who’s produced a record number of hits of his own (with his dad’s help, of course). The two of them have their own TV show. She’s a diva. Why she can’t tell Stephanie Brewer no herself is beyond me.
“And we ain’t signing no waivers,” the male EMT says loudly as he and his partner cross the living room to Tania’s side.
Stephanie’s vein begins to throb so wildly, I’m scared it’s going to burst.
Cooper must have noticed the same thing, since he says, “Maybe we should go outside. Isn’t that a terrace out there? It might be a little cooler.”
Cooper’s being polite. He knows perfectly well that there is a terrace outside the Allingtons’ apartment. I was almost murdered on it once.
“Yes, great idea,” Christopher says quickly. He claps his hands. “Okay, hey, everyone, let’s take five and give our star some privacy while she gets checked out by these nice, er, ambulance people. Drinks in the fridge in the kitchen if anyone wants them—”
“Guarana?” asks the sound mixer in a hopeful voice as he drops the boom and strips off his earphones.
“Guarana for Marcos,” Christopher says. “Red Bull for everyone else. You guys want anything?” He looks at Cooper and me and without waiting for an answer says, “Hey, Lauren, grab us all some bottled waters—”
The film crew stampedes for the Allingtons’ kitchen as Christopher throws open the French doors that lead to the wraparound terrace off the dining and living area of his parents’ penthouse. Instantly a cool breeze hits us. The air this high up—we’re twenty floors from the street—seems fresher and cleaner than the air below. You can barely hear the traffic, but through some acoustical trick you can occasionally hear the sound of the fountain jets in Washington Square Park. The 360-degree views of Manhattan are stunning—the twinkling city lights and even, on a clear night like this one, the moon and a few stars.
It’s out on this terrace that the Allingtons do most of their entertaining when they’re in town, catered affairs with professional waitstaff in black-and-white uniforms. It’s out on this terrace that I also once almost lost my life. I try never to think about this, however. The professor of the class I’m taking this summer session (Psych 101) says that this is called disassociation and that it almost always comes back to haunt people.
I’m willing to take my chances.
“Who are you anyway?” Stephanie Brewer turns to ask me as we step toward a set of green-and-white-striped settees. “I think President Allington will be interested to hear how unhelpful you were during all of this. He and his wife are big fans of CRT, for your information.”
Cooper, who has overheard this, looks angry. “I’m sorry,” he says to Stephanie, though he doesn’t appear sorry at all. “Did I forget to introduce—”
“Heather,” I interrupt. I can see what Cooper’s about to do. He doesn’t like the way Stephanie is treating me—as if I’m some kind of underling—and he wants to let her know that I’m someone special.
But I get sneered at and spoken down to by people like Stephanie every single day. Like millions of administrators and service industry workers, I’ve gotten used to it, though I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. It might make sense if I wasn’t good at my job, like Simon, but I am. Stephanie shouldn’t treat anyone the way she’s been treating me, though . . .
Which is why I don’t want Cooper pointing out to her that I used to be famous. And he definitely shouldn’t give away the secret we’ve been guarding so closely for so many months—that I’m dating her boss’s son—just to teach her an etiquette lesson.
“I’m the Fischer Hall assistant director,” I say to her. “When you complain to President Allington about me, be sure to get the name right. My last name is Wells.” I spell it for her.
“Tell my dad too,” Cooper says as he pulls one of the
Gordon R. Dickson, David W Wixon