It was just too obvious. Rita loathes being obvious. She genuinely believes she has built a career as a best-selling powerhouse author by avoiding being obvious. Arly has been designing the covers of her novels for five years now and until this one, he’d hit exactly the right notes.
“Look at this, would you? Hammer upside the head much?”
“Rita, you’re overreacting and understandably so considering, well, you know.”
Wrong answer. The icy silence that sucked the air out of the room confirmed that Evelyn had misstepped with her rockstar client. Again. Oh, well, perhaps the rockstar would dump her and Evelyn could go back to hand-holding her mid-market dreamers. She should be so lucky. But…maybe? Evelyn typed a judiciously worded email but didn’t send it yet. Then she rang the florists down the street and ordered a new orchid to be delivered to Rita’s secret lair in the warehouse district. The woman really should consider some psychoanalysis if she thought that she wasn’t “obvious”.
The launch was going smoothly. Rita was watching her wine intake and could practically see Evelyn unwind like a cartoon cat settling in for a nap. Arly had made her requested adjustments and if she still thought that cover with the bent-over old guy going through the door was heavy-handed, well, life is compromise. Even on the bestseller list.
“Rita, darling, what a triumph!”
That voice. Rita spun to face the one person she’d strictly instructed everyone not to invite to this party. When Jane was in the hospital four months ago with cancer, Rita had made the obligatory visit and said all the things you say to your sister when she’s dying. But would Jane die? Oh, hell no. Rita struggled to put her nice face in place and could tell by Jane’s expression it wasn’t working. Fuck it.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh, a helpful little bird sent me a helpful little word and how could I miss my dearest step-sister’s big night?”
Pause. Two, three, four.
“So sad about the miscarriage.” Jane’s smile at this direct hit was as serene as the Buddha’s.
Evelyn supposed she missed having the view. Her new office had two narrow windows that looked out at a construction site so she’d better enjoy that view of the turnpike while it lasted.
It was great being off the proton pump inhibitors and being able to eat what she wanted again. Well worth the cut in pay and the whispers in the corridor. No secretary down here! She went through the day’s emails and got ready for her first author of the day. His novel about time and death showed promise but would need some work.
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved.
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.