Episode 7 ~ Oh yeah, Happy Valentine’s Day
Updated: Sep 1
Carrie and Legacy arrived back in New York in the late afternoon. The flight and subsequent drive back from the airport had been a special kind of hell. Legacy would remind Carrie, after the dust settled, of how great a friend she had been during this time. She was most definitely a shoe-in for “friend of the year.” The lack of chatter about the interview should have made Carrie happy. After all, no talk meant no negative talk, right? The fact that the focus was on someone else’s dirty laundry meant that she was now poised in a neutral position to go in any direction she chose. This nightmare had gone on so long that Carrie didn’t seem to know how to function without worrying about something. She desperately needed to keep swinging, but there was nothing to hit.
Everything she’d ever created would be released to her as her intellectual property; she had her celebrity clients, her gym in Manhattan, and an enormously influential non-profit foundation that helped people waiting for organ donors. But she seemed stuck in the reality that she had been “invited to leave” the VO2 organization. She had to know that she’d outgrown them, long before they’d let her go. She’d go much further without them but being “unwanted” was a jagged pill for her to swallow. No matter how far she’d come or the massive wealth she’d built; she was still the little, abandoned 10-year-old whose mother had died. She was going to have to talk out every minute detail, every minor event that head lead to her dismissal before she would plunge ahead on her own.
They hit the gym for a quick run. There was a small balcony in the gym that was a private area for Carrie’s celebrity clients. It was separate from the gym floor, and Carrie could get in her own, personal workout while watching over the entire operation. It ran like a well-oiled machine, and there was a Zen in watching a little piece of the empire, run with no micro-management. Some people sat and looked out over the ocean. To Carrie, this view was soothing. The girls had a pretty smart plan of attack. They’d run side by side on the treadmills, one running forward and the other running backwards. In 20 minutes they’d be beat, and hopefully, Carrie would pound some of her angst out on the rubber road.
Running uphill and backwards was not only bad ass, but it also gave Carrie the ability to see her friend’s face as they talked. Most of the time that was a good thing. Legacy was struggling not to look bored or roll her eyes at her friend’s worries. She wanted to be a good friend, but she was wrung out. Where was David? It was time for a shift change.
“Okay, listen to me,” Legacy said, “It’s not like you’re broke. I have ridden your success all the way here. I’m not scared so you shouldn’t be either. Look around you.”
“Not scared. I just expected more by now. Didn’t you?” This was good. Now, she was getting to the root of the problem. Maybe, Legacy thought, we are nearing the “ah ha’ moment. With a new found energy, Legacy dove in.
“What do you mean by more?,” Legacy asked.
“I thought I’d be married by now or really, I don’t know, in love at least. You know, ready for Act II. Less focus on career and ready. I don’t know…ready.” Carrie said.
“What, you’re not making babies with David?,” Legacy teased. Carries shot her a look that said, ‘not now.’
Laughing, Legacy said, “Right, no baby making. BTW, Act II hardly begins at 31. Good Lord, would somebody get this chick some knitting needles?! Switch?”
“Switch,” Carrie agreed.
They swapped directions on the treadmills so that Legacy was now huffing it, running backwards. It was clear that Carrie wanted her dead, but they were getting somewhere, so she huffed away.
“Also,” Carrie insisted, “Lots of cool people knit or is it crochet? Do you really feel like that?”
“Like you’ve just ridden along behind me. You are a talented designer all on your own.” She never wanted Legacy to think she was the junior partner.
“Thanks,” Legacy beamed, “but people see my designs because you and your celebrity friends wear them. I didn’t mean it like it was a bad thing. I’ll get my turn.”
Carrie played that thought in her head for a minute. “Maybe,” she said slowly, “That’s what this is. Your turn.”
“Would that be so bad?”
Carrie felt light. Lighter than she had in weeks. This, all of this wasn’t about her, at all. Talk about a light bulb moment. She had the freedom now, to do anything she wanted or nothing at all. She had no direction. It felt scary, but it also seemed exactly right.
Anything could happen.
“No, it wouldn’t be bad at…” she began, but they were interrupted. David barreled up the steps, kissed Carrie and swatted Legacy on the ass.
“Hey, Care Bear. I missed you.” He’d not called her that in a long time. It sounded weird. It wasn’t as cute as it had been when they were kids but she ignored it for now.
“Stop it,” both girls laughed together in reference to the butt slapping.
David reached affectionately if not a little condescendingly for Carrie’s chin, kissed her hard on the mouth once and said, “Check your texts, babe. I have an interview tomorrow for my book.”
David was an Adonis; granted, some of it manufactured. He’d been a hottie but over the years, he’d gotten veneers, Botox, and fixed a broken nose that happened while playing football. Looking at him was like staring into the sun. David and Carrie had met twelve years ago when they’ each been cast in a terrible and luckily short-lived reality series, called The Burroughs. Also from West Virginia, they had bonded over their love for the Mountaineers. He had even played football for WVU.
Nearly the Heisman winner his junior year, David left college for the NFL. He played one-half of one unimportant game for the Chargers and then was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung during the off-season. He was on blood thinners for several years and was never able to play again. Basically, the boy version of Carrie, he took adversity and turned it into something more. He modeled and then used reality TV to launch himself first into television hosting and then quickly turning his own story into motivational speaking, an award winning podcast, radio program, and a book. He had proven to be a PR genius back when social media didn’t even have a name.
It was his instincts that grew Carrie’s first audience. She owed him a lot. They had never dated. He always had some model type girlfriend or three and Carrie didn’t play around. But a year ago, on New Year’s Eve, they had kissed. Made out actually. They were out with Legacy and the man-child that Legacy was sleeping with or wanted to sleep with and probably did sleep with by January 2nd. The party was boring, and they walked home. He kissed her at her apartment and then kissed and kissed her some more. He never pressed anything with her, even though she knew for a fact that he was a very sexual person. She liked to stay in control. They’d know each other long enough, that neither of them had secrets.
“I gotta go, babe. Early morning,” he said. He winked at them both and walked away. “Love ya Care Bear,” he called over his should and then turned back. “Hey, Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Oh, yeah, she said, “You too. Good luck tomorrow.”