So Far Away Excerpt © Dakota Madison 2016
If I had a dollar for every time I heard those two words in the last three months I’d be wealthy and not so desperate to find a job.
Even though I’m wearing a baseball cap and dark sunglasses I’m still recognizable. Somehow the paparazzi always manage to find me. Today is no exception. They snap photos of me as I dash into the corner market.
I selected Gino’s, a small neighborhood grocery store, because I thought it would be safe. Or at least safer than some place like Trader Jay’s Whole Foods Organic Gluten Free Market where the paparazzi expect to see celebrities.
Not that I’m famous…more like infamous. I’m the Naughty Nanny. That’s the moniker I was given by the press following Nannygate.
“That’s her.” A young blond girl elbows her friend and points in my direction. The two whisper and snicker as they gawk at me.
People aren’t subtle when they stare. And they often say rude things about me, right to my face. I’ve even had a woman spit on me. Obviously she was a big fan of America’s Sweetheart, Annabelle Miller.
I had only worked for movie stars, Daniel Robinson and Annabelle Miller aka Dannabelle, for a few months before all hell broke loose.
Annabelle accused me of screwing her husband and immediately filed for divorce.
When two of the hottest celebrities in Hollywood split up it’s big news, especially when there’s another woman involved.
And I just happened to be the other woman.
I do my best to remember the few items I had intended to pick up at the market.
Tomatoes, pasta, mushrooms…I can’t remember the fourth item.
It’s difficult to keep my mind on my grocery list while every other customer in the place gapes at me.
Olive oil. I snap my fingers. That’s the final item on the list.
The older woman at the cash register doesn’t seem to recognize me. I consider that a small miracle. She just asks me for my twenty bucks then bags my items.
When I step out of the store there are still several photographers waiting to snap shots of me.
How many people are able to completely ruin their lives by the time they’re 26 years old? I’ve certainly done an excellent job of it.
I wave to the guys snapping my photo and then give them the finger. I’ve got nothing to lose. Everyone in the English-speaking world already hates me.
Of course no one knows the real story, and oddly enough no one seems to care. The scandal took on a life of its own and I became the target of hatred and scorn.
Two months have gone by since the story made national headlines. I thought the media attention would eventually fade, but it hasn’t yet. With the world watching Daniel and Annabelle go through an ugly divorce, my name continues to be dragged through the mud.
I realized very quickly that I would never be able to get another gig as a nanny. No woman wants the Naughty Nanny anywhere near her husband and kids. What I didn’t anticipate was that no one would hire me to do anything ever again. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs, for which I’ve been qualified, everything from marketing to retail management. Mostly I’ve gotten thanks-but-no-thanks letters. The few interviews I have managed to snag have gone sideways the moment the interviewers realized why they recognized me.
I guess I could pose for a nude magazine and complete the cycle of public humiliation and degradation.
At least it would pay the bills that are starting to pile up.
The paparazzi follow me as I begin the walk back to the condo where I’ve been staying. Luckily my best friend, Nellie Berg, and her boyfriend, Roscoe, have an extra bedroom and have graciously allowed me to use it for as long as I need to.
I realize I’m like the rusty third wheel, and I won’t be able to stay with them indefinitely, but I really don’t want to have to move back in with my mother and husband number six.
Or maybe it’s number seven.
Honestly I’ve lost count.
Either it’s a very slow news day, or something else has happened in Daniel and Annabelle’s ongoing divorce saga and they need some new photos of the nanny to go along with the breaking story.
When did Americans become so obsessed with celebrities and scandals? Why does everyone love it when celebrities are torn down and ripped to shreds in such a public way?
Nellie is watching Hollywood Exposed when I enter the condo.
The place is very upscale, and I’m sure very expensive. It’s easily three times the size of the shitty apartment that Nellie and I shared when we lived together. That was before I become a nanny and before she met Roscoe.
Nellie never told me the entire story, but apparently Roscoe inherited quite a bit of money when his mom passed away. Enough to afford a place that easily cost three quarters of a million dollars.
Nellie and Roscoe are both screenwriters, but Nellie is a little further along in her career than he is. She’s already had one of her scripts optioned by a producer.
“What’s up?” I shout over the television.
She quickly shuts it off when she hears me. “Sorry!”
“Let me guess. More breaking news in Daniel and Annabelle’s divorce case.”
Nellie scrunches up her button nose. “A former stripper now turned model-actress claims she has a sex tape featuring you, her and Daniel in a threesome.”
I roll my eyes. “I wish I had as much sex as the tabloids claim.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to hire a lawyer? Maybe a publicist? Something?”
I shake my head. “What’s the use? Everyone is already convinced I’m a conniving whore who came between Daniel and Annabelle. Everyone loves Annabelle Miller. She’s America’s Sweetheart. No one wants to hear that she’s a mean, crazy bitch who just didn’t want to be married to her husband anymore. It’s easier to believe a gigantic lie than it is to believe the truth. Especially when it’s a truth you don’t want to hear.”