I don’t know if you noticed, because I certainly didn’t at the time, but I came out to Trav in the course of that little conversation. It was only later that I realized it was no big deal to him. Maybe it’s more important that for once it was no big deal to me. Or at least in comparison with the other stuff I was dealing with, you know?
Sarah wanted to know where we’d disappeared to when I found her again. She was a little drunk.
“Can I lean on you?”
“If you kick your heels off, maybe,” I said.
She promptly came closer to my level and I put an arm around her. After smoking a joint I often get very quiet. Not that I am talkative in the first place, so maybe no one else notices the difference? But it meant I didn’t feel at all hurried or like I had to say anything. I just held her close to me and she didn’t seem to mind.
A little later she said, “Do you want to dance?”
“Didn’t we do that already?”
“At the other place. I mean here.”
“If you want to dance I’ll dance with you.”
“I thought maybe you’d want to.”
“Do you want to?”
“Now that I took my shoes off, no.”
“Maybe we should go home.”
“Hmm. You might be onto something there. I’ll page the car.”
She disengaged from me and went up on tiptoe to get the bartender’s attention, and I guess borrowed the phone or something… I had stopped paying attention and went back into my own little world for a bit.
I waited until we were in the car to tell her what Jordan Travers had told me. It came out somewhat bare bones because I was still feeling the effects and wasn’t talky, but she got the gist quickly.
Back at the apartment, I should not have been surprised to find out she knew Jonathan’s number. Outside the tiny kitchen was a short piece of countertop and two stools. She sat me in one and used the phone hanging on the wall there.
“It’s two in the morning,” I said. “Maybe we shouldn’t be–”
“Hey! Jonathan? It’s Sarah. I have a favor to ask you.”
I heard the tinny notes of his reply but couldn’t make out the words.
“Can you get me and Daron on the guest list for the movie screening tomorrow? Yeah, he’s here. Here.”
She handed me the phone. “Hi,” I said.
“I’m sure I can add plus two,” he said, “but couldn’t you guys just call Mills? And hi, by the way. I was just thinking about you.”
“Um, I think we don’t want Mills to know we’re coming.”
Jonathan made a skeptical noise. “He should at least know Sarah’s going, though. In fact, I’m kind of surprised she’s not already invited.”
I said to Sarah, “Jonathan wants to know why you weren’t already invited.”
She sighed. “I probably was and I turned it down. I’m sure Digger said I should go and I said no. Which is why I don’t want to call him and say I changed my mind.”
“Okay, but if you show up with me, won’t it be kind of obvious that you’re giving him the finger by bringing me? I mean, he and I aren’t even on speaking terms.”
“You want me to fire him anyway. Maybe pissing him off is a good idea,” Sarah answered.
Jonathan spoke. “Tomorrow I’ll go pick up my press pass from the station and either get tickets for you or make sure you’re on the list when I go down there. I’ll come up to Sarah’s place to meet you and we can go down to Times Square together? I have something for you, assuming you didn’t see Entertainment Tonight, tonight?”
“Why would I watch Entertainment Ton— Oh. Is it about the movie premiere?”
“Yeah. I taped it. I thought you might want to see it.”
I did and yet I didn’t. “Thanks.”
“I’ll meet you guys around three? That okay?”
“That sounds great.”
“But I really do think Sarah should alert BNC’s publicity people that she’ll be there. Maybe don’t tell Mills directly, but publicity will want to know, I think.”
“Okay, I’ll tell her. See you tomorrow.”
“Love you. Ciao,” he said as he was about to hang up. Then said, rather awkwardly, “I mean, sorry, old habits die hard.”
“It’s okay, J. Love you, too. Just, not like that.”
He laughed, still sounding sheepish. “Exactly. See you tomorrow.” Then he hung up before he could say anything else embarrassing.
Sarah seemed to have heard everything, or at least guessed it. “He still have a thing for you?”
“Maybe? I was pretty sure we had a clean break. We’re still friends, though.”
She nodded knowingly though I wasn’t sure what it was she thought she knew. “I guess I’ll let Belle know I want to go. Now that I think about it, I don’t want Jonathan getting blacklisted because of this.”
“Am I that toxic?”
“No, hell no. It’s not like that. You wrote a number three Billboard hit, Daron. You deserve some respect from these people. But I know Mills is going to flip out when he sees you anyway.”
“Number three, huh? Why didn’t it go to number one?”
“Couldn’t knock Phil Collins and Janet Jackson off,” she said with a shrug. I finally noticed she was wearing a bathrobe. “You hungry?”
“Maybe a little.”
She pulled a take-out menu from a folder taped to the wall next to the phone and waved it in front of me. “Chinese okay?”
“You like anything in particular?”
“I eat everything.”
“Great. Everything coming up.” She picked up the phone and ordered fried rice with everything, lo mein with everything, the everything appetizer platter, and a couple of other things.
She then handed me a wad of cash. “For when the delivery boy shows up.”
“I’m getting in the bathtub. You should come talk to me, though.”
“Seriously, Daron, you don’t have to look. I’ll pull the curtain.”
“The one that’s clear as a window except for the part with Einstein’s face on it?”
“It’ll steam up. Do girl parts freak you out?”
“What? No. I just… Making sure we know each other that well.”
She snickered a little. “You can be as shy as you want. But I’m getting in the bathtub and I don’t think you should be alone right now.”
“Okay, sure. Wow, and I thought Carynne was bossy.”
“I am not bossy. Just practical. Now get your ass in gear.”
She led me to the bathroom, where an old clawfoot tub stood. She started the water filling, dribbled in some nice-smelling oil, and then got in the water and drew the curtain so that Albert Einstein was more or less between us. I sat on the toilet lid and caught her bathrobe when it came sailing over the rod.
“Okay, so tell me what you’re thinking,” she said, once she had shut the water off and it was quiet again.
“I spend at least 90 percent of my time thinking about Ziggy,” I said.
“That sounds par for the course.”
“I’m going to call him on Saturday. Or Sunday maybe.”
“What are you going to say?”
“I don’t know.” Sounds of water splashing are supposed to be soothing, right? Maybe that’s why I felt sort of calm right then. Or maybe I was just tired of being stressed out. “It kind of depends on what he says first.”
“Except you’re the one calling him.”
“True. I guess I’m just going to say… hey, I’m back, thought you should know.”
“That sounds like a perfectly good way to start.”
“I suppose we’re going to actually sit through the movie tomorrow.”
Splish splash. “If we get up and leave in the middle it’ll probably be noticed. Were you not planning to see his movie?”
“Honestly? I wasn’t. Unless he wanted me to.”
“Why wouldn’t he want you to?”
Because he’s Ziggy and he’s not like a normal person, I thought, but didn’t say. “He might have his reasons. I always figured I’d leave it up to him.”
“You don’t sound like you want to see it.”
“I’m not particularly keen on seeing him fuck Jennifer Connolly.”
“I think maybe you better tell me the story of you and Ziggy.”
“Haven’t I told you?”
“You’ve told me some of it, at least. Tell me again?”
“You’re sure you want to hear this?”
“I’m sorry about this,” I said. “I know you wanted to have a good time this weekend. Listening to my problems–”
“Daron, partying like a rock star is not the only way to have a good time. Now come on, before the food gets here or the water gets cold.”
So I told Sarah the story of me and Ziggy, of meeting in the park, and trying to get Artie to sign us, and Watt getting us into college radio, and the opening gig for MNB. And I had gotten up to the part about Ziggy ending up in my room after his flip-out… when food arrived.
(Psst, hey Kickstarter & paypal backers, I’m going to close the poll on when the backers-only chat should be tomorrow night around midnight. So now’s your chance to vote on when you’re available if you want to participate! Poll is here: http://doodle.com/hc9m8m23g5kzuwhi -ctan)