That night, I went home tired. Denise wasn’t home, as was mostly the case these days. She and her boss spent most nights together, leaving the apartment partially paid for by her but virtually vacant. She kept some of her clothes here still, but it was all for appearances. She had set up camp at her boss’ home in Calabasas. I was fine with it. I was working late and fully consumed in my professional life. I didn’t want any distractions, and Denise was – if anything else – good for distractions. She was either getting dressed to leave or talking about her latest work drama that was heightened by the affair with her boss. I mostly listened and laughed at the dramatic subterfuge she managed to conjure up.
I was eating some leftover lasagna when a knock came to my door. I wasn’t expecting anyone, so I was surprised to find Letty standing there when I opened the door. She had dyed her hair purple and was wearing chic white sunglasses that were a throwback to ’80 retro Raybans.
“Letty!” I cried as she sprung on me so that we fell backward into my apartment onto the sage green carpet.
She laughed uproariously and straddled me as I fell onto my back. She pretended to slap me for a moment and then got up. “Doll face!” she cried with enthusiasm. “Let’s get out of here! You look bored.”
I started laughing. She wasn’t my boss anymore, as I had said goodbye to what Kale had called “bikini hell” a little over two months ago. Letty, in true style and form, wore a jean mini-skirt with a pink T-shirt that said “Up Yours!” which clashed with her purple hair. She looked appropriately chic and rebellious all at once.
I agreed to go to the local dive bar and hang out. I pulled on a simple pair of jeans, platform sandals and my own familiar T-shirt with my least favorite but still sentimental phrase on it: “Love My Coconuts.” I wore it to honor Letty, who I had not seen in months.
About 30 minutes later, we found ourselves sitting on barstools, eating stale tiny pretzels and drinking shots of Patron. I had two shots and that was quite enough to catch a zing of a buzz. Letty had three shots, and she was drunk and happy. She giggled her way through the conversation, which eventually led to questions about Drew’s fate. She said he quit the day after I left.
“Whore!” she crowed. “He left me! It’s all your fault.” She laughed. She threw a pretzel and hit my forehead.
I began laughing. “Sorry! But you didn’t lose much,” I replied and threw a pretzel back.
“Oh, fuck him,” she cried. “You know he told me he fucked you … twice!” she started cackling.
In the past, this announcement would have made me angry. Now, I was just disgusted and not surprised. “I see, he kissed and told,” I replied.
Letty leaned in with a grin. “I fucked him once in the back room,” she admitted and laughed. “It was okay,” she added.
“Supply closets,” I muttered in disgust. “Well, he fucked many,” I said as I lifted my glass. “Cheers!”
Letty obliged back, and our glasses made a “clink” as they purposefully collided. Letty settled down a moment and became thoughtful. “I think he really loved you, Brea.”
I glanced over at her and considered that suggestion. “Maybe,” I replied. “He hurt me though, and that’s enough of that.”
“Hey, I got a part in a skincare commercial,” she announced with pride. “It’s national with lines,” she added.
I nodded. “That’s really great! Good for you.”
Later that evening, Letty and I parted ways. We made no future plans to see each other, but somehow I suspected it wouldn’t be long. She mentioned that she was considering a job at the San Diego store and might move, but then she was flighty so I wasn’t sure if she was serious. She seemed to be tinkering with the idea. She said her on-again, off-again boyfriend Rocco had moved, but that she wasn’t sure she should follow. Since I was in no position to preach about moving for boyfriends, I refrained from giving her any advice.
I returned to the apartment to find the door ajar. I grabbed my cell phone to call 911 and peered in the door to see if anyone was there or something was disturbed. Upon a quick inspection everything appeared fine. I nervously crept and looked first in the two bedrooms that were directly across from each other and then the bathroom. No one was there. I began to wonder if I had left the door open on accident when I turned and was stunned to see Curtis standing in the doorway. My heart jumped up, and I grabbed and yanked the door fully open. It was nearly 9:00 p.m.
“Curtis!” I yelled. “What are you doing here?”
Curtis stepped forward and looked around. “You all right?”
“Jesus! Fine! What do you need?” I snapped at him.
Curtis extended another folder loaded with papers. My eyes nearly popped out of my head – more notes! “Kale asked me to drop these off so you could look them over before our production meeting in the morning.”
I grabbed the stack and barked, “Since when are you a messenger?”
“I’m not,” he stepped completely in and smiled at me. “I wanted to see you.”
“Does Kale know that?” I sniped.
“No,” he replied and then, made another move toward me. “Do you want to go for drinks?”
“No, I just came back,” I replied and softened a bit as I realized I was yelling at one of my bosses, who for all intents and purposes really hadn’t done anything to deserve the barking. After all, he didn’t break into my apartment. And for all I knew, I had left that door ajar.
“Look, I’m harmless,” he suddenly offered. “I just like you. Let’s go out and relax. I’ll tell you what’s going on.”
I stood upright and straight and mulled it over. I did want to know what was going on. Why was I getting almost a complete rewrite of the script? Should I be worried? Curtis seemed to be offering me somewhat of an olive branch. Then I became concerned about his obvious pursuit and the ramifications, so I quickly shook my head.
“No, really, I’m tired,” I said. “Is that okay with you?”
Curtis nodded. “I get it.”
He stepped into the hallway, turned and said, “See you tomorrow.”
My heart was still racing. I wondered what was going on. I looked at the new stack of notes and sighed. I read a few and realized some of them conflicted with the last batch. Who was I supposed to follow? Too many chefs in the kitchen would make my job harder. I quickly decided to sit down with Kale in the morning and feel out the situation. I was all too aware that I was new at this, and I heard the stories about endless rewrites and scripts sitting with renewed options that never ended and studios never produced the films. I also feared they would shut down the entire project or replace me if I couldn’t cut it. I was so consumed with worry that I didn’t sleep well that night.