News of Simone’s pregnancy is getting about town, and for one Pandora LaRue – she is in for a real shock when she stops by her old apartment building to pick up her stuff. Can someone say “Cat fight?” Welcome to Lipstick Lies!
The next morning…
After a peaceful night’s sleep wrapped in her boyfriend’s arms, Pandora was the first to awake the next morning. As she stared down at Brock’s sleeping visage, she couldn’t help but smile warmly. It had been a trying two weeks for the both of them and she was beginning to think that their relationship was a lot stronger then it had been previously.
She would have liked to have spent the morning wrapped in his arms, but she had a lit to do this day and couldn’t spend it like she wanted to. Carefully extracting herself from his arms, she pressed a light kiss to his cheek before going to take a shower.
He was still asleep when she came out, drying her hair. Shaking her head, she dressed for the day in a floral print top and a pair of blue jeans. Grabbing a piece of hotel stationary, she scrawled a quick note for Brock and left it on her pillow so he would see it when he woke.
Grabbing her keys and wallet, she headed for the taxi stand in front of the hotel. Fortunately for her, Denise and George had fallen asleep in their car and were unaware of the fact that she’d left.
Unlocking the security lock to the building, she stopped at the mailboxes in the hall to collect her mail, making a mental note to go to the post office to put a hold on any future mail until she and Brock were settled in their home. As she walked by Apartment 1A, Louis poked his head out of the door, a smile on his face.
“Hey, Pandora. Where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in a while. Wanna come in?” he greeted her.
Usually she would rather walk away from him as quickly as she could, but he’d been a constant presence in her life since the day she moved into the building, and in her own way, she would miss him when she was gone.
“Hi, Louis. Sorry about that. I went to Hawaii for a vacation for a few weeks. Just got back late last night.”
“Fun in the sun. Sounds like you had a good time.”
“It was…” she smiled wistfully, “…an experience.”
“You heading upstairs?”
“Yeah. I need to pick up some of my things and turn in my keys.”
“You’re leaving?” he gaped, stepping into the hall.
“But…why?” he was truly bewildered.
“Oh. That thing with Simone?” Pandora stared at him.
“What? Who told you?”
“Genie Simpson.” Pandora slapped her forehead with a groan. Genie Simpson was the building’s biggest gossip and was the winner of the “Nosiest Neighbor Award” 8 years running. “She was walking past Simone and Erica’s apartment that day. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” Pandora sighed, wishing the woman had kept it to herself.
“So…how are you handling…you know…” Now that had Pandora frowning.
“Handling…what?” Pandora wondered.
“Simone’s pregnancy.” Pandora nearly dropped her mail and keys in horrified shock.
“What?” she whispered.
“I heard them talking about it.”
“They have a vent in their apartment that’s linked to one in mine…I heard them talking about it.” He saw the look on her face and knew he’d just made a colossal error. “You…didn’t know…I’m so sorry.”
“I’ve…gotta go now. Bye Louis.” Pandora turned and headed for the elevators in a complete state of shock. One thought repeated itself over and over in her head.
“Was the baby Brock’s?”
The door to apartment 3C opened slowly, and the first in was a blotchy faced Simone, followed by a silent Erica. Simone immediately made a bee line for the refrigerator and opened the freezer section. She reached in and then pulled out a tub of cookie dough ice cream. Her favorite. Holding her tub in one hand, she tries to break the seal as Erica comes around the corner.
“No…not again.” Erica says, taking the ice cream off Simone and placing it back in the freezer. “We really need to talk.” Erica’s expression was now stern as Simone slinked back in to the kitchen. It was plain to see that Simone was scared to talk about it. Erica took Simone’ s hands and held them. “You are three months pregnant. That is the first tri mester out of the way. You can’t have an abortion. You need to start looking at other options, cause if I know you and I do there is no way you are going to be able to take care of a baby, let alone yourself.”
Simone pulled her hands out from Erica’s grasp and turned away from her, feeling the hot sting of tears on her cheeks again. “Why do you keep saying that? I can make a good home for a baby. I work.” This may have been true, but her work was modelling and also being a musical dancer both of which were long hours and strenuous. Erica had seen this happen before and with many on her books in the office. “A baby needs a mother and a father. How sure are you that Wolfgang will even admit to being the father. Honestly Simone, what were you thinking?” Erica headed into the lounge area just off from the kitchenette. Simone chewed her lip. She really didn’t know much about him at all, mainly cause he was a one night stand.
“Do you have his number?” Erica asked, picking up the phone and offering it to Simone. Simone shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe…but he might be on the road..you know how those rock stars are.” Simone was trying to avoid calling him, as it would be different to speak to him when they were both sober. “Call him.” Erica insisted, tossing the phone to Simone, who caught it in a bit of a juggle. “Fine!” Simone answered, going off to get her bag and her black book. Yes, Simone actually had a black book. She sat down on the couch and flicked through the book, finding his number after about two minutes. Sighing she punched in the number and waited. The phone rang for a minute before it was picked up.
“Hello, Chantelle speaking.”
“Oh I was after Wolfgang, is he in?”
“No dear, this is his Wife. He is currently in London on a tour. Mind if I ask who is calling?”
The blood from Simone’s face suddenly drained and she coughed before replying. “Oh this is just…uhm…Erica Stanton from Vogue in Seattle. Just let him know I called about a feature article. Bye!” Simone hung up quickly as Erica was about to scream at her. “What did you use my name for?”
“Because his WIFE answered the phone. I didn’t know he was married.”
“All the good ones ARE either married or gay. Well. Looks like you are on your own on this one.”
Simone fell back in the couch and covered her eyes with her arm. “Could this get any worse?”
Pandora felt like she was swimming through molasses. Simone was pregnant! kept repeating itself over and over in her mind. She didn’t know what to think, what to feel. Was the baby Brock’s? Was that the whole reason Simone slept with him? To trap him into some sort of relationship with her because she couldn’t keep a man of her own?
It was disgusting.
Slamming her way into her apartment, her temper at a boiling point, she let out a scream of rage so powerful it could be heard on the street below. She began tearing through the apartment, throwing her things into boxes she’d brought with her, not even noticing in her anger that she’d melted her tea kettle.
She stacked her boxes in the hall before sticking the keys in an envelope and taking them to the Grey’s penthouse. She dropped the envelope in the mail slot there before she turned and left.
She had called a storage company to come for her things and they’d arrived while she was dropping off the keys. She paid them for their services before they left.
She had a final piece of business to take care of before she left the building for good.
Rolling up her sleeves, she took the elevator to the 3rd floor and apartment C.
The anger radiating from her was thick and the temperature in the hall was steadily rising. She raised a fist and pounded on the door, stepping back to wait to see if it was answered.
Simone was curled up on the couch – her feet drawn up under her and clutching a satin red lips pillow as she watched Bold and the Beautiful on the television. Why she bothered with such crap often baffled Erica who believed that Simone’s life was far more entertaining than any soap opera. Every now and again, you could hear Simone sniffle and mutter something about not investing in enough condoms, when there was a loud pounding on the door. Erica happened to be already up and around, and glanced at the door as she was making some hot cocoa.
“You expecting anyone, Sim?” Erica asked, a bit worried about the sound on the pounding on the door.
“You don’t owe anyone money do you, Sim?’ Erica now picked up a baseball bat as she edged to the door slowly, all the while glancing back at Simone, who again was shaking her head, before drawing herself up smaller on the couch. This was a tense moment, as Erica unlocked the door, and then when she opened it, got the shock of her life to see Pandora of all people on the door step….and looking absolutely pissed off.
“Hello Panda….what a…surprise to see you here.”
Simone peeked up from the couch and saw the look on Pandora’s face. After today, she was not at all ready to deal with her and sung out. “I really don’t want to see anyone now. You can show me your holiday pictures some other time.”
Simone then waved her hand as she turned up the volume on the TV. Erica shrugged her shoulders and tried to close the door in Pandora’s face.
Erica was the one to open the door but it was Simone whom Pandora’s gaze landed on.
“Hello Panda….what a…surprise to see you here.” Erica stated. Pandora kept her eyes on Simone, who was staring back at her. Pandora noticed the woman was looking a bit strung out, but she didn’t give two shits. This confrontation was a long time coming.
“I really don’t want to see anyone now. You can show me your holiday pictures some other time.”
Erica tried to close the door, but Pandora was beyond caring what anyone wanted. Her palm slapped against the door with an almost painful thud and she shoved her way past Erica into the apartment.
She slapped a hand over the power button on the television, turning it off. The silence in the apartment was oppressive. Pandora glared at Erica.
“Leave. This is between Simone and myself.”
Not caring if Erica heeded her words or not, she turned her angry gaze back to Simone.
“Answer me one question…and your answer will depend on whether or not I continue speaking to you or not.” Pandora stated. She waited several heartbeats before she spoke again. “Is it Brock’s?”
Erica was practically pushed into the wall as the door was propelled open by an enraged Pandora. You could hear the oomph as Erica took the force of the door between her and the wall. She couldn’t believe that Pandora could be such an utter bitch and followed her into the lounge, only to watch her switch off the TV set power button. Simone threw away the red lips pillow and pointed at the blackened screen.
“I was watching that!”
Erica came up along side Pandora to try and get her to leave Simone alone, but before she could get a word in, she was shut down by Pandora.
“Leave. This is between Simone and myself.”
Rolling her eyes, and rubbing her sore chest, she stormed out of the room, only to be in her room with her ear to the wall, not wanting to miss this. Obviously, Pandora had issues with Simone, little did either girl know what Pandora had heard. Simone got up off the couch and put her hands on her hips, her baby bump quite visible.
“You really have got a nerve, Pandora.” She said with hostility in her voice.
“Answer me one question…and your answer will depend on whether or not I continue speaking to you or not.”
That sentence alone had Simone’s jaw drop. As far as she knew they weren’t speaking since Pan refused to answer her texts. Simone cocked her head to the right side and then said. “Ask away.” This day couldn’t get any worse than it already was. There was a few minutes of silence between them…and then;
“Is it Brock’s?”
At first, Simone let out a laugh that was more like she was releasing her breath. So that was it. The word of her pregnancy finally reached the fiery Pandora. Simone ran her tongue over her top lip, and then she narrowed her eyes and said back coolly. “Would you like it to be?” She then rolled her eyes and picked up a rock magazine that was on the coffee table with a picture on the cover of one Wolfgang Ritz. She then showed it to Pandora.
“It’s his. I was already pregnant when Brock fucked me on the bathroom floor. Next question?” She said, as she tossed the magazine back on the table.
“Would you like it to be?” Simone snapped back. Pandora inhaled a breath, struggling to calm herself. No matter how she was feeling at the moment, Simone was pregnant and Pandora was doing her level best not to completely lose her temper.
“To put it bluntly…no.” Pandora stated. Simone snorted and picked up a magazine, handing it Pandora. On the cover was famous rock star, Wolfgang Ritz.
“It’s his. I was already pregnant when Brock fucked me on the bathroom floor. Next question?”
Well…that effectively deflated Pandora’s temper, but only slightly. Sighing, she sat down on the coffee table.
“Why did you do it? You had…dozens of men at your beck and call, and you knew how I felt about Brock. Were you that unhappy?” Pandora wondered. “When I saw the two of you that day…it felt like someone ripped my heart out of my chest and smashed it into a billion pieces. It didn’t make it any better for the fact that you were my best friend. If it had been a stranger I caught him with…I don’t think my reaction would have been no less fierce, but I could have handled it better then I did.” She took Simone’s hands. “You were like a sister to me, Simone…and you broke my heart just as effectively as Brock did. And I’m trying to understand it. Help me understand it because…I want my sister back.” Unbidden, tears sprang into her eyes as Pandora relived the pain of Simone’s betrayal.
The tension in the room was still quite fierce, but with Simone now admitting that it was not Brock’s the reaction that came from Pandora was totally unexpected. To be honest, Simone thought she might set fire to the drapes. Instead, she sunk down onto the coffee table, right next to the brooding face of Wolfgang on the magazine cover.
“Why did you do it? You had…dozens of men at your beck and call, and you knew how I felt about Brock. Were you that unhappy?”
This was a question and a half. Simone went to pick up the red lipstick cushion and then sat down opposite Pandora.
“Do I ever think before I do anything?’
In the bedroom you can hear Erica sing out. “No.” At this, Simone points towards the bedroom and nods in agreement. “I honestly don’t even know why I did it. All I know…is..it happened. Did I do it to spite you? No. Not intentionally. I am pretty sure Brock would say the same. “ She sighed and pulled the cushion closer to her. “He was just one in a long line of mistakes.” Erica appeared in the doorway. She knew everything that was going on, and felt that she needed to be involved. “Wolfgang is married. He will never admit to Simone’s baby being his. So…Simone is pretty much on her own on this. Well, aside from me, but you know..”
Erica went back to the kitchen where she was making beverages, but was in ear shot.
As Pandora took Simone’s hands, Simone jerked in a reflex almost scared to be touched that way. Seeing Pandora near tears and saying she wanted to have her sister back made Simone’s chin tremble. Clearly, Pandora had forgiven Brock, though they went through hell and back to do it. This was different. Simone lowered her head, mumbling under her breath.
“I can’t take back what I did. And saying I’m sorry isn’t really enough, is it? She knitted her brow, as Erica walked over with a tray of coffee cups, and biscuits. She set it down and then sat down next to Simone. She rubbed Simone’s back and then glanced over at Pandora. “Simone is going to have to earn your trust back, and I’ll make sure she does that.”
Simone rubbed her thumbs over Pandora’s hands and whispered. “i’m really sorry, Panda.”
Erica, who was eavesdropping, poked her head into the room to lend Simone a bit of support before ducking into the kitchen. When Pandora touch Simone’s hands, Simone jerked in surprise, but Pandora let it go.
“I can’t take back what I did. And saying I’m sorry isn’t really enough, is it?”
“It’s a start.” Pandora stated. Erica popped back into the room with a tray of coffee and cookies.
“Simone is going to have to earn your trust back, and I’ll make sure she does that.”
“I’m really sorry, Panda.”
And Pandora knew that she was. “It’s a start, sweetie.” she nodded, her anger completely gone in the face of reclaiming a long-time friendship. She got to her feet and pulled Simone into a hug. “I can’t stay. I’m meeting Brock for lunch but if you need anything, you let me know. Alright?” After getting the okay, Pandora nodded to Erica and took her leave, sighing with relief once she was alone in the hall. She refrained from doing a little happy dance, it was so undignified. But she did take a moment to slide down the railing of the stairs to the second floor.
The day was looking just a little bit brighter.