Here is a draft excerpt from the next chapter of Mrs. Everett, my Transmedia story. In this scene, Prue is hiding out at the Hotel Roosevelt, soaking up her new found freedom and trying not to think of the husband she has just abruptly left.
From the Chapter, Mrs. Everett Goes to Hollywood
If she stayed out long enough, she thought to herself, maybe the sun would bleach away her memory. Little black dots appeared in her vision and she wondered if her eyeballs were in fact sunburned. Sweat trickled down her back and her sunglasses slid slowly over and over down her nose. Was Los Angeles always this hot in October?
She rolled over, burying her face in the soft white towel and adjusted the bottom of her bathing suit. The corner of the magazine she was reading pressed into her cheek and her mouth still tasted of the salty guacamole chips she’d eaten at the bar, aptly called the Tropicana. She felt the sun burning its way down her back, marking her white skin with tiny, yet to be seen scars and she sat up, hating the idea of dark moles spotting her future skin. She may be in her 40’s but she’d kept relatively sun spot free and she intended to stay that way. Fumbling for her glasses, she got her bearings and peered around her.
There were many more bodies now in white loungers around the pool. How long had she been asleep? She scratched at her roots which always got itchy when she needed her hair dyed and she absently made a note to talk to the concierge about getting someone in to do her hair. Later. For now she was okay with just the basics: two towels, a lounger booked for the week, cocktails from the Tropicana bar.
Suddenly a hairy arm was below her offering her some kind of tall, effeminate cocktail that anywhere else would look cliché and desperate.
“You look thirsty” came a voice from beside her and she looked up into equally dark glasses as hers, a wide mouth with smooth lips and self-conscious beard trimmed to the requisite 3 day I-want-to-be Brad-Pitt scruffy length.
She felt immediately angry. She wanted, needed, to be alone. This is the exact thing that never happens to you when you are in a long marriage she realized, where she’d been cloistered like a nun, in her quiet nunnery-home. She’d not been hit on in a decade. Certainly never by her own husband.
She smiled politely and offered what she hoped had a ring of finality about it, “If I am thirsty, I will quench it myself. Thank you.” She lay back down on the lounger and just to solidify her desire to be alone, she turned over and buried her face in the damp pool towel.
“You’ll get burned with all that white skin” the man offered, still hoping she might be open to conversation.
She ignored him and he stood for a few more brief moments then set the drink down gently beside her lounger on the pool deck. She opened her eye an imperceptible amount only to see him squatting down, his white shorts–what did they say, Liverpool or some such nonsense on them?–stretched tightly across his groin. Oh dear heavens. Well, I suppose it’s to be expected she chastised herself. You are at a pool in a hipster hotel in the middle of LA Prue.
Wait. That was not her voice. It was her husband’s.
“Wait” she said to his departing back. “I’m sorry, I’m…I’m just married.”
“So?” he replied, smiling broadly, his teeth so white and gleaming they looked like a package of Chiclets.
“Thank you” she offered somewhat sheepishly, picking the drink up gingerly and drinking from the straw, her neck craned at a torturous angle.
“You know, it’s easier to sip that sitting up. Just saying.” He came and sat down at the edge of her lounger and she did sit up then, bolt upright, pulling her feet back and tucking them under her.
She looked at him, the dots clearing from her eyes, and she noticed he was young, without a wrinkle or gray hair anywhere on his well-formed shoulders that weren’t shaped in a gym but rather by the water. Perhaps he was a surfer.
“I don’t really want company, I’m sorry to be rude, but I’m…” she stammered, unable to think of a reason why.
“That’s cool, I understand, totally. It’s nice to slip off somewhere in the sunshine, you know, into our imaginations. There’s nothing like the Hollywood sunshine to let you escape.”
She coughed and laughed out loud. “Hollywood sunshine? Versus say San Francisco sunshine?”
“You’ll know what I mean once you stay here for a while longer. You’re around right, here at the Roosevelt?” he asked her, leaning in just enough to make her uncomfortable.
“I don’t know. I have no idea and I wouldn’t certainly be sharing my itinerary with a perfect stranger so if you don’t mind…” She felt herself getting annoyed again. Please just leave me alone is what she wanted to say. She didn’t know how to navigate herself in this world. She could feel him looking at her like she was an unbalanced, overly paranoid person. Oh, fine, she thought to herself, then that’s what I am. But I don’t need some strange man telling me anything I don’t need to hear. I have a well-known man telling me things I don’t want to hear all the time.
He stood up and put his hands out in a gesture of compliance. “Hey, it’s chill, I’m not a stalker okay? You just seem…really interesting. You struck me. That’s all. Have a great afternoon. Don’t get burnt.” He stood and walked away, his shoulder blades sliding up and down his back in perfect symmetry and his swimmer’s legs softly padding along the edge of the pool towards the Tropicana.
Prue stared at him for a long minute then turned into her towel once again. She smiled to herself. He can’t be over 30. What would Edward think? With that happy thought, she slipped back into a doze, the taste of vodka, lemon and something else she couldn’t name on her tongue.