Disclaimers: Nope, sorry, can't say there are any. All of the characters are mine. I take full responsibility for all of their actions. Hmm ... On second thought ... I've never seen them before in my life. They just followed me home one day ... really ...
Violence/Sex: No violence, I don't think. I guess that would depend on what you mean by "violence" ... I don't think there is any. You can decide for yourself. And sex? Umm ... I'll go on the safe side and say there will be. But don't go suing me for false advertisement if you can't find any. It really depends on what you mean by sex. As there are people in some cultures that show their affection by licking each other's eyeballs, it is possible that my definition of sex may be different than yours. Mine may involve cows in ballet slippers for instance ... wait, that doesn't sound right ...
Warning: This story involves an in-the closet actress, online relationships, Puerto Ricans, the Spanish language, Starbucks coffee, angels, boyfriends, sexual relationships between women .. and a ton of other random things that poured forth from my artistic loins. If none of the above things interest you, then you may not want to partake in this little tour of my demented psyche.
Dedication: to you and you and you you and you .. to people living with living with ... ::notices there are people watching:: Ahem. Sorry. Too much "RENT" for me. Strike that. There can never be too much RENT. Unless it's the kind you have to pay. But my point.. and I do have one .. is that this story is dedicated to you. Thank you for taking the time to delve into my madness. What a brave soul you are .. muahahaha <coughcough>
Special Thanks: To Amber, Cindy, Camilla, Christy, Amy, and Robin. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
Write me: Cause I'd love to know what you think. I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Karen!" Julianne called, jogging after her assistant. She was still in her full Kiara getup, angel wings and all.
Karen turned around, her surprise clearly evident on her face. "Yes, Miss Franqui?"
"Do you still have all that mail?" Julianne asked, brushing a feather from her shoulder.
"Ah, well you've received some more since the last time," Karen explained. "But I figured you wouldn't want to know about it."
Julianne considered and nodded. "Grab three random letters from the stack, and leave them on my dressing table. Do that every week."
Karen arched both eyebrows. "Uh, yes, Miss."
Julianne turned around and headed out to her trailer to change. "Thank God it's Friday," she muttered to her reflection. Removing her wings and the rest of her angelic getup, she slipped into some jeans and a navy blue tee shirt. She was in the process of fastening her anklet when there was a knock on the door.
"Enter," Julianne called.
Karen walked in. "Three letters," she said, fanning them out in her hand so Julianne could count them. "Ms. Loeb wants to see you," the assistant added, placing the envelopes on the table.
Julianne sighed. "Thanks, Karen," she said, rising to her feet. She grabbed her laptop case, her bookbag, and the letters and exited the trailer, heading toward the director's office. Finding the door open, she walked in.
Gina Loeb, the director of Guardian: A Second Chance, sat at her desk. "Take a seat, Julianne."
Julianne complied, placing the fan mail on top of the laptop on the floor beside her. "What's up?" She couldn't fathom why Gina would want to see her. She hadn't messed up any lines. She'd been on time. And she'd nailed all of her scenes.
"Some people are coming down to the set next week," Gina began. "They want to do a short interview with you."
Julianne shrugged her shoulders. "So what's the problem?"
"No problem," Gina replied. "Just giving you a head's up. Nice work today, by the way."
"Thanks," Julianne answered, rising to her feet. "Anything else?"
"Have a good weekend," Gina said.
"You too." The actress picked up her stuff and headed out the door toward her Rav4. Once inside, she turned the ignition and sat back with a sigh. It was Friday night and she was feeling anxious. Adrian was off shooting his new independent film. Something about a palm tree and a tomato. She never did understand those artistic type things.
And that was the extent of her friends.
As if on cue, her cell phone started ringing. She dug into the front pocket of the laptop case and withdrew the ringing object. "Franqui," she said.
"Don't you call home anymore?"
Julianne rolled her eyes at the sound of her mother's voice. She didn't want to deal with this now. "I called."
Julianne racked her brain. "A couple of weeks ago," she responded, wishing she'd receive another call so she'd have a reason to get off the phone with her mother.
Susan Frank sighed loudly. "Well your sister wants you to come see her play on Sunday."
"Oh, that's this weekend?" Julianne asked, wanting to bang her head against the steering wheel.
"You promised her."
Julianne nodded. "I'll be there. What time?"
"The play is at seven. You'll join us for dinner afterwards?"
Do I have a choice? "I'll be there," she answered.
"See you then." Click.
Julianne stared at the phone for a moment before tossing it aside. "I love you, too, Mom. I'm doing fine, Mom." Angrily, she threw the car into reverse, and pulled out of the studio's parking lot.
Speeding up, she decided to visit the only other person in the world who she could talk to.
* * *
"Hey, Nana," Julianne said, sitting down on the grass. She dropped her bookbag beside her. "I know it's been a while since I've been by here, but you know how it is when you're a big star." She laughed and reached out to brush a leaf from the top of her grandmother's tombstone.
Julianne placed a bouquet of roses where the leaf had been. She looked around the cemetery and sighed. "Kinda creepy here at night," she noted. "So what can I tell you that you don't already know?" She considered. "I'm finishing off one movie and I have a few more deals lined up. You always told me I'd be famous someday. I wish you could see me now.
"Truth is," she continued. "I'm not handling all of this very well. I'm so scared of people seeing who I really am, that I can barely recognize my own self anymore. I wish you were here. You always seemed to know what to say to make me feel better." She picked a blade of grass and started playing with it.
"I bought this picture in New York about a week ago," she said. "It's got this woman standing in the middle of a crowd, but she's looking at something that's on the outside. Something far away. And the people in the crowd are all looking at her, but she doesn't see them." She paused. "That's me. Standing in a crowd of people, but looking at the distance.
"Everything seemed so clear when you were here. You could make me laugh with just a word. It's been so long since I've truly laughed. You know that laughter? Where you just can't stop, and for those few seconds everything in life feels okay. That's what I long for.
"Weird, huh? I used to tell you of my dreams of being famous. 'When I'm a big actress, I'll have a mansion in Hollywood, and servants and all the money in the world. You'll live in the guest house and I'll have my chauffeur drive you around.'" Julianne shook her head at the memory. "It's a nice fantasy. I just wish I had someone to share it with."
Julianne withdrew the fan letters from her back pocket. "In the mean time, I'll share it with you." She grabbed one envelope and put the other two aside. She tore it open and grabbed the folded paper inside. Out loud, she read, "'Dear Julianne, You are really hot. I have posters of you all over my walls and ceiling. I have every single episode of Guardian on tape. I told my mom that I was going to marry you some day, but she told me that I was probably too young for you. Do you think twelve is too young? I don't. I told her that some day I was gonna have all your children. Your #1 fan and future husband, Patrick Gordon.'"
Julianne found herself laughing. "That was kind of cute, huh?" she asked, grabbing her bookbag. Inside she found her poetry notebook and a pen. Turning to a fresh page, she began to write.
I'm honored that you think me worthy of being your bride. Perhaps if you send me your picture, I can put it on my wall and then we'll be even. I'm afraid that twelve is a bit too young at the present moment, but who knows, maybe in six years if you're still interested you can give me a call. I'll be almost thirty then. Think thirty is too old?
She ripped the page from the notebook and tucked it into a fresh envelope. Addressing it back to Patrick, she smiled. "That'll make his day." She smiled at the tombstone. "This isn't too bad."
Julianne opened the second letter and began to read. "'Dear Kiara, My name is Jennifer and I am ten years old. My little brother, Derek, is your biggest fan. He has a picture of you next to his bed. He's been really sick for the past year. Mom and Dad don't like to talk about it because it makes them sad. Derek says that you can help him because you're an angel. Please help him. Your friend, Jennifer.'"
She frowned at the letter and put it back in the envelope without responding. Without a word, she opened the last letter. "'Dear Ms. Franqui, I never thought I'd find myself writing to somebody famous. I doubt if you're even reading this, considering your busy schedule and all. But I have nothing to lose, right? I just wanted to say that I think you're beautiful. But that mostly, I love the way you are during interviews. You are honest and upfront and I respect that. Thank you for being yourself. Sincerely, Chloe Rice.'"
Julianne finished reading and sighed, putting everything back in the bookbag. She stood to leave. "I love you, Nana," she whispered to the air. Then turned on her heel and headed back to the car.