Home > Last Night at Chateau Marmont(11)

Last Night at Chateau Marmont(11)
Lauren Weisberger

He stood and walked to the kitchen, returning with a second wineglass, which he filled and handed to Brooke. “Everything’s fine. I realized after we hung up this afternoon that we haven’t spent an evening together in almost a week. I’m here to remedy that.”

“You are? Really?” She’d been thinking the same thing for days but hadn’t wanted to complain when Julian was at such a crucial point in the production process.

He nodded. “I miss you, Rook.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him again. “I miss you, too. I’m so glad you came home early. Want to run out for some noodles?”

For their budget’s sake, she and Julian made it a point to cook as often as possible, but they both agreed that the cheapie corner noodle joint didn’t really count as eating out.

“Do you mind if we stay in? I was looking forward to a quiet evening with you tonight.” He took another sip of wine.

“Sure, fine with me. I’ll make you a deal. . . .”

“Oh no, here we go. . . .”

“I will go slave over a hot stove to prepare you a delicious and nutritious meal if you agree to rub my feet and back for thirty minutes.”

“‘Slave over a hot stove’? You can make a chicken stir-fry in like two minutes. Not a fair deal.”

Brooke shrugged. “Okay. There’s cereal in the pantry, although I think we’re out of milk. You could always make yourself some popcorn.”

Julian turned to Walter and said, “You don’t know how good you have it, boy. She doesn’t make you work in exchange for kibble.”

“The price just went up to thirty minutes.”

“It was already thirty minutes,” Julian whined.

“That was thirty minutes total. Now it’s thirty minutes feet and another thirty for the back.”

Julian pretended to weigh this. “Forty-five minutes and I’ll—”

“Any attempts at bargaining only add time onto the total.”

He held up his palms. “I’m afraid there’s no deal.”

“Really?” she asked. “You going to fend for yourself tonight?” she asked, grinning. Julian was an equal partner with the cleaning, bill paying, and dog care, but he was useless in the kitchen and he knew it.

“As a matter of fact, I am. I’m fending for both of us, actually. I cooked dinner for you tonight.”

“You what?”

“You heard me.” Somewhere in the kitchen a timer began to beep. “And it’s ready as we speak. Please be seated,” he said grandly in a faux British accent.

“I am seated,” she said, leaning back against the sofa and kicking her feet up on the coffee table.

“Ah, yes,” Julian called cheerfully from their miniature kitchen. “I see you’ve found your way to the formal dining room. Perfect.”

“Can I help?”

Julian walked back in holding a Pyrex casserole dish between two oven mitts. “One baked ziti for my love . . .” He was about to set the dish down on the bare wood before Brooke yelped and jumped up to retrieve a trivet. Julian began to spoon the steaming pasta.

Brooke could only stare. “Is this where you tell me you’ve been having an affair with another woman for the entire duration of our marriage and you want my forgiveness?” she asked.

Julian grinned. “Shut up and eat.”

She sat down and helped herself to some salad while Julian continued spooning ziti on her plate. “Baby, this looks incredible. Where did you learn to do this? And why aren’t you doing it every night?”

He looked at her with a sheepish smile. “I may have picked the ziti up at the store today and just heated it in the oven. That’s possible. But it was purchased and heated with love.”

Brooke held her wineglass aloft and waited for Julian to clink it. “It’s perfect,” she said, and meant it. “Absolutely, incredibly perfect.”

As they ate, Brooke told him about Randy and Michelle and was pleased to see how happy he was, even going so far as to suggest they drive to Pennsylvania and babysit for their new niece or nephew. Julian brought her up to date on Sony’s plans now that the album was nearing completion and told her about the new manager he’d hired on the recommendation of his agent.

“Apparently, he’s the best of the best. He does have the reputation of being a little aggressive, but I think that’s probably what you want in a manager.”

“Well what did he seem like when you interviewed him?”

Julian thought about this. “I’m not sure ‘interview’ is the right word. It was more like he laid out his entire plan for me. Says we’re at a critical junction right now, and it’s time to start really ‘orchestrating the action.’”

“Well, I can’t wait to meet him,” Brooke said.

“Yeah, he’s definitely got a little of that smarmy Hollywood thing going on—you know, where you feel like they’re always working an angle?—but I like how confident he is.”

Julian emptied the remainder of the wine bottle evenly between their glasses and sat back in his chair. “How’s everything at the hospital going? Was it a crazy day?”

“It was, but guess what? I got the highest ratings in patient evaluations of anyone on staff, and they’re going to give me a few more peds shifts.” She took another sip from her wineglass; it would be worth the next morning’s headache.

Julian broke into a huge smile. “That’s great news, Rook. Not the least bit surprising, but absolutely great. I’m so proud of you.” He leaned over the table and kissed her.

Brooke did the dishes, then took a bath while Julian finished some work on the new website he was designing for himself, and they met back on the couch, each clad in flannel pajama pants and T-shirts. Julian spread the throw blanket across both their legs and grabbed the clicker.

“Movie?” he asked.

She glanced at the clock on the DVR: ten fifteen. “I think it’s too late to start one now, but what about a Grey’s?”

He looked at her with a horrified expression. “Seriously? Can you, in good conscience, make me watch that after I cooked you dinner?”

She smiled and shook her head. “I’m not quite sure ‘cooked’ is a fair word, but you’re right. Your choice tonight.”

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