Friday afternoon — 2:45 P.M.
“Now is your rest time, Val.” Ramon trailed after Valerie down the hall to her apartment. “No hanky panky and no food. Just water. Sleep for at least an hour then we’ll do the wrap and… Where is the farm boy?”
Valerie turned in place to give Ramon a menacing look. Flipping around, she continued down the hall.
“Fine. Where is Michael?”
“He’s in his studio. A couple museums came today to see his work,” Valerie said.
She opened the door to her apartment. Seeing Mike standing naked holding chocolate covered strawberries and champagne, Valerie spun in place.
“Thank you for your help, Ramon. I promise that I’ll rest,” Valerie said. “You’ll be the first person I see when I get up. We’ll do the seaweed wrap; meet with Cindy from Sol for lingerie; then hang out with the Martins crowd. I’ll be picture perfect by six.”
She moved to close the door in his face.
“Oh, I thought you’d want to play cards.”
“I need to rest. I’m exhausted and I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was out dancing with you until three and up at six to start getting dressed.”
Valerie smiled. Ramon nodded.
“He’s in there, isn’t he?” Ramon asked.
Valerie kissed Ramon’s cheek then closed the door.
“You are a sight for sore eyes,” Valerie said. “What’s your plan, Mr. Roper?”
“You,” he said.
She moved across the room into his arms.
“How did it go this morning?” he asked.
“Boring,” Valerie said. “It’s fun to get all the treatments with Jill and her friends. They’re so refreshing for me. I’m grateful they let me hang out with them. That Tanesha could have her own comedy show.”
“Samantha couldn’t make it?” he asked.
“She’s in trial,” Valerie said. “Plus you know Sami.”
“Beauty requires regular maintenance,” they said together.
“She gets these treatments at least once a week. Even while she was in the Navy.” Valerie shook her head. “How was your morning?”
“The Met and the Smithsonian… They both want a piece. If Adam Lerner wasn’t there? I would have passed out. He did the negotiating. And you should hear the money they’re talking. I… William Morris called and they want to represent me. Frederec said they want me in their print ads.”
“And you?” Valerie asked. “What do you want?”
“Hmm, what did you have in mind?”
“I am drawing your bath,” he said. “I made your favorite no-carb snack. And I thought we’d sneak a little champagne.”
Valerie shook her head.
“Bubbles,” they said in unison.
“Vodka?” Mike asked. “It’s low carb and I promise to work the calories…”
Valerie jumped into his arms. Laughing, he carried her into the bathroom where the tub was filling. One piece of clothing at a time, he undressed her then set her into the tub. Stepping in behind her, he grabbed the sponge.
“I’m scared,” Valerie said.
“You? I’ve never known you to be scared,” he said.
“Things are changing very fast,” she said. “My agent called to say that her phone has been ringing off the hook… with great parts… for me… Like I’m an ‘A’ lister. That’s what she said. ‘A’ lister. I…”
“I’m right here,” he said.
“For now! You’ll have openings around the world. You…”
“I’m right here. I have a choice. And I’ll never leave you again. Never by choice.”
“You say that, but what if…”
He kissed the top of her head.
“’If’ has already happened and I’m still right here. We’re very lucky.”
“How can I ease your mind?”
“I am kind of tense…”
Mike popped out the tub. Valerie chased him to the bed.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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