Amory is greeted by a fellow Sea Org member on the bus to the Celebrity Center for MEST work.
Last lines: But she keeps smiling as she sits down in the last row. Amory rests comfortably for the first time in weeks. She is reminded about how deeply she is tied to these people, and questions if she will ever, really, be able to disconnect.
They ride the bus across town to the Celebrity Center. Amory looks in awe as they enter the building. After a month of constant work by at least twenty Sea Org members, the place is coming together. What began as an empty shell is taking shape and becoming a beautiful space. The ballroom is being transformed into an auditorium with a removable stage, the perfect venue to host a range of events, from live shows and fancy parties to workshops and lectures. Everything an established or aspiring actor could need.
Even though it’s not finished, she can see how it’s going to look, in all its opulent splendor. She has mixed feeling about The Church and how they will use the space, but she feels good about the work she has done. Seeing such an immediate transformation is deeply satisfying.
Amory is glad to be back at work. The thought of laboring towards a definite goal is reassuring to her, not nearly as confusing as what happened between Adam and Kimberley. She knows how to set a goal, and she knows how to work. People are a different story.
As usual, Adam checks in with the foreman and gets their task for the day. He says to Amory, “They got us on ductwork today. Ever done it?”
She wants to rehearse her new strategy for auditing—make up stories The Church wants to hear. Let them believe she is being “rehabilitated” while she is really just routing out. “Let me think …” she says. “Yeah, I did ductwork once. It was in 1748, and I was a homeless girl who needed a job to buy some food. That was the job I got.”
Adam rubs his chin skeptically. “1748 huh?” he asks. “Ductwork wasn’t around then.”
“Oh, right.” Amory’s cheeks turn red in embarrassment. Making up stories with plausible events can be difficult since she lacks knowledge about most non-Scientology topics.
“What’s with the story?” he asks.
Without thinking too much, Amory confides in him, saying, “Just practicing. I need to be ready for my next session.”
Adam steps in closer and asks, “Ready for what?”
She wants to trust him. She is never like this with anyone, but she needs to change. She responds, honestly, “I’m going to route out. I need them to think I’m rehabilitated.” The words sound strange in her voice. Impossible even.
He gives her a wink, just a quick flash of his right eye. She thinks that he understands her. With his look, Amory’s body tenses up again. She can’t tell if it’s just the attention or a true attraction, but she doesn’t care either way. Between this and the greeting from Kimberly earlier, Amory no longer feels invisible.
They organize their supplies and figure out a plan for the day. The amount of silver tubing is intimidating. It loops back over itself so many times that the pile is as tall as she is. Amory needs order, though, so she asks Adam what a reasonable goal for the day would be. She’s lost without her battle plan and stats.
When Adam admits that he doesn’t know how people measure progress for ductwork, Amory gives him a flirtatious sigh, and asks “You mean you don’t know everything?”
“Ha, ha,” he says with a sigh and rubs the back of his neck with his right hand. “I’d guess they measure it in linear feet.”
Amory scans the pile of silver tubing. “How about we finish this room?”
“You’re the boss, apparently” Adam replies.
As they begin the ductwork, Amory stops what she is doing and asks Adam, “Can you do me a favor?”
He wipes the sweat from his brow and pauses to give her his full attention. “Sure,” he says. “Anything you need.”
“Will you go through the Int Rundown commands with me?” She asks, looking around to be sure no one is listening. Her eyes plead for help.
“Amory, I …”
“That’s fine if you don’t want to…” she says, avoiding eye contact. “I was only kidding.”
He grabs her hands and pulls her close. “I’d be happy to help you.”
She releases an audible sigh of relief and her body relaxes into his arms. “Thank you,” she says, resting her head on his strong chest.
A long moment later, a familiar voice interrupts them. “I’m glad MEST work is so … comfortable,” Daisy says.
Amory and Adam both jump back a foot at the sound of Daisy’s voice. Adam snaps into a salute and Amory follows his lead halfheartedly. “Sir.” Adam stammers for the correct words. “We didn’t expect to see you here.”
“No,” Daisy says, inspecting them like a drill sergeant. “Obviously you didn’t. Adam,” she trains her sights on him. “Can I speak with you … alone.”
Daisy leads Adam away, and Amory watches them cross the room. Before she even realizes what she’s doing, she finds herself pacing back and forth between the pile of silver tubing and the opposite wall, unable to stop the constant motion of her feet. It is twelve strides side to side. Amory tries to breathe to the pace of her feet as she races back and forth. Adjacent to her is the building’s exit. The neon-green exit sign catches her eye, and she considers running—just leaving everything and starting again. Truly disconnecting.
She turns to finish her current lap, so her back is to the door. Just as she is about to change direction again, she sees Daisy and Adam returning from around the corner. Her heart races as she pivots to complete her lap. The exit is directly in front of her. All she needs to do is run. Adam is far enough away that she could probably make it out of the building and disappear somehow before he could catch up to her.
But she hesitates a second too long. Adam sees her eying the exit and runs over to her. He grabs her upper arm like a prisoner and whispers in her ear, “What are you thinking?”
She flexes her bicep and instinctively pulls away. She silently implores him to release her.
He whispers, more softly this time, “Just come with me. You need to let me help you if you don’t want to be declared.” She holds the tension in her body. She doesn’t feel like she has a choice with his hand gripping her arm.
Daisy catches up to them, calmly, never increasing her pace. “Let her run if she wants,” she says to Adam. “The ethics project is voluntary, after all.” She sets her sights square on Amory and continues, “You can leave whenever you want.”
The color red floods Amory’s vision. She takes a deep breath and counts to five before exhaling. With a long, slow release of air, she lets herself relax into Adam’s grip.
“That’s what I thought,” Daisy says, and exits the room.
Once Daisy is clear of earshot, Adam lectures Amory. “What were you thinking? You can’t just run. Where would you go? What money do you have?” His voice grows louder with each question. “And what about your family? You’d never see them again.”
“What family?” Amory fires back. But she knows he’s right. She must continue her strategy of routing out properly if she ever wants to build a real life for herself one day.
Scenes from the Next:
Daisy stands before Amory’s Comm Ev committee