Scene 1: Lea is Late

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The girl you should be imagining running down the marble staircase in her big ass mansion right about now is me. Hey, I'm Lea. And I am really, really late.

My worn Chucks hit each of the smooth, white risers as the camera pans up my bare legs—it doesn't take long because I got royally shafted in the height department—over my denim cutoffs and my quirky, yet topical t-shirt of a cat advocating for LGBTQ rights. My brown hair swings in its typical 'couldn't be bothered with a brush' high ponytail and my face is covered with a smidge of mascara and tinted lip-gloss.

If I look familiar, it's probably because you've seen me in one of the twenty-seven commercials, three network sitcoms, or six feature films I've been in. Or it could be because I just have one of those faces. You know, the one that makes you comfortable enough to come up to me in the Fairfax Avenue Trader Joe's to ask which aisle the pickles are in (seven, bottom shelf) or the one you'd trust to watch your carry-on at LAX while you ran to the toilet (go right ahead, Susan). Oh, or the one—and this is so my favorite—where you are certain you know me from somewhere, but you can't put your finger on it. Because I could just as easily be the girl next door who has to babysit her rambunctious siblings or the teen in the slasher movie who's always the last one standing since she's smart enough not to run off into the woods alone.

At this point, you're probably wondering if I'm ever going to get to the end of these damn stairs and if you are, I don't blame you. My house isn't called the Versailles of Beverly Hills for nothing. Built in the years when the sign above the city still said HOLLYWOOD-LAND, it had belonged to a five-times married director, a starlet who died under mysterious circumstances, and a producer who lost everything thanks to a nasty drug habit before my father bought it twenty years ago. All in all, it's had a typical LA backstory. But I've always just known it as home.

"Is that what you're wearing?" The question comes from the parlor just as I reach the ground floor.

"I already have the part, Mom," I say, cutting to what she's really worried about and stopping at the side table in the entryway. I was sure I'd thrown my keys in this medieval-looking clay pot thing yesterday, but all that's here are a pack of gum and a flyer for lawn services. Like we need that. We have two full-time gardeners.

"What if you get papped?" she asks from behind, and I turn.

In a pinstripe jumpsuit and with perfect beach hair, Mom is dangling my Avengers keychain from an hombre French-tipped finger.

"Then they won't have anything to print because I'll look like everyone else," I say, snatching the keys from her with a smile.

Before I can skedaddle, she gently grabs my wrist and forces me to linger. "That's exactly why you should make more an effort. You're a star, and you should start acting like it."

I pout. This isn't the first time we've had this discussion, and I'm sure it's not the last. "No pun intended, right? Sorry, but I'm late."

"Are you going to the studio? I'm on my way there, too. I can give you a ride," she says, letting go and brushing an invisible piece of lint from my shoulder.

After seventeen years of being chauffeured around by my parents (or by actual chauffeurs), I can finally get around on my own, and she thinks I'll take her up on the offer? "No, thanks," I say. "I have some stuff to do after."

"Fine," she relents with a sigh before pulling me into a hug. "You know I'm so proud of you for finally headlining your own movie."

I squeeze her back, the familiar scent of vanilla and White Diamonds filling my nose. That's her perfume. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the huge rock on her finger was also scented. For what it probably cost, that could have been included.

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