"It's great to see you again, Rebecca," Heather says, greeting her former best friend at her door, "come in and meet Ulises." Get it over with, Heather thinks with a deep sigh.
If she had been just a few minutes later, Rebecca would have missed Ulises altogether. Instead her first sight of him is in his uniform just before he leaves for work.
"I'm happy to be finally meeting you," Ulises says politely. Heather has said much to him about their visitor, except to fret constantly since Rebecca told her she'd be coming out for their wedding. And anything that worries Heather is something Ulises wants to know more about, so he can take care of it. They look each other over suspiciously while Heather's attention is turned to Laurel. Then Ulises turns to his fiancee, kisses her goodbye and leaves for work.
As soon as he's gone, Rebecca starts in on her, "Okay, Heather, what's the deal with you and the pig?" she demands.
At least she waited for Ulises to leave, Heather thinks, trying to find some bright side to her best friend's return to L.A. "Don't call him that," she admonishes, "And the 'deal' is pretty simple, I love him and we're getting married."
"I'm not buying it, Heather," Rebecca insists, "What is he holding over you? Did he find your grow room? Is he forcing this on you?"
"Becca!" Heather gasps, "Where do you even get these ideas?" She considers for a moment telling her what happened with Esparza, but she doesn't even want to think about that, let alone tell others. So she just goes for a simpler version of what's been going on, "I'm not growing anymore. There's nothing for Ulises to hold over me. Not that he would, Becca. He's a good man. A good cop."
"Oh please, as if such a thing exists. I mean, come on, he's LAPD."
"Get over yourself, Rebecca," Heather says, her voice rising slightly, "Everything isn't as black and white as you make it out. Stop insulting the man I love in my own house."
"I just don't get what's happened to you, Heather," Rebecca says, "You loved your plants, you even named them. And I'm supposed to believe you just gave them up? You're sleeping with the enemy, and I'm supposed to believe you're in his bed willingly?"
"It's the truth," Heather says, "I love Ulises. Choosing between him and my plants was not a hard decision."
"You've changed," Rebecca surmises.
"Since I was seventeen? Yes, I suppose I have," Heather answers.
Rebecca gives up hassling Heather about her impending marriage and moves on to talking about her own activities in the Occupy movement and other progressive causes. Her tone makes it clear that she disappointed that Heather hasn't kept up with all these things; their high school friendship formed around anti-war protests.
Coby drops by for a visit, and Heather leaves her step-brother to sit with Rebecca while she gets dinner started. Everything he knows about art, he learned from Stina, and he pulls that knowledge out now to impress his secret high school crush now.
"Let me guess, you had a girlfriend who was artist?" Rebecca says with a laugh.
"That obvious, huh?" Coby laughs with her.
"You're a lot bigger than I remember you," Rebecca says.
"I was sixteen the last time you saw me," he reminds her.
"Sixteen and you had half the school in love with you," Rebecca muses, "I remember. You haven't lost that charm, either, I see. How old are you now?"
"I'm still a year younger than you. San Francisco is still in the same time zone in L.A.," he says, then catches some flaw in his logic. Even if she did move to a different time zone, the age difference would stay the same, right?
"And I'm guessing you still keep a joint in your pocket for emergencies?" Rebecca says.
"Yeah," Coby answers, glancing toward the kitchen, "But Heather..."
"Let's go somewhere, then," Rebecca suggests, "I don't really want to be here for family dinner with the cop, anyway."
Coby takes Rebecca out to the beach. They smoke a joint under the pier, then head up for some games and rides.
Heather may have changed, but her little brother hasn't, Rebecca thinks.
"So tell me what is going on with Heather and the cop," Rebecca demands.
"I don't get what you're asking."
"How did they get together? Why is she with him? What is he holding over her?"
"Uh, well, I think she told me she met him at the farmer's market," Coby answers, "I was surprised she got with a cop too. And I never thought she'd stop growing, but she seems happy with him. He's a nice guy."
"It can't be that simple," Rebecca says, "Something's going on there. We have to figure it out before the wedding."
"Dude, you are way more paranoid than necessary," Coby laughs, "She just loves him. It happens."
As the sun starts to set, the carnival neon comes on, bathing them in green light. "The bar's open," Coby says, "You want to get a drink?"
Rebecca would have been stupid to have not seen the crush he had on her when they were kids. He was cute then, at sixteen, but he was her best friend's brother and he had a new girlfriend every week, sometimes two or three at the same time. Back then, he was the last thing she wanted. But now? She left some very loose ends behind in San Francisco, unresolved issues, a relationship that went off track. It's been too long since she'd been with anyone else. Maybe it's time to get her feet wet again.
After a couple of drinks they go back out to the neon lit pier. "So, how many girlfriends are you juggling right now?" Rebecca asks, getting right to it.
"None," Coby says. He hasn't even flirted with anyone since Nina, "How long are you going to be in L.A.?"
"I don't know," she says, "I haven't decided if I have a reason to go back to San Francisco yet."
Rebecca leans close to him. He pulls back, oddly shy for someone with his level of experience. Then her lips meet his for a short, soft kiss.
Coby doesn't open his eyes right away. Finally getting that kiss from the one girl who wouldn't even look at you, it should be something to remember. "That was nice, Becky," he says in whisper as he opens his eyes.
"It's getting late," he says, "Let me take you back to Heather's."
"Really?" she asks, disappointed, "I thought we could go to your place..." It's not like they have to go through the whole getting to know each other phase.
"Things are kind of messed up with me," Coby says, taking her hands, "I've been hung up on this girl who dumped me. And everything since her, has just been fucked up. You know I like you, Becky, I always have. But I need some time to work my shit out."