I return to the party.  The room is packed with everyone who is anyone in Hollywood.  These things always are.  That's what PR people are for.  I have my own team.  I should know.  My last birthday was insane.  Four nights in Vegas with twenty five of my closest friends and four different nights of parties with LA stars flown in for filler.  It wasn't a business event, but you would have thought that it was.  Every VP or Executive that was on "the A list" had been invited. 

Filled.  That's a word that would describe the room.  There are a good thirteen hundred people here.  We're all packed in here like sardines with drinks in our hands kissing everyone else's ass.  It gets like this after around ten every night that a party.  By that time everyone is loose and more than a little drunk and with nothing else to say to each other, time is spent schmoozing until everyone gets too tired to stand.  A little while ago I was right in the middle of things, right in the middle of dumb conversations about awards shows and movie sets and music studios.  Now I feel like an outsider.  I feel the pressure and fatigue of the last year fall onto my shoulders.

I wanna go home.  I was having fun, ignoring the fact that I'm dead on my feet and that tonight was more about the movie that Jasmine was staring in that anything that I was doing.  Addison is her friend so we're here, and I don't mind supporting Jasmine, since we've worked together, but I wish I could go home and sleep the rest of the night away.

"Hey."  Mike looks at me closely then tips his head a little to the side.  He's doing that parental look thing again.  He hasn't done it in a while, but it seems for a moment that he won't stop.  "You ok?"

I nod.  I'm in the middle of a huge party, with the best drinks and dancing this side of the continent.  I should be happy.  Should be.  I should be jumping for joy.  Should be.  But here I am.  I'm standing here staring at them wondering what they all are doing here and when I can leave.  When did I become such a wallflower.  When did I start to feel so alone in the middle of a crowd of people?

My mind is still out in the hallway, out away from where my date, where my girlfriend, no my wife is waiting for me.  Wife.  Wife.  Yeah wife.  I can feel my eyes widening at that thought.  It's such a shocking thing.  I can't believe that we're married.  It's been a week now, since that quick trip to Cabo San Lucas for the weekend--where--the both of us got a little tipsy and did it.  We haven't told anyone about it.  She doesn't even wear a ring in public at the moment since both our publicists think if we're going to keep this marriage together and stay married that we should have a public ceremony and share this with everyone in a better planned wedding than the one we held for ourselves.

"Lance."  Mike waves his hand in front of my face and I blink and smile at him lazily.  I know that I'm not sober, too many drinks makes that impossible, but I'm in a very somber mood all of a sudden.  "You getting tired?"

"A bit," I say and put my hand to my mouth to fake a yawn.  My hands are suddenly shaking and I tuck one of them into my pocket for a moment to steady them.  "You seen Addy?"

"Yeah," Mike says then turns his head side to side before he points towards the far side of the room.  "She's over there by the bar.  She was talking to Jasmine a little while ago."

I look towards the bar and see Addison and Jasmine standing at the bar, heads bent, talking.  They're both dressed in the latest fashions, but they look as if they would fit in at a high school prom right now.  I remember the one prom that I went to in high school.  It wasn't about being there with the girl I was with.  It was about the two of us talking to our friends about what might happen afterwards and how far we'd gotten on the dance floor without getting caught by the chaperones.

Tonight though there aren't any chaperones.  Or rather, there aren't any chaperones for me.  Mike is here as always, but he isn't the one telling me where to go and when to go home.

Tammy is another story.  She's always been here.  I've known that, heard rumors about her being sited around town since after our break up people kept it in the news that we'd been spotted together around town together.  At this point though I didn't think that I'd end up running into her.  I haven't seen her in a million years and I thought that maybe she'd left the business since she hadn't shown up at the events I've been to lately.

"Can you push through and get her?"  I pray that she's not letting out the secret.  She looks like she's ready to burst with the news.  I'm a little more focused about this whole thing.  Yeah, I'm happy that I married her on such a whim.  I guess seeing Tammy again has made me think about the past a little more than I have in a while.  She brought back a lot of things that I swore to myself that I was over, but clearly--standing here staring off into space, looking through my wife instead of at her--makes it clear that there are things that still haven't been closed and that need to be closed before I move on.

"Sure."  Mike doesn't sound too convinced about what he is doing in and why he is doing it.

I turn towards a booth near where we're standing.  "I'll be over here."

I watch Mike disappear into the crowd and then reemerge near the bar, blocking out the site of Jasmine and Addison for a moment before he turns and points towards me.  Addison waves then gives Jasmine a hug, speaks to her for a moment then takes Mike's arm as they weave their way back through the crowd.

When she gets to the booth where I'm sitting I don't get up.  Her eyes narrow and she stares at me.  She slides in next to me as Mike perches himself at the edge of the booth for a moment.  "Hi honey."

"Hi."  I try to sound excited to see her, but at this point my head is pounding, my buzz is gone and I'm just ready to head home.

"You ok?"

"I lost my buzz," I say and rub my forehead.

She moves closer, touches my face with her hand then kisses my temple.  Her breath smells of martini, her skin of roses with a hint of lemon from her hair.  "Maybe you're coming down with a cold or something.  The change in climate from here and Cabo probably is getting to you."

"Yeah," I say, "Maybe."  Suddenly I feel suffocated.  I move my neck to stretch it, moving away from where she now has found her way to drape herself all over me.

"Honey," she says, "Are you ok?"

"Yeah," I say, "Just tired.  How about we head out for the night?"

"Sure," she says, "You ready right now?"


She gives me a strange look and I instantly feel guilty.  I don't want to be a party pooper.  I'm never the party pooper, but tonight I feel as if all the helium has leaked from the balloon that was carrying me around the party earlier.  I'm ready now for a nice long hot shower and more than a few hours in a row of sleep.  Curling up with Addison should be what I want, but even that sounds too confining.

We make our way outside and as we're loading into the car I see Timothy standing near the doorway.  He gives me a nod, not in friendship and not in hate, just in acknowledgement.

"Who was that?"

"My ex-my friend's brother," I say as Mike pulls the car away from the curb.  He's good about looking as if he's not listening to what's going on, but I can tell after I've spoken, by the quick look back at me, that he's not pleased with the way I've described Timothy.

"You're ex-friend's brother?" Addison says.

I study her face instantly picking up on the fact that she knows that something about the way I've described Timothy isn't right.

"So which ex-friend is this?"

"Tammy," I say softly.

Addison may have been drinking tonight, but her memory doesn't seem to be at all effected.  "Tammy that girl that you used to hang out with who was a security guard?"

I can't remember if I ever mentioned Tammy to her before, but she clearly knows who she is and her relationship to me, at least the public one that we were so careful to preserve before she ended up leaving me.  I lower my eyes then move to look out the window.  "Yeah."

"Oh," she days, "Well you should have said hello to him or something."

"He and I don't really get along," I say.  I hate this.  I hate explaining Tammy to anyone since I'm still not sure what happened to break us up in the first place, but explaining her to my wife really is uncomfortable.

"We're here," Mike announces as he pulls the car up into the driveway of the house.  I've lived here for almost six months now and I still get surprised to see the house when we drive up to it.

"Thanks Mike," I say as I push open the door and reach a hand back to help Addison out.

"I'll see you guys in a few days," Mike says, "I'll give you a call the night before that party."

I nod and close up the door and take a deep breath of southern Californian air before moving towards the house.  I'm beat, but I have a feeling my night is no where close to being over.

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