Profile (Social Media #5)


by J.A. Huss

Chapter One

LAUGHTER from a tenant and a sharp pain in my back pulls me out of my hazy slumber. Note to self—the lobby of Grace’s building needs better furniture if I’m going to be sleeping on the couch every time she gets angry.

I chuckle a little at that. It should annoy me, but it doesn’t. It makes me feel… part of something. Part of a relationship. And I am, right? We are married. We. Are. Married. And I know she’s wary and I know she’s unhappy about how it came about, but the fact is, she married me. She said, ‘I do,’ and signed her name on the license.

I realize now that we were both far too drunk. I mean, she has no memory, so yeah. I huff out a breath. She was definitely far too drunk to make that decision. But it’s done. And I’m not interested in getting unmarried to Grace. In fact, I’m interested in doing it all over again, only this time making it a huge production. Hollywood style, maybe. Hundreds of guests. Lavish place settings and those little bags they give out filled with items you don’t need but which have the bride and groom’s name on them.

“Boss?”

I want a huge cake as tall as her, with a different flavor filling in each layer. Dancing, of course. I’ve never danced with her. So dancing. And a honeymoon. A real honeymoon. Not the beach. Maybe Japan or Iceland or a cruise around the world. Something daring and new.

“Boss? You awake?”

And then house-hunting. Let her choose the neighborhood. Hell, the state. She might not want to be in California. I don’t need to be in California, that’s for sure. She might even want to keep her job. Or find a new job She might want to live in Denver.

Denver. Jesus.

I’d live here though. It’s got an airport for my jet. Who cares where we live when we can be where we need to be in a few hours? It doesn’t matter.

“Boss!”

“Shit, Ray. What the fuck do you want?” I drag myself out of my dreams and look up at my head of security. “What?”

“She didn’t go to work today. The other tenants have all left, but she’s still inside her apartment.”

“Well…” I sit up and rub my hands down my face. I need to shave. “She had a rough few days, Ray. She deserves some time off.”

“I’m just telling you. It’s a workday, and she didn’t go.”

“OK. Well, I’m gonna go grab some coffee and see if she’s ready to talk to me yet.” I stand up and clap him on the back. “Thanks, man. Appreciate your help.”

I almost crash into Bigmy, Grace’s personal security guard, as I make my way towards the front door. “Do you need something, Bigmy?”

“I think she’s asleep,” he says in his thick Eastern European accent.

I nod. “OK.”

“There’s no noise in there. Like nothing. Silence.”

“Is that bothering you?” I ask, unsure of what he’s getting at.

“Most people get up, go to bathroom. Make coffee. Turn on TV. She’s not doing that.”

“Well, I guess she’s sleeping.”

“Right,” he says. But he’s not convinced.

“Look, Bigmy, if you think there’s a problem, just say so.”

He stares at me for a few seconds and then shrugs. “No problem.”

I grab my sunglasses off the coffee table and place them on my head. “OK, well, then, I’m heading over to the Starbucks—”

“You should stay inside,” Ray says. “The media is out there.”

“Ray, the media is everywhere. They’re not gonna go away until we resolve all this shit. And I refuse to be stuck inside because of them. Ray, you come with me. Bigmy—”

“Yes.”

“You stay here with Grace. I’ll be right back and we’ll see if we can’t coax her out with a muffin and some coffee.”

“She likes blueberry,” Bigmy says.

“I know that, thank you.” Fuck.

Ray and I walk to the front door and the frenzy starts before it even opens. Ray’s a tall guy. Not massive, like Bigmy. But tall. And he’s got a look about him that says, I will kill you with my bare hands.

The shouting starts as I exit, but I just flip my sunglasses down and push right through them. I’ve been doing this for twenty-seven years. Some encounters have been more stressful than others, but I’m not the kind of movie star who punches out photographers. They are making a living. Yeah, they are parasites who make a living off me, but fuck it. I really have no beef with them. In fact, most of them are nice when they’re not stalking you.

But then I see that bitch from Buzz Hollywood. She steps right in front of me and sticks that microphone in my face. “What will Jasinda think when she finds out you’re cheating on her?”

I actually stop to laugh. Ray grabs my forearm and tugs, trying to get me moving again. But I shrug him off. “I hope,” I tell the reporter as I look her in the eye, “she feels ashamed of herself. Jasinda”—I am facing the camera now, so I address her directly—“you’re a lying bitch. If you’re even pregnant, I’m up for a DNA test any time you are. I have a wife now and her name is Grace Kinsella-Asher.” And then I turn back to look at all of them as they hover close behind me. “And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get her a coffee and a muffin. Blueberry,” I add. “Grace likes blueberry. And she likes iced tall sugar-free caramel, nonfat, light ice, Starbucks double shot on ice. At least”—I stop to have a chuckle—“when she has money on her Starbucks app, she does.”

“Does she have money on her app, Vaughn?” a reporter from an internet blog asks me.

He’s nice, and funny. And never too serious about what he prints. “Her coffee worries are over, yes.”

Now they chuckle with me and I turn away and start walking down the street to the Starbucks. Half of them follow, but they stay behind me. Like a little train of leeches—annoying, but harmless.

See, this is how you handle the media. You don’t have to give them what they want, you just have to give them something they can use. Now they have two factoids about Grace to run with. Tomorrow everyone will be drinking that coffee concoction and the blueberry muffins will be sold out.

The day after tomorrow, they will be after the personal details of someone else and no one will give a shit about us until the next movie comes out, or I get nominated for an award, or Grace gets pregnant.