“Of course you don’t.”
I sit back in my seat like I’ve been shoved, looking to Calvin for confirmation. Am I misreading this? His small shrug tells me he’s as baffled as I am.
I’m cut off from asking what the hell her problem is when the waitress returns with our drinks. Before she leaves, Lulu orders another glass of wine.
“And maybe some food,” I suggest. “Have you eaten anything tonight?”
She regards me blankly over the top of her glass. “Is this your not-so-subtle way of suggesting I’ve had too much to drink?”
“It’s my way of saying that it’s nearly eleven, and you might be in a better mood if you ate something.”
Lulu blinks pointedly down to the bar menu and orders a plate of shishito peppers and garlic parsley fries for the table to share, adding that the waitress should make sure to split that on the checks.
Calvin shifts beside me, moving closer.
“So, any other auditions on the horizon?” he asks her sweetly.
“Nothing new coming up. This was for a commercial for some electronics store, but apparently they wanted a fetus to play the part. Blah blah blah, just like all of them.” She lifts her wineglass, draining it.
I can tell she’s had a shit day; I’ve seen Lulu like this before. Normally I would walk over to her side of the table, put my arm around her, and tell her how amazing she is. Tonight, it’s like watching her through a warped set of glasses; I’m not even remotely interested in placating her. She’s being a complete asshole—not amazing in the slightest.
I take a sip of my own drink. “Where’s Gene?”
“Working, I think. Who knows.”
Calvin and I exchange a look.
“So what’s going on with you two?” she asks, lifting her chin to us. “The show going well?”
“Other than the madness just now, it’s brilliant,” Calvin says, grinning. “I swear I sit down and the lights dim and it still doesn’t feel real.”
“I lose my shit every time I see him up there,” I add. It comes out as a jumble of breathless words and Calvin laughs at me, leaning over to kiss my jaw.
As if on cue, a woman approaches, clutching a Playbill, and although Calvin initially looks mildly wary, she ends up asking—very politely, with a shaking voice—for an autograph. Calvin smiles at her, charming with his crinkly eyes, and she goes into full-on fangirl mode, asking for a selfie, a hug, practically offering to birth his firstborn. He reaches for me, his hand landing on my thigh, and the cold press of his wedding ring through my tights makes heat spread in a wave across every inch of my skin. I clench my thighs together; for crying out loud, I’m still sore from last night.
It’s obvious to anyone watching that this still feels surreal for him, and I love witnessing him soak it up. How many of us in our lifetime get to experience this type of adulation? But across the table, Lulu is playing on her phone in dramatic boredom.
With the Playbill signed and selfie taken, Calvin looks at me in question before turning back to Lulu and offering, “I can get you tickets if you want to come?”
“Thanks, but no.” She slides her phone back onto the tabletop. “I see enough of it every freaking place I go. Wasn’t Ryan Gosling there the other night or something? People were wetting themselves all over my Twitter feed.”
Calvin grins—it was a huge commotion and, honestly, a ton of fun backstage. “He was. He’s a friend of Ramón’s.”
“Did you meet him?”
“I got to talk to him for a few minutes.”
Lulu looks at me, and then back to him, clearly expecting more fanfare. “Did Holland lose her shit?” She nearly knocks her wineglass over. “I think she’s seen Blue Valentine about five hundred times. I mean, it was nothing compared to the crush she had on you before you met, but—”
My heart stumbles in my chest and I quickly cut in. “Did Gene mention he was looking for another job? Jeff’s friend is opening a—”
“I see you.” Lulu wags a drunken finger in my direction. “I see what you’re doing. You don’t get to change the subject that quickly. Look at you two now. Don’t you want him to know? You were crazy about him.”
“I’m sorry, who are we talking about?” Calvin asks.
My pulse is running like I’ve just finished a marathon.
“We’re talking about you.” Lulu reaches over and taps his nose before he can dodge her. “I still remember the first day she saw you. She lost her goddamn mind. She even sent me a video of you playing at the subway station.”
Calvin glances at me, confused. “From the night of the attack?”
She looks at him like he’s dense. “No, like waaaaaay before. She sent me a video of you playing last summer and wouldn’t shut up about it. Oh my God, she called you Jack!” She smacks the table, cackling to herself. “Do you remember Jack the Busker, Holland?” She turns back to him and leans her chin on her hand. “We used to give her so much shit about it.”
I’m trying to get her attention, begging her with my eyes to stop talking, but she either doesn’t see me or—more likely—doesn’t care. I’m honestly wondering if it would be less awkward for me to pull the fire alarm or just knock the table over to shut her up.