Chapter Twelve

“How’s the Mendoza project coming along?”
“I have a bit of tweaking left in their commercial but it should be completed by the end of tomorrow’s work day.”
“Wonderful. Dominic, what about your ad package for the New Jersey couple?”
“Moving along nicely. I should be done by the middle of next week but could be done by Monday if I cancel my plans for the weekend.”
“Hot date?” Patrice asks.
“My brother in-law is getting married. Never really cared for the guy. I was thinking of skipping it.”
“Denise would have a fit if you did. Your sister hates when you cancel on family affairs.”
“She’ll get over it. How else is our mother able to live in the lap of elderly luxury? Her husband certainly can’t handle those payments.”
“You deserve a break though.” I said.
“We all have similar work loads. The necessity for a break is irrelevant. When I feel like taking one, I will. Right now I don’t need it.”

Nina knocked on the glass door and then let herself in. “Sorry to interrupt but you have a call on line two, Johnathan.”
“Is it a client?”
“She says she’s a potential client. And an old friend.”

Searching my mental rolodex one name immediately popped into my head; Wendy. She must be calling on behalf of her friend, the alleged actress.

“Thank you, Nina. Tell her to hold. I’ll take the call in a minute.” Nina nodded and exited the room, swiftly taking a seat in her swivel desk chair. The meeting concluded moments later, I was last to vacate the room. I was in no mood to take a call from Wendy but it was a necessity for the film. Shooting is tentatively scheduled to begin in two weeks and the lead female role has yet to be filled.

Ralph and I, with consulting from Melina who planted the idea for the script in Ralph’s head in the first place, have turned up dry with the auditions. Wendy’s friend feels like a last ditch effort. The part doesn’t particularly need an award winning performance but those who have read for the part, well….they didn’t feel like they could play this role. One of the girls looked exactly like the girl in the script. Too bad her “skills” were horrible.

Wendy had been on hold for a total of ten minutes. Had I not stalled for coffee and to urinate it would have been six. I sat at my desk and finally took her call.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. The meeting of the minds would not end.”
“Is that what you call it? I assumed everyone referred to those as a pow wow.”
“Maybe in the nineties.”
“That wasn’t too long ago.”
“Maybe so, but new terminology means progress.”
“Not necessarily.”
“How so?”
“A word can be derived from a past word to make something new. For example, ‘tuff’ in The Outsiders. It sounds like you’re referring to something difficult but in the book the use of it means good, or dope.”
“Dope?”
“As the kids say.”
“Doesn’t that word belong in the nineties, too?”
“I suppose.”
“Did you have a nineties movie marathon before calling?”
Wendy laughed. “I find the decade fascinating.”
“I’m partial to the eighties.”
“Because of Die Hard?”
“…You remember that?”
“The movie, or you mentioning that its the reason you wanted to become a filmmaker?”

She rendered me speechless. I was not used to people conjuring up memories of past conversations. I had to change the subject.

“You told my secretary that you’re a potential client…?”
“Oh, right. Yes. I don’t need your services I was actually calling about my friend. You know, the one on Broadway.”
“That much I assumed.”
“Right, well, she’s interested. I gave her your background and she wants to try out for the part.”
“What information for this supposed background did you give her?”
“Does that matter?”
“It does if you fabricated facts.”
“I told her this is your first film but you’ve been trained by professionals. That’s all factual is it not?”
“Just making sure.”

Silence, and then “how about this: instead of her auditioning in front of Ralph and I directly how about we see her perform in her show. We’ll tell her she’s to see us one day but then surprise her backstage.”
“That’s crazy enough to work. In fact I have a few tickets to an upcoming show. Hold on, let me find the tickets.”

Wendy placed the phone down and walked away. She shouted something at a woman and then the word ‘mom’ was used. I never met the woman. I never gave her a chance to want to introduce us. Why is that…

“Okay, I found them. The performance is on Thursday at seven at the Sgouros Theater.”
“Isn’t that where A Christmas Carol performs?”
“I guess. Never saw the show.”
“Really? I saw it on a class trip in the sixth grade.”
“How’d your school swing that?”
“Beats me, but the seats were decent for the ten bucks each student paid.”
“Well at least I don’t have to give you the address. Question is, can you make it?”
“I can. No plans.”
“No date, you mean.”
“Why is that of any relevance?”
“I was joking.”

More silence.

“Can I ask you something?”
Uh-oh. “Shoot.” I said.

Wendy hesitated with her words but only for a second. “What happened between us? I thought we had a good thing going.”

How can I possibly answer this question? Last time this sort of conversation occurred we got into a fight. Twice. Truth is, I had no answer. I wasn’t even sure. It’s hard to explain other than I had never been involved with anyone until her. She took my virginity in every sense of the word. It had nothing to do with my being attracted to her or not- we had sex. I think that speaks for itself. Or does it?

Can the presence of a physical relationship equate to actual attraction to someone? It has to. Sex aside, it all comes down to my mental state at the time. I really had no want for a woman when the two of us met. I still don’t. Nevertheless, the yearning to do so grows on occasion. Ralph says “after the first time you have sex you’ll want it again, no matter how much you try lying about it.” Freddy more or less deduced the same outcome. So in other words I’m fucked for having had sex.

Which brings me back to Wendy’s unanswered question that I still cannot give. No matter my choice of words she will most likely be disappointed. Mad even.

“I’d rather not discuss this over the phone. It isn’t proper work related conversation.” She laugh-sighed.
“Somehow I knew you’d say that.”
“May I have time to think on it?”
“You mean you don’t know?”
“I’d like to reflect on the topic. A lot of time has passed.”
“Yea. Feelings pushed aside and all…” Her voice trailed at the end.
“I wouldn’t say that.”
“So you thought of me while you were away.”

Damn! How did I walk into that?! My turn to sigh.

“If I give you an answer to this question will you drop it?”
“For now, yes.”
Taking a deep breath I said, “Yes. You crossed my mind. I was tempted to pick up the phone. But I figured you wouldn’t have answered given how things…ended.”

She took a deep breath. A sigh of relief?

“Call me Wednesday night to confirm your attendance for the show.”
“Will do.” We hung up.

I stared at the phone until it became a gray blur. Had I just given her hope on a dead issue? But, wait, is the issue truly dead? They say “what’s in the past should stay there.” What if whoever coined the saying was just some bitter, lonely person who got their heart broken?

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