Glamorama

Page 191

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Bobby glances over at Jamie, distracted. He watches passively, trying to listen to something the director is telling him while Jamie scratches at her face, makes gurgling noises, pleads with anyone who will listen.

I can't form a sentence, all reflexes zapped. I'm feebly reaching out a hand to steady myself, cameras swinging around us, capturing reactions.

Bobby slaps Jamie across the face while Bentley continues holding on to her.

"No one cares," Bobby's saying. "I thought we agreed on that."

Jamie makes noises no one can translate.

"I thought we agreed on that," Bobby's saying. "You understand me? No one cares." He slaps her across the face, harder. This time it gets her attention. She stares at him. "This reaction of yours is useless. It carries no meaning with anyone here and it's useless. We agreed that no one would care."

Jamie nods mutely and just as it seems she's going to relax into the moment, she suddenly freaks out. Bentley is panting with exertion, trying to wrestle her down, but he's laughing because he's so stressed out, and someone from the crew keeps rationalizing, frivolously, "No one could have saved her." I'm trying to move the other way, gracefully aiming for the door. I'm trying to wake up momentarily by turning away from this scene, by becoming transparent, but also realizing that the Halcion prescription Jamie picked up was meant not for Tammy but only for herself

17

Midnight and I'm drinking Absolut from a plastic cup, overdressed in a black Prada suit with Gucci boots and eating Xanax, a cigarette burning between my fingers. A party at a massive new Virgin megastore that maybe Tommy Hilfiger has something to do with sponsoring; there's a stage, there's supposed to be bands, there's an Amnesty International banner, there's supposed to be the ubiquitous benefit concert (though right now the Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter" is blasting over the sound system), there's loads of negativity. There's the lead singer from the Verve, there are two members from Blur wearing vintage sneakers, there's Andre Agassi and William Hurt and three Spice Girls and people milling around holding guitars, there are the first black people I've seen since I've been in France, there're a lot of major dudes from Hollywood (or not enough, depending on who you ask), there are trays of ostrich on tiny crackers, opossum on bamboo skewers, shrimp heads tied up in vines, huge plates of tentacles draped over clumps of parsley, but I really can't keep anything down and I'm looking for a leather sofa to fall into because I can't tell if people are really as disinterested as they appear or just extremely bored. Whatever-it's infectious. People keep swatting away flies when they aren't busy whispering or lurking. I'm just saying "Hi." I'm just following directions. It's really an alarming party and everyone is a monster. It's also a mirror.


And then a giant intake of breath. Uncertain of what I'm seeing.

On the edge of the crowd, beyond the crowd, perfectly]it, cameras flashing around her, surrounded by playboys, her hair sleek and dark gold, is a girl.

Chloe.

Everything rushes back and it knocks me forward, stunned, and I start pushing through the crowd dumbly, adrenaline washing through me, my breath exhaling so hard I'm making noises and Elle Macpherson glimpses me and tries reaching over to say "Hi" but when she sees how freaked out I look-face twisted, gasping-something dawns on her and she decides to ignore me.

At the precise moment Elle turns away I see Bertrand Ripleis across the record store, his eyes focused as if on a target, grimly advancing toward Chloe.

Frantic, I start making swimming motions, butterfly strokes, to facilitate my way through the crowd, knocking into people, but it's so packed in the Virgin megastore that it's like moving upward and sideways across a slope and Chloe seems miles away.

It's shocking how fast Bertrand Ripleis is moving toward her and he's practicing smiles, rehearsing an intro, a way to kiss her.

"No, no, no," I'm muttering, pushing forward, the party roaring around me.

Bertrand suddenly gets stuck, first by a waiter holding a tray of hors d'oeuvres, who

Bertrand angrily knocks away, and then by an unusually insistent Isabelle Adjani, straining to keep up his side of the conversation. When he glances over, sees how much ground I've covered, he pushes her aside and starts cutting across to Chloe laterally.

And then I'm reaching out, my hand falling on Chloe's shoulder, and before even looking at her-because there's so much anxiety coursing through me-I glance over in time to see Bertrand suddenly stop, staring at me blank-faced until he retreats.

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