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Shadow and Stars.

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Lily, once a promising actress, abandoned everything to protect the man she loved from the clutches of his dark past. Now, 15 years later, she lives under a new identity, as a doctor at a hospital in Cannes. Her peaceful life is shaken when fate puts her ex-husband, a famous actor, in her path once again. After saving him from a car accident, she finds herself dragged back into the world she left behind. Confronted with the shadows of her past, Lily must find the courage to face the truth and reveal the wounds she tried to hide, not only to save herself but also to protect other innocent victims.

Prologue and Chapter 1

The dazzling shine of the silver sequins on my dress was reflected in the mirror in the couple's bedroom. The luxurious limousine, elegantly parked outside my house, was waiting for me to take me to the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. At the age of 21, I found myself nominated for a prestigious Hollywood Film Academy Award, being recognized as the best supporting actress. At this pivotal moment in my career, I was shining like the brightest star in the vast sky of the film industry. However, behind this dream, a dark and deteriorated reality was hidden, revealing itself between the curtains and cameras.

Even after being elegantly dressed, I chose to abandon the dazzling glitter ensemble. I stripped off my sumptuous jewelry and dress, taking advantage of the fact that Jack, my partner and talented actor, had already gone to the ceremony before me. I was quick to follow through on my meticulously planned escape plan. I slid the prepared suitcase from under the bed, changed my look by adopting a straight black wig, and collected the falsified documents obtained on the underground market for the trip. I went down to the car, adopting Lily's new identity and leaving behind the name Sara Jim. In less than half an hour, I was already in the international airport hangar, ready to board the chartered plane. The driver hired exclusively for this route was rewarded to disappear, keeping my actions in absolute secrecy.

The private plane took off an hour after I left Los Angeles airport. I anticipated that Jack would only notice my absence when he noticed that my face was not among those indicated. Our relationship was kept strictly secret, thus escaping the uncomfortable lenses of the paparazzi that disturb the lives of celebrities. On the plane, I toasted with champagne and, at the same time, cried over the difficult decision I made. Leaving him was not simple, but at that time it was the only viable solution. Today, 15 years after I left, my heart still flutters wildly when I remember those intense moments.

Chapter 1


Amid the tranquility of the cafeteria at the main hospital in Cannes, I was trying to relax after undergoing a six-hour surgery. Little Béatrice, just four years old, had been the victim of a serious accident and I had fought hard to save her. My body ached under the surgical lights, and the smell of formaldehyde permeated my lab coat. I was so tired that I didn't notice the place filling up within a few minutes, while someone turned on the TV. My thoughts were focused on the salad and the juice, my stomach growled with hunger, after more than eight hours without eating anything.

At that moment, Candance entered, as always relaxed.

“Lily, Lilly. Are you well? Wow, Lily, you look like a mess! How was the case?” She asked, standing next to me, looking around the room, placing a coffee in my hands. I told her about the challenges of surgery.

“Are you really okay?”  He asked with concern.

“Yes I am. Why? What crowd is this at the cafeteria?”

“Friend, what world do you live in? Today is the opening day of the Cannes Film Festival. The city is teeming with magnificent artists.”  I smiled nervously, as there was no point in thinking about festivities at that moment.

“I left home without eating and when I arrived, there was already a rush here at the hospital, I finished a surgery that lasted almost six hours. The child is only four years old and wants me to remember the Cannes Film Festival, Candance?”

“What a bad mood this is! The child is alive, thanks to you, doctor.”

Immediately, I noticed the rudeness in my voice when I spoke to her. Candance, after mumbling an appropriate response, bit the sandwich harder than usual, still standing next to me. This indicated his dissatisfaction.

“I apologize” I said, stroking his hand, “and sit with me. I'm tired, and you know how I feel after surgery, especially when it involves a child.”

“You don't need to say sorry. You are stressed. Just focus on work. Lily, how long has it been since you had fun with a man? What's wrong with watching famous actors walk the red carpet? You need to relax, woman. In life, not everything is work. There is life beyond this hospital. Have you ever stopped to think about it?”

“Okay, okay. So I suggest we enjoy the glow of the red carpet.”

I looked at the television that Candance and half the hospital were watching… The room was full of ecstatic women. That was when on TV I saw the image of Jack Alton, my old love from the past, who had just arrived and was walking down the main corridor. My heart skipped a beat when I recognized him after so long.

“Beautiful, isn't it, Lily?” Questioned my friend, observing my eyes fixed on the screen. My eyes were stuck there, unable to look away. He was older, but still stunning. His wide smile brought back memories of how he used to smile at me, especially on busy mornings when they were both involved in recording, writing, and media.

I blinked quickly, trying to escape Candance's question.

“I do not know him. You know it's rare for me to watch movies, series and things like that.”

“I'll ask again, friend. In what world do you live in?”

“I live in the world of work, which I love, by the way. And occasionally some kind of relationship and lots of reading. You know how much I like reading.”

“But, tell me, even so, looking at the television now. He is incredible! Can you imagine if I met him in person?” Candance sighed, almost as if in a daydream.

“Do you think you would live in a fairy tale?”  I replied seriously, but with a mischievous smile. “Like Cinderella. You would be the Cinderella, and he would be the rich, charming and handsome prince.”

She let out a laugh.

“No, I would just take a photo.”

He also smiles. She had this gift; Even though she was serious and, at times, frowning, Candance always managed to make me smile. I looked back at the screen, and now my eyes were fixed on the images of him alone, in increasingly stunning poses.

“Lily, you're not falling in love with Jack, are you? Don't take your eyes off the screen. Look at all the women in the cafeteria. It's a tough competition.” She joked.

I thought quickly and decided it was time to leave. I stood up and kissed the tall woman on the cheek, with light hair, green eyes and skin as clear as snow.

“Enjoy your actor’s vision. I need to rest and go home to sleep.”

“ I'll come by so we can go work together.”

“Yes, commander.”  I joked, making a sign of agreement.

“I mean, I'm on duty today. I'll have coffee at your house.”

My old residence, by the sea, on the main avenue, was my refuge.


I sat on the boardwalk and breathed in the sea breeze. It was spring; the sun warmed the heart and the flowers bloomed in the flowerbeds. The building, which I lived in, had three floors and six apartments. Nobody knew, but I was the owner of it all. Apartment rentals provided me with extra income. Despite being a recognized surgeon in the city, my salary would not be enough to acquire a building worth millions of euros. So, this was one of my well-kept secrets.

Tired of the sea air and with the darkness already intensifying, I headed home, which was just a hundred meters away.


Without understanding my own reaction, I entered the apartment and went straight to the television. Something drew me back to the award ceremony of the famous festival. D*mn the time when Candance and all the nurses in that department decided to watch the arrival of the celebrities. Why did I have to see him at that moment, after fifteen years?

I sat down with a glass of wine in my hand and waited for the best actor category to be announced. Jack was the favorite. Despite not following his career, while I was on the boardwalk, I read about it. When he took the stage as the night's big winner and thanked the audience, I realized I had never forgotten him, not for a moment. Leaving him was the hardest decision of my life.

I didn't regret the choice. At the time, I forced myself to believe that he didn't love me enough to notice what was going on behind the scenes and under his own nose. I tried to relax by drinking the bottle of wine and lay down right after Jack left the stage. I lay down, exhausted, but memories of the past came and went. Fragments of a distant past. I remember that, after catching a glimpse of her face in my memory, the last words I whispered before falling asleep were: “Today I am Lily, doctor, neurological surgeon.”


I woke up to Candance making noise in the kitchen. She rented apartment number two and shared it with two other nurses. Since we met, she has never had breakfast in her own apartment. The white blonde, of French nationality, was preparing pancakes.

“Good morning, Miss Sunshine”  was the affectionate way she called me. She said that in the first year of residency, when I entered the hospital, all eyes turned to me. My friend says to this day that I glowed. — It looks like you had a private party here. “He said, lifting the empty wine bottle, I sat on the sofa, still sleepy.”

“Yesterday was tense, it helped me relax. That's why I slept so well.”

“That's not what your dark circles say. Lily, you're always tense. I need to repeat this to you every day, who knows, maybe you will believe and try to change.”

I got up and gave her a firm kiss on the cheek, that was always how I made her shut up. I went to the bedroom, went into the bathroom and did my morning hygiene. After getting dressed appropriately for my run, I went back to the kitchen and sat down to drink coffee.

“How was the shift?”  I asked, while she was looking at her cell phone, sitting at the table.

“Quiet. Some drunk after the festival party. Other crazy people got hurt when they jostled to see the artists. But overall, I even managed to get some sleep. And are you off today?”

“Yes, I'm going to run on the beach. Stay at home, clean up.”

“Just don't wake me up, I need to sleep a little more.”

“Yes, commander”  I said laughing, “even though you don't live in my house, I'll try not to wake you.”

I had a cup of coffee and got up and walked to the door.

“Aren't you going to eat the pancake? I did it with so much care.”  She told me, making a sad face.

“When I get back. With a full stomach, I won't be able to meet the day's goal.”

 “I'll leave it in the microwave.”

“Thanks.”  I said, throwing an air kiss and leaving the apartment.

I ran along the boardwalk, two kilometers, and stopped scared. A crowd was gathered on the boardwalk in front of the Ritz Hotel. I thought it was an accident and was ready to help, but it wasn't that. Crazy women jostled to see someone in the window. They screamed, cried, almost tore their hair out.

Memories of a past, lived in these same conditions by me, came to the surface, but soon dissipated when I was bumped and ended up on the ground. The young woman was embarrassed and helped me up.

“Sorry, I didn't mean to knock you down.” Said the teenager, no more than fifteen years old.

“What's going on here? You guys look crazy.”  I said, getting up irritated.

“Actor Jack Alton is at the hotel and will go out for a walk. It's a chance to see it up close. I'm sorry again.”  asked the girl.

“Alright, no problem. I only give you one piece of advice, stop living this illusion.”  He said, already crossing the street to go up the alternative route, a side street to the right of the hotel, where there was no one. I had a crazy urge to talk about the tactics actors used to deceive fans, like the one who pushed me. I just didn't do it because I had already given the message, I didn't want to make her more disappointed with the reality behind the scenes.

I climbed up the side of the Ritz. The intention was to bypass the hotel and return to the beach, along another side street, where there might not be any more crowds. As soon as I passed the garage, a speeding car came out and turned in the opposite direction to me. What caught my attention was the sudden braking that the driver gave right after turning right. I took the opportunity, even out of curiosity, to see if anything had happened, to tie my shoelaces and bend down.

I stopped, looked back, but the black windows prevented me from seeing anyone inside the vehicle. After packing my shoes, which took a little longer than usual, I continued on my way. There were still 4 km to complete the route. I told Candance: "it was only two", but I felt the need to run much more than that. The adrenaline was high, as well as a strange suspicion regarding the car that was parked there for a few seconds. The feeling was bad and, at the same time, a strange longing.

"What could it be?" That's what I asked all along the way.

Chapter 2


I woke up feeling discouraged on the day of the trip to Cannes, France. Pietra, my newest girlfriend and actress too, without any projection yet, was just an escort and to show herself to the world, by my side, she wanted to take the opportunity to take a tour of Europe.

My heart sank, although I couldn't explain why. I had been nominated for the best actor award at the festival for my last film. This could consecrate me even more, despite already having an established career and money for several generations. But, since the day the list of nominees came out, even though the initial happiness appeared, the heart also sank.

I remember being at home alone. It gave me a crazy desire to drink whiskey, an addiction I acquired after some disappointments, but which with the rush of recordings, and some bad reviews, made me minimize it. I went to the bar, grabbed the most expensive bottle and opened it. Luckily, Pietra was arranging the last de


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