"That'll be 4.75 please." The girl behind the counter states flatly, clearly bored. My stomach drops. 4.75? For a coffee? I don't even like coffee, I just need an excuse to sit in the cafe for a while. I shift my folder full of my life's work to the other arm and hunt in my bag, hoping to find scraps of change. How embarrassing. Shit. On the one day I dare to walk in the fanciest part of Beverley Hills. I'd planned to sit in here for an hour or so, until Lloyd texts telling me the prime time to go to his office. I'm trying to wangle a meeting with his boss; the talent agent Ari Gold. Ari is fierce, and renowned for being terrifying. Lloyd, as his personal assistant, still has to tolerate homophobic or racist jibes on a daily basis, and he's close to the guy, far as I can tell. I'm terrified, but weeks of standing outside different offices for talent agencies hoping to get into a conversation with someone worthwhile, is really leaving me low on options.
I'd met Lloyd a week ago, when I was sat in a park feeling about as miserable as is humanly possible. I'd come to LA on my own, hoping that somehow I could make it here. After everything had fallen apart back home, I decided to give myself a year to make it here. If not, I'd go back with my tail between my legs and finish my Drama degree. On this day, I must have looked extra pathetic, because Lloyd just sashayed on over and asked what was up. Alone and friendless, I spilled my guts within 30 seconds of meeting him, and being the sympathetic queen he is, he instantly fell in love with my dramatic story and 'cute British accent, not like Queen British, but some kind of interesting British'. I tried to explain that I come from a shit part of England, hence my shit accent. He just squealed and said it was adorable. We went for coffee (well, he had coffee. I ate some kind of cookie thing), and turns out he works for one of the best agents in town. We'd spent the past week waiting for the perfect day for me to stroll in and try and strike up a conversation with Ari.
So here I am, in a coffee shop, with no money. I knew I was running out of funds but I hadn't been keeping track enough. How am I going to sleep another night in the hostel? People in the queue start complaining.
"For Christ's sake I'll buy you the damn coffee, lady." I am ashamed.
"No. I - I'm sorry." I rush out of the coffee shop as quickly as I can, mortified, power-walking down the street. I'm two blocks away when I realise I've left my portfolio on the counter. Shit.