Note: Hello my lovelies! I know it's been quite some time since I've posted anything new, and I wanted to say that soon, I'm going to do a complete overhaul of "Closer" and get it ready for publishing, and work on a short story to put up here. I've done some other stuff recently, including my first novel, which I am posting the first chapter (and second. Maybe third, fourth...or the first half of the book!) to here. If you like it, I encourage you to check it out on Amazon or . Also, may post one of my published short stories here soon. Hope all is well!
PART I: L.A. BOUND
I get up early and hop in the shower, eagerly letting the hot spray of water wash yesterday off of me, and its warmth complimenting the happy feeling coming from the inside.
And I am excited because come this time tomorrow, I will be in LA for the very first time.
It's not like I came from a small town or anything like that and I'm wetting my panties to get to the "big city—born and raised in Chicago, here. And not a surrounding suburb of Chicago, but the actual city of. Funny thing is, my town—my slice of the Windy City is the original Beverly Hills. That's right. Contrary to popular belief, it's still within the city limits, and is the highest point in the state. We have actual hills due to a giant glacier from like, a long time ago. Anyway, my Beverly Hills? Was established during the 1890s. The West Coast copy, well...theirs wasn't established till 1906.
How you like them apples?
So, enough with the history lesson. Let me fill you in on why this trip is so entirely tremendous. My twenty-first birthday is next week, and this, ladies and gents, is a treat to myself. My favorite actor from a cult hit of a show that's been off the air for a few years is releasing a solo album, and I bought a ticket to the album release party. I've never met him before, and I cannot tell you how...friggin' scared and happy and all kinds of other indescribable feelings I am right now. I've crushed on him ever since the tender age of thirteen, when the show first came on. The moment Weston Moore walked on the screen...I was totally enchanted. Not that I was alone—enough viewers were captivated by him that his initially disposable villain of a character who was supposed to have been killed off after a paltry three episodes got extended several years. This was then followed by his own spinoff. That only lasted five years, but it was an amazing run.
I've been to a couple of local conventions before, and met some of the other cast members (well, more like supporting cast). Not to mention other celebs from other shows and films, but this? This was like the missing piece of those awkward adolescent days or something. I was never terribly popular or even pretty back then, but I always imagined that if I could just meet him and he could see the real me, then...I don't know that everything would be sunshine and rainbows or something. See, you gotta understand just how craptastic those "awkward years" were for me. I know I'm not the only one, but hey, this is my story.
I grew up feeling ugly and unloved with no boyfriend for like...well fancy that, never. Well, sadly not officially, anyway. So, here I am, with a bit more confidence and finally knowing my way around some press powder, blush and mascara, and a nice Cleopatra inspired hair do. Put on a few pounds since high school, but it doesn't look bad—curves are in the right place, and anything that ain't, well, it's nothing a body-shaper can't fix. They may be uncomfortable, but they're really magical things for anyone who wants to wear a form fitting dress with a few problem areas. And, to top it all off, my cinnamon colored skin evened out. Goodbye, teen acne!
My bags are mostly packed, and a cab will be waiting outside my house in the morning to whisk me away to the airport, and then I'll be in that industry-laden land known as LA before I know it.
And just in case it isn't clear why I'm bothering to do all this...
I'm a fangirl—hardcore.
The first time I was ever on a plane, I was probably about two years old. I don't remember it, of course, but I was accustomed to planes for quite some time. That is until, I had a horrible re-entry from D.C. back to Chicago a couple of years ago from a conference (not to be confused with a convention). The turbulence was awful. There was a thunderstorm that night, and the plane shook and rattled the entire time, surrounded in the inky blackness of the night sky. I'd never been so frightened in my entire life. I actually held the hand of a stranger next to me. She'd been at the conference as well, but I didn't know who the crap she was. Anyway, ever since then, I've been nervous about getting back on a flight.
But I sit there in the exit row, feigning calmness as I grip the hand rests on either side of me. The stewardess asks if I'd like a beverage, and I immediately opt to pay for whatever liquor they have available. And yes, even though I'm not twenty-one yet, due to my stature, coming in at five foot eleven, and the fact that I apparently have one of those ageless faces, I am not carded.
I eventually fall asleep with my headphones on, and when I wake up, we're only twenty minutes away from landing. The pilot tells all passengers via intercom that the weather is in the high seventies with mild winds. All in all, perfect vacation weather.
The butterflies in my stomach have waned, and my trip is soon to really start. I just have to get my luggage, pick up my Rent-A-Wreck (which is loads cheaper than other rental brands, let me tell you), then head to the Westin Hotel.
LA, here I come.
The hotel is lovely. I have to say that I've really outdone myself here. I guess it's just...I really wanted this birthday to be special. I suppose the sad part is that I had to make this trip alone. None of my friends had the time or the money, or even liked the show that Weston was on. Or are fangirls. Most of my fangirl buddies are online—in forums, reviewers of fan fiction (and yes...I've written my fair share of fan fiction), LiveJournal and the like. Perhaps I'll run into some of them at this event.
The hotel—it's crisp with fresh white linens, spacious, with a shower to die for. And all for a great, low price. Thanks, Orbitz! And the bed—one of those Sleep Number deals. Oh, I wish I could take this mattress home with me. It'd make for one hell of a souvenir, anyway.
So, now that I'm all unpacked, I get my site seeing shorts on and my sunglasses, ready to go exploring.
The car is comfortable enough.
Decided to pay for the upgrade and get a medium sized one. Long legs here, and since I'll be doing a lot of driving on my own, it was worth the few extra bucks.
I wish planes were as simple as that.
The best seats for me are the exit rows. There's no better place to stretch out, and that's including "first class" on regular flights.
As I drive around, I go past a neighborhood called Little Ethiopia. Can't really deviate from my intended destination, but I thought it was an interesting sight. I don't have a GPS—I just look stuff up on Google maps on my laptop, write it down, and try not to get myself lost. It's not foolproof, but it's a lot cheaper than buying more technology. I mean, those kind of trends just aren't my thing. Just because there's some new doodad out on the market, doesn't mean I have to buy it. For instance, I have had the same Razr phone for the last four years, and I don't plan on getting a new one until this one craps out and dies on me. Sure, some of my friends make fun of me for it, but hey, I'm an individual.
The traffic is...slow. Dreadfully slow.
It seems that everyone in this city loves driving just under the speed limit. I'm not sure why that is, but the only thing that I know is that it's really starting to frustrate the fuck out of me. And then the thing that makes it even worse is that the guy in the car in front of me just tossed a cigarette butt out of his window. Man, does shit like that make me see red. I mean, there are little ashtrays in cars. And even if there doesn't happen to be one in yours, stop being an inconsiderate douche-bag and don't litter the earth.
It's kind of a funny thing for me, cigarettes...
I once smoked a whole one when I was eighteen just so I wouldn't be a hypocrite in my vehement dislike of them. I really just don't get the appeal of smoking. But I also think that smoking, at times, can look sexy. I think I'd looked wickedly cool smoking a cigarette.
Weston Moore's character would smoke. But Weston himself—he quit ages ago (or so I read), and the cigarettes his character would light up on the series were merely herbal. Anyway, there was just a finesse he had when he handled one. He'd take out a lighter, put the filter to his mouth, and light it in one seemingly fluid motion. And the way he would exhale...something about his face just made me think of sex.
Then again, most of the things he did reminded me of sex or being sexy.
Like, the way he walks. He takes these long strides and just exudes confidence—like he's got the biggest dick in the world or something. I've never seen him walk out of character, so I'm equally curious and excited to see him just for that. Okay, that's not entirely true. I'm nervous as hell to meet him. It's not happening until tomorrow, and my stomach is already in knots. I don't know why—he's just a regular guy.
Yeah—a guy I've been crushing on since age thirteen. Lame.
I've seen plenty of interviews of him on TV and various comic con panels online, but it's just not the same. Yes, I am nervous as hell.
But I'm ready.
I finally make my way towards Hollywood Boulevard. The parking for the mall there has a great rate—four bucks for eight hours. My plan is to see some of the Walk of Fame, Madame Tussaud's, and of course, the mall itself. Yeah, it's all touristy stuff but hell, I am a tourist. I plan on seeing some of the neighborhoods—specifically Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive later in the week, but today will be a bit more generic.
I find myself overwhelmed by all of the people in costumes on the strip—Batman, Spider-man, Marilyn Monroes and Captain Jacks. Oh—a slightly perverse Sponge Bob, who loves to hug all of the young women. I manage to get out of his spongy embrace and see Catwoman and another Marilyn, a Hulk, and I wonder to myself about the dedication these folks have, being out here in this heat and in costume and heavy makeup. Well, the Marilyn costume seems fairly easy—all flowy, white material and a wig. But then I look at the bulkier costumes, like the guy dressed as a giant Predator. Man, I'm not sure you could pay me enough...
I then find myself at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, looking at the footprints. The women back then sure did run quite tiny. I put my feet on top of—and not so much in—some of their footprints. I remember some interview where George Clooney said to wear shoes bigger than your normal size so as to appear more manly. This now makes me look at the prints in cement—the male actors anyway—a bit more dubiously.
I walk around a bit more and then end up at Madame Tussaud's. One of the first statues I see is The Rock. Oh, how I adore him. I had my big, girly crush on him about the same time as the one I started on Weston. I haven't met him yet either, but if the chance ever presents itself...hmm. If he did cons in the early years, he certainly isn't doing it now. But no matter—one step at a time, right?
So, I'm walking and seeing all of these folks, frozen in time—Vivien Leigh and Robert DeNiro. Heh, Lucille Ball. I take a picture with her—she really is an idol of mine—a true inspiration. So many people would tell her, well rather, Lucy Ricardo, "No," and she would find a most creative way around it. She didn't always find success, but the point was that she would try. And that's all one can really do, right? Is to try. The answer is always "no" until you ask. So with that in mind, I figure it can't hurt to...well, I'll get to that in a minute.
I round the corner, and I see wax figures from my favorite TV show—including one of Weston, in costume as his cult hit character—dark blue button down, leather pants and black combat boots.
Damn if that man didn't rock leather.
I pause, looking at the waxy skin and glassy blue eyes. It's cool, yet creepy, and I wonder if this is his actual real life size. I remember at one of the cons back home in Rosemont, they had these "life size" card board cut outs, and that was pretty nifty. But this here was full 3D. I took a pic with "him" and the other two characters from the show, and kept on moving. Tomorrow would be the big day, and I would finally get to see the man myself in the flesh.
Here's hoping I don't vomit on his shoes.
Oh, thinking of shoes reminded me that I don't have a suitable pair to wear with my pink cocktail dress tomorrow. I head to Aldo in the mall, and buy a ridiculously high pair of black wedge thingies, but they look really cute and slim my calves. I notice a black belt and a nice black and white bag on sale, and decide to get those as well.
This will certainly jazz up my outfit.
I decided at the last minute that I needed to have a "look." I wanted to make a statement, and what I had on its own just wasn't it. But this little venture to the mall pleased me greatly, and now, I feel that my confidence level is where it should be.
Well, higher than before.
I have dinner at one of the many, many sushi restaurants. I like how LA has grade ratings for all of the restaurants out here. I don't plan on going to any place with less than an "A." I have a glass of plum wine and a couple of sushi rolls and sashimi, and I finally start to feel myself really relax. This is a vacation after all, and I shouldn't be so nervous.
But here's the deal: I plan on asking Weston Moore out. As in, on a date or for a drink or something. Or at the very least, plan on slipping him my number.
Why, you ask? Because...why not? I don't have anything to lose. Hey, I'm young, single, and he's older and single...and there's just something inside of me that wants to try. Weston was one of my schoolgirl crushes, and I think it'd be nice to know if it's possible to, well, get with him. Ugh, there has to be a less dirty way to phrase that...I mean, I'm just gonna ask him for a drink.
I really do think he is a regular guy, in spite of how nervous this whole thing makes me. But I figure I can't not go for the dream. And if he says no, I won't be anywhere less than where I am now. And it wouldn't be the first time I've ever asked a guy out or told a guy I liked him—been doing that since the fifth grade. Don't know why other than, if I see something or someone I want, I just went for it. Sure, there's the option of sitting there and pining, but what's the point of that? I believe in making your own luck as opposed to sitting back and waiting for things to happen, and that's what I'm going to attempt to do here.
I've been in his fandom and the fandom of his show since I was sixteen, and I guess I'm now officially tired of watching from afar.
I take my dress out of the closet of my hotel room and hang it in the bathroom, getting ready to steam it. And I sincerely hope that when he sees me in this little number tomorrow, that he will notice me in the best of ways.
It took about forty minutes to drive from the Westin Hotel at LAX to the Busby Mile High Club. In spite of my nifty directions, I veered off of La Cienega to Fairfax. In fact, the street Fairfax, though one lane, chock full of gridlock and scaring me out of my mind that I was going to be late, put me closer to the club than the former. Perhaps I should have done reconnaissance the day before, but my procrastinating nature had me miss that boat.
Anyway, I find a kickass parking spot at this postal office parking lot (for free), almost directly behind the club, opt to not wear the three-and-a-half-inch heels I bought, slip on my flip flops and head in. Once going up the steep stairs to the upper level of the building, I see lots of women milling about in this room off to the side of the bar. Through a pair of double doors leading to the concert/club portion, I can see Weston, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, talking to a couple of people. There he is, in the flesh. I think "hmm," ignoring the acceleration of my heart, hope I won't start nervously sweating under my arms or on my face as I am so prone to do when overly nervous, and wonder when the damn thing will start. There's supposed to be a mingling meet and greet, a question and answer, photo ops, autographs, and then a concert of the album material that evening.
A few minutes later, after becoming rapidly tired, annoyed and just a bit hurt at how the women in the room pretty much ignored me, and having no one to talk to, I reach into my newly purchased bag to get my cell phone, only to find that it wasn't there. I rush back to my car to retrieve my forgotten cell, and rush back slowly to the club (and by slowly, I mean...I went briskly, but I'm trying like hell here to not sweat my carefully applied makeup). I slip on my heels and then go back up the stairs to see that they still haven't started. There's some kind of problem with the lighting, allegedly. So, at about twenty or thirty after, we're allowed to go in, pick a seat, and free to grab some of the crackers, cheese, veggies or fruit spread out, or a drink from the bar. I hadn't eaten all day, but I was too nervous for even rabbit food.
I go to the bar, get a bottle of four dollar water, and try to pull myself together. It is then of course, that as soon as I turn around, there he is—standing a couple of yards away from me in an old Hell's Angels leather jacket, which was a tad peculiar, given the heat. Perhaps it was prop? Anyway, the picture taking has begun. After a widening of the eyes of the first fan—a large breasted woman fawning all over him in the tiniest of tube tops for a D or double D cup, I mosey on along to the end of the line, sipping from the water bottle slowly. The woman in line ahead of me, a tad older and the only other black person for miles, asked if my nerves were getting to me.
Of course they are.
"Yeah. I do feel just this side of nauseous," I say to her, smiling slightly.
"Me too. First time?"
"Mine too. Sort of. But an opportunity presents itself—"
"And you gotta take it," I finish. We smile at each other.
"I'm Khloe," I said, extending my hand to her. We shake, and I think I have a good feeling about this girl.
"So, this your first time to the rodeo, huh?"
"Yeah," I replied, looking over at Weston.
"Well, I've only been to a convention he was at. But, I told my husband that I wanted to do something special for me, and this is pretty unique."
"It is. That's why I decided to come. For my birthday."
"Oh, it's your birthday? Happy birthday to you, then!"
"Thank you." I smile politely.
"Well, it's not my birthday. Every once in awhile I just get restless and simply have to do something for me without the ol' ball and chain."
"That sounds fun."
"It'd be more fun if I had more friends into this kind of stuff. Or rather, any friends into this kind of stuff."
"I know what you mean. I had to come out here all by my lonesome because...well, no one else gets it. This whole 'fangirl' thing. The only people I know who like this stuff I haven't exactly met."
"Ooh, you mean fandom people?" Her eyes kind of lit up at that.
"Yeah. I write fan fiction, and made some friends on LiveJournal, that sort of thing."
"Me too! Well, not the 'write fan fic' part so much as read it, but I do iconing and banners. What's your name on there?"
I tell her, and it turns out we're both terribly familiar with each other. We embrace in a big hug, happy to have "found" each other.
So, the line has moved quite rapidly during all of this...and I try to ignore the nerves that seem to be eating holes in the lining of my stomach and intestines. It feels awful, honestly. I have no idea why I'm so nervous. I mean, he is just a guy...
So what if I've had a crush on him since I was thirteen, during those awkward adolescent years where I felt the awkwardness extra hard... That's no big deal.
Who cares if he's going to look at me, and if it's in disgust, I might crumple into a gigantic pile of dust or run away or wish to be deep under a rock somewhere...
Okay, this is all getting away from me just a tad. I need a drink. Like, a strong one. But that can't possibly be good...
I drink some more water, and try to phase out all of the conversations going on around me, and not stare at Weston. Nope, definitely not gonna do that. Cause staring is bad, and my mom taught me way better than that. Manners good; staring bad.
I was only three people away, I found myself gripping the rails that were used as a wall for the upper level above and next to me for support, then wrapping my arms (I abandoned the water so that I could be jittery unhindered) around my torso. And then before I knew it, it was my turn.