NEW YORK (The following day)
Luna and her agent Allison had been having lunch together and it had felt like if they had always known each other. It was the first time that they had met in person but both women had already lost count of how many times they had been talking on the phone, sending emails or just chatting online.
Allison knew about Luna’s eating disorders, her almost non-existent relationship with her family, her heart problems and even about her complicated relationship with Vin. On the other hand, Luna knew about Allison’s problems bringing up Tyrone, her four year old autistic son, being a black single mother, her addiction to sleeping pills and her painful past full of drugs abuses.
Allison had been searching in her free time for all the Intel available on the Internet concerning Luna’s heart affliction, just in case Luna suffered a relapse. Allison was more than just a little concerned about Luna’s health and not only because Luna was a source of income to the agency Allison worked for, but because Luna was also a really close friend. At the same time, Luna had done the same thing, searching for new treatments for autism as well as specialized centers, to help Allison with her son.
Neither of them had said it aloud, but both women knew deep down how they had been a constant support from the shadows, helping each other more than either of them would have guessed. Words hadn’t been needed at all because they had both known.
They had been joking on more than one occasion, saying it seemed as if they were sharing a brain, but it was true and not only regarding their mentalities but also professionally.
Allison and Luna found that they were on the very same page regarding Luna’s career, but also regarding her private life. They both agreed that the fact that Luna had married Vin Diesel could be used to help Luna get success and public recognition faster.
However, unlike Marcela, Allison didn’t like that old saying ‘everything is allowed in love and war’ one damn bit. Allison wanted to keep Luna’s private life apart from Luna’s career as much as possible. The young agent was completely sure Luna that would reach success without using her husband’s name, money, connections or influences.
Allison definitely had shown Luna that she was decent and honest enough agent to make a name in the business without using Marcela’s dirty schemes and plots. And even though Marcela had been the one contacting Allison, asking her to be Luna’s agent, Allison didn’t share Marcela’s code of ethics or her point of view regarding how to make it big in business.
Allison was young and she sure as hell she didn’t have Marcela’s connections or power, but she didn’t need them at all. Allison was restless, full of resources and charming. Those were her weapons to make possible that the writers she represented reached their individual goals.
“Okay, sugar, ready to meet your partners?” Allison grinned as she handed Luna her visiting pass.
“Yeah! I’m so excited, Allison.” Luna smiled. “I’m dying to know them in person; I’ve been chatting with a couple of them but still, to finally put a face to their names is gonna be wonderful.” She added, laughing.
“Good.” Allison hugged Luna. “Now go in there and show them your most wonderful side, sugar.” She added, kissing her cheek.
Luna hugged Allison back, kissing her as well.
“Will you be waiting for me?” She asked, smiling widely.
Allison grinned, she knew that Luna was very nervous even though she was doing her best to hide that fact from Allison.
“Sure thing, sugar.” She replied, winking. “I’ll be waiting in the cafeteria.”
“Great!” Luna grinned then when serious. “How do I look like?”
“Like the million box.” Allison replied, grinning.
Luna sighed hard. “Wish me luck, Allison.”
Allison rolled her eyes, laughing.
“You don’t need it, sugar.” She said firmly.
Both laughed and Luna turned on her heels, heading directly to the elevators. Allison watched her go and then headed towards to the cafeteria to wait for Luna.
Luna stepped into the lift, chewing her lower lip. She was excited but she was also nervous. It was the first time that she was going to be present in one of the weekly meetings that the scriptwriters had to share their opinions about the characters, the future twists in the story and the plot.
She had never been in one of those and she wasn’t sure how to act. However, Allison had explained to her in detail how they developed and Luna had been making mental notes.
Vin had been pushing her, saying he wanted to go with her, but Luna had been replying that she didn’t want them thinking that she was bringing her famous husband to the meeting. More than anything, Luna didn’t want her partners thinking that she was bragging, rubbing the fact that she was married to Vin Diesel in their noses.
Luna wanted to be known as ‘Luna’ and not as ‘Mrs. Diesel’, that was how the media always referred to her since Marcela sent out the press release about their wedding in Las Vegas.
It wasn’t that Luna gave a damn about how or what they said about her anymore, but here, in HBO and to all her partners, she wanted to be Luna, nothing more.
Finally the lift came to a stop and the doors slid open. Luna stepped out and found herself immersed in the very busy daily activity of the creative department within the HBO offices.
People were coming and going, talking, laughing and some of them running from one side to another in frantic action; phones ringing, secretaries typing at computers, messengers delivering packages. It felt like a little chaos was taking place in front of her eyes.
Luna took a deep breath and, stretching her back, she headed directly towards the main reception desk.
One of the girls lifted her head, smiling warmly, asking Luna if she could help her. Luna introduced herself, explaining to the girl the purpose of her visit. In response, the receptionist gave Luna the directions to reach the meeting room, adding that she was at least fifteen minutes earlier.
Luna thanked the girl and following her directions, she headed towards the meeting room. She was more nervous now and all of a sudden Luna found herself needing to use the toilet.
Luna asked a boy she crossed paths with where the bathrooms were. The boy told her and Luna hurried her steps. She was going to piss her pants any minute.
Luna entered one of the stalls, and closed the door. She was done in a second and just when she was going to exit it, she heard two female voices talking with each other.
“So what is so ‘out of the ordinary’ with this meeting?” One of the voices asked. “It’s not like all of us, the scriptwriters, are that important.”
“Don’t you know? Her Majesty is going to grace us with her presence.” The other replied sarcastically.
Luna smiled widely and grabbed the handle of the door to open it. She would use the occasion to meet two of the other writers before the meeting. That way she wouldn’t feel so out of place later.
“Who?” The first voice asked. “Mrs. Diesel?”
Luna froze in place, frowning slightly.
“Yep, in the flesh and bones.” The other replied. “I hope she doesn’t show up with her brand new husband though. Last thing I need today is that bitch bragging about how she married a famous actor.”
Luna tensed every single muscle in her body, tightly gripping the handle of the door.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind to meet the infamous Vin Diesel in person; you have to admit the man is hot, Carla.” The first one giggled.
“If you say so.” Carla snorted. “Considering he’s as bald as a cue ball.”
“He’s not bald, he shaves his head.” The first one replied, laughing.
“Whatever.” Carla retorted. “I wonder if he shaves everything?”
Both burst out laughing hard and they entered the two stalls at both sides of the one Luna was in.
Luna’s knuckles had turned white under the fierce pressure. She couldn’t believe what those two women were saying about her. They didn’t know her at all, yet both were assuming a lot of shit about her and Vin.
Luna frowned deeply, clenching her jaw. She was going to have a couple of words with those two like right now. So Luna took a deep breath, exhaling the air slowly and was ready to open the door when she heard the woman named Carla again.
“Did you know she demanded by contract to be able to write from LA?” Carla asked, flushing the toilet.
Luna’s eyes almost jumped out of her face as she gasped soundlessly.
“You’re kidding?” The other replied, flushing the toilet too.
“Nu-uh.” Carla replied as she opened the door of the stall. “It seems ‘Mrs. Diesel’ didn’t want to have to drag her uptight ass to NY each week, Tanya.” She said, washing her hands. “She didn’t feel like being treated like the rest of us. I bet that bitch thinks she’s better than us.”
Tanya exited the stall, heading directly to the counter. “Well, she’s certainly not like the rest of us.” She replied, washing her hands. “I mean I sweated blood to have the chance to show my talent writing.” Tanya added, drying her hands in one of the towels.
“Just like the rest of us, Tanya.” Carla replied, opening her purse, pulling out her make-up case. “And what did she do?” Carla opened her lipstick, meeting Tanya’s gaze through her reflection in the mirror. “She fucked Diesel, and voila, she was one of the scriptwriters.” She added and started applying the lipstick.
“That’s pretty low shit, you know? And very unfair too.” Tanya replied, leaning against the counter as she watched her friend, touching her up. “I know at least ten writers more talented than ‘Mrs. Diesel’ and they are serving meals in some shitty hole because bitches like her took their places, playing dirty.” Tanya explained, her voice disgusted.
“I know but unfortunately there are a lot of women without scruples or decency.” Carla replied, putting the lipstick in the case and pulling out the eyeliner. “And all of them are ready to do anything to get what they want, and that Luna bitch is one of those.”
Tanya nodded in agreement. “Yep, I wonder how many blowjobs she gave to get what she wanted. Because I’m completely sure she sucked more than one cock to be one of HBO’s scriptwriters.” She frowned deeply.
Luna was shaking, controlling her rising anger; she was not hearing the things they were saying. This was a nightmare and at any time she would wake up.
“Oh and that’s not all, girl.” Carla lowered the tone of her voice. “Jeff told me that Diesel’s army of lawyers negotiated her contract in person with the channel to make sure that all his whore’s demands were fulfilled.”
Luna shut her eyes, tightly, shaking her head ‘no’. That was not true. They didn’t know what the fuck they were babbling about.
Luna felt her throat closing and swallowed forcefully, feeling her heart beating faster.
Vin would not do that to her without asking her beforehand. Vin, her husband, knew her career meant everything to her. Vin didn’t do that, no way. No fucking way.
“And now she’s married to him.” Tanya stated.
Carla snorted. “Yep, but I bet that wedding is just a sham.”
Luna’s eyes snapped open, her hand hurt because she was gripping the handle of the door for dear life and now she was shaking more, restraining her anger.
“What do you mean?” Tanya blinked, staring at Carla with a shocked expression written all over her face. Carla rolled her eyes.
“Come on, Tanya. You know about the rumors that say Vin Diesel is gay.” Carla explained, grinning maliciously. Tanya’s brows arched at once. “Besides, they married in Las Vegas. For God’s sake! Can anybody be more tastelessly vulgar?” she added, putting her makeup case back in her purse.
Luna gritted her teeth so hard that her neck muscles screamed in pain as she forced the air to pass through her lungs. Her free hand was closed in a fist and she was almost panting. Her chest hurt with the force of her uncontrolled shakes.
“I wonder if they signed one of those pre-nuptial contracts. You know, one of those in which the longer you are married the more millions you take, or some shit like she receives such and such amount of millions per kid she has with him.”
Luna’s eyes filled with angry tears in one second, hearing Tanya’s poisoned words. This was a horrible nightmare. Her nails were digging so tightly into her palm that Luna was puncturing the skin without being aware of it.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. Have you taken a look at her pictures? She’s anything but Diesel’s taste.” Carla replied sarcastically.
“In any case she won the lottery because no matter what that bitch does; she will end up with millions.” Tanya said, shrugging her shoulders. Carla nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, you’re right. She will be a very rich bitch sooner or later.”
“You know what?” Tanya frowned slightly then elaborated. “I feel pity for her. She’s talented, not as talented as we are of course, but to whore herself just to have a chance to make a name as a writer is pathetic.”
“I know.” Carla sighed. “At least we only have to see her face once because I don’t think ‘Mrs. Diesel’ is going to mingle with us simple mortals again.” She added, grabbing her purse.
“Do you think that?” Tanya asked, looking at her friend.
“Yep. I’m sure. And I bet she wanted to come to this meeting as part of some strategy her agent came up with to show her as normal as possible.” Carla replied. “Like we’re going to buy that shit.” She rolled her eyes, grinning.
“Anyway, do you know by chance where she came from?” Tanya frowned, grabbing her purse.
“Yeah, I read in some tabloid she’s from Spain.” Carla answered, stretching her skirt.
“Well, that explains a lot.” Tanya replied as she brushed her hair with her free hand.
“How so?” Carla looked up at Tanya.
“Because those Europeans are just a bunch of whores.” Tanya retorted as a matter of fact causing Carla to knit a brow. “They come here, taking our men, not giving a shit about what they have to do to get what they want.”
Carla snorted. “Well, it’s not like you had too many options with Vin Diesel before she showed up anyway, Tanya.” She teased her, grinning evilly. Tanya froze.
“And what does that shit mean, Carla?” she asked, her tone of voice hard. Carla laughed hard.
“Oh, honey, don’t get me wrong but it’s not like you are that stunning.” She said, giving Tanya the once over.
Tanya blinked; she couldn’t believe what Carla was saying.
“Hell, she’s not that stunning either and she got Vin Diesel no less!” Tanya replied, annoyed, causing Carla to laugh again.
“Yeah and I wonder how much time he will play the perfect hubby.” She said, and with that both women exited the bathroom.
Luna swallowed hard, blinking her blurry vision and slowly she slid down to the floor. She was trembling and her hands felt numb. Her heart was pounding within her chest and Luna forced herself to take several short breaths, suspecting that she was going to pass out any minute.
And all of sudden Luna remembered a conversation that she and Vin had while driving to the airport. Back then they were just friends and Vin had organized a trip to Miami to celebrate Luna signing that damn contract with HBO.
“Renee told me that you signed a contract with HBO New York to write a new soap opera.”
“I…I didn’t tell you because I thought you were too busy with other things, Vin. I don’t want you thinking that I’m hiding things from you. It’s just that…”
“It’s ok, Luna. You’re right. I’m really happy for you, babe. You deserve to have success…I’m not disappointed or mad at you, N…”
“Of course you weren’t…” She whispered absently as her gaze slid down to her left hand.
Luna stared at her wedding band through her blurry vision, trying to figure out why Vin had done such a thing without telling her. What had gotten into him to use his connections to make sure that HBO offered her a job as a scriptwriter.
Back then he wasn’t in love with her; Luna damn well knew that, so what could have been his reasons. She couldn’t understand why Vin had kept that shit to himself; why he had kept the secret all this time, even after they had given each other a second chance. Hell! They had gotten married!!!
Until realization dawned. Guilt.
Vin felt guilty because he had hit her. It wasn’t that he thought she was a good scriptwriter; it was just that he felt guilty after his cowardly act.
The words of those two hadn’t hurt her half as much as what Vin had done. The painful realization that he didn’t consider her good enough to have success without his help was killing Luna. But the worst thing was that after all the shit they had gone through, he didn’t trust her any more than before.
She always had trust in Vin’s talent as an actor, without reservations or doubts, unlike Vin himself. Not even now that they were married did he trust her, and all of a sudden Luna wasn’t sure anymore if she was hurt or mad.
Luna cursed herself silently and, taking a ragged breath, she got to her feet. Her legs were trembling and when she finally stretched her back, the small stall spun around.
Swallowing the sudden nausea back down, Luna closed her eyes for a second, clasping her hand against her mouth and took several more shaky breaths in a lame attempt to slow the rhythm of her heartbeats.
After a long moment, Luna could finally keep control of her sickness, not throwing up her lunch and slowly, she opened the door of the stall.
Luna padded towards the counter and opening the tap, she wet a towel. Then she leaned forward a little and placed the towel onto her nape, sighing hard.
She had heard every single word those two bitches had said about her and Vin. Luna could understand that some women could be jealous of her but she suspected that this was not the case, or at least only partially.
It was true almost that everything they had said were malicious rumors and lies that the tabloids had spread because, with the exception of the press release, Vin hadn’t said shit about the matter.
Luna stared at her teary gaze reflected in the mirror and noticed that her eyes were slightly puffed. She splashed water on her face and as she dried her hands, Luna hissed in pain. Looking down she opened her left palm and her eyes widened when she saw four perfect half moons, branded on her skin.
Cursing silently, Luna opened her purse, pulling out her make-up case and taking a deep breath, she started to tidy herself up. It was a task that would take her a few minutes, not that Luna gave a damn anymore about what her partners thought about her.
Luna suspected that the rest of the scriptwriters shared Carla and Tanya’s opinion. So, since everybody had already decided that she was just a bitch without talent that had worked her way up, sucking cocks, whoring herself and fucking Vin Diesel; she couldn’t do anything to change their vision of her. No matter what she did or said, they were not going to change their minds regarding her.
Luna took a ragged breath and kept tidying herself up, thinking about her options.
She could turn on her heels, running like a chickenshit or she could stay and face them.
As she applied blusher on her cheeks, Luna narrowed her eyes slightly. She refused to give any signal that she had heard that conversation, but she made a mental note to deal with Carla and Tanya when the time came. She was not going to let that one go that easily, no way.
She always had had a set of balls and she was a fighter. Damn! She had survived her eating disorders, an abortion, Vin’s wildest side and all the shit Vin Diesel’s fans and the media had thrown her way. She would not give anyone the satisfaction of watching her, hurt or weak. No when that fact would turn against her too.
Luna stretched her back, cracked her neck bones and put her makeup case back in her purse. She then gave herself the once over in front of the mirror and forced a smile.
No matter what they said or thought about her, Luna knew that she was a damn good scriptwriter. It was the only thing that she was completely sure of at that very moment. She knew the truth and that was what mattered right now.
She was going to make a hell of an appearance and she would enter that meeting room with her head up, showing every single one of her ‘partners’ who Luna Andrade was. She had been living almost glued to Vin for the last months; she could play a role too.
And tonight, she would deal with her husband.