Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chapter 1 - At First Glance



 10 YEARS LATER

I find myself staring without a clue at all of the contents in my closet yet again. Sadly, most of the items still have the price tags on them which is quick to remind me that I am a compulsive shopaholic. It's not exactly one of my most favorable traits. Shopping for me is my "creative outlet." There is something about colors and textures and matching shoes to a nice top and pair of pants. Ok, so maybe that is just my excuse.

Attempting to decide on what to wear is usually one of the hardest decisions that I have to make on a daily basis. The amount of thought and stress that goes into it is just unreal. Call me crazy, most people do.  Of course my job requires that I make the tough decisions such as vendors, floral arrangements, color schemes and my all time favorite, the cocktail hour menu. However, work decisions are quite easy for me, second nature even.  Everyone always told me that I had a gift for planning parties. It came as no surprise to my friends and family when I decided to trade small town Texas life for the lights and glamour of Los Angeles. I had been given an amazing opportunity to work as an elite wedding coordinator for J. Ellis Events. One would be considered crazy to pass up that kind of opportunity.

I like to exert a lot of time and effort into picking out the perfect outfit. There are many qualities that I look for in each item of clothing that I choose. They are the same qualities that I look for in a man. The piece (and man) must be charming, witty, have a good sense of humor, always maker sure I am happy and it must be strong yet sensitive.

My eyes quickly focused on something purple in the very back of my closet. I reached in and pulled out a strapless knee length dress. It had an empire cut bodice with a sweetheart neckline. Rhinestones flowed down the skirt that made it sparkle but not too much.  It had been months since I had bought it and not surprisingly, it still had the price tag attached.

When I saw the dress on display at Marx, I knew that it just had to take up real estate in my closet. It fit all of my relationship qualifications plus some. We had a bonding moment there in that dressing room. When I put it on, it was like Heaven's light had shown down on me. We were definitely a match made in Heaven.

Even the price tag couldn't be more perfect, especially once I realized it was on sale. I knew it was mine and I couldn't seem to get the dress off fast enough and get it to the register. I was afraid I was having a shopping nightmare and I would be waking up at any minute. I must have looked like a crazy woman but I quickly whipped out my ever so trustworthy American Express, signed the receipt and ran out the door before someone told me that the dress wasn't really for sale. I must have thrown it into my closet and over time, it ended up getting squeezed between my other purchases.

My final decision was the purple dress however finding shoes could prove a disaster. Once you find the perfect outfit, you must compliment it with the perfect shoes and jewelry other wise you have to start right back at the beginning. I dug through hundreds of shoes and I must have been digging for an eternity before I found them, my Henry Gaultier silver pumps.

I ended up matching the outfit with my favorite silver jewelry that I picked up from the Gootchie Boutique. I may or may not have chosen the silver heart pendant for the sole purpose of drawing attention to my cleavage. I took one last look in the mirror and checked my watch. I, Rylee Madison, was late once again.

As I rushed around my ocean front condo, I remembered to grab "the Brain." "The Brain" is my personal assistant and best friend. It listens to me anything I need a shoulder and laughs with me, not at me. It knows my tears and fears and my most intimate and private secrets. "The Brain" is my trustworthy Blackberry. I don't know how I have ever managed to live without this precious device. I think it should be a law that everyone has one. My life would be nothing but chaotic without it. Tonight, "the Brain" had a mission. Its sole purpose was to collect any and all phone numbers that I was given tonight. The mission was accepted.

My condo is located on the top floor of an ocean front condominium building. The view from my balcony is absolutely breathtaking. To be completely honest, it is the reason I bought this condo and not one more budget friendly. My life is constantly on the go and my home is my sanctuary. I like to come here and shut out the troubles of work and social life. I love to people watch in the ocean below. I like to sit back and wonder what their story is. I want to ask the older couples how they managed to stay together for so many years when many others have failed.  Or I wonder if they are widows just trying to find love and a constant companion once again.  With the younger couples, I want to know what it is about the other person that makes them want to spend every possible minute with each other. Love confuses me. I don't exactly have the best luck when it comes to love.

I finally made my way out of the condo and make my way down the hall to the elevator. I get in and hit the lobby level button.  On floor 15, Mr. Jackson, a celebrity attorney, gets on as well. Mr. Jackson as always kept to himself, rarely talking to anyone except Rue Moseley and as soon as the elevator hit floor 10, he was off and not surprisingly, headed in the direction of her door. Rue Moseley, a prominent magazine editor, is known for chasing just about anything with male anatomy parts.

When the elevator reaches the lobby level, I step out and enter into the buildings grand lobby. I see Adam, the concierge, and I throw a friendly smile his way. Adam is in his early twenties and obviously just barely out of school. He is thin an pale. Adam doesn't quite fit the LA stereotype but the residents here love him. He notices my smile and winks back with a quick smirk. He is not surprised when he realizes my plans for tonight.

Tonight, my friends and I are headed to Les Tres, the hotspot for everyone who is anyone. It is also supposed to be a place to rub elbows with celebrities but i have yet to rub elbows with anyone with a celebrity status, unless you count that creep from a popular dating reality TV show.  The crowd is usually a mix of mid twenties to early thirties, professional men and women. Most come here for only one reason and I can't deny that that is my reason as well for coming out tonight.

I pull up to Les Tres and give my keys to the valet. I don't even bother standing in line anymore. Joe, the bouncer, knows me by name and I am never denied entry. Joe is a very big and intimidating man standing at 6'4" and weighing in at about 250 pounds of nothing but muscular goodness. His black hair and dark eyes compliment his tan skin nicely. I can't say I haven't thought about inviting him back to my place and I promise, he wouldn't turn me down.

"When are you going to come out here and hang out with a real man?"

No surprise as that is his usual pick up line for many of the ladies. He has been trying to get me in bed for months now and I would take him up on it in a heartbeat but Joe is married and while he has many of the qualities that I look for in a potential "partner", there is one thing I can't get past and that is his wedding band.  Apparently he and his wife are ok with multiple partners, although, I am not real sure what they mean by multiple partners. It has so many different meanings.

I turn Joe down yet again and make my way into Les Tres. Tonight, this place is packed more than usual.  There are people dancing anywhere they can find a place.

I eventually find Abigail Bronson, first as usual. Abigail is the epitome of Barbie, blonde hair, blue eyes and legs that go on for days.  She is sitting at our usual spot alone which is new for her. She is always surrounded by the best looking men at Les Tres. And of course she looks fabulous.  I eventually make eye contact as I smile and wave and make my way to my seat. I order a mojito and settle in for the night.

Abigail became my first friend when I got to LA. I wasn't real sure what I was looking for when I moved out here but Abigail introduced me to things that I never thought I would try or do before. She helped me to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life.

"How was work this week?"

"It’s the same old thing over and over again. Can you believe someone actually argued with me over two shades of green that are almost identical?"

"I don't know how you do it."

Abigail is an heiress. Her dad owns a popular west coast fast food chain that I don't think I could honestly bring myself to eat at. She has never had to work a day in her life. Abigail claims that she does charity work but I have yet to see proof in the past year that we have been friends.

I order another a mojito have a couple of more conversational exchanges and start eyeing the room. I can't help but shop the real estate and I see a few "potentials" but nothing worth getting up for yet.  Abigail notices my wandering eye and playfully slugs my shoulder and we both laugh. She knows me too well.

The men that come to Les Tres are easy to read. I can usually figure out what job any guy has just by studying them.

Lawyer.

Doctor.

Advertising.

Sports Journalist.

And then I see him.

Oh.My.God.

Standing in the corner, trying to partially hide himself from anyone that would notice him, was a man that I have known for years. His posters would adorn my walls during the 90's. I had the most amazing dreams about him almost nightly and in those dreams, I would dream of him picking me out of a crowd of thousands of screaming, pubescent teenage girls to serenade me on stage. He would then lead me backstage where we would spend hours talking and getting to know each other. We eventually would fall in love and live happily every after.

Jordan Stamps.

There was no denying it was him. His blonde, curly hair and blue eyes was undeniably his. I had spent many days just staring into them.  Each night before bed I would make sure to kiss his poster goodnight. I would then pray to God that with fate, we would find ourselves in each others arms for all of eternity, a stretch I know but worth a shot.

Since the 90's, Jordan has had an extremely successful solo career. Rumor has it that for the past year he has kept himself into conclusion to work on what was to become the biggest album in history.

And there he was, just a mere 100 feet away from me. I couldn't help but stare at his beautiful body. Any woman would be lucky to fall asleep next to him every night with his strong arms to hold you. His lips looked so soft and it was all I could do to keep myself from dreaming of kissing them.

I guess I had been so busy staring at Jordan that I hadn't even noticed that Sofia had joined us. Sofia is what you would call an exotic beauty. She grew up on an island in the Pacific and had been blessed with perfection.  She had dark hair and even darker, mysterious eyes. Sofia designs jewelry and she constantly tries to get me to wear her designs to work for "advertisement purposes". Her designs are somewhat gaudy but still an incredible piece of art.

Even after I realized that Sofia had joined us, I still couldn't get my eyes to focus on anything other than Jordan.  He was so.... So perfect.  I had to gasp for a breath of air whenever he would smile.  I was drowning out whatever Abigail and Sofia had been carrying about. I was back int he front row of a 101 Degrees concert. I pictured Jordan's hand reaching for mine as he pulls me up onstage and gently sits me in a chair that had been placed in the center. He would then take my hand in his as he would stare into my eyes and serenade me with their #1 single, "I Only Have Eyes For You."

Crap. I think he just caught me staring. I guess it isn't so bad as long as I wasn't drooling. Crap. Was I drooling? I quickly grab the "specials" menu and nonchalantly check my reflection in the plastic glare.  Good. No drool.  I divert my attention back to the conversation going on. Sofia and Abigail were talking about Lauren.

Lauren is, to put it nicely, plain. She has red hair and green eyes and she doesn't really have a sense of fashion.  She always seems to be the topic of conversation between Abigail and Sofia when Lauren has her back turned.  Lauren is an amazing person. I like to consider her my best friend here in LA. I know that when I need anything, she is always there for me. I can never find anything bad to say about her. Lauren reminds me of myself pre-LA days, humble and down to earth, me when I didn't care what kind of clothes I wore or going out into public without making sure my make up was perfect.

Sometimes, I really miss those days.

Lauren was unusually late. She is always the first to arrive and if she is running late, she will send a quick text to let me know otherwise. This is so unlike Lauren and I am slowly starting to become worried.

"Where are? I am really starting to freak here!"

I put down "the Brain" and looked up in Jordan's direction. I catch his eye and he smiles at me. At least I think it was at me. It was a shy smile and then he quickly looked away and directed his attention back to the people around him.

WHOOHOO!!!!

He noticed me. At least I think he did.  Jordan Stamps looked at me. And he smiled. I couldn't believe it! I suddenly felt light headed so I ordered another mojito.  At this point, I am feeling slightly inebriated and hoping that I didn't just imagine the whole thing. I casually throw a glace over my shoulder. I spot Lauren making her way to us.  It was about time. I wasn't real sure how much more I could take of Abigail and Sofia.

Lauren didn't look good. Her face was swollen and her eyes matched her red hair. There was no doubt that she had been crying. It was painfully obvious that tonight was not about me trying to cozy up with Jordan but it was about Lauren and whatever emotional relationship dilemma that plagued her. Sofia and Abigail conveniently excused themselves from the table at this time to go find more drinks.

I know that I have my own "male issues." However, I know that at age 26, I still have my whole life to live. I like "relationships" but the permanence of marriage scares me.

Regardless of my indiscretions, Lauren was hurting. She doesn't get past relationships with drowning out her tears with shopping like I can. She needs reassurance, support and a big tub of ice cream. I can't blame the men though. She can be clingy and extremely emotional when it comes to men and sex. You can't help but feel bad for her though. She falls to quickly into love.  This isn't the first time we have been in this situation and I know it won't be the last.

I just didn't know why it had to be tonight!

"He said I was too... Clingy. What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Lauren..."

I had to pause for a second... I was trying really hard to think of his name... Was it James? Stephen?.. Wait. Bill. Yeah, that was it.

"Lauren, Bill doesn't know what he let go of. Any man would be so lucky to have someone like you in their life. You are beautiful. Amazing. Caring. Funny. And the good men look for those qualities in their women. The wrong men only try to see what is underneath your clothes.

"And what is your excuse?"

Crap.

"Tonight has nothing to do about me. Don't drag me into this conversation!" I said playfully.

The next half hour, Lauren and I sipped on mojitos and scouted the crowd. By the end of the second half hour, Lauren was just about drunk and out on the dance floor searching for her next mistake. I spotted her lounging with a man in his early 20's, quite possibly a columnist of some sort. Sofia was talking to a late 20's model and Abigail had found a much older doctor. Typical.'

I looked all over for Jordan but I couldn't find him anywhere so I decided to call it an early night and head home.

Sigh.

As I was leaving Les Tres, Joe tried to get me to slip him my phone number and address again. After a few too many mojitos like tonight, I might have given in but instead, I just waited for the valet to bring me my car and I headed home. When I got back to my building, I got on the elevator. It jerked to a stop on floor 10 and it appears that Mr. Jackson decided to call it an early night as well. I get to my condo, put the key in the door and crawl into my bed. The next thing I know I am asleep. Those familiar dreams came flooding back into my head and I have the best sleep I have had in 10 years.

3 comments:

  1. Well, you've got me intrigued!

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  2. :) Very cute! I can follow your story and get very interested in your character.

    Ok. Now, I need to ask a honest question. Do you truly want constructive criticism? Or are you just having fun with this? Because I can give you my limited opinion, but I in no way want to... to make you frustrated. If this is just a creative outlet, I'd rather just enjoy the story and let you enjoy telling it.

    On the other hand...

    If you want to make this something bigger than that (publishing, book, etc.), then I have a decent eye for grammar, context, tense, content, etc. (Blame my mom, she was heartless when it came to English). I certainly am no master at editing, but I can at least point out little things I notice.

    I also learned of a few tricks of the trade (via third party observation and stories) from a well-known author some time ago on character tracking/development, but I don't know if you really want it or not. I only have minimal ability as far as constructive criticism goes, but I thought I'd offer it, JUST IN CASE you want it. I really enjoy your story, and am rooting for you... how can I not?? I like the story, and am impressed!

    So, let me know what you want. Do you want me to just read and enjoy it? Or do you want me to play editor and critic?

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  3. OH! I forgot to mention, I think I like it better as its own blog, in answer to your question earlier on your other blog. Maybe you could just post a link on Undomesticated each time you add a new chapter here?

    It won't kill people to add this blog if they want to follow your story, and you'll get a better idea of the audience you will pull with your story. That is my two cents on the poll! ;)

    ReplyDelete