Ep 4, Sc 5: The Plan

INT. NIKKI’S HOUSE. NIGHT.

Clint sighed in exasperation as the sound of music thudded through the open window. He stood up and walking over closed it, snapping the lock firmly into place. The thud of the beat was still clearly audible.

“I would have thought once you’ve moved to Beverley Hills you could stop worrying about your neighbors’ loud parties disturbing you.”

“You don’t want me to party; you don’t want my neighbors to party. I’m beginning to think you’re just an old Grinch,” commented Nikki, who was sitting on the couch, flicking through a magazine.

“How long is that music going to go on for?”

“It’s only nine thirty,” Nikki pointed out. “So I suspect awhile.”

“Who is your neighbor anyway?” asked Clint, returning to the armchair he had been sitting in.

“Why?” asked Nikki with a smile, “Want to sell the story of his ‘wild’ parties to the tabloids?”

“It would teach whoever it is a lesson.” Clint joked. “But no. Just curious.”

“Alan Ryder,” Nikki said with a shrug. “He gives quite a few parties. But he’s at that point in his career.”

“The latest heartthrob in Hollywood point?”

“Exactly.” Nikki continued flipping.

Clint bent over the laptop he had setup on the coffee table and typed away for a few minutes. “Alright,” he announced after a second. “Twitter password?”

“Is this really necessary?” Nikki asked, annoyed.

“You have proven you cannot be trusted with a twitter account.”

Nikki rolled her eyes, but Clint continued,

“Until you realize your thoughts need a filter, your account is being deleted.”

“Twitter is a very successful way to connect with fans,” Nikki argued. “Tons of stars use it and very successfully.”

“Yes but yours has turned into a joke. We’re taking you out of the public eye for a little while, remember? Which means no interviews, no twitter and as few tabloid shots as we can help. As a rule the public has a short lived memory. So we take you out of the spotlight for now, when you come back a whole new you, that’s all they’ll remember…except when they put you on the ‘Greatest Comebacks of the Year’ lists.”

“Aren’t you confident,” said Nikki, a little testily. Clint shot a grin and nodded. “Fine,” she sighed, “Password is ‘yellowjay’.”

“Seriously?….remind me to talk to you about password security a little later.” Clint typed it in and a minute later nodded in satisfaction. “And your account is gone.”

“So what exactly am I supposed to do then?” asked Nikki, throwing the magazine down. “I can’t twitter, I can’t party, I can’t drink. The only thing you have given me permission to do is go out and buy a copy of War and Peace. Which undoubtedly will be completely wild and crazy but I feel I can only really get away with doing it one or two times before people start wondering why I need all these copies of a hideously long book.”

“Well other than working on your wardrobe-”

“Oh yes, I forgot, I get to go clothes shopping, because I’m a girl. Who dresses like an alcoholic druggie apparently.”

“That wasn’t exactly what I said,” commented Clint.

“Close enough.” Nikki crossed her arms and frowned at him.

“Alright,” Clint held up his hands, “I admit I may have made a stereotypical, some might say ‘sexist’ comment about girls and shopping; and I officially withdraw it. But, you do need to get new clothes. In fact, here.” He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and slid it across the table towards her. Nikki picked it up and frowned at what appeared to be a list of websites.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a list of online clothes stores.”

Nikki raised an eyebrow in his direction and he hurried on,

“First off all these sites have clothes that will make you look beautiful and classy, with good taste. However, I also realized you need something that you will enjoy wearing as well and I think these sites will have that. I looked over old pictures of you and saw the style you tend to lean towards; you don’t go in for dress suits and white blouses. You like color, you like creativity. Now I would also say sometimes you seem to like monstrosities but you don’t like plain or conventional. So I tried to find stores that would cater to both your taste and your need.”

“Oh.” Nikki blinked. “That was…rather thoughtful.”

“Also by doing your shopping online you can avoid the paparazzi and inevitable headlines ‘Steele goes on spending spree’.”

“’Steele finds a real steal at sale?’”

Clint laughed. “Exactly. Never shoplift. Headline writers would have a field day.”

Nikki laughed as well and then looked back down at the piece of paper in her hand. “Well. Alright. I’ll get online tomorrow and look at these sites.”

Clint cleared his throat.

“What?” asked Nikki with a twinge of dread, already beginning to recognize the look on Clint’s face when he was about to suggest something she wasn’t going to like.

“Do you have a personal trainer?”

Nikki blinked and then felt herself lose it. “Are you saying I need to lose weight?” she snapped.

“No! No, no, no, no,” Clint said hastily, “Not at all. In fact I’d be far more likely to be concerned that you have some sort of eating disorder then that you’re fat.”

“I do not have an eating disorder,” snapped Nikki. She sat in silence for a minute and Clint seemed to realize it was best to let her cool down before continuing.  At last however curiosity got the better of her. “Why ask about a personal trainer then?” she asked.

Slowly, trying not to set her off again, Clint explained, “Because you need something to do. I think it’s important to keep you distracted and tire you out during the day so at night you don’t feel tempted to go out to the clubs.”

Nikki felt a twinge of annoyance but resisted the temptation to yell again. “I’ve told you before I’m not an alcoholic Clint. I don’t need to go out and party.”

“Yes, but you’re not working, you’re not touring, you’re not recording. Not at the moment. Which means you’re going to have a lot of free time on your hands. On top of that we’re trying to keep you out of the tabloids for a bit so you’ll spend a lot of time at home doing nothing, so by evening you’re going to be restless and antsy and it’s going to be a lot harder to not go out. But if you work out for several hours every day, it’ll give you something to do as well as leave you so exhausted by evening that clubbing will be the last thing you’ll want to do.”

Nikki looked at him skeptically.

“Or,” said Clint, “If there’s something else you’d rather do that’s still physical exercise…does this house have a pool?”

“Of course.”

“Oh of course,” Clint rolled his eyes, “How stupid of me. Well you could hire a swim coach. Or take dance lessons. Or yoga or pilates. I don’t know, get creative. You’re a multimillion dollar artist living in the second largest city in the United States. If there’s something you want to do, you can do it. So there has to be something you’d like to do, you know that doesn’t involve you ending up passed out in the men’s bathroom of a nightclub.”

“It happened one time.”

“For most people it doesn’t happen at all. But come on, can’t you see that actually you have this incredible freedom? You can follow any interest you have. And now’s the time to do it because you’ve got to stop following your drinking interest.”

“Alright, let’s say, for the sake of argument, I get a trainer or swim coach or whatever,” said Nikki. “And I stay out of the press and off twitter, and I get the clothes. Then what?”

“Then?” said Clint, pulling his laptop case towards him and starting to put the computer away. “We find you a song. And just when people are beginning to wonder ‘where’s Nikki Steele’ you show up, classy, sober, poised, looking better then you’ve ever looked before, and you blow them away with it. And you show the world an intelligent, grown up lady whose done being the butt of everyone’s jokes and ready to take the world by storm. And you, Nik, can do exactly that.”

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