“If you’re about to apologize, don’t,” she said. “This was my idea.”
He watched Zanie brush her hair back into the signature bushy pony tail, adjust the perfect, store bought cantaloupes in a bra with six hooks under a silky t-shirt.
She checked herself in his mirror, shook her hair. “I wish I still smoked.”
“I keep some of Dash’s cigarillos around here somewhere. And some weed from Hawaii somebody gave me.”
“I told you I have a meeting in half an hour. No weed. Find the cigarillos. And a Coke or beer or something. Where did all that polite Coach Cowboy host shit go?”
“Polite host mask comes off with my other clothes. Coke or Heineken?”
“That’s it? Coke and Hiney?”
“Carbonated French fart water. And a couple of Michelob Lights that might be a year old.”
“Make mine Hiney.”
He left that alone. He returned from the kitchen, tossed the box of cigarillos on the bed between them, handed off her beer, and pulled a lighter out of the nightstand.
“Thanks.” She held on to his lighter hand after she blew the smoke sideways. “I was thinking while you were gone.”
He lit his own cigarillo, remembered why he didn’t like them, waited.
“Thinking I should tell you the rest of the reason for ‘this’.”
“Your call. I don’t have to apologize, you don’t have to explain.”
“I’ve spent the last four years as a cover wife for a gay jock. So back when I walked my stringer gig I could get some career shit off the ground with no man interference. I saw all the content holes I could plug if had a little time, didn’t have to worry about money for a couple of months, and bought a set of serious Hollywood qualifications to fix… A problem. I thought when this move to the warehouse next to Dwight’s is done I might need to let someone in. Someone I could work with. And trust. Navarro told me about your Golden Rule number two. This afternoon has to be that way.”
“Good.” She smashed the cigarillo down in the ashtray and chugged the rest of her beer. “Do you have a clean toothbrush I can use?”
“Depends on whether I can still brush my teeth with it when you’re done.”
“It’s a gift. There’s a new one in the drawer on the right side of the sink.”
“Kind of late to be worrying about germs.” She stuck her feet in her heels that immediately made her five inches taller than he was, walked past him and into the bathroom.
“Is this where I cue ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ and watch you drive down Ocean Boulevard with the top down and your hair blowing around while a little bitty tear lets me down?”
“No.” She wiped her mouth on a hand towel, draped it over his shoulder. “I’m in my production van. And sad, whispery folk songs gag me. Your tear was a nice touch but I know it’s bullshit. ‘Here’ is where we swear a blood oath to take ‘this’ to our graves.” She blew in her cupped hands, checked her breath. “So far you’ve gotten in my shit, told me a clown punching to old Playboys in your dad’s closet story, whined about the healthy crap all the ‘Oh my God if I gain an ounce or get a zit I’ll die’ girls made you eat all week and turned my idea of a quickie to find out who the hell you are into most of an afternoon. You’re a keeper.”
“I didn’t say anything about punching the clown.”
“I have brothers.” She shook out the ponytail again, bent slightly, got chest to chest with him. “You and I ate lunch, found out we have a lot in common that is mutually beneficial professionally, we’re production house neighbors, and we plan on working closely together on a number of projects. Can you repeat that on-demand?” She got two inches from his eyes. “I don’t care if they pull out your fingernails. Lunch. Friends. Period. The end. You fuck anyone else in this circle jerk mess of a softball team Little Miss Calimex Navarro handed you and I’ll be outside the door with a camera and crew. Professionals. Lunch. Friends. Period.”
“This is how good I look leaving. Remember to miss me.” She turned and hit the switch on the thousand-watt smile. “Until Saturday’s game.”