COME AS YOU ARE - PART 1
Sophia Pellegrino stumbled into the diner. It was late and there weren’t many patrons, just a couple sitting in a dark corner. She walked up to the counter and took a seat. “Come As You Are” by Nirvana played in the background.
Carlotta Vega, the owner of the diner stood behind the counter and eyed Sophia.
“Don’t I know you? You were in the paper?” asked Carlotta.
Sophia grinned, “Yeah. That creepy Brian dude held me hostage. My claim to fame. Good thing he got busted, huh? Man, I just ain’t got no luck.”
Carlotta just nodded her head, “Want something to drink?”
“How about a beer?” asked Sophia.
Finally Carlotta noticed Sophia’s bloodshot eyes and a faint odor of alcohol emitting from her breath, “How about some coffee instead?”
Sophia shrugged her shoulders and Carlotta poured her a cup.
“That isn’t a beer,” stated Sophia.
“I know. I want you to be able to get home tonight,” said Carlotta, becoming concerned for the young woman.
“Whatever. No one else gives a rat’s ass about me and if I have a place to live,” muttered Sophia crossing her arms, becoming defensive.
“Where do you live?” asked Carlotta taking an interest in the lonely young woman in front of her.
“I’ll probably go back to the woman’s shelter now. I was staying in the palace with my boss, Dr. Rae but I told her to stick it ‘cos she didn’t figure out I was missing till it was too late. You know – I’d been missing – hostage even – for two damn days and she didn’t even miss me! Screw that bitch!” spat Sophia.
“You don’t mean that,” said Carlotta, “That’s your anger talking.”
“Anger? Well, don’t you think I got a right to be angry?” said Sophia cocking her eyebrow, “Some looney psycho dude held me hostage. You know Sophia Pellegrino deserves to be treated with some respect. I may not be as rich and snobby as some people like Kelly Cramer are but I am a person you know! With feelings!” she raised her voice.
“Yeah – you’re a person. Look, Sophia…” started Carlotta.
“What?” said Sophia quickly.
“What are you going to do now?” asked Carlotta.
Sophia looked dejected and fought off tears catching the rhythm of the music so as to hide her real feelings. She tapped out the beat on the counter, “I dunno.”
“Is there someone I can call?” asked Carlotta gently, “Mom? Dad?”
“My family is a joke,” said Sophia. She finally took a sip of coffee.
“Do you want to tell me about your family?” asked Carlotta trying to reach out to the girl.
“Why would I tell you about my family? I don’t even know you,” said Sophia crossing her arms, becoming guarded.
“Maybe it would help if you did. Talking about it to a stranger could be therapeutical,” said Carlotta.
“How do I know I could trust you?” asked Sophia.
“You don’t know, do you? You’d have to take a leap of faith,” answered Carlotta.
“I don’t have faith in anything,” said Sophia honestly.
“All right. Just tell me what you feel comfortable with,” said Carlotta. She poured herself a cup of coffee.
“I got a brother – Freddie. He’s always in trouble. My Mom – she’s sick all the time and my dad spilt when I was 13,” said Sophia just throwing that out there.
Carlotta just nodded her head.
“And they ain’t my real parents. I’m adopted. Freddie’s theirs though. You know, I wonder a lot about my birth mom. I wonder if she wanted me and had to give me up or if she just plain didn’t want me…” said Sophia harshly, with a twinge of sadness to her voice.
“Do you think you would have been better off?” asked Carlotta.
“Who knows,” said Sophia, “Maybe she was married to a bum just like the guy who raised me.”
It was silent between them and Carlotta tried to make Sophia feel better with a gentle smile.
Just then, Dorian Lord Hayes walked in dressed in sweats and wearing a straw hat to cover her hair. She walked up to the counter and sat down next to Sophia.
“Hey Dorian, long time no see,” said Sophia.
Dorian just grinned, “Up to no good Sophia?”
“No, she isn’t Dorian. Sophia and I are just talking. What brings you by?” asked Carlotta protectively.
“Don’t want to sleep tonight,” muttered Dorian, “So can I get a cup of your coffee?”
Carlotta poured her a cup.
“You? Don’t want to sleep?” asked Sophia smirking.
“No, I don’t. Blair is gone. Kelly is with Joey and I don’t want to be alone,” admitted Dorian. Especially with my ghosts.
Sophia became serious, “Dorian why did you have Kelly kick me out of your house? I mean – I thought – you and I got along – kinda.”
Dorian’s eyes became soft, “I didn’t know Kelly did that and by then I was involved in my own problems,” explained Dorian.
“Dorian, well, it wasn’t cool what you did…” said Sophia.
“Yeah, well, I don’t know how many times I can keep saying it was an accident. It was!” insisted Dorian sipping her coffee, hoping it’s precious juices would keep her awake.
“I…believe you,” said Sophia softly.
“Thank you,” said Dorian.
Carlotta looked at the two women in front of her who had so much in common. A stiff upper lip included.
“You have any place to go? You want to keep me company tonight?” asked Dorian, “I don’t want to be alone.”
Sophia smiled, “Sure Dorian. As long as you let me put in my “Hole” CD…”
“Who?” asked Dorian.
Sophia nodded her head and Dorian stood up. Sophia stood up too and Dorian put her hand on Sophia’s back and they walked out.
Carlotta wistfully smiled.