Episode 63: New Person, Same Old Mistakes
We need you on set for some gag shoots, Sam tells her the next day at brunch. Pass. I need to help Bettina get Senator Johns in the White House. She wants to talk to you. Lana closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Back to the fray then.
Sam calls Bettina and hands Lana her phone. Hi, Sam. It’s me, Bettina. Lana says. It’s about time you called me, Bettina says. I was beginning to think you don’t love me anymore. I do love you, more than ever, Lana tells her. How are you? I’m back at the apartment. I opened your mail and paid your bills, Bettina announces. You can stay there as long as you need. Thank you, sweetie. Will you come see me? I’ll be there on the next flight out. Do you want me to bring you anything? Just you. Did Sam tell you about Jenny? No, Lana says looking over at Sam. There’s a long pause. She’s gone, Lana. She wrote you a goodbye letter. I want to be there when she’s laid to rest, Lana says after awhile. Bettina chokes up. She died holding your hand, she sobs. Lana, she gave you her eyes...
Afterwards Bettina texts Simon. I’m going to Long Island to see Lana.
She flies commercial to LaGuardia. Sam is waiting to pick her up at the baggage claim. How is she? Bettina asks. Sam rolls her eyes. She’s got yet another admirer now. Levi is absolutely smitten. He waits on her hand and foot. Did you talk to her about Jax? She just told me that can wait. What is Don Ramon going to do? He’s staying out of it. What’s going on with you and Simon? We’re not speaking right now. Are you broken up? No.
Jax sees that Simon is calling and picks up on the first ring. I’ll be there in a half hour. I got two plane tickets to Long Island. Get ready. Simon hangs up. Half an hour later, he pulls up in Tom’s drive with Lana’s Volvo, and Jax is waiting in shorts and sandals with a sling backpack. He throws his stuff in the back, and they’re off to the airport.
It’s late when Sam pulls into the drive. Bettina grabs her suitcase and follows Sam into the mansion. They almost trip over Lana, asleep on a rug in front of the door, a sheet covering her, her head on a pillow taken from the couch. Hey, Bettina says softly, kneeling down. Lana smiles with her eyes closed. Hi. You didn’t think I’d let you sneak by me without getting a hug. Lana drags herself to her knees and the girls throw their arms around each other. I tried staying awake, Lana admits. I didn’t even brush my teeth. Bettina laughs. It is so good to see your face. Are you exhausted from traveling? It was worth it, Bettina declares. Let me see your eyes, Bettina tells Lana. Are they scarey? Lana asks wincing. They will be to men, Bettina says, and they all laugh. I just don’t know what to do, Lana admits. Let’s go upstairs and talk, Sam says.
Good morning, Fabio, Sam says when she sees Levi in the kitchen, pitting and chopping up some medjul dates for Lana’s oatmeal. He ignores her. Bettina comes down the stairs a couple minutes later. Good morning, Fabio, she tells Levi with a big grin. He puts the knife down and turns to face her. If I wasn’t in love with Simon, she tells him, and sighs. Sam laughs hard. He looks between them. Lana comes downstairs. Good morning, Levi. Good morning, Lana. She sits down at the table, and he sets her oatmeal in front of her, with the dates just starting to sink in. Thank you. He nods. Lana bows her head for a moment, and then starts eating. Where’s my oatmeal? Sam asks him. You are not my charge, Samantha. Want a taste? Lana asks her. Sam shakes her head no. I guess we just have to fend for ourselves, she tells Bettina. I’ll make something, Sam declares. This I have to see, says Levi, as he sits next to Lana. She finds a box of corn flakes in the pantry and pours two bowls of cold cereal. She goes to the fridge for some skim milk and sees fresh strawberries. Mmmmm. Sam announces. And slices them up. Bettina goes over to the fruit dish and hands her a banana. Sam slices that up as well, while Bettina pours half of the cereal bowls back into the bag to make room for the fruit. Do you want a bowl, Fabio? Sam asks him. He doesn’t answer. Bettina sets a prepared bowl in front of him and briefly rubs his back, then goes to get another bowl.
What’s on the agenda for today? There’s a ping pong tournament at the rec center, Levi tells Lana – if you’re up for it. Sure, I’ll cheer you on. What time does it start? One. What time do you want me ready? Eleven thirty. Bettina and I are going to do a beach run to the lighthouse, Sam interrupts. May I borrow your phone? Lana asks Bettina. I figure I better call home.
Bettina gets a text from Simon. Jax and I are at MacArthur Airport. Three hours out. Need directions.
She texts him back. We’ll be at the Montauk Rec Center all afternoon. Meet us there.
Jax and Simon come into the crowded rec center, and see that there is a ping pong tournament in progress.
Jax sees Bettina and Sam playing a couple of teenagers. And the game is close. Simon laughs when Bettina slaps a lobbed return with her paddle, winning the point, gaining applause from the onlookers. Bettina looks over and sees Simon and nudges Sam. The teenagers win. Bettina and Sam shake hands and take pictures with them, then go over to see Jax and Simon.
I’m sorry. Simon says without further ado. Bettina throws her arms around him and kisses him. I’m sorry too, she tells him. They kiss again. Where’s Lana? Jax asks. She’s watching Fabio. Sam grabs his arm and leads him over to the far end of the hall, where a crowd is watching a Hebrew face off against an Asian. The play is fantastic. Jax notices that each of the men touch the table after each point. Is that for luck? He whispers to Sam. They’re wiping the sweat from their hands. Where’s Lana? Suddenly she’s beside him with her arm around his shoulder for a quick side hug. I saw you and Simon come in, she whispers. He sees that she’s wearing Sam’s sunglasses. She watches as Levi recovers two smashes and wins the point, and claps her approval.
The Asian comes back and wins the match 5-3. The men shake hands after the game. I got winner, Simon says loudly, and motions for Levi’s racket. The tournament is over, sir. That was the final. Oh, I understand, Simon says loudly, and turns around to face the crowd at the manifest unfairness. IS THERE NO ONE ELSE? I’ll play you, Simon. One of the teenagers says. You’re on. Call this an exhibition. Want to rally for serve? I’m hot even when I’m cold, Simon declares. Bettina and Lana try not to laugh. You serve. The teenager aces Simon, who wiffs at it. Lana throws back her head and laughs. Simon gets his paddle on the next one, and it hits a spectator. Lana gasps for air. Your turn to serve, Simon. He does a bounce serve that goes off the table. Lana keeps gasping for air. It’s the padding. Just not used to it. He does a bounce serve again, and the teenager smashes it. He read my spin, Simon mutters loudly. Lana is clasping herself laughing. The teenager does a bounce serve, copying Simon, who imitates Bettina and slaps it for the point. His fan section erupts as he goes over to Bettina for a celebratory kiss. The teenager does another fast serve and Simon isn’t able to get his racquet on it. Simon serves and suddenly it’s game over. I thought we play to 21, Simon protests. I haven’t even begun to bring it. Lana and the other spectators break out laughing. If you’re ever in Portland, we’re doing a rematch he tells the teenager, as they shake hands.
There – I’ve worked up an appetite. What’s for dinner? Your call, Simon, Sam tells him, grinning at him. I’ve missed you, Simon, Lana says, giving him a side hug, and putting her head on his shoulder. What do you want to eat, Lana? I’m good with whatever, she tells him. You pick, he tells her. She whispers in his ear. Hey, 11-1, do you know of a farmer’s market around here, where I could pick up some fresh veggies?
Simon, Sam, and Bettina make tuna salad when they get home, while Lana takes a nap. Please wake me up when Saul gets back. It’s dusk when Lana gets up, and she puts her eyedrops in. There’s a post-it note on her door in Bettina’s handwriting. There’s a bowl of tuna salad in the fridge when you get up.
Lana goes downstairs and pulls out the dish and brings it to the table with a glass of water. Simon comes in to get something from the fridge, and sees her. Hey, he says, and sits down with her. How are you doing? On a scale of one to ten? Seven. That’s it? My scale just goes from three to eight, Simon. I don’t do extremes. I’m glad you and Bettina made up, she tells him. So what are you going to do about Jax? Simon asks. I’m not going to go gambling with you, Simon, Lana says smiling at him. Simon laughs. Bettina comes into the kitchen to find Simon and sees them sitting together. She turns around and leaves. A minute later, everyone comes into the kitchen as Simon finishes off the tuna salad.
Will you give me a neck rub? Lana asks Sam. Sam stands behind her and starts in as the others find a seat. Lana’s head droops and her eyes close as Sam kneads her shoulders. So Lana, we were just telling Fabio about our reversing the objective, I want my marriage to fail, talk.
I want my marriage to fail, so I’m going to call my husband by his nickname, Lana says, opening her eyes to grin at Levi. Everyone laughs. So what is my nickname, if Levi is Fabio, and Simon is Valiant for Truth? Bettina, do we have a nickname for Jax? Nope. Jax has always been Jax.
I am King Saul, Samantha’s uncle exclaims, and you are engaged to David. That is so CLEVER, Sam says loudly, and gives Lana a hug. She didn’t like me talking down her intended, Saul says. Lana puts her head down.
Let’s go for a walk, Jax tells her. Let’s do this here, Lana replies, in front of witnesses. Thank you, Sam. I needed that.
Jax, these are my eyes now. They’re not Jenny’s eyes. They’re mine. She gave them to me. It’s a non-returnable gift.
An engagement ring is a conditional gift. You have every right to ask for it back. Do you want your ring back, Jax? No. I want to marry you, Lana.
Thank you, Jax. Lana says softly and puts her head down. She sits there silently for a minute and no one speaks. I’ll wear it proudly until I talk to my father, she says, finally looking up at him. And what will you tell him? Jax asks. Lana doesn’t answer and puts her head down again. Here’s what you won’t tell him. That you’ve been seeing the #2 man in the Ortega drug cartel, a former Catholic priest, who was defrocked for murder. Who didn’t even bother to show up when you needed him. You know what your friend Tim told me at the hospital? That it was going to get really crowded. That he didn’t want any confrontations in front of your parents. Walk away if that’s what it takes. But it didn’t get crowded; Raul never showed. I think he sent his brother with a message for you. Let me guess. You have to go to him, to leave your friends and family behind. Sound about right, Lana?
Lana’s head stays down and she doesn’t say anything.
So the short of it is that you’re willing to give him a second chance, but not me.
I am my father’s daughter, Jax. My brother was thrown out of the house and cursed in the name of the Lord. We disowned him, and he’s now burning in hell beneath our feet. Everyone stares at her in shocked horror. The truth without love is brutality. You want truth, here it is. I’m not going to go against my father’s wishes. If he tells me to marry you after we’ve talked, then I will.
Lana, you cannot do that. Sam protests. If I cannot submit to my father, then how will I be able to submit to my husband? Lana replies. You lead; I follow – Lana says, giving Bettina a quick glance, then looking back down at the table.
Jax, not like this, Bettina tells him suddenly. Ask for your ring back. No.
Simon shakes his head at Jax, then looks over at Lana. Tell us the story behind winner’s curse.
I have two fathers, she tells the table. One is my dad. The other was my mentor on the force. He’s in heaven now, but I still run decisions by him in my mind, just to see how he would handle it, and then I try to adopt a similar solution. She closes her eyes, and is silent for a long time. I’m a hot blooded Southern woman too, Simon. That’s all you need to know. The sisterhood closes ranks, Bettina announces. We don’t speak about a married woman’s past. And just so you men don’t get the wrong idea, Lana and I encourage each other to stay pure, and hold each other accountable, and we are not ashamed of that. The guys all glance down at the table.
I really respect what you and Ramon are doing, Sam. Lana tells her. Samantha’s face turns bright red, and she looks down at the table. What are they doing? Saul asks. They are saving their first kiss for their wedding day, Bettina adds, smiling brightly and rubbing Sam’s back.
Samantha, her uncle says. She finally looks up at him. I’m giving him a pass, Saul announces. Samantha springs up from the table and runs over to her uncle and throws her arms around his neck. Levi is stunned to see her weeping.
Saul and Levi sit alone later. Lana for Sam is the outcome I have in mind, Saul tells his protégé. Is that agreeable to you? Yes. Get word to the Ortega woman. If he wants my consent, then his brother gives up any claim on Lana. And reparations are $200MM. The vig is 10% on the month.