"As bad as it was
As bad as it hurt
I thank God I didn't get what I thought that I deserved
Sometimes life leads you down a different road
When you're holding onto someone, that you gotta let go
Someday you'll see the reason why
Sometimes, yeah, sometimes...
There's good in goodbye."
~Carrie Underwood~ <3
It had been almost two years to the day since Brad and I had broken off our engagement. I was sitting in a cafe in San Francisco, where I lived while I was going to college. We had started dating our junior year in high school to our senior year of college. All of our friends and family knew it was just a matter of time before we were married and starting a family of our own. On paper, we made perfect sense. We were the kind of couple people would write characters about...but that was just the problem. We were TOO perfect together. Neither of us ever felt that we could be our complete self; we were walking on eggshells most of the time, but we were too afraid to hurt the other.
I was devastated. I thought we would grow old together, and that no matter what I did or what happened, he would be by my side. Boy, was I wrong about that one.
Like I said, we'd been apart almost two years. The sting of the pain didn't cut as deeply as it once had. I hear that he's engaged to a girl,Melissa, he had dated awhile back in high school. I was happy for him. Really, I was...I am. But, did part of me still wish it was me or that I was the one moving on without him? Absolutely.
Here I was, sitting in that very same cafe. This time, I was working at the San Francisco Chronicle full time and I was just on a short break, about to get back to work. Ever since the engagement had been called off, I'd found that I was able to occupy a lot of my time with writing and editing. It was really good therapy for me, so I stuck with it. I was eating a blueberry scone and drinking my chai latte, editing some overdue work on my laptop. I had to get caught up or it would not be very good for my career, we'll leave it at that.
I finished my breakfast, and decided to head back to the office which was just up the street. I sat down to get back to the article about The Kardashian's I was writing. I work in the entertainment department, so I get to cover all sorts of events from award shows and premieres to concerts and movies. I'm always running from place to place. Guess it's a good thing I have no one holding me back, right?
"Hey Stacey," my boss came around the corner to my office,"I wanted to talk to you about covering the American Idol finale in LA next week. Are you available?"
"For the finale? Heck yes!," I enthusiastically answered. I hadn't been following too closely this season, but I had critiqued a few performances and this would be a chance to interview some of the hottest celeb's in Hollywood. Everyone shows up to this shindig.
"Okay, I want a blog about the top 5 performances of the season sometime before you go and when you get back, just pictures, videos and any interviews you might get while you're out there."
"Alright, I can do that."
"I'll send you all the information in an e-mail bundle tonight."
"Is anyone else going with me?"
"Just Sheila! She'll be the videographer."
"Awesome!" Sheila and I had started right around the same time as one another at The Chronicle. We had instantly clicked when we discussed our love for Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill and Country music. I was looking forward to sharing this experience with her.
It was now Tuesday night, a.k.a the day before leaving. Tomorrow, I would be living it up in Los Angeles, while the contestants sing their hearts out hoping for a victory. I had just finished up my blog on my favorite performances and now it was time to finish packing. I had most of everything packed, but I still needed to put in the toiletries, a sweatshirt and some jeans. I went to my closet and pulled out a Juicy sweatshirt, some True Religion's and grabbed my travel size kit from the bathroom and zipped up my suitcase. I took a deep breath and flopped on my bed to watch some Entertainment news before bed, when my phone rang.
"Hello?" I answered, pulling the covers on my Creme colored duvet cover down.
"Hey girl! Are you ready for the best week of our lives?" Sheila shouted into the receiver.
"Absolutely. I just finished everything I was supposed to do and now I'm hitting the hay!" I yawned almost on cue.
"Okay, I'll see you at seven tomorrow morning?"
"Yup! And we'll definitely be making a Starbucks run if we don't want to kill each other on the way to the airport."
"Agreed. Good night!"
My alarm went off at five the next morning. I kept trying to open my eyes, but it wasn't working; I tried to ignore the annoying sound of the dinging that kept going off, but I knew I needed to get up. I turned on the hot water in the shower and stepped in; turned around a few times, scrubbed a little here and there, and stepped out. There was no time for dilly dallying today, it was time to get business done. I did my hair, makeup, and got dressed in under an hour, and was just in time to open the door for Sheila once she got to my house.
I ran downstairs with my luggage.
"HI!"I shouted loudly, giving Sheila a hug.
"HI!" she greeted back in the same tone, with her luggage at her side.
"Let me just grab a few more things and make sure everything's good to go, and I'll be set," I ran to my room to make sure I had everything, checked the doors and windows, and off we went.
We made it to the airport in good timing. Luckily, the San Francisco International Airport isn't usually too overwhelming, so we were there in plenty of time. We checked our luggage in and sat at the baggage claim waiting with anticipation for our flight to start boarding.
"I can't believe we're actually covering this! Maybe we'll run into John Stamos or Michael J.Fox!" Sheila said excitedly.
"You can't be serious. Out of all the people that are in Hollywood, you picked those two?"
"What's wrong with them?"
"....Nothing's wrong with them. But, what about Steven Tyler or J.LO?"
"Oh yeah, them too! For sure."
I laughed at Sheila's comments and knew that if the rest of this trip were anything like that statement, I'd be extremely sore by the time we got home from laughing so hard.
We spent the plane ride talking about all the things we wanted to do in LA while we were out there, celebs we were hoping to see, and gabbing about the fashion trends for the season. Yes, this truly is the life of an entertainment journalist, we live and breathe it. But, that's not all there is to my life and sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the glitz. God has woken me up several times from what I thought was best and what I thought living really was.
We landed in LA right on time and headed straight to the hotel. We didn't want to waste a second of sightseeing time, and the night was still young. Sheila and I were staying at The W Hotel in the downtown area, which was also right across the street from Staples Center. I opened the curtains to reveal the home of the Lakers all lit up in a purplish sort of glow, and people flooding the area for the game that night. If I tilted my head even further, I could start to make out the set for the Idol finale going on on our side. The place was abuzz with anticipation, and I could hardly wait.
"Are you almost ready?" I called to Sheila, who was still getting ready in the bathroom.
"Hold your horses! I have to look my best in case we see anyone," she replied back in an anxious tone.
I rolled my eyes, and laughed. As you can tell we don't get over to these neck of the woods very often. It was all sort of a big deal that we were here. I had decided to change into a red dress paired with a black blazer and pumps. I even curled my hair and went a little heavier with the makeup. When in Rome, might as well go all out right?
"I'm all set," Sheila walked out wearing a long, flowy maxi dress and what we'd like to call "Jesus sandals" (a/k/a Gladiator sandals that Jesus made popular back in His day). Her hair was naturally curled and had feathers and different colored stripes throughout. She was started the "hipster" trend, whatever that means.
"Lookin' gorgeous!" I admired her, looking her up and down.
"And how about you? Looks like you're completely over whatshisface..." she winked, and I faked a pleasant smile.
"Right," I nodded.
"You are over him, aren't you?" She asked sympathetically, joining me at the foot of my bed.
"Yeah, I'm completely over him. I guess it's just the idea of not having someone that I haven't completely gotten used to. I've been with him since I was a junior in high school and I'm almost 25 now..." My head immediately played flashbacks of all of our big moments in my head, "It's just hard to get over right away...that feeling of needing somebody I mean. Or just wishing that things had worked out differently."
"You'll see, God has a plan in all of this, as sucky as it is now. Who knows, maybe you'll even meet someone here this week!" she tried to assure me.
I laughed at her willingness to try, "Right, I doubt that'll happen. But thanks for trying to cheer me up."
"Hey, never say never. God makes beautiful things out of the most horrible situations, so I know He can do that with you right now."
She had a point, but it was hard to look past the rain I was seeing.
"Well, enough of me whining and complaining. Tonight is all about us, as is the rest of this week. We are single and independent women making our dreams come true. It's time we take a little break and enjoy ourselves," I cheered, standing up with gusto.
"YEAH! You're absolutely right," Sheila agreed, standing next to me and heading for the door.
We didn't look back and decided to hit the downtown area for dinner and dancing, since Katsuya was just up the street from our hotel. As we walked along the street, I couldn't help but feel that with each step I took I was getting closer to opportunities I'd been waiting a lifetime for. Sheila was right...God did have a lot in store for me. I just have to keep trusting Him.
We walked into Katsuya and immediately saw the entire Kardashian clan making their way to the door. I guess JustJared hasn't exaggerated the fact that they basically live here. This trip was off to a great start already. The hostess seated us at a table for two. It was one of those hoity toity restaurants that was only lit by candlelight. We had to lean in closer to the table to read the menu.
"I'm starving," Sheila complained, running her finger over the menu.
"Me too! All we had was that lame plane food, which does not cut it," I added.
Soon, we ordered and started discussing plans for tomorrow. We really had to be on our A game.
"We'll get to the Idol station around noon to pick up our passes and check it all out; see how it's set up, where we'll be, and all that. We'll have time to get ready back at the hotel, then it's back to Idol to run through camera angles and lines, and at three the red carpet starts!" Sheila and I looked over the itinerary we had received through e-mail.
"I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight," I felt incredibly giddy inside. The Idol finale was not just any season finale; it was a full blown party.
"Me either, but we're going to have to if we want to hang out at the after party tomorrow night with everyone."
"Good point," the waitress dropped off our food. I had ordered the filet mignon, while Sheila went with the salmon. Both were delicious. We didn't waste very much time eating and getting out of there.
The night was sparkling as we walked through LA Live, which was blocked off quite a bit due to the American Idol red carpet. The lights were bright and everything about the atmosphere reminded me that I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
"I can't find my earring! Where did I put it? Have you seen it?" I ran around the room, rummaging through my suitcase and carry on bag trying to find the matching earring to the one already in my ear.
"I think I saw it in the bathroom," Sheila pointed as she curled her hair in front of the vanity mirror.
"Ah! I'm running late," I shrieked, checking my phone for the umpteenth time today. I had showered and put my makeup on, but I still had to curl my hair and get dressed.
"Relax, we'll have plenty of time. I promise!"
I took a deep breath of relief when I found my leopard print Betsey Johnson earring laying on the counter where I had left it earlier. But, it was time to finish getting ready. I grabbed my wand curling iron and started wrapping pieces of my hair around it quickly. Soon, my dark brown hair was in loose waves; I tousled it and spritzed some hairspray. I slipped into my black cocktail dress and slid on my shiny pumps. I did a glimpse in the mirror and liked what I saw.
"You ready to rock this thing?" Sheila asked as I came out of the bathroom, completely dressed and ready to go.
"Absolutely! Let's do this! You look great by the way," she was wearing black pants and a blazer since she'd be behind the camera tonight. She still looked some sort of fierce.
"I'm telling you, you're going to meet your future husband tonight," and she seemed pretty serious about it.
"No, I'm not. Get that idea out of your head; that's a crazy make-believe story that would make great reading on my blog, but not something that actually happens in life," I blew her off as I did most of the time with her off the wall ideas.
"One of these days you'll believe me when I tell you this stuff. I've been around a little longer than you, I've seen it with my own eyes."
"You're only two years older than me," I reminded her.
"Yes, but two years longer that I've been on this earth to know how it works. Don't you think crazier things have happened than somebody meeting the love of their life at a Hollywood event?"
"I guess. But, I've been doing these things for a few years now, most of the time with the same people and there is NOTHING there, believe me."
"Alright, fine....But, I'm going to laugh when you meet HIM tonight. God has someone really special in mind for you," she emphasized on the word really.
I laughed at how committed she could become to the ideas, and it was one of the reasons I loved her. We had our badges in hand, and walked up to the press gate.
"You'll be down at the end of the carpet towards E! News," the security guard checked his clipboard and assisted us in finding our news booth.
I took a deep breath as we stood at the end of the carpet setting up. I opened my binder, reviewing questions and contestants' performances. I had spent all of last night going over this season's Idol, making sure I was caught up on judges' comments and themes.
Other news reporters and TV stations were starting to file in one by one, and people were starting to parade the carpet. Lights and cameras surrounded us, while I adjusted the microphone and reviewed the questions I had planned out on my ipad. The contestants and other celebrities started striding down the carpet, and my palms were starting to sweat. There was no more grace period; It was showtime!
To be continued...Part two coming sometime this week! :)
To be continued...Part two coming sometime this week! :)