Soundtrack (2019) s01e06 Episode Script

Track 6: Joanna and Eleanor

1 You've reached the Department of Children and Family Services voicemail system.
Press one to listen to your message First message.
You get my kids back home.
You stole them.
Who the fuck gave you the right? Next message.
I'm not bringing my baby back to that office again.
You gotta find someplace else Next message.
Want to know about people like you? People who try to tell you how to live your fucking life? People like you are why I voted for Trump! Hey, James.
sitting here waiting.
Are you kidding? It's not I have What job did I have? You had one thing to do.
I took them to school.
I already did it.
You know what? Be quiet 'cause I'm not even - Mm, no, this is all you.
- Just go sit here Oh, we can't feed the clients.
I want them to see that I've changed, - but nothing I do matters.
- I'm not filling out those forms so you can stop fucking asking me.
This is the medical form, both girls' school attendance forms, which are signed in triplicate.
I can't! I just I Sir, you can't go in there.
It was you.
I'm sorry, I'm with him right now.
My boy's in juvie.
And you did it! - Sir, you need to come with me.
- It was you! Hey! Get your hands off me! I won't let you do this! She did this! She took my son! Is this a good time? No.
But thanks for asking.
Come on.
What did you decide about Kevin? Uh I know that he is old enough for a sleepover, but, uh And I get that this is my shit and not the other parents, who are lovely, by the way, but I just can't let him go.
- I just - You know too much.
Hey, what about Tinny Alsop? - Still not speaking.
- Mm.
I always wonder if that's a reasonable survival response, to simply abandon speech.
What else can they do? I have one star client.
One of those rare ones who do everything you instruct them to.
I haven't had one of those in a while.
Uh, Mr.
Hughes? Mm.
It's hard to think of anyone less likely to be in this situation.
He simply cares about his son and would do anything for him.
It's nice when you don't have to chase them down.
- Any big plans for the weekend? - It's the weekend? I have a baby shower for an old friend of mine.
Former life.
I'm glad to know you won't spend the entire weekend working.
I'm sure I'll find a way.
Take the night.
For me, for yourself.
You need to once in a while, or you can lose perspective.
I am speaking from experience.
Okay, I'll try.
All right.
the new exhibition, Pelosa and Menta Verde, currently on view at a gallery downtown - Hey.
- You're there! Okay, you're there.
Hi, it's Sam Hughes.
I know you're almost done with the investigation, but I didn't know who else to call.
I didn't know if it's okay, I didn't know who else to call Sam, is Barry okay? Yes, he's great, he's fine.
It's, um It's that You know how I went to that publishing camp in Ojai? - They liked your songs? - No, uh Well, I don't know, actually, but maybe But it's the guy, the big A&R guy.
Apparently, one of his assistants is going to go to grad school to become a lawyer or some sort of, uh like, a Okay, take a breath.
And he offered me a job, right? Which, at first, I thought was crazy, because But then I mean, he's a good guy and he offered me benefits and they start in six weeks and - You got a job? - I got a job.
And a kid, and a DCFS investigation, and no idea how long the hours are gonna be, or how I'm gonna get him to school, and You got a job.
This could get us off your back.
It could help pay for after-school care.
Sam, this is great.
Joanna, come on! - Are you there? Did I lose you? - No, I'm here.
So what do you think? Should I take it? Is it good? Is it realistic with Barry and all the things that are going on? I'm finishing up a case about a mile from your house.
I can meet you in half hour, and we can figure it out.
Really? Yeah, that's great.
Thank you.
See you soon.
All right.
We have purple days and yellow days.
On purple, you do drop-off, Annette picks up, and Leah will watch him till you get home.
On yellow, Annette does drop-off, he'll go to after-school care, and Leah will get him by 5:00.
You get paid in two weeks.
You will call Nina, she'll take over for afternoons.
She's DCFS-approved and very affordable.
Purple, yellow, Nina.
Got it.
Then what happens if, uh, you know, something goes wrong? You'll handle it.
- All right.
- What about your mother-in-law? Oh, uh, well Yes, we could ask her.
She would love me to ask for help.
Which is exactly why I can't call her.
As it is, Barry's already talked about visiting an office and talking to people.
I told her he was in therapy.
I know.
I lied.
I'm going to publicly pretend I didn't hear that and privately say I've heard worse.
Thank you.
I thought I was going to hyperventilate going through all this.
You know, um my wife was always the anxious one and I was a calm one.
We used to joke that she was the kite and I was the string.
Ever since she died, I don't know, I've felt kind of kite-y.
Except when you're around.
You don't happen to feel like a string, do you? So I've never been an assistant before.
What do I wear? Like, a suit or a tie or I'd wear a nice shirt, put a tie in your pocket, and if you see other people wearing one, you're covered.
See? I never would have thought of that before I met you.
That's why I'm here.
To get Barry set.
Which he is.
This is that a big thing you're doing.
Really big.
And we're making it work.
We? Wow, uh haven't heard that word in a while.
When did you go to bed? About ten minutes ago.
- You stay up drawing? - Mm-hmm.
You gotta sleep, babe.
How am I supposed to sleep with that happening every single hour? How close are you to finishing? Super close.
- Yeah? - Mm-hmm.
I have to shower.
I was gonna go shower, but - I guess I'm gonna shower first.
- It's okay.
I believe in this school.
I believe a good foundation for a career in art starts here.
I mean, it's really a great place to learn the basics and hone your skills while having your dreams nurtured and protected the same time.
You went here? Yeah.
First day, it felt like home.
First hour, really.
Yeah, but do you actually have a career? Like, as an artist? Or do you just do this? Uh, no, mostly I just, like, you know, clean barns.
- This is kind of more of a side hustle.
- Huh.
Oh, a single "huh," that's his highest accolade.
- I don't think I've ever had one.
- You never earned one.
Okay, yes, I am an artist.
In fact, just this morning, I finished a graphic memoir I started my senior year here.
- Congratulations.
- Thanks.
What's it about? It's about my family.
And it's my mother's family, to be specific.
And it's kind of uh Why don't we go check out the ceramics studio? I think if we go right now, we might catch them in the middle of their crits.
- Do you want to? - Yeah.
Yeah? Yes, please.
- You know what a crit is? - No.
We'll talk about it.
Thank you.
He's not easy.
Mostly because I'm not easy.
- It's okay.
- But you, uh you made it easy.
Yeah, no problem.
I'm so sorry, I can't.
I'm really not allowed to talk to you about his admissions prospects Oh, no, no, no.
This is for you.
- It's not a bribe, I just - Oh.
I have instincts about these things.
- Oh.
- Um we're here two more days.
UCLA tomorrow.
Why don't you just email me your manuscript in the morning, and we'll talk about it over breakfast on Friday.
We're at The Peninsula.
I mean, it it's not even a first draft.
Which is what all good writers say, even after ten drafts.
So I mean, if you want, I can send you what I have.
Yeah, good, great.
Thank you.
- Thank you.
Good luck.
- Thank you.
Oh, my God! Oh, hey.
I was just Hey! Mm, okay.
- Okay, so guess what happened? - What? Okay, I was giving this mom and her son a tour, and I kind of mentioned offhand that I finished my book this morning.
What? You finished your book? - Yeah.
- You didn't tell me? Honey, that's beside the point.
You were sleeping.
Okay, so - Beside your point, it's still my point.
- Okay.
I just needed some time to get some perspective, which I didn't get, because this woman turns out to be some big New York-y literary agent, and she asked to read it.
Actually, she demanded to read it, so I need you to read it because no one else has, so Wait, okay.
I'm still trying to work out the fact that if it wasn't for a complete stranger, you would never ask me to read your book.
Which, okay, it's your creative process, I guess.
- I know, no, I get it.
- Better late than never.
I didn't want you to get in my head, - 'cause Levi used to give me notes.
- Oh, I am not Levi.
I know you're not Levi.
Which is why I'm asking you to read it, which is what's important, albeit it is in a roundabout way, I understand.
But can we just not make this about us right now? Can it just be about me for one second? I finished it.
- Me.
- You.
- Me.
- You.
Where'd you Where's the car? - It's this way.
- Oh.
Do you like garlic in your dressing? - Or you want whole cloves or minced or - Whatever.
- Leave me alone! I'm reading! - Okay.
What? Oh, it's the onions.
It's just the onions.
Now I'm getting in the shower.
Everyone will be here in an hour.
Oh, my God.
Is it a good thing? Oh my God! Okay, I love you, thank you, but can you be more specific, please? - The metaphor.
- Yeah? It's perfect.
And the stories are surprising - and different.
- Mm-hmm? - And how it comes together at the end? - Yeah? What about the drawings? You didn't say anything about the drawings.
You didn't mention anything.
Do you have any idea how good you are? Really? - Really.
- Really? Really.
Mm! Oh, my God He's not going to propose, is he? What? No, we don't even live together.
I know, 'cause I live with him.
I wake up, and he's here, and then we have breakfast together, and then I drop him at the restaurant on my way to work.
I've done laundry that he's left here before.
It's kind of like we're dating, minus the sex I so frequently hear.
I'm sorry.
I just miss you.
It's been forever.
You used to come by the store.
- Come by the store.
- I will.
I will.
I just We've been, you know, like, nesting.
I get it.
Do you ever feel like I don't know, like, spending every single night together is, like, going really fast? Like, that's how it started with Levi.
No, because he's not Levi.
I didn't say he was Levi, but you're still Nellie.
That's Dante and Dee.
- Don't flirt with Dante.
- Okay.
He's a mess.
- What are you doing? - He's a mess.
Hey! Primo! Can I flirt with her? Yes.
- Hey, I'm Gigi.
- I'm De'Andra.
- Nice to meet you.
- Dee.
You can call me Dee.
- Nice seeing you, Dante.
- How you doing? What up, girl? - It's like you live here, huh? - Isn't it, though? - How you doing? - You smell amazing.
Dante, she smells amazing.
Well, she smells like LA 'cause she's back here, that's why.
Well, no, two weeks.
I have a two-week break and then I gotta go back to school.
Two months, two weeks, two days, two hours, two minutes, I'll take it all.
Speaking of smell, whoa.
That smells like - Coq au vin! - Yeah! Oh, man! You sent out the big guns.
- I made the salad! - Simmering.
- Let me just simmer that right now.
- Oh, uh, can we open this wine? We brought some white, but maybe red? - No, that's - Are we waiting for Troy? Pssht.
I know I'm not.
I haven't seen him since he quit the store.
- What? He quit? - Yeah.
- How come I didn't know that? - I knew that.
You knew that? It's 'cause I see you.
It's fine, he didn't really like it anyway.
I'll text him.
- Um, hi! - Sorry, my phone just exploded.
Let me finish.
All right.
I need food and wine.
Mostly wine.
- Sam.
- Did you make punch? - Not my party, not my punch.
- Hey.
Um, who's blowing up your phone on a Wednesday? - I heard wine.
- Bless you.
I'm Troy.
- I'm Dee.
- Dante.
Mm, cute.
Uh, you're Sam's cousin.
Yeah, that's right.
Why? What's he told you about me? Oh, that you're like brothers.
- Troy.
- Hey.
We're cousins, which is better than brothers.
We're family and friends.
Ain't that right? - Uh, who's in charge of this station? - Ha! My God, it's like tea at my Aunt Gloria's.
All right, okay.
It's Sam 'cause he loves classical music.
Sam, that's great when it's just you, but this is a dinner party.
Uh Space rock? Trip-hop? New jack swing? Mm, new jack swing.
Oh, yeah.
See? Hey, men faint way more than women.
- I believe that.
- Catheters, they faint.
They talk about catheters, they faint.
There was this one guy, he saw the instrument tray just pass by - Boom, on the ground.
- Nah.
- I'd be done for.
I don't like blood.
- Oh, no.
You would be too.
I remember, the funniest thing I ever saw was Dante when he saw me with a nosebleed.
He kept backing up and saying "Nah!" Like he thought it was contagious! That's him.
- Put that away! - Sorry.
I have not seen you in weeks.
Do you want to go to Pour Vous tomorrow? Because I can get us in.
Why are you even trying with that trash place? - They won't let us in and it looks tacky.
- You know what? I'm gonna open up a bottle of champagne, 'cause why not? Who wants to drink cheesy champagne cocktails on a cast-off set deck? I do.
Okay, have fun.
So how do you guys know each other? Oh, we work together.
Worked together.
No, you and Eleanor.
You mean, because I'm older than her? Just, like, by a few years.
I was gonna say "different.
" Oh, yeah? Gigi is from Dearborn, which is where my grandparents were.
Yeah, and even though her parents had joint custody, her dad had this new girlfriend, Sheila Sheila.
And then Margot got this, like, big action movie in Australia and didn't want to take Nell and dump her with strangers for four months, so she sent her to her grandparents' in Grosse Pointe And then my grandparents dumped me with strangers for four months.
- This stranger.
She was my babysitter.
- Even though I was only two years older.
- I mean, it's actually ridiculous, but - Ridiculous.
Um I don't know, we were inseparable, then as soon as I could I moved out here.
The letters we used to write each other.
I am so old, this was, like, pre-email.
Yeah, pre-email.
Yes, of course.
Speaking of writing, I would like to propose a toast.
"I'd like to propose a toast.
" Uh, to my girlfriend, Eleanor No.
Baby, just not now.
- People are hungry! - Because today she finished her book! - Congrats.
- And it is awesome.
- So cheers to Eleanor.
- Cheers, Nellie! Congrats.
It's not, he's wrong.
- Cheers.
- He's very wrong.
Are you saying that I can't be objective? No, I'm saying you're deluded, baby.
- You finished? You didn't tell me.
- You were asleep.
She didn't tell me either, at first.
- But then I read it.
- I want to read it! - Can we read it? - No, it's not finished yet.
I mean, I have a lot of work to do.
- It's not done yet.
- Am I in it? Yes, you're definitely in it.
You're front and center.
No, you can't It's not done yet.
Can I tell them about it, please? Okay, it's about identity.
- Please stop me if I mess this up.
- Okay.
It's called Camaleón.
Like "chameleon.
" - Exactly.
- Right.
- It's five tales.
- Tails? Like tails? No, it's not No, no.
It's not a children's book, it's very much so an adult book, - It's Tales like "fairy tales.
" - Stories.
Right? Stories set in the past, the present, the future, all connected.
- Interlocked, maybe.
- Yeah.
All in one way or another about blending in.
Like a chameleon.
- Exactly.
- Got it.
So it is like a kid's book.
- No.
- It's a graphic novel for adults.
And the art is The art is amazing.
- Thank you.
- No, it's great, it's It's a story about her mother, right? How she's half Mexican, and has always passed for white, - and El is a quarter - That's just one layer of it.
That's not the entire thing.
- There's so much more work to do on it.
- Passing, huh? God, I used to think I had to, now I don't give a shit.
Though, um part of me still hopes people will be surprised when they find out about me.
How screwed up is that? So wait, you mean you're not white? No! No, I meant passing for straight.
Maybe like, ten years ago, babe.
Yeah, maybe.
Anyway, it's about so much more than that.
It's about, uh well, the loss of identity.
Losing yourself through time, right? Mm.
- Right? - Yep.
Okay, can we eat now? I had no idea Margot was Latina.
Her management told her that it was a liability when she was starting out her career, and to hide it.
That's in the book too.
So how does the camaleón come into play? Well, um It's kind of difficult to explain if you don't read it.
It might be It might make more sense if you can, you know, see it all together.
Well, is it a metaphor for assimilation because a chameleon can change to fit in? Yes, it starts out that way, but then also no.
It's It kind of shifts.
So sort of.
It's, um It's, um It's And so this section is set in the distant future where there's only one language, until a young girl discovers there was another one in the past, but then when she tries to, you know, reintroduce it, it threatens their perfectly controlled society, and she has to go on the run.
I thought memoirs were about yourself.
So what? Like, you live in the future? It is about me, in part.
I mean, my family's history is the central story, but all the other stories sort of center around you know, what happens when things that make up our identity are lost, taken from us.
You know, like language, or land, or culture Your mom seriously wasn't allowed to speak Spanish growing up? Have you talked to her about passing? She didn't really talk about it that much Babe, show them the chameleon.
From the last story.
- Oh - You know? - Okay.
- Why do you need all this future stuff? Steampunk is so over.
And what's up with the Dodger Stadium thing? What's that? Yeah, I don't know if you need a history lesson when you're reading a comic book, right? No, it's definitely not a history lesson.
It's just a group of stories that asks the question of how and why we lose our identity, and what happens.
It's It Which would maybe make more sense or be a little more clear if you read the entire thing.
Which is really long.
We don't have time for that.
- Let's just have dessert - Yes, let's go back to the table.
- No, listen.
I'm a Dodgers fan.
- It's gorgeous! - I love this.
- Me too.
I was going be Is there, like, a spin-off? - It's really good.
- You know what I mean, like - Look at the dynamics.
- I don't know And also the different styles, like, look Is this the same person just from there? Holy cock and balls! You guys want to know where Troy is? He's having a cheesy champagne cocktail at Pour Vous.
He's tagged in a photo on Facebook, like I'm not going to see it.
Can you help me with this? Troy is just Did you say that you like the chameleon or you you thought it was confusing? Sorry.
I love you.
Sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't even help you do any of the dishes, but I'm I wanted to write down all the notes that everybody had.
It's all good.
I don't mind cleaning.
I just I don't really know how I'm supposed to Nobody agreed on anything and nobody liked the same things, and I'm not sure how to address the confusion and still make the story make sense.
How about you just think about it like this, right? You created something so amazing that everyone got that excited about it.
I mean, that's really special, you know? You should trust your perspective.
You know what works.
Do you think it works? Well, I mean, I don't read graphic novels, babe.
That's your thing.
I think it is a little heady for me, but Wait, you think it's heady? No, I'm just I think that You know, you were drawing it in all these fun and interesting ways, right? And then you get to the text, and it's it's just, it's intellectual, kind of like a dissertation.
Which is great because, you know, it's so smart, but I don't know, can't it also be fun too? You know, lighten up a little? No.
No, because comics Comics are light.
Graphic novels are not light.
They're like It's like literature.
That's like That's It's kind of like somebody asking you to do, you know, Chopin's "Funeral March," but like, jaunty.
You know, you could do it, but it's not, you know, it's not gonna be good.
Okay, so what are you worried about? All right.
You know it's great.
This is your world.
Babe, it's I trust you, all right? You need to trust yourself.
You got it.
Fucking heady? Hello? Joanna, sorry to bother you.
That's what I'm here for.
What's going on? Well, apparently Annette and Leah haven't been talking since Dante moved out, right? So Annette totally forgot that Leah's model congress had moved to Mondays, and she's got this big lunch in Beverly Hills for the owners of her new restaurant, and she doesn't know when it's gonna end, so now I have to ask a brand new boss to leave early on day one of my new job to take Barry to soccer.
Why don't I pick him up? No, you can't you can't do that.
I mean, I can't every time, but I can once.
This is day one of your new job, a job that you need to keep to make me and all I represent go away.
Let me help.
You're saving my life.
Thank you.
- You took a weekend? - I did.
Oh, I have a doctor's appointment at 3:00, so I'll finish up at home if that's okay? You don't have to tell me.
Kazemi, it's Ms.
Kassem, reminding you that your lawyers will meet you at your house today at 5:00 p.
Call me with any questions.
I know this is serious, but it's a very stressful time for Barry, so if you could just If it was just one thing, Mrs.
Kassem, maybe.
But he's stopped sharing.
When I was a kid, I didn't share.
I don't know what's going on with him lately, but he told a boy he was going to shoot him.
A boy he then pushed to the ground.
We have a one-to-one policy here: one hit, one day out.
And you know I support that, but there's been a lot of changes in his home lately.
This isn't the first time this happened this week.
If it happens again You're gonna have to suspend after-school care.
I know.
Can I see what you're coloring? Can you tell me what you need? Can you at least look at me? No.
I can't hear you.
No! Since you're listed for pick-up, they called you.
You should've called Joanna to let her know what she was stepping into.
My phone was dead.
It's always dead.
How many times have I told you to plug it in at night? Why are you yelling at me? He's fine.
Joanna handled it.
And you should be grateful to her for that.
Or what? You'll kick me out too? Leah, Annette, whatever is going on with you two, let's just keep this about Barry.
Oh, Barry, Barry.
It's always about Barry.
Yeah, we help each other out 'cause that's what family does.
Not all family.
Okay, so the plan has been adjusted.
Annette will do drop-off, I will pick Barry up, bring him back here until Leah gets home, Moses will step in when he's back on Monday.
That's four days.
Okay? Four more days.
- Where's Barry? - He's in his room.
We'll be next door.
You made dinner.
Oh, no.
I ordered Pizza King.
You paid for it? Yeah, it's fine, I'll get reimbursed.
Dad, you didn't tell me how it was.
Oh, well, I got a lot of coffee, and I took notes in meetings, and I listened to an artist who was so beautiful, you almost forgot she couldn't sing.
- So it went good.
- It was great.
Thank you.
For this and for everything.
Stop thanking me, okay? It's my job, I promise.
- Pizza! - Pizza! He's finally asleep.
If he ever does that again, can you I'll call you.
I just wanted you to have a day one.
- Or one day - Where you didn't have to worry.
Did the other kid at least start it? You know, I don't know.
I can ask.
Oh, uh, I shouldn't either.
I just don't like beer.
I just never got a taste for it.
Oh, um Well, I'd offer you something else, but all I got is milk and Pedialyte.
You know, maybe my tastes have changed.
- Nope, not at all.
- All right.
So you said that your parents picked out your husband? I didn't think things like that happened anymore.
Arranged marriages happen everywhere.
Most of which work, by the way, so what does that say? Um but your mom is white, right? Yes, and she converted, and she is as much a Maronite as he is, so the suggested marriage was her idea.
I could have said no, but at the time, I was open to meeting anybody, really, and he turned out to be a wonderful person.
- Dr.
Kassem now.
- Mm.
This must be strange for you.
No, not at all.
Just, uh it doesn't seem like you.
Well, at the time, it was what I knew, it was safe.
And I couldn't really see it objectively, but it became clear that he wanted a wife more than a partner.
- I shouldn't be saying this to you.
- No, please.
What was he like? Um He was idealistic and impassioned, and we always said that if we had met in Lebanon, we would have been married for 71 years, but instead, two years.
Better for both.
His What? His name is Sam.
I know.
But we're still friends, and he has a new fiancée in Chicago who is family-minded and religious, and that is exactly what he needed.
And you? I have myself, and that is exactly what I needed.
And your job? Where you fix broken people and families and kids I don't really fix things, I just know what someone needs.
And as you may have discovered, when I know what someone needs, I can become kind of a bully about it.
A nice bully.
What about what you need? What? It's just such a simple question, but I don't know if anyone but myself has ever asked it of me.
So? I'm sorry, this doesn't mean I'm bored.
You're exhausted and you really need to sleep.
Come on.
You're right, but I still want an answer.
You can tell me tomorrow.
Uh, I will pick up some mm some Indian.
Leah, you better turn the light out.
I sway in place To a slow disco And a glass for the saints And a bow for the road Am I thinking What everybody's thinking? And I'm so glad I came But I can't wait to leave Slip my hand From your hand Leave you dancing with a ghost Slip my hand From your hand Leave you dancing with a ghost Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Don't it beat a slow dance? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Slow dance Don't it beat a slow dance? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Don't it beat a slow dance to death? Hi! Did you finish your book? Yay! I'm so proud of you! And I'm so happy I'm the one you're celebrating with.
Yeah, but I'm meeting that agent in the morning, so I can't go crazy.
Okay, well, look alive.
I know, I just need sleep, I'll be fine.
You should take micro-naps.
You hold your phone, and then as you nod off, catch it right before it falls.
- Einstein did it.
- Oh, Einstein used a Well, he used a pencil, but you know, same concept.
- Yeah.
- Super helpful.
Just so you're, like, totally up to speed, Troy's inside 'cause I saw him pop out for a cigarette.
Wait, Troy is here? Why are we waiting in line? 'Cause he doesn't know we're here.
I know.
But it's not what you think, it's actually way worse.
Wait, we're here to stalk Troy? Him and the new me he's with.
Oh, my God.
- I thought you wanted to hang out with me.
- I do.
Since when do you not like doing this stuff? I'm sorry, did you forget when you thought Levi was cheating on you? And then we, like, followed him, only to find out that he was just afraid to tell you he was getting colonics? I am so tired.
I have to go home.
Oh, no, please.
I cannot go in there by myself.
I just need to see her.
And then I need him to see me see her.
'Cause if your wife and your mistress are unexpectedly in the same room, you're always going to pick your wife.
What? He quit the store, I thought he got a better gig, now he always hangs out with her.
How am I not supposed to think that's all about me? You know what? I'm so exhausted.
I honestly shouldn't have come.
I just did it because you said you wanted to hang out with me, you said you missed me, but now I see it is all about you.
Oh! Sorry.
I didn't realize it was so tiring always being there for me.
I mean, yeah.
Currently, that feels pretty much accurate.
Cool, can you think of a time recently where we hung out where I wasn't doing you a favor? Oh, my God.
Sorry, like giving you advice, giving you clothes, bringing a rotisserie chicken 20 miles across town.
Your narrative that you do everything for everybody else is severely severely subjective.
You can't see it because you're just You can't see anything but him.
- I can't - Nellie.
Nellie, we're almost in! Nellie! Hey.
Sorry, I ran late at the gym.
- I mean, I ran late finding the gym.
- No, it's fine.
Thank you for meeting me.
May I get you a beverage? Uh No, we won't be long, thank you.
How do you want to do this? Um, I don't know.
How does this usually go? Oh, with first-time writers, usually I tell them that they're very talented, but they need to keep working, that first tries are a dress rehearsal for the real thing, and if they want a career, not just a published book, that they need to start over again with something new.
And that's But that's usually.
Well, the good news is you're more talented than most first-timers I sit with.
Your drawings are evocative, your style's specific and clever, there's a beautiful rhythm to the words.
Thank you.
The metaphor of the chameleon it's been used before, but I don't recall it ever being used to stand in for assimilation.
That felt unique, it felt like a new read on an old idea.
That's exactly what I was So I was fairly let down when everything around that idea wasn't as sharp.
The sequences, they felt unfocused, incomplete.
When you first presented your thesis, I thought that you would explore multiple story lines, so that the sense of tragedy grew when you read, but there were just scraps of ideas, - roads not taken, and - Right.
- I wish that you'd followed them.
- Mm-hmm.
Everything felt a little light.
Yeah, because initially I did have five different stories, and they all had equal word count, and then basically, uh basically everything you're saying.
Well, I wish I'd read that version.
- I mean, I can - So now the bad news.
Oh, that Oh, this is the bad news.
Last week, Pantheon bought a three-volume graphic novel about a Syrian girl who moves here with her family and assimilates.
It's multi-generational, very big, movie rights are currently being negotiated.
Yeah, but this is it's a little different 'cause it's about the Latin-American experience.
Well, yeah, but in this space, one book cancels out the other.
Her framing device, her use of multiple timelines, factual history and alternative history The similarities would kill your book.
They'd say you copied it.
I'm sorry.
And I know that you don't believe me right now, but if you've got one book in you, you've got another.
You made me think that I should finish it.
- Which you did.
- Yeah, I did.
And then you told me to lighten up, which I did.
- And then she hated it.
- No, she didn't hate it.
She said that she had something else like it.
No, how are you not getting this right now? This is my entire life's work.
- I am completely devastated.
- Your life's work? - I have to start from square one.
- El, you're 26.
How can you Are you kidding me right now? - It's one person's opinion! - Are you kidding me? - Who cares what one person thinks? - I do.
I care what everyone thinks, so much so that there is nothing left for me in that book, nothing left of me.
This book is you, this book is Dante, this book is Gigi, this book is Troy.
- Are you mad at all of them too? - No.
Because they didn't make me rip it all apart and take out everything special in it.
I did not do that, okay? I was support I'm proud of you.
I am proud of you.
I just I never even wanted you to read it.
I know and that sucks.
But this isn't my fault.
I think if you could just get some sleep, you would realize You know what? It is my fault.
I should've listened to myself.
I should've canceled dinner, I shouldn't have listened to you, - or your needs, or your notes.
- I was just trying to help.
If you want to help, be on my side.
Stop getting in my head about it.
Stop making me question myself.
Keep our friends out of my head! You don't have to listen to anyone else but yourself.
Really? How's that working out for you? Oh, like what you do? Which is write songs you don't play for anybody? How's that working out? Are you selling anything lately? You want to be mad, fine, be mad, all right? But all I did was give you my opinion.
You wanted to make changes, I supported you.
I'm not going to take responsibility or apologize for choices that you made.
I did make that choice, you're right.
It's also my choice to sleep in my own bed tonight, alone.
Oh, God.
You're overreacting.
I mean, this is ridiculous.
There's no reason to leave Did you not just hear what just happened? I just asked you for what I needed.
And you tell me I'm overreacting? I feel completely unheard! Fuck this.
Fuck you.
- Hey! - Hey.
Uh, we're just going over your schedule.
Who's taking you to school today? Bang! Bang! No, Barry, we don't do that.
You're earning your salary.
I'm in the field today, checking in on clients.
All right, let's go to school.
And get me to work.
But my backpack is missing.
It's where you left it last night.
Here you go.
- Oh, thank you.
- Here you go.
Votes! Hmm.
Let me see.
- Red - All right.
- Come on.
- I think it's a tie! I don't know why I'm more nervous today than I was yesterday.
You just got to shake it out.
- What, like this? - Just like a little Yeah.
- Shake it out.
- Shake it out? - Get your nerves out.
- Okay.
There you go, Barry.
All right.
- I'd go red.
- All right, red.
Eww! Gross! Lourdes thought she heard you coming in last night.
I'm sorry I haven't called back.
Well, you're here now.
Sam? Yeah.
There's something that you said that I've never wanted to look at, but I now know to be true.
But if I start talking about it, please don't treat it like some kind of victory.
I have come to see.
that my creativity, my productivity, my entire sense of self is incontrovertibly linked to the people in my life.
I don't Why is it that when I'm alone I know exactly what I want, and as soon as there's another person involved, what they need becomes what's most important to me? I mean, Levi took total advantage of that.
Total advantage.
But Sam doesn't, thank God, but I'm worried that that's just because he doesn't Because he doesn't know how to yet? Yeah.
It's just he knows me as Eleanor.
You know, a strong, self-assured person.
And he makes me want to be that, but I'm also just Nellie.
I He tells me he likes my hair a certain way, then I wear it like that for an entire week.
It's just I mean, you have all these people in your life talking constantly.
You have your fans, you have your team, you have critics.
You've critics.
You have people who are paid to review you.
How do you keep their voices out of your head? How are you not just constantly paralyzed all the time? Well, you know, you can never keep those voices out.
You can't, you know.
It's about learning to control the volume.
Some people, what they hear comes in at a six, and they turn the level up to a ten, and then they can't hear themselves think anymore.
- Then they lose perspective.
- Mm-hmm.
I learned at a very young age to listen to what I needed to hear, and kind of turn down the rest.
And that control was good for my career, but it was bad for my life.
Sam is a wonderful person.
I know.
And I never said that he wasn't for you, just that maybe it was too soon.
You need room to breathe, Eleanor.
To sit down and listen to your own voice, and maybe trust it.
I'm pregnant.
Does he know? No, I just took the test upstairs.
- Do you want him to know? - I don't know.
I don't know.
Can I stay here for a little while? Eleanor You can come, you can go you can stay, you can not answer my calls, but I will always be here for you.
And whatever you decide, I will support you because it will be your choice.
Go away! I want privacy! Privacy is for people who don't cover themselves in permanent marker.
- Go away! - Sam? Barry? Hello.
What's going on? He drew all over himself.
Rubbing alcohol.
You want me to put rubbing alcohol on him? It's either that or sunscreen.
Do you have any sunscreen? - Uh I think we ran out.
- You ran out of sunscreen? Well, I No! - What happened? - I don't I don't know.
Hey, bud? Can you just Can you please help us out just a little bit? - Okay? - We really want to help you.
But if you can tell us anything at all as to why you did this, not that it's a bad thing.
Okay, yeah We're going to go outside for a second, okay, and give you a little space, 'cause we know how annoying it is to have grown-ups asking you a bunch of questions.
I did it, Daddy! No, you didn't do anything.
I made Uncle Dante go away! It's all my fault! I did it! I - Wait, do you know anything about this? - I have no idea.
And now everyone hates me and Hey, bud, listen.
Just, I can help you, all right? But you have to tell me what's going on.
I found the gun, and now Leah hates Aunt Annette, and Aunt Annette hates Leah.
Wait, the the gun? Barry I know it was something that I shouldn't have used or played with, but I did it anyways.
And then Aunt Annette was yelling at Uncle Dante, and then he had to leave, and then now he's gone, and that's why everyone hates me.
It's all my fault.
I didn't tell you because I handled it.
I got rid of him.
I didn't want to jeopardize anything for Barry.
You handled it? You asked a six-year-old to lie to his father.
You had your daughter lie.
You lied to me yourself.
I trusted you.
It wasn't loaded.
Sam, you know what I have to do.
Oh, man, I should've done things differently, you know? I should have, um We're not supposed to be here.
This is not what we are supposed to be.
I can't ignore what happened.
Your situation is not stable, and if I'm being honest, I knew that the day I walked in here.
No, if you call and say that my kid found a gun in this apartment, they will take him from me.
And if I don't, if something happens to Barry, - if he gets hurt next time - I will make sure that doesn't happen.
Dante won't come within a mile of this apartment.
You have my word.
That won't make a difference.
You need help, real help.
I thought I had it.
You fix things, fix this.
I can't lose him.
This isn't about you.
I know that seems cold.
I have to call my supervisor.
I'm sorry.
Well, you can't call from here.
- Hey.
- Hi.
You look nice.
Sorry I haven't called.
Oh, no.
I mean, it's only been the worst ten days of my life.
Uh I want to apologize for getting in your head like that.
I didn't realize you cared so much about what I think.
No one ever has before.
I care so much about what you think.
I know that now.
Um and I'm going to make sure, in the future, to be careful - of uh, you know, your feelings - Sam, just - No, just - I, but No, stop.
Let me just say this one thing.
Because I just If I can just say this one thing, then we can talk, okay? - Okay.
- But I love you.
I love you more than I've loved anyone else that I ever thought possible, but