I was digging my sandals out of storage when Richard knocked on my door. I hurried to let him in—the man had pizza, and I was starving.
I swung the door open. "Hi."
Richard gave me a kiss and made his way into the kitchen. "You want plain or pepperoni?" he called over his shoulder.
"Just cheese." I patted my stomach. "Watching my figure for LA. All those bobbleheads with fake boobs."
Richard passed me a plate. "I think they only have like quinoa pizza in LA too."
I flopped on the couch and stuck out my lower lip. "Stop. I've been so emotional this week. I'm going to miss New York so much." I was hopping on a plane to L.A.X. this Friday afternoon. I'd have the weekend to get situated in my new apartment, and then 7AM Monday morning, I was reporting for duty in the CWA mailroom. "Not trying to scare you but that's just a late start for your first day," William said, a shit-eating grin on his face.
Richard joined me on the couch. "You should be excited. We have your going away party this week, and then you're going to go out there and bust some balls and come back the real deal."
I took a bite of pizza. "It won't happen that fast," I said. "I'll only be a junior agent when I come back, and I'll still be assisting William."
"But you get to bring in your own business," Richard pointed out, "that's really cool."
I pulled a strand of cheese from my pizza and dangled it over my mouth. "No, it is. I don't mean to make it sound like I'm not excited. It's just," I exhaled, "nerves." I had barely slept the last week or so. William said that over half of the trainees end up dropping out of the program. I had promised myself I wouldn't be one of them, but, what if I was? Plus, I was worried about Richard. I hated leaving him in such a state of chaos—no job, the money well dried up, his mom going through a trial. Peter was weighing heavily on my mind too. I was still rattled by our meeting, and I didn't quite believe that this LA merger would be as conflict-free as he was telling me it would be. It all wove together into a tight knot in my stomach.
Richard hooked his hand under my thigh and stretched my legs out onto his lap. "You just need to get out there and get settled. You'll feel a lot better after that."
I nodded. "I know. You're right." I leaned my head against the couch cushion and sighed. "I'm going to miss you though."
"We'll have plenty of Skype sex," he promised. "And I'm definitely coming to visit."
"Skype sex will suffice," I said, "I don't want you spending that kind of money on tickets." I suddenly remembered. "Oh! Speaking of. One of my co-workers, her boyfriend works at this really cool online advertising firm—Speak? Have you heard of it?"
Richard was studying his pizza intently, but he nodded.
"They're hiring. At kind of a junior to mid-level too. Want me to put you in touch with him?"
Richard swished his mouth back and forth before answering me. "You know. I didn't really like the advertising thing. I think I want to make sure that the next place I land is a place I really want to be at long-term."
"But do you really have the luxury of waiting to find the perfect job?"
"Well," Richard said, "I actually got a job."
I swung my legs out of his lap and sat up straighter. "Where? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I am telling you. It's nothing great. I'm just bartending at Sessions on 73rd."
"Sessions?" I scoffed, and immediately wished I could take it back. I didn't mean to sound so degrading.
Richard narrowed his eyes at me. "Watch it. Your yuppie spots are showing."
"Sorry," I said, "I didn't mean it like that. It's just Sessions, you know, it's the date rapey bar I went to when I was still in college. I have a visceral reaction to the place I guess." Richard's face was very still, so I added, quickly, "I think it's great. You'll pull in some extra cash while you continue to look for a real job."
"See," Richard said, "that's the thing. I think I'm going to put looking for a real job on hold until everything with my mom blows over."
"Because I need to be with her during the day. Drive her to and from the courthouse. Be her moral support. I can't do that with a nine-to-five. This is perfect—I'll be on Long Island all day and back in the city at night when my shift starts."
I nodded, slowly. "And how long do you think the trial will last?"
Richard plopped his hands on the couch. "No idea. Could be three months, could be a year."
"A year?" I cried.
"Yeah," Richard said. "Maybe. If they set the trial for, say, eight months from now—which happens all the time—and then maybe it's another four months for the trial."
"I just," I paused, trying to find words that would get my point across without offending him or his mom, "I just wonder how smart it is to put your career on hold for a year."
"I'm not trying to be smart about it," Richard said, a warning in his voice, "I'm trying to do right by my mom."
There was nothing I could say to that. I know it's not my place, but this inexplicable rage swelled up at Richard's mom. Hasn't she hurt enough people? And now her son has to drop everything in his life to clean up after her latest mistake? But I just pursed my lips and nodded. "I know you're in a difficult position."
We didn't speak for a few moments, just picked at the crust on our pizza. Finally, Richard said, "So are you excited for your party tomorrow?"
I gave him a tight smile. Nina, Ashley, and Richard were throwing me a going away party. One last New York hurrah before I went west for the next however many months. "I am. Thanks for planning it."
"Of course," Richard said, and he gave me that same tight smile.
Note to Readers-
I have really great book news that I am desperate to share, but for legal reasons, I cannot. I have to hammer out a few final details before I can shout it from the rooftops, and it's taking a little longer then expected. However, I have been entrenched in the editing process for the last few weeks, with some very scary deadlines I have to meet over the next few months, and I am going to have to go on hiatus from LSP because I'm feeling stretched very thin. Thursday will be my last post until May (exact date TBD). Please don't throw tomatoes at me! This is an incredibly happy but stressful time in my life and I just want to give my book my all.
If you're not already following me on Twitter, please see the bar to the right of the page and click follow. There I will share updates about my book and when I will be posting next, and maybe occasionally tickle you with my random musings.
I will see you all on Thursday for the season finale of LSP!