Chapter One - The Cliche Best Friend
"In the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend."
Excuse my French, but this was bullshit.
I didn't know who I was more fed up with: Mindy or the entire male, jackass population. I'm gonna say Mindy, because she was the one who weeded through potential winners and found the losers. It happened every time, without fail.
But of course, as I held her crying, shaking body, I couldn't tell her this. As a best friend, I was supposed to stroke her hair, tell her that everything was going to be okay, and that the latest guy - who's name was Andrew, I believe - wasn't worth her time.
Essentially, this was all true. Everything would eventually be okay, because being the person that she was, Mindy would find another guy in a second. She was gorgeous, and even though you couldn't see how shiny her auburn hair was or how bright her blue eyes were at the moment, when Mindy wasn't in her post-breakup phase, she was truly beautiful.
And as for the guy, he was a definite asshole. He wore gel in his hair and formed it into a faux-hawk. All I'm saying is if you're not Angelina Jolie's adopted Cambodian child, it's not cute, it just makes you look like a douche. He also drove a motorcycle and sported a leather jacket that happened to match the brand of said motorcycle. The kicker? He was 36.
Seriously - cut your hair, trade your leather for a suit jacket and your motorcycle for a sensible sudan. It was time to grow up.
But of course Mindy didn't see past the façade, she only saw the bad boy exterior and drooled all over it. It was a textbook case of daddy issues - her father had left her family when she was seven, so the attention she lacked from her father, she looked for in males she was pursuing romantically and blah blah blah.
Okay, I know I sound like a total bitch in referring to my best friend in that way - even if it was only in my mind. But when we were sixteen, it was bearable. But now that we're twenty-six, it's just downright infuriating.
I love Mindy, I really do. We've been best friends for over a decade. She's a lot of fun to be with and would be there for me no matter what. And I would do the same for her.
Like I'm doing right now.
"I'll get the Rocky Road, you pop in an episode of Sex and the City, alright?" I said as I got up from the couch of our shared apartment.
"You're the best, Bev."
Don't I know it.
I woke up to the sound of shuffling next to me, and opening my eyes, I turned and saw Mindy looking through the drawer next to my bed.
"What the hell?" I managed to croak out.
She looked over at me, her eyes wide and alarmed at the fact that she had woken me up. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry." I looked at the clock next to my bed. 7:10. I didn't even have time to go back to sleep since I had to wake up in five minutes, anyway. "I was just looking for Breakfast At Tiffany's."
I sighed and laid on my back, looking up at the ceiling. "It's in the cabinet by the television." Where all the movies are. I wasn't some kind of Audrey Hepburn obsessed freak that I would keep it locked away in my bedroom.
"Oh, well I looked there and couldn't find it."
"It should be there. And why are you even looking for a movie? You should be getting ready for work."
Mindy shook her head. "I'm not going. I mean, look at me," she said, probably referring to her still-frazzled hair and puffy eyes. "I'm taking a sick day."
She did this every time. Mindy didn't really get sick, so she used them on breakups which happened every so often. She got paid to mourn and lounge, while I stayed at home during hay fever season. I got bad allergies, she got bad breakups. One of the many unfair things when you compare Mindy and me. "Okay, well I'm gonna go shower," I said, and got up. "You should probably check your room for the movie," I said, since she probably watched it after the end of her last relationship.
"Yeah, you're right. Thanks, Bev!" she said, brightening up. I grabbed my towel and padded to the shower. Thank god it was Friday. Not only did it mean the end of the week, but on this particular Friday, it meant pay day. About two hours later, I stood across from Mark Bode, handed him an envelope, and expected to hear the best words I would hear all day.
"Thank you, Bevin. Make sure to pick up your check from my secretary."
There it went. "Thank you, Mr. Bode." With a parting smile, I left the envelope on the desk and out of the office. Time to get paid. I walked up to Rachel's desk with a smile. "Check, please."
Rachel smirked at me. "If only I could get paid as easily as you do." Rachel worked as the secretary for the art director. I was just the mail girl, which took me a couple of hours and then I worked as a freelance artist/graphic designer. Easy hours, usual steady pay. I wasn't complaining. At least I wasn't stuck in the office all day the way Rachel and Mindy were. Mindy worked at advertising for The New Yorker, one floor above Rachel.
"Are you kidding me? This cartoon took me four hours to draw."
"Yeah, but you love it. I'd rather spend four hours drawing than answering phone calls. You are living the life." she said, and handed me the check. The phone rang a second later. "See my point? One sec," she said and answered the phone. I opened the small envelope and looked at the check. Seven hundred dollars. Just enough for the rent. Perfect. "Where's Mindy? I haven't seen her around today."
"Andrew broke up with her."
Rachel got a confused look on her face. "Andrew? Didn't they break up months ago?"
"Oh. Right." I knew I wasn't sure about the name. "Who was it now then?"
Dean. Right. He had a douchey name, too. I should've known. "Good job keeping track of Mindy's love life, I'm no good anymore."
Rachel smiled. "After that many years, you're allowed to slip. I've only got a couple of years."
"And what a great couple of years it's been," I said with a smile.
Rachel laughed. "You're so full of it. I know you're just biding time. Go do your job."
"Since when did you become my boss?" I asked with an eyebrow raised.
"Since forever. Technically, secretaries are above mail girls on the chain."
"Excuse me, mail woman."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Just get out of here," she said with a laugh as she answered yet another phone call.
I breathed a heavy sigh as I sat in Central Park, balling up yet another piece of paper and throwing it in the trashcan next to me. I had been here for over two hours, trying to come up for a design for a publishing company who had hired me to re-vamp their website. This was my favorite spot to draw, a bench right under a tree with a trashcan handy to throw failed designs out. And sometimes if I tore my eyes away from my drawing pad, I would spot hot shirtless men working out. A definite plus.
I looked at the paper they had given me with their specifications and print outs for the thousandth time. Don't get me wrong, I loved this stuff, but it had just been a long week. And I deserved a break. I'd get to it on Monday. After all, I did have two weeks.
And just like that, I was convinced. I packed up my things and changed the playlist on my iPod to something less soothing. Within forty five minutes, I was walking in my front door. "Mindy?" I called out to the apartment.
I heard footsteps approaching towards me, and Mindy appeared, fully clothed. Apparently, her breakup pity fest was over. "Shit, shit, shit," she said with a preoccupied look on her face.
"What's wrong?" I asked, and closed the door behind me.
"Do we have any poster boards?"
I gave her a look. "I can honestly tell you that I have no idea."
"Shit," she said again, and sighed heavily. "I have to go down and get some from Staples."
"A guy from work is coming over here to do a project we were supposed to do today."
"It's two o'clock. He's coming all the way downtown?"
"I'm supposed to be sick. He offered. Anyway, I'll be right back. Let him in if he gets here before me."
"Will do," I said and walked towards my room. "Oh, and you should probably frazzle your hair a bit. You don't look that sick."
Mindy smiled. "Good idea," she said, grabbing her bag and letting her hair out of her ponytail as she walked out of the apartment.
I went towards my room, changing into my pajamas, aching to be comfortable. I remembered that I put a bunch of TCM movies to record last night and the DVR was just calling my name. I poured myself a bowl of granola and turned on the television.
My phone vibrated with a text message about ten minutes later, and I saw it was from Noah. I sighed as I reached over for it, but the doorbell rang. Hello, distraction. I got up from the couch, put my bowl down, and went to the door. I swung it open, and there stood what I presumed to be Mindy's co-worker. He was wearing a burgundy polo with khaki pants. His brown hair was parted, and he had black plastic glasses. "Hi."
"Hello. I'm looking for Mindy?"
"Yeah, she went quickly to buy poster boards. She should be back soon."
"Oh, well I brought some," he said, and held them up.
"Now you'll have extra," I said sarcastically. "Come on in."
"I'm Jacob," he said, closing the door behind him. "I work with Mindy in advertising." He stuck his hand out, very formal.
I took his hand and shook it. "Bevin. I work there, too."
"Oh, really? Doing what?" he said as he followed me into the living room.
"I'm the mail girl/freelance cartoonist." I sat down on the couch. "You can sit."
"Thank you," he said, and did so. "Oh, you're Bevin Gonzalez?" he said after a few seconds.
I furrowed my brows. "Yeah."
"Sorry, I've just seen your name in the magazine. It's very distinctive. You're really talented."
"Thanks," I said with a smile. My first fan. I liked this guy. "It's cool that you actually read the magazine."
"Of course. Why do you say that?"
"Normally you advertising people just make the magazine money and don't bother to read the thing. I know Mindy doesn't."
"Oh, that's interesting," he said weirdly. "So do you live here?"
I nodded once. "It's why I'm in pajamas."
Jacob smiled. "Right, I should've known. Makes sense," he said as I started watching To Catch A Thief again, figuring the small talk was over. "Ah, great movie."
"Eh, not really."
"But this is a classic. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly," he objected.
I shrugged. "It's not his best. Honestly, I think the film is kind of boring."
"Yeah, it moves kind of slow."
"That's called storytelling. Classic movie storytelling."
"If you ask me, it's boring movie storytelling."
"Then why are you watching it?"
"Cause it's beautiful. The colors, the scenery, the clothes..." I trailed off. "I'll put up with the obvious plot just to look at it."
I nodded. "The second that French girl looked back at Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in the water with that jealous look, it was obvious."
"What about the funeral scene?"
"What about it? Sure, it threw me off for a second, but when you thought logically about who could trek rooftops like that - besides the fact that fifty-year old Cary Grant can do it perfectly fine - the answer is clear."
Jacob took a deep breath and smiled. "I suppose." A couple of seconds later, the door swung open and Mindy appeared. His face lit up at the sight of her and he immediately shot up from the couch and went over to her. I smiled at this and shook my head. He likes her. Sucker. Now the mystery of why he offered to come all the way down here was becoming very clear.
"Jacob! Sorry, I just went to Staples."
"It's alright, I got to meet your roommate."
I got up to put my bowl in the sink. "Ah, that Bev," Mindy said as I approached them. "We'll just be in my room working on this," she said to me.
"You two kids have fun. Stay focused on the task, huh?" I joked, and winked at Jacob, who immediately turned red. What a sucker indeed.