Claiming Addison

By: Zoey Derrick

Despite my ginormous salary, I drive a brand new Nissan Rogue. It’s not the most expensive car and I could certainly afford something bigger, better and fancier, but fuck it. I chose to spend the money on my condo instead. Ironically, I spend more time in my car than I do my condo.

God, I am off track today or at least subject to zoning out. Something I like to do when I’m nervous. Why would I be nervous? That’s easy, I haven’t a clue what I’m stepping into, what is going to happen at the press conference and well frankly, I’m freaking out about spending twelve weeks on a bus with five men… the only female, with five men… Yup, let’s just leave it at that.

“Good Morning, Miss Beltrand.”

“Oh, hello, you’re early.”

“I’m Darius, I’ll be your driver today. I understand that we’re headed downtown to LA Live?”

I nod, “Pleasure to meet you Darius, yes.”

He bends down and takes my luggage from me, putting it into the trunk of the sleek black town car parked in front of my building. I keep my messenger bag and purse with me as he opens the door so I can slide in. “We’re going to avoid the highways this morning. There is a lot of traffic out already.”

I smile at him. “You’re the driver, so whatever way you think is best, have at it. We have plenty of time.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He smiles and closes my door. Within a moment, he is sliding into the front seat. If I wasn’t hung over, I’d think that Darius was quite attractive. Caramel colored skin, very black hair and a wicked sexy goatee. Not to mention tall and well-built and if I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was packing. I take comfort in that.

“There’s some water in the pull down on the console, help yourself,” He says over the seat.

“Perfect, thank you.” I open the compartment and pull out a nice cold bottle of water. I manage to down the entire bottle before we get out of my neighborhood. Stupid wine. Now I remember why I prefer the hard stuff. At least I can wake up without much of a hangover, like I did yesterday morning. I certainly drank more Tuesday night than I did last night.

“Miss Beltrand, we’re here,” Darius says and I look out the front windshield at a mob of people. It’s not even seven in the morning and already the horde is out in full swing.

“Can you get me close to that gate, where the security guys are?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Darius begins his approach and compliments of the deeply tinted windows and the swanky car, people part the mass, screaming at the car. Obviously they think that I’m someone important. I watch the security crew at the gate as they make a circle, pushing people back and one of the guys approaches Darius’s window. He rolls it down. “I have Miss Addison Beltrand in the car.” The guy does a check of his clipboard, flips a page. Jesus, how many people are coming through this gate?

“Does she have her credentials?” I hand my badge, compliments of the massive envelope of death, to Darius who hands it to the security guard.

“Okay, you can pull through; to your right you will see other cars, go ahead and park there. You’ll need to come back through here when you leave.” He gives my credentials back to Darius who hands them back to me. I tuck them back into my bag.

“Yes, sir,” Darius replies and the guard waves his hand. I watch as the gate manually swings open then I finally see the “rent a fence sign.” Obviously this isn’t normal for this area of town. When you live in LA, downtown isn’t a place you visit very often, but this is a great open location to kick off a bus tour because the highway is only a few blocks away.

As we come through the crowd and the gate, I can see two buses. Neither are openly marked, which is a good thing if you ask me. But it also leaves me to wonder which bus I am supposed to be on. They’re exactly the same. Except that one of the buses is pulling a trailer that’s nearly as tall and wide as the bus itself. Must be equipment.

Darius does as the guard asked and pulls off to the right with the other cars. “Let me go ahead and pull your luggage, then I will come open the door for you.”

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