The sputtering death-machine eventually crawled its way up to the valet parking kiosk that was situated on the semi-circular driveway outside the exploding wedding cake that was Damian Le Blanc’s Bel Air mansion. The steep, winding streets had taken a serious toll on the sexy, black convertible, but these days the bugger billowed acrid smoke merely from the effort of exiting Angelika’s car-port. Vintage cars were nothing if not a serious commitment and Angelika had begun to question whether or not she had what it took for the long haul.
On arrival, the girls had a brief but amicable fight over the rearview mirror and then they climbed elegantly out of the car. Angelika handed her keys nervously to the valet who in turn stared nervously at the phlegmatically smoking Impala which had suddenly become his responsibility and might consitute a real liability. Angelika remained standing next to the worried-looking valet while nervously fiddling with her long, perfectly coiffed hair as Samantha tried to pull her impatiently towards the house’s entrance.
Stubbornly, Angelika stopped, smoothed down her dress for the unmpteenth time and then she looked imploringly at her friend,
“Wait, Sam, seriously, do I look okay?” she whined.
Of course this was a crashing understatement as Angelika looked stunning as ever in an architectural flesh-toned Alaia bandage dress which was tastefully accessorised with towering Jourdin heels.
“Azzedine can die a happy man. C'mon.” Samantha strutted on, but Angelika hung back, dithering.
“I'm really nervous.”
“Why?” asked Samantha, breathing out in a dramatically long-suffering manner.
“I idolize this guy,” said Angelika, “I actually don't want to meet him in case I fuck up. I mean he's a brilliant, seminal artist.”
Samantha rolled her eyes and responded, “He's just a bloody actor, darling. Get a grip.”
“Samantha! Hello!” retorted Angelika, who was deeply offended by Sam’s attitude towards her fellow artist.
“Oops, sorry,” replied Samantha, chastened, “I keep forgetting that you're a serious thespian. Now will you please get a fucking move on?”
The girls finally arrived in front of the ornately carved front door and Angelika looked a little hurt as she turned to Samantha and pouted,
“I am very serious about my acting, you know.”
Samantha placed her arm comfortingly around Angelika's shoulder and said gently, “Yes love, I know you are.”
The girls entered the opulent entrance hall which was thronged with slathering, Armani–clad industry types, all looking over each others’ shoulders for the next bigger, better thing. Did anyone ever look anyone else in the eye here? fretted Angelika. A smiling liveried servant immediately materialized with a tray of champagne-filled glasses. Samantha helped herself to two and inquired,
“Dutch courage? Before you meet the great one?” Angelika eyed the elegant glass that Samantha proffered and grinned,
“One can't hurt.” They swallowed the icy Cristal and then Samantha immediately grabbed two more glasses and while giggling said,
“Two'd hurt even less.” The girls quickly polished those off and grabbed two further glasses while subtly scoping the crowd. “Oh, oh...9 o'clock. Celeb alert.” whispered Samantha.
Angelika dutifully squinted around the room but Samantha grabbed her arm painfully and said pointedly through gritted teeth, “Stop it.”
“Well, how am I supposed to know who you're creaming over?” muttered Angelika. “I'm not bloody psychic.”
“Rob fucking Lowe.” mouthed Samantha.
Angelika, underwhelmed replied, “Oh…Rob.” Samantha looked at Angelika as if she’d just announced that she’d joined a cult or something.
“Oh, Rob? That’s all you have to say?”
“Yeah, he asked me out a couple of months ago.” continued Angelika, ”Didn't I tell you?”
“What?” Samantha was astonished and rather piqued that she hadn’t at the very least been informed of this momentous and star-studded news. “Well, of course you went.”
Angelika sheepishly sipped her champagne. “Well, no. I couldn't. I...I had an early call.” Samantha placed her glass on a nearby repro Louis Quatorze console and faced Angelika.
“Have you lost your tiny mind? Don't you remember "The Outsiders?" The pact? You and Rob, me and Matt?”
Angelika shrugged, as she had actually regretted this decision as Rob had seemed really nice when they’d met and he was insanely gorgeous; but she didn’t wholeheartedly share Samantha’s desire to date famous men. Angelika found the whole fame thing deeply intimidating and weird, and she’d already experienced quite enough fame of her own, thank you very much. It just felt exceedingly strange when someone that you’d never met before could know so much about you or at least think that they did, and sometimes she found that supposedly devoted fans’ attitudes could change in a milisecond if they didn’t get the desired response from their chosen idol du jour. It could actually be rather scary.
“Well at least you kept up your end of the bargain.” grinned Angelika at her friend, remembering that fateful night at The Palladium in New York. Samantha’s naughty smile returned to her lovely face once more as she said,
“I did, didn't I?” The girls giggled then proceeded to sashay through the clamouring crowd to the sumptuous, overstuffed rooms that lay beyond the marble-floored foyer.
It was some time later and poor Angelika had become separated from Samantha and had been cornered by a short, coked-up suit. She was smiling politely at his reflective bald patch as he spat Absolut vodka and tonic all over her creamy decolletage.
“Yeah, Andrea, you know, you really should take a meeting with Gersh, you know? You may be a little raw right now, but you have tape, though, right? You do have tape? Tell me you have tape?” The man, an apparent talent manager was completely unstoppable, “But I know that with my influence and connections we could convince Gersh to at the very least hip pocket you. We want to be real careful who you do sign with at this stage of your career.”
He finally drew a halitosis breath, sniffed and then leered meaningfully up at her stoic face. Angelika smiled weakly while trying desperately not to breathe through her nose, as one could in all probability strip paint with the man’s fetid exhalations.
Samantha, with her exemplary timing, suddenly appeared arm in arm with a very attractive young guy. Man, she works fast, admired Angelika silently.
“Angelika, I need your help,” squealed Samantha in an appalling approximation of a Valley Girl accent, “I think my herpes has flared up again!”
Angelika choked on her champagne as the disgusted representative definitively backed off and hurriedly skittered away.
“Jesus!” responded Angelika, who although glad to be free of the suit, was nonetheless a tad embarrassed by her friend’s oftentimes shocking methods, “That's the best you could come up with? My herpes has flared up? Who writes your material?”
Samantha shrugged, “Hey, it had the desired effect, right?” Angelika had to concede this, even though her career might have been just a teensy bit on the line. Samantha then indicated the cute guy by her side.
“Darling meet darling. I mean Marlowe. He's from Marin County.” Marlowe was tall and rangy with a far-away, spaced-out vibe.
“Cool.” he extrapolated as Angelika shook his hand.
“Pleasure to meet you, Marlowe from Marin.” she replied. Samantha then took them both by the hand as she said,
“Let’s go get us some fresh air, kids. Come along.”
Angelika, Samantha and Marlowe squeezed outside onto the candlelit terrace and then they gazed out in mutual awe at the impressive topiaried gardens and the aquamarine pool that was glowing hypernaturally turquoise in the star-studded Los Angeles night. The estate must have cost millions; how did anyone even begin to accumulate that kind of money? pondered Angelika to herself.
Samantha then turned to Angelika with an uncharacteristic air of formality. “Marlowe's family are in the vegetable cultivation business.”
“Organic.” drawled Marlowe, while staring meaninglessly into the middle distance.
“Okay.” responded Angelika, wondering impatiently where this nonsensical drivel was actually going, but happy for the moment that at least nobody was spitting on her.
“Specifically, fungi.” continued Samantha cryptically.
“Like what, shitakes?” Angelika had decided to humour them for the time being, as they were both patently daft. Marlowe then started to giggle as Samantha reached into her purse and pulled out a walnut-sized, dried up, innocuous-looking mushroom. Samantha grinned wickedly at her compatriots as she split the unappetising thing into three equal crumbly parts and winked.
The party was finally heating up and Angelika could be found in her happy place – the dance-floor. She was surrounded by white boy overbite-sporting admirers as her new favourite hip-hop song, “The Godfather” by Spoonie G played. She was grinning broadly to no one in particular as she moved sensuously to the James Brown groove.
Angelika felt great. In fact, she felt way more than great, she felt amazing. She was thinking with a pure, crystalline clarity. Her body was completely in sync with the music, she was at one with the beat, hell - she was practically black...and everyone else felt it, too. She was perfect! When...
“Angelika! Yoo hoo!” Through the crowd minced Damian Le Blanc, tall, queeny and sporting the very latest in designer hair plugs, he was rich as fuck but nobody knew exactly why; but it was Damian’s mansion, Damian’s Cristal and it was Damian who paid the piper so Angelika enthusiastically beamed at him.
“Hey, Damian! Great party. Fantastic party!” Angelika and Damian air-kissed in time-honoured fashion.
“Angelika, Angelika...you gotta meet Sean!” chirruped Damian.
“Huh?” replied Angelika, momentarily at a loss.
“Sean Penn, angel,” mouthed Damien, theatrically, “he just got here...you gotta meet him.
He's a genius! His play was divine! So intense...he's so serious!
Angelika stopped smiling and said weakly, “Now?”
As Damian nodded and pulled her away from the safety of the dancefloor towards the Oscar nominee in the kitchen, Angelika’s heart started to pound, “Sean Penn, Sean Penn, The Genius, At Close Range, Falcon and the Snowman, Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. But in spite of her jangling nerves, Angelika knew that she could handle this. Of course she could handle this. She was perfect, right?