Famous Last Words

Hey Josie!

Heard it’s freezing in New York right now…I ate lunch outside today. What I’m trying to say is that New York is the worst and LA wins ALL THE COASTAL WARS. 

This is the most insensitive transition in the history of mankind, but one of Doug’s clients received some bad news this morning. Health-related. She’s had to clear her filming schedule because of it, but I heard her make a crack to Doug that now she finally has a reason and the time to write her memoir. I think she would seriously document this. She’s Ron Burgundy levels of big deal. Can’t go into details over email so call me when you get a chance.


I’d befriended Gretchen on my trip to LA. She was Simon’s assistant, and when I was introduced to her I complimented her on her adorable cobalt blue booties. It had been the right thing to say, because she immediately invited me to lunch with some of the other assistants. Frank had plans of his own, and gave me his blessing. “You need to make an assistant network,” he said. “You won’t believe the valuable information you can attain from those relationships. Assistants are more in the know than the CEO.”

Here was proof of that. I read Gretchen’s email coming out of the subway and called her the second I had service. By the time I got into the office, I was dying to tell Frank what I’d just learned. Ignoring his dumb rule about not disturbing him until at least 10AM, I barged into his office.

“I’m sorry but this is”— I stopped mid-sentence. Frank wasn’t alone. His son, Nick, was with him.

“Come right in,” Frank sighed.

“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I’ll come back.”

“You’re fine,” Nick said. “I was just leaving.” He smiled at me. “It’s Josie, right?”

“Yes, it’s Josie,” Frank said, “my assistant who apparently can’t tell time.”

“Christ, Dad,” Nick said, “ease up.” Frank looked chastened, which I’d never seen before and enjoyed immensely.

“It’s actually good you’re here,” Frank said, recovering quickly with a smile. It was literally the fourth time I’d seen him smile. His son knew what strings to pull, apparently. “I was hoping you could help connect Nick with some of the editorial assistants, or any other friends you have in media or film here. My son,” he looked at Nick over the bridge of his nose, playfully disapproving, “is trying to decide if he should move back here after he graduates and I want him to make all the connections he can while I’ve got him.”

“I thought you said you couldn’t wait to get back to the East Coast,” I said to Nick.

“Well,” Nick shrugged, “it’s more like I can’t wait to leave the West Coast. It’s not for me. But I’m torn between here and Paris.”


“It’s where my Dad lives,” Nick said.

For a moment, I was confused—his Dad was right here in front of me, giving me the stink eye. Then I realized—he meant his other Dad, Frank’s ex-partner. I glanced at Frank quickly. He looked stricken at the mere mention of Paris.

“Well, no problem,” I said. “It’s humpday.” I swear if Frank was wearing pearls he would have been clutching them. “We usually go out for drinks to celebrate the halfway point. Give me your number and I’ll text you the details when I have them.”

After Nick left, Frank said to me, “I will literally do anything to keep him in New York.”

I didn’t know what to say. Frank and I have never really discussed our personal lives, and the desperation in his voice was shocking to me. Frank seemed to regret showing that card, because he switched gears, asking me why I’d “barged” into his office in the first place. We were back to business.

I told him about Gretchen’s email. “You’re never going to guess who the actress is,” I said.

Frank exhaled loudly and his nostrils flared like an angry bull. Why did I think Frank would appreciate even a modicum of suspense?

“It’s Jennifer X,” I said, quickly, and Frank’s expression turned on a dime. “She’s going to be fine. But she has a battle in front of her and apparently her Mom went through the same thing. But she’s estranged from her Mom since she first made it big—so she had to find her in order to get this genetic testing. Her idea for the memoir is to kind of weave in her upbringing with Mom—which is very dramatic—and how this disease is what ultimately brought them back together.”

Frank looked as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. He cleared his throat and said, “I’ll call Simon in a bit to discuss it.”

I nodded and turned to go. “And Josie?” Frank called when I reached the door. “Nice find.”

“Thank you.” I walked back to my desk with a smile on my face.

I put together an email with some of the Literatti assistants, and cc’d Ashley, Nina, and Richard. Richard had finally gotten a job, doing online advertising, but he was working on a start up sports website with a few friends and had even managed to wrangle up some investors. It would be good for Nick to meet him, and also nice to see him since it had been a while.

After I sent the email, Kate swung by my desk. “Was that guy who was in here earlier Frank’s son?”

I nodded.

“No way Frank’s swimmers are responsible for that,” Kate said.

“Yeah,” I said. “I get the feeling he’s either adopted, or he’s the biological child of his other Dad—who apparently lives in Paris?”

“Um, yeah he lives in Paris,” Kate said. “You don’t know the story?”

I shook my head.

“Josie, it was like a huge news story. On the cover of The Post like ten times over six months.”

“I read the Times.” I stuck my nose up in the air.

“You read Dlisted,” Kate said.

“Just get back to the story,” I said.

“It was one of the first major custody battles over the child of a gay couple in New York state. Frank’s ex is some Parisian socialite. They wanted a kid, and they asked their, like, Mexican actress friend to carry the child. When they split up, they both claimed they were the father. I don’t know if they ever did a DNA test, but it got so ugly the Mom ended up taking him back to Mexico with her.”

I collected my jaw off the floor. “For how long?”

“I think until he was eighteen. Then I guess he decided to come back here to go to school.”

So I had detected a slight accent. I’d just been off about where it came from. No wonder Frank was desperate for Nick to stay in New York. He’d missed his kid’s entire childhood. The realization warmed me to Frank a little more—no wonder he was such a curmudgeon.

“Well, even more of a reason for us to show him a good time tonight,” I said. “Imagine him coming home and being like, ‘Dad, Josie is the best and I’m moving to New York!’ Do you think I’d get promoted?”

“I don’t think anyone here is getting promoted anytime soon,” Kate said. “But if you want to stack the cards in your favor, I’d suggest not taking Nick to Flannerty’s.” That was the bar I’d told everyone to meet at—it’s a faux Irish pub in Midtown, around the corner from the office. It’s totally generic and lame but goddammit sometimes I just want to go to a place where people don’t judge my hideous commuting shoes.

I sent out a revised email and told everyone to meet us at Houston Hall, this newish beer garden in the West Village which, while not the most authentically New York, was that perfect balance of scene-y and laidback.

Houston Hall kind of looks like the Hogwarts cafeteria. It’s dark and cavernous with ceilings as high as the Christmas tree in Rockefeller center. Long wooden tables crowd the interior, black Chanel bags lining their benches. “Um, this seat’s taken,” some chick in a Barbour coat will say if you try to move her stupid overpriced purse to sit down. It can be very intimidating! But I walked in that evening determined not to take any shit. I put on my fiercest resting bitchy face and secured a good chunk of a table in a prime spot.

“I didn’t know places this big existed in New York,” Nick said, looking up at the ceiling in awe. Nick had met me and Kate at the office, and the three of us had cabbed it down together while our other co-workers took the subway. When we arrived, I refused to let Nick pay for the cab even though he offered and even though he can definitely afford it. Normally I would not take a cab from Midtown to the West Village during rush hour because the fare makes the big vein in my forehead want to pop, but I wanted to show Nick how charming New York could be and that morning on the Subway the guy across from me had been clipping his yellow toenails and nibbling on them like they were Cheez-Its, so….

“Yup,” I said. “You’d be surprised how much space you can get here.”

“How big is your apartment?” Nick asked.

“500 square feet,” I mumbled into my Pale Ale. Even that was a lie. Technically my apartment is 450 square feet and in case you were wondering, yes I cry every time I pay my rent check.

“Hello!” I looked up. It was Nina and Ashley. Nina was wearing a sheer sweater and no bra. I know this because at the height I was on the bench, I was staring directly into her nipples. I noticed Nick noticing them too. They were hypnotizing.

As I was introducing Nina and Ashley to Nick, my co-workers strolled in, Richard right behind them.

“Who did you have to blow to get us this table?” Richard asked as he gave me a hug.

“Always classy, Richard.”

“You missed me,” he said.

“Where’s the Gee Eff?” I asked as we sat down across from each other. Richard had a little scrub on his face, like he’d been too busy to shower or shave this morning. He looked good.

“Out with some of her friends. She might stop by.”

“Still in love?” I teased.

“Still trying to pretend like you don’t feel empty inside?” Richard shot back.


“Seriously, Josie,” Richard said. “I know. I’m the last person to take advice from on this. But I’ve got a few years on you so I feel like I can say it. I wasted my twenties dicking around, avoiding commitment. I thought it made me happy, but it didn’t.”

“Richard, you’re twenty-nine years old and this is your first girlfriend. Ever. You can’t seriously be pulling this smug couple shit on me right now.”

“I just…I can recognize bravado when I see it.”

“Well then you need to get your batteries checked because there’s no bravado here. I’m happy.”

Richard was about to say something else but Ashley plopped down next to me. “Um, are you seeing what I’m seeing?” She nodded to the end of the table. Nina and her nipples were in Nick’s lap. Granted, we were short a few seats, but standing was an option. Some of my other seat-less co-workers were up and milling around.

“What the hell is she doing?” I hissed. “Please tell me she and Brad broke up at least.”

Ashley shook her head. “They’re not broken up.”

“Can you ask her to go to the bathroom with you and I’ll meet you in there? I don’t want Nick to think I’m like, cockblocking him or something.”

I waited for a few minutes until I got up and made my way to the bathroom. Nina was washing her hands in the sink when I walked in. “What are you doing?” I asked.

Nina shook the water off her hands and leaned forward, examining herself in the mirror. “I’m not doing anything.” She smoothed a flyaway in her hair. “Frank’s son is a smokeshow. I’m not allowed to flirt with him?”

“Please don’t do anything with him, Nina,” I said. “You have a boyfriend.” Nina opened her mouth to say something but I cut her off. “A boyfriend who is kind of being douche, yes. But this is Frank’s son. Don’t toy around with him.”

“I’m just flirting, my God,” Nina said. “I thought you wanted to show him a good time. I’m showing him a good time.”

“Can that good time not be in your pants?” I pleaded, and Nina gave me award-winning side eye in the mirror.

On my way back to the table, my phone rang in my back pocket. I pulled it out—I couldn’t believe it, Ian was calling me.

“I’ll meet you guys back at the table,” I said to Ashley and Nina.

I hurried over to the entrance, where it was quiet.

“Hi,”  I said.

“I know you’re still annoyed with me. But how could you not respond to that text?”

“What text?”

“The one I sent you. With the picture of us.”

“I didn’t get a”—my phone vibrated against my ear. “Hold on. I think this is it.” I pulled my phone away and opened the text from Ian. I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that Hogwarts would have terrible reception.

‘Packing and came across this. A few hours shy of #TBT but too good not to send.’ Attached was a picture of the two of us at a swim meet, rocking our green and white Speedos. We both desperately needed a tan and not that you could tell from the picture, but I desperately needed to do something about the woogie bush I was sporting underneath my suit.

I brought the phone back to my ear. “I can see why you held on to that. We’re just so…attractive.”

Ian laughed. Neither of us said anything for a moment.

“So I get in on Saturday,” Ian said.


“Oh, don’t torture me.”

“I have to work Monday and Tuesday,” I said. “I’m coming out on Tuesday after work.”

“Need someone to pick you up at the train station?”

I smiled. “Yeah, I do.”

I was still smiling as I made my way back to the table. It disappeared when I took inventory of the group.

I grabbed Kate’s arm. “Where are Nick and Nina?”

“Ow!” Kate said, and I let go. She looked around the room. “I don’t know. I saw them a second ago.”

I approached Ashley. “Please tell me Nick and Nina didn’t leave.”

“Okay,” Ashley said, “Nick and Nina didn’t exit out the South entrance.”

I couldn’t believe Nina would do this to me. I know she’s going through something with Brad, but she also knows how desperate I am to get in good with Frank. Yeah, he’s happy with me at the moment, but with Frank I get the feeling that you’re only as good as your last home run. My best friend using his son to make herself feel better about the rough patch she’d hit with her boyfriend wasn’t going to do me any favors.

I was afraid to text Nina what I really wanted to text her (‘You and your nipples need to get back here IMMEDIATELY’). God forbid Nick saw. To his knowledge, Nina wasn’t involved with anyone, and I wanted to keep it that way. I took a deep breath to calm my crazy ass down and typed out, ‘Hey! Where did you guys go?’

‘Nick was hungry. Just grabbing a bite to eat.’

‘Are you guys coming back?’

Nina started to write something and stopped. She started and stopped again. Finally, she said, ‘Probably not.’ Before I could fire off another text, she wrote, ‘Stop worrying it will be fine’.

I exhaled irritably. Those were some famous last fucking words if I’d ever heard them.

Sad Dickie

There is only a three hour time difference between LA and New York, but that ish did me in. By Friday, all I wanted to do was go home and spend the evening with a bottle of Pinot and this guy:

Love me some Keith from Dateline. I was in my neighborhood wine shop, trying to decide whether I should spend $13.99 on a corked bottle or $17.99 on a screw top (how can that be?), when I got a text from Nina.

‘What are you doing?’

‘About to get Mom drunk.’

‘Mom drunk?’

‘You know, like how Moms get drunk. A few glasses of wine and they’re down for the count.’

‘Not my Mom. Anyway, Brad and I just had biggest fight. Can I come over?’

I went with two bottles of the $13.99.

Nina’s face was swollen and blotchy when she showed up at my door. I’ve seen Nina cry twice before. Once, when she accidentally missed the deadline for the study abroad program in college, and another time while watching that scene in I Am Legend where Will Smith kills his dog. This had either been a huge fight or a huge overreaction.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He’s fucking moving to Chicago is what happened.”

“What? Why?”

“He was transferred,” Nina said.

“Okay, well, it happens”—

“No! It’s not like he was transferred and it’s out of his hands. He’s been interviewing for the position for two fucking months and he kept it from me. He said he didn’t want to worry me unnecessarily in case he didn’t get it.”


“He said we’ll be fine. That lots of people do long distance and make it work. Fuck that.”

“Okay.” I handed her a glass of wine. “Lots of people do do long distance and make it work.”

“Do lots of people go behind their girlfriend’s back and interview for a position that will deliberately put a million miles between them without even telling their girlfriend?”

I didn’t say anything so Nina answered her own question. “Yes, lots of people do that. Lots of people who want to be single but don’t have the balls to break up with someone outright.”

“Oh, come on, Nina,” I said. “He’s not moving to Chicago to get out of being in a relationship with you. That’s insane.”

“I don’t think it’s the only reason,” Nina said. “It’s a good job and I know he’s excited about it. But he doesn’t seem too torn up about us being apart. It’s kind of like, well, if it works it works but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, because I’d probably feel the same way. “So are you guys broken up?”

Nina sighed. “No.” She took a gulp of wine. “Not yet.”

“It will work out,” I said. “No matter what. It will work out.”

Nina rolled her glass around in her hands. “I guess. Anyway, tell me about LA.”

“Well, I’ve got a doozy for you…” I launched into a full recap.

“You should start like, The Ian Club with those other girls,” Nina said. “Like The First Wives Club or something. Plot your revenge.”

“I don’t feel like I need revenge,” I said. “I really don’t think what he did was premeditated. I can see how it just kind of happened. He’s gorgeous now…and really, like alpha and confident. I completely believe that those girls wanted to sleep with him because of that, not because he like, manipulated them or something. I was actually more bothered by what he wrote about them. But the more I think about it, I mean, is it really that different from what we do?”

Nina rolled her eyes. “Come on.”

“We sit around and judge the guys we’ve slept with and don’t always say the nicest things about them. Hello—Sad Dickie?”

Nina spit out her wine. “Sad Dickie! I haven’t thought about him in so long.” Sad Dickie was Nina’s nickname for a guy she hooked up with in college who could never get it up and refused to talk about it or acknowledge there was a problem. He was also unfortunate enough to be named Damien Dickie. I mean…it was just tragic all around.

“I guess I just feel like it’s worse when a guy slams a girl’s body,” Nina said. “He’s in more of a position of power than she is. Guys are just not subjected to the same level of scrutiny about their bodies as we are.”

“I know that,” I said. “I’m just saying…I get it. And you should have seen him that night—he wouldn’t make a move. I initiated it all. Maybe I would feel taken advantage of if he’d come on strong. But he didn’t.”

“That’s probably part of his plan too,” Nina said. “Play it innocent. Make you come to him.”

Nina was not the person to talk to about this at the moment. Her bitterpants were on good and tight. So I kept it to myself that Ian had texted me since I’d gotten back to New York. He was going to be in New Jersey for a few days next week for Thanksgiving. His exact words: ‘This is a long shot, but can we go out for drinks or dinner while I’m in town? I know there’s something here. Tell me to fuck off if you want but I know you know it too.’ I told him I had to think about it, but to tell you the truth, I was leaning towards yes.

Saturday morning I was on my way to a yoga class with Ashley when I got a call from Kevin. “Ummmm, did you hook up with Morrison and not tell me you little sloot?”


“Yeah,” Kevin said, “I went in to get my measurements taken and Morrison said my ‘friend’ is freakier than she looks, winked at me, and then all the other guys in the store laughed.”

“Well, I am freakier than I look but Morrison wouldn’t know that.” I told him what really happened.

Kevin laughed. “Well, that’s not what he’s saying.”

“Do you think I should say something to him?”

“It’s weird,” Kevin said, “I actually still think he’s gay. It’s like he’s telling people this story about you to prove he isn’t. But you don’t want to get involved with a mess like that, believe me.”

“I don’t even have the energy to,” I said.

“I’m totally going to hook up with him now,” Kevin said. “Closet cases are the best in bed. They have so much pent up sexual tension from not being able to express it in everyday life. It’s why I’m such a sexual stallion.”

“Right,” I said.

“It’s true,” Kevin said. “Now imagine the two of us together. Fireworks, baby.”

I laughed. “Go for it.”

“Oh, don’t you even worry about it,” he said.

We hung up and I hurried out the door to meet Ashley. I am normally anti yoga (the whole time I’m downward doggying I just think about how I should be doing sprints on Harlem Hill, getting a real workout), but Bess had told her it would help her work through her depressive tendencies.

“Wait, you’re depressed?” I asked.

“Josie, it’s why I’m always so angry,” she said. “Depression is anger turned inwards.”

“Shut up,” I said.

“It’s true! Even just recognizing that has made me feel so much better. I’m so much more patient now.”


“Really. So will you go with me, please?”

When I arrived at the yoga studio in Union Square, I was surprised to see how many guys were in the class. Lunks I usually eye molest in the weight room too. The few yoga classes I’ve taken in the city were composed of mostly women and delicate-looking gay men with slender waists I envy.

Ashley was already in the corner, sitting on a mat. She waved me over.

“I would have worn the yoga pants that make me look like I have a butt if I’d known,” I said.

“I know,” Ashley said. “To your left.”

I reached my arms up and yawned, glancing over my shoulder while I ‘stretched’ my neck from side to side. There were two winners in the corner, backs up against the wall, impressive arms folded over their chests.

I turned back to Ashley. “Mama likey.”

“You’re such a sick puppy,” Ashley laughed. It felt like forever since we’d laughed together.

“Hello, hello!” Announced a lithe women standing at the front of the room. How do I do yoga and look like that? “Welcome to Yoga Match.”

“What’s Yoga Match?” I whispered to Ashley.

“I think they, like, match your body type to certain moves,” Ashley said.

“Oh! I love that,” I said. Maybe that’s how you get a body like that, you tailor your moves to your trouble spots. Brilliant.

“Did everyone enter their names in the envelopes when they first walked in the door?” The instructor asked.

I looked at Ashley. “Did you do that?”

Ashley shook her head.

“Did anyone not enter their name?” The instructor prompted, and Ashley and I raised our hands meekly.

“Well, hurry up!” She said, motioning us to the front of the room. Everyone watched as we scurried forward, the instructor passing us a shred of paper and a pen, then adding our names to the envelope labeled, ‘Girls’.

I was starting to think the class wasn’t called Yoga Match because it matched your body type to the moves…

As the instructor began to speak, I realized I was right. This was Yoga Match, as in match.com, as in yoga dating and my worst nightmare not yet realized until that moment. Leslie, the instructor, pulled one name out of the ‘Girls’ envelope, and one name out of the ‘Guys’ envelope, and the two were introduced and instructed to pair off on mats next to each other.

Of course, Ashley ended up with one of the Baldwins we’d noticed earlier. The other one still hadn’t been matched up yet, and I crossed my fingers and prayed he would be mine when Leslie called out my name. No such luck. I got a guy with a greasy ponytail and a poppy seed stuck between his front teeth.

“I’m Benji with a G,” he said.

So….Ben-Guy? “I’m Josie,” I said, stiffly.

“It’s phenomenal to meet you, Josie,” Ben-Guy said. I glanced over at Ashley. She was too busy twirling her hair and batting her eye lashes at her Yoga Match to catch my death stare.

All I could think was, they’re not going to make us touch, right? That would be weird if Leslie made us touch. Leslie’s so not going to make us touch.

LESLIE MADE US TOUCH. First, we had to press our palms against each other and maintain eye contact for sixty seconds. You do not realize how long sixty seconds is until you are palm to clammy palm with greasy ponytail guy, him looking into your eyes all pensively like he’s fucking Edward Cullen or something.

I didn’t think it could get any worse but then Leslie instructed us to ‘spot’ each other while we assumed a downward dog position. Why do I need a spotter to balance on my hands and knees with my ass in the air? It’s like the most stable position ever.

“Would you like to go first?” Ben-Guy asked and I had a split second to decide which was worse—my ass in Ben-Guy’s crotch or his in mine? I decided it was the former.

I tried to imagine I was anywhere but where I was as Leslie instructed the downward doggiers to inhale and press ‘deeper’, which translated to Ben-Guy pushing his butt into my pelvis—nothing but a thin layer of spandex and mesh separating our goodies—and moaning with every exhale. This had to be the universe’s way of punishing me for not recycling.

At the end of the class, Leslie encouraged us all to share our information if we felt a connection to our partner. Ben-Guy said he had a ‘transient experience’ and asked if he could call me sometime. I mumbled something about just getting out of a relationship and needing to pee and fled.

I hid out in the bathroom until Ashley came to find me. “I need a shower,” I wailed.

“Oh my God,” Ashley laughed. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea I signed us up for this.”


“Please tell me you at least got your guy’s number?”

Ashley held up her phone and showed me her new contact for Andrew Engle. I would have held creepy eye contact with Ben-Guy for a million more seconds to see the big grin on Ashley’s face again. It had been too long since I’d seen her that happy.

“I can put in a good word for you with the friend if you want,” she offered.

“That’s okay,” I said.

“Jos, just because you don’t want something serious doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun.”

I could have told her the truth. Which was that I couldn’t stop thinking about Ian. But honestly, I was embarrassed. I’d been all on my high horse about Ashley and Tom, telling her she deserved better. She did, and Ian was in no way as bad as Tom, but still…. I made up some excuse about work being too busy right now. I wanted to explore this thing with Ian on my own first—find out if I could really trust him, if there was something there, or if the Ian I knew was really gone.

High on Arrival

I couldn’t have been happier to see Frank’s face in the hotel lobby. That reproachful expression he always wears like I’m his teenage daughter and he just caught me drinking Malibu rum in the basement with my friends—I could have hugged him for it. He reminded me why we were really here—to do work, to find A-list clients with A-list stories to tell. Ian had just made me feel lower than a dog, and I couldn’t control that. But I could control how well I did my job, how much my boss valued me, and there is something incredibly soothing about that.

“Ready?” Frank asked, and I nodded.

Our first stop was a meeting with one of Frank’s old friends, an agent at CAA. The meeting wasn’t until 10 (“LA,” Frank sneered, and I didn’t dare mention how William used to get in closer to 11), and we arrived twenty minutes early.

Finally, we were ushered through a long hallway and into an office less spectacular than I thought it would be, given the level of talent CAA represents and the fact that we were in LA, where the real estate potential far outweighs New York. I mean, our office was nicer than this, and as Peter put it—we’re bleeding money.

Frank is a slight man, barely taller than me. We could totally share jeans if he was into that sort of thing. Frank had briefly mentioned something, a few weeks back, about having to share his Sag Harbor home with his ex-partner, which made me think his ex-partner was a man, but I couldn’t be entirely sure. I had these hippie dippie professors in college, together thirty-three years, with kids and a mortgage, who balked at the institution of marriage and refused to make it official. For the longest time, I’d assumed Professor Chiala was a lesbian, because she was always talking about her partner this, her partner that, until someone clued me in to the fact that her partner was actually Professor Leonard, my English teacher, the sweetest man who teared up whenever he read poetry to the class (oh, Professor Leonard!).

So when Frank hugged Simon, his agent-friend, and Simon asked him, “How’s your kid doing?” I was shocked. I had no idea that Frank was a father. He didn’t exactly have the warm fatherly thing going on unlike my dear Professor Leonard.

“Doing well,” Frank said. “I’ll be seeing him tonight.”

Tonight? Frank’s kid was in LA? His ex-partner, whoever he/she was, must be based out of here.

“This is my assistant, Josie,” Frank said.

I shook Simon’s hand before sitting down.

“So what can I do for you?” Simon asked, stretching his arms wide and yawning. “Sorry,” he said. “Late night. Had the GQ Men of the Year party last night for Matthew.” He yawned again.

I didn’t think much of that comment until Frank mentioned that he couldn’t wait to see Dallas Buyers Club. Oh, Matthew. McConaughey. I nodded my head nonchalantly. It’s not cool to look impressed but goddamnit, I was impressed.

“Well, we’re reinvigorating the imprint,” Frank said. “Focusing on big names who have big stories to tell. We’re strictly going to publish celebrity memoirs, and we want the next Open or Growing Up Brady.” He held his hands out. “Or, of course, High on Arrival.”

Simon laughed. “Everyone wants to find the next High on Arrival. But sorry, I don’t rep any actresses who have had sex with their famous fathers.”

“That’s a shame,” Frank said, and they laughed. I was starting to feel a little gross. I’d read that Mackenzie Phillips memoir—hadn’t she claimed she was raped by her father? Not really something I’m down with joking about, with two privileged old white dudes nonetheless, but I kept my mouth shut. The perils of being a lowly assistant.

“Here’s the thing,” Simon said, “you approach any celebrity, and it’s, ‘Oh yeah, I could write a book. I have an interesting story to tell’. They’re famous, they’re surrounded by a bunch of yes people, and I’m certainly one of them, and they think every word out of their mouths is so fuckin’ brilliant, when half the time I could take a nap using my fifty dollar filet as a pillow.”

I laughed, and Simon and Frank both looked at me. “Sorry,” I mumbled. “It’s just, I think you’re so right. So it’s our job to actually find the people who have a good story to tell.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Simon said, “I’ll put out an email to see if anyone on staff reps someone who even has the time to write a book. We’ll start there.”

“None of your clients have any interest?” Frank asked.

“They’re all tied up,” Simon said, already typing up the email. “Film schedules and whatnot.”

This was the reason why William shied away from A-lister memoirs. The odds of finding an interesting celebrity, one who would even compel a reader to pick up a book with his picture on the cover, and then keep the reader interested with his story, well, they weren’t that good. And you had to pay these people out the wahzoo to even get them to do it, and it needed an intense re-write when all was said and done because most actors can’t write for shit. It was a tedious process that may or may not result in a big return. William’s idea was to go to the people who were desperate for their fifteen minutes—they would do anything, and for not a lot, and those little lifestyle advice books? Or funny stocking stuffer books like Go the Fuck to Sleep? They did surprisingly well. Frank’s mission was admirable, and I would love to find the next Mackenzie Phillips bombshell confessional, but it’s not going to be easy.

Frank thanked Simon for his time and we collected our things to go. Once we were in the car, I was dying to ask Frank about his kid but I glanced over and saw the expression on his face, even tighter than usual if that was possible, and thought better of it.

The book reading was held at The Last Bookstore in LA, this cool indie book shop. The author was a former rock star, now in his forties, reading an especially moving passage about his battle with heroin. There was a huge turnout, and the book was good. It made me want to make Frank’s vision come to life. Because if I could be responsible for a book like that hitting the shelves, I’d be pretty proud of myself.

After the reading, Frank and I made our way up to the front to speak to the author and his management team. After chatting for a few minutes, I heard someone call my name. It was Ian.

“Oh my God,” I muttered under my breath.

“Friend of yours?” Frank asked.

“Yeah, excuse me,” I said.

Ian had texted me a few times that day, apologizing profusely, but I hadn’t responded. I had told him about the reading and where it was at dinner the night before— I’d asked him if he’d ever been to The Last Bookstore and he said it was a pretty cool place.

I made my way over to him. “What are you doing here?” I hissed.

“You weren’t responding to my texts,” he said. “Please, just give me one minute to explain. One minute, and I’ll leave you alone.”

I glanced over my shoulder. Frank was hugging some guy practically two times his size. “One minute.”

“I haven’t updated that thing in almost two years,” Ian said. “I stopped, because I realized how gross it was.”

“But when you wrote that thing about me”—

“I know,” Ian said. “This is stupid and so embarrassing to admit, but I was excited. I wrote it the way you would write it in a diary. Like, yeah! Going to happen.”

“Even if that’s true,” I said, “You, like, hunted down our classmates.”

Ian shook his head vehemently. “It wasn’t like that, I swear. It started with Nicole. We just happened to hook up at this Labor Day party at the shore. I was shocked—she was such a bitch to me in high school, I couldn’t believe she was interested in me now. Then I ran into Tara at a party and normally, I never would have made a move, but after Nicole, I thought, well, maybe I have a chance now. And it happened. And then again because we had shore houses in the same town that summer. I never like, made a hit list and checked each girl off one by one, I swear. I didn’t even want to hook up with you last night.”

“You didn’t even want to hook up with me last night?” I repeated, incredulously.

Ian smacked his hand against his forehead. “That came out wrong. What I meant, is that I was nervous. We are friends, well, we were. I should never have said that wasn’t true, because it is. It just felt loaded with you, and I froze.”

“But what you wrote,” I said.

“I know,” Ian said. “It’s disgusting. I don’t have any excuse for that. I was in college, or just out of college, and I was an asshole. Just a total asshole.”

I glanced over my shoulder at Frank again. “I have to go,” I said. “I’m here with my boss.”

“I know. I just…I just couldn’t have you leave without knowing the whole story.”

“I have to go,” I said again.

Ian nodded. He didn’t try to hug me, just hung his head and walked away.

I took a deep breath to center myself and went to find Frank.

“Josie,” Frank said, “meet my son, Nick.”

Nick smiled. He was about my age, and he towered over Frank. He had dark skin and I’m assuming dark hair, but he was wearing a beanie even though it was 65 degrees out. Oh, LA. I detected a slight accent as he said, “Very nice to finally meet you.”

Okay, so Frank’s kid was clearly not his biological kid, unless Frank’s ex-partner was in fact a woman and a 6’3 glamazon from Columbia or something, which I found hard to envision.

“Hi,” I said.

“Nick is getting his MBA at UCLA,” Frank said, proudly.

“Very cool,” I said. “In what?”

“Film and media,” he said. “I graduate this year. Can’t wait to get back to the East coast.”

“Well, we’ll see you for Thanksgiving,” Frank said.

“Can’t wait,” Nick said. “Anyway, I’ve got to get going. Nice meeting you, Josie. Maybe I’ll see you when I’m in New York.” He gave me a smile that despite all the drama with Ian, gave me an uh-oh feeling in my stomach. Even so, wasn’t happening. He’s my boss’ son. That would be career suicide.