It was early Saturday morning, Todd had walked to the house where Marissa addressed him to go. He was somewhat pretentious about even coming. He thought this entire "spend two months with Marissa while she dies of Cancer" thing was ridiculous, he didn't even know her, but what the hell, it was for a million dollars, so, he'd do it. He rung her doorbell, and she opened the door, looking a bit pale, but she managed to briefly smile.
Marissa: You're early.
Todd: (looks down and shrugs) Yeah, so, where's the cameras for this show?
Marissa: At home, come on, let's go. Where's your clothes and things?
Todd: (looks at her confusingly) Home? This isn't you home, you don't live in New York?
Marissa: No I live in Arizona. We have to get ready to get on the plane.
Marissa closed and locked the door to the house and walked away from the house, and he looked at her with confusion. He walked after her and lightly grabbed her arm.
Todd: Wait, so you and I have to fly—out of New York—to Arizona?
Marissa: (nods and smiles) Yup, won't that be fun. (lightly pats the side of his face and laughs and walks away)
Todd raises an eyebrow at her and scoffs and shakes his head.
Todd: (low voice) Its for the money, Todd, just for the money.
Todd sighs and walks to the car he drove in, a black Jeep Liberty, he unlocked the passenger side door and opened it for her and she got inside, and he got in on the driver's side. He sighed and looked at her, before starting the car.
Todd: So, where are we going? To the airport?
Marissa: (nods) Yeah, you got it.
Todd scoffed and shook his head and started the car and drove off.
Marissa: Did you bring cl—(he cuts in)
Todd: (coldly) Yeah, I did, thank you for asking.
Marissa: (scoffs and smiles briefly) Number thirteen.
Todd briefly glanced at her with an eyebrow raised, as he turned the corner onto the main streets of New York.
Todd: What? Number thirteen? What the hell does that mean? (scoffs and shakes his head)
Marissa: It's a list of things I need to change and do before I leave in two months, you're number thirteen.
Todd: (looks at her) What do you mean, I'm number thirteen? (laughs)
Marissa: You're attitude is number thirteen on the list of things I have to change and do.
Todd looks away from her and laughs.
Todd: Good luck with that, Marissa. I doubt if you'll make number-thirteen in two months. Number thirteen has been like this all his life.
Marissa: (looks at him and smiles) Don't be so sure, a lot can change in two months.
Todd didn't feel like hearing her, at all, so he turned on the radio, to the Rolling Stones "If You Start me Up". With the radio on, he could drown her out. For some reason she irked him—a lot.
Marissa immediately turned the station to a station playing "Mother, We Just Can't Enough" by the New Radicals. Todd looked at her with an eyebrow raised.
Todd: Did you just touch my radio?
Marissa: (laughs) Oh I'm sorry, I just am not a big Rolling Stones fan.
Todd stared at her and then looked away and shook his head.
Todd: Why does that not surprise me?
When they arrived in Arizona, they took Marissa's shiny, black Lincoln Navigator. When they arrived in Arizona, it was night time. Marissa was driving to her home with Todd. They were mostly quiet until:
Todd: So, the camera guys are going to be there at –(stops and looks at his watch) eight at night?
Marissa: No, tomorrow morning. Its too late tonight to shoot anything.
Todd: So what's going to happen after the two months are over?
Marissa: (glanced at him with seriousness and shrugged) What do you mean, what's going to happen?
Todd: I mean, do—(looks down and shrugs) did the doctor give you an exact date of death?
Marissa: September nineteenth is the date.
Todd looked at her with an eyebrow raised and nodded and then blinked heavily.
Todd: I'm sorry.
Marissa: No, no need for that. Its no need for sorry's. God has a reason why I have this disease, I'm not afraid.
Todd stared at her as she pulled the car into the driveway of the house, a part of him felt sympathy for her, a lot of sympathy. She noticed him looking at her and she scoffed and smiled as she turned the car off in the garage of her home.
Marissa: Nah, ah, none of those pity looks, I told you, I don't want pity.
Todd: (laughed briefly) I wasn't looking at you with pity. I—(stops and scoffs and briefly smiles) Whatever.
Marissa lead Todd in her home, and her home was exquisite. It looked more like a spacious mansion, than a regular home. The floors were tan shiny marbled and there was a huge living room with a big screen television in the wall. The white, leather sofa, looked comfy and long. Next to the living room was the spacious dining room, with the dining room table and chairs. Next to that was the spacious kitchen with the big island in the middle of the floor with shiny, stainless steel appliances. The inside of the house looked like something out of a magazine. Todd looked all around the house and scoffed and smiled briefly.
Todd: This looks more like a museum than a house.
Marissa: (laughs) Hey, what can I say? I like space. Come on, let me show you your room.
Marissa leads Todd upstairs to a bedroom, that's spacious, with a huge, flat screen television in the room, and a comfy full sized bed, with a big bay window with beautiful sheer lavender curtains. The room looked awesome.
Todd: This is the room I'll be in? With the girly lavender curtains? (laughs)
Marissa: (laughs) Oh please, the curtains are not girly. Its either this room or you can sleep in my room with me. (raises an eyebrow and smiles at Todd)
Todd: I think I'll take this room, thanks. (scoffs and shakes his head and smiles briefly)
Marissa: Yeah, that's what I thought. Alright, drop your bags and stuff in here, because we have to be back out in fifteen minutes.
Todd: Whoa, wait, where are we going? We just got here.
Marissa: (smiles) You'll see, meet me outside in the car.
Marissa walks out the room and Todd sighed with a hint of frustration. He was already tired from the day of flying from New York over to Arizona and now he couldn't even have a moment to rest for the night. Why was he doing this again? Oh yeah, for a million dollars, he couldn't forget that. Todd threw his bags on the bed and left out the room. He left out the house and walked out to her car and got in on the passenger side and looked at her briefly.
Todd: So where are you taking me now? Are we flying to California? Driving to Mexico—what?
Marissa: You're funny, but no, we're driving somewhere local to—well you'll see soon enough.
Marissa started the car and drove off and Todd sighed with irritation. He didn't like to be carried off somewhere he didn't know of.
Theme Song: "Drunken Piper" ~ Natalie MacMaster
Marissa drove up to what looked to be a huge picnic area, there was a huge brightly lit tent in the middle of the picnic area, there was a stage in the front of the tent, where a band was playing music, and there were about one hundred people dancing to the music from the band inside the tent, while some were sitting at tables inside the tent—drinking, chatting with people. It wad kind of like an outdoor picnic music festival. Marissa parked the car a few feet from the tent and turned the car off. Todd looked at the tent with the people inside with a confused look and an eyebrow raised.
Todd: Where in the hell are we?
Marissa: (smiles) A music festival, and number twenty-nine on my list.
Todd: Number twenty-nine, what's that?
Marissa: Dance, I want to dance with someone.
Todd looked at her with a confused frown.
Todd: WHAT? (scoffed and laughed briefly) What do you mean, you wanna dance with someone?
Marissa: I never danced with anyone—I mean REALLY danced with anyone and had fun before. Now that you're here, I can.
Todd: (looks at her and then back at the tent full of people while blinking heavily) Are there cameras and stuff in there?
Marissa: (nods) Yup, lets go.
Todd: I thought you said they weren't showing up until tomorrow.
Marissa: I know, they weren't, until I called them to come tonight. Now get out, Todd, let's go. (laughs and gets out the car)
Theme Song: "Tracks of My Tears" ~ Smokey Robinson
Todd sighed with frustration and anger. The last thing he felt like doing was dancing, he just wanted to sleep, he was tired, and tired and oh yeah—tired. He started his day at six a.m. and here it was eight at night and MARISSA wanted to dance. This was not going well. He got out the car and cursed mentally in anger at himself for even accepting to do this stupid deal, no matter how much money she was offering. He sighed and walked over to her and blinked heavily at her in apparent anger.
Todd: (coldly) I'm tired.
Marissa: (smiles) I know. (gently touches the side of his face) That's why I brought you here. I wouldn't have brought you here if I didn't know what I was doing.
Marissa took Todd's hand into hers and led him to the inside of the tent. He looked down at her hand, firmly enclosed in his and blinked heavily. He wanted to yank his hand away but didn't, he may have had an attitude from time to time, but he wasn't insensitive—especially to someone with Terminal Cancer. As they walked in the tent, the band was playing the song "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson. Todd scoffed and laughed briefly.
Todd: (low voice) Good God, I've stepped back into the fifties.
Marissa: (laughs) I heard that, and no you haven't. This is going to be fun.
Within minutes, a young woman with long, waist length dark brown hair and who was skinny in frame and looked like a full fledged American Indian, and who looked to be in her thirties walked over to Marissa. Her name was Rebecca. Rebecca smiled and gasped and hugged Marissa.
Rebecca: Marissa! You made it! (laughs) How are you?
Marissa: I'm great. (smiles) Yeah you knew I couldn't stay away for an event like this.
Todd stood there next to Marissa, who still held on to Todd's hand firmly, he was looking around at everyone on the dance floor and sitting at tables, trying his best to block out the conversation that was going on between Marissa and Rebecca.
Rebecca: So, who's this cute guy next to you?
Marissa: This is Todd Pettengill, he's—(Rebecca cuts in)
Rebecca: (Gasps and smiles) Yeah I know him! You're the host of that show Dish Nation, right?
Todd smiles briefly and nods.
Todd: Yeah I am, nice to meet you.
Todd extends his hand to her and she shakes it.
Marissa: Todd, this is one of my best friends, Rebecca Mitchell and Rebecca, this is my—my um—(stops and looks at Todd, who was staring at her with a curious look as to how she would introduce him) my companion for the next two months.
Todd: (looks shocked with raised eyebrows) Your WHAT? I—(he was quieted by Marissa covering his mouth with her hand and Rebecca laughed)
Rebecca: (laughs) Oh I see, well I'm glad you finally found someone for the two months. Its great to meet you, Todd. Well I have to go. James is over in the corner probably wondering where I went off too. We'll talk later, Marissa.
Marissa nodded as Rebecca walked away, Todd yanked his hand away and looked at her with upset.
Todd: Your companion? I am NOT your boyfriend, or—companion. This—THIS is just a two month—spending time.
Marissa: Relax Todd, that's what I mean. Companion for the next two months. Did you hear me say boyfriend? Do you know what companion even means?
Todd: (frowns) Of course I know what it means, what the hell—(stops and looks down and sighs and briefly closes his eyes) Fine. (shakes his head) whatever.
Just then, the song, "The Way You Do The Things You Do" by The Temptations is played the DJ in the room, and Marissa gasps and smiles.
Marissa: Oh this is my favorite song, come on, you have to dance with me to it, Todd!
Todd: (looks at her with a frown) What? No, no I don't want to. Ask someone else.
Marissa leads him to the middle of the dance floor, where there are already people dancing to the song.
Marissa: Oh come on, Todd. It will be fun.
Todd: No, I don't WANT to.
Marissa: Oh I see, you're probably too old to dance anyway. (scoffs and shakes her head)
Todd sighed and frowned briefly. Why did this woman always have to challenge him? He took her hands into his.
Todd: Fine, once again, your challenge has gotten me to accept your ridiculous request. I—I'm not good with dancing though, I dance about as good as Lindsay Lohan can act.
Marissa: (laughs) Don't worry, just follow my lead.
Marissa puts one of his hands around her waist and take his other hand and encloses it in hers.
Marissa: Just follow my lead.
Marissa and Todd started hand dancing together, and at first, he wasn't getting the steps down right, at all, he was stepping on her toes, and missing steps, it was bad, but then, he started getting the hang of the 50's hand dancing style that everyone was doing on the dance floor, and he became pretty good at it—twirling her around, both of them dancing and twisting and turning through the moves, they were dancing so well, that the other dancers on the floor were staring at them and some were even stopping to look at Todd and Marissa dancing.
Marissa: (smiles while dancing with him) Hey, you're doing pretty good.
Todd: (laughs) Well, yeah I lied, dancing is one of my good talents, dancing, and making fun of the cast of Jersey Shore. (Marissa laughed)
Todd and Marissa continued dancing with him turning and swirling her around and mastering each step perfectly. Marissa was surprised at how Todd seemed to be enjoying dancing with her, but of course, it was all in her plan. She knew exactly what she was doing. After the song was over, Marissa laughed as everyone clapped for them.
Marissa: (smiles) See, wasn't that fun?
Todd: (nods and smiles briefly) It was, I'll admit it, but shh, don't tell anyone I was dancing here, alright? Especially not Cooper or Scott.
Marissa: (looked at Todd with an eyebrow raised) Todd, I won't see them after you leave in two months, I'll be gone.
Todd's smile faded, he looked down and blinked heavily and then looked up at her.
Todd: Oh that's—that's right. I—I forgot, I—I'm sorry. I—(Marissa cut in)
Marissa: Shh, don't. I don't—want to talk about that. Come on, last dance, before we go home.
Marissa took Todd's hand and lead him closer to where the band was, as the song "Learning To Breathe" by Switchfoot started being played by the DJ. Marissa and Todd started slow dancing to the song, as were other couples on the floor.
Marissa: (smiles) So this is what twenty-nine feels like. Its nice. (scoffs and smiles briefly)
Todd: What's twenty-eight?
Marissa: You'll find out later. (scoffs and smiles)
Todd: (nods and shakes his head) Alright, I guess. How come you aren't afraid to die?
Marissa: (sighs) Because my time on Earth is up, I was put here for specific reasons, in which after those reasons are done, my time is up, and I have to go home.
Todd: (nods with an eyebrow raised) Uh huh, so what was your reasons for being here on Earth? For being—here?
Marissa: I was put here to show the world life through my eyes, I've done that through my films and now that you're going to spend the next two months with me—my final two months, my final purpose is to change your view of life and love for the better. (scoffs and smiles)
Todd stares at her, blinking heavily.
Todd: And—(stops and shakes his head and smiles briefly) How do you plan to do that?
Marissa: (smiles and looks up at him) You'll see.
Todd and Marissa forget the song is over, and are standing there, sharing eye contact, then Marissa laughs and looks away and takes his hand and leads him off the dance floor.
Marissa: The song is over Todd, or didn't you notice? (laughs) I'm ready to go home and have a nice cup of coffee.
Todd looks down and scoffs and briefly smiles.
Todd: Yeah, um, coffee sounds great right now. Coffee and sleep.
Theme Song: "Only Hope" ~ Mandy Moore
As Todd and Marissa walked out of the tent, to Marissa's car, Marissa started feeling lightheaded, very light headed. She felt like everything around her was spinning. As they reached the car, she fell to the ground, in weakness, on her knees. Todd stopped and knelt down beside her.
Todd: Hey, you alright, what's wrong?
Marissa: (low voice) I—I feel a little—weak. Can—can you drive, Todd?
Todd blinked at her with a concerned look and nodded and helped her up to her feet, but she almost fell back down in his arms again.
Todd: Can you make it to the car?
Marissa: (shook her head and said in a low voice) No—no I can't.
Todd hesitated at first, but then picked her up in his arms and carried her to the passenger side of the car and opened the car door and put her in the passenger seat. Marissa looked at him, with weak eyes.
Marissa: (low voice) I think I may have over did it tonight. (laughs)
Todd: (scoffed and smiled briefly) Yeah, you think? Its alright, I'm driving you back to your house.
Todd got in the driver's seat and drove off. He was constantly glancing at her to make sure she was alright, but looked at her with real concern, when he looked at her and saw she looked unconscious. He pulled the car over and slid over beside her and touched her hand.
Todd: Marissa? Marissa—are you alright?
He felt for her pulse and sighed with relief when he felt a pulse, and heard her sleeping. He blinked heavily and sighed again and got back on his side and pulled the car off and continued driving. When they arrived back at the house, he tried to gently shake her.
Todd: Marissa? We're back—at your house now. (shakes her) Marissa?
Marissa wasn't answering, and Todd sighed and looked away with a concerned look. This was not something he was use to. He got out on the driver's side and went over to the passenger side and got her out the car and carried her in his arms, inside the house. He carried her to her bedroom and laid her on her bed and sighed as he sat beside her on the bed and just stared at her for a few minutes, while she was sleeping peacefully on the bed. He gently touched her forehead and the side of her face. He couldn't deny, she was a beautiful young woman, he could stare at her for hours, was it just him being tired or was he becoming attracted to her? He wasn't sure, but he gently held her hand and felt an instant spark of worry come over him—for her. He immediately dropped her hand and got up off the bed and blinked heavily with a confused look. He couldn't let himself forget that he was there for her, only for the money, even though in that brief moment, he felt a small tinge of feeling for her, he couldn't let himself do that—or could he? He wasn't sure at that moment, but the next couple of days would give him that answer he needed….
TO BE CONTINUED…