Jasmine Green is the daughter of a major Hollywood studio head. She lives the kind of life that makes people salivate (while hating her): bottomless bank account, vintage car, mansion, and birthday parties that end up splashed across the pages of People magazine.
But even fabulously wealthy girls (and their family and friends) have skeletons in their walk-in closets. Just to clear her head, Jasmine anonymously writes a thinly veiled expos� about her life in the form of a screenplay. But when the script is bought by her own father's studio, suddenly this juicy read is the talk of the town, and on the fast track to being green-lit.
Jasmine knows she has to do whatever it takes to stop her family's dirty laundry from becoming the next box-office smash. But she's up against one persistent tabloid reporter who's making it very, very difficult to keep her secrets....
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February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Price of Admission by Leslie Margolis
Austin Cooper is dead and it's all my fault.
That was the first thought that came to mind when Violet embraced me. My second was this: For someone so small and frail looking, her hug was intense. One of her bony shoulders dug into my neck, so it was hard to breathe. Caught by surprise, I wanted to shake her off, and only resisted because it would have looked bad. We were at Austin's memorial service. Practically everyone the Coopers knew was packed into this airless room. I didn't want to make things any worse.
Not that they could get much worse.
"It's still so hard, isn't it?" Violet gushed when she finally let go, her glassy eyes blinking.
"Hard" didn't cover my excruciating, soul-crushing agony.
It's been more than two months since Austin died, but I still feel as if it happened ten minutes ago. They found him on the sidewalk in front of Club Moomba, on Sunset Boulevard. He'd had a heart attack and died before the ambulance even made it to the hospital. I didn't sell him the Ecstasy or serve him the nine Red Bull and vodkas, or even strong-arm him into consuming so much toxic crap at once. To be honest, I wasn't even there when he OD'd. But I did see him earlier that night. Austin's time of death was 2:12 A.M., less than four hours after he'd left my place. He'd wanted to stay over, but I'd sent him away.
Since I couldn't admit this to anyone -- especially not Violet, who'd been going out with Austin at the time -- I didn't know what to say.
Turns out this didn't matter, because Violet kept right on talking. "A bunch of us are going to Chin Chin after the ceremony. It was Austin's favorite restaurant and -- "
"I know what Austin's favorite restaurant was."
I didn't mean to snap, but I couldn't help it. Austin was my boyfriend first and I'd known him longer. Today would have been his twentieth birthday. I remember celebrating last year, when everything was good between us. Cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down and the music blaring. It was The Clash's "London Calling" -- his choice but one of my favorites, too. At the beach we hung out on a deserted lifeguard station and watched the sun set over the Pacific. Austin had his guitar with him, and once it was dark, he played me a few of his new songs.
Back then he was too shy to perform in the light, even for an audience of one.
Back then he'd dedicated most of his songs to me.
Things changed, but none of that was Violet's fault. I wasn't even mad that she had started seeing Austin when he and I were -- at least technically -- still a couple. How can I be upset with her when I'm guilty of so much worse?
It's just, what I can't stop wondering about is how he could have been attracted to us both, when we could not be more different. Violet is tiny, with blond hair and blue eyes and when she's not grieving over her dead boyfriend, she's way too perky. She's the type of girl who bakes cupcakes topped with heart-shaped sprinkles, and makes her own greeting cards out of construction paper and glitter. Even though she's in college, her pens still bleed pink and purple ink. And me? Well, I'm everything that Violet is not, and a high school junior, to boot.
"So if you want to come with, you really should," Violet continued.
I hadn't even realized she was still talking.
Before I came up with an answer, someone else yelled, "Jasmine Green! There you are!"
Hearing my name, I turned around to find Lubna heading toward us. She's one of my best friends and ever since she left me here in L.A. to go to college up in Berkeley, I'd missed her like crazy.
Violet stepped back as Lubna swept in and gave me a hug -- less bone-crushing and much needed.
"I'm so glad you're here," I cried, squeezing my eyes shut to keep my tears from falling.
"I wouldn't miss this," she said.
Letting go, she glared at Violet, who cowered. "Who are you?" Lubna asked.
Violet extended her hand warily. "I'm Violet," she said, as if that would explain everything.
Lubna ignored her hand and played dumb. "Violet?" she asked. "I don't think I've ever heard of you. How did you know Austin?" Even though Lubna moved here from Pakistan when she was seven, she still had a slight accent, which was cool because she could deliver insults in a way that made them sound like polite flattery.