I was suffering from Bay Area PTSD. First, the weekend in Napa with Dean and his hoodlums, gave me an allergic reaction to anything related to Napa and now Konniving Kamel’s slimy prostitution proposal! I was done with San Francisco.
After spending the night at my sister’s apartment in the city, I took the morning flight to Los Angeles, the next day. Flying commercial right after being swept away on private jet was not as exhilarating, but at least I didn’t feel as cheap as a four-dollar bottle of perfume from Wal-Mart. Right?
Oddly enough, I felt like a failure, upon my arrival back home. Not that I had any regrets leaving Konniving Kamel high and dry at the restaurant. Maybe I was partly responsible for his delusion into thinking I would have stayed the night with him. After all, hadn’t I got caught up in a shower of glitz and glamour material affection? There must be more to love than meets the eye.
Lesson #38957 learned, do not accept dates by men who do not wear socks. Lesson #3858, do not go out with anyone who insists on surprising you at your home, unannounced, 2nd date in, when you never disclosed your address. Stalking much?
I arrived early afternoon, clothed in my sister’s Ed Hardy shirt and her “midget sized” Hudson jeans, being that she stood three inches shorter than me, her ankle length jeans hit my mid-calf. I looked like Kate Gosling, mom of 8, circa 2008. All I was missing was the side swept mullet haircut and the lip liner, sans lipstick, look. Needless to say, I was dressed completely inappropriately for Los Angeles.
Jessica, my landlord, must have sensed my arrival from down the street, as the taxi pulled up to the complex. She peered out of the front door, carefully eyeing me, trying to assess my demeanor in order to match my mood and judge how the previous night had gone. Being she was a couple years older, we had gotten close through the past year. She kept an eye out for me. My long hair had escaped from the clasp I secured it in, hours earlier. I had an imprint of the “return to Tiffany” stamp ring, on my left cheek, where I had once rested my head while dosing off in the taxi home.
“You look like you came out of a trailer park.” Jessica remarked while opening the front door for me. A strange draft from the A/C hit me, leaving goosebumps on my arms as I followed her into her office.
I looked like Kate Gosling, mom of 8, circa 2008.
Trailer park? She had NO idea. I glared at her, “Why thank you, love.” I tossed my clutch on Jessica’s desk, “That makes me feel a whole lot better.”
“Usually I’m the one who looks like crap next day after a whole night out on the town. “ She laughed. “What are you wearing?”
“I didn’t have a change of clothes since I was suppose to be in San Francisco for only a few hours, last night. But I had to dump Pepé Le Pew at the restaurant and spend the night at my sister’s condo.” I walked over to the mini fridge and helped myself to a bottle of water.
“Well, I had a feeling Mr. Tie me up, tie me down was too good to be true, so I asked around and a friend of a friend happens to be a matchmaker right here in LA! So, I got her information and I thought you could give her a try.” Jessica said with too much excitement in her tone.
“That’s the LAST thing I want to do! Ever. I’m going to shower and sleep this headache off. I’ll call you later,” I pushed myself off the couch and strode upstairs towards my apartment.
As I entered my apartment, I was met with an intense flowery aroma. I had forgotten, the beautiful bouquet of flowers from Kamel. It was delicately arranged in a tall vase on my kitchen table. In one quick swoop, I dumped the bouquet into the trashcan.
I took a hot shower and soaped off any memory of the over-the-top date I had had in SF. I slowly crawled into bed and nestled into my plush blanket. I shut my sleepy eyes and drifted off into blissful slumber, but not for long. Someone was banging on my door. Go away, I thought to myself. But no, the rapping at my door continued. I went to open my door, irritated and ready to kick whoever the idiot was, when Victoria blew right past me, huffing and talking in rapid speed. “Well, hello to you too, Victoria,” I sighed with relief, as I closed the door.
“Get dressed. We need to go out,” She demanded. She spoke like a Ninja on a mission. She was looking for trouble. Dressed up in solid black with a hat drawn down low to her eyes, and even a pair of black Nike shoes.
It was early afternoon and 90 degrees outside. “Who died?” I asked, puzzled by her attire.
“Nobody, yet. We’re going on a stake out tonight. I think John’s cheating on me.” Her jet black hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, to reveal a strong triangle shaped face. She had almond shaped hazel eyes, set wickedly within their sockets,- they held a death glare. The scar stretching from the bottom of her left cheekbone running towards her lips was a reminder of her unfortunate past dealing with the wrong men.
She stands defiantly among others, despite her small feminine frame.
Victoria and John had been dating for over six months, and while things had appeared magically blissful between the two, he had refused to introduce her to his friends and family, which sparked a fight. Understandably, this began to spin a web of questions about the direction of their relationship.
“Right now? I just showered, meditated and was ready for my nap,” I began.
“Yes, right now. Jehan, did you not just hear me? I think John is cheating on me!”
“Can’t I just tap in and read him?” I pleaded as I sunk into the sofa next to her.
“No, we do not have time for your hoodoo, voodoo, whatever it is you do, shit. We need to take matters into our own hands. I’ll make the coffee, you get dressed.”
Thirty minutes later, we piled up in her Range Rover and debated over who would drive. Victoria wanted to drive, rightfully so, as it was her car. She had a thirst for speed and her foul mood fueled the need. But, seeing how I did not want to die as a result of her road rage, I grabbed the keys out of her hand and gave her the job of navigating.
“So, where are we going?” I asked as I began to pull out of the apartment complex.
“Ok, he turned off his shared location with me. That’s a big no-no. He did say he’s going out with his friend, tonight,” Victoria began. She stretched in the passenger’s seat, cracking her neck along the way. “His friend’s name is Matt and he owns a boxing gym in Hollywood.”
“So how does that equate to John cheating on you?” I was logically following her irrationality.
She pulled out her long slick pony tail and adjusted her baseball cap. “Just stay with me. So I researched all boxing and gym related businesses in Hollywood. I then cross searched the owners and narrowed it down to two ‘Matt’s’.
Women always make the best detectives. Always.
Without pause, Victoria continued with her rant. Her eyes, all varied hues of hazel, could have chopped a man into pieces. “I then found these two guys’ addresses and thankfully they both live within a few miles from each other, so we can check out both of their homes to see if John’s car is there. I have all the information written down. Addresses, license plate numbers-”
“Did you get their social security numbers and blood type?” I asked, mocking her investigative work.
Victoria stopped mid speech, gasped and responded, “Oh, good idea! I didn’t think of that!”
“Vic, I’m kidding! This is a little insane, not gonna lie. And it’s still light out. We can’t go creeping in broad daylight. Let’s grab an early dinner and by the time we finish and deal with traffic, the sun will have set.” I was also hoping, I could calm her down and talk her out of playing Detective Jessica Fletcher, from Murder She Wrote.
We found ourselves at Katsuya, an upscale Japanese restaurant. I ordered sushi rolls, miso soup and edamame. Victoria ordered a large sake. “That’s all your having? I asked her.
“He’s cheating on me!”
“Ok … but you need to eat. You can’t keep hydrating yourself with caffeine and alcohol.” I surveyed the other tables and the serving staff. We should have gone to Bandera, I thought to myself. I ordered more rolls and Victoria caved and started eating with me. The sake and food did nothing to calm her nerves. It only gave her the energy to continue with her plan of attack. By the time we got the car from valet and snail bumped through Sunset Boulevard towards the Hollywood Hills, the sun had set. We drove through the windy streets heading towards Mulholland. At each curve, I felt a tinge of anxiety.
What if we get caught? What if John was found to be cheating? How would Victoria react? This had been the first relationship where Victoria felt happy. All the other guys she had dated before, where quick fixes and distractions from her underlying problem; attachment disorder. However, John, whom she had met during a happy hour, had sparked her soul something awful. She fell hard.
The first address we arrived at happened to be in a gated community. Internally, I gave a praise of thanks to the sanity gods. “Looks like we are blocked.” I softly said hoping she’d change her mind.
Victoria’s gaze fell on me, then towards the gatekeeper. “Do you think I can flirt our way in?” Victoria adjusted her top, pulling the shirt down and fluffing up her chest.
I quietly pulled off to the side of the road, turned off the headlights and tried to think of an alternative to slut-entry. The trees outside echoed with suspicion. “Let’s pull up and act like we’re Matt’s guests.” Victoria suggested.
“This is a gated community in the Hollywood Hills. The likelihood of being allowed entry without being cleared by the resident, is nonexistent,” I reasoned.
“Fuck it, I’ll do it myself,” Victoria climbed out of the SUV and headed towards the gate.
“Hey! Pst, where are you going?” I hissed leaning across the seat.
Victoria marched towards the wrought iron fence, out of sight from the security guard’s eyesight and put her hands on the metal bars. Was she really doing this? As if prepping herself for a leap, she pulsated her grip on the bars. In a quick movement, she secured one foot on a stonewall and leaped over the bars into the grass beyond.
“Oh Jesus!” I looked towards direction of the guard to see if we were in the clear.
“I’ll be back in a few minutes, don’t worry!” She said. Were we in an episode of Orange is the New Black? Don’t worry? Last time I checked, trespassing and breaking and entering was a crime, wasn’t it?
I sat in the darkness for some time. It was nerve racking. What if she found John with another woman? Then what? Just as I was contemplating all possibilities of a tryst gone south, I saw a pair of headlights heading down hill towards me. The car passed, but actually slowed as it did so. Enough for me to notice something strange. Did I just see Dean’s car?
Stay tuned for next week!