From her dressing table Ivy couldn't help but hear the final number as it filled every nook and cranny of the theater. But inside her head, competing for her attention were those words, those haunting words, "Nobody wants you."
Derek chose Karen for Marilyn. "Nobody wants you."
Derek stood her up to be with Rebecca. "Nobody wants you."
Heaven and Earth fired her without a second thought. "Nobody wants you."
Karen got the orange juice commercial. "Nobody wants you."
Ten years in the chorus. "Nobody wants you."
She didn't want to feel this way anymore. She dug the bottle of pills out of her bag and dumped them into her hand.
She gritted her teeth at the early applause as Karen's voice rose with the final phrases.
She looked at the pills. She just needed to sleep. She just needed this overwhelming sense of worthlessness to stop. She tipped her hand letting the pills spill onto the table, picked up a few and put them in her mouth chased by a swallow from her water bottle. She picked up two more. More water and they were gone. Two more were followed by two more. The light-headedness started. It was a strong medication taken on an empty stomach. She took two more. She fumbled with the next two. It was getting hard to see now and her head was feeling too heavy to hold up. Her fingers were still stretching out to find more pills even as her head sank down to the table. This was nice, peaceful. She was falling away now, barely hearing the explosion of applause before all was dark and calm.
On stage Sam took his turn giving Karen a big hug and his congratulations, "You were great!" He turned to give others their chance and looked for Ivy. He was surprised she wasn't on stage with the rest of the cast and crew. On the other hand he could understand her not wanting to be here just now. He made his way from the stage to the women's dressing room.
Opening the door after a short knock, knock, he called, "Hey beautiful, you're missing the party."
As he stepped further into the room he saw her resting her head on the table. It had been a long, difficult, disappointing day for her. Reaching her he intended to just kiss her head and leave her in peace, when he saw the pills spread out around her hand. Sympathy turned to panic. He lifted her head, "Ivy, Ivy." He tapped her cheek with his open hand. That got a small response. "Ummmm," came from deep in her throat as she rolled her head to the side.
Looking at the pills he was talking to himself as much as to her, "How many of these did you take?" "Ivy, baby, wake up!" He was shaking her now, trying to get her to respond. "Ivy!" Shake, slap, shake some more. "Ivy!"
In the dark, peaceful place where she drifted, Ivy heard her name being called from far away. She ignored it. Then the shaking began. The voice was closer and louder. She tried to lift her head and open her eyes but it was too hard. The shaking continued. The darkness faded a little. She knew that voice. This time when she tried, her eyes opened. "Sam?"
"Ivy, baby, look at me." Sam was trying to see how far out of it she was.
She managed a little smile, "Sam."
Sam grabbed the little wastebasket from under the dressing table, dumping out its contents. "Ivy, I need you to throw up!"
She looked at him, not sure what he was saying.
Trying to find a way to get through to her, "Ivy, you have to throw up. You've been poisoned and you have to throw it up, now!" He held the waste basket in front of her.
"Poison!" Sam had gotten through her fuzzy brain with two ideas, danger and vomit. In a gesture familiar to many women, Ivy stuck her finger down her throat and throw up into the waste basket. When she was done, Sam handed her the water bottle and took the waste basket.
Just as he started checking the waste basket for the pills Tom stuck his head in the dressing room. "There you are! I've been looking all over. You're missing the party." It took him a moment to realize something serious was going on. "What's wrong?" He said as he rushed to their side. It only took a moment for Tom to see the pills spilled across the table. He pulled his cell out of his pocket and was about to start dialing when Sam grabbed it from his hand.
"What are you doing?" Sam gasped.
"I'm calling an ambulance, what do you think?"
"You can't do that, Tom. Look, we got the pills out." He held out the wastebasket for Tom to see. "There were only a dozen and they're only partially dissolved. After 'Heaven on Earth,' if word of this gets out, her career is finished!" Sam was firm. "If you want to help, give me the key to your room. I'll take back there and call my doctor. He's a friend and I'll see what he says. We can go from there. Alright?"
"I don't like it." Tom replied.
"It's not your career on the line." Sam handed back Tom's phone. "Call us a cab for the stage door."
Readers, if you would like me to continue, the next chapter goes to the backstage party where Karen receives several much deserved apologies.