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When we got up, Nancy and I walked to the main house so I could say goodbye to everyone. We all had breakfast together, and they told me their plans for the day. Devin was taking them all horseback riding in the morning. In the afternoon, the guys were going to watch football bowl games. The girls were going to go to another movie.

I caught a ride with Sandy to the airport, after Nancy gave me a kiss or three. It was a bittersweet ending to the vacation. I liked her a lot, but we were in different places in our lives. We each needed to move on and find someone who was a better fit. Sandy wanted her own goodbye. I was still a little confused as to how we were going to work things out. I felt us getting together was a mistake, but you couldn’t take it back. I knew we’d always be friends.

When I got to the airport, I went through security and had forty-five minutes to kill, so I called Tami.

“Happy New Year,” I greeted her.

“Happy New Year to you, too. Are you headed to the airport?” she asked.

“Already here. My flight hasn’t started boarding yet, so I thought I’d call.”

“I’m glad you did. I wanted to talk to you about this summer.”

“I heard you want to get a place in Chicago.”

“Yeah, it’s a new program they have set up for promising high school students. Teddy Wesleyan pulled some strings and got me a slot. I have to tell them in the next couple of weeks if I’m doing it. Are you okay with spending the summer in Chicago?”

“I might not be there a lot, but I’d be okay with it. I think you need to convince my mom, though. She’s not on board. I’d bet if you let the moms find us a place to live, she might be more inclined to let us do it,” I suggested.

“David, I want you to really think about this. We haven’t been getting along recently, and then as soon as I get back we’d be sharing an apartment. Are you sure about this?”

“It’s not like we’d be getting a one-bedroom and shacking up. I’m sure if we weren’t getting along, we could find things to do in Chicago to keep us distracted. Plus, like I said, I’ll be on the road. I have football camps and other things to do. I would hope, though, that we could work on rebuilding what we once had. It would be sad if we couldn’t make it work.”

“I miss you, too,” she said.

I heard them call my flight. I said goodbye, and made my way to the boarding area. I was flying coach, but the good news was the flight was almost empty. The later flights were fully booked. I was happy to be getting out of town before the holiday rush hit. As I was boarding, I got a text from Kendal telling me she’d meet me at the hotel. She was going to be getting in a couple of hours later than I was.

I boarded and found I had the row to myself. I put on my headphones and played some music. After takeoff I fell asleep until I felt us start to come down. I guess I needed a nap. I got off the plane and went to baggage claim. After I collected everything, I went to find a cab. It was sure different from Park City. When I left it was 26°, and the current temperature in LA was 68°. I almost felt like lying out in the sun and working on my tan.

We were staying at the Beverly Hilton. They’d booked me into a Wilshire Tower Executive Suite, and the room had a great view of the city. I saw the flashing light on the hotel phone, indicating I had several messages waiting for me.

The first message was from Kendal, letting me know her flight was delayed. The second voicemail was from Janice Utley, our producer. She gave me the time and place where we were all meeting tomorrow. They made it convenient, as we were meeting in the hotel in one of the corporate meeting rooms. There was a call from Jessup Fields, the director. He wanted to get together with the four leading actors for dinner tonight. Finally there was a message from Craig Wild. Craig was playing the lead character and he wanted me to go to a party with him and his ‘entourage,’ as he called them. I think someone had been watching too much HBO.

I called Janice and got her assistant. I confirmed I received her message. I then sent Kendal a text and put the meeting on our calendar. I called Jessup and got his assistant and confirmed dinner. I was told to meet him in the lobby. When I called Craig, a girl answered. It sounded like a party was going on by the loud conversation and music in the background. I heard the phone clatter on the counter and her yell “That farm boy is on the phone.”

“David!” an overexcited guy answered.

I guess he knew who the ‘farm boy’ was.

“Craig?” I asked.

“No, this is Kent. Craig is, ah, busy right now. He wanted to know if you could come out and party tonight. We’re going to Chubby Feldman’s place. He always has the best women, so you have to come,” Kent told me.

If he was talking about Charles Feldman, then I was there. He’d made some of the biggest-budget movies in Hollywood over the last ten years.

“Can I bring a friend?” I asked.

“Girl or guy?”

“Girl?”

“Is she cute?” Kent asked.

“Yes, she is.”

“Is she over 18?”

“Yes. Why the third degree?” I asked.

“Let’s just say Craig doesn’t have very good impulse control. It’s my job to make sure he isn’t exposed to underage women.”

I had to laugh. I was starting to like Kent. I wasn’t so sure I liked Craig, but I shouldn’t pass judgment until I met him.

“Let me give you some tips before you go. Hire a driver for tonight. If you happen to have a couple of drinks, the last thing we need is you getting arrested. Don’t go cheap and just get a cab, because there’ll be paparazzi skulking about. You need to have the image of someone successful.

“Don’t get drunk or take any drugs at the party. If you want to do that, come over here and we’ll take care of you. Now, if you decide to partake in the bountiful supply of women, wear a condom. If they’re party hos, they’ll be a lot of fun; but, they’re a lot of fun with three or four different guys,” Kent warned me.

“So I should stay away from them?” I asked.

“Hell, no! You only live once, and until you’ve experienced what they have to offer, don’t be turning your nose up at it. Why do you think I plan on going?” Kent said, laughing.

“I don’t know, Kent. I’m just a poor farm boy coming to the big city. Where I come from, you put a ring on it before you ever do anything like that. My mama would be a might disappointed if I were to lose my innocence my first night in LA,” I explained in my best farmer drawl.

“I was afraid you heard that. Sorry for the farm boy comment. Craig is someone who grows on you. He actually has a good heart, when he isn’t focused solely on Craig. Plus the poor innocent farm-boy routine is a bunch of crap. I’ve seen who you’ve worked with. If you really were some hayseed, Adrienne wouldn’t give you the time of day.

“Now it might be a good angle to try on the party hos, since they like breaking in young men. On second thought, we might not see you the rest of the week,” Kent joked. “Look, I’ve been around some and I’ve seen it all. If you need anything, or have any questions, call me.”

Kent gave me his cell. I was thinking I got lucky that I didn’t get through to Craig. I was wondering what a party ho looked like. I have a pretty good imagination. I wasn’t surprised that Mr. Happy had some ideas also.