Month: May 2016

Rescue me (8)

Back to the present, in a home just a few miles from the burnt-out rubble that once was the set of Jared and Felicity’s semi-autobiographical hit television series, and Felicity was dipping her toe inside a freshly drawn bath to test the temperature before sinking in to the decadently deep soaking tub.

A plush bleach white towel, reading glasses and a copy of Hidden Bodies lay next to the tub’s pedestal foot.  Candles flickered on the vanity counter and the soft smell of fresh linen filled the air around her.   Felicity was untying the belt from her plush bathrobe when Jared knocked softly on the door to her bathroom.

“It’s unlocked.” She whispered, her mind already on another planet.  Somewhere peaceful where a loud voice would be completely out of place.

She continued to disrobe as Jared entered the room.  He looked around and let a very slight smile take form on his lips.

“This looks heavenly.” He suggested.

Felicity smiled back.  “It’s exactly what the doctor ordered.” She held out her hand and invited him in to her space.  He took her hand and they fell in to a soft embrace.  Felicity’s bathrobe lay open, her bare belly peeked out between the folds of fabric.

“You look beautiful.” Jared sighed.  He slipped his hands inside Felicity’s robe and massaged her lower back softly before exploring the rest of her body slowly.  Felicity settled her arms high on Jared’s shoulders and leaned in to his touch.  So delicate yet strong.  The perfect pressure. Familiar and well rehearsed.  Her breath caught as he nibbled her neck.  Her bathrobe fell to the floor and soon he was disrobing himself.  He turned Felicity around so she was facing away from him, she knew what was coming next so she planted her hands on the edge of the tub to brace herself as Jared entered her from behind.

At first, he was reserved.  Savoring entering her with long strokes.  Deeply penetrating and body filling strokes.  She leaned in, taking him deep inside her and rocked to his beat. Delighting in the sensations shooting across her body as he pinched her right nipple and steadied his palm at the curve of her lower back.  They made love, at the edge of the bathtub. She came quietly.  Blissfully.

And all it once he changed his pace, hungry for her, ravishing, no time now to luxuriate, it was time to revel. Their skin slapped together and echoed inside the bathroom.  The water in the tub set to ripple.  Jared fucked Felicity like he was saying goodbye. She came once more. Each vigorous stroke erasing what they had built between them. Gone were the years of commitment. All those quiet nights. Vows never spoken.  They weren’t husband and wife. Or parents. They were lovers.  Strangers.  For the moment.  He a hunter, she his prey.  He devoured her.  Spent himself.  Her knees shook.  He spilled his seed.

Then it was over.

“Holy shit.” she exhaled.

That is what the doctor ordered.”  he teased breathlessly.  Still inside her as exhaled wildly.

Felicity swirled her trembling fingertips in the still warm water.
Jared politely backed out of her.

“Wanna take a bath?” she suggested.

“Mhmm.”  he agreed.

They settled in the tub like two spoons neat in a drawer.  The back of Felicity’s head nestled against Jared’s chest.  His lips peppering her wet shoulders.  They talked about nothing of importance, just held each other.  And that togetherness – returning to their bond – is exactly what they needed.

 

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Rescue me (7)

Once their feet hit the ground, the twins fully expected a SWAT team to rappel from the sky and snatch them up, but no one came.  No alarms blared.  Not even a motion light detected their presence. It was no different on the Universal lot after they jumped the fence than it had been before.

After a few moments of stunned silence, they looked at each other and made an instant assessment of their options.  Should we stay and face a potential run in with security, or should we go and face a potential run in with that creepy guy in the hoodie?  It was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that exploring the studio lot was a much more appealing option.  Especially since it seemed like no one would ever even know they were even there.

The girls were familiar with the layout of Universal Studios, having been there a million times over the years Jared’s show has been on the air, but they had to admit it looked like another planet at this hour of night. But they were not deterred or even remotely scared.  They knew each monstrous warehouse held instantly recognizable sets, they’d seen most of them several times before.  They knew about the recreations of city blocks, very detailed mockups of streets in suburbia, the dusty wild wild west set somewhere out there in the dark.  It was exciting to think that they were all alone with the best of Hollywood. Usually they had a nanny or some sort of overlord directing where they could and could not go.  Especially telling them were they could not go.  This time would be different.

The twins finally found something to do.

They started walking around just between the warehouses, quietly, not ballsy enough to do more than that just yet.  What if the guy who runs the cameras was just taking a shit?  They were laying low, though still trespassing.

As they walked deeper and deeper in to the massive lot and time continued to pass and no security made an appearance, they finally loosened up and started talking again.

“Do you know where we are?”  Augusta asked.

“I have no fucking clue.  It’s too dark to read anything on the signs.”

“Use the flashlight on your phone.”

“Fuck no!  They’ll see us!” Gravity warned.

“Who? There’s no one here!”

“Someone has to be somewhere.  We’re not in fucking Idaho. We’re in Los Angeles.”

They were trespassing on hallowed ground.  Passing some of the world’s most famous facades. Silently acknowledging their crime but feeling less and less like criminals as they explored along the same roadways the tram tour takes under the black of night.

Augusta moved a little closer to Gravity and linked her arm around Gravity’s elbow. “This place is really fucking creepy at night.”

“Some of this shit is creepy whether its day or night.  Look…”  Gravity pointed down the hill to what looked like the back of the infamous victorian house that sits on a hill above The Bates Motel.  The girls are too young to know anything about Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho but the t.v. series is creepy enough to make the little hairs on the back of their arms stand up just a little at the very sight of the set.

“I always thought that was like a whole house.  I had no idea it was open in the back like that.”

“Yeah, it’s just like the outside walls.  No insides.”

“Ew.  Maybe we should go over to Daddy’s soundstage?” Augusta suggested.

“Why? We know what all that shit looks like already.”

“I don’t know. Like maybe for a cover story or something. If we get caught we can say we’re allowed to be here because we’re his kids.”

Gravity checked her phone for texts.  “That’s probably the last place we should go.  Are you scared or something?”

“It’s just an idea.”

Gravity and Augusta spent the next hour dutifully recording their escapades with selfies on the steps of the Bates Motel, next to the shark from Jaws, in front of the warehouse that stores the sets for Parks and Recreation …they were basically generating a geotagged chronology of their escapade but that didn’t occur to them at all.  They were just being nosey, not hurting any thing.  Brazen, yes, but not actually bad.  In their eyes at least.  The powers that be at Universal would obviously beg to differ.

Eventually, without planning on it but perhaps subconsciously drifting towards it, they found themselves in front of the door that led to the soundstage for their parents’ television show.  Gravity jiggled the door handle.  Surprisingly it opened.

“You’re shitting me.” Augusta sputtered.

Gravity shut the door quickly but quietly. “Someone must be here.”

“No one is here.  It was pitch fucking black in there.”

“There’s probably something in front of the door to keep the light out.”

“I’m going in.” Augusta said and she whipped the door open and disappeared inside the very dark warehouse.

“You’re a fucking idiot.” Gravity said as she followed.

She was right though.  It sure did seem like no one was home.  They were in the living room set of Jared’s hit tv show when Augusta flipped on the flashlight app on her phone.  She swung the light beam around the space and plopped down on the green couch that’s a staple in every episode since it started airing.  She tried the switch of the lamp on the end table next to the couch and was surprised when it lit up.

“It’s actually a real lamp.” she said.

Gravity switched on a floor lamp that was beside her. “I don’t like it here.”  She lit a cigarette.

The living room set was definitely weird.  All the sets are eerily similar to the rooms in their real home.  There might be a fourth wall missing in every room here but the fireplace is in the same place in their living room as it is in this pretend living room.  The bookshelves in the Dad’s office are the same in their Dad’s office.  Even the kids bedrooms on this show look an awful lot like their own bedrooms.  It was uncomfortable.  And like everything else tonight, pretty creepy.

“Daddy comes here to play with his imaginary fucking family.”  Gravity said as she ashed her cigarette in to the air.  Little embers landed on the couch and burnt very tiny holes in the fabric.

“I wonder if he likes his pretend wife?”

“Probably not.  Since his real fucking wife writes his lines!”

“Right! In that case, I wonder if he even likes his own character?”

The two girls shared a laugh.  Then the darkness returned.

“You really think he doesn’t love her?” Augusta asked softly.

“Who cares?”
“No, I’m serious.  Do you think they’re like going to get a divorce or something?”

“They can’t.  They never got married.”

“You know what I mean.  Do you think they’re going to split up or whatever.”

“Nope.  I think they’re going to stay miserable forever.”

“I can’t tell if you’re serious or not.”

“We should.” Augusta agreed without skipping a beat.

The girls examined one another’s faces looking for a sign that the other was only kidding.  Both of their faces were stone.  They exchanged some unspoken twin to twin code that summarized all of the pain they felt over the years living a life that to anyone and everyone else who ever so much as glanced at one of their instagram posts seemed like a mother fucking daydream.

“It’s not fucking fair.”

“This whole thing is hella wrong.”

Gravity agreed with her sister “Yeah.  It’s like they just stole our fucking lives and like nobody asked me if that was ok. It’s not even really how it is in our house. It’s so fake. No one talks like that.”

“I would have said no.  I’m done putting my life on display for everyone.  Like learn to mind your own fucking business.”

“Lets do it.”

“Do what?”

“Set the place on fire.”

“We can’t. We can’t like just set a fire.  There’s sprinklers and shit.”

“We have to figure out how to shut them off.”

“I need a cigarette.”   Augusta lit her cigarette and looked up to see if the sprinklers were going to kick on as she exhaled.  She snapped a selfie of her smoking at the kitchen table in the pretend kitchen.  She ashed on the floor.  Crushed her butt out on the high gloss table.

“Maybe we should just go.”

“Yeah.  Let’s get out of here.”

 

Rescue Me (6)

Jared quickly dialed his lawyer’s personal cell phone. It was late but he has no concept of time today. Everyone who knows them, understands and expects late night calls from the Letos, given the magnitude of this week. His lawyer, an expert in contractual law not crime, introduced the family to the best criminal defense attorneys money could buy with a track record to back up their insane hourly rate and Jared was quite satisfied with the team.  They were in touch with the girls and working the case from that angle.  This wasn’t a call about them.  This was a personal call.  This was a call about a contract.

“How ya holding up buddy?” Lester Thomas asked as he spoke to Jared from the toilet stall in the men’s bathroom at the back of Poke Bar.  His pants were down around his ankles and his date was probably getting antsy out in the dinning area but this was a call Lester would not miss.

“As expected.  Listen, I have to ask you something personal and it has to be extremely confidential …Are you somewhere you can talk?  Are you in your office?”

“Of course, of course, what’s up?” Lester hit mute on the phone when he heard someone else enter the restroom.

Jared continued after a cough “I need to know what my obligations are here.”

“What’d you say Jared?”

“I want to know if I can walk away from this, legally!” Jared nearly shouted.

“Walk away?”  Lester pulled his pants up with one hand and walked out of the bathroom thru a back exit to a parking lot behind Poke Bar before zipping up completely. “Walk away from what?”

“I need to know what my legal obligations are here.”

“Jared.  These are your kids.  Your two kids.”

“I never married their mother.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“But I wasn’t even in the country that night …”

“You’re not going to be on the hook for restitution. If that’s what you’re worried about.  It’s too much fucking money.  Besides, they have insurance and …”Lester was stumbling over his words, half caused by the shock of Jared’s question and half out of an obligation to say the right thing to a man he thought was just panicking under the pressure. “They can’t take your house.”

“I don’t care about the house!”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I didn’t set the goddamn fire and I don’t want to take the goddamn fall for what those two shits did when I wasn’t even around.  Can I get sued?  Can they sue me, personally?”

“Yes. The families of the injured could go after you civilly I suppose. If that’s what you mean.” Lester said in a matter-of-fact tone.

Jared started to sob.  “It’s all over Lester.  Everything we built.  It’s gone. Everything!”

“People will come around.”

“Yeah right.”

“If they sue you, you settle for some insignificant number.  Or you fight it.  You can fight it. The girls are minors, that’d be the angle but they are old enough to be unsupervised. They were unsupervised a lot with the modeling.  How could you be responsible, you weren’t even in the country!”

“Right.”

“As we talk it out, I’m thinking you’re not entirely obligated …I mean, uh…you have a few loop holes to jump through.  In fact, they might not even think of going after you since Universal will pay the families.  Workers comp…  The girls will get some kind of…some kind of help.  Very public community service. I don’t know what all that would entail but this doesn’t have to be the end of your career.  They’ll come around.  People move on quickly.  You’re just feeling the heat because its new.  It’ll die down.  I promise.”

Jared sighed.

“But Jared” Lester’s tone got heavy.  Took on a serious timbre “…If you leave them…If you abandon your kids and your wife, Felicity, now…you wont come back from this.  Your only salvation is to go through this shit publicly with your heads bowed and forgiveness as your fucking mantra.  Go on every talk show and talk about teen angst and fucking forgiveness. Don’t run dude.  Don’t.”

“Ok. Ok. Ok.”

“You did the right thing by calling me.  Next time you’re feeling like this, pick up the goddamn phone before you do something stupid.”

“Ok.”

“Where are you now?  Are you home?”

“Home.”

“Good.  Stay there.  We’ll draft a statement.  A statement for the press.  To ease up the mess in front of your house.  That’ll buy you a day or two.  Maybe.”

“Ok.”

“Buckle up Jared.  This isn’t going to be easy but you will get through it.  You will.”

“Thanks.”

 

Lester walked back in to Poke Bar and began drafting statements in his head.  There was absolutely nothing he could think of that could properly extend the right level of grief for the victims while maintaining a very safe distance from accepting any type of culpability for their loss or hospitalization.  Lester found himself, a lawyer with a career spanning 26 years, at a total and complete loss for words.

Rescue me (5)

“Text someone!”

“I did.  No one is awake”

“Well then how the fuck are we gonna get home?”

“I don’t know!  You act like this was my idea.”

“Well it wasn’t mine!”

“If it wasn’t your idea, then why are we out here?  You’re the one all pissed at Daddy.  Not me.”
“Don’t call him that.”

Gravity rolled her eyes “Oh, I’m sooo sorry I meant to say sperm donor.”

“Shut up.  You know he’s a shit father.”
“He wasn’t always.” Gravity said softly.

“Well he is now!” Augusta said “And he has been for years.”

“It’s only because he hates Mom.  He doesn’t hate us.”

“He has a shit way of showing that.”

“He’s probably not even home this week.”

“He’s home.  They’re filming the show.  I looked at his calendar.”

“Ok then, if we’re not going home, where are we going to stay tonight?”

“I don’t know.”

The two girls were roaming around town way past curfew.  At the time of night when even the tattoo parlors are closed.  Their friends had all gone home many hours ago and now no one was answering their texts.  Gravity and Augusta were hoping someone would respond and let them sneak in to their parents’ guest house.  But it was too late at night.  They should have figured this out much earlier in the night. Even Hollywood was quiet.

Augusta and Gravity walked slowly past the Nissan dealership on Cahuenga beneath the tourist entrance for Universal Studios.  They were looking for something to occupy their time until sunrise.  Anything to do but go home.  Walking around aimlessly was all they came up with so far.

“Do you have any more cigarettes?” Augusta asked Gravity.

“No.” she confessed.

The girls wandered onward to an ARCO station.  Finally on a mission.  Copping cigarettes at the AM/PM.  They’re underage but that never matters to the non english speaking/half drunk/half human mess operating the register.  With bullet proof glass between them they ask for their brand of choice.  He grunts at them.  Hardly even awake when their debit card is approved for the purchase and he slips two soft packs of Newport 100s through the safety drawer between them without so much as a nod in their direction.

They walked back across the pass to the edge of Universal’s property while they talked about people in their class. Everyone is an asshole or a liar or cheating on their boyfriend.  No one is good in the eyes of the Leto-twins.  Everyone has an ulterior motive and a bad backstory.  No one is good.  No one.  The conversation does nothing to help their mood.

As they were walking they noticed they were no longer alone.  On the other side of the blvd was a man dressed all in black keeping pace with them.  Without saying a word, Gravity pulled Augusta down a foliage rich pathway and they crept along behind the brush, up against a fence for safety.  The fence abutted the Universal Studio’s back lot.  Gravity nervously flicked her lighter on and off.

“He’s gonna fucking see us!” Augusta exclaimed.

It was that moment, and only because of that man that Gravity and Augusta did the unthinkable and hopped over the security fence that lined the backlot of Universal Studios.

 

Rescue me (4)

Rescue Me

Rescue Me (2)

Rescue Me (3)

“What we’ve got here is a cry for help….” CNN.

“Their actions are indicative of an entire generation living without a moral code.  Coddled children…” MSNBC

“It’s an embodiment of society’s cultural decay.” FoxNews.

“Sometimes kids are just bad.” Dr. Eileen Hartnett, Today Show 

Jared switched the television off, tossed the remote on the sofa and sighed loudly.

“How about all of the fucking above?”

Laying across his desk were newspapers from around the world with headlines similar in nature to what the talking heads on the 24 hour news stations were saying.  Pictures of the charred studio lot and aerial videos of smoldering rubble accompanied the chatter about Gravity and Augusta Leto’s alleged crime.  It was sensational and likely going to be the biggest story of the decade.  Two rich kids, twins, with household names.  Faces that America loved.  Criminals.  $130 million in property damages.  One dead.  4 critically wounded. He still couldn’t fucking believe this was their life now.

Jared hadn’t been to the jail to see his girls yet.  On the advice of their legal team, the girls were remaining behind bars for the time being, at least until the dust settled a bit.  He didn’t like the idea of them being inside a lock up but he agreed it was probably the safest place for them right now.  He had faith in the lawyers and their advice even if it meant he wouldn’t see the twins for a while.  There is no way in hell he could bring himself to visit them behind bars.  He didn’t think he could handle it on top of everything else.  On the other hand, Felicity had been down to see them everyday.  There are some things a Mother can do that a Father cannot.  Visiting their twin daughters in jail is one of those things.  Jared didn’t beat himself up over it too much.  As long as Felicity went, they would know they were loved.

“Well, the good news is, there is absolutely no video after they jumped the fence.  None.  And we know they weren’t carrying anything with them when they jumped the fence.  So where did they supposedly get the gasoline?”  Felicity was talking in to her telephone, debating the merits of the case with someone when Jared peeked in her office.  Her back was to the door, she had no idea he stood there.  He listened for a moment more before turning away.

“Yes, but, they can’t prove that.”

Jared laced up his old black hiking sneaks and slipped out the back door of his house.  Their lot backed up quite nicely to a private drive that dipped in to a few lesser known canyon trails.  He figured the paps wouldn’t have come that far down the private drive and thusly he could sneak away unnoticed. Jared needed to work off some of his angst and a hike is the best form of anger management he could come up with given the limitations of his situation.  It sounded like, from Felicity’s phone call, the evidence might be weak against the girls, this knowledge propelled Jared forward on a nice long hike.

He got pretty far into a rocky trail before his phone started ringing.  With sweat beading on his forehead and the sun shining down on his shoulders he paused for a moment and checked the phone’s caller ID.  It was Shannon.  He hesitated, then sent the call to voicemail.  He couldn’t answer the call and lose his sense of peace.  He needed the salve the solitude of nature could provide for his wounds.  Another voice in his head would ruin the zen for sure.  He promised the air he’d call his brother back sometime later that evening and he kept on hiking. Up rockier terrain and through thicker underbrush.  He didn’t know where this barely traveled trail was leading him but it felt good beneath his feet.

When Jared got home later that night, calling Shannon back was the last thing on his mind. Showing on the big screen t.v., that hung high on a wall in the great room, was a salacious crime talk show hosted by Nancy Grace.  Felicity was standing in front of the t.v. in stunned silence.  Nancy Grace wasn’t running the same stock footage all the other news outlets were running, she was running CCTV footage of Jared’s girls pouring some liquid all over a set that was painfully familiar to Jared.  The set of his hit series written by none other than his wife Felicity.

“Where were the parents?” Nancy Grace was screaming.

Felicity started to moan.  The attack wasn’t fair and was definitely below the belt.  Felicity fell to her knees.  “There goes our careers.” she cried when she saw Jared standing behind her.

“Shit.” Jared mumbled.

Bookshop

They met in an almost theatrical way.  A comedy. Slapstick. Jared asked Mia’s permission to climb past her in an overstuffed aisle somewhere deep within the glorious shitfest that is the Cobble Hill Community Bookshop. She agreed. Thus engaging in a humorous exchange of positions within an aisle not wide enough for one, definitely not two, grown human beings.

He apologized as he positioned one leg beyond her right foot and balanced himself carefully with his hands on shelves above her head. She smiled up at him, watching him navigate the minuscule space between them with an attempt at politeness.  A nearly impossible task given that this elfin stranger found herself underneath him with his hands on either side of her body.

She scooted as close as she could to the dusty shelving without being consumed by a pile of books, but it wasn’t much use.  His entire body pressed up against her and their souls did the two-step as a stack of paperbacks shifted beneath their weight.

“I’m so sorry.” he whispered once he was to her other side.

“It’s ok.” she whispered back. Her cheeks were hot pink and her eyelids were fluttering fast.  She put her hand over her face and let out a giant sneeze.  Several books tumbled to the ground and her thick black glasses slipped down her nose.  She steadied herself and the skin on her neck flushed as well.

“Jesus Christ!” Jared exclaimed.

They both giggled at the absurdity of their encounter and the enormity of her full-bodied sneeze.

“Are you ok?” he laughed.

“Yeah.”

They stood frozen for a moment.  How do you return to your life after such a bizarre encounter?

“I’m…Jared.” he held out his hand.

“Oh! Um. Mia. I’m Mia.” she said as she jostled her books from the crook of her right arm to her left.  Her small hand jutted out and clasped Jareds.  Her hand was soft.  His was warm.

With proper formalities behind them they both picked at their fingernails and looked back to the books that fully engulfed the exceptionally small but very well packed book store.

Community Bookshop is deep within historic Cobble Hill, an enclave in Brooklyn where the shops aren’t like every other shop in The States. No hint of strip mall chic.  A gem of a place where Mom and Pop’s still thrive. Barnes and his pal Nobel could never compare themselves to a place like Community.  Los Angeles wouldn’t tolerate the mess. And that is exactly the reason this Oscar winner finds himself in the stacks flirting with a girl who sneezes like a trucker.  Amid some seriously disorganized and dusty chaos.  A germaphobe’s worst nightmare.  A bibliophile’s dream.

He’s looking for that something he can never find.  The elusive ‘something’ his life is painfully lacking.  It’s probably not here inside this damp shop, but it’s worth a look anyway.  This girl, Mia, is worth a flirt that’s for sure.

“Where do you even begin?” he asked.

“What do you like to read?”

“Everything.”

Mia smiled.  Such a non-answer.  From anyone else she might have rolled her eyes but she knew a little about Jared’s appetite for knowledge.  He’s not a stupid man.

“I started at the bottom because of that bright yellow book with the skeleton on the spine…” she said “Turns out its an anatomy text book from the 1970s.  I suppose its still accurate.  I mean, the human body is the human body, right?”  she caught herself blushing, but she continued talking anyway “Well…um…there’s nothing at all even remotely interesting in the three shelves above that.  Mostly just … well nothing I’d like.  But just above that I found this wrinkly copy of The Vampyre Witch.”  She held up her treasure like a kid at FAO. “You have to dig, but I bet you’ll find something you like. There’s an awful lot here.” He held out his hand, curious about the back cover of the book Mia was holding and she dropped the dusty paperback in his palm.  “Might be campy – but sometimes those are the best rainy day books.” she offered.

He read the back cover.  Campy is one word for it.  He handed the paperback back to Mia and let his eyes scan the shelves in front of them.  He rested his wrist on a shelf then ran his pointer finger down the spine of a hard back.

“What do you think The Greek Goat is about?” he snickered.

“No clue. A myth maybe?” she suggested then under her breath “Yogurt?”

They went their separate ways in the shop.  Her reusable bag growing heavier with each gem she unearthed.  His arms empty since nothing appealed to him outright.  He suspected she might be more of a hoarder than a reader.  And she thought nothing about him.

She was collecting, he’s right about that.  But she also had the intention of devouring each of the books in her bag cover to cover.  She fell in love with every book she picked up tonight. It was too hard to dial back when the books were so plentiful (and cheap!).  Mia has a habit of buying too many books when she already has too many books to read sitting on the end table beside her bed, and on her dresser, and the kitchen table, and next to the TV.  But nothing is more therapeutic for Mia than new books, even if they’re old and yellow.  Even if she has 20 in waiting.

“Do you know of any other book stores in the area?” Jared asked Mia when he approached her again, empty handed.

“Not like this one.  No.”

“Something more organized.  Maybe?”

“Why don’t you try Bergen Street Comics?”  Mia slipped her glasses off her face and tucked them into the curly web of brown hair she wore wild atop her head.  Jared took her in.  She’s smaller than him, with dark eyes and wild hair.  Her lips are tinted pink but it didn’t look like she was wearing any other makeup.  Not entirely plain but not entirely beautiful either.  She looked exactly like the type of girl you’d expect to find in a used bookstore on a rainy Tuesday.  Polka dotted blue clogs and all.

“I’m going to have a fucking asthma attack in here.”

“It can be overwhelming sometimes.  Especially when it rains.”  Mia said. Jared nodded his head.  “I think the ceiling leaks.” she offered as an excuse.

Jared reached past Mia to a book that sat on top of a pile of books behind her.  She didn’t catch the title but she had a feeling he didn’t either.

“This will have to do.”  he said and he made his way to the register with Mia walking quietly behind.  Her recycled bag filled with copy.  She noticed he hadn’t laced his black boots.

“Three dollars.” the clerk behind the dusty register exclaimed.

Jared pulled a crumpled five from the pocket of his coat and paid.  While he waited for his change he slipped a free bookmark into his pocket.  Mia shifted the bag on her shoulder to the other side.  Then approached the register when it was her time to be checked out.

When Jared opened the door to leave, several bells on the door knob jingled.  He looked back at Mia who was engrossed in a conversation with the clerk about her finds.  She was animated and the clerk was too.  Jared felt a twinge of jealousy as he walked away holding the book above his head to shield his face from the rain.