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Movin' On Up

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Corona Barmaid
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Movin' On Up

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Grand Marnier
It's chilly but not freezing as I walk the few blocks up Central Park West from the subway station to Dara's and Dennis's new apartment. I keep my head down and my mittened hands in the pockets of my coat, and I barely notice as a cab turning left cuts me off. When I arrive at the building, before I face the doorman, I take a deep breath and pretend I belong.

The doorman directs me to the elevator, which is in use at the moment, he explains apologetically, but will return presently. When it arrives, I see that another uniformed man is operating it, and two women disembark - Dara, who moves immediately to hug me - and an instantly recognizable film actress who's just as famous for marrying a movie star, who says, "Bye, Dara," as she departs.

"That was who I think it was, right? Do they live here?" I whisper to Dara once we're back on the elevator and the doors are closed.

"Yeah," she smiles. "She's going out to find some hamantaschen for this weekend."

"But she's not Jewish --"

"No, but he and his family are."

The elevator opens onto her floor, where there are only two apartment doors. I try to remind myself not to get overwhelmed, jealous, or stupid, and then she opens her door. My chin bouncing off her welcome mat makes a lovely "sproing" sound. The movers arrive before she can finish giving me the tour, so we meet them downstairs and start the process of directing their work. They've picked up at Dara's old place and at Dennis's already, and Dennis has left it up to Dara where certain things will go, which she seems to enjoy.

At one point, I'm staring out one of the many east-facing windows into Central Park, and quietly wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do about earning a living, when a hand grabs my shoulder. I jump halfway out of my skin and whirl around, to see a mover with a large floor lamp hoping to get past me. He steps back a little, and apologizes in an eastern European accent I can't quite place.

It's a couple of hours later when Dara and I finally sit down and talk over some delivered Szechuan food. She wants to know what I've done to protect myself, and whether I've been back to the Bar, since Saturday night.

"I was pretty upset when I got home that night. I waited until Sunday to write an e-mail to Lanie and Victor about what happened, so that I could try to make sure I didn't say anything I would regret. But I made it very clear that I wouldn't work another shift with Todd as manager until we resolved this."

"When is your next one?"

I chew on my honey crispy duck for a minute. "Last night."

"So you just blew it off?"

"No, Lanie called me yesterday and said they had Maya covering my shift, then she asked me to come in to meet with them this morning."

"Along with Todd?"

"No, they're meeting with him separately."

"What happened?"

"I repeated to them what happened on Saturday, I repeated that I wouldn't work with Todd again until we had resolved this, and I told them that I wouldn't work at the Bar at all again unless Leonard was declared persona non grata."

"Persona...?"

"Black-listed."

"What did they say?" At that moment, I hear a key unlocking the front door of her apartment, and I know Dennis must be home. She puts a hand on mine. "Debra, tell me, what did they say?"

"They said to go home until I hear from them again."

Dennis sweeps into the kitchen, with a look on his face that I hope I can inspire in someone, someday, and says, "Where's my new roommate, the love of my life?" Dara squeezes my hand, then jumps up from the table and runs into his arms, where he sweeps her up and spins her in a big circle before setting her back down on the floor.

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