a chance encounter.

This is labeled NC-17 for language only. Nothing to risque here, but its good character development I promise.

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The rest is under the cut to spare your dash.


After Josh’s unplanned intrusion into my private life, again, he’d forced me to do something I shouldn’t do. I had gone against our previous agreement to not meet at my office. I had hoped that this time I could keep the meeting professional by asking his manager to be present to ensure that we were both on good behavior.  By the time I got home from my outing, I had cleared my head from this afternoons interruption.

“I’m back!!”

I went immediately to my bedroom. I decided to clean-up for tonight as I had promised my male cousin, Drake, that I would treat him to a night out as he had just had his 21st birthday. He also had told several of his friends that I would be taking him out on the town to show him the LA night-life. Personally, I was over the LA nightlife, it wasn’t my thing anymore. I loved going out to dance when I was in my 20’s but now, I was the ‘cougar’ in the room and hated the feeling. Plus on the rare occasion I had gone out with friends, half the time I spent with a sour look on my face at the lack of skills or finesse of the men in the clubs.

I was going out to make Drake happy. He was a good kid, and we liked each others company. Besides the fact that we were both tired of watching Emily do the ‘fangirl’ / ‘teenager” thing by going on all of the star tours and shopping until there was nothing left to buy. I had always identified with Drake, if for no other reason than he was the first-born, and he also had the same sense of dry humor.

I’d settled on Bar Marmont having been there before and impressed by the quality of the drinks. I could have done without the atmosphere, but I figured that worst case scenario I could at least enjoy the floorshow of the LA bar scene. I re-emerged from my room dressed and ready to gather him up and head out to dinner and a night on the town.

“Drake, uh, You’re not dressed? we’re going out tonight, right?”

“Yeah, I thought you said we’d be going out to party.”

I sighed audibly, making my distaste known about his current state of dress. He was looked every minute of his inexperienced and young 21-year-old self. Drake was in canvas shoes, dark jeans, a dark henley t-shirt and a ball cap.  I realized then that his definition of a “night out” probably included getting blasted on shooters and doing keg-stands.

“Drake, this is LA, not Pensylvania. I’m taking you ‘out on the town’ not partying. Its a different level of expectation. When you come out with the adults you have to look the part.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“A standard of acceptable dress for a ‘Man’ means you don’t look like you were raised in a barn. A suit with dress shoes and looking like you give a damn is how you present yourself. Not like you are about to do a line of jager shots and gang bang a drunk chick. Go find something acceptable and put some product in your hair. You aren’t going to go out wearing a ball cap.”

His face fell and he sulked all the way back to the guest room to change. I took the time to confirm our reservations and check e-mails. About 30 minutes later he re-emerged in an brown shoes and blue slacks with an ill fitting dress coat.

“Christ, Drake… can you even dress yourself? Blue slacks and brown shoes don’t go together. At least not those slacks. Leave your coat behind and go change back into your jeans. At least that would look somewhat okay.”

“Fuck you Kathryn. Obviously, I can dress myself. And if I remember you were the one raised in the ‘stable’ not me.”

“Whatever, we’re almost late for our dinner reservations. Go change so we can leave.”

At dinner, Drake talked for most of the time. He droned on and I found myself jealous of him as he spoke of his future. It was bright and happy, without worries or consequences. The way he saw the world was so, naive and carefree it only furthered to remind me of how many responsibilities I had to manage. As I half-listened to him talk about going to so-and-so’s house and couch surfing, my mind wandered back to this afternoon and Josh’s appearance.

I drifted between Drake’s stories of the many friends and girls coming in and out of his life I realized that he was not unlike Josh. They were the same age, and just at the beginning of their professional lives. Drake was smart and had a future in finance or business, and if he fucked up at this stage in his life the recovery period was negligible. It could be chalked up to ‘youthful inexperience’ and forgotten. I wasn’t so lucky anymore. I knew better. Plus there was the added pain of breaking through all of the damned glass ceilings just to make it. For a woman, the more risk you took on the more you had to lose. I was lost in my own thoughts when Drake poked me with a chopstick.

“Kathryn, what do you think?”

“I’m sorry Drake, I wasn’t listening. What was the question?”

“I figured you weren’t listening. Dessert or to the next spot?”

Before we left for Bar Marmont, I went to the ladies room to freshen up. I asked Drake to wait for me at the restaurant bar with explicit instructions not to do shooters of any kind. While at the mirror reapplying lipstick, a woman next to me leaned over.

“He’s a handsome one, your date.”

“Thank you, I’ll be sure to tell him. But he’s not my date. He’s my cousin.”

“Oh! Sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it… So you’re not dating him then?”

I stopped mid-motion to inspect my interrogator in the mirror. She was a woman in her mid-to-late forties with all of the trappings of ‘Orange County Housewife’ written all over her. Extensions, pancake makeup, falsies, skin tight jeans along with low cut blouse and water-bra. I had to catch myself to keep from guffawing. Her face painted an image that was more than just casual conversation, she was a full-fledged cougar on the prowl. The real intent of her question was asking if she could have my cousin.

Initially the idea of watching Drake squirm while being hit on by this woman made tickled me. However the underlying issue wasn’t that this woman was interested, but that she believed me to be be a ‘cougar’ as well. I wanted to be insulted by the insulation in her question but realized that in truth I was a ‘cougar.’ It unnerved me and I began to think of Josh once again. Was I the same as this woman interested in 21-year-old Drake? Or was I just “sport-fucking” a twenty year old actor? Was there a difference?

I excused myself from the conversation as gracefully as I could, and quickly escorted Drake from the bar. On the drive over to Bar Marmont I told Drake about the encounter in the ladies room and he laughed out loud at the suggestion. Particularly at my description of the ‘cougar’ in question. I smiled and laughed along, but inside I was confused and hurt. It only confirmed that my decision to keep my affair with Josh quiet was a good one.

A needle of a thought pierced my conscious. I was no different from the woman in the ladies room. But then again, I wasn’t any different from any other successful man doing as he pleased. I was getting my kicks from a younger, handsome, and virile man.  I was justified in getting what I wanted because I’d worked hard and had earned it. I wasn’t like a common “John” who would  pay for services, satisfy himself and leave. I wasn’t keeping a ‘stable’ of young people to take advantage of, so that didn’t make me like my mother. There was only Josh, no one else… so then maybe I was more like any other successful man. I struggled to keep down the inner turmoil in my head.  As we pulled up to the valet for the Chateau Marmont, I noticed the paparazzi waiting out front.

Drake’s eyes got wide as he asked expectantly “Does that mean that there are celebrities here?”

“Probably, but remember you will only embarrass yourself by asking for autographs or photos of anyone. Just do me a favor and pull up your big-kid pants and act like an adult. No fist-pumping and absolutely no name dropping.”

As we entered the bar there was a buzz in the air. You could tell there was something electric about the atmosphere that night that could mean a multitude of things. I was already bored at the prospect of wading through a sea of ‘hangers on’ and fame seekers who may have an inkling of who I was and try to chat me up all night long.  Once inside, Drake’s eyes lit up. He was like a kid in a candy store. I pulled him aside and handed him my credit card.

“Open a tab with this. You’re with the big boys now so you will drink scotch, whiskey or bourbon only. Not mixed, not as a shooter, just neat or on the rocks. NO Beer.”

“Okay then, what do I order?”

“Get a…a….McCallens 18 single malt on the rocks. Get me a dry Hendrick’s martini. Think you can remember that?”

We parted ways as I went to find us corner to sit and take in the atmosphere. While wading through the crowd, a thrumming feeling was building in the room. It was coming from behind me so I turned to find out what it was. I could see the room had shifted so that a group of women had moved to one particular section of the bar.This kind of shift in a room usually meant one thing, a male celebrity and his entourage had arrived.

The positive of the shift was that most of the tables had been abandoned while the girls had gone fishing for their ‘big-catch.’ I quickly found a table towards the back and settled in, when I overheard a conversation to my left.

“Who’s the name that arrived?”

“Some guy who was in a blockbuster this summer. I think he’s like a baker or something?”

“Oh yeah! I heard its a good movie…. his names…Hutch-something…”

I froze.

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