(This is a continuing series called “Kissing Frogs” posted whenever my pregnancy brain lets go of my creative cortex. To get caught up, you can click the “Kissing Frogs . . . so far” link at the top of the page.) Because three people asked about Kissing Frogs this week, I am going to try to post at least two more installments this week, and get back to the regular Friday posting. Try.
Out of the corner of her eye, Tracey saw Jack and Joey step quietly back into the break room. Her fingers were slightly numb from the pressure with which Andrew was holding her hand. Pressure she certainly hoped was intended as reassuring support. All of that, however, was eclipsed by the overwhelming presence of her father.
She couldn’t handle this today of all days! There was too much riding on today, and she just couldn’t let daddy step in and take it all off the rails!
Mudding sheet rock was boring and, unfortunately quiet work. There was nothing at all to muffle the clear voices that began, almost simultaneously, and ran over each other, in the hallway, directly outside the break room door.
“Daddy, I can’t do this right now! I’m sorry you had to see me with Andrew like this, but I can’t take time to hear the ridiculous and partisan things you’re going to say. I have an important appointment to keep that could well be the tipping point in Sophia Publishing history, and whatever you think you have to say would probably benefit from a cool down period. I’ll come by the club for brunch on Saturday and we can hash it all out there.”
“Tracey! I just can’t do this right now. I am so sorry to arrive for a quick father/daughter lunch and find you . . . like this. I can’t stand here and hear the ridiculous partisan things I’m sure he will say. I have an important appointment today that could be a very good thing for Sophia Publishing but I can’t talk to you without a cooling down period. Come by the club for brunch on Saturday and we’ll hash this out like a civilized family.”
The sound of footsteps, and stairs descended, and doors closed followed leaving only the sound of trowels scraping putty across taped seams.
“They’re not paying us enough.” said Jack, earnestly.
Sitting in the back seat of Andrew’s town car, his fingers resting on her shoulder and the city passing by, Tracey felt like she was a passenger on a runaway train. She had that same feeling in the pit of her stomach as just before take off any time she had to fly. She closed her eyes and told herself the same thing she did every time she was in a plane.
“It’s going to be all right. I’m in good hands.”
“You certainly are,” replied Andrew, startling her. “There’s no reason to be nervous. You’re about to give Sophia publishing the launch a thousand publishers in your place could only dream of.”
The sweat popped out on her neck and gathered a little at her temples. She could feel the shakes in her legs already and her mouth was as dry as flannel in a prairie. She nervously mopped her temples, and put on her joking face.
“Well, at least no one’s going to have to see me. One of the great things about radio, right?”
Andrew’s eyes went completely serious, and he turned his body toward her, abruptly dropping all physical contact.
“This is the new media, Tracey. We video stream the entire show live to tens of thousands of subscribers. I thought you understood that. I have hair and makeup waiting at the studio. That’s why we’re arriving an hour before the show goes live.”
Tracey blinked, and put on her best smile.
“Well. I better dazzle them then, hadn’t I?”
Andrew relaxed and patted her thigh. “That’s my girl.”
The airplane in Tracey’s stomach had just gone acrobatic.