Interview with Nika Mays of 8455 Fountain Ave., West Hollywood. Employed by the Virtuoso Artists Agency. Detective Matt Lopez interrogating.
Lopez: Can you describe your relationship with Chloe Gamble, please?
Mays: I’m her agent. I was, I mean.
Lopez: Were you familiar with her family … her mother, Earlene Gamble, and …
Mays: Travis, her twin brother. Yes, I knew Early and Travis.
Lopez: And the father, Lonnie Gamble?
Mays: I knew the rest of the family first. But I met Lonnie when he arrived in Los Angeles—
Lopez: From Texas?
Mays: I don’t know. We weren’t exactly making how-was-your-trip small talk. Chloe and Trav were not happy to see him. I assume he came from Texas. The Gambles were from a town called Spurlock, Texas.
Lopez: And you met Lonnie Gamble when?
Mays: I met him at Chloe and Travis’s house, the same day everyone else met him.
Lopez: Who do you mean?
Mays: We were all there trying to talk sense into Chloe. It was me, Sean Piper—he was her lawyer. Um, Amanda Pierce and Jude Morgan—those were Chloe’s friends who worked on her TV show …
Lopez: Cover Band?
Mays: Yes. Amanda did wardrobe and Jude was the set photographer. Then there was Max Tyrell, Chloe’s boyfriend. Marc Duval, her publicist. And Travis and Chloe, of course. And Early was there, too. Oh! And Sasha Powell.
Lopez: The movie star?
Mays: Yeah. But she stormed out before Lonnie showed up. She and Trav had a fight about Chloe. They were dating, you know, and Sasha thought Chloe was a bad influence on Travis—
Lopez: Let’s keep the focus on Lonnie, please. You say you were at Ms. Gamble’s house?
Mays: Yes. Chloe and Travis had just moved into this great place in the Hollywood Hills and we were supposed to be having a housewarming party. But Chloe went and accepted a role in a movie—
Lopez: I’m sorry, keep to the facts about Lonnie.
Mays: I’m getting there. We were fighting, that’s my point. Chloe was the star of the TV show Cover Band. She was under contract to the network. But Matthew Greengold offered her a role in his movie, and you know who Greengold is …
Lopez: Yes, Ms. Mays, even us cops go to the movies.
Mays: So you know he’s the biggest director on the planet. Well, Chloe was ambitious. She wanted to be in his movie and she said she’d do it. But it meant she would have to break her TV contract and that would lead to lawsuits, so we all wanted her to change her mind. It was a tense situation. When Lonnie Gamble showed up, he walked into the middle of a … well, a kind of career intervention—
Lopez: I really have to ask you to focus. I don’t want to hear about Chloe Gamble’s career. I know you Hollywood people think the world revolves around the Business, but I’m investigating a murder.
Mays: Detective, I’m not trying to be difficult. I know that even the biggest movie is not as important as the fact that a human being is dead. But if you want to understand what happened with the Gambles, you have to understand Chloe’s career. Everything—everything—was about Chloe’s career.
Nika Mays’s Manuscript Notes: Prologue
The cops never did get it. They always wanted to put each part of Chloe Gamble’s life into its own neat little box, as if that would help them solve the murder. Box one: her crappy family life. Box two: her too-mature-for-a-sixteen-year-old love life. Box three: her enemies. Box four: her fans. Box five: her bank account. Box six: Hollywood itself.
All of those things were the same to Chloe. All of them bled into one another until the only thing she knew was what she wanted. She wanted to be famous. She wanted her fans to love her. She wanted to destroy her enemies. She wanted men to desire her. She wanted to sing, to act, to earn, to conquer, to climb high above the nasty, dead-end life she had been raised to expect. Most of all, she wanted to escape from Spurlock, Texas. And from Lonnie and Earlene Gamble.
Chloe’s career—Chloe’s fame—was her fuck you to her parents, and it was also her entire reason for being. Chloe’s want… that was her true self. Way down deep, that was her whole personality. It took over her career and her family, her friends and her lovers. It was everything to her.
Maybe the police could’ve solved the murder if they understood that the way I did. Maybe that’s why I know who did it and they don’t.
Looking back, it’s clear that the day Lonnie Gamble arrived was the day it all began to go bad. At the time, he seemed like small potatoes to me, as my boss, Hal Turman, would’ve said. Chloe was being reckless—again—and she expected me to bail her out. I’d gotten the girl a starring role on a teen TV show, and it had made her famous. Then, when she broke her contract and recorded her own music instead of the show’s, I’d renegotiated the contract. Every time Chloe went and did something stupid, I found a way to fix it. But this time I couldn’t see a way out.
Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to confront Chloe. She was never a girl who would cave in to pressure. But at the time, all I could think about was how she was going to ruin it all, everything that we had built together. It wasn’t only her career at stake, it was everybody’s—mine and Hal Turman’s, because we had just sold our agency to Virtuoso, the biggest name in the Biz. If Chloe got herself sued by the Snap network for breaking her contract, then Virtuoso would be dragged into a huge lawsuit … and Hal and I would be out on our asses. It was Sean Piper’s career, because he had scored a huge promotion at Webster and White, his entertainment law firm, based on our last renegotiation of Chloe’s deal. And it was Marc the publicist’s career, and Amanda the stylist’s, and Jude the photographer’s. And even Travis’s career … would anyone really hire Chloe Gamble’s twin brother if Chloe got blacklisted? Maybe some fourth-rate cable reality show, but otherwise it was the end of Trav’s acting career too.
Chloe’s stardom was the reason we were all so successful, and we didn’t want anything to jeopardize our success. It’s strange to see that in writing. It seems so selfish. But that day in the Hollywood Hills, I thought that Chloe was the selfish one.
She’d threatened to fire me and Sean: the two people most responsible for her current big-bucks contract with the Snap network. She said she’d dump us if we didn’t find a way out of the contract. It still takes my breath away that she could be so awful, so ungrateful. So focused on getting what she wanted that she forgot everything I’d done for her. So focused on the next big thing that she was willing to sacrifice the big thing she already had.
But that was Chloe. What she had was never enough—she always, always wanted more. I’d been paying attention to myself in those days, concentrating on my relationship with Sean and on selling the Hal Turman Agency to Virtuoso. I was thinking of me, and so I forgot to think about Chloe and her need to keep climbing.
That all changed the second that Lonnie Gamble walked into the house. He had such a dark presence, such gravity. Just like Chloe did. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, except it wasn’t a good thing the way it was with Chloe. She practically glowed; all you wanted to do was stare at her. But Lonnie, he was fascinating because he just oozed … meanness. That’s the only word I can think of. He was mean. But his face was perfect. He was a gorgeous man, there was no way around it. And yet all I had to do was look at him to know that it was a mask, that underneath that beautiful face was an ugly soul.
That’s why the second I saw him, it all came back to me: Chloe wanted to get away from him. And from her mother, Early. And from her upbringing in Texas. She wanted to get so far away from her past that it could never touch her again.
She’d become so successful that I guess I figured she’d already escaped. But Chloe didn’t think so.
Chloe was no idiot; she knew that her parents had both started out young and gorgeous and promising, and they’d ended up nowhere. Sometimes I think Chloe was terrified that she’d be just like them, that no matter how much money and fame she had, she would somehow fall into the same black hole that her folks had. That’s why she wanted stardom as big as it could be, as fast as she could get it. Maybe she thought that once she had it all, she would be safe.
Poor Chloe. She got all the fame and money in the world, but it still didn’t save her.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Lonnie Gamble, and he was the hottest damn thing ever to come out of Spurlock, Texas. That’s what my mama had told me back in the day, before she hated him so much that she couldn’t even say his name without swearing. Lonnie was tall and blond and gorgeous, and, more important, Lonnie was going places. He wasn’t just some regular Spurlock nobody, he was a bona fide regional rodeo champion.
But by the time he showed up in my living room in Los Angeles, he was nothing but a bona fide loser, and the hottest thing ever to come out of Spurlock, Texas, was me.
The day my twin brother, Travis, and me turned sixteen, we took our mama and left with only the clothes on our backs, and that’s because there was nothing left in Texas that was worth a damn. And that included my daddy.
“Just what in the hell do you think you’re doing in my house?” I demanded, soon as I got over the shock of seeing him again.
My daddy smiled his crocodile smile. “Your house? Well, ain’t you fancy?” His face might have been grinning, but there was a sneer in his voice. “Y’all buy this place with some of that TV money?”
It was a rental, but I wasn’t about to tell him that. “Nice, ain’t it?”
“It sure is, Chloe-girl,” Daddy said. He took a step toward me, like maybe he’d give me a hug. Like maybe we were a regular family having a reunion. For one second, I considered doing it. My daddy had never hugged me that I could remember. He always ignored me, except when he wanted something.
He wanted something now.
“Thanks,” I told him. “You’re not welcome in it.”
“That’s right, you get your ass outta here, Lonnie Gamble!” my mama shrieked. “You got a hell of a nerve showing up here after what you pulled!”
My daddy’s eyes never left mine, even when he was talking to Mama. “Nice to see you, too, Early. You want to show me to our bedroom now, or later?”
My mama opened and closed her mouth like a fish, but no actual words came out. “Mama don’t live here, Daddy,” Travis said. “Just me and Clo.”
“And I wouldn’t be sharing no room with you anyway!” Mama sputtered.
“Well, that don’t make no sense,” Daddy said with a chuckle. “Seeing as we’re man and wife.”
You could’ve heard a pin drop, at least in the two seconds before my mama hurled herself at him. That seemed to be some kind of signal for the men in the room, because all of a sudden my brother, my dreadlocked boyfriend, my sexy lawyer, and even my gay publicist were on their feet and moving to get between my mama and my daddy.
I didn’t get involved. I was busy thinking about what Daddy had just said. No way was he really here to get back with my mama. They couldn’t stand each other, and she hadn’t heard a word from him since the day we hauled ass out of Texas nine months ago. Far as I could tell, the only reason they weren’t divorced was ’cause neither one of them gave a crap about their marriage vows anyway.
But my daddy never said anything he didn’t mean, in one way or another. He talked sideways, that’s what Mama always said. I used to be pretty good at figuring out his doubletalk, but I hadn’t seen the man in months. I was rusty.
Max and Sean managed to drag my mama away, practically throwing her at Travis, who held on tight. My daddy just laughed the whole time.
“Well, she is a hellcat, ain’t she, boys?” he said. “Travis, how about you introduce me to your little posse here? I’d like to say thanks.”
Travis turned away without a word, leading Mama out to the balcony for some air.
“Guess I’ll have to do it myself.” My daddy held out his hand to Sean. “Lonnie Gamble.”
Sean ignored the outstretched hand. “My name is Sean Piper, and I’m with the law firm of Webster and White. We represent Chloe and Travis.”
“Great! So you’re our family lawyer?” Daddy said. “I’ll have to get your business card.”
“No, I’m Chloe’s lawyer, and Trav’s.” Sean’s voice was cold. “I am categorically not your lawyer, Mr. Gamble.”
Daddy pulled his hand back, studying Sean’s face. My whole body tensed up, and I wished Travis would get back in here to help me deal with this. My friends didn’t know how to handle my daddy, they wouldn’t understand that he was dangerous, that you had to move slowly around him, like you do around a rattlesnake. You never knew when he would strike. The sooner we got rid of him, the better.
“I told you to leave, Daddy,” I said. “You’re not wanted here.”
“Hush up, Chloe, the grown-ups are talking,” my daddy said. “I’m afraid I don’t quite see how you can represent my little girl but not me, Mr. Piper. Chloe ain’t got no legal rights on her own.”
“I have the right to throw you out of my house,” I snapped. My heart was pounding hard, but I kept calm on the outside. Me and Travis were emancipated minors, which meant Daddy had no power over us, though he didn’t know it. I was hoping if I reminded myself of that often enough, it would start to feel true.
“Sweetpea, I don’t even see how it’s legal for you to live in this house without your mama or me,” my daddy said. “That’s why the lawyer and me need to talk things over.”
“The only thing I need to explain to you, Mr. Gamble, is that from now on you’ll have to go through me if you want to contact Chloe or Travis,” Sean said. “My client has asked you to leave.” He took a step closer to my daddy. “Leave.”
A couple weeks ago, that kind of speech to my good-for-nothing daddy might’ve made me want to jump Sean right there in front of our whole crowd of friends. But now, I couldn’t help sneaking a glance at my agent. Sean’s girlfriend. Or were they just fuck buddies? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.
Nika wasn’t looking at Sean, though. She was looking at me. “Clo, call the cops,” she said.
I just stared at her. I’d called the cops a couple times back in Spurlock when my mama and daddy would get into one of their brawls. The cops never even bothered to come to the house ’cause they knew my parents would put on their everything-is-fine act as soon as they had an audience. Well, an audience besides me and Trav.
“You told him to leave and he won’t,” Nika said. “Call the police.”
“I’ll do it.” My friend Jude—my first and best friend in Los Angeles—grabbed her cell and started dialing. I felt a little burst of warmth go through me. We’d all been in the middle of a fight when Daddy walked in here, and it had been all of them against me. But now they were on my side, and that’s where I needed them. Too bad my daddy had to show up to get them there, but I’d take it.
Daddy was still in his pissing match with Sean. “I tell you what, I heard California was a strange place,” he said, “but I didn’t know I needed a lawyer to talk to my own family.”
Before Sean could reply, my daddy did a quick change and turned to Max. It was a trick of his—leave people hanging, always get the last word.
“What about you?” Daddy asked Max. “You’re no lawyer. What’re you, Clo’s hairdresser?”
I’d forgotten how my daddy could manage to make every single word out of his mouth sound disdainful, as if he was the hottest, smartest, most kick-ass guy in the world and you were nothing. Max wasn’t me—he didn’t have my steel, and he didn’t know that it was all just an act Daddy put on to cover what a mess he really was. Max hadn’t even opened his mouth to answer when I stepped up beside him.
“Max is my boyfriend,” I said, taking his hand. Max glanced at me in surprise, and I knew I’d scored a point or two. When we’d first arrived at the house today, he’d been mad at me along with all the others. He’d been thinking I only wanted him to piss off his ex, Kimber Reeve. Truth was, I liked Max for himself. He calmed me down. But I don’t think he’d ever heard me call him my boyfriend before.
Daddy gazed at Max’s long hair. “If you say so.”
“He’s more of a man than you’ll ever be,” I muttered.
“Let’s get this all out of the way,” Marc piped up. He swished toward my daddy, looking way more gay than he usually did. “I’m Marc, I’m the publicist, and I’m a raging homo. I’m going straight to hell, I’m an embarrassment to real men like you, and I ought to have the crap beat out of me. You got anything else to add, Mr. Gamble?”
My daddy just stared at him, slack jawed.
“I didn’t think so.” Marc turned his back and headed for the kitchen, while Amanda just yelled from her seat on the couch. “Yeah, and I’m Mandy and I’m fat!”
I had to laugh. Marc had never struck me as a fighter before, but he’d nailed my daddy right away. And Amanda didn’t ever seem to care what people thought of her, least not until she was alone. I’d interrupted her downing an entire pizza by herself once after a bad day at work on our TV show, Cover Band, even though she’d been as brash as ever on the set.
“Well, you got yourself a nice collection of Hollywood freaks, Clo,” Daddy said, turning back to me. “Who’s the black girl?”
“I’m Nika Mays, Chloe’s agent,” Nika said. “And I’ll be the one talking to the police when they arrive to throw your sorry butt out of here.”
Daddy’s eyebrows shot up. “No need to get angry, Nika. We’re all on the same side.” He gave her his good-ol’-boy wink, as if that would work on a classy girl like my agent.
“Everyone should stop trying to talk sense to him,” Travis called from the balcony. “He don’t care if the cops are coming.”
“But these cops don’t know you won that one tiny-ass rodeo back in the nineties, Daddy,” I said. “They just might treat you like a regular deadbeat dad.”
“Not when I’ve got a famous daughter,” Daddy said.
“Especially when you’ve got a famous daughter,” Nika replied. “That’s what I’ll be talking to them about, how Chloe doesn’t want you here. And how their kids all have Chloe Gamble posters on their walls. Believe me, they’ll take your daughter’s side. Welcome to Hollywood, Lonnie.”
“I see a black and white down the hill,” my mama sang out.
“Guess I’ll be going, then.” My daddy didn’t even have the decency to look embarrassed, or ashamed, or like he’d just had his ass handed to him. He gave me that typical, cocky, rodeo-champion grin of his. “Just wanted to let you know I’m here for you, Chloe girl. It ain’t right to have the family split up like this.”
“Go back to your little piece of ass in Texas, Lonnie,” my mama called. “You got no family to rule over no more. The kids are emancipated now!”
For one brief second, I saw a flash of doubt in my daddy’s eyes, and then it was gone. “I still got you, Early. You and me are family till death do us part. What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours.”
Mama rolled her eyes. “You ain’t even got nothing.”
“Well, it appears that you do,” he said. “That’s a damn nice bracelet you’re wearing, by the way.”
Jude had to hold my mama back this time, but Daddy didn’t bother hurrying. He just sauntered out the door like he had all the time in the world.
As soon as he was gone, my friends all started talking at once, trying to figure out how to deal with the cops, who would be here any second. Amanda lit up a cigarette right there in my nonsmoking living room, Mama headed straight for the bar, and Max rubbed my shoulders. I didn’t listen to what anyone was saying, and I didn’t listen to the conversation at the door when the cops showed up. Nika got rid of them pretty quick, now that there was no Daddy to throw out.
The whole group was buzzing like a bothered beehive, but only me and Travis understood what had really just happened. Everyone else thought they got it, but they didn’t. We’d been free for the first time ever, free of that man and his constant manipulations and his nastiness and his selfish, horn-dog ways, and even free of the way he made Mama into a worse version of her usual awful self. For nine magical months, we’d been free.
And now we weren’t.
Trav and me stared at each other while they all flitted around acting as if there was something we could do, anything we could do to get free of Lonnie Gamble again.
“Just how smart is your dad?” Sean’s voice broke in. “We told him to get out of the house, but will he try to see you again in public, or at work?”
“Ooh, in public would be bad,” Marc said. “We couldn’t get rid of him without making a scene, and a scene isn’t good for your image, Clo.”
“He’s smart enough to do that,” my mama answered. “He’s no genius, but he knows how to get what he wants. If he can find a way to get to Chloe, he will.”
“Well, that’s not enough to get a restraining order against him,” Sean said. “But we can hire some security if we don’t want him around.”
“I’ll call the studio and make sure they put him on the watch list,” Nika added.
I grabbed her hand before she could pick up her cell. “You don’t need to call the studio,” I said. “I’m not going back to work on Cover Band, remember? My jackass of a daddy won’t be able to get anywhere near me once I’m in England.”
Everybody stopped and looked at me.
“What’s in England?” my mama asked.
“That’s where we’re shooting Frontier,” I told her. “For the first month, anyway.”
The warm feeling in the room vanished, just like that. For a long, long moment there was silence—the kind of judgmental silence I’d faced in Hollywood ever since my first disastrous “audition” at NBC. The kind of silence that most people couldn’t bear … and the kind of silence that I didn’t care about at all anymore.
“What?” I said. “Did y’all think that I was gonna turn into some well-behaved little simp just because my daddy showed up? I’m still doing that movie.”
Nika sank down onto the couch. “Honestly, Chloe, I don’t even know what to say to you anymore. You signed a contract. If you break it, you’re out of a job on Cover Band.”
“And so am I, and so is Jude,” Amanda put in. “And Jonas, and little Maddie, and all the other actors on the show.”
“And the makeup people, and the production assistants, and the cameramen,” Jude said. “Think about it, Chloe. There’s probably fifty people who have jobs right now just because of you. If you skip out on the show, you take all those people down with you.”
“Why can’t I just take all those people up with me?” I said. “If I’m a big movie star, won’t the TV show get even better ratings? Won’t everyone be even more in demand because they work on a huge show with a huge star?”
Nika frowned, chewing on her lip.
“Technically, yes,” Marc answered for her. “But that’s only if you still have a show. If you get fired, so does everyone else. We were very successful in making it a Chloe Gamble vehicle, and that means there’s no show without you.”
“Come on, they won’t fire me,” I said. “I’m the Snap network’s biggest star.”
“And you’re trying to ditch them,” Nika pointed out. “They’re going to do everything they can to keep you.”
“What happens if I don’t go back to the show?” I asked Sean. “Legally, I mean. What can they do? It’s not like they can throw me in jail for breaking my contract.”
“They’ll file suit against you. And they’ll prevent you from doing the movie,” he said. “Matthew Greengold’s company won’t legally be able to hire you when you’re bound to the Snap network.”
“Oh.” I felt a rush of fear. I’d worked too hard to land this movie role; I was not about to give it up just because of some stupid contract. “Fine, then, Snap has to say it’s okay,” I said. “How do I make them do that?”
“You don’t. You tell Matthew you want to be in his next movie and you trust that there’s a part for you. And you keep making the show that turned you into a star,” Max said gently. “Chloe, there will be another big movie. The timing is all wrong for this.”
“There won’t be a movie this big,” I said. “It’s an epic. It’s a Greengold movie. And I know I’m supposed to do it.” I turned to my agent. “Nika, remember how I targeted that NBC show?”
“Yeah. You crashed the audition, got tossed out on your ass, and landed on the Hollywood blacklist,” she said drily.
“But I was right. That audition I crashed, that’s why I have this movie offer now. The director who saw me that day recommended me to Matthew Greengold. My instinct was right. And when I recorded that song with you, Max, it got me in trouble with Snap,” I went on, grabbing his hand. “But it was a fantastic song and now it’s a hit. It’s going to be the first track on the Cover Band soundtrack. I wasn’t supposed to even write it, but I did. Y’all are always mad at me when I misbehave, but it always works out in the end.”
“Chloe, every time you ‘misbehave,’ as you call it, more and more people in the Industry think that you’re difficult. It gets harder and harder to clean up after you,” Nika said.
“You telling me that Angelina Jolie always followed rules? Or Anne Lynch?” I said. “They’re so famous that nobody cares if they’re difficult.”
“Well, you’re not,” Marc said flatly.
“Not yet. But I will be after I walk off with an Oscar for Frontier,” I said. “Come on! Y’all used to believe in me! What happened?”
“We still believe in you, Chloe,” Jude said, but she sounded tired. “But you’re asking us all to take a huge risk just because you want to take a huge risk. And all the people on Cover Band, you’re not even asking them.”
“It ain’t easy having people who depend on you, is it, sugar?” my mama sang. “Maybe now you can appreciate how hard it was for me all those years, trying to provide for my children.”
“Yeah, using Chloe’s beauty pageant money,” Travis muttered.
“Y’all are not my children,” I said. “You’re grown people who know how to take a chance. You took a chance on me before. Listen to yourselves! You sound like a bunch of corporate drones, all talking about rules and jobs and contracts. What happened to the people who came up with the single most creative career launch in history? Don’t you remember how we made me a star just by sticking our homemade music video on the Web?”
I glanced around the room. They all looked tired, pinch faced, and annoyed at me. It was time to change tactics.
“Look, I know I’ve been acting like a bitch and I’m sorry,” I said. “We’re a team, we always have been. I know I couldn’t have done it without you, Nika. Without any of you. You’ve always had my back.”
“Then why won’t you listen to our advice now?” Nika asked.
“Because I want this so much!” I said. “Matthew Greengold wants me in a movie. He wants me to act with Anne Lynch and Harlan Reed. Me. Just think about that. He didn’t even make me audition, he came looking for me, to put me in a movie with an entirely A-list cast. Nika, that is incredible! It’s beyond belief. It’s a dream come true—it’s every dream I ever had come true, only about a million times better.”
For a few seconds nobody spoke. Then, out of nowhere, my mama came tottering over and flung her arm around my shoulders. “That is incredible, darlin’,” she said. “Nika, can’t you find some way to work this out for my Clo? You’re always wheelin’ and dealin’ with them big network honchos, you must be able to pull some strings.”
I couldn’t believe it. Mama was pouring on her Texas charm and flattery … for me.
“You just don’t want your gravy train to stop, Mama,” Travis said.
“Well, neither do I,” I told him. “I want the gravy train to go on forever, for all of us. And I know this is the right thing to do. I’m sure of it.”
“You being sure of it doesn’t magically erase all the legal obstacles,” Sean said. Still, he sounded less stubborn than before.
“I know. But I trust my gut. I’ve been right every time I took a chance in Hollywood. I might go about things in the wrong way, but I always know the right direction to go in.” I looked them each in the eyes, the way my mama had taught me to do when facing the beauty pageant judges. “Please, be on my side. Stop telling me how I can’t do this. Start telling me how I can.”
GAMBLEGOAL: Sasha, baby, I’m sorry.
GAMBLEGOAL: That scene with my sister was bad, but Chloe’s my blood and we stick together. I didn’t mean for you to leave. I would’ve gone after you but my father showed up.
GAMBLEGOAL: Sash? Can I see you?
SPOWELLASST: Ms. Powell is unavailable. Please leave word at her office if you require a response.
GAMBLEGOAL: Srsly? Your assistant is returning IMs? That’s cold.
SPOWELLASST: Ms. Powell is unavailable. Please leave word at her office if you require a response.
E-MAIL TO COOP
Coop, what the hell? Did you know my asshole father was coming to California? Dude just walked in like he owns the place. Not that he even noticed me—he was all Chloe, all the time. I forgot how much I hate him.
Whatever. When are you getting your butt out here? I need backup, now! I’ll send you the money if you need it. Hell, you can fly first class on me.
Sasha Powell totally dumped me. She won’t even take my calls, just because I decided not to move to New York with her. I think she thinks I chose my sister over her. But what was I supposed to do? Chloe’s having a career crisis and everyone’s kinda pissed at her, so she needs me here. You know how it is—we’ve got each other’s backs. Even a girlfriend should understand that, right? But Sasha’s treating me like I’m some stalker who she can just blow off with auto-reply messages.
Chloe told me that hanging out with Sasha was ruining my career—these days I’m in all the gossip blogs as “Sasha’s boy toy” and nobody even calls me for auditions anymore. So what am I now? “Sasha’s ex–boy toy”? You know what, screw that. I’m getting on the phone right now and getting myself some work.
Why is my sister always right?
Anyway, I could really use some sanity, Coop. Where are you?
Ed Decter is a producer, director, and writer. Along with his writing partner John J. Strauss, Ed wrote There's Something about Mary, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3 as well as many other screenplays. During his years in show business Ed has auditioned, hired, and fired thousands of actors and actresses just like Chloe Gamble. Ed lives in Los Angeles with his family.