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Sophie Reid’s car inched onto the Laurel Canyon entrance ramp, slowing to the usual crawl to enter the Hollywood freeway heading east. The hot, dry Santa Ana winds blew across the San Fernando Valley, causing waves of heat to shimmer on the asphalt. She flipped down her visor and looked at herself in the mirror while waiting for the cars to creep through the light metering traffic at the top of the ramp. She snapped her fashionably oversized shades over her gray eyes, and smiled, knowing she looked good. She pushed the appropriate button with her French manicured finger, and the convertible top glided down with a whisper.
On a whim, she had dyed her chin length bob sunflower yellow to match the color of her new Volkswagen Beetle convertible, and she felt like showing off a little. She’d gone braless as usual, and wore a raspberry colored Henley top adorned with rhinestone buttons. She even gave a pageant style wave to the person behind her who had laughed and pointed at her vanity license plate. EW A BUG. It got her, and the car, a lot of attention, and admittedly, she liked it that way.
When more than a few minutes had passed, and Sophie hadn’t moved but a few centimeters, she was sorely tempted to bang ineffectively on her horn to try to get the cars to move faster. At this snail’s pace, her good mood was fading fast. She had left her house with little time to spare, forgetting about the ominous back to school and work traffic that jammed already clogged freeways every September. Now she started to worry that her late arrival would delay the filming of the television show she worked on. The idea of an entire production team of at least hundred people waiting for her arrival made her hands sweat. She shunned a lot of traditional values, but punctuality was not among them.
After what seemed an interminable wait, she finally moved from the entrance ramp onto the actual one-oh-one freeway only to find the traffic at almost a complete standstill. She looked at the car’s dashboard clock and knew she was going to be very, very late to the studio for her call time if she didn’t get across six lanes of stopped traffic on the Hollywood freeway and onto the Ventura freeway to speed her way to Burbank quickly. Looking at the clock again, then her watch, as if the large faced man’s timepiece on her wrist would give her a different time, she realized it was unlikely she was going to make it.
After berating herself for leaving too late and taking the freeway rather than the street, she fished in the large orange tote bag on the passenger seat for her mobile phone, ready to make her excuses. When she noticed that almost everyone was out of his or her car, and the freeway had come to a grinding halt, she stopped worrying whether she would be able to complete the actor’s make-up in time for the filming,.
"Hey, what’s going on?" she called to an older woman, who had exited her Bentley and nimbly sprinted past several cars in a designer business suit and spindly four-inch Jimmy Choo heels.
"There’s a dog on the road," she said breathlessly, only pausing for the briefest of moments to answer. "We’re trying to catch him before he gets run over."
It was then that she saw it. A little red fur ball of a dog ran in between the stopped cars, and dodged every single one of the people who tried to catch him or her. The long dormant animal lover in Sophie woke up and propelled her out of the car, knowing now she was definitely going to be unacceptably late, but not caring any longer, and joined the dog pursuit. The thought of seeing an innocent dog killed on the road scared her and she ran after the dog with no regard for her personal safety. After about five minutes darting around the freeway, she and a tall impossibly broad-shouldered, sandy-haired man were able to corral the dog between themselves and their cars. When he moved to grab the dog, it ran toward her, and she triumphantly scooped the warm body into her arms. The dog’s heart was beating a million miles a minute against hers. She cradled the scared reddish-brown puppy and tried to calm it.
The handsome stranger waved at the frantic Angelenos, "She’s got him." He paused, looking at her hair, then her car, and smiling. "Hey Sunflower," he said nicknaming Sophie for her bright yellow hair, "You want me to take him?"
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