God, the poor thing.
She shouldn’t be staring. She definitely shouldn’t be laughing. The girl was obviously having a hard enough time as it is. Well, if dropping your coffee counted as a hard time - which it usually did. Although, it was probably more about why…she’d walked in with a group of guys Angie knew, not just because they worked at the radio station a couple blocks down from where she usually worked, but because they were total jackasses, especially that taller one - the one who had an obnoxiously Polish name and bragged about cheating on his wife when their boys’ club treated itself to a visit to the frozen yogurt place down at the corner across from their building. Angie’s best friend Dottie worked there, so she was always hanging out, in the plainest clothes she could find. If people thought they recognized her, most of them didn't say it.
Somehow, even though she’d seen the group of men countless times before, Angie had never seen the girl. Maybe she was new - they’d been giving her a damn hard time, even before the tall Polish one had given her a harsh enough tap on the ass to startle her into dropping her fucking coffee. What a waste of brain cells…and coffee.
Angela Liliana Martinelli, for fuck’s sake, stop giggling!
The girl (Angie can’t remember what her coworkers had called her) composes herself enough to pick up the busted cup and toss it in the trash, and then moves out of the way of street traffic and over to the bench beside the sidewalk. She pulls her phone out and appears to text someone, and Angie pulls off her sunglasses and ducks back inside.
No one’s paying enough attention to anything but themselves to notice her - except for one teenage girl who’s got a ‘send my regards to Broadway’ tee shirt on and gives a gasp that tells Angie she most definitely recognizes her - so Angie slips back over to the barista with relative ease.
“Hey,” she begins sweetly, and the guy’s head picks up at her voice. “There’s a lovely girl outside who’s just been bumped into, and she dropped her drink - do you think you could make that again? If some payment’s needed, I could always give an autograph or something.”
She twirls a lock of her hair with her fingers, and he considers it as he’s finishing up someone’s Frappuccino.
“What’s this girl look like?”
“Cute. Business dress - slick blue dress, purple eyeshadow, she’s got pumps on but you probably couldn’t see them over the counter, um, short curly hair and a killer red-lipsticked smile…”
“Do you mean Peggy - well, I’m not actually sure what her name is, everyone that comes in with her gives a different one, but, um, she works for the radio station.”
“Yes! That’s the darling!”
He steps around his co-worker and grabs a Venti cup, and she can see him scribble on it.
“Soy chai, every single time,” he grins at Angie, extending his Sharpie over the counter towards her. “And, um, my little sister’s a major fan, can you make that out to Chelby, with a C?”
Angie smiles back, grabs a handful of napkins, and moves farther over to the right.
One to Chelby, with a little seemingly-personal comment, one to the brother, “not just a guy, but a doll”, one with a couple hearts for the girl who gasped, and a legible name and phone number for the as-of-yet-unnamed radio station girl.
The chai is set next to her quickly, and she meets the barista’s eyes with another smile and a mouthed thank-you as she hands him the Sharpie and two of the napkins.
The girl in the Broadway tee is sitting with a friend studying, and Angie leans down to the table to slide the napkin to her. Both she and the friend look at her in disbelief, and she sees that they’re studying lines.
Oh, what the hell.
She gestures at the friend, and after a few seconds of quiet confusion, they push a napkin and the bright pink pen they’d been writing with over to her. She sets the drink down, and scribbles her name again, adding a “break a leg.”
The radio station girl’s stopped crying by the time Angie sits down next to her, and she doesn’t notice Angie because she’s redoing her eye make-up, so Angie doesn’t say anything until she stows her compact back in her jacket pocket.
She moves her hand above the girl’s lap.
“Soy chai, for a maybe-Peggy,” she says as gently as she can, hoping that she hadn’t seen Angie laughing. The girl looks over at her, with a look of disbelief that Angie’s too accustomed to to be caught off guard by, and then smiles.
“To what do I owe the honor, Miss Martinelli?”
And to think I’d thought Natalie Dormer’s British accent was the sexiest I’d ever heard, Dear God.
“Please, call me Angie.”
“Peggy,” she answers, trying to take the cup from Angie as gently as she can, practically twining their fingers to get a firm grip on it, and Angie hopes she isn’t blushing.
“You were watching all that,” Peggy realizes, and Angie nods. “I wouldn’t normally cry over spilt Starbucks, or let Ray get away with…that…but I haven’t gotten off shift in two days, and I'm entirely unequipped at the moment to deal with all this.”
“Two days? Honey, I’m pretty sure that however important your work for the radio station is, it isn’t life and death, which is the only excuse for being overworked like that.”
“You have no idea.”
Her voice comes out a bit more dramatic than Angie expects, and the annoyance that graces her face a moment later is impetus enough for them to share a laugh.
“So it is Peggy, then. The barista wasn’t sure.”
“Yeah, it’s Peggy. Not that just about anyone I work with cares.”
“Yeah, they seem like real jackasses.”
“That’s putting it nicely,” comes a voice from behind her, and they're joined by a well-dressed guy who’s padded over to them with a crutch. As is customary in uptown New York, no one actually thinks to make way for him, so he spends a few seconds humming the Jeopardy theme amusingly forcefully while waiting for a big enough gap to move to take a seat at Peggy’s other side.
“You are a grown man on a city street,” Peggy says with a feigned scolding. “Do you honestly think the sound effects are necessary?”
“Well, they always make you laugh, so, yeah.”
Peggy rolls her eyes, taking a sip of her chai, and he stretches his hand out towards Angie.
“Daniel Sousa, ma'am. A not-quite-jackass.”
Peggy almost drops her drink again.
“Angie Martinelli,” Angie responds - she's not unfamiliar with the respectful nod he gives of having already known that - and Peggy jumps to challenge him a second later.
“You are not a jackass, Daniel. You’re my best friend.”
“Firstly, I said not quite. And secondly, just because you like me doesn’t mean I never act like a jackass.”
Angie gives a shrug.
“If acting like a jackass and being a jackass were the same thing, I would be in so much fucking trouble, you don’t even know.”
They all share a laugh.
“Thought you dropped your chai,” Daniel muses, with an odd, curious look at Peggy.
“I had,” she says, glancing over at Angie. “Apparently the, um, lack of variety in my over-caffeinating habits allowed Andy to make up a refill.”
“Once I described you, he knew who I was talking about," Angie contests. "Although, he didn’t know your name.”
“The other guys still order for me with whatever rubbish nicknames they think I should allow them to call me.”
“Marge,” chuckles Daniel, and Peggy sends him a soft glare.
“Sorry, but you are just so not a Marge that it’s actually almost funny when they call you that.”
Peggy rolls her eyes half-heartedly, and their conversation pauses. The Other Guys are obviously a sore spot for them both.
“What isn’t funny at all is when they harass you, especially now that it's started to get physical.”
“Daniel, leave it.”
“Leave it? Leave what? Leave the fact that what Krzeminski just did is sexual assault? I get that you’re not exactly a fan of picking battles within the workplace, but this is a few steps past too far, Peg.”
She sighs, but he continues.
“And so are the hours Dooley’s having you take. I get that he thinks we can smudge the law, but giving a night shift in between two full days isn’t conducive to anything other than irritability and exhaustion.”
“I’m not irritable just because I was up late. You’re my roommate, smartass.”
“Yes, well, you haven’t slept more than half an hour in, let’s see, over 36 hours, and that’s later than late, so I’m not even counting that piece.”
She groans, taking a long sip of her chai.
“You’re not finishing this shift,” he declares sharply. “Dooley will just have to make do. I am putting you in the Batmobile and taking you back home.”
“For the last time, Daniel, please stop calling it a Batmobile."
“It’s a tricked-out car. I am calling it the Batmobile.”
She sighs a bit frustratedly, but makes no other argument against him, and Angie can imagine that it's a testament that he just might actually pick her up and sit her in the backseat. (Could he even do that? Maybe he couldn't, since he didn't walk on his own. Whatever.) Angie's met a few people who were those sorts of good - she knows how to spot them: the guys who will pretend to know girls when a notably predatory guy is trying to make a move on them, the girls who go to the bathroom at a party and find a poor soul bent over the toilet and automatically wet a paper towel with cold water and help her hold it to her forehead...she couldn't quite describe it, but she was glad that this Peggy had someone around like that.
“Thank you, so much, really. If I can repay you…” Peggy says, turning her gaze back to Angie.
“Repayment isn’t necessary but...I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Angie smirks, holding the napkin out to her. Peggy takes it gingerly, looking at Angie with a simper after reading it, and tucking it in her jacket pocket. Angie stands and adjusts her miniskirt, and gives she and Daniel a small, friendly wave before strutting off down the street.
“Oh, come the fuck on,” she grumbles, angry at her phone. It always took longer to turn back on after rehearsals and shoots, especially when she was waiting to hear from people. She had to get in with a new agent before Miriam went on maternity leave, and for that to happen, she needed the agency to fucking call her back.
Or at least send an email. “Subject: NEW AGENT. Miss Martinelli, Meet with Dolly. Friday, 10-11a. Potbelly across from Martin’s. -Headline” was all she needed, dammit. And unfortunately, she’d spent most of this photo shoot worrying about it. With all the nearly-nude photos and life-affirming ideas and pastel, well, everything, it was hard to spend an April shoot not thinking about new life. Usually in less literal terms, more on a metaphysical level, but when your agent was dressing up as an egg for office parties…
Yes, a new text! Oh, but of course, not even from a number she had in her phone. Probably nothing important. Ugh.
She puts the phone back down and lets hair and makeup fuss over her until she’s street-presentable again, and then she checks her messages.
The couple from her mom had been there before the shoot started, mostly just good wishes and motherly wisdom and whining - nothing new on that front. Her stepfather, reminding her not to sleep with anyone for another job even as the times “get stressful” - he meant well. “Happy Friday Buttercup!!!!!!!!! TFIG XOXO” from Gran…at least she’d progressed from needing step-by-step lessons with her phone.
“Please Don’t Tell. Sat @11. My treat. Y/N? -Peggy”
“By far the most exciting thing in my schedule. Can’t wait. -Angie”