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put your money where your mouth is

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It’s supposed to be the last hurrah before shooting picks up, on him, because apparently he can’t take the pinched look she’s getting around her mouth.

“No one’s going to watch an ancient looking woman on television unless she’s Betty White. There are studies.” He’s sitting on her bed, so smug, and they’ve done the whole men get better with age and women just get old trope so many times in pop culture but Mindy wants to write a fucking 8 part miniseries about it right now.

She angrily starts folding a Wildfox t-shirt in a way that’s definitely going to bother her when she goes to unpack this suitcase. “Oh, how kind of you, BJ, is there possibly a more shitty way to say the stress is getting to me?”

“Look, a weekend away in Vegas, a long one, that’s all I’m asking for.” There’s a pause there that might be real and might be too many nights spent analyzing the beats in romcoms, until he says, “As your executive producer.”

“Oh, as my executive producer?” He starts playing with the straps on a pair of Gucci sandals she probably doesn’t have to bring, but that are already in her suitcase. “Don’t do that. These shoes cost more than your mortgage.”

“How the hell do you possibly know how much my mortgage is,” he asks, still playing with the buckle.

She whips the shoe away from him. “I know one of your payments costs less than the 2009 Iman sandal because it has to, okay? I thought you were doing this to help me. You’re only stressing me out more!”

“Hey, hey,” his voice gets quiet, as he reaches for her wrist. “I’m just joking around.”

And that’s the thing with him, they’re always just joking around. Nine years later and it might as well be that first season in the writer’s room.

“Yep,” she says, pushing the feelings down, the confusion and anger and infatuation, as she symbolically presses her footwear back into the overflowing piece of luggage. “It’s just a lot, I’m sorry.”

“If you really don’t want to do this, we don’t have to. I thought you’d like it.”

And the thing is, she will like it. Taking the road trip with him, and checking into the suite and getting dinners and drinks and maybe dancing, if she can talk him into it. She’s going to have a fabulous time doing it all.

Until something makes her remember he’s not her husband, he’s not her boyfriend, he’s her executive producer, and she won’t be in the comfort of her own bedroom when that realization strikes again.

But she tells him, “Put your stuff in the car, and come back for mine.”

“Will you actually be finished in the amount of time it takes me to throw my duffel bag in the trunk?”

“I get to pick the music for that comment.”

The drive takes four and a half hours and they listen to “Waking Up in Vegas” no less than seven times. Katy Perry tried to warn her, she really did.

***

He booked them a two bedroom penthouse at the Bellagio, and when the bellhop opens the suite for them, she has that moment she always has where it’s like, oh, fuck this, seriously, this can’t be my life, places like this aren’t real.

She honestly feels a little sick as Kyle, as his name badge indicates, gestures towards the his and her baths, and the wet bar, but there are four toilets in this place, so whatever if the decadence is making her nauseous.

She leans in to whisper in BJ’s ear. “You do remember about that time I told you the only meat I ate for like a year came in cans of Chef Boyardee, right?”

“Yeah, so you’ve earned this.” He squeezes her hand. “Come on, live a little.”

She squeezes back.

***

This might be the most comfortable bed she has ever had the pleasure of laying down on. She is never leaving. Her entire life is going to operate out of this hotel room, on BJ’s dime. Mindy rolls over and sighs and really hopes he’s got enough in savings.

Speaking of, he’s standing at her door, playing with the buttons of the Armani shirt he bought just this afternoon, which, she might have to put a stop to if it’s going to interfere with her plans of sloth. “I made reservations as Sensi in an hour, go get yourself dolled up.”

“We’re getting room service,” she hugs one of the 9 pillows on the bed a little more tightly. “Just make your peace with it now, it’ll be quicker this way.”

BJ walks closer, one of his shirt sleeves done up, the other loose and hanging. “Only you would be in this city and want to hang out in front of the television set all night. Come on.” He looks at her in that way that got her to go on this trip in the first place. “Gnocchi, gelato. I’ll even order whatever you want so you can “share it” with me.”

“This is my time. I want to live out Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” Shopping with him this morning has already put her over the couple in public quota for the day, way ahead of schedule. If only the fictional life they lived in her head didn’t so often put the real one to shame.

On Vacation 1: Bedbound in Las Vegas doesn’t sound like the same kind of enjoyable family film,” but by this point he’s sitting on the bed and she knows she’s won the argument.

Mindy undoes the button on his cuff. “Just lay back and let this happen.” His eyes flick to hers as she says this, just a quick glance, and she realizes how it sounds. How all she’s wearing is this Betsey Johnson babydoll. “Actually, first, call down and have them send up everything we’re going to need. Chop chop.”

“Tomorrow, we go out,” he says while reaching for the phone, and she just nestles in deeper.

***
“I don’t know why the five families are making such a big deal about going to the mattresses,” Mindy says, ripping off a piece of sandwich crust and popping it into her mouth.

They’re halfway through The Godfather, a massive BLT, and a six pack of Yuengling and BJ’s stripped down to his undershirt and boxers, sprawled right next to her on the king sized bed. “Well, probably because this is not the mattress that they were going to.”

She sinks back against the headboard. “I told you this might be the best thing Vegas had to offer.”

“I shouldn’t have doubted you.” He finishes the beer that’s left in the bottom of his bottle, the beer she has to imagine is warm from how long he’s been holding it in his hand. The hand that’s closest to her.

“Why did you pick Vegas, Ben-Jo?” she asks, because she’s wondered about it since he first mentioned the trip.

He shrugs, turning to put the green bottle down on the nightstand instead of looking at her. “Don’t know. Seemed like a good idea.”

“But, if it was supposed to be relaxing, why not Palm Springs? Or Napa? Big Sur?” She puts down her plate on the comforter and turns, on her knees, to face him. “Why’d we come here, BJ?” The unasked, “Why’d you come with me?”, dangles there, as Michael goes to Sicily on the 42’ television screen.

“You know why,” he says, before he’s pulling her in, kissing her, and she’s missed kissing BJ, she knew that, she just had no idea how much.

***
He’d bought a ring at Tiffany’s. While she was looking at bags at Dior, and he was supposedly in the bathroom, he’d bought her a platinum solitaire ring at Tiffany’s.

“I almost didn’t come,” she says, staring at it in the ring box. He hasn’t so much asked her to marry him, just put it on the bed, between his clothes and the remote control. “I really almost blew this whole thing off.”

“I’m happy you didn’t.”

“What is this, BJ?” The DVD menu is playing that eerie Italian theme and it seems very foreboding. “Seriously, you don’t just buy a girl a ring who’s not even your girlfriend!”

“Well, I bought you this ring, even though you were not my girlfriend, so apparently this is something people do. You want to put it on?”

“No, you jackhole, you didn’t ask me anything!”

“Mindy Kaling,” he takes both of her hands in his and she doesn’t even care that he right now is basically in his underwear. “I think I’ve been a little bit in love with you since we first met, and then I was so much in love with you that I didn’t know what to do about it. We worked together, and we’re still working together, but that matters a little less to me every day, because if anyone doubts your talent, they’re people with opinions not worth listening to. I don’t want to go and sleep in that other bedroom tonight, and not just because it has the shower instead of the insane Jacuzzi bathtub, but because I want to sleep here, next to you. And I want to sleep next to you every night if we can, and I don’t know, while you were touching that hideous purple bag this afternoon, I knew that. For sure. So, will you marry me, either tonight in front of Elvis, which is why I picked this place, to answer your question, in case you couldn’t wait either, or would you prefer to do it a year from now after you can try on at least a hundred and nine dresses? I don’t care which, as long as I don’t have to go to bed alone.”

She’d been crying since he said the word love, and she’s a soggy mess, but she kisses him anyway. “You can sleep next to me always.”

“But you’re going to want to do that hundred and nine dresses thing?”

“Oh yeah, are you new?”

“So, I really could have taken you anywhere and done this?”

“Maybe, but then we couldn’t do this.” She starts singing about how they need a taxi because she’s hungover and he’s broke, and maybe that was just so they’d get to the sexy stuff a little faster.