastically. Huvy wished that her mother could for once actually try to understand her. Gabriella wouldn’t have let Huvy get away with such an answer. Gabriella understood her.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 614)