Archive for the ‘Trust Me, The Return’ Category

Trust Me, The Return

November 21, 2010

Have you ever stood at the crossroads?  The consequences of your choice can change your whole future.  I stand at those crossroads now.  The choice is clear.  I don’t give a toss about the consequences.  I want what I want and nothing will stop me.I’ve got my eye on the prize and there she is, ripe for the taking.My day had started out in a rather remarkable way.  My wife wanted some romance before I left for the office which was highly unusual.  It is difficult for me to feel passionate towards Ariane since our children were born.  It seems she never changes out of that bathrobe anymore.  But we managed to reignite our flame.After our encounter, I was feeling especially confident.  I rehearsed my speech I give to clients who are getting the boot.  I was putting ten non-earners out to pasture today–heartbreaking for them but a relief to me.  Stars get old or fall out of fashion and they are no use to me anymore.  How can I book gigs for someone know one cares about?I took a few moments to oversee my daughter’s progress on her homework.  I made it quite clear to Mariposa that waiting until the last minute to finish is unacceptable.  Our discussion is marred by the tempermental shrieks of my son.  “Ariane,” I called to my wife.  “Your child seems to want your attention.”  I know better than to try to help.  Since the day we met at the hospital, Vereen and I have had an unspoken agreement to stay clear of one another.  My son is a carbon-copy of me, and for some reason that I cannot explain, he makes me very unsettled.Driving Mariposa to school, I continue my lecture on responsibility.  My daughter nods a few times but otherwise is silent.  I don’t take the time to worry whether or not she loves me.  I provide for her.  All I ask in return is respect.  And I get it.Another big surprise to my day was that upon arriving at the office, I found my baby sisters hard at work, not kicking back with lattes and gossip.  I employed them right out of high school and it has worked out very well for all of us.  They don’t take my rants and rages personally, and they do exactly what I ask without questioning me.  This morning, Hansu is burning through press releases.
Lyssandra, I have discovered, has an incredible talent as a stylist.  She can spend hours sketching out the ideal looks for our clients, guaranteeing them maximum face time on any red carpet.The day is a long series of phone calls and meetings.  The girls stay late to finish up some business and then finally tell me good night.  They remind me to get home as quickly as I can because Ariane is hosting a birthday party for our half-brother, TiNing.  I force a smile to my face and affirm I will be there but inside, I feel a rage start to brew.  No one consulted me about a party for that dolt.As I am packing my briefcase, I hear the chime that signals someone is entering the front door.  Silently, I curse my baby sisters for not locking the door on their way out.  All kinds of loonies wait for just this kind of moment to enter my office and foist their ‘talent’ on me.  I turn quickly on my heel, ready to chase away whoever has dared to come in uninvited.  I am shocked to see Brandy Lookingglass standing in my foyer.She approaches me tentatively.  Initially, she was wearing a big grin, but as she gets closer to me, it literally slides off her face and she stumbles and falls towards me.  I reach out to steady her and catch a strong whiff of nectar.  Sooooo, the rumours I had been hearing about America’s Sweetheart were true!  But what was she doing here?I have many star clients but no one on the scale of Brandy Lookingglass.  She probably uses her gold records for dinner plates, she has so many of them.  But there had been whispers…her song-writing was drying up…she was spending time with rough trade…she had lost her voice to an uncontrollable urge to drink nectar…so much negativity swirled around her.“Miss Lookingglass…I am absolutely honored to have you here.”  I leaned in and held my breath, the nectar was so strong, it was overpowering. “But I’m a little concerned.  Are you alright?  You don’t seem well.”She staggered towards me with an incredibly sad look on her face.“Mr. Notorious, you’re my last hope,” she slurred, her face melting into an ugly mask of despair.  “I am in trouble and I need help.  I just know you can help me,” she whispered in a thick drawl.Suddenly she collapsed against my chest and began sobbing, deep, racking pitiful sobs.  I was flabbergasted.  I am not a person who enjoys the experience of human touch–with the exception of my wife and even that is not easy for me.  Now here was this random woman enfolded in my arms begging for my assistance.She cried for awhile and I let her, I didn’t know what else to do.Brandy abruptly pulled away from me and raised her hand in the air.  “Can I get a witness?” She shouted wildly.  I shrank back, confused.  “With your help, Mr. Notorious, I am going to get off the nectar and get myself back on stage!”I turned away from her for a moment because my nose was starting to get a familiar twinge…I smelled money and lots of it.  But what did I know about rehabilitating someone?  I knew this much:  if the press could confirm she had a nectar problem, it would destroy what was left of her career.  I couldn’t check her into the Betty Sim clinic.  I would have to take care of the problem myself.“Miss Lookingglass, please come sit down,”  I said, leading her further into my lair.  I sat and patted the sofa across from me and she half-sat, half-fell against it.  For awhile I listened while she rambled on.  It was the nectar speaking and little of what she said made any sense.  But I did gather that her manager had canned her and that is why she decided to come to me.It seemed to require all of Brandy’s strength and will to sit up straight.  She sputtered and stammered on and often I would have to redirect the conversation as she nodded off.But eventually she could no longer sit upright and slowly, slowly, she slid into a sleeping position.  After a couple of more mutterings and sighs, she passed out.I got up and paced the floor, trying to decide what to do next.  But the solution was clear, there was only one place I could take her.I picked Brandy up and found she was surprisingly light.  I imagined if this nectar problem had been going on for awhile, she was probably not eating much.  I wondered just how ill she was.  But I felt I had no choice than to put her in my car and take her home.  I was about to land the biggest Superstar of my career and I needed to handle this situation with utmost caution and delicacy.I managed to wake Brandy up long enough to get her into one of Ariane’s nightgowns.  I led her to the couch in my den and she promptly passed out again.  Then I remembered the party!  Ariane would be outraged to discover this woman so I locked Brandy in, assuming she would just sleep.  I went into the kitchen and discovered my house was full of happy strangers, none of whom I wanted to entertain at the moment.Then I saw him, TiNing, my half-brother.  The simmering rage that I had carried with me throughout the day started to erupt.The interloper stood in my house, in my kitchen in front of a cake bought with my money, soaking up the doting attentions of MY MOTHER.  He was despicable to me mostly because he had the nerve to be born first and to have had all that time alone with her.  To this day, I cannot bear the thought of her dividing her affection between TiNing and me.When the candles were blown out I saw with great pleasure that TiNing was now an old man while I was still young and virile!Ariane waved me over away from the guests.  “Why must you be so hateful towards TiNing?” she asked, reading my mind.”What difference does it make, it looks like he won’t be around much longer,” I smirked.  “I have to tell you something, Ariane.  I’ve…I’ve brought home a client.  She’s in trouble and she is going to be staying here for awhile.”  Ariane rolled her eyes and stormed off back to the party.I should have guessed Ariane would not like my plan.  But it is my house and I have the final say.  I went outside to find my sisters, knowing exaclty where they would be.  “Getting comfortable, you spoiled brats,” I teased.  “Listen, I need to know everything you know about Brandy Lookingglass.”Hansu leaned back with a knowing look on her face.  “I told you that was her,” she said to Lyssandra.  “We saw her sitting outside the office and she was crying and then laughing, back and forth, real crazy.”Lyssandra nodded.  “I’ve read a lot of rumors about her going off the deep end.”“I love her music, though.  She’s got the sweetest voice ever and her songs always break me up,” Lyssandra closed her eyes and began humming a meloncholy tune.Hansu peered up at me.  “Are you going to sign her?”  I shrugged and went back into the house.When I returned to the kitchen I was pleased to see all the party guests had dispersed.  I ate my dinner alone.  My mind wandered back and forth over my good fortune.  Was it good?  Or had this woman come to the end of her usefulness?  Could she be helped?  If anyone could help her, it would be me.  I considered what I had to gain from trying…dollar signs pinwheeled in front of my eyes and I knew I was going to give it a shot.I went into my bedroom and discovered Ariane in her ubiquitous bathrobe.  She was angry.  We argued for awhile, our voices raising in register as the fighting took on a more and more personal tone.  Finally, I told her who the woman was that was sleeping in my den.  Ariane gasped.”Brandy Lookingglass?  She’s you client.”  I nodded…not quite the truth but I believed by tomorrow it would be so.Ariane was impressed but she wasn’t mollified.  Our morning’s passion was now ancient history.  I turned down the bed alone.It was not the first night in my marriage I had slept without my wife.She had put a bed in the nursery and since the birth of Mariposa had spent virtually all her nights sleeping away from me.I had never had trouble sleeping until that night.  What was I going to do about Brandy?  How long would it take to get her back on the straight path and even if I could manage it, would her voice still be strong and vibrant?  I tossed and turned and finally dozed off.  I awoke to a wonderful smell of delicious pancakes and was shocked to find Brandy in the kitchen, sober and cooking!I stood in the hallway, out of sight and watched my normally stone-faced daughter chattering away with much animation.Brandy answered back in her heavy drawl but I could clearly make out what she was saying, in contrast to her slurred speech yesterday.  Surely she couldn’t be rehabilitated this quickly?I got ready to go to work when I heard a loud jangling of blues guitars.  I rushed back to the kitchen and discovered my elderly father had retrieved his battered electric guitar from the back of his closet, and also found an accoustic one for Brandy.  Initially I was angry, I do not like my father to intrude in my life in anyway.  But Brandy looked happy.Ariane was not.”How long is this little arrangement going to go on for?”  She asked me as she got her breakfast.  “I want her in the guest room in the basement, not mingling with my family.”She set her plate at the table and lifted Vereen out of his high chair.  “You have a commiment to this family first and foremost, Sigismund and don’t you forget it.”I was speechless.  It was not like Ariane to talk to me like that but I acquiesced and hustled Brandy downstairs.The acoustics seemed to suit her down there and she could play to her heart’s content without disturbing my wife.  I did not stay at work long that day but returned to see how Brandy was getting along.  She seemed to be angry or in pain and she wailed on her guitar with fury.  I imagined that going cold turkey from nectar was not suiting her well.“Do you have faith in me, Mr. Notorious?” she asked, looking up at me with great sadness.  The song she had just finished had even penetrated my heart of stone, it was so full of emotion.”Do you have faith in yourself?” I asked her.  She bowed her head.“My heart was broken when I was 15 years old and I don’t think it can ever be mended.  I have a terrible secret and it eats away at me everyday.  But I truly believe you can help me,” she cried.”I’m here for you, Miss Lookingglass,”  I said in the most sincerely kind voice I could muster.  I’m here for those millions, I thought.