High School Soap Opera
“Rodolfo Santos.” It’s the same officer who questioned me last night about Serenity’s car accident. “You’re under arrest for embezzlement and arson.”
“What, Miguel, no kiss hello?” Dolf says casually, playing the Charming card he must have picked up from Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital. Dolf has been arrested many times, and he never panics. He gestures to the bar. “Lemme buy you a drink, and we’ll just skip to the part where you have to let me go.”
“You’re not above the law, Santos. I told you one of these days we’d catch up to you, and this time, you’re going down.”
“You can’t prove anything.” Dolf laughs and picks up a shot glass. “But if you’re not gonna have a drink with me, I’ll toast you myself.” He lifts the glass in the air. “To Officer Rodriguez. A toast, before you fail to make the charges stick for the hundredth time.” He swallows the bourbon in one gulp
“Don’t make this any harder than it has to be,” the officer says. “You know the drill, hands where I can see them.”
“I’ll be out tomorrow and you know it,” Dolf says, but he puts his wrists together behind his back and lets Rodriguez cuff him.
“You have the right to remain silent.”
“I know my rights,” Dolf says, clearly tiring of the game.
“Anything you say—”
“I know my rights,” Dolf repeats firmly.
“Then let’s go.” If this was real, the officer would be required to finish reciting the Miranda warning. Instead, he takes Dolf by the shoulder and leads him away. Dolf tries to shake off his grip, but the officer is too strong. He’s probably used to arresting people who resist, though in Dolf’s case this happens so frequently that he doesn’t bother trying to get away at this point. He’ll call his lawyer – who specializes in keeping criminals on the streets due to technicalities – and, ironically, he’ll probably be released solely because Rodriguez neglected to read him his rights. And why not? Dolf has dozens of witnesses.
Serenity won’t be so lucky. Maybe instead of getting off like that, he’ll just roll over on her, plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for immunity from prosecution. It was Serenity’s business, and it was Serenity’s plan. Sure, he’ll probably have to give back his cut as evidence or something, but his business is very lucrative so it won’t affect him.Or was it Serenity who told the police that Dolf was involved? She was arrested first, and maybe she’s the one who can get a lesser sentence since she’s not the one who actually lit the fire.
The arrest was pretty unrealistic, in many ways. Not just the clever banter, but also the way that everyone in the bar was watching, but nobody said a word to each other. If there were cameras around, I would believe that they had to be quiet so the microphones would pick up only the scripted dialogue. Even then, the scene would shift between the major action and a side conversation or two. In real life, I would expect the spectators to be talking, or at least making sarcastic or surprised remarks. Now, as with many other things that have happened since yesterday, things felt like I am actually in a soap opera. It’s still so weird – how the heck did I get here anyway? I pinch myself, but it definitely hurts, so it can’t be a dream. So what’s the alternative, magic? Hallucination? String theory warping me to an alternate timeline?
“Everything all right?” Candace asks, and I jump. I must have been staring off into space. Dolf is gone, and everything is back to normal. Well, as normal as things can get, all things considered.
“I was just thinking about something,” I say. “I’m fine. I swear, I’m not an airhead.”
“Well as long as you’re fine…” she says sweetly, then she orders, “get me a cosmo, and be quick about it.” I could probably get arrested for serving alcohol to a minor… but I could probably be arrested for being in a bar without ID showing that I’m 21 or over too, and that’s not stopping me from being here. I ignore her rude tone and smile.
“Sure thing, I’ll get right on that.” As soon as my back is to her, my smile fades. “One cosmo,” I tell Nick, but he’s not listening. “Nick?” I follow his gaze to the front door. Olivia just came in, and she’s with John. Jack was supposed to warn him that she was coming, but I guess Nick thought he could work through it. Clearly, that’s not the case. Now I know how I must have looked to Candace a minute ago. “Nick!” I say more forcefully.
Jack comes from the other end of the bar to see what the problem is, and he sees Olivia. He puts a hand on Nick’s arm, but Nick pulls it away.
“Don’t do this, Nick,” Jack says. Nick turns to him. “We’ve had enough big scenes here for one night.”
“Just one more,” Nick says, his voice low. He starts walking to the door, then stops. Maybe he had second thoughts. Maybe he isn’t going to talk to her now, with John and Ambrosia and everyone else that’s here. Maybe… I look at Olivia and see her kissing John. Maybe that just happened, and Nick doesn’t know what to say.
Olivia looks for Ambrosia, who stands up and waves both arms above her head like she’s in a crowded stadium. I hear Candace whisper a curse. Olivia doesn’t want her coming here, and even though she is living with Monet now, I’m sure she still doesn’t want her sister to see her. Candace looks panicked, and even though part of me wants her to get caught as payback for being rude to me, I’ve always liked watching her on the show, and I still feel bad about what Dolf did to her. She was probably thrilled to see him get arrested.
I go over to Candace, who is ducking her head. “This way,” I say. I take her hand and quickly lead her to the back door. I open the door, and she hands me a hundred dollar bill. My eyes widen.
“For my drink,” she says, and when I open my mouth to protest she adds, “keep the rest… for this.” She walks out into the night and I start to close the door. “Wait!” she calls, then runs a few steps back to me. “Jenna, right? From the bathroom.”
“Yeah,” I say. From the bathroom? I’m glad I made such a great impression. At least she remembered my name.
“Candace,” she says, her hand to her chest. “Thank you so much. That was my sister, and if she had seen me at a bar, I would have been dead. I hope I can return the favor some day.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I say, and this time my smile is genuine. “I could tell that you didn’t want someone to see you.” Then, to be sure that I’m coming across as believable, I say, “After last night, I actually thought it was that guy that you were avoiding.”
“John?” She laughs loudly, then covers her mouth for a second. “John’s bark is worse than his bite. He couldn’t hurt anyone. About the worst thing he’s done was yesterday when he beat up D… a guy. But that was because of something the guy did that was really wrong. He was defending someone’s honor. Other than that, he’s harmless.”
I can’t decide if she really believes that, or if she’s just saying it because she doesn’t want to badmouth her sister’s boyfriend to a stranger. I think she means it, considering this new Be Super Nice To Jenna phase she’s in tonight.
I rack my memory of the show, trying to remember if Candace ever saw John do anything harmful to anybody. He has been lying to everyone about his past as a male stripper, so she wouldn’t know about the woman whose husband found out she was cheating on him with John, and then when he went to confront John the husband ended up with a black eye while John walked away without a scratch. She wouldn’t know about when he used to be involved in a dog-fighting ring — that storyline was very short-lived once PETA heard about it. No, as far as I recall, John’s been on his best behavior since he and Olivia started dating. He even told one of his college buddies that he couldn’t help him rob a bank because, he said, he’s a changed man, and he never wants to go back to his old life.
Plus, Candace has been in storylines revolving around the upcoming prom, and Kaitlin stealing Monet’s boyfriend, and of course her own brief marriage and subsequent divorce. Despite John being her sister’s boyfriend, they haven’t shared much screen time. She has scenes with Olivia, but they’re all about Candace’s life. Olivia doesn’t talk to Candace about her own life very much, which Candace hates, and that may be part of the reason she’s so rebellious.
“I’m glad to hear that he’s harmless,” I say, “and that she’s your sister. That sounds weird. What I mean is, I’m glad you’re not in big trouble.” She smiles and waves, then walks away.
Meanwhile, I hope I’m not missing anything. I hurry back inside.
When I get back, I see John and Ambrosia on a couch. Her glass is empty and Olivia’s drink sits untouched. Nick and Olivia are not in the bar. I was gone for, like, TWO seconds! Did I miss the fireworks already? I go to the couch, hoping to overhear something to clue me in.
“Another vodka on the rocks?” I ask, picking up Ambrosia’s glass. She nods. I know the drink is not for John, but I have to avoid suspicion. I look at him. “I see you haven’t touched your wine. Can I get you something else?”
“It’s not mine,” he says, almost growling. “I need a scotch.”
“Right away, sir.” It’s so awkward calling him that, but I don’t know what else to call him. It’s still so strange to be interacting with characters I’ve been watching on TV for years, but I must be hiding it well if nobody has noticed. As I walk away, I listen but they don’t say anything to each other.
I take a direct path to the bar, making sure I pass plenty of people. I walk slowly, and finally when I’m almost there I hear what I’m waiting for. “I hope there’s a witness in the kitchen,” a woman says. A man answers her, “I’m surprised we don’t hear them yelling at each other. I wonder if they decided to kiss and make up.” She gasps and he laughs.
“Lukas,” I say when I get to the bar. “Do me a favor and bring a couple drinks while I take a quick break? I haven’t eaten in a while and I’m feeling light-headed.” Even I know that’s a horrible excuse to go in the kitchen, and he sees right through me.
“Uh huh,” he says doubtfully, but he takes the order from me. “Just promise you’ll tell me everything.”
I open the door as quietly as I can and sneak in. I don’t see them, but Ramon puts a finger to his lips, then points to the big walk-in pantry in the back, which mostly serves as a wine cellar. I tip-toe over and stand behind the open pantry door, so that they won’t see me if they come out. They aren’t yelling, but they definitely aren’t kissing either.
“I don’t know what you want from me,” Olivia says, her voice almost a whisper. “I thought you understood that whatever we had before, it’s over.”
“Don’t say that,” Nick pleads. “I love you so much, just as much as I always have.”
“I don’t remember loving you. I don’t even remember meeting you until after I woke up from my coma. You have to accept that things are never going back to the way they were.”
“Never. I will never give up on you… I will never give up on us. I wish you wouldn’t either.”
“There is no ‘us’ anymore!” she says loudly, then she lowers her voice again. “There is no ‘us.’ You are there, and I am with John. He’s the one who took a bullet to the leg when saving me from a cave-in at the mine.” Yeah, don’t ask about that one. It’s a long story, and I’m not going into it.
“I’m your guardian angel. I’m the one who killed the man who was trying to drown you, and I’m the one who carried you two miles to the hospital so I wouldn’t have to look for a phone to call 9-1-1 for an ambulance because my phone had been stolen.” His voice breaks, and my eyes start getting glassy. I hate to see him cry, and I hate to see them apart like this. I will never give up on you either, Nick. Keep believing, and someday she has to come back. “I’m the one who was at your bedside day and night for three weeks waiting for you to wake up.”
“John is the one who was with me every step of my recovery.”
“Now that’s not fair,” Nick says angrily. “The only reason I wasn’t there is because you asked me to leave. You said you didn’t remember me, and that you thought that me being around would make your recovery harder, that you didn’t want to feel like there was a piece of you missing that you couldn’t ever get back.”
“And it’s true! I will never get that part of me back. I will never love you again, Nick. If you really love me that much, just let me live my life.” She walks out of the kitchen without looking back.
I wait a few minutes, but Nick doesn’t come out. I look inside, and he’s sitting on the floor, back against the wall. His knees are up by his chest, his elbows are on his knees, and his head is in his hands. I have never seen him look so despondent, even when Olivia asked him to leave her alone the first time. I sit next to him.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask. He looks at me, but there is no light in his eyes. I don’t even know if he knows who I am. And then he kisses me. I pull back quickly, and his eyes focus. He looks horror-stricken when he realizes what he just did.
“Oh god… Jenna… I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…” He practically jumps to his feet and runs out the door and out of the kitchen.
I’ve decided to post my NaNoWriMo novel on my blog this year, chapter by chapter. I hope you enjoy it! And remember, this is all about having fun and writing a whole lot in a short period of time, so please don’t give me “corrections.” I’m not planning on going for publication anyway. Start at the beginning: Chapter One