Month: March 2015

Rescue Me (3)

The scene at the airport as Jared rushed to a waiting Suburban was something out of a Michael Jackson biopic.  Pure insanity.  Hoards of people running. Screaming.  Pushing.  Shoving.  Shutters fluttering. Flashbulbs blinding. Microphones at his mouth. Shoulder-mounted cameras in his face. Intrusive questioning in both ears.

Shouting.  Chaos.  Death by flash.

Jared tried his best to ignore the calamity he found himself within.  He put his phone to his ear pretending to speak to someone far more important that any member of this crowd. If it were a real call, he wouldn’t be able to hear a thing. Pure chaos. He was thankful for his props: sunglasses and a black fedora. He could hide beneath them for the short walk to the waiting car.  He kept character.

Look distracted. Disinterested. Unpreturbed.

Behind a tinted window Jared exhaled then said hello to his driver.

“Wow man.”  the driver sighed as he tried to pull away from the crowd and in to oncoming traffic.  A swarm of bodies surrounded the car as they crept forward. It was tempting to run them over.  Subhumans. Eventually the throng gave way to the giant automobile.

Jared just looked at the floor.  He wasn’t sure how tinted the windows were and he wasn’t about to give another free photo-op so he kept the hat and sunglasses on inside the car.  And said nothing more.

He rang up Felicity and the driver, without prompting, respectfully put up the partition glass between he and Jared.  He knew the headlines just like the rest of America and didn’t feel right about listening in on the private conversation of a family in crisis.  Jared made a mental note to tip big.

“I’ve landed.” Jared said when Felicity came on the line.

“Oh thank god.” she sighed. “How bad was it?”

Jared sighed. They’ll be doing a lot of that in the coming weeks.

“Fucking ridiculous.”

Jared explained to Felicity the extent of the madness. How the paps and legit news outlets were falling all over themselves for a soundbite and a loose lip. Lobbing questions at him that no one in their right mind would ever answer about their children.  Enraging comments from lookie-loos.  Judgements and castigations.

No stranger to swarms of people, he was quick to describe the difference in the two.  This felt like bloodletting not a homecoming.  The energy the polar opposite of what he is used to. Pande-fucking-monium.

Felicity sighed down the phone line.

“Is there anything I have to know right now…like right now? Or can the rest wait until I’m there with you?” Jared asked.

“The bond is 2.5 million.”

“Fuck me.”

“Each.”

Felicity apologized for everything, not that she was guilty of anything, but that she was legitimately sorry for the pain he was coming home to and Jared promised it would be ok, that he loved her dearly (the girls too) and he’d be home soon and when he got there, they’d talk more.

“I love you.” Felicity said one more time before hanging up.

“I love you too.”

Outside the gates that ran along the front of their property and protected their handsome home stood the second string.  Reporters at rest but there none-the-less.  She glanced at the security camera feeds up on the television screen in the kitchen.  He’d be in the mix again in less than an hour.  She felt overwhelming sadness envelop her as she thought about Jared’s homecoming. She wondered if there were anything she could do or say that would make him happy to be home.  Anything at all.  Not likely.  Who the hell wants to leave the open sea for a cloudy fishbowl?  Nobody.  And now, here again, under the worst of circumstances, she expected (needed) him to do just that. He had to come back to port. Felicity still couldn’t understand how he dealt with paparazzi under the best of circumstances.  It must be such a mind-fuck.  And here he is …

Instead of putting on lipstick, filing a vase with fresh flowers or fixing his favorite meal, Felicity started the coffee maker and set out to organize everything that was known thus far about the fire.  Jared wouldn’t want comfort when he walked through their front door, he’d want data.  This would be his welcome home.  Data.

She took a few moments gathering scraps of paper from all over the house, scraps that held the notes she made during the multitude of phone calls she received from law enforcement and her lawyers over the last 24 hours and sat down at her desk and scribbled out a timeline.  She wanted to put some sort of framework to what is known and prepare themselves, the family, for the unknown.  She wanted the holes in the story to leap off the page. She knew there’d be holes.  There’d be a lot of them.

Jared will, undoubtedly, have a thousand questions for Felicity about what has been happening in meetings and on the phone and she wants to be able to answer everything with as much fact and detail as he requires. If she can regurgitate what he wants to know timely and succinctly, that will please him. And she wants to do right by him the best she can, of course.  Facts, not feelings, are what he’ll be most interested in.  Of course he cares about the rest, they just don’t have time to dwell on that.  There’s no time for wallowing.  It’s time for strategy and to sketch battle plans if they are going to war.

Felicity rereads the paperwork.  On a fresh legal pad she scribbles out new notes.  Through conversations with investigators and the lawyers for the girls, she has a pretty good idea of what they think happened December 19th.  On a second page Felicity cross-references the girls’ calendar the day of the fire. Appearances.  School.  Work. She goes back weeks – leaving very few gaps in the timeline.  But there are gaps.  Gaping ones. She sighs. There’s much work to be done on the timeline. Too much time still to be accounted for.

Felicity puts that aside and gathers names and contact information on another paper. She organizes the paperwork from the arraignments and the requirement for bonds.  She punches three holes in the retainer agreement and xerox copy of the canceled check and countless other documents and slides them in to the binder rings for safe keeping.  Some semblance of organization emerges as she sorts through her notes, re-recording whats important on a new sheet of paper.  Thinning out.  Straightening up.  Highlighting what they know and what’s still a mystery.

Much of it is still a mystery.

Less than an hour later, Felicity hears the groan of the front gate and a car pull in front of the house.  She peeks out the window of her study and sees Jared helping his driver remove his bags from the trunk.  Two suitcases and a laundry bag.  She steps away from the window and sweeps the paperwork she hasn’t reviewed back into a file folder.

It’s thick, she thought, and we have only just begun.

“Where are you??” Jared called up the stairs a few minutes later.

“In here!” Felicity shouted back before scooting to meet him halfway in the hallway. They embraced and Jared peppered her lips with small kisses.

“I’m so glad you’re home.” Felicity says.

“I’ve missed you.”

“Me too.”

They backed out of their hug but Jared held on to her hand and gazed around the upstairs landing like a lost puppy. What to do first? Well, what to do next? He didn’t want to stop touching Felicity.  He missed her touch, like crazy.

“I need to clean up.” he confessed.  Felicity smiled. He looked quite handsome and fresh to her.  She couldn’t believe how much better she felt just having him in the same room.  They walked together towards the master bedroom chatting about nothing.

How was the drive over?
Non-eventful.

You get anything to eat?
No. Not yet.

You hungry? I could make you something.
No. Not really.  Thanks though…

Are you ready to talk about what happened?
-Silence.

Then:  I missed you.
Me too.

Jared invited Felicity to join him in the shower.  And of course, she did.  They got reacquainted like lovers must do after being apart for so long.  They washed away their loneliness and bonded in a physical and mental sense beneath the warm water.  This was long overdue and much needed.  More important than anything that awaited them in the study or down at the jail.

After the shower they dressed in casual clothes and Felicity brought the lawyer’s file in to Jared’s study where they dissected every word Felicity has heard in the last 48 hours and every line of written word from the lawyer as well.  Dissected and digested until Jared said:

Jesus Christ Felicity, it sounds like they actually did it.

Felicity’s stomach churned and she couldn’t believe her own mouth when the words tumbled out:

I think you’re right.

 

 

 

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Rescue Me (2)

Gravity and Augusta Leto came in to this world on a headline. More than the latest production of two Hollywood stars, they were stars themselves.  No coattails for these kids.

Born in the spotlight. Quite literally.

A spotlight that hasn’t dimmed for a moment of the sixteen years they’ve spent on this earth. They’re infamous and spoilt.  And it’s not entirely their fault (or their parents).  They are Hollywood’s miracle babies with a story that never gets stale.

Who could really blame anyone really for how it all began?  Innocent enough. Felicity was 31 weeks into an uncomplicated pregnancy, presenting a lifetime achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild gala, when her water broke violently in front of 2.7 million viewers and all of Hollywood’s elite.  It was an instant headline.  The talk of the town.  A premature birth on National T.V.  24 hour news and two beautiful, yet fragile, pink bundles of joy to root for.  Those who didn’t watch the birth live, read about it the next day.  Watched the recap on the Today show.  Found out all about it at the water cooler.  A feel good, happy and hopeful story in a post 9/11 world.

Felicity and Jared were touched by the outpouring of love.  The gifts.  The well wishes.  The generosity of a nation transfixed by the twin’s birth story and now invested in their future.  They gave regular updates to the press. And the nation hung on every detail.  Riding a roller coaster of ups and downs with the young couple for months until the twins were stable.

People magazine paid handsomely for exclusive access that yielded a four page cover story that included such tacky pictures as Jared with his hands on Felicity’s deflated womb as they stood next to not one but two empty pink cribs. A closet bursting with purple and pink and ivory dresses that wouldn’t fit the girls for years.  Handmade gifts from all around the world stacked in the nursery for the photographs.  Heavily stage and tacky photographs with a sensational headline and story beside it.  It made Felicity uncomfortable and Jared felt put out.  But it was obligatory and necessary given how much everyone out there lifted them up in the beginning of the ordeal.

Telling one story would save them from telling fifty more, so they thought.

Oprah had the exclusive when the girls came home. A promise of authenticity this time around and an exclusive peek at how normal everyone was.  A vain attempt at saying goodbye to the spotlight.  You can go back to your lives now. Look at how normal we are! It only endeared them more.

As a result of that special, the world fell in love with Felicity and Jared just as much as their offspring.  Their own careers were enhanced.  The ball kept on rolling forward.

So, as thanks for the blessings or to assuage the demand (it varied year to year) the girls’ milestones and firsts were immortalized in countless magazines and one-off specials (reality tv precursor programing). Their First Birthday: viewed by nine million people. Second birthday just as well received and over the top. A big top – as in a circus.  Complete with elephant.  It never ended.

Without written permission, the children became a commodity. Cooing, crawling, giggling, toddling, tricycle riding, milk drinking marketing machines.  Little models.  Little actresses.  Little divas with PR reps, lawyers, agents. Ribbon cutting. Trend setting. Stars.

There was no reining any of it in, unfortunately.  The train left the station and the nation was all aboard.  And only in retrospect are the hard lessons learned.

Felicity and Jared tried their damnedest to keep the girls grounded. They really did.  They set limits and a fine example for the girls. They always made them clean up after themselves, even with a capable staff ready to do it for them. They had to do their homework before they could watch t.v. They said yes ma’am and no sir.  Please and thank you.  They had to succeed at being normal before Felicity and Jared would let them access the excess.  And it worked, for a little while, to a degree.  They were proper children even as their egos were becoming a problem.  They were angels in the spotlight and they learned the art of manipulation early.  Clever and crafty and eventually shady and slick.

Angels until boarding school.  Where outside the bubble they came to fully grasp who they were, what their story meant to the rest of the country and most detrimental: they came to understand that they had a “net worth” and what that “net worth” meant in the grand scheme of things.  They became aware, as other children dreamed of the future careers and college, that they would never have to work a day in either of their lives. Moreover, that they would make more money in one calendar year off interest alone than their teachers would make in a lifetime – two lifetimes. Their net worth had exceed their entrepreneurial and wisely vested parents nest egg before the twins were age eight. And now they knew that.  They could buy and sell the moon.  And there was no shortage of adults circling them like flies ready to help them spend spend spend.

With that knowledge and the power that came with, the tables tipped. Personalities changed and no one was in control of what happened next.  Not even the girls.

Rescue Me

Gravity and Augusta Leto, twin daughters of two-time Academy Award Winner Jared Leto and his long-time companion, screenwriter Felicity Simon, were arrested in Hollywood on Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated arson.

The December 19th fire at Universal Studios, which investigators believe was intentionally set, resulted in one death and over $130 million in damages. Fire investigators say that evidence gathered at the scene suggests the inferno likely started on the famous Psycho movie set, built in 1960, and spread rapidly across the studio backlot due to exceptionally windy conditions.  One person died and four were critically injured in the blaze.

The Leto twins were taken in to custody without incident and booked at Central Juvenile Hall on Eastlake awaiting bond.  Jared Leto could not be reached for comment, however, Felicity Simon told our source “They couldn’t have done it. No way.” before a meeting at her lawyers’ offices.

Felicity closed her macbook, tossed her reading glasses on the kitchen counter, rested her forehead on the chilled marble and willed herself to cry.  A cry that was long overdue after a day spent projecting a brave face to the world as she went through the very public tasks one must complete when your child, rather your children, are arrested for a crime of this magnitude in a town this small.  However, sadly, Felicity’s tears eluded her.

She didn’t want to do it but Felicity had to be honest with herself, and only herself, right here and now during what will likely be the only private moment she’ll have in the next few days, weeks, months … however long it takes for this nightmare to run its course. If she couldn’t cry over it, she had to admit it. Accept it. She had to say it out loud:  The girls might actually be guilty.

It wasn’t very hard to do, if she’s being honest, to let her mind go there. It is what it is and there is a possibility. A capability present. The twins are no angels.  No strangers to community service and TMZ headlines.  This isn’t something they “couldn’t have done.”  They very well could have and probably did.  And there’s no way to get around that truth.

Felicity shook the shame away as it bubbled up inside her.  She didn’t make the girls this way.  She isn’t the one to shoulder the blame.  Not all by herself thats for sure.  This was a community effort.

It took a village to light the match that burnt down Universal.  And every single person in this town knows how long that fire has been smoldering.  Every one in this town is as guilty as her girls.  And Felicity would make sure no one forgot that.  She warned everyone, but no one ever listened. They never backed off.  They didn’t let them grow up. And now look what has happened.

The only thing surprising about all of this to Felicity is how long it took for the girls to hit rock bottom.  She’s been watching the inevitable crumble for years now.  And she was at a loss to do anything about it.  Until today.  She’ll take her family back now, you’ve done enough damage America.

Identical twin ticking time bombs: Gravity and Augusta Leto.

What a shame.