Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Studio Time: Fifteen
Cooper wove his way through the chaos and moved toward Sydney, who appeared to be losing control of everything. It was an uncharacteristic sight. Her assistants were running around after people, giving orders to hotel employees, and throwing tentative looks at Syd as though she would snap their heads off if they didn’t keep things contained.
It was a blessing in disguise for Cooper. He hadn’t wanted to be here in the first place; Hugs got her ballerinas or something like ballerinas, he'd done that much for her. He wanted to get the hell out of here. Gracefully get the hell out of here. No power, that was a perfect reason to split. With Hugs trailing behind, Cooper walked over to Syd and stood between her and her way out, blocking her, if that was possible.
"Look, I apologize, but I think I'm going to have to bail out on you. My daughter is frightened, I want to get her out of here."
Sydney glanced down at Hugs and then fixed that typical patronizing smile on her face as she shifted her attention back to him. "Cooper, I'm moving the stage indoors, there will be a slight delay, but I'd prefer that you honor your commitment. I have some unexpected problems - "
Thunder rattled the roof: a long and very close strike, rain pounding down and he was long past giving her an excuse to leave. Hugs had climbed up on a chair and curled up there hanging onto her toy, startling with every blast of thunder. He cut her off. “That’s not going to work for me. I said I’m leaving. I'll write you a check."
"That isn't the...I won't be able to put together the same kind of audience again if you walk off. Can't she sit in the corner for half an hour? My assistant can entertain her."
Cooper bit back the words he wanted to throw at Syd, could she sit in a corner, no fucking way, tried not to lose his composure in front of Hugs. That would frighten her even more. His mouth stiff, he pointed out the obvious. “Your audience is already leaving, Sydney. I doubt they would care.”
The door crashed open, swung hard against the wall by the little boy who kicked it before running off into the dark, airless and crowded room. Right behind him, but making no attempt to capture him, was his mother. Camilla looked at Sydney and pushed into the middle and scanned them, a search and destroy move he knew usually preceded one of her incomprehensible linguistic attacks. You couldn’t escape. No one could escape. He couldn't breathe in this place, wanted out, wanted to call Beth and ask why she'd done what she'd done, wondered uneasily what Camilla was about to do, while the light flickered and the heat broke sweat under his arms.
He didn't have to wait long.
"Oh for heavens sake Sydney you know I could hear you all the way across the whole place let's just bid on him right now see here's a person and sweetie grab that other lady over there hi yes stand right here you like Cooper don't you? Coop, smile or something. Ok, we're bidding Heydon said I could spend up to $75 thousand if someone odd bid on Coop so that's my bid even though nobody odd actually bid on him. You girls are NOT bidding, do not do that. Nobody else bids. It's all done and we can go home because it is really hot and I'm not wearing waterproof mascara."
Hugs stared at her, peeping up over the bunny. Syd stared at her. The women she'd grabbed stared at her, until one of them started flirting with him. Cooper found his voice. "Uh, thanks, Cam."
"You're welcome." Camilla glanced down at Hugs and smiled. "You're getting so big and you are so cute. Fortunately you look like your father. Cooper you have to do something with her hair though and I am getting out of here thank you ladies and you, I like your dress it is an inspiring dress. Bye bye.”
“Jay!” Camilla surveyed the room, looking irritable and impatient. “I’m leaving and you will walk all the way back in the dark all by yourself and fall off that cliff if you don’t come here right this -- oh there you are and put that down that’s alcoholic."
Done with this, Cooper picked up Hugs and carried her through the courtyard, empty and rain driven and dark, his little girl clinging to his neck and the damned stuffed toy bumping his back. The car he'd ordered was late, the driver claiming the lights were out, traffic backed up, all the usual crap when one of these storms slammed through.
He moved up against the minimal shelter of the wall near the street and put her down. It was going to be a long drive back, and he was pierced through, long aching pain, wishing he could simply take her and go home. This was a piece of shit, all of it, sitting out here in the rain with nothing he wanted and his little girl was scared. "Don’t worry, baby girl. The car will be here any minute now."
Hugs looked up at him, solemn and quiet and intent. "Daddy, I didn't give Mommy the note."
He was trying to shield her against the rain, watching the street, not listening. "What note, sweetheart?"
The car pulled up to the curb throwing a spray of dirty water into the air, settling, idling, lights on. Relieved, Cooper looked back at her, his attention still elsewhere, should he try to go all the way back up into the front range, should he try to book a suite in a hotel, was the power down throughout the city. “We have to go, you can tell me later.”
"No, I have to tell you now.” She pulled back, pulling hard on his hand, face turned up in the dark and driving rain and the bunny dumped in a puddle behind her. The driver honked the horn. Someone came out of the main lobby and flashed a camera at them, he tried to move between the camera and his daughter while she still resisted and in the strongest voice he had ever heard her use, pleaded with him. “Daddy! It’s the one with the music on it. It got wet when Bunny fell in the fountain and it got all messy and it's under my bed. I’m sorry. Is that why you don't come home?"