CHAPTER 4: OLIVIA
I seethe as I turn away from the jerk who is apparently friends with everyone at the café. He must think he’s all that and I allow myself to unleash a verbal diatribe at him in my head. Even if he were friends with the barista and the chef, did that give him the right to jump ahead of fifteen other caffeine-deprived people?
Oh, the injustice! I can hear Audrey say, with a roll of her eyeballs. She was always saying I’d missed my calling at Amnesty International. The amount of injustice you feel for the smallest things, Livy!
I’d have to ask Audrey if she knew the guy once she arrived. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the guy were an actor. That would explain the I love everyone, and everyone loves me vibe I could feel oozing from every pore of him, even from my distance. Not to mention that actors were as much a part of the landscape in LA as the palm trees, the Hollywood Sign, and In and Out Burger.
But who winked at girls anymore?
I try to study the menu as I shift from one foot to the other. Everything looks delicious, which puts me in a better mood. I decide on a double shot latte and warm brioche and strawberry jam for breakfast, ordering a double shot soy latte with avocado spread on gluten-free toast for Audrey.
Valeting! Audrey texts. Order yet?
Doing it now, I type back, pleased with myself for being the first to arrive for once. The Barista who had been all attention and smiles earlier now grimaces in response to my order-- nods her head in the general direction of the bar where I can pick-up my order. What? Not ‘A-List’ enough for you to waste actual words on? I refrain from mumbling as I go.
I scour the crowded room for a place to sit and zero-in on a couple vacating their bistro-sized table toward the back of the café near the entrance to the attached hotel. As I walk toward it, I see that the guy from earlier is tucking into his breakfast with a zeal that seems more fitting for someone in a denim button-down and cowboy boots, than expensive suit and tie. He seems lost in thought, staring toward the kitchen.
I sip my latte, watching people walk in and out of the elegant hotel lobby. Everything about the aesthetic in the café and hotel screams California! Vintage! Glamour! The Hurst family holds prime real estate investments up and down the California coast. Which is why I’m here. Audrey had said someone connected with Hurst might help us with the project we’d concocted a couple of weeks ago. A plan I hope will fail. “You’re missing the point!” Audrey had said, her polished nails tapping against the café table at Surf’s. “If someone sees Tomahawk Hill as a business opportunity or not doesn’t matter. It’ll bring a little excitement and purpose back into Therese’s life…maybe keep it interesting long enough for her to find her way back to us.”
I’d groaned. I would do anything for my grandmother, but I still had misgivings. For instance, what if our plans just made her miss grandfather more? “I wish she would sell everything in Tomahawk Hill and buy a condo off the beach in Malibu!”
Audrey had scoffed. “Your grandmother is not the lie around the beach all day drinking mojitos and lunching with her girlfriends type. Let me do a little investigating. If I can’t find anyone that’s interested, we’ll take Therese on a trip or something. But you know a part of you agrees with me. This is the only thing that might make her happy.”
As a gossip columnist for Hollywood’s hottest celebrity column and guest personality on “TVE”, there weren’t many influential people in tinsel town Audrey Cho hadn’t interviewed or rubbed shoulders with at one time or another. She had an inventory of favors she could call in at any moment, which is why I had not been at all surprised when she’d called me a week and a half ago to say she’d found someone more than interested in our little project.
I grin when I hear a high-pitched squeal come from the coffee bar. Audrey, making an entrance as usual. With her long, jet-black hair, skintight designer jeans, bold red lip and the latest Chloe bag, Audrey is the picture of easy, Hollywood glamour.
I raise my hand to catch her attention when I freeze. I try to turn back around quickly, but it’s too late. Two heads (one very big one), have already swiveled in my direction.
As I reluctantly leave my table, he says something close to Audrey’s ear. When she nods, he chuckles and shakes his head.
A tingling sensation at the root of my hair signifies that a five-alarm blush is now blazing in my cheeks. I know why he looks so familiar and I feel so very, very, stupid. Hadn’t I read Audrey’s article last week? My friend hadn’t roped just anyone into our little project to rescue my grandmother. She’d invited Jake Hurst, the son of a hotel billionaire and operations manager for Hurst Hotels.