July 2, 2016: The Day I Fell In and Out of Love in 10 Minutes Flat (Part 1)

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Dear Diary,

It's nearly midnight and I'm way too riled up to sleep. Ooh, I'm so boiling mad, you could probably fry an egg on my head.

In fact, I'd be tempted to try it...but the twins just came in from one of their house parties, and they're gabbing it up in the kitchen. If they saw me put raw eggs on my head, they'd probably think it's a natural deep conditioning treatment I saw on Instagram. They'd want to try it themselves, and they'd look so ridiculous I couldn't be angry anymore. I want to be angry right now. I deserve to be angry right now.

The cause of my anger, surprisingly, isn't my agent--though I'm miffed about her behavior, too. It's been nearly two weeks since I nudged her about that manuscript, and still she hasn't replied. Is literary agent ghosting a thing? If she doesn't contact me by the end of the month, I might have to light a fire under her tuchus with empty threats of contract termination.

But my agent's silence is merely an irritation. I'm hopping mad because today I met a man, and I thought he was my soulmate, but then he turned out to be a conceited, judgmental, small-minded lemon-sucking jerk.

(No, I don't mean he literally sucks lemons. Get with it, Diary. I mean that's what his stupid face looks like. Yes, I'm a twenty-eight-year-old published author and I just wrote "stupid face." Who doesn't regress to elementary school when they're hopping mad?)

Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start.

I woke up at six this morning, not because I went to bed early last night or because I was too excited to sleep, but because Mom was making a racket in the kitchen. Dad added to the chaos by shouting that if Mom persisted in making smoothies at dawn, he was going to throw out the Vitamix once and for all. Even the twins dragged themselves out of bed at the crack of 9 a.m., complaining that making so much noise on a Saturday morning was child abuse.

As soon as Jane came in from her morning run, Mom pounced on her with protein shakes, hair curlers, and shimmering body butter. By the time we left for the Lucas's at eleven, Jane looked like she was ready to compete in Miss America.

I, on the other hand, looked like I was ready to compete in the Deschutes County Rodeo.

Like all literary greats, E. Bennet has more important things to do than take care of her health and hygiene. She does laundry when she must, which is when she has nothing left to wear.

And like all true artists, E. Bennet lives in the moment and does not stoop so low as to plan ahead. If there is a big event she has known about for weeks, she does not check her closet the night before to make sure there is at least one decent outfit available.

In short, E. Bennet goes to parties at her posh neighbors' homes wearing ripped jeans, riding boots, and a pink flannel shirt.

When we arrived at the barbecue, Tom Lucas was blasting Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony in every room. According to Dad, Tom spent the past month installing a whole-house in-wall stereo speaker system, and talking about little else on the golf course.

Since I know you don't watch movies, Diary, I'll explain that the Organ Symphony is the one with the distinctive melody used in the 1990s masterpiece of animatronic puppetry, Babe.

I tried really, really hard to contain myself--but when I shook Tom's hand, I couldn't resist saying, "That'll do, Tom. That'll do." He didn't get it.

Beverly Lucas and Mom greeted each other with air hugs and artificial smiles. Beverly cooed over Mom's lovely potato salad, but regretted that there wasn't enough room on the refreshments table for it. Mom cooed over Beverly's gorgeous red-and-blue cheesecake, but regretted that it was sitting out in the sun, so she didn't feel comfortable allowing her children to eat it.

Charlotte Lucas waved at me from the other side of the yard. Charlotte works for a mortgage lender and dresses the part of "professional woman" perfectly. Even today, at a casual backyard barbecue, she wore a button-up blouse and crisply pressed slacks.

I joined her with a "Howdy!"

"Howdy, indeed." Charlotte looked me up and down. "I didn't know you were into the cowgirl style."

"I dressed down out of consideration for Jane. I worried that my radiant beauty would upstage her at her big debut."

I peered around the Lucas's large backyard. Dad was drinking beer with his golf buddies. Kitty and Lydia were playing badminton with a group of teens and twenty-somethings. Jane chatted with two middle-aged women she knew from Pilates class.

"So where's this Hollywood producer my mom keeps going on about?"

"Ah, so that's why Jane doesn't look like herself. He's not here yet. My mom has been peeking out the front door every two minutes to look for him." Charlotte rolled her eyes. "She tried to doll me up, too. I told her no way, my acting days are over. Besides, he's not really a producer."

"You mean it was just a rumor?"

"Not exactly. He has produced a couple of movies, but he doesn't own a production company or anything. I talked to him for a few minutes when he was moving in. I got the impression he's a trust fund kid who has some friends in the film industry, and he helps them out when they ask."

I elbowed Charlotte playfully. "Ooh, you talked to him already? My mom will be furious that you got the jump on Jane! So what's he like, this mysterious stranger with the five-million-dollar home in L.A.?"

Charlotte shrugged and popped a grape into her mouth. "He's just normal. A nice guy. You know, obscenely rich people aren't much different from anyone else." She chewed her grape thoughtfully. "Though to be honest, he's...."

"He's what?"

"He's kind of an idiot."

I didn't know how to respond to that. I couldn't even come up with a good joke. "Uh...how so?"

"You'd have to be an idiot to buy that house at asking price. One million in this neighborhood? It's worth seven-fifty, at most. I asked him why he didn't negotiate for a better price, and he said paying a little extra was worth it for the view."

I tried to wrap my mind around the idea of having so much money that a quarter of a million dollars is "a little extra." My mind wasn't flexible enough to succeed.

Suddenly, Beverly Lucas rushed over and grabbed Charlotte's wrist. Mom scurried over to Jane and pulled her away from her Pilates friends. Both women half-dragged their adult daughters to the refreshments table on the patio.

At that moment, two men in their thirties stepped through the patio doors to the backyard.

One man was tall and thin, with a big smile on his face. Every inch of him, from his side-parted hair to his cream-colored cardigan, screamed "nice." This, I supposed, must be Charles Bingley, the not-really-a-producer from Beverly Hills.

The other man...

Let me just say, Diary, that while I don't judge people who enjoy hooking up with strangers--all power to them--I am not personally one of them. I have to be in an exclusive relationship with a man to feel comfortable enough for physical intimacy. When I date, I want to get to know each other as friends first before we jump into bed. Once we reach the stage of calling each other cutesy nicknames and ending text messages with hearts, then I'm ready to try more than kissing and snuggling.

But there have been exactly two occasions in my life when I have been inexplicably overwhelmed by the urge to pull a complete stranger into a locked room and tear his clothes off.

The first time was when I was living in New York, working as an editorial assistant for a women's magazine and writing novels on the side. I met a friend for brunch at a small cafe, and there I saw the world's most handsome waiter. While he was taking my order, I suddenly had a steamy fantasy of the two of us in a small, dark closet in the back of the restaurant. Of course I didn't act on the feeling and quickly shook it off.

The second time was today, when I met the man named Will Darcy.

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