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Margin Calling

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"Hey baby," she purred against the phone -- okay, half against the phone, half into her oversized glass of wine. She leaned her weight against the bar, the other festival attendees not paying much attention to her other than the occasional nod and/or smile of recognition. Hopefully Elizabeth's props -- the phone, the loud conversation, the giant glass of wine -- would deter admirers for a while so she could talk to her fucking husband and get five minutes of Paul Ruddless peace in her glass of pinot noir.

"You there, hon? I can barely hear you -- sounds like -- ah, okay -- you're talking into the wine again," Max called into his phone.

"Oh no," Elizabeth laughed, "Did I call you again in the middle of my tryst with this wine glass? I don't mean to rub this affair into your face --"

"It's okay, I know I'll never make you happy the way pinot does. How's Utah?"

"Guess what," she she said. "It's fucking cold. Cold like New Year’s in New York on my tits."

"That's really specific."

"Wait, it's colder than that. You know, because it's Utah and we're in the fucking mountains, Max."

"Just another what, day? Day and a half? And you'll be back here for 80-degree winter, just like how God intended."

"I feel God at this open bar tonight," she replied. "Anyway, just wanted to check in before, I don't know, they keep making me watch all these movies, what the shit is that?" She looked around and snorted loudly into her glass and stage-whispered into her phone, "Shit, Robert Redford definitely fucking gave me a look -- what's he even doing here? I mean, just because he started this shit doesn't mean he has to show up. Isn't that one of the perks of starting your own film festival?"

"How have they not thrown you out of Hollywood yet?"

"'Cause I'm so pretty," Elizabeth replied, and tried to twirl her hair with the hand holding her phone. "And I'm so cool, and so funny, and so pretty."

"Go on, get back to your movies and --"

"Oh hold on, baby, I gotta call you back -- or later -- or tomorrow when I see you, or whenever --"

"What?"

"Like, twenty feet from me," Elizabeth said, "Jesse's ex just walked in with his baby boyfriend, fresh off the plane. I gotta call --"

"Don't call Jesse!"

"What but --"

"Not to get all I Love Lucy on this shit, but seriously -- don't stir that pot."

"But I love pot," she whined, and then laughed instantly. "See what I did there?"

"Helen Keller saw what you did there," Max said dryly. "And she'd kick your ass, too, if you gave Jesse even the slightest hint right now that Zach is alive and fucking someone else."

"I love Jesse, you know I do, but he can be such a bitch sometimes, with the whole everyone has to be miserable until I'm settled and happy bullshit he pulls on us sometimes."

"He's your friend and for better or worse, he's your friend and don't you --"

"I gotta go, Zach saw me," Elizabeth said as she lowered her wine glass back so it wasn't waving around in the air anymore. "I kind of stand out in a crowd, you know? Dazzling smile, immaculately coiffed hair, also I love you bye."

"Don't tell Chris, either!"

Zach and a couple of the guys from their Wall Street movie walked over as Elizabeth laughed into her phone and said, "Oh you're too funny, honey, I'm going to do just that -- uh huh, and I'll call you later if I can -- love you, kitten! No no, I love you more! I love you most!"

"Oh my God, you are going to demolish cities," Max moaned as she hung up on him.

"Gentlemen!" Elizabeth cried out as she stuffed her phone back into her pocket. "Come on, bring it in! Don't be shy!"

"Lady," Zach crooned a little too affectionately as she laughed and he kissed her cheek. "Ooh, you've had almost as much wine as I did on the plane. And in the car over. And -- wine, right? Wine is awesome."

"This is why I love you," she replied as she formed a heart with her fingers and placed it on her chest, and then she looked over at the rest of his entourage. "Because he loves wine as much as me."

"Okay, so you know Jonathan," Zach said as another twentysomething baby showed up and it was Jonathan fucking Groff. And no, Zach wasn't boning the super senior from Gossip Girl, but just to make sure --

"Groff, are you making movies again?" she asked suddenly.

Zach wrapped an arm around Jonathan's waist just as he opened his mouth and she may have gone ahead and squealed a little because everything was perfect and Jesse would fucking die.

"Oh, not right now," Jonathan stammered, his pink-from-the-cold cheeks turning even pinker as whatever wine he absorbed from Zach's mouth hit him here in front of all these people -- oh, and being manhandled, that was always fun (not). "Just, you know, moral support. And I'm back from London! Hi!"

"You are back from London, oh baby, you are, welcome back," she said as she pulled him in for a steadying hug that he couldn't quite handle until he wrapped his arms around her waist. "We have to catch up on everything you missed, it's pretty amazing."

"Well, I can't wait," Jonathan replied as he pulled away and was yanked back into the circle of Zach's arms. "I'm just so glad to be back! I loved London -- I love London -- but -- I just missed everyone!"

"He missed me most," Penn commented. "Missed my mouth, missed my hair. As you can see from how he avoids me, because, you know. The memories. They're killing him inside."

"He missed everyone," Zach said somewhere in the neighborhood of Jonathan's hair. "Also, yeah, you remember Penn and Paul and we're actually grabbing food? With everyone else who was ever in this movie? Please come? Please please?"

"Please please please?" Jonathan echoed.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world," she assured them. "But Mr. Badgley is going to have to piggyback me to dinner because I'm sick of these boots."

"They look fairly practical," Paul commented as he glanced down. "Not like the atrocities we've seen around here today -- I mean, ladies, there is snow here, we are in the mountains and such."

"I think you get more English the drunker the rest of us get -- true or not true?" she asked.

"So true, you cannot begin to true how true that is," Paul replied.

"Oh honey, we're American -- it doesn't actually have to be even a little true for you to go ahead and run with that," she laughed.

"Here, come, I'll carry you off to dinner like the hulking, pasty mountain man I am before your incisive tongue gets any sharper," Paul said as he scooped her up suddenly. "None of this 'piggy backing', and did you really expect Penn to carry you and that aquatic tank of wine with us?"

"Shut up and walk, Jeeves, and enough of that lip."

As Paul literally picked her up because he was a million feet tall and built (oh, if only they were a little unhappier in their respective marriages!) and Penn grabbed her wine from the bar, she looked over her transport's shoulder to Zach and Jonathan, totally engrossed in each other (without help of their tongues, even -- impressive!) and apparently discussing whether Jonathan's hands could actually fit in Zach's jeans pockets.

"Speed it up, bitches!" she called out. "People would think you were drunk in Utah at five o'clock in the afternoon or something!"

"But I am," Jonathan replied before he doubled over laughing.

"And he's still a lightweight, oh, I love this," Elizabeth said. "Hear me, Sundance?" she yelled. "I fucking love this."

"Why is Robert Redford looking at us like that?" Paul asked her quietly as they approached a restaurant -- not necessarily the right one, but certainly the one they would settle for.

"You know what they say," she replied. "Nothing provokes speculation more than the sight of a woman enjoying herself."

"Very true, unfortunately -- and who is this they, this fount of wisdom?"

"Susan Sarandon," she said, and wasn't able to muffle the snort in time.

"If our next child is a girl, we'll make sure to pass on Ms. Sarandon's wisdom -- write that on a napkin for me, won't you? Many thanks."

*

The Margin Call cast and crew and everyone took up a good quarter of the restaurant, and Elizabeth ended up at the kids' table with Zach, Jonathan, Penn, Paul, and chairs for Ashton and Demi who were busy mingling, but Demi was glad to be included in the seating chart as part of the under-forty-in-spirit crew.

Elizabeth wedged herself in between Penn and Jonathan, who she frankly knew better than everyone else at the table from all the time she'd spent in New York for the past forever and a day. They had met through mutual friends, back when he was barely twenty years old and getting ready for this big Spring Awakening thing and she was trolling the city, as ever.

"Now," she began, refilling her glass and pouring one for Jonathan, "Tell me about Zach and when on earth did that happen?"

"Ummmm," Jonathan hummed into his glass as he thought and drank, and glanced across the round table at Zach, who had taken a seat next to Paul (the better to stare at each other longingly, she noted, but what did she know about these things?) and was talking animatedly to him. "Actually, you were there! When -- there was this week, right, when Shakespeare in the Park had a few days off and we weren't meeting at the bar every night to -- well, you know, to be at the bar."

"Those were a sad couple of days," Elizabeth sighed. "I actually had to talk to my husband. What's that about?"

"Right?" Jonathan laughed. "And Jesse -- why did our schedules revolve around him anyway?"

"Speak for yourself, bitch -- I had a movie to film."

"Maybe the whole 'bar every night' thing was because of you," he considered. "Because you both got out of filming and performing every night at the same time and… demanded we be there?"

"Sounds like us," she agreed. "Get to the point, boy!"

"Right right," he laughed. "And then two days before I left for London, I meet Zach again one morning and we… kind of just ran off to his house and had a one night stand?" He sipped from his glass and laughed a little. "Actually, it was while he had night shoots for Margin Call, so it was a one day stand. It was pretty nifty!"

Elizabeth choked on her wine and Jonathan looked pretty nonchalant as he added, "And then I left for London, and Zach went back to dating Jesse, but we texted all the time and stayed in touch, and once Jesse left again we --" He shrugged and cradled his glass in both hands, and then looked at Elizabeth and shrugged again.

"Don't leave me hanging!" she shrieked.

"There's not much else," he admitted. "I mean, we saw each other a couple of times -- I was in New York for Thanksgiving, actually, with his friends -- and Christmas in the city, too -- and now we're both here and going to be in LA for a while, so. We figured we'd see what happens?"

"Well I am pulling for you," she said. "Because you're cute and sweet and funny and Zach is a sour, pretentious fuck who needs someone poking him with the threat of no boning to get him to smile."

"I can be sour and pretentious, too!" Jonathan whined. "For example: I don't have Angry Birds on my phone."

"Because your boyfriend has it on his phone and you just beat the whole thing on the flight over."

"Stop it, no one should know me that well," he sulked, but another sip from his wine glass wiped that away completely so he clutched her free hand and grinned. "Tell me what you've been doing! We saw your Russell Crowe movie, actually, over Christmas? It was a lot of fun! Is he really as much of an asshole as people say he is?"

"Oh no," she replied. "Total sweetheart. A peach. Sweetest thing, like a kitten. Started every morning with a big bear hug from Papa Crowe and a non-religious prayer circle."

"Really?"

"God no," she laughed. "He is the asshole from which the universe was shit out."

"That's so beautiful," Jonathan said. "I mean, the part where I don't know the validity of anything you ever say."

"Your baby eyes are glassy with booze," she noted.

"I think if this dinner was actually about food, I'd be much better off."

"Mmm, I agree. Let's fix that, huh? I don't like these post-post-modern restaurants that don't actually serve food."

*

After the actual food, the Margin Call kids still had more than an hour and three more bottles of wine to kill, so Elizabeth traded spots with Paul and put her feet up in Zach's lap.

"Ms. Banks," he said as he rubbed her ankles.

"Mr. Quinto -- oh, right there."

"So what were you and Jonathan talking about?" he asked.

"You know, the usual New York theater sexcapades -- I've got to keep up to date somehow now that I'm not there myself, teachin' you gays about the use of a great vagina -- Zachary Quinto, if you scrunch your nose I will dig my heel into your fucking crotch."

"Liz -- Banksy --"

"Stop, I hate nicknames," she laughed as he bent in half and rested his cheek on her shins, because he was flexible like a folding chair and way cuter than one when he didn't talk. "Do you know I actually got a bunch of calls from people when they heard you call me Banksy, because they're jackoffs and it was so absurd it might be true?"

"That's what I was banking on," he grinned. "See what I did there? Right there, too? Banking -- I'm so under-appreciated."

"You evil little man, how are you? Are you taking care of the baby?"

"The -- that's not nice," Zach said as he stuck his lower lip out in a pout. "He's totally in my demographic."

"18-35 is a pretty huge demographic," she noted.

"Whatever," he replied.

"He told me how you two -- hooked up? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? While Jesse was away? And Jesse never told me you two had an open thing. I thought you two were totally in love this summer, and -- well, you know."

"Yeah, I remember, I was there for my relationship with Jesse."

"Oooh, kitty has claws." Elizabeth reached for the nape of Zach's neck to pet him a little, a weird action by any standards but pretty weird for her, and for her and Zach, who she didn't particularly like but intersected with too often to hate. Also, hate wasn't really her thing -- it was so boring, and cut her out of informative circles, which made her sad.

"Look, I'm just covering their backs," she added. "Because I've known Jesse forever and I was Jonathan's first body shot -- those kinds of bonds can't be broken, you know?"

"He is so young," Zach said after a few moments of staring at her kneecaps. "Not young -- okay, he is but -- but he's like you and Jesse, just -- he doesn't get trapped in his head all the time."

"It's true, I try to spend as little time inside my head as possible," she joked. "The decorating needs some work."

"I didn't cheat on Jesse," Zach added. "We always said it wasn't going to be picket fences and a chocolate lab rolling around on our 1.5 kids."

"Yeah, Jesse wants nine at least -- man, he's got baby fever bad since he's been on his show covered in all them kids -- have you talked to him lately?"

"Not really -- a little. I've been so busy with the show. Have you? I guess you have, more than I have, anyway."

"Oh yeah, we text all the time -- he's taking his boyfriend public now, did you know?"

"I didn't -- are you talking about the guy I met before Thanksgiving? The one he started dating like, five minutes after we broke up and brought to New York to rub into my face?"

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows and Zach sighed a little, and sat up straight again as he said, "Whatever, I was in a bad space."

"Obviously."

"You're just very lucky, you know," Zach said, his eyes focused on his hands that tapped out some random rhythm on her crossed legs in his lap. "The way you've been with the same guy for the past million and a half years and all this sleeping around we do, trying to find someone who doesn't make us want to throw ourselves off something tall onto something sharp -- it's just so funny and cute to you, isn't it? The ultimate smug married."

She reached for her glass and took a long sip while he collected himself, obviously not used to spitting out all that resentment all at once. "You done yet?"

Zach shrugged.

"Jonathan's not Jesse -- I know that, you know that, for fuck's sake, you know them quite intimately, I should add."

Zach looked up and asked, "You and Jesse never --"

"Gold star, baby," she sighed. "I tried, believe me, even told him Max would be there and it'd be cool, but -- no dice."

"That's so cute," he laughed.

"But Jesse's all about visibility and shit like that, and you and Jonathan are about your work, and that makes for something that works better -- for you. I think you'll be okay." She sipped from her glass again and added, "I'm making it so, right here with this glass of wine that I neglected due to the gorgeous man with his head between my legs."

"On your legs, oh my God, why are you like this," Zach laughed. "You're poison."

"I'm delicious."

"Like cookies baked with cyanide."

"Arsenic -- slow-acting poison, right? I don't give a fuck." Elizabeth turned to the rest of the table and slapped her hand on the surface. "Someone tell me when this fucking movie's being screened, dammit. I've got a life, you know. Someone spoil the ending for me -- does Wall Street bounce back? Is Paul going to carry me to the screening, too? Can I get a litter there?"

"Our heights are way too disparate for that," Penn commented.

"Shit, are you here?" she asked. "I thought you had been sucked into your phone like in Tron."

"I had, but your voice pulled me right out again, like it was a dream," Penn commented as he glanced down at his phone again. "Also, I totally mingled while Zach went down on you."

"I was just laying my cheek on her legs!" Zach maintained. "Is that really so weird?"

"It means you have to duel my husband at 10 paces at dawn," Elizabeth remarked.

"Zach can take him -- he does yoga," Jonathan said knowingly.

"For the last time: yoga is not the same as superpowers," Zach laughed. "Or, in this case, a gun, apparently."

"No, I think Max's main weapon is charisma," Elizabeth considered. "And aftershave. Ooh, and his MacBook Air. Hey, do you want to make a martial arts movie featuring only technology for weapons?"

"Ask me again a bottle of wine from now," Zach said. "That sounds more like a Simon Pegg thing, though. You know, killing zombies with vinyl?"

"Yeah, but it's time he upgraded to iPads and things. Oh my God. Can we talk about -- what if Apple is actually a weapons manufacturer? What if the Apocalypse is actually being waged between Macs and PCs?"

"And that's time," Paul said as he stood up from his seat. "Come on, time to cart Her Highness to our movie."

"No no, I want to stroll with you this time," Elizabeth said as she lowered her feet off Zach's lap. "And I can pretend you're William and I'm Kate, and we're at our coronation or wedding, whatever."

"Do you know, that's not the first time I've heard that," Paul noted. "Why am I the token English person? Jeremy is English, too, you know."

"No no, Jeremy Irons is a villain from The Lion King, and then he's English," Elizabeth said as Paul walked over and, even with all the complaints, offered his arm in a highly exaggerated fashion, which she took in an equally exaggerated fashion (curtsy and all.) "You're Chaucer, and then you're… you know, everyone else."

"Never going to live that down," Paul sighed. "Me and my poor bottom. Immortalized forever as that composer of fart jokes and instigator of Western comic literature."

"Stop being so English -- also, boohoo, your life is hard!" Elizabeth said.

"Wah wah," Paul replied. "I'm Elizabeth Banks and I have to play beautiful, charming women every day."

"Whoa, have you actually seen my movies? We need to talk."

"Have you seen any of mine?"

"No, of course not," she scoffed. "Not intentionally, anyway. You just happened to be in the middle of my Heath Ledger music video compilation."

"That I was," he agreed.

"We're off to see a movie, it's called Margin Call," Zach sang behind them. "We've all had lots of wine and been drunk all day!"

"I hope your boyfriend is deliberately out of tune or you'll have to dump his ass," Elizabeth sang back in Jonathan's general direction.

"You all have to stop singing or I'll tell Robert Redford on you," Jeremy answered as he and the Adults caught up to them on the way to the theater.

"Jeremy, it doesn't count unless it's sung in your Scar voice," Elizabeth sang.

"I'd swear this song has more melodic variations that no one is bothering to remember," Paul added.

"We're not even trying to keep in tune with the melody anymore!" Zach sang, and then he added, "But I have to admit for not even trying that was pretty good!"

"No it wasn't jerkface, you're just really drunk," Elizabeth replied. "Oh that's my husband calling, he's going to be subjected to this."

"Can we please stop now, I'd like to stop singing badly," Jonathan asked in song.

"Yay, Margin Call!" Zach finished.

"How anticlimactic," Paul sighed.

"I'll try better next time," Zach replied with a sigh of his own and, as Elizabeth turned around and talked to Max, she watched him press his face against the side of Jonathan's neck briefly before continuing to walk like a totally sober person who had just discovered the art of smiling.

"I miss you, baby," Elizabeth said into her phone. "We just walked through this super crowded place singing all our feelings to "We're Off to See the Wizard" -- send help?"

"How many lives did you ruin?" Max asked over the phone. "Just a rough estimate."

"With my singing? None, you asshole. I sing like a fucking angel."

"Miss you," he deflected. "I'll see you tomorrow night, right?"

"If I'm not murdered tonight by everyone at this festival then yes, I'll see you tomorrow and we can go back to being awesome -- same as it ever was."

*

Elizabeth went up to her room after the post-screening party dispersed and flopped on her king-sized bed face first, boots and jacket and thousand layers still on. She dug her phone out of somewhere and yelled at it, "CALL FERG."

"Lady, what's up?" Jesse asked.

"Jessica, help, I've fallen on my bed and can't take my clothes off. Help me get my clothes off. There's -- there's just so many."

"Okay, I can't believe you've been surrounded all night by all those hot men of Margin Call and not one of them helped divest you of your clothes."

"Wait, how'd you know that?"

"Jonathan texted me," he replied nonchalantly. "It was something like, "Guess who we found shipwrecked at a bar five minutes after we walked in?" and who else could it be, hmm?"

"I was adrift on a wine-dark sea, it's true," she added. "Okay, okay. Kicking my boots off. First. Maybe. Ugh, they have zippers, why did I do this to myself -- oh, do you know who is so hot and so funny and so I-want-you-in-me? Paul Bettany. He is just -- I'm so in love."

"You've got such a thing for gingers you can't have -- my people thank you for the attention." There was a slight rustling of sheets as Jesse added, "But yes, I knew all that about Paul -- Zach and I went to his family's Fourth of July thing before we all met up to see the fireworks."

"I remember the fireworks, don't remember the Bettany-Connellys’ party, but maybe next year. Remind me to be in New York next summer for that shit, okay? Need me some Bettany."

"Honey, who doesn't? How's the boot removal going?"

She groaned and put the phone on speaker, and then flipped over onto her back to evaluate The Boot Situation. She sighed heavily and pulled each one off and threw them with a loud thump on the floor.

"Ugh, okay, it's hot, I'm getting naked -- don't facetime me, I'm a lady," she said as she stood up from the bed.

"Okay, but maybe soon because Justin's in the shower and I would love to turn the phone to his face and say, Hey, this naked blonde woman says hello!"

"I should probably be a little more concerned at how you gays use my body to frighten each other," she sighed as she took clothes off and let them drop into a pool around her feet. "But I guess it keeps me grounded or whatever."

"You're a beautiful soul in a beautiful body, you know that," Jesse replied. "Now tell me everything -- Jonathan only sent me really random texts. One was, Here I am, calling margins, taking names."

"Well," Elizabeth said as she slipped on a t-shirt and then dove beneath the covers. She reached for her phone and pulled the covers close, and turned the speaker off so she could really feel like a teenage girl talking to her best friend on the phone late at night after bedtime. "You know who he was there with, right?"

"Oh my God yes can we talk about that? He just sent me a text yesterday, being all, I'm going to Sundance with Zach but then I'll be in LA, can we hang out? I knew you'd get the dirt for me. Give me dirt. Bury me in their dirt, please."

"Whoa, easy there, eager beaver."

"Do you think it's really passive-aggressive revenge for not telling him me and Gavin used to date, you know, before he was going out with Gavin?"

"Don't be so petty, you guys have shared way more guys than Gavin."

"Now Zach."

"Way more than Gavin and Zach."

"And -- okay, I don't want to know. Anyway, tell me tell me. Are they disgustingly cute? How gross are they? Are me and Justin cuter?"

She laughed and rolled onto her side, bunching the covers and blankets closer around her. "They're super cute, Jess, but that's because they've only been texting this whole time. And now they're going back to LA to actually date."

"They're internet boyfriends? That is the funniest thing I've ever heard."

"I'd believe that if you were laughing!"

"I am! On the inside. Where you can't hear me. But I'm laughing a lot, don't worry. Did I tell you how they met? Well, not met, but hooked up?"

"Jonathan told me they hooked up before he left for London."

"Yeah, the day after the Emmy noms were announced, and Zach avoided me for a day or two and I thought, well, he's just a little upset because Heroes had just been canceled and he was cranky from night shoots, so we didn't talk. Then we meet up and he tells me he fucked Jonathan Groff, who is our baby, you know? But it's fine, because Jonathan's going to London for six months and he really cares about me. Exact words."

"You didn't tell me about this! How did you not tell me?"

"Because you already didn't like Zach, and I wanted you to like Zach, and I really liked Zach, and have I said Zach enough times?"

"You're so much better off, I promise," she said. "Frankly, he's better off, too. Like at the party, right, Zach was talking about archetypes in his fucking Wall Street movie, and Jonathan said, “Stop being a douche, don't you know people are coming to see your hair and no one gives a shit about your archetypes?”"

"Are you kidding? I might actually cry. I'm so proud."

"He's gonna be okay -- he doesn't take anyone's shit."

"Yeah, I know," Jesse said as he moved around under the covers and adjusted the phone on his end. "Just -- why Zach, you know?"

"Are you still mad at him?"

"I don't know. Maybe? But I know if we were still together I probably would have strangled him by now."

"Oh, I want to strangle Max all the time -- that's not an indicator of anything. Just people being a pain in the ass."

"But I really want to strangle him, and I don't want to go on a fucking double date with them." He sighed deeply and said, "Ugh, I'm going to go anyway, aren't I?"

"And you're going to be a big, smiley mess and you and Zach are going to be grown ups or so help me, Chris and I will stop by on a perfectly-timed break from our movie and then things will get awkward."

"…I almost want that to happen because Zach would fucking die. Right there. And Justin and I would laugh all the way to the bottom of our wine glasses."

"And Jonathan would be sad. You would have made Jonathan sad. Do you want that on your conscience?"

"I still think he should have imported a British guy for himself."

"That's fine! You can think that! Just don't ruin this for him! I'm sure Zach will do it in his own time, and then he and Chris can be Trekkies in love forever and the rest of us will be totally okay with that."

"Okay, can I say this one really catty thing and then I'll let you go?"

"Yes. Tell me. You can tell me all the catty things, by the way, you know that, right?"

"Well obviously, but just this one thing. The worst part of my new house? Is that Chris Pine is three blocks away. And I just -- I hate his face? I think that's what it is? And how he's got it into his head that I give a shit about what book he's reading?"

"Oh, no, that's what he does. He genuinely thinks people read. It's -- I keep telling him no one reads, but he thinks I'm joking. It's cute, I guess? But he listens to audiobooks when he works out -- I can't even deal. I love him, but I can't deal. And now I'm going to go to sleep and I'll be back in LA tomorrow."

"Okay, email or text me and we'll have dinner, the four of us, okay?"

"Okay -- love you, ginger, say hi to your man."

"Say hi to yours, we'll see each other soon. And sleep well!"

Elizabeth mmm-ed into the phone and hung up. She sighed deeply, then turned her face into her pillow and screamed, and then laughed. She turned out the light on her nightstand and then woke her phone up again.

love you maxxxxxxxx. ty for not being full of manpain.

love you xxxxxx you're my manpain.

She grinned to herself and put the phone aside, and really had no problems falling asleep after that.