Home > Everything Leads to You(13)

Everything Leads to You(13)
Author: Nina LaCour

“Emi,” he says, tapping his head. “There is a world of Los Angeles history in here. I am absolutely sure.”

But I still run to the computer to make sure. And moments later, I find it on the Major League Baseball site. The Dodgers and the Braves. 3–0. 1996.

I groan, head in hands. “Why didn’t we check this before we spent all day in the library?”

“Hey, at least you have a new direction,” Dad says.

“Easy for you to say. You like this research stuff.”

“True,” he says.

I take out my phone and text Charlotte.

Braves beat Dodgers in 96. Back 2 library. 2 p.m.?

Chapter Four

After seven weeks, fifty-two garage sales, and sixteen estates, the impossible happens: I find the sofa.

It’s upstairs in a Pasadena house, my fourth and farthest stop of the morning, in a dressing room adjoining the master bedroom.

I push through the hoards of people to get to the woman who is clearly in charge and tell her I’ll take it.

“The one in the dressing room?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Hm,” she scrunches up her face. “That one’s on hold.”

I laugh because the universe must be playing a trick on me. But she doesn’t crack a smile, so I get serious.

“Nothing said it was on hold,” I say.

“I know but one of my clients expressed interest at the preview.”

“Expressed interest? That’s hardly putting something on hold. Did she pay a deposit?”

“No.”

“Then I should be able to buy it. I can pay you right now.”

“Why don’t you check back this afternoon?”

“I’ll pay you double,” I say.

“Fine,” she says. “But I need it out of here immediately. I don’t want it here when she comes later. This way I can blame it on someone else. You have a truck?”

I scoff like that’s a ridiculous question. It’s a scoff that says Of course.

While her assistants lug the sofa downstairs, I madly call all the buyers whose numbers are programmed into my phone. But all I get is voice mail after voice mail and I start to panic. The assistants ask me where the truck is and I tell them someone’s pulling it around. “You can just set it down here,” I say, and they set it on the dried-up grass of the front yard, bordering the sidewalk.

I sit on the cushions and try the next number. This way, if the woman comes, I’ll just refuse to get up. I’ll be ready to channel Clyde Jones. If you want the sofa, you’ll have to get past me first.

But soon I am out of numbers. I guess no one wants to work on a Saturday, but besides the studio buyers, I only know one person with a truck. I can hear Charlotte telling me that she would rather rent a truck than have me call Morgan for help, and she would be right to say it, but I can’t take any chances with this sofa. It’s everything I hoped it would be, only better: vivid green and soft, with these gold embroidered leaves, so delicate I didn’t notice them when I first saw it from across the room. In the first music-room scene, when the daughter is practicing, it will seem pretty but plain. Later, though, once she’s lying on it under the boy’s weight, and there are close-ups of their hands or feet or faces, people will see the thread and the leaves. I can picture the girl’s hair spilling over the side, blending with the gold, like she’s tangled up in a forest. There’s something fairy-tale-like about it, which is perfect, because fairy tales are all about innocence and ill will and the inevitability of terrible things. They’re all about the moment when the girl is no longer who she once was, and with this in mind, I surrender all doubts and shreds of dignity and call Morgan.

She answers on the third ring.

“I found a sofa,” I tell her. “It’s perfect. Please tell me you can help me get it to set.”

“Where are you?”

“Pasadena,” I say.

“Pasadena?”

“Yeah,” I say. “I’m sorry. But the couch is amazing. The couch is one of a kind, the best couch in history, the—”

“Okay, I’m at brunch with some people. I’m paying the bill. Text me the address.”

I hang up and text her, and then I lie down on the sofa and look up at the clear sky. Time passes and people pass, carrying the remnants of a dead woman’s life. I allow myself to imagine Morgan telling me she wants me back. I try to limit this particular daydream to two or three times per day, or else it becomes difficult to pay attention to the people and things around me. I’ve been lucky to have sofa hunting and Caroline Maddox as distractions, but now I have the sofa and I’m starting to agree with Charlotte that Ava might be a lost cause, and where will that leave me? The answer is simple: It will leave me in too many moments exactly like this, lying down somewhere, my mind occupied by the sound of Morgan saying I want you back (which is not a difficult sentence to imagine because it’s already happened five times in real life), placing her hands around my waist and pulling me toward her, kissing me in that passionate way that says I never thought I’d be able to kiss you again and now that I have you I’ll never let you go.

I’m absorbed by these thoughts when Morgan’s face appears above me. Next to hers is a woman’s I don’t recognize.

I sit up. “Isn’t it even more amazing than you could imagine?”

“It’s really cool,” Morgan says. “It’ll look great in close-ups.”

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