Chapter One: The Night We Met
Travis drifted through the crowd, beer in hand and his eyes roving the faces. Many were familiar from his years in the industry but there were still quite a few fresh faces. As he slipped through a group of execs, his eyes land on her and they couldn’t be taken off her. She had silky brown hair that went to her waist, let loose and wild. Her dress was a brilliant color of Azul, it stood out against her tan skin. Her long fingers were wrapped around a wine glass, she was laughing with the persons in her group and her emerald eyes started moving through the party. They landed on him and stayed on him. They studied each other, she smiled in his direction and he returned the smile. His breath was shallow as he made his way towards her, she was beautiful, and he was nervous.
“Hi,” He said as he reached her, and she smiled turning towards him.
“Hi,” she replied, and they stood awkwardly. “I’m Evelyn,” she said, putting her hand out and he shook it, enjoying the smoothness of her hand.
“Travis,” he replied, and she smiled again at him. He enjoyed how her smile seemed to light up her entire face, it was fake and filled with falsities like many of the ones in Hollywood.
“I go to a lot of these, but I haven’t seen you at any of them,” he said, and she laughed.
“I’ve been in Europe studying, I just came back, and my father insisted I come with him,” she said, and Travis nodded.
“Who’s your father?” he asked, and she turned her head, looking through the crowd. She pointed, and Travis’ eyes followed. They landed on one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and Travis looked back at her. “Wow,” he said, and she smiled.
“That’s what everyone says when I point him out,” she said, and Travis smiled. “He’s a nice guy,” she said.
“I haven’t had the chance to get to know him, I didn’t know he had such a gorgeous daughter,” he said, and she laughed, her eyes lowering. Travis cursed his words; how could he not have come up with something better than that?
“Look, I really didn’t want to come to this to be honest, its’ not my scene.” She started, tucking a bit of her straight hair behind her ear and showing off gorgeous diamond earrings. “I told one of my friends I’d be at their party, did you want to come?” she asked, and her eyes met his again. Of course, he did.
“Yeah, sounds good,” he said, and she smiled.
“Great, let me just go make my excuses to my father,” she said and moved through the crowd, Travis watched her. She reached the bald tall man who looked down at her and listened as she spoke, he replied. Travis could tell from their body language that he had wanted her to stay but he quickly nodded, it was clear she was daddy’s girl. She hugged him and moved back towards Travis. “Come on,” she said, taking his hand again and leading him through the party. She put her glass on a passing tray and they exited the party in the night air. She stopped at valet, they were quick to grab her keys and rush off to bring the car up. “I’ve seen your show on the History channel,” she said, and Travis looked back to her.
“Oh yeah?” he asked, and she nodded.
“It got me through a lot of late nights of studying, good background noise,” she said, and he smiled.
“Well I’m glad,” he replied. He looked as a car came up and his eyebrows raised.
“Do you like it?” she asked as a Rolls Royce pulled up.
“It’s gorgeous,” he said, and she smiled, taking the keys.
“Thanks, it was a sendoff gift from my father,” she said, and they got in, she pulled away. Travis admired in the inside, it was immaculate, as though she hardly drove it.
“It’s fucking clean,” he said, looking around and she smiled.
“This isn’t a car you keep dirty,” she said, and Travis nodded, he had to agree. As she drove through the streets of Hollywood, they had a constant conversation going between them and as they pulled up to the house, Travis was more intrigued by her than before. She led him into the house, as she passed people they greeted her like she was their best friend and Travis got the feeling these were friends she had for a long time. “Meredith!” she exclaimed, and a pretty blonde turned her head, her blue eyes focusing on Evelyn. They moved to Travis and then back to Evelyn, a smile on her face.
“Evie! I didn’t know you were back!” she exclaimed, they hugged. “When did you get back?” she asked.
“Last night, I just came from one of my dad’s parties,” she said, and Travis saw her roll her eyes, he couldn’t help but smile. She clearly wasn’t enchanted with Hollywood. “This is Travis, I rescued him,” she said and smiled up at him, he couldn’t help but return the smile.
“Well its lovely to meet you Travis, I’m glad you could come,” Meredith said, shaking Travis’ hand and he smiled back at her.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Bars open, foods on the deck, enjoy yourselves!” Meredith exclaimed, raising her glass and Evelyn smiled.
“Thanks Meredith,” she said and pecked her cheek, leading Travis out towards the deck. She found a nook where there weren’t many people and grilled Travis on his career, his life. He found himself giving her all kinds of personal information, she returned the favor and before the night ended, he felt like he knew her well. It was late, when he checked his phone it was 4am. “Do you want to come with me?” she asked.
“Where?” he asked.
“Santa Monica, my dad has a house there and I want to see the beach,” she said, and he smiled. He knew it was only like twenty minutes and he knew he wasn’t ready to say good bye yet.
“Sure,” he agreed, and she smiled at him again. She hopped up from her seat, taking his hand again and helping him up. She led him through the party, exiting the house and they got into her car. The drive to the house was filled with conversation, this time more on political views and the difference between the US and Europe. They pulled up to a Contemporary styled house and she turned the car off. She led him through the gate and shut it carefully behind her. “This is a beautiful house,” he said, admiring the architecture.
“Thanks,” she said and led him inside. It was a modern styled house, minimalist. She opened the fridge, grabbing two beers and led him through the house, upstairs. She led him into a bedroom and out on a balcony where there were views of the ocean. They sat at the table and stared out towards the ocean, enjoying the view. “I’ve never someone like you in all the years of parties,” she said, and they looked at each other.
“No?” he asked, and she smiled, shaking her head.
“No. You’re humble, no one is humble in Hollywood,” she said, and Travis smiled, shrugging his shoulders.
“I was raised like that,” he said, and she smiled.
“It’s refreshing,” she said, and he smiled at her. They fell silent again.
“So, you mentioned your dad a lot but…where’s your mom?” he asked and quickly there was a dark shadow across her features, the first time her smile had left her face.
“She died a while ago,” she said, and Travis immediately felt awkward.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, and she nodded, shrugging.
“It’s okay, you didn’t know,” she said and fell silent again, her eyes on the view. “It was her own damn fault,” she said, and Travis studied her profile. She seemed cold and angry about her mother’s death.
“I’m sorry,” he said again, and she sighed, shaking her head. Her eyes looked back to him and she smiled.
“I don’t like you, I’ve told you more tonight than I’ve told my therapist,” she said, and he smiled.
“Sorry,” he said again, and she laughed, shaking her head.
“It’s okay, I’m glad, you’re a nice guy,” she said, and he smiled. “She died from an OD,” she said.
“Fuck, I’m sorry,” he muttered, and she nodded.
“So was I,” she said and shook her head. “Selfish cunt,” she said, and Travis raised his eyebrows but remained silent. “I found her, you know? Like what mother puts her kid in that situation?” she asked, looking back at him and he studied her, he didn’t know what to say. “I came home from school and found her in bed, she had suffocated from her own fucking vomit. That wasn’t in the obituary, Ill tell you that much,” she said and took another drink of her beer. “Fuck,” she said, shaking her head. “I haven’t thought of that in a long time, still I hate her for it,” she said, and Travis nodded.
“I get that,” he said, and she shook her head.
“It was my graduation week too, she died two days before I graduated,” she said and stared at the table, Travis studied her. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, it was awkward. “Do you know what its like to find your mom dead in her bed and then have to accept a diploma, to look in the crowd and not find your mom’s proud smile?” she asked, her eyes held him in place and he shook his head.
“I don’t, I can only imagine how much that sucks,” he said, and she laughed.
“Sucks a lot,” she said. “My dads tried to fill her spot for years, but he never could, I love him for it though,” she said. “I wish he would remarry, he deserves to be happy, but he says he married his soulmate, there was no one else for him,” she said, and Travis saw the tears in her eyes. “She didn’t realize how much she was going to fuck up, how many people she was fucking over,” she said, and Travis leaned into the table, taking her hand. She looked up to him and smiled, shaking her head. “Fuck, how do you get me to talk about this shit?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about it, I don’t mind hearing it,” he said, and she smiled at him.
The sun woke Travis first and the sensation of being in a strange bed. He rolled on his back and looked beside him, Evelyn was fast asleep. He reached out and pushed aside her hair from her face, admiring her beauty. The sex had been different than any he had experienced before. Usually it was either drink fueled, or passion fueled. Last night it was raw, emotional and intense. He had felt emotions and understanding exchanged between them as they had sex. He had met her last night but felt like he had known her for a life time. He wondered if this is what it felt like when you fell in love, but he doubted he could’ve fell in love that quick, he didn’t believe in that love at first sight. He got up quietly and made his way into the bathroom. As he went, he looked around and saw framed pictures on the vanity. Finishing, he flushed and went to the sink, washing his hands. He leaned down, studying the picture of a happy looking girl enclosed in a beautiful auburn-haired woman’s arms. It was obvious from the picture the love the woman held for the little girl and it added gravity to her words last night. It was clear her mother loved her deeply and Travis couldn’t understand how someone with that amount of love could hurt them so bad. He didn’t expect anything from the hook up, but he knew that he couldn’t just turn off the feelings for Evelyn. There was something there and even if it meant he had to resort himself to be a friend, he would do it. She had too much let down already in her life and needed someone to stand by her.