Two agency assistants attend the same party but have very different experiences. 1,860 words. Part One. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.
“Where were you, man? I’ve been looking everywhere,” Wade Torville said as he sidled up to Casey Strong out on the street after the Goliath Vs Superfly summer tentpole’s first screening. The two twentysomethings worked at rival agencies.
“We got shunted to Theater Two,” Casey admitted.
“Aww, isn’t that too bad,” Wade said with a smirk. “We were seated right behind Will and Jada and their brats.”
Casey had considered lying but not in front of his date Gigi Mayer, a serenely self-possessed junior attorney in business affairs at Warner Bros. The beauty was way out of not just Casey’s but also Wade’s league despite the fact they both wanted to sleep with her. Gigi, as she’d promised, fell asleep during the movie and actually snored a couple of times. So Casey was relieved that they’d watched the monster actioner in Theater Two before the full-frills studio premiere party.
“So what did you think?” Casey asked.
“Awesome!” Wade said, as if his dad had just given him a new car for his sixteenth birthday.
“Awesome in what way?” Gigi challenged. and Casey opted to nod in solidarity. While his inner geek had enjoyed the film, he found himself counting the number of times – at least twelve — he’d witnessed the destruction of Big Ben and the Golden Gate Bridge over the past five years.
“From start to finish,” Wade said, defiantly pushing his face toward Gigi. “It’s an instant classic.”
“An instant classic,” she repeated, mocking him. “I see.”
“Sorry if it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy like some dumb Woody Allen film that only fifteen people go to see. This is going to gross a billion easy.”
“Why the harsh, man?” Casey warned, locating a fragment of his backbone.
“Whatever,” Wade retorted, throwing his hands up in the air and barreling through the crowd toward the party while his hapless date Elsie tried to keep pace with him.
Thirty feet on, Casey was stopped by a guard. “Passes,” he said. Casey flashed the gold colored ducats. “That way,” the guard said pointing left.
“Yoo hoo,” Wade said, waving from an exclusive roped-off area opposite and flashing platinum passes. A waiter walked past holding champagne flutes and Wade grabbed one, almost bumping into Chris Evans and Colin Farrell.
“Sorry,” Casey said to Gigi, feeling both humiliated and embarrassed that he was delivering a second rate experience for her yet again. “I know you only came to get into the party. The good party.”
Gigi snatched the gold passes from Casey and dumped them in the trash. Grabbing his hand, she yanked him toward the roped off area.
“Passes?” another guard asked.
“My dad ran ahead of us. He has them,” Gigi explained, pointing to an older man twenty feet away. “Dad? Dad!” she yelled.
The man, who could have been her father but wasn’t, turned around with a confused look on his face.
“Passes!” she called out.
He hesitated for a moment and held up his platinum passes.
“See? He has our passes,” Gigi said, widening her eyes at the guard and giving him a big smile. The guard, while leery, was a sucker for a pretty face. He unhooked the velvet rope and granted Gigi and Casey access. “Thank you so much,” she said with a slightly flirtatious lilt to her voice.
They were not twenty feet into the party when the older man approached. “What were you saying?” he asked Gigi.
“My mistake,” she responded cooly. “I thought you were someone else. But you’re much handsomer than he is.”
How did she do that? Casey wondered, now completely in Gigi’s thrall. “Can I get you a drink?”
“I’ll say you can,” she said. “A Tom Collins.”
“Just ask the bartender,” she laughed.
After joining her in a Tom Collins (which prompted his gag reflex), they sampled the mediocre food and ogled the occasional celebrity from a respectful distance. By now, Casey had recovered somewhat. It helped that Gigi’s all-business exterior had fallen away. She was almost congenial.
“So your friend…”
“Right. He’s a real dick, isn’t he?”
“Not always,” Casey said, though he struggled to recall the few times when Wade had actually behaved. “I just think he’s jealous because you agreed to be my date.”
Gigi bobbed her head up and down. “Oh, I see. So tell me: do you two have some sort of pact to see who gets into my pants first?”
The question caught him up short. Before he could think of a clever cover story or diversion, he found himself confirming her suspicions. “Guys can be dumb like that sometimes. I apologize.”
“So if he asks you tomorrow, are you going to lie and say you scored?”
“No. I would never do that,” he said, his mortification now all but complete.
Gigi mulled over his answer and was about to respond when a tall glamorous cocoa-skintoned woman appeared and pulled her into an embrace. “Gigi. You funny little so and so,” the amazon cooed in a giddy voice.
“Darnelle, how are you?” Gigi said, adding as if they were chatting in the privacy of the ladies’ room, “You look amazing, bitch.”
“I do, don’t I? Are men staring at me?”
“My date is. Aren’t you, Casey?”
Indeed, Casey was enrapt by Darnelle, her lithe limbs, her form-fitting dress, her flashy persona.
“Darnelle is a fashion model. Vogue. Elle. Harper’s.”
“Nice to meet you. You’re very beautiful.”
“Aren’t you the sweetest?” Darnelle said, bestowing an air kiss on his cheek. “He’s cute, Gigi. I’d like to just put him in my evening purse.”
Darnell’s compliment caused Gigi to look at Casey as if for the first time. “Will you excuse us for a moment? Some girl talk,” she said, pulling Darnelle behind one of the tented booths. Casey could see their silhouettes as they leaned into one another to share confidences.
“Who’s the tasty taco?” Wade said, appearing behind Casey.
“A friend of Gigi’s,” Casey said with a wince. “Darnelle. A fashion model.”
“No shit?” Wade marveled.
“I sent her home. She said she was tired. What a relief. So are you going to introduce me to this Darnelle?”
“Well, I just met her myself and….” Casey’s voice trailed off as Darnelle and Gigi returned.
“Ladies,” Wade said, bending at the waist.
“And who might you be?” Darnelle said, vamping Wade with her eyes.
“Name’s Wade. A pleasure to meet you.”
When she extended her hand, he kissed it.
“Ooh, a gentleman,” Darnelle said, and even Casey had to roll his eyes at Wade’s lame attempt at chivalry. “I think I might let you buy me a drink.”
Wade offered Darnelle his arm and they strutted away, but not before he turned to Casey and whispered, “Don’t wait up.”
Bemused and perhaps a bit envious, Casey watched them go off together, Darnelle chattering a mile a minute and stroking Wade’s arm.
“I guess your friend got lucky,” Gigi said and Casey picked up a hint of mischievousness in her voice.
“You didn’t set that up, did you? I mean, why? She’s a total babe.”
“Yes. Truly the girl who has everything. Including an Adam’s apple,” Gigi smiled slyly.
Casey gasped and then a roar of laughter forced itself up from deep in his gut. “When do you think it’ll dawn on him?”
“Only after it’s too late,” Gigi giggled. “Darnelle can be very aggressive.”
“You’re bad,” Casey teased.
“Oh, come on. You’re not enjoying this?
“Totally,” Casey said with a winsome smile.
Gigi gave him the once over again, then said, “I’ve had enough of this. Why don’t you take me home?”
“Yeah, you must be tired,” Casey said, crestfallen that the evening was coming to an end just as they were warming up to one another. But, once again, he found himself rejected by a hot woman who’d no doubt spent the better part of the evening trying to do better.
“Did I say I was tired?” Gigi asked suggestively.
“Oh,” Casey said, after a beat.
“Are you going make me to spell it out?”
“Me? But I didn’t think you were at all…”
“I wasn’t. But it’s late and the party’s thinning out, and no offense but neither Chris Evans nor Colin Farrell has thrown himself at me.”
“No offense taken. I’m used to it. Let’s go.”
After some unexpectedly vigorous and rather vocal sex, Gigi lay back on her pillow. “You know, that was not half bad, uh…”
“Casey,” he reminded her. “But I’m not always that good. I was inspired.”
Looking over at him, she murmured, “Keep saying things like that and I might even let you have another go. Would you like that?”
“Oh yes, please,” he replied, effusive and blushing with embarrassment.
“But, first, tell me: why do you aspire to be a dick, by which I mean an agent?”
“Do you really believe all agents are dicks?”
“I’d say a disposition towards dickishness is a significant prerequisite,” she explained.
“I work with some agents who aren’t dicks.”
“Mid-level agents, right?”
“But the top guys. Total dicks, right? Sell their mother down the river types.”
Casey nodded again. “And lawyers aren’t dicks?” he said before he could pull the words back.
“No. Lawyers are sharks. Ruthless and vindictive. That’s why I fit right in. But I don’t think you fit in with agents. And I mean that as a compliment. You don’t have what it takes to be a total dick. Your pal Wade, on the other hand, has a head start.”
“Boy, you really have it in for him,” Casey said.
Gigi sat up in bed, revealing her perfectly formed breasts, which Casey longed to hold again. “Probably because I used to be attracted to guys like that, and to a degree I still am. Guys who aren’t content to screw you; they also have to screw you over. I’m making a conscious effort to sleep with men who are less sure of themselves, even a little insecure.”
“Because we try harder and tend to be more grateful?” Casey ventured.
“Yeah, you might say that,” she said, with a slight chuckle.
“Well, I do. And I am,” he said, reaching over and gently stroking her left breast. “I think I’m getting my second wind.”
“See? A dick would have said something obvious and vulgar.”
“So, is that a yes?”
Gigi nodded. “If you promise to seriously consider another line of work.”
“But I want to be in the movie business,” he said.
“Then work in the movie business instead of just sucking off ten percent of its blood.”
“Take me out to dinner Friday. We’ll put our heads together.”
Being so close to her, and further excited by the certainty of seeing her again, Casey began to run his tongue over her nipple, Gigi let go a little sigh.
“One last thing,” she added. “You have my permission to tell your friend that we did it tonight. It will add insult to the injury he’s probably receiving at this very moment from Darnelle. This time maybe we should do something that will make him squirm. Go on, wow me. I dare you.”