Trapped In A Boiling Pot


Summary

Trapped In A Boiling Pot is a story about two roommates who are forced to live together for over a year during the COVID-19 lockdown in Los Angeles, California. One roommate is a software engineer by trade and the other is a failing Hollywood actress and former model. Though initially having zero in common with each other outside of being trapped together in a small two bedroom, limited space apartment, both grow close as they learn to cook through the use of an Instant Pot and online videos.

Characters

Keith Watanabe – A veteran software engineer by trade whose soul has been utterly sucked out of him in working for the corporate world for too long and has been living in his apartment for almost a decade. Alone with grief from being kicked out of his old home by his aunt after his mother had a stroke and his aunt deeming him unfit to care for his mother (as well as taking over custody of his mother), Keith is anti-social and wishes he can be anywhere else in the world besides where he is now. However, his true hopes and dreams are to be an artist of sorts, particularly a writer for which he never has any opportunities to come up with material as a result of being constantly overworked. He had gone to school for writing and has a keen sense of the humanities whereas his roommate does not believe since he is Asian and a software engineer, which befits more of his stereotype.

Emilia Clarke – Early in her career, she was the darling of Hollywood, given a prominent role in a major hit TV series on HBO and featured in major movie franchises such as Star Wars, the Terminator and even a Marvel Comics movie. In addition, she was sought out as a model once her TV role ended for various make up commercials. Over time though, many of her movies bombed and people began criticizing her acting ability as the reason for her works’ failures, which led to diminishing roles. However, she had a few early investment opportunities that went up in flames (literally) which cost her millions of dollars and ultimately had left her near bankrupt. Just as COVID-19 was about to hit, she was cast in an upcoming major TV role that would help rebound her career. But once COVID-19 hit, the whole show was cancelled with the production company pulling out and all the money gone, along with her first check.

Location

San Pedro, California. Mostly inside Seaport Homes next to Ranchos Palos Verdes estates.

Albertsons super market (next door to the apartment complex)

Time

The period occurs just before the Los Angeles lockdown in 2020 for COVID-19, around February of 2020 and the film takes place over a course of a year.

The Story

We initially encounter Emilia Clarke who is running late at a home she recently purchased in Malibu that she found was a bargain as an investment vehicle (so she heard from a shady friend) and has been having a rough past year or so with bad movies and less major offers. Everything goes wrong that day for her, including a fender bender trying to get to a Hollywood lot where she will be filming her newest TV role, which is a major big budget production. On the radio, we hear about the impending COVID-19 pandemic along with rising tensions in the nation and the upcoming election.

Once Emilia arrives on set, her day seems to be progressing normally but she begins hearing other staff discussing COVID-19, where there are two views. Some believe it’s a hoax and others fear that California will become victim to it. Despite these talks, Emilia’s primary concern is about her pending paycheck as she owes a lot of money by the end of the month for her property, which has been delayed due to funding issues by the production company that had been ongoing. She receives no updates on the matter and by the end of the day, she figures she needs to give up her property, which cost her and will be required to move quickly.

On another side of town, over in Culver City, we meet Keith Watanabe, an overworked software engineer who sits in endless meetings where his 15 managers or so badger him repeatedly for updates on a major company wide project that is due before the end of the month. The project is for the LA Dodgers which has put an extraordinary amount of pressure on Keith as the lead for this project. There are a few people in the company that heavily dislike him because they know he’s more than capable of executing the project and they thwart him at every turn to ensure his side of the project fails. Because of the insurmountable pressure, Keith has zero energy and is constantly depressed, ready to rage to quit at any moment.

Flip back to Emilia who is seen desperately seeking a new housing deal and stumbles across a place in San Pedro called Seaport Homes. It’s affordable for her even though the distance to work would be hellacious. But she makes the call and moves her suitcase and damaged car to the complex and signs a month-to-month lease, expecting that her production company will eventually pay her so she can move closer. At the same time, Keith is on his way home, expected to spend all night staying up to manage a major release. He’s completely worn out and misses dinner because they let him out late but give him virtually no time to do anything more besides return.

Before Keith is able to enter the main elevator, Emilia beats him and he has to do a double take as he recognizes her as a fan of her work. When he trudges up the stairs, he meets Emilia fumbling with the door lock and realizes that she’s his neighbor. Surrounding her is her possessions which include a newly purchased pillow, sleeping bag and a few blankets. He tries to be neighborly but she is quite deflecting. Nonetheless, she eventually admits whom she is and indicates that she will be his neighbor. Seeing that she only has a suitcase and her purchases, Keith offers her couch so that she does not hurt her back but she refutes him saying that sleeping flat is better for ones back. Finally, he makes an offer to grab some dinner after his work unofficially ends (meaning the release) but she simply gets annoyed and slams the door on his face and asks him to leave her alone.

Later that night, Keith has a shouting match with people on a conference call as the release goes terribly wrong since one of the outsourced developers from overseas, who barely understands English, has seriously botched some code and a blame game initiates. The shouting match is loud enough for Emilia to hear and she furiously knocks on his door for him to cut it out. Because of how sour of a mood that puts him in, Keith slams his laptop closed and decides to go to sleep. Unfortunately for him, his sleep is interrupted around 3am as Emilia has a “guest” over and he hears her moaning loudly through the walls. Keith slams his fist against the wall and shouts that he’s sleeping and reminds them of the noise level official hours.

The following day, both Keith and Emilia encounter each other in the parking lot. Emilia has the space next to his and he scoffs at how she drives a dinged up Mercedes, expecting a star of her caliber to be driven in a limo everywhere. Angrily, she takes off for work while he does the same. Over in Hollywood at the studio, Emilia finds the set almost empty. There’s an assistant who is wearing a mask bearing a long ruler and prodding anyone getting within a yard of him. When Emilia asks what’s going on, the assistant explains that the production has been completely shutdown as a COVID-19 precautionary measure so almost everyone has been sent home. Additionally, one of the producers comes out of a meeting to inform Emilia that the studio is undergoing a legal battle and that no one will be paid because there is no money, possibly for a while. Pretty much Emilia’s world comes tumbling down rapidly and she rushes home depressed.

On the other hand, Keith is involved in an all hands meeting where the CEO of his company declares permanent work from home as LA announces a city-wide lockdown for at least the week. But what that entails for Keith’s project is that the deadline is pushed out another month where Keith bluntly thanks COVID-19 and probably is the only one in the room who finds the situation amiable. Nonetheless, everyone is encouraged to leave home since the lockdown measures will be starting from 7pm with a curfew taking place.

Both Emilia and Keith arrive at their respective doors at the same time with opposing moods. Keith is quite elated whereas Emilia’s future is completely in doubt. Keith tries to find some compassion for her despite the previous night but wanting to appear strong, Emilia brushes him off and slams the door with a keen locking sound from the other side while she weeps loudly. Keith shrugs but does call out to her offering to pick up dinner in an hour before the curfew starts. She doesn’t respond.

After she cleans herself up, Emilia goes back downstairs to go out for a drive and pick up dinner for herself. She does not realize the amount of gas she has used and her car won’t start up. As she does not want to alert more people in the complex about her presence, she knocks on Keith’s door as he still is at home getting ready to grab dinner and apologizes for her behavior earlier. Then she asks if she can accompany him wherever he intends to go. He agrees and they hop in his RAV4 to go up the street to the Del Taco. She’s unhappy about his choice since she needs to maintain her figure and Keith responds that she’s a toothpick compared to him. While they arrive at the Del Taco, they noticed that along the way the three markets on the same street were all packed with shoppers who filled their carts with toilet paper, canned goods, cleaners and water. Neither think much of it as the Del Taco itself still remains normal. But when Emilia goes to order, she relents and makes a giant order as she’s starved but learns she only has a few dollars to her name and says she’ll owe him later. He’s fine with it and says that he’ll pay for them.

As she has no furniture as of yet (and virtually nothing else), she asks to eat with him. They have a discussion and find out neither can cook. In Keith’s case, he eats out almost every day and only keeps a few canned goods and tons of frozen food around. On the other hand, Emilia usually has her meals catered or is out with friends or on business trips. Neither have anytime to cook and are about as equally skilled with a knife as the other. While they are eating, an email notice is sent to the residents of the complex that the complex will be monitoring closely the situation of COVID-19 and intends to enforce the lockdown mandate on premise within the hour. Because of that, Emilia scrambles back to her apartment but realizes she has only the bare essentials within her suitcase to survive and does not even have toilet paper where the Del Taco begins acting up and she needs to use the toilet badly. Once again, she begs Keith to use his premise but brings her stuff as both are in a way imprisoned in his apartment for the night.

Humiliated, Emilia blames the situation squarely on Keith but it becomes clear that they will be forced to spend the night together. Things get worse for Emilia as she examines her bank account and learns that the damage on her car will cost her the remaining money in her account. Without any income, she will be forced to cancel her lease. However, she does not want to reveal that information to Keith. In the meantime, Keith already is planning out the week as he goes to Amazon Fresh and begins a bulk order of food items, finding that the site is having problems because of the increased volume. Nonetheless, he manages to secure a delivery date and begins assembling an order. Emilia requests a few items, including some personal things which makes him suspicious of her situation. Still, he respects her privacy and does not question her further.

With the impending weekend though and Keith’s schedule suddenly loosening as a result of the delayed release, Keith’s schedule is freed up so he begins to enjoy himself the only way he knows how: he plays computer games. Emilia is disgusted by his nerdiness, calling him stereotype names and wishing he has a TV. As she does not own a computer herself, her only form of entertainment is her phone. But even that becomes doubtful as she knows she has to pay for her phone bill down the road. The guy she was seeing tries to hook up again and tries to sneak into the complex but gets caught by the night watchman and is arrested for trespassing. Keith overhears the conversation and ridicules her for trying something stupid during a lockdown. She acknowledges her dumb idea and curls up on the couch. Feeling sorry for her, Keith offers his bedroom since the bed would be better for her and she could get some privacy. Instead, she asks just to take his spare room which is flooded by boxes of Lego but has enough room to lay her sleeping bag down on.

Over the weekend, Emilia tries to find new roles from her agent but nothing is coming up because of the lockdown. She has no money to fly back to England and no one knows for certain when any of this will end. The guy friend tries to call her from jail to post bond and pick him up but her car refuses to start. It becomes quite clear to her that the situation will get worse before it gets better so she continues to stay within Keith’s apartment while he orders food for them both. The food delivery is badly botched when the deliverer (who rides a bike) places the package several streets down, does not respond because of a horrible thunderstorm overhead and Keith’s refrigerator is near empty. Neither Emilia nor Keith want to leave his apartment because of COVID so Keith just orders Papa John’s, which is up the street but something that Emilia isn’t a fan of because of their political stance. Nonetheless, he convinces her that they’re at least reliable and she relents after sitting around in her room starving once the delivery comes in. It completely goes against her diet but she doesn’t care because she’s too hungry.

Two months pass and we see that the lockdown situation has not died down. People believed that by spring COVID-19 would be reduced because the uninformed thought it was merely similar to the seasonal winter flu. Instead, things have gotten progressively worse with several of Keith’s own coworkers catching very bad versions of it as well as a few friends. All the roles up in Hollywood had dried up to the point where Emilia not only is out of work but she becomes completely dependent on Keith to help pay some of her bills, especially her phone bill. And tensions have risen as a result of what Keith deemed the onslaught of mass cabin fever.

Nonetheless, for Keith, who is used to living alone, none of this impacts him much. In fact, he seems slightly happier because he no longer has to commute to a terrible office, deal with traffic nor wake up earlier except for early morning meetings, which have been reduced since his main project, while still progressing, is pretty much delayed indefinitely. On the other hand, Emilia is a complete mess as she has fallen into terrible habits, becomes slovenly, no longer wears make up and has gained some weight, dresses in the same pajamas almost every day and almost has given up trying to find new roles in Hollywood. At one point, Keith suggested trying out Twitch to make some income off her name but she scoffs seeing it or similar platforms like Cameo or OnlyFans as demeaning to her.

Oddly, both have become very comfortable around one another where they often are seen sharing opposite ends of Keith’s couch, perched up against some pillows and on one of Keith’s electronic devices. There’s a scene where Keith stumbles upon Emilia using the toilet with the door open and he gags in horror while Emilia politely tells him to close the door without any reaction to his reaction. There’s a montage where Emilia tries to relax around the living room where Keith has an old couch that she falls through. She tries using two of the dining room rolling chairs as a makeshift couch but ends up slipping and needs Keith to help her out. She tries using his gaming chair but almost falls backwards. Eventually, she just plops down on the opposite end of Keith’s main couch and takes up the opposite end with her feet in Keith’s face and her mobile device covering hers to avoid his glaring. Instead though, he shrugs and this becomes their primary living position.

After Keith’s work finishes every night, both share Keith’s laptop where they watch Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime movies and TV shows together because he has no television. They often argue what to watch and he doesn’t want to use his work laptop as he argues, “It’s a direct violation of company property” not to mention that someone online might try to ping him about work through Slack. The only times he’s not on the couch is when he’s playing on his gaming machine, on the toilet, in the kitchen or on the toilet.

With teleconferencing becoming a major deal, Emilia tries virtual dating with the guy who got sent to prison but gets rejected when he sees her new “look.” She doesn’t realize it at first as the guy shuts off his webcam and makes excuses about how it’s not functioning properly. Later, he ends up ghosting her and she discovers that he’s already dating someone else. Heartbroken, Emilia decides that she wants to go to a club in the evening. However, Keith warns her off and says that if she leaves the apartment for that club, he won’t let her back in because of a similar situation that happened to a coworker of his who caught COVID. She tells him he can’t deal with the current situation anymore because she needs to feel like she has a life again. Keith says she doesn’t need whatever that means and tells her what she needs is to be strong. Ignoring Keith, Emilia rushes downstairs to jump in her car (which she had fixed from Keith’s AAA guy) and turns on the engine, preparing to head back to Hollywood. The radio turns onto the news where she hears how the party she was invited to not only was busted by the police but that several people were tested positive for COVID. Cursing, she returns upstairs and apologizes to Keith and cries into his arms.

Several weeks pass into late May by where the situation looks even bleaker than expected as cases of COVID rise while George Floyd is murdered by a police officer, sparking mass protest around the country. In addition, the elections become red hot as both Biden and Trump fiercely contest against each in the background of the chaos. COVID does not slow while cost of goods start to spike. A slew of layoffs happen at Keith’s company, which Keith believe are all political but upper management justifies with cutbacks, even though their business is mostly contract oriented. Tempers flare around Keith’s project as management are determined to launch the project with tons of bugs and issues while stress builds as secret meetings occur on Zoom calls. Like the protests around them, Keith too is on the breaking point where he finds it harder and harder to rationalize staying with this abusive company. His blood pressure spikes and every day he is on the bring of a nervous breakdown.

Emilia has moved into acceptance that her career as an actress and model is now dead. As the world crumbles around them, Emilia welcomes various bad habits, namely adopting a poor diet, bad sleep patterns and playing games while Keith works. Her hygiene most of all has suffered and she now bathes just once a week. Keith tries to encourage her but she sees her age, weight and the overall lack of attention towards her as her death knell. Her dating life is gone and she heard from another friend that the guy she was seeing leaked her FaceTime camera photo of her to others in that social circle for which she is now ostracized.

Keith tries to remain supportive saying that he will continue to provide for them. Later that night, he gets a letter from his manager that he was chosen next in line for the chop block, despite all his efforts at work. In actuality, he is relieved as he hated that job and wants to focus on a creative aspect of his life that he had been denied since starting that job. On the other hand, Emilia thinks he’s weak and he should be more worried since the future is uncertain. He replies that he has savings for a few years that he planned on using for a down payment on a house. She isn’t confident in him as he turns to his writing. Feeling that she’s the one in jeopardy, she blows up in his face, saying that he’s not taking life seriously. But he retorts with how she wanted to go and party at a super spreader event. He tells her he can live humbly but calls her shallow for a material life whereas he has been forced to struggle since the day he was born. The argument gets so heated that he tells her that she has a week to look for a new place or he’s going to contact the office to have her evicted (not knowing about California’s stupid resident laws at first).

The argument does waken Emilia up as she realizes that she now must look for an alternative job to make payments while searching for a new place. Many spots’ prices have increased drastically while her actual skills outside of acting are limited. She only receives a few calls because of her name but no one believes she actually is the once famous actress and think she’s just a troll after seeing her on various Zoom interviews. After Keith goes to return his work computer and pick up a few belongings at his desk, he returns with a great amount of relief but also is extremely anxious as riots break out in Los Angeles. That causes him to have an anxiety attack where Emilia tries to contact his care provider but the hospital is backed up with COVID patients. He recovers and reveals to her that he only had a panic attack, although his blood pressure was through the roof. In turn, both look at each other realizing that their living condition, while not ideal, still could be improved upon just by changing their diets slightly.

Going to the grocery store, they buy various things but fumble several recipes as neither have very good skills with cooking. At the same time, food prices are slowly skyrocketing and aren’t restocked as frequently which means they would need to plan out their meals much better and ration. They try various things from salads that end up spoiling because they can’t finish them to high fat canned meals like corned beef hash, which Keith ends up eating all by himself because Emilia thinks they’re beneath her, all to failure. This leads to more fighting between the two while tensions around the country and world rise. Creatively, Keith is stumped because he’s stressed out and can’t concentrate on his projects with Emilia getting on his case and she can’t find any jobs with her skill set. She almost resigns herself to working at the market or Starbucks, despite the risk until another outbreak at one of the restaurants in the plaza ends up causing a stir and demotivating her from applying. A few days after the city board of health condemns the plaza and shuts down most of the stores until 90% of the staff are tested and cleared.

That dampens their spirits to the point where they lose complete motivation and mope around Keith’s apartment. Keith finally halts their Uber Eats habits as his budget tightens up and they’re forced to figure out what to do about food with Amazon Fresh proving to be less reliable and other online sources showing problems with dishonest deliveries and higher prices. In addition, as part of tightening up his budget, Keith removes his subscription services except Amazon Prime because of the free delivery he figures would come in handy. But it does leave the pair with very little to watch outside of YouTube and other free video sites.

While at home one night and searching for movies to watch on Amazon Prime, they discover that Prime Day is approaching (around September). On sale is an Instant Pot that is getting hyped up through one of the auto playing videos. It’s for a pretty good deal. They believe it’s a good investment and Keith makes the purchase. Excited once it arrives, they scour the internet for something that feels like home and discover a pot roast recipe over on PressureLuckCooking.com with a YouTube video. They hit the market and grab the ingredients then rush home to prepare the meal. Both work in the kitchen each doing small bits like measuring all the seasonings, adding the rub to the chuck roast and wrapping the potatoes and carrots in foil before setting it on the trivet for pressure cooking. Emilia further prepares some garlic bread and they wait around in anticipation of their first real home cooked meal. When it’s done, they both hover over the pot entranced by the smells as the last little bits are finished off with Keith cutting up the steaming meat on his cutting board while Emilia adds a cornstarch slurry to the pot to thicken up the sauce.

Finally, dinner is served and they simultaneously take a bite together. Tears of pure joy from the savory meat bring bliss to them both as they have conquered their long time fear of cooking and can enjoy their very first meal that isn’t purely canned, frozen, taken out nor delivered. The experience is so gratifying and liberating that they sit together to write up meal plans for the rest of the week, looking through recipes and buying additional accessories to help aid them through this new journey. Both start to lose a little weight and slowly gain more energy, despite how the pandemic continues to rage on around them.

As they improve, they also try to rebound on their careers. Keith focuses on his writing while Emilia pursues acting jobs as roles start to develop once again. Despite her efforts of losing weight, many casting directors reject Emilia as people have spread a nasty rumor about her during her previous show that got cancelled. Frustrated, Emilia lashes out at Keith when he suggest looking for alternative parts. She accuses him of being an unfeeling robot because of his tech background. At that point, Keith tells her about what he really wanted in life which was to be a writer. Because he had no support from his family, no connections, no understanding of how to break into anything related to what he wanted and no modern day internet, he went into programming because it was far more profitable. Not only that but it enabled him to travel to Japan and live there until all the problems with his family began.

Keith’s revelation sparks some compassion from Emilia and she then asks him for advice on her situation. He gives a blunt assessment of her career since the days of her successful TV fantasy role, calling her a fad actress that had been partly type cast and now she’s desperately trying to branch out, even though this last role practically cemented her fate. She asks what she should do and he replies that she needs to take on roles where no one can recognize her. Be someone else that you cannot identify with. He goes off listing other famous actors and actresses that departed from what people would expect, which impresses Emilia as he shows that he’s more than just an engineer.

Because of that understanding, she asks what he’s working on and he reveals a fantasy novel that actually is also set in contemporary times. When she asks whether it has a title, he admits to not having one but he already knows the ending and even suggests that one day he hopes it could be made into a TV series. He gives a small spoiler about the two main characters, who are a lonely software engineer and an elven princess knight. She can guess who the software engineer is supposed to be but she wonders who the elven princess would be cast as, for which Keith merely blushes and winks at her.

By late fall, things look really bleak as rain hits hard, the season gets colder (for Los Angeles) and that the number of COVID cases have risen with no slowing down in sight. Add to that the increased tension between communities, the police, the Republicans vs the Democrats with the impending election growing increasingly heated. Keith tries to ignore the election as he hates politics and has become disgusted by the country’s handling of COVID and protests while Emilia still jobless cannot help but to pay attention. When Biden wins, there’s a lot of controversy that continues to cause the tension inside the country to rise.

The only thing Keith cares about though is his writing and Thanksgiving. Seeing that he is able to celebrate turkey day once again, he wishes to have a real Thanksgiving dinner with Emilia. On Thanksgiving, they cook the turkey in the Instant Pot. Both are excited for the meal as they work tirelessly on the presentation despite it being just the two of them. Before Keith can dig in, she requests that they both say their thanks. Although Keith is not religious, he does give thanks for not only the food, the ability to make such food and have a home cooked meal but to once again be able to share such an experience with someone else and not be alone with just a TV dinner. He’s most thankful for having Emilia coming into his life because he doesn’t know how he would have handled the isolation without her. Likewise, Emilia admits her own thanks for the food, the blind luck of having a sweet and compassionate neighbor who took up a total stranger in harsh times, one who has fed, housed, clothed and kept her safe. After dinner, both are so stuffed that they conclude that they cannot do anything else, even clean up for the night and watch Emilia’s first TV series on his computer together. The turkey catches up to them both and they fall asleep bundled up on the couch.

For Christmas, the two spend another night making dinner, cookies and trying to enjoy the holiday together, even though it really isn’t a true holiday to them. But Keith had something special for Emilia as a present in the form of satin pajamas, a make up kit he saw her looking at for some time and a leather jacket because of how cold it had been getting. Because she has no money, Emilia makes him a gift in the  form of sewing several of his stuffed animals up, including the head of a tiny gray kitten whose body is a tiny green Christmas stocking. He’s so happy in how she managed to find the head that he scoops her up and twirls her around. However, he realizes what he’s done and apologizes profusely because of the how #MeToo movement. Nonetheless, she doesn’t mind because she was glad that she could give him anything that would make him happy. He tells her how much he appreciates it because the little gray kitten felt lonely as did his Giraffe where he would place the kitten under his Giraffe’s dirty UCI t-shirt.

Outside, a heavy storm hits with lightning and thunder booming. After they finish up dinner, the power goes out in the area and the only available sources of light for them are their mobile devices, including Keith’s laptop. The room temperature drops and Emilia freezes in the tiny space of a bedroom. With the thunderstorm overhead, she goes to Keith’s room and Keith tells her she can have his room. Instead, she wants to sleep with him because she’s scared of thunderstorms. He agrees as the two bundle under the sheets with his stuffed animals. As they draw near one another, Emilia gradually inches herself into his arms and kisses him. Shocked, Keith tells her she doesn’t need to do this. But she wants to because she’s also tired of being alone. She tells him that it occurred to her that he might be the last person she ever comes near again and that the world could end with all the craziness. Keith admits his own fear of what’s going on and says he’s never been as scared in his entire life because all of this is completely out of their control. So they enjoy the night together and admit their love for one another.

New Years rolls around and the plethora of bad news around the world does not cease. January 6th comes and both watch in horror as the Capitol itself is besieged by Trump supporters. Keith shuts off the laptop and they huddle in his bed both wishing the chaos to end. For February, it’s Keith’s birthday as well as Valentines Day. Emilia prepares Keith a special meal for him and bought him some Starbucks from a local shop. Then on Valentines Day Keith gives Emilia a cheesecake that he made in the Instant Pot. But when she sees the topping, there’s a ring and he asks her to marry him. It’s a lot for her to take in even though she does confess to having strong feelings towards him and asks if he could be patient to let her consider.

In the background, a vaccine has been developed for COVID and is promised to be made free of charge. Emilia wants to get it immediately as she thinks it’ll allow her to return to her normal work. However, Keith is deathly afraid of needles and feels skeptical because of how fast it was manufactured. Being an engineer he’s paranoid of things that are rushed out. That starts a new conflict between the two as Emilia secretly hopes to return to her former life.

Online conspiracies begin talking about chip implants in the vaccine and Keith starts to believe some of these views whereas Emilia tells him that he’s stupid because he already has a chip that can track him in the form of his phone, which ironically he completely glosses over despite being an engineer. The two have vastly differing views on the vaccine which leads him to become lean more conservative since he truly does not want the shot, afraid that his body won’t be able to handle it. So they begin sleeping separately once again after she receives her shot. From there she begins leaving the apartment more frequently for longer periods while he grows depressed especially as Los Angeles is demanding to force more people to get the vaccine with a mandate that would prevent people without the vaccine card from entering certain places.

Emilia goes on a strict diet and begins exercising both downstairs and at a nearby gym. Her agent tells her that the TV show she was to be working on fired the executive producer and replaced him with a competent one. As a result, the suit was settled and she would be receiving half of the promised money upfront plus a massive bonus because of the fiasco. Her old colleagues who worked on the show comment on how good she looks and bring her back into their social circle. Once she receives her money, she leaves Keith without a trace.

That situation sends Keith into a bad state of depression that’s compounded by the city mandate. He tries to contact Emilia through her Instagram but gets blocked and decides to commit suicide. He leaves a long comment on one of her recent Instagram posts using an alternate account, hoping that she may eventually see it. Instead, it gets buried in between thousands of comments and he ends up sitting in his bed trying to starve himself to death.

Over on the set of Emilia’s fantasy TV show, she sits waiting as the crew setup a scene. Some are masked, others are not. There’s various discussions going around about the turmoil in the country. She hears from a group calling vaccines a hoax which starts a huge fight that causes the scene to be delayed while one of the producers takes time to sort out the issue (i.e. fire people). Her hair dresser styles her up and peppers her with compliments as does her makeup artist and costume designer. Despite what she witnesses on the set, she feels back home.

However, her agent drops by to hand her check over and asks for a private moment with her as he brings in some bad news on how the executive producers believe she needs to drop another 30 pounds. They say she doesn’t look the part anymore and that some people believed she was pregnant when she arrived. She doesn’t believe him but he insists on looking outside where some of the staff are bad mouthing her, including the people who she was just with. The agent says that the production company does not want to spend excess money on redoing all the costumes as her costume designer revealed she had struggled with getting her into her dress. Crushed, Emilia unconsciously opens the check and finds that its only a part of the agreed amount. When she asks her agent about what happened, he says that the executive producers were being generous because they’re talking about a recast with a younger, prettier and cheaper actress who isn’t vain and much more cooperative. On top of that he tells her that he might drop her if she doesn’t lose weight and agrees that she looks pregnant.

Her agent leaves as Emilia’s support crew return inside and surround her with praise, although it’s quite apparent to her now that they’re just feeding her ego. Uneasily, she allows them to do their job but feels stifled and overhears one talk about one of the new cast members on set that they’re excited to work with. A few minutes later, the director comes around to each trailer and orders everyone home because of another outbreak of COVID and grumbles that if they have another set back they might just permanently cancel the production. Emilia is the last informed as the director, who once was chummy with her, has shifted his attitude towards her by being stand offish and asks if she got pregnant while on that “COVID vacation break.”

She returns to her hotel room where she looks at herself in the mirror and does notice a subtle change about her. She scrambles for a nearby CVS pharmacy where she picks up a home pregnancy test and finds out quickly that she is, indeed, pregnant. Panicked, she debates whether to contact her agent or Keith. Instead, it ends up being TMZ who contacts her indirectly as she gets a message from people in her social circle where someone from the press had received an image of her picking up the home pregnancy test from CVS. In turn, the news story blows up and her agent contacts her and she is forced to admit that she is pregnant. A few hours later, the agent tells her that she is being released from her contract and a small sum will be paid out to her and that he does not want to work with her anymore.

But the real concern comes up when her social media post on Instagram blows up as people are trying to get a hold of her about the suicide note Keith left on one of her post. Rushing back to Keith’s apartment, she tries to get into the complex in ringing up his door which receives no answer. She tries the box with his apartment code to get inside the building where her phone had been still connected. When she checks the door, no one answers. So she contacts the housing office to do a wellness check on him. The people in the housing office are star struck (the previous workers were replaced) but finally Emilia gets them to unlock the door after admitting to be living with Keith and being his lover (she does admonish them about spreading what she tells them and threatens legal action if any of this gets out). Once the door opens, she tells the workers to buzz off before searching for Keith. She finds him on his bed, pale, emaciated and cheeks encrusted with tears while surrounded by his stuffed animals and clutching his giraffe to his cheek. Nonetheless, he’s still alive but severely weakened. His eyes flutter open and he hardly can register Emilia without his glasses as his mind is hazy from malnourishment but he can smell her distinct perfume like when he first encounters her.

Emilia admits that she’s pregnant with their child and apologizes for everything and vows to care for him after reading his love note to her. She accepts his original proposal to marry her because he’s the only person that treated her fairly when everyone else tried to use her. When he asks about her career, she tells him she doesn’t care because she found something else that actually cared about her and taught her what’s really important. She makes them a hearty soup and helps replenish his strength. A few months later, she takes out a letter from a law firm with a massive check from a lawsuit she had against her agent and the production company over her wrongful termination. The whole TV show is completely cancelled and she gets half of the original budget.

In turn, the pair move to the country side where Emilia gets a new side of fame through becoming a gamer girl on Twitch as well as hosting a cooking show on YouTube which becomes a massive hit. At their wedding ceremony they invite all the YouTube and online Instant Pot content creators/influencers over with the guy from PressureLuckCooking.com to officiate their wedding. It also serves as a special press release ceremony for Keith’s finished fantasy novel which has gone on to become a massive hit in the states. After they kiss, Gale Anne Hurd walks in as a surprise guest to congratulate them on their wedding as well as offering to turn Keith’s novel into a TV show. When she asks who should play the two main characters, both Emilia and Keith look into the camera with a knowing grin. End of story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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