Tony Sagaria—otherwise known as Jayne’s boss—is a challenge she wasn’t expecting. In her eyes, this gorgeous but arrogant man pulled her hard-earned promotion out of her grasp when he joined the station and does nothing but add more hoops for her to jump through for his own amusement—when he can be bothered to take his attention away from any pretty girl who crosses his path. Her resentment of him grows deeper by the day which leaks out even in the simplest of their interactions. Take a peek at this lively conversation between the two of them below and you’ll see what I mean.
As I made my way toward the bar, I heard the tell-tale ring tone from my bag. Rats! Someone from the newsroom was calling. This couldn’t be good.
A muffled sound met my ear. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t make sense of any of it. I began the frustrating dance of searching for a signal in the backwater town known as Gapton. We hadn’t been to Barry’s in a while, so I had forgotten the zones. Not that this mattered. It seemed the hot spots changed along with the weather. Or perhaps Mrs. Johansen’s moods.
“Is anyone there?”
A blast of static sent searing pain through my ear. It also sent a series of searing curses out of my mouth. Thank goodness the spotty service in the club would prevent those vivid words from reaching the party at the other end of the line.
After trying every inch of space inside, I grabbed my coat and ventured out into the cold. I held my phone up to the sky as a beacon of hope, asking the cell phone gods to take pity on me and send me a bar. Only one bar!
I finally hit pay dirt while crouched next to Mr. Higgen’s hearse. He wasn’t a mortician or anything, he simply thought a hearse was a more aesthetically pleasing option than a van when it came to a vehicle for carrying his carpet cleaning equipment. If you had ever met him, you would understand.
“Hello?” I shouted desperately.
His voice sent shivers down my spine. And not in a way that gave me any pleasure whatsoever.
“Mr. Sagaria. What can I do for you?”
“Please call me Tony. After the swearing I heard a moment ago, we should definitely be on a first name basis.”
I winced. Of course he had heard my outburst. This man had a knack for witnessing my worst moments.
“I’m sorry, uh, Tony.” I gathered what little dignity I had left and channeled it into projecting a strong voice. “What can I do for you?”
“I need to speak to you about tomorrow’s report.”
Like hell he did. I was off until Monday.
I took a deep breath and fought to keep my voice light. “What about it?”
“I need you to cover it.”
“Sorry, boss! I have the day off tomorrow,” I crowed. “You’ll have to make do with someone else.”
“Trouble is, Jackson’s sick, Avery’s maternity leave started early and Jessica’s stuck in a hole.”
What a bunch of…wait a minute!
“I’m sorry, did you say she’s in a hole?”
A loud noise sounding dangerously close to laughter came down the phone line. Dude! I didn’t care much for Jessica but being in a hole didn’t seem like a laughing matter.
“Yes, she fell into a hole while covering the construction at the new ice rink in Chester. She’s fine, we’re just having a little trouble getting her out.”
“One of her feet is cemented to the bottom.”
He had to be making this up.
“How did cement get in the hole?”
He sighed. “It seems when she tripped, she knocked a bucket of cement over, which rolled into the hole before her and she landed with one foot in the bucket, thereby dislodging the cement and sticking herself to the ground.”
“I see. So she’s trapped in the hole.”
I didn’t really see. In fact, the whole thing seemed so incredibly farfetched. (Get it? Hole. Whole? Ha!) She would have had to have been an acrobat to have accomplished a feat such as the one he described. And did cement actually stick to the ground?
“What’s the ETA for getting her out of the hole?”
“Stop trying to change the subject!” he exclaimed. “And while we’re at it, stop saying the word ‘hole.’ It’s creepy.”
“I’m not trying to change the subject. I’m simply trying to help you find a viable solution to your predicament.” I paused. “And don’t use the word creepy. It doesn’t suit you.”
I winced again. That was a little too much snark. I closed my eyes and thought of Jake’s words earlier today. You have to behave better, Jayne.
“Thank you for your efforts, Ms. Waters, but I already have a solution to my predicament, as you call it. You will come in tomorrow morning.”
I opened my eyes and did my best to keep my voice calm. “I can’t. I already have plans.” I knew I was on thin ice, but I couldn’t help it. I was tired of being pushed around by this guy.
“Not any more, you don’t. Your boss’ boss, aka my father and the owner of the station, gave me the green light to bring you in.”
“But that’s impossible,” I faltered. “He approved my time two weeks ago.”
I had been looking forward to this day for weeks. It had been a ridiculously long time since I had had a real day off (not a day where I was technically off, but actually working from home) and I had big plans! The morning would be spent having my hair cut and colored while reading trashy magazines and the afternoon would be spent binge-watching Will & Grace while binge-eating powdered doughnuts. I needed time to prepare for the reboot, people! (Never mind that the second season had already started; I hadn’t seen even seen the first season yet!)
Tony’s voice brought me out of my lamentations. “Extenuating circumstances, Ms. Waters. We all have to pitch in. Be in the studio at six tomorrow morning.”
I knew he was right, but I wasn’t giving up day of relaxation without a serious fight. “I’m not sure how to make this any clearer to you. I. Am. Not. Coming. In. Tomorrow.”
“If you plan to keep working here, you will.”
I bit down on my lip to keep from screaming. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate him any more than I already did, he proved me wrong.
“Oh, and one more thing, Ms. Waters,” he said casually, “I won’t be needing you to wear the costume next week after all. This new development should make it a little easier to swallow your early call tomorrow morning. Ciao.”
I punched the end button on my phone as hard as I could and fought the urge to throw it into the snow. Damn it! Why did I let this jerk get to me?
(Excerpt from Girls’ Night Out by Glynis Astie, Copyright 2018)
I think Tony would get to me too! These girls lead rather interesting lives, don’t they? Come back next week for a sneak peek into the last “man of interest” in the Cookies’ lives—Holly’s good friend, Link.