At the same time in her cosy but comfortable West Hollywood apartment, Georgie also hung up the phone. Despite her soothing words to Rosie and her air of competent control of the situation, she was feeling far from optimistic. She knew she had to do some serious thinking, planning, and ultimately successfully accomplish a mission that by rights should not be hers in the first place. She went over to the couch and sat down, in the process dislodging Stevens her cat from his favorite comfort spot. Stevens looked annoyed but settled himself in Georgie’s lap, then looked up at her expectantly as if to say, “Don’t just sit there, woman. Either pet me or feed me.”
Georgie, who lived alone and liked it that way, absently stroked Stevens, her longtime companion, whom she often talked to and didn’t consider as a pet but rather more of a roommate. Stevens was big and gray and, when curled up in a comfortable spot, which he usually was, resembled nothing more than a large gray plush throw pillow.
As she absently stroked him and listened to his reassuring purr, she began to express her anxiety out loud. “Now what,” she asked Stevens, “has that fool man gone and done now? What has he got himself into? And more important, how could he run off and leave a sweet little girl like Rosie without even lettin’ her know what’s goin’ on?” This hadn’t been the first time, however. Something like this had happened before, she reflected. There had been times, when he was on location scouting or shooting, that Gil had consumed a bit too much of the sauce and been tempted by the inevitable pretty young thing who would do anything to get a break in Hollywood. He had occasionally been found sleeping it off in hotel rooms and even residences not his own, and had been retrieved by various members of the cast and crew only after a long and sometimes difficult search. Georgie only hoped that this was the extent of it this time as well.
Coming to a quick decision, she stood and unceremoniously dumped a loudly protesting Stevens from her lap. Noticing that he hit the carpet with a louder sound than usual she remarked to him, “I do believe, Stevens, that we gonna have to put you on a diet. You gettin’ entirely too fat, cat.” Then she reached down and somewhat mollified him by scratching behind his ears. “But,” she continued, “that ain’t surprisin’. After all, you fit right in with all the other fat cats in Hollywood.”
She went to the kitchen and returned with a dish of water in one hand and a plate of Stevens’s favorite canned salmon in the other, then placed them down on the carpet before him, much as a servant would serve her master. Straightening up, she pointed a finger at him as he looked at her questioningly. “That’s gonna have to hold you until at least tonight,” she informed him, “maybe tomorrow.” Stevens, who was very definitely of the Live for Today variety of cat, took no notice of her admonition but turned his full attention on the food and drink.
Georgie then went into the bedroom, which was the only other room in her small apartment, and hurriedly packed an overnight bag. Then, bidding Stevens a hasty but unnoticed farewell, she left her apartment and went around to the parking spaces at the rear of the building, jumped into her 1992 gold Mustang GT convertible, and sped toward the offices of FineHall Productions.
Arriving within fifteen minutes, she parked her car in her designated space and hurried up to the tenth floor suite without incident. Once in the reception area she first went over to her desk and removed a large Rand McNally California Highway atlas. Stuffing that into her large tote bag which she carried with her at all times, she briefly wondered if she should alert anyone else as to the situation. She decided not to for two very clear and distinct reasons: One, she needed more information about what the situation actually was, and two, like almost everyone else in the small production company, she was deathly afraid of giving Natalie any bad news. That can wait, she thought with a slight shudder, and fervently hoped it would not be necessary.
Crossing over to the safe she opened it and withdrew two thousand dollars of the petty cash, leaving only a little over a thousand. Might have to grease a few palms, she thought grimly, while closing and locking the safe again. She stuffed the envelope containing the bills into her tote bag as well and then retraced her steps back to the building’s parking lot, jumped into her car, and within moments was on the freeway heading for Las Claritas.