"But, I mean, of course they want you," Kerri says. "Your hair is already amazing." She nods at my curly hair, which frames my face and head like a cloud, then adds, "Oh, and someone from James Jenkins's team reached out again for another meeting. I said you weren't available."
"Good." I frown. "I don't know why they're trying to get in contact, but he is persona non grata in the Jones/Conaway household."
Kerri nods. "I know. I basically told them as much."
"Thanks, Kerri. For everything." I hug her, and she stiffens for a second because she thinks physical contact is unprofessional. But she eventually relaxes; I'm starting to wear her down.
I lean back in my seat, grinning. I can't believe this is all happening. I know it sounds cheesy, but dreams really do come true.
* * *
After Kerri and I go over plans for the next few weeks, I'm finally off the hook. Simone and I are dropped off at my house in Malibu, where I live with my parents.
It's empty once we walk inside, of course. My parents, Andrew and Marie Jones, indie darlings of the documentary genre, are hardly ever here. Right now they're working on a new doc about the horrors of elephant poaching in Botswana. They'll be back in August for Gigi's FCC ceremony. Their long absence is nothing new, really. And they trust that I won't do anything out of control while they're gone.
"I'm heading out to the deck," Simone says, grabbing a can of soda from the fridge and opening the patio door.
Simone basically lives here. The guest bedroom is filled with all of her things. She has free rein of the house, just like me.
I nod and say, "I'm gonna call Gigi. I'll be out in a few minutes."
"Okay," she says over her shoulder.
* * *
I take off my heels as I walk upstairs to my room and close the door behind me. I sit on my bed and dial Gigi's number, glancing at the framed photograph of the two of us on my nightstand. It was taken the day I was born. Gigi is holding me, and I'm wearing one of those little pink hospital hats, and she's dressed glamorously in a white wrap dress. Her hair wasn't so gray then, but it was still curled the same way she wears it now.
Gigi lives in New York City. I used to see her every day when I was younger, back before she divorced James Jenkins and moved out of Beverly Hills. Now she never comes out to LA. She never leaves New York, actually. For almost a decade, I've had to settle for phone calls to keep in touch, only seeing her in person when I visit. Most recently, that was last Christmas.
The phone rings one more time before someone finally picks up.
"Hello?" A boy's voice.
I frown and pull my phone away from my ear. Did I call the wrong number? No...this is Gigi's number. The same number I dialed just two days ago.
"Um, who is this?" I say slowly.
"Milo...," he answers. His voice is deep and melodic. "Who is this?"
"Milo?" I repeat, bewildered. "This is Evie. I'm calling for Evelyn Conaway? I'm her granddaughter."
"Oh, Evie! What's up?" His voice immediately brightens. "How's it going?"
How's it going? Who is this guy? Has some mad fan broken into Gigi's house and taken her hostage?
"Um...where is my grandmother?" I ask, growing frantic.
"She's in the sitting room," he says calmly. It sounds like he's moving pots and pans around in the background. "I'm answering phones for her. She said you might call."...