I don't know what I'm doing. After I tried to kiss her, I feel like there's no way I can stop her from leaving. It's what I deserve. And it's annoying cos I know she's right. Why did I get with Abi? I try calling her, but I hear her phone ringing in another room and realize she's left it here. Shit. I'm sitting on the couch with Turtle and Johnny, but I'm not talking. They don't say anything either. Good. My phone rings, and I jump at it, even though I know it's not Orla. It's E. I don't pick it up. Turtle does.
"Sup E?" He says into it. I can't hear E on the other side. "Uh, yeah, he's here ... Do you wanna talk to him, Vince?"
"No." I reply. I don't want to talk to any one.
"He says no, E ... Oh, hang on. He says it's about Orla." Turtle's looking at me. I grab the phone and take it outside.
"What about her, E?"
"Me and Sloan just saw her, miles away from the house, sitting and crying on a bench. Does that mean anything to you?"
"What do you mean?"
"What I said. Do you know why she's sitting on a bench and crying, completely lost?"
"Maybe she's crying cos she's lost." I say bitterly. I feel even worse. Fuck. It's way worse knowing that she's upset and not just angry at me. I don't want to hurt her.
"Don't be a dick, Vince. You need to make this right."
"How?" I ask earnestly. I want to. I really do.
"Me and Sloan will drop her at a coffee shop. The one we first saw her at, okay? At least she knows her way from there. You go and meet her in like a half hour. We won't be there. Make sure you go alone. You two have stuff to talk about. And bring money cos she has absolutely nothing on her. Okay?" I sigh.
"What am I gonna say to him?" I hear in the background - Orla. I wondered if she'd be listening in.
"She's with you right now?" I ask. I hear E sigh.
"Yeah, she's here."
"She wants to see me?" There's a pause on the other end of the line. So she can hear what I'm saying then.
"Yeah. She wants to see you, Vince." The line goes dead. I jump up.
"Turtle, I need a ride."
"Where we going?" Johnny stands up too.
"No, just me."
"You're going somewhere on your own?" Turtle's surprised.
"I'll just come for the ride." Johnny says. I think they're both just trying to be there for me, which is weird. Maybe they think I'm about to lose it completely. I wouldn't be surprised. If this goes badly I think I will.
Traffic isn't as terrible as usual so I'm there on time. It's still only early afternoon - it seems weird that there's only been a whole morning of this mess. I tell the boys not to wait for me, and they're surprised but agree. When I walk in the coffee shop, Orla's already there. She's got a glass of water and some kind of cake. There's a coffee opposite her which I assume is for me. She's bare faced - I swear she was wearing make up earlier. She still looks beautiful, but at the same time she looks completely vacant. I take a seat opposite her.
"Sloan gave me pocket money." She says with a small smile. "E had to order yours, because I have no idea what you like." I consider her. Is this laced with double meaning? I take a sip of the coffee. It's warm and delicious and makes me feel a bit better.
"No cake for me?" I ask. She pushes the plate towards me.
"Help yourself. I'm not hungry." This could be hard work. I eat some of the cake. She's not touching her water either.
"This wasn't your idea." I state.
"No, it wasn't." She sighs. "When Sloan and E found me I was thinking I'd just hitch a ride to the airport and go home forever."
"You don't have your passport with you." I point out. She gives me a small smile.
"That was one of the issues. And so here we are."
"Here we are." I agree. I'm trying to be adult about it. All I want to do is pull her onto my lap and kiss her and stroke her hair and beg her to stay with me.
"So what now?" She asks. I don't know. I shrug. "Make friends make friends never ever break friends?"
"I don't know if I want to be your friend." Her face falls for a second but I see her try to collect herself.
"That's fair enough." Her voice croaks, and I can tell she's biting back tears. Fuck. "I'm not sure I can be your friend anyway."
"Why not?" I ask.
"Because. I'd be jealous. I'm really grateful how much you've done for me Vince, but I can't ... I can't sit around and watch you be a Playboy. I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing practically naked girls in the kitchen. Especially if I know they've been with you." I don't say anything. "I just ... I can't. I can't disregard my own feelings like that. I feel like I've done enough masking of my emotions and feeling worthless before I even moved here."
"I don't think I can watch you flounce off looking beautiful on dates with celebrity dicks." I respond.
"You're a celebrity dick." She replies. She's smiling though, so I can see we're making progress. I laugh.
"Yeah. I really am."
"Maybe we can start over, Vince." She's sincere. I nod.
"Yeah. Okay. Hi, I'm Vince." I reach over and shake her hand. She smiles politely.
"Hi, I'm Orla."
"An English accent? What brings you to LA?"
"My fiancé didn't love me anymore, so I decided to follow my dreams and leave everything I have in the world behind." I'm taken aback. So she really was engaged. I don't know if I should ask about it. She's watching me closely.
"He's crazy letting someone as pretty as you out of his sight." I reply. She holds my eye contact, clearly unsure where to go next.
"You're interesting." She says.
"So are you." I reply.
"Do you like me?" She asks.
"I like you too. Very much." This is all I need to hear. I reach over and kiss her, with as much honesty and sincerity as I can. I want her to know that I'm sorry, I care, I want this to go somewhere. She responds. Thank God.
Even though it's quite a way from home, we decide to walk back. I'm cherishing her company. We hold hands and laugh and it's weird to just be hanging out with a girl without being naked. But it's not hard work with her. Dare I say it, I could get used to it.
We're just walking into the driveway when my phone rings. It's Shauna.
"What the fuck Vince?"
"Hello to you too." I reply.
"Why didn't you tell me you had some new girlfriend? I'm your fucking publicist you piece of shit, now I'm being asked what your comment on your new girlfriend is - who your new girlfriend is cos no one fucking recognizes her - and I have to google recent fucking news of Vinnie Chase to find out what they're talking about!" Orla can hear Shauna on the other end of the line. She looks seriously worried. I'm pretty calm.
"Shauna, relax. What are you even talking about?"
"Are you at a computer?"
"No, but I can be in like five minutes ..."
"Call me back in ten, tops." The line's dead.
"What's going on?" Orla asks. I shrug.
"Who knows ..."
We walk in the house and the boys are waiting.
"So you two made up, huh?" Turtle yells. E hurries over, pulling me along to Turtle's laptop. There are pictures already! Me and Orla kissing in the coffee shop, holding hands walking home, even looking pissed off at each other at the start.
"Oh no ..." Orla groans.
"You embarrassed to be seen with me?" I tease.
"No it's not that - my first time being papped and I'm not wearing any make up." Such a girl thing to say.
"Relax, you look beautiful."
"Shauna wants a statement, Vince."
"Well you are all business, E."
"One of us has to be." I turn to Orla.
"I'm sorry, Vince." She says.
"You have nothing to be sorry for. Why is everyone freaking out except me?"
"What are you gonna tell her to say?" E wants to know.
"What shall I tell her?" I ask Orla.
"What do you mean?" She asks, glancing at me, at the boys, and back to me again.
"Well are you my girlfriend?" She flushes pink. It's adorable.
"I dunno Vince. If that's what you want. Although you realize it's only been a few days ... and we've already had a much more turbulent relationship than the one I was in when I was gonna marry the guy." I laugh. I'm not fazed.
"So maybe we've got all our crazy out of the way?"
"For now." Orla says back with a smile, wrapping her arms around my neck. "I've got my first official meeting with Ari next week ... I think there's a lot of crazy to come."