Arlyn woke up to the sound of her door being opened and a small cuss when the chain lock caught. Grabbing her phone from the back of the couch, Arlyn dialed a nine and a one. “Who’s there? I’m calling 911.”
“It’s me, Arlyn,” Molly hollered from the door. “Come let me in. I’ve been knocking for ten minutes. I was afraid you’d had an episode so I used the key.”
Arlyn hurried off the couch and went to the door to let Molly in.
“What are you doing here?” asked Aryln as she looked at the clock. It was nearly 9 pm.
“The better question is how am I supposed to save you if you’re in trouble, if you’ve chain latched the door and I can’t get in?” asked Molly. “What’s the point of giving me a key?”
“I gave you that key so you could water my plant when I went to visit my parents last month,” said Arlyn. “I don’t need saving.”
“Oh yeah,” said Molly with a shrug. “How is the ol’ plant?”
“Dead,” said Arlyn, “someone forgot to water it while I was visiting my parents last month.”
Molly let out a giggle and shrugged again. “Sorry.”
“Now, why are you here?” asked Arlyn. “Not that I mind seeing you, but you’re usually home with Greg and the kids by now.”
Molly’s smiled faded as she sank onto the couch and dropped her purse on the floor. “I just came from work. It’s really bad, Arlyn.”
Arlyn sat by her friend. “What’s going on?”
“To be blunt …” Molly turned towards Arlyn. “… layoffs, and a lot of them.”
“You didn’t get …?”
Molly shook her head. “No, not yet anyway, but if I do, and I’m not trying to be mean, but if I get laid off, it’ll be your fault.”
“My fault?” Arlyn felt her throat drop into her stomach. “How?”
“Because you’ve turned down Cordel Foster and now he’s shopping his manuscript around,” said Molly. “Being able to get Cordel in talks was a huge win for me. Actually, having him a sign a contract would have given me job security for at least the next two years. I’m not trying to put everything on you Arlyn, but I needed that big win.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Aryln. She took in deep breaths trying to steady her nerves. She felt horrible that she had put her friend in her current predicament, but knew if she got too overwhelmed with emotion she could go in a state of cataplexy.
“Arlyn, I’m really not trying to overwhelm you, but I’m begging you here to take the Foster job. I’ve never begged you for anything before. Anytime you’ve said no to a project, I’ve respected your decision and found someone else, but now I’m begging you. If he signs with another house, then I’ll be the first on the chopping block for losing a big score.” She grabbed Arlyn’s hand. “I know it isn’t fair to you, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Please, say you’ll do it.”
Arlyn sighed. “Why me? Why did Cordel Foster ask for me? I’m a ghost writer, he shouldn’t even know I exist.”
“Somehow he found you wrote Jessica Rothy’s autobiography,” said Molly. “He had to have gotten it from Jessica, herself. The company has strict rules about releasing that information. Only she is allowed to tell.”
Arlyn nodded. She knew the contract well and Molly was right. Cordel couldn’t have known Arlyn was Jessica’s ghostwriter unless Jessica told him. Arlyn shook her head. She couldn’t even figure out how they were in the same circles. Jessica Rothy was a famous explorer, like an actual explorer doing real research on insects found deep in the Amazon. She had explored more of the Amazon and found more new insect species than any other explorer. Cordel only chased things that go bump in the night.
“So Cordel read Jessica’s book and loved it,” continued Molly. “When his agent called, they asked for you specifically. It really is a huge compliment. A guy like Cordel could pick anyone, but he picked you.”
Arlyn stood and started to pace. She needed her body and brain to move at the same time. What would it really hurt her to write Cordel Foster’s story. No one would know it was her and even though he was a guy who cashed imaginary monsters, she could still tell his story without any harm to her reputation. She could ask legal to put in the contract that he could never tell she was the ghost writer, but she figured with Cordels’ ego, that wouldn’t be an issue. He’d relish in the spotlight and not having to share it.
She faced Molly who was watching her with wide, hopeful eyes. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
Molly squealed with delight and clapped her hands together. “Oh thank you, Arlyn! Thank you. Thank you.”
Arlyn knew Molly wanted to jump up and hug her, but was thankful that she didn’t. All her nerves felt like they were on the outside of her body, and even a simple hug might send her in the paralyzed state known as cataplexy.
“While you’re getting him to sign, I’ll get the first list of questions to Cathy so she can get started on the interview. Give me at least three days to pull that together, a week would be better.”
Molly’s smile faltered. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible.”
“Molly, I need at least three days to do the research. If he’s busy then push the book back. If he likes my writing so much, then he should appreciate all the research, thought, and effort I put into the initial interview. It’s a crucial step.”
“He’ll only speak with you,” said Molly, her voice almost in a squeak. Arlyn knew it was because Molly was afraid she’d change her mind.
Arlyn walked back to the couch and sat. “You know that’s not possible. I have a very strict schedule to go by. It can’t be altered, if it is then I might go into an episode. Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be? He’d probably fire me on the spot.”
“Can’t we just tell Cordel Foster about your narcolepsy? I’m sure he’d understand.”
Arlyn shook her head. “I’d rather not.”
“Okay, let’s do this,” said Molly. “I will tell him you have a strict schedule, but not why. You’re a writer, writers are eccentric, and everyone knows that. I’ll tell him it’s part of your process. I’ll get him to agree. If he agrees will you?”
Arlyn didn’t want to get Molly fired, but she could feel herself already regretting her decision. Molly’s phone dinged indicating a text had come through. She pulled it from her purse and looked at it. When she looked back up, Arlyn saw her eyes were filled with tears.
“What is it?” asked Arlyn, scooting closer to her friend.
Molly turned the phone towards Arlyn, so she could read the text. It was from Molly’s boss: Just got out of a meeting with VP. Land the Foster contract or we’re all fired.
Arlyn thrust her chin up. She was not going to let Molly get fired, much less the whole team of people she had worked so hard with over the past decade. “Text him back and tell him it’s in the bag. I’m in. But Molly, you’ve got to get Cordel to agree with the schedule or we’re done before we get started.”
Molly let out a sob of relief as her fingers flew across the screen of the phone. She hit send and tossed the phone back in her purse. “I’ll get him to agree. Thank you so much, Arlyn. I know how much you hate this …”“… but I love you Molly,” said Arlyn. “And I must love you a lot to let Cordel Foster into my life.”
Post a Comment