1 Pretty Woman: A Short Story

Let me tell you this:

Merith says everyone are being impatient for my arrival — which I am still confused about if it's considered as complement. Thankfully, I'm able to shrug the idea as I am getting close to the venue. The driver might be utterly clueless that I'm on the rush but there's no need to exhaust my fury. Besides, I am more distracted to manage all of these feelings because anxiousness is ruling me now.

Merith and her two-week old assistant, Toffa arrived in a hurry in the dressing room. Toffa and his unknown colleague invaded my hair while Merith passes down a cup of Americano. Everyone are incredibly cramming. I couldn't help to be a little bit shaky. But then Merith noticed and she hold my hand to make me feel calm. I smiled. I think that somehow helps.

Perhaps I just need to focus — manage my composure — and realize that this has been what I'm waiting for. I proved men wrong: Audrey DuVall has now her own talk show.

Cameras flashing in every corner and stage lights striked up the center. The audiences stand up and clap as if it's like the ending of a theater show. All eyes on me filled with amusement and excitement.

For a millisecond I have stated in my mind; this is all what you wanted.

Everyone gave me the floor. My eyes glances to the prompter.

"Well I thought that was it and we're done here"

The team does not need a fake laugh effect input. Because the audience just did in instant. A good adlib for my starters, right? I proceed to what the prompter says.

"Our very first guest" — I began holding my breath as I read the coming words before speaking. I can see Merith from the left side of the stage looking sorry. Because she knows.

Everyone knows.

But I can't mess it up on live television — not too mention that this is the pilot. Deep down I am cursing her and everyone from the Team who's behind this.

"is not a stranger to my life. And as you all know, stars in the upcoming film 2061. Please welcome, the one and only — Miles Cox." — I continued.

The band starts to play the trumpets and people claps as he prances from the entrance. I got to keep my composure while seeing his face — his fucking face. That face of a misogynist, rapist, evil man.

We both get seated in our couch and fix his signature slick back hair. Which smells like a cigarette found at the filthy tub, if you may ask me.

"Good to see you again, Audrey."

"Good to see you, too Miles. Wow. How are you doing?"

"Good, good. I'm happy you finally got this. Pretty sure you earned it, right?" his eyes pierces me with shame as I know what he did before. What he did to his exes... to me.

I gulped. I want to say something else. Confront him. Attack him. Something off camera but I obviously couldn't.

"I mean... don't get me wrong Audrey love. But the first time I saw you in my set wearing that skirt. All I can think is this is what you've been plotting — your own show. I am very glad that that thing behind your legs did the work for me, eh?"

I can hear the audience suddenly blasts laughs and murmurs.

I froze — from shame and knowing that this is happening. I can see their faces being entertained by his lies.

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"...Miles" I smiled. "You're drunk again on live television?" I added.

"Oh come on Audrey. Let people know what you did to my manhood. Don't be shy I love it, too." he grins.

"Fuck you Miles! What is happening here!? Cut the cameras!" I yelled. Half of the people went in silence but others seems like enjoying his mess. All too late now anyway. Since most of them are filming us by their phones.

"Oh yeah sure Audrey. Let people know that you fucked every man here just to get a one-way ticket to your stupid show. That's the truth. That's why you broke up with me. Because I can't get you any further in the way you wanted. And oh, I want your new man to know that too... what's his name... Ellis?"

"Miles stop. You're fucking outrageous."

"Just a feminist pretender that has a pretty face that's all. That uses his daughter's death for fame. And hey, everyone—"

"Miles stop!" — I screamed and threw out the vases and magazines around. Tears fell down on me and I couldn't feel myself in control. My knees went down the ground. I am catching my breath. All of these are now a mess, just like that.

I looked up at the place. Suddenly everyone are gone. No audience and no team behind me from the stage. No lights, no prompter. I found myself sweating at the ground of someone's garage. The rays of broad daylight passes through the dust.

Then finally there's Miles — tethered by chains, covered in sweat and blood from his wounded arms and wrists.

You might be confused of what's happening.

But I am not. Not anymore.

"And so far... that's what's in my head. To be honest it's a good plot for a film. What do you think Miles? Am I a good narrator?"

"Audrey, please. Just let me go." Miles cries in pain.

"Are you listening to me? Was it a good story that I've told you?" — "Believable, right? I mean... I almost believed myself in there so you can't lie straight to my face that it's just for bonkers" I said.

"You're fucking high! Let me go you bitch!"

"That's right — Bitch. Men like you loves to throw that word on us. All of you are just the same. And all of you thinks that we're just bunch of pretty girls waiting to get fooled.

You see, Miles. All I need at first is to have a good life with my sister. A good job as a screenplay writer and a host. And you fucking killed her and no one's finding out for years!"

"I did not killed Arian, please. I did not kill her it wasn't me Audrey. It wasn't me. I swear it wasn't me."

"You fucking liar!" I smashed a cup in his worthless head. Making him bleed more. Honestly I am enjoying this after all.

"You and your friends bet on me to be your girlfriend. I figure that out because of Arian and you took her to go in the park. So don't tell me you have nothing to do with it. You're a fucking pig." I can still remember seeing her at the woods: mangled body, no clothes, dried blood.

"You took her from me. All of you."

"I did not kill her Audrey. It was—"

I let myself cry for a moment as I'm seeing Miles drowning by his own blood after stabbing him in the eye. At this moment I don't know what to do and what should I feel. Relieved? Happy? Scared? What now?

He said it was who. Yes. Who is he talking? I looked up to Miles. But he's dead now, in his own garage. If it wasn't him he still deserves all of this anyway. In the end I still need to get myself together and bury the body down.

I finally went home after. I got a text from Merith about tomorrow. We will start the pilot episode live. When I'm about to enter the bathroom I've heard noises inside. As I'm getting close it gets louder but clearer.

I opened the door to check who's there. I saw Merith.

And Toffa. And the team.

Wait.

"What is this?" I whispered.

"Are you okay?" Merith asked. I looked around and found myself sitting here — inside my dressing room. But fuck. Now I am truly confused.

"Hey all! We're about to start in five minutes" — Ives shouted, our assistant director. Perhaps I am trapped by this bewilderment. Merith sensed something is off at me which she always do.

"You can do this." She holds my hand. I gave her a nod.

"Wait, Merith. May I know who's the first guest?"

"Darling I'm so sorry again. But we've talked about this"

"Just fucking say it Merith!!!"

"Jesus Christ! It's Miles, Audrey." she said in exasperation.

"Wait, what?"

No. This is not real. This can't happen. I know what I did. I know what happened yesterday. I went to his house and tell him a story. Made him drunk and killed him.

No this isn't right.

This isn't right.

"Get in the stage Audrey. You'll be fine. After this we'll make you get away with this drama. He's about to leave his room also."

"No. Merith, no. This is impossible."

"Hey, what's really the problem?"

"Merith I need to tell you something but please I am trusting you. I killed Miles. I killed him yesterday I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I killed him."

She paused for a moment and sighs until she grabbed my shoulders and laughs hysterically.

"What the fuck is wrong with you!?" — I blurted out.

"No, what the fuck is wrong with you? I just saw Miles like two minutes ago, okay? Now go. Get yourself together."

After all of this whirlwind, I went up to the set and the audience claps and embraced me instantly. I can still feel myself lost in a picture. Still, I need to continue everything.

"Our very first guest is not a stranger to my life. And as you all know, stars in the upcoming film 2061. Please welcome, the one and only — Miles Cox."

Everyone did their standing ovation as I nervously wait for someone to enter the stage with me. And there was him. I saw Miles coming near at me with huge smile and not any wounds from his eye — clean and untouched. Until a small shadow appeared behind him.

My sister. Arian. Covered in dirt as he holds Miles' bloody hand coming from his eye. And everyone's clapping, everyone's cheering. And I just can't—

"AUDREY!!!" Ives shouted.

I was suddenly brought back from another moment. And to be frank, I have no knowledge of which one is real. But I've looked to Ives behind the stage with Merith, Toffa and everyone — waiting for me to read the line. At the prompter.

"Our very first guest is... not a stranger to my life."

"And as you all know, stars in the upcoming film 2061. Please welcome, the one and only"

Miles Cox. Says in the prompter.

I let myself spin non stop. I can't say his name. And I couldn't contain my rage hidden any longer.

And I can hear them murmuring while letting myself caught up from this loop. For minutes I can sense what is real and what is not.

I guess you will figured out eventually.

But first, let me ask you something:

Was it a good story that I've told you?