Home > Everything Leads to You(14)

Everything Leads to You(14)
Author: Nina LaCour

Even though she’s saying the right things, I almost wish she wasn’t. Another person might see this sitting in the sun on a Saturday morning in Los Angeles and think it’s just a sofa, a castoff from an estate sale, no more or less special than any other sofa. Morgan understands, though, that it is, in fact, more special.

“This is my friend Rebecca.”

“Hi, Rebecca.” I channel Charlotte, stand, extend my hand like a professional, trying not to wonder if Rebecca is in some way affiliated with vastness.

“Morgan’s been telling me about you,” Rebecca says.

“Oh.”

“Good things,” she says.

“Great.”

I’m too confused to say anything else. Is Morgan telling her about me because she’s her new girlfriend? Is she telling her how great I am out of pity?

“I’m sure you guys have things to do,” I say, grabbing one of the sofa’s gorgeous arms. I feel really young and really foolish and desperate. I wish I had a limitless supply of friends with trucks. I wish I didn’t need her. I wish I had called Charlotte instead so she could have facilitated a truck rental. That is Charlotte’s job, after all: facilitation. Why didn’t I let her do her job?

The three of us carry the sofa to the bed of Morgan’s blue truck and lift with all our strength. It slides in.

“I’ll follow you guys,” I say, and turn and get into my car before they can say anything else to me.

~

All the way to the lot, I try to think about life’s vast possibilities. Not as a means of self-torture, because I’m not that type of girl. But as a means of trying to get over Morgan. Life is vast. Many things are possible. Morgan was right about that. So even if she is dating Rebecca now, maybe the world isn’t necessarily over for me. There are still Ava Maddoxes to find and sets to create and girls to kiss and colleges to attend. It’s possible that someday I will hear a Patsy Cline song and the heartbreak will barely register. It will be some distant, buried feeling. I won’t remember how much it once hurt.

By the time we get to the lot I am resolving to make it on and off set without crying. I park closer to the entrance than I usually get to because hardly anyone is here, and I ignore Morgan’s and Rebecca’s residual laughter as they climb out of the truck. I take down the tailgate and start pulling out the sofa, which is unbelievably smooth and plush. And when we set it down in the music room, this room I’ve created, it becomes official: This is the perfect room, the perfect sofa, the perfect set for heartbreak.

Morgan stands back and looks, but Rebecca walks all around it, paying attention to the sheet music and picture frames and the posters and trophies and rugs.

“You did this yourself?” She touches the top of the music stand.

I nod.

“The sofa really does suit the room. It feels authentic. How did you find it?”

“I looked for a long time,” I say. “I went to fifty-two garage sales and sixteen estates.”

“I’m sure you saw a lot of nice sofas, then.”

“Yeah,” I say. “But I knew what I wanted.”

Rebecca turns to Morgan and smiles a smile that says something. It isn’t a language I’m privy to, but it doesn’t seem like pity, so I don’t let it get to me.

“I’m going to call Theo,” she tells Morgan. “Really nice to meet you,” she says to me. She looks me in the eye. She shakes my hand again. I notice that she’s older than Morgan by at least a few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

She goes outside and I ask, “Who’s Theo?”

“Her boyfriend,” Morgan says. “Why?”

“No reason,” I say, looking into her face for the first time today. She looks back at me. I can tell that she likes what she’s seeing.

“Want to see what I’ve been working on?” she asks, gesturing to the far side of the set, where she’s been building the little brother’s room.

I pull out my phone; it’s one thirty.

“Wish I could,” I say, “but I have to meet Charlotte at the library.”

She laughs like she knows I’m playing hard to get, and I have to admit that it feels good to turn her down.

~

At 4:46, with Charlotte at the machine next to me scouring the Los Angeles Times, I find Caroline Maddox’s obituary in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Her name appears next to a small, grainy photograph.

“Char,” I say, and there must be something in the way I say it that tells her I’ve found it, because she sighs and says, “Finally.”

She scoots her chair closer to me. We read together.

Caroline Rose Maddox passed away on October 7, 1996. Born in Beverly Hills in 1974, she had a lifelong dream of being an actress. She had small parts in dozens of films, including The Restlessness, directed by Scott Bennings, in which she played a waitress in the climactic scene. In addition to acting, Caroline was a gifted gardener and a compassionate, loyal friend. She is survived by her four-month-old daughter, her best friend, Tracey Wilder, and the hundreds of people whose lives she made brighter by her presence in them.

“This is really sad,” I say.

“The acting stuff?”

“All of it. That she died, I guess. And the acting.”

“We all die,” Charlotte says.

“Well, yeah.”

“Sorry. It’s just that the acting part seems the worst. I mean, she was an extra. Her character didn’t even have a name but it was her greatest accomplishment.”

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