I tried to form a reply, but nothing came out. I should say sorry, should say something, but I didn’t have it in me to care. “Millie—”
“Don’t you Millie me. You are in deep shit, young lady! If you read the fine print in your contract, you’d know that if you stand the client up, not only do you lose the hundred thousand dollar fee, you owe them a hundred thousand for their trouble!”
Moving as fast as my tired legs would take me, I left Pops’s room and went down the hall to the outdoor garden area. It was early so the there wasn’t anyone out just yet. “Are you telling me I now owe some rich motherfucker a hundred thousand dollars?” I roared into the phone.
“You’re yelling at me?” Her voice was laced with venom and just as lethal. “You got yourself into this.”
“I had no choice! Pops is on his death bed!”
“So you just up and leave and don’t tell me? Mia, had I contacted the client in advance, this might have been avoided. Right now, you are two hundred thousand dollars in the hole. You did not have enough in the master account to send Blaine your monthly installment.”
Oh, no. My body started to shake, and my legs couldn’t hold me up any more. Quivering, I slumped into the nearest bench. “I missed my payment…” I choked out, fear controlling my tongue.
“Yes! I’ve been calling several times a day. Finally, I got in touch with Maddy, though she’d ignored my calls until today.”
“My phone has been off. It’s been touch and go with Pops for the last week, Millie. He’s still nowhere near out of the woods. I can’t leave him.” I ran a shaky hand through my hair and tugged on the roots, the instant bite of pain bringing with it a clarity I was desperately trying to wrap my mind around.
“I can’t bail you out, Mia. My money is tied up in the business and a new venture I just sank everything into. You’re going to have to talk to one of your rich friends. Maybe one of the ones that paid the extra fee?” she suggested—as if that were so easy. Sex and money. That was the name of her game.
Ask Wes or Alec for two hundred thousand dollars? Absolutely not. No way. “I’ll figure something out.”
“All I know is you’d better figure it out fast. Your next client is Drew Hoffman.”
The name bounced around in my mind like a game of Plinko until it sank into a winning number. “The doctor to the stars? The one with his own daily TV show, line of vitamins, workout clothing, and DVDs? You’ve got to be kidding.”
“The very same. Apparently, he saw your swimsuit campaign about beauty in all sizes. Wants you to appear on his show for a daily segment he’s going to call ‘Living Beautiful.’ Mia, if this goes big, you could end up securing a regular spot on the show at the start of the new year. He’d only have to wait a couple months for you to start. No pressure.” She cackled. Straight up witch-like screech you see in the bad B-movies. If I had been standing next to her, it would have taken a Herculean effort to peel my boney fingers from around her throat.
No pressure. Millie said that as if this weren’t the break of the century. I pressed hard against my temples. All the blood in my body seemed to rush to my heart and make it pound far harder than normal. If I weren’t here with Pops right now, this would be amazing news. The press I’d received had given me a small in with the world of acting so far. The media had taken notice, and when Anton’s video went live next month, it would definitely coincide nicely. This opportunity though, to be a regular on a TV spot with Dr. Hoffman? Crazy town. This is the big break I needed to find me, my own path.