Isn't She Lovely Page 17

“Are you having another episode?” I whisper, leaning forward.

“A charade,” she says, getting a crazed look in her eyes. “That’s brilliant.”

I take another sip of beer. “Yeah, yeah, your little performance saved you from a date with a slimy bartender, I get it.”

“No, for the project,” she says, shoving away her glass and plate and reaching for her backpack.

I watch as her hand scrambles for several seconds before coming up with a pen. She’s writing at warp speed, not even glancing up at me, so I take the opportunity to eat more nachos. Smaller bites this time, in case she decides to tell the entire bar that she’s pregnant with my demon baby.

Finally she looks up with a beaming smile, and for a second she actually looks pretty instead of totally scary.

She holds up her notebook for me to read, and then her smile slips a little when I don’t respond.

“Help me out here,” I say, squinting at her messy scribbles.

She taps a black fingernail at the top of the page where she’s written PYGMALION in big block letters. “You see?”

I finish my beer and reach for hers. “Do I look like I see?”

Ah, there’s that familiar scowl. “Did your parents care nothing for the performing arts?” she asks.

“Goth, just tell me what you’re so manic about.”

She sets the notebook down and pulls the nachos toward her, scooping up more than her fair share of the guacamole. “So Pygmalion goes way back to ancient Greece—”

“Oh, sweet Jesus,” I mutter. “Give me the short version, I’m begging you.”

“There’s this guy, that’s Pygmalion. And he’s a sculptor who, for some reason I forget, isn’t real big on women at the moment—”

“Maybe because a woman loudly announced that he uses lavender bath bubbles.”

She snatches her beer back. “Anyway, so even though he’s off flesh-and-blood chicks for a while, he’s apparently open to creating a statue of a woman. And apparently he’s really good at what he does, because the statue is a total babe, and he falls in love with her. Then, blah blah, some goddess or other grants him a wish, and the statue comes to life.”

Stephanie takes two big sips of beer and gives me a wide smile as though to ?

I don’t.

“So tell me what an ancient dude falling in love with a rock has to do with our project,” I say.

She purses her lips in consideration. “Actually, I think it was ivory, not rock—”

“Stephanie. Some mercy?”

She takes a deep breath. “Right. So … the story of Pygmalion doesn’t stop there. It’s been used in poems and paintings for centuries, but the most notable version is a play written by George Bernard Shaw—”

“Is this really the short version?”

“—which becomes a movie. And then it becomes the inspiration for a bunch of other movies about men falling in love with women that they’ve created.”

I’m not gonna lie. Good student or not, I’m struggling to keep up with the girl. “Okay, so you’re telling me that there are multiple movies about men who build a female statue out of rock—ivory—and fall in love with it?”

She scribbles something else in her notebook. “No, that’s the beauty of film. There have been a bunch of reimaginings. The most classic is My Fair Lady, of course, but there’s also Pretty Woman, She’s All That … all movies in which the guy dresses the woman as someone she’s not in order to fulfill a bet or some sort of social obligation. You know. A charade.”

Finally the pieces kind of fit into place. “Okay, I’m with you so far. All we have to do is transcribe your little monologue there about how the Pygmalion story has permeated Hollywood, and then put our own fresh take on it?”


I catch Steven’s eye and gesture for two more beers. “All right, I’m in. What’s our spin on the story going to be?”

Stephanie stuffs a stack of nachos into her face and chews thoughtfully. “Well, it’s like this, partner. Seeing as I’ve done all of the thinking up until now, it’s about time you put that pretty, overgelled head to work. Our screenplay idea? That’s gonna be your contribution.”

Chapter Seven


“Steph, you sure you don’t want to watch the movie?”

I look up from the tiny kitchen table where I’ve been working on Ethan’s and my film project for the last hour. Not that I want to work on the project, or even need to, since it’s not due for a couple of months.

But the alternative is cuddling up on the couch with David and Leah while they watch some sort of indie-drama nonsense. I’m all for independent films, but I hate the ones that wear “indie” like a big middle finger to Hollywood. Small budgets are no excuse for producing garbage, and judging from the number of angsty montages in this one, it’s pure, lazy filmmaking crap.

That, and the couch isn’t that big. Joining them would mean sitting hip to hip with David as he occasionally gropes Leah while making sexy eyes at me.

It’s been like that lately. I don’t think the guy wants me back, but he seems to be grossly turned on by having his current girlfriend and ex-girlfriend in the same space. It’s totally skeeving me out, but I’m trying to be adult about it.

Although if this is adult, it sucks balls.

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