Hi, my name is Debbie and I'm a long time reader, sort of a lurker, I decide to finally write a story of my own. I hope you guys like it! This is just the first part obviously, and I'm hoping to add more parts.
The Laws of Love
One month ago, I sold my first screenplay to Paramount pictures.
It was kind of a big deal. I moved out to Los Angeles 10 years ago, expecting to become a big hot shot screenwriter. My first screenplay involved what I felt was the romance of the century, and was also a movie that would bring you to tears. Literally, you would've had tears running down your face and soaking your shirt. Except you actually wouldn't, because nobody bought that screenplay.
I wrote about 10 others. Maybe 15, I've lost track. I kept tweaking them, hoping that I'd hit the right combination of elements that would attract the interest of the major studio. And I kept being disappointed, over and over and over.
Let me tell you something. When you're 30 years old, being a waitress has lost a lot of its glamour. But I was determined to keep staying in shit jobs, because I didn't want anything to make me lose my motivation to become a screenwriter.
And now, 10 years after I wrote that beautiful love story, I've done it. I've sold my first movie. It's called Revenge of the Giant Mouse Kings.
Yes, I compromised a little bit.
Still, it's worth it. I can't quit my horrible waitressing job just yet, but the dollar figures on the contract Paramount gave me actually made me feel little bit dizzy. If America falls in love with the giant mouse kings, I will be a very rich woman.
"You have to get a lawyer to look over your contract," my roommate Denise told me as we celebrated my success over ice cream. Actually, I was celebrating over ice cream (Rocky road), and Denise was celebrating over cottage cheese. Denise is a model/waitress and she is constantly watching her figure, despite the fact that she weighs as much as I did when I was eight years old.
"I don't think I have much bargaining power here," I told Denise. "Anyway, I don't have enough money for a lawyer."
"I've got a friend who's a lawyer," Denise said. I wasn't surprised, Denise has a friend in just about every field. You need a plumber? Denise has a friend. You need somebody to teach you how to hang glide? Denise has a friend. Denise makes lots of friends. I would probably make lots of friends too if I looked like Denise.
"I don't know about that," I said. Denise's friends are always happy to do her favors. Not so much her less attractive friends. "Anyway, I hate lawyers. They're horrible people."
"Sam is super nice." Denise winked at me. "Also, he single."
"Wonderful," I muttered.
I wasn't too enthusiastic about meeting this supposedly "nice" single lawyer, but then again, Denise had a point. You don't sign anything in this town without having a lawyer look it over.
The law office of Samuel Howard was relatively small and unassuming, which made me have some hope that I might be able to afford his fee, taking into account the "Denise's ugly friend" discount. The secretary who occupied the desk outside his office was elderly, and if she was an actress/secretary at any point in time, she probably dropped the actress part long ago.
To be continued.
"Go right on in, Miss Tabor," the secretary told me with a sweet smile on her face.
The door to Sam Howard's office was cracked open, so I pushed it through the rest of the way. Sam Howard was sitting at his desk, writing something down, and despite my innate loathing of lawyers, I actually didn't hate him.
Everyone in this town is incredibly handsome. It almost gets tiresome. Like, I'll be waiting in line at the DMV and the person behind me looks like an actress and the person behind me looks like he should be modeling in his underwear. And then when I get to the desk to apply for a new license, the guy filling out the form is so handsome, I'm practically blinded. That's why everyone wear sunglasses in this town. It's because everyone is so damn good-looking.
Anyway, Sam Howard was not amazingly, blindingly, disgustingly handsome. He was just a normal, ordinary amount of good looking. Like the kind of guy I might've known in high school in Minnesota and thought he was cute, without having to wonder what speedo ad I saw him in. It was very refreshing.
And it didn't hurt that he had a really cute smile.
"Mr. Howard?" I said, feeling suddenly shy and nervous.
"Ms. Tabor," he said, nodding at me, broadening his smile. "You're Denise's friend, right?"
I nodded. "Not one of her model friends though."
He laughed. "Thank God."
My, I was really getting to like ordinary good looking Sam Howard.
He didn't stand up but shook my hand (his was large and warm), and gestured at the chair in front of his desk. "Please have a seat, Ms. Tabor."
"Please, call me Chelsea," I said. "I mean, you're the friend of a friend."
Was I flirting with him? Maybe. It'd been so long since I had been around a man who wasn't prettier than I was.
"Then I'm Sam," he said. "And Denise told me you got some exciting news."
I slid my thick contract across the table towards him. He let out a low whistle. "Paramount," he said. "Nice job, Chelsea."
I shrugged, like this wasn't something I'd been working on and praying for for over a decade.
Sam picked up the contract from the table and flipped through it. At first his brow furrowed in concentration, but then as he continued to read, a slow smile grew across his lips.
"Revenge of the Giant Mouse Kings?" He asked, raising his eyebrows.
I felt my cheeks growing warm. "Yes. So?"
"Sounds brilliant," he said with a little chuckle. "But I have to ask…"
"So the mice are giant, right?" he said. "But does that mean that they're the size of people? Or larger? Because mice are inherently small. So giant mice might just be the size of like, a dog or something. Not that that wouldn't be really scary."
If one of those super handsome model guys had said something like that to me, I probably would've wanted to slap him or scratch out his beautiful eyes. But I was beginning to get the sense that Sam was flirting with me, and I wasn't unhappy about that at all. "I guess you'll have to wait for the movie to find out," I said.
"I can't wait," Sam said. "Who do you think will play the main giant mouse king?"
"I don't know," I said. "I always sort of imagined Charlise Theron in the role, but I'm not sure she'll be interested.
"I bet she will be," Sam assured me. "I can tell you have talent. Besides, who could turn down a role playing a giant mouse?"
"Giant mouse king," I corrected him.
He winked at me. "Even better."
I shifted in my seat. I was loving our little interaction, but I knew things were about to get awkward. "Listen," I said. "How much do you usually charge to look over a contract like this?"
"Usually?" Sam raised his eyebrows. I noticed a scar along his jawline partially hidden by his 5 o'clock shadow that made his ordinary good lookingness delve decidedly into the sexy category. "It depends on who I'm talking to. But usually I get around $1000."
I almost choked. "Wow, that's… I mean I can't really…"
"It's negotiable, of course," Sam said.
"Well, the thing is," I said, "This movie might do well, but right now, I'm just paying the bills with waitressing, so I don't really have much… I mean, I could pay you in installments or something…"
Sam flipped through the pages of my contract, a thoughtful look on his face. "That's okay," he said. "You're a friend of Denise and all. I'll do it free of charge."
You have to understand, Denise was the sort of a person who was used to getting everything for free. I'm not. I've never gotten even so much as a small cup of coffee for free. Well, maybe a small cup of coffee. But I never had guys tripping over themselves to waive a $1000 fee for me.
"You don't have to do that," I said, feeling suddenly nervous again.
He shrugged. "I overcharge most the time anyway." He grinned at me. "Anyway, if you want to make it up to me, you can let me take you out to dinner."
My heart skipped a beat. I'm a writer, so I know that saying your heart skipped a beat is really clichéd, but at that moment, I literally felt a bit of a palpitation in my chest. I might have to see a doctor for that.
"But you're doing me the favor," I pointed out. "Shouldn't I be taking you out to dinner?"
Sam shook his head. "I would never allow that to happen."
I sucked in a breath. "Well, okay then."
Sam's face lit up. It was actually very flattering. I mean, I'm not so unattractive that men don't occasionally ask me to dinner, but most of them don't seem nearly so pleased when I agree. Most of the time, I figure I'm just the girl they're dating in between models.
Sam and I were both sort of smiling like idiots as he took down my phone number, which he probably already had. "I'll get you the contract by the end of the week," he promised.
"Okay," I agreed slightly breathlessly.
"Let me walk you to the door," he said.
I rose from my seat and was momentarily confused when Sam ducked down under his desk to grab something. When he emerged, he was holding two metal crutches. I watched him as he threaded his forearms through the rings on the crutches, then pulled himself carefully into a standing position. As he made away his way around the desk, it became obvious that he didn't have a cast on or a walking boot or anything temporary like that. It seemed like there was something seriously wrong with his legs. Serious and permanent.
I can't say I reacted with anything less than complete shock.
"Oh," I blurted out. "I… I didn't realize…"
Sam stared at me. I could see the red creeping into his ears. "You mean Denise didn't tell you that I…"
No, she didn't. Denise completely failed to mention that the cute single lawyer needed crutches to walk.
Thanks a lot, roomie.
The smile was absent from Sam's face as he walked with me out of his office. I use the term "walking" loosely. "Limping" would probably be somewhat more accurate. "Gimping" might work too, although I'm not entirely sure that's a word... I'll have to look it up. In any case, Sam clearly needed those crutches. He was leaning heavily on both of them. His left leg seemed stiff as a board as he dragged it behind him, and his right leg was shaky and unsteady. That said, he didn't fall on his face or do anything else horrible.
We walked together past his secretary and then he led me outside. It was one of those usual sunny Los Angeles days, but today there was a bit of a breeze in the air. The wind lifted Sam's short hair slightly and tousled it in a way that was pretty adorable. His cheeks were still pink with embarrassment as he lifted his brown eyes to look at me.
"Listen, Chelsea," he said softly. "You don't have to go to dinner with me."
"No," I replied. "I want to."
And I realized it was true. Crutches or not, Sam was still the most attractive man I'd met since I moved here. I wanted to go to dinner with him. I wanted to get to know him better.
"I'll still take care of your contract for free," he said. "Really, it's okay."
I stuck my chin up in the air. "And I said I wanted to go to dinner with you."
Sam studied my face for a minute, maybe deciding if I was serious or not. Finally, that adorable smile spread across his face again. "Well, okay then."
"Except I want to pay," I said.
Sam shook his head. "Not a chance."
To be continued.