“Wow. This is all so…sudden,” Josh chimed through the phone. “New York is, uh, a big move for you.”
I had just told Josh about my interview with the Times, and his reaction wasn’t exactly what I had pictured. He sounded disappointed almost. I wanted him to be as excited as I was. I wanted him to be happy for me.
“I know,” I shot back, trying my best to ignore his disapproving tone. “But nothing is set in stone yet. I don’t even know if I have the job.”
“Well, I’m really happy for you, Maggie,” he sighed doubtingly into the receiver. “I hope your interview goes well.”
“Oh really?” I scoffed, picking at a stray piece of string from the corner of my comforter. “You don’t sound like it.”
He didn’t say anything in response, and this only intensified my disappointment with his reaction. How could he not be happy for me? If roles were reversed, I would be ecstatic for him.
“Look,” I started, standing from my bed. “This is what’s best for me right now.”
He sighed once more into the phone, which was followed by a large rustling noise that muffled the mouthpiece. “Well I support your decision, I really do, it’s just that-“
“If you’re busy right now or something, I can just call you later,” I announced irritably, tightly wrapping the loose string around my fingers. “I have things to do anyways.”
What the hell was happening?
“Uh, okay?” he grunted. “I’m not busy, I’m just feeding Driver.”
I continued to wrap the string, noticing how the tips of my fingers were now switching from their usual pink tint to more of a bright red one, just from the lack of oxygen.
“How is Driver?” I asked, deciding to take the conversation elsewhere.
“He’s good,” he replied shortly, as I could hear the pieces of dog food spill loudly into his dish.
“Good,” I replied sheepishly. “Well, I better get going. I have, uh, a bunch of stuff I have to get done.”
I tripped over my words, and I knew that Josh would be able to pick up on it.
“All right, well, I will talk to you soon?”
Oh, well that wasn’t the response I was expecting…
“Uh, yeah. I’ll call you tomorrow, after the interview.”
“Okay. Good luck tomorrow.”
This was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable.
“Are you not happy for me?” I spat angrily. “Because if you’re not, that’s your problem. Not mine.”
“Wh-what are you talking about? Where did this come from?” he stuttered nervously.
I shot up from my bed and began pacing angrily around my room. “Don’t make me sound crazy, I can hear it in your tone. You sound mad almost.”
“Maggie, I’m not mad,” he confessed. “I just feel like it’s too big of a change for you.”
Are you fucking kidding me? Why is he acting like my mother?
“Too big of a change for me, Josh?” I mocked him. “What do you expect me to do? To just live in Chicago and wait around for you to come and visit? You only want what is convenient for you and that’s not fair. This is what I’ve wanted my whole life. Why can’t you just accept that? Why can’t you be happy for me?”
There was silence coming from the other end, and I knew that I had hit the obvious nail on the head. He wanted me to be convenient for him. He wanted me in one place, where he knew he could always go to and what he was familiar with. This wasn’t fair.
“I am happy for you,” he finally replied, his voice low. “If it’s what you want, then do it.”
“Well it is,” I sneered. “And if they offer me the position, I will be taking it.”
The sound of Driver’s bark through the earpiece caused me to jump a little, which was instantly followed by a loud ringing noise that meant someone was parked at Josh’s front gate.
“I have to go,” he said breathlessly. “I’ll-I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Mags.”
No ‘I love you’? No ‘break a leg’ or ‘you’ll do great’?
Yeah I was moving farther away from him, but what was the big deal? It’s not like he couldn’t just fly to New York to see me instead.
I threw my phone down onto my bed and plopped down next to it. I knew I was over thinking everything and depending on this opportunity as too much of a good thing. My mom’s favorite saying ‘Don’t count your eggs before they’re hatched’ never really made sense to me until now.
There was a chance that I wouldn’t get the job, or that I wouldn’t be a perfect fit for the New York lifestyle, but I couldn’t afford to think like that. I wanted this so badly that I could almost taste it. Ever since I was in high school I knew that I wanted to write for the Times. I loved the city life and the busy aspect of it. The small and quiet, everyone-knows-your-name type of town was never for me, and I knew that from the very first day of living in Union. I wanted more, and I yearned for more.
That’s why I decided to move to Chicago. It wasn’t that far, and I landed a job in just a few short weeks. It wasn’t exactly my dream city to live in, but at the time, it was perfect to me.
I glanced over my shoulder at the clock and was surprised to see that it was already 8.
In just twelve hours, I would be sitting down with the one man who would ultimately be changing the course of my life, and for that matter, my fate.
I could only hope that Josh would want to be a part of it as well.
“Maggie?” David called out, peeking his head into my office.
I wheeled my chair around and smiled at him. “Is he here?”
He nodded and pushed the door to my office open. “Yes, he’s down in my office. Are you ready?”
Surprisingly, I was.
“Yeah.” I smiled. “I think so.”
I began to follow David down the hallway to his office, when I was suddenly interrupted by our front desk receptionist, Lisa.
“These came for you, Ms. Tait,” she smiled widely, handing over a giant bouquet of red roses. I glanced confusedly at them and then back to Lisa’s face.
“Oh, uh, thank you,” I smirked. “Can you please put them on my desk for me?”
“Of course,” she nodded with a giant smile.
I watched as she whisked away with the bouquet of long stemmed roses, and I couldn’t help but smile a little. Although our conversation the night before had ended uncomfortably, I couldn’t help but love the thoughtfulness he always harbored. That was my favorite trait of his.
I continued to follow David, and when we reached the front door of his office, he paused and gave me a small pat on the shoulder. “Good luck.”
“Thank you,” I smiled, gripping onto the doorknob.
I opened the door quietly, and my eyes immediately narrowed down to the man who was now sitting in David’s large leather desk chair.
Wait a second.
I recognized him, but from where?
On the street?
No. That wasn’t it.
“Ms. Tait,” he greeted me, standing up from behind the desk. “I believe we’ve met before?”
I cocked an eyebrow at him as I shook his hand apprehensively. “We have?”
“Yes,” he replied, the fine lines around his mouth crinkling into a smile. “I believe you were sitting next to me on the flight back from LA.”
He was the guy who witnessed my uncontrollable sobbing on the plane.
This can’t be happening right now.
“Oh,” I blushed, taking a seat across from him. “I do remember now. I, uh, I apologize for my scene by the way. I was just having a-“
“Hey,” he interrupted me. “Don’t worry about it. Like I said before, don’t ever be embarrassed for crying. It takes a real person to show emotion like that, especially in front of a plane full of people you’ve never met before.”
I felt my cheeks warm again. “Thank you?” I laughed nervously.
“Not a problem. We’ve all got our bad days, right?” he shrugged, clasping his hands tightly together on the desk.
I smiled and felt my tensed shoulders begin to slowly relax.
“You’re definitely right.”
For the next several minutes I discussed my life as a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and the column I was now currently working on.
“You don’t seem like a gossip columnist to me,” Mr. Geddes advised. “You seem more of an…opinionated columnist.”
“I’m definitely opinionated,” I laughed, crossing my legs.
“That’s what we like about you, Maggie. You have a sharp tongue, impeccable wit, and I really think that’s what this paper needs. We need to grab the attention of the younger generation, and having someone like you write for us could really do the trick.”
“Wow,” I breathed loudly. “Really? That’s quite the compliment.”
I watched as he leaned back comfortably in the desk chair, just like David had many times before.
“So is that a yes?” he questioned, adjusting his glasses.
I laughed sarcastically and glanced back up at Mr. Geddes, but to my surprise, he wasn’t laughing.
“Wait, are you serious? You’re offering me a job?” I gasped. “I thought this was just the interview.”
“No, Ms. Tait, this was an offer. I like your work and what you’ve done with your column. Do you think that I would have flown all the way out here for only an interview?”
I felt my hands begin to shake, and I placed them tightly together in my lap to try and calm myself down.
Holy shit. This was all happening to fast.
After the interview I walked quietly back to my office to sort my thoughts on this whole situation. I instantly spotted the roses from earlier, and I plucked out the small white card that was nestled into the bunch.
Good luck today. I know whatever decision you make will be the right one.
I love you.
I held the card to my chest and let out a stifled sigh.
I hope the decision I made was the right one, because in less than a month, I was moving to New York.
Thank you all for reading! Just a small reminder that there are only 3 chapters left + an epilogue.
Thank you to Carolyn for editing!
(Banner by sub-josh)