"What do you want, Brian?" Zoey muffled through her bed cover that she has laying over her head to block the two o'clock sun. She holds her phone using her face, stretches a little, and makes no effort to readjust her phone when it shifted.
"Are you sleeping?" Zoey moans irritably and contemplates hanging up and going back to sleep. "I've been trying to reach you all morning." She feels uncomfortably nauseous, and it's not until that moment, she remembers last night and how much she had to drink. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes. "You found me, now what do you want?" She tries again.
"Well for one, I'm surprised you didn't wake to cops banging on your door." Zoey knits her eyebrows in confusion. "What are you- "
"Denise posted a video talking about her assault" Brian stressed. "Specifically, at Style is Key, she's putting you under the bus and it's going viral." Zoey jolts up in her bed "What!" She squints her eyes from the bright light. "This is not good, Zoey, we need to fix this fast. Like real fast. Omar is hearing rumors that Denise is creating a following and reporters are among the pool." Zoey's eyes widen and her body is trembling amongst the pile of covers on her bed. "Do you hear me, Zoey? Where is your head right now, because I need you to understand me –
"I need to call you back, Brian." Before Brian could interject, Zoey hangs up. She hesitates as she pulls up a Facebook tab on her phone and browse her "STYLE IS KEY" page. Zoey looks up her company all the time, mainly to download the latest reviews for the week. She Is certain that her company has never been talked about in such compacity as it is right now.
'Style is Key – more like Silence is Key'
"Sad, I'm never shopping here again"
"Wow, another one? Denise is just trying to get attention"
"Denise is brave for speaking out"
"Can't be the Co-founders are women, can never be me."
Zoey's heart sank with the comments. There, she sees the video, tagged to her page. Zoey stares at the thumbnail of Denise sitting on a couch in front of a camera. Her eyes look sad and tired but because it's the 21st century, the still image is filled with bubble hot colored letters with click baits phrases like : I was assaulted, CEO turns away, confession, #metoo. Zoey was sure she was able to throw – actually scratch that, she runs to her bathroom and pukes her guts out.
Michael barge into the apartment and yells out for Zoey. He waits for a response but receives none. He tries again, this time on a man hunt. He goes through the kitchen, living room/ dining room area. Once he notices she was not there, he glances to Zoey's closed bedroom door. He walks towards it slowly. He knows what he may face. He's already grabbed a glimpse with Zoey hyperventilating over the phone over a work scandal that he did not entirely follow. Instead of having her rehash the situation, Michael decides to make a U-turn and head over to Zoey immediately. He'll just be slightly late to his meeting. San Diego can wait.
"Zoey?" He opens the door and walks in. He hears someone sniffing onto his right. He moves towards the bathroom. The two make eyes contact and suddenly Zoey's defenses collapses and start to cry. Michael registers this. There was no room for jokes and goofiness, so already he feels underqualified and has failed.
"I told you not to come." Zoey's voice shakes uncontrollably like the beginning to an anxiety attack. "Please leave, Michael. Please" She begs.
"I can't leave you like this Zoey." Michael says sternly. Michael kneels down in front of Zoey who had squeezes herself between the sink and toilet. He sees an empty bottle of tequila on the edge of the tub, he makes a mental note. "What happened?" Zoey eyes are glue to a black dot on her poke a dot tile trying to control her breathing. "Hey! Look at me." Michael snatches back her attention and puts his hand on shoulder. "You can tell me."
Michael closes the bedroom door behind him and puts his cellphone up to his ear. He hustles out the front door and checks inside before closing this door as well.
"I need your help, man" Michael whispers loudly. "Shit is unraveling and Zoey's in deep." Michael is rubbing his head in stress.
"Uh, in San Diego?" Logan's not following.
"No, I'm at Zoey's. She called me. Something happened at her job. I just need you to come, like now." Michael explains impatiently, pacing back and forth in front of the hallway stairwell.
"Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about and honestly I have plans. I'm sure you can handle this–
"Logan, stop! Cancel your plans and come now, I'll text you the address." With that, Michael hangs up and walks back into Zoey's apartment.
The door swingsopen and Michael face drops in relief once he sees Logan at the door.
"I'm here, so what is it–
"You called Logan?" Zoey asked coldly. Michael and Logan both glances over at Zoey, whose arms are wrapped around her body. Logan takes in Zoey's look. Her eyes are bloodshot, her hair messy and he's gathered that she hasn't showered since she's still wearing her pajamas at five o'clock at night. She walks over to her kitchen and digs inside a cabinet.
"So, you had one 'wild' night and suddenly we have to throw a nurture party? C'mon Brooks, I thought you were better than this." Zoey glares at Logan at his comment and pulls out a Jameson bottle and slams it on her island table facing the boys.
"Why Is he here?" Zoey turns to Michael for answers as does Logan.
"Honestly Zoey, you're in some deep shit and I honestly don't know what you should do. The only person that came to my mind is Logan, I think he can help you with this." Zoey was in midst of grabbing herself a glass and slams it on the table at Michael's suggestion.
"How the hell is Logan going to help me Michael! And by the way, I am a bit hurt that you called him behind my back." Zoey puts a hand on her forehead tiringly and starts to pour herself a glass.
"Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on? I was literally on my way to go somewhere, so this secret coding crap needs to stop." Michael pauses and looks at Logan then at Zoey. There is a heavy silence between the three. Zoey takes a sip of her whiskey and puts it on the counter. She places her hands on the counter and leans forward in thought.
"One of my employees has been sexually assaulted at our sister location." Zoey sighs. "Didn't know anything about it until our summit event last weekend. She told everyone, and I didn't do anything. Now she's come forth – understandably so and posted a video about it. But now I am getting a lot of heat from it. My phone has not stopped ringing since it came out."
"Shit." Logan says after a moment. Zoey rolls her eyes, clearly not understanding Michael motive to this.
"Okay now he knows." Zoey is getting more irritable by the second and the alcohol is not calming her nerves as she would've like. "What is this? Am I supposed to gain more sympathy, or be the latest gossip among our friends? Because I don't need your support, I am fine!" She raises her drink in conclusion. "Also, I have enough people talking about me, so I guess I appreciate you guys doing this in my face, but if you don't mind, I need to figure this out. You guys can let yourself out"
"I wasn't trying to add Logan for gossip or to humiliate you, trust me. I just called Logan because, because – he has experience…with all of this." Michael sounds awkward and Zoey isn't entirely sure why. Logan in the other hand seems to be sending eye daggers and Michael looks at Logan apologetic.
"I'm confused" Zoey simply states.
"Michael here, has called me because I am just another LA fuckboy with much followings over the many scandals I've had in my past." Logan announces sarcastically.
"That's not what I said, and I didn't say anything about multiple scandals –
"Oh, but isn't that what people imply by saying the word 'experience'?" Logan pressed angrily.
"Logan, I didn't mean to upset you, I just thought you may have tips for Zoey." Michael corrects himself.
"Of course. I shouldn't be upset, you're right. It's not like I came to you as a friend and said that I didn't want my business out there anymore than it had. It was all my fault and I guess I should spread my invaluable knowledge to everyone.
"Logan, please. It was stupid for me to even mention this, I should have known not to do this to you –
"Or no, I am fine. This is for Zoey, right?" Logan turns to Zoey. "Get yourself a lawyer, lots of cash, and on top of all of that, don't try to fucking kill yourself while getting swallowed alive." Logan grabs Zoey's whiskey glass and gulps back the dark liquid. He has an internal battle with himself and it results in the glass hitting against the wall and shattering all over the floor. Zoey shrieks in shock while Michael watches disappointingly, mainly towards himself. "Good luck" Logan storms out the apartment and slams the door behind him.