Chapter 4: Her
'Brilliant. Just brilliant.' I stormed my way to the taxi stand, dialing Cassandra as I stomped my way through the endless crowds.
"Hey, Cassandra. Have you heard?"
"Oh yeah. You've made the instant news, and reporters are flooding the television with Mrs. Cauliflower's endless stuttering. You've shut her up for good, I think! Well done!"
"I butchered the entire state, and the entire city. They're going to murder me! I'm going home." I say as I storm past another block, trying desperately to get air to breathe in this conflicting city.
"You may be right. No one still seems to be really happy with anything that you said, and your audience and popularity in New York just tanked. But you'll be glad to hear that just about everyone else in the country will be hearing about this, and that should hopefully balance the numbers."
"Wonderful." I say with a heavy sarcastic drawl. "I'm in a city full of enemies, without a leg to stand on, up a creek without a paddle, and that's the best news you can give me. I'm dead. Can you get me cash for the taxi home? I'm going home, and I'm almost to the building now."
"You're about at the taxi drive? Why? Why do you want to go home all of a sudden? No one will pay you much mind here. You haven't even met the producers or publishers I have lined up!"
"Cassandra, I appreciate your assistance, but I'm just going to get myself killed if I stay here for one minute more. I can't stand this place and after tonight, when the world hears what I said, no one is going to want to pay me one ounce of attention. I shot my mouth off, against my better judgment, and I'm toast by my own toaster. I can't stay here. Let me go home." I try to keep the whiny little girl out of my voice.
"I'm sorry darling, I can't let you do that. Not until I have you meet the producers and publishers. There's only 5 of them, and the others seem to have picked up on what you said, and have decided they don't want to support you."
"Great. Fine. When do I meet these people?"
"In 2 hours. I'll text you the exact address, so you can put it in your phone and get there on time. You should probably wear a business suit and comb your hair first."
I sigh, looking for a way out of this. "Fine. I'll go back to the hotel and I'll meet you out front of the building you text me. Alright?"
"That would be great darling."
We said goodbye and I started my way back through the crowds and to the hotel, stomping angrily and keeping my hands 2 inches from my body, creating a bigger atmosphere around myself, and driving everyone away.
Finally, I made it to the hotel and marched my way up the stairs, taking them 2 at a time, and ignoring the elevator. Made it to my room without crying, and then collapsed on the bed as soon as I entered the room.
"Why do I have to be so stupid?" I cry aloud. "I hate being so stupid and observant! It makes no sense that I should be the one to do this! It's not fair!" I punch the pillow, trying desperately to get it together for the producers. I can't be an emotional mess for them!
I take a shower, dress for the meeting and march my way out into the street.
"Keep it together girl. You just make it through this meeting and then you can go home." I mutter under my breath.
I am terrible with directions and finally make it to the building, and I look around for Cassandra, my face clear of all expressions.
"Excuse me." A guy taps me on the shoulder. "Are you looking for someone?"
"Yeah. Cassandra Booker. You know her? I'm supposed to meet her here."
"Ah. Ms. Booker was here almost 20 minutes ago. She told me that I was to meet you here, Miss Rein and lead you to the conference room. Please, follow me."
I follow this guy through the building, up the elevator, and through a maze of hallways through until we get to a glass room where Cassandra is waiting for me. I remembered the books, thank goodness.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen." I say as I grab the books and start passing them around the room. "Forgive my lateness, I have very little ability to find my way to anywhere." A soft chuckle goes around the room.
"Now, if you would gentlemen, I am ready for your questions."
"Your stunt today. Was that planned?" one of them jumped all over the question. I put a very bemused look on my face.
"Yes, of course it was planned. Since, you know, I was so very prepared for the Christmas subject, and the cruel and egotistical behavior of Mrs. Cauliflower." I wipe my face clean again. "Of course I didn't prepare it. I went flying by the seat of my pants, and I'm very sorry for what I said. My typed words are much more elegant and less dangerous than those that come out of my mouth."
Many of them started muttering around the room.
"Are there any questions about my book, and not about what happened today?"
One hand raised.
"Yes?" I pointed with two fingers at him.
"Will you be posting this as a kind of story on your blog?"
"No. I will not. There is no reason to."
"I think the public deserves to hear about this. They will want to know why you said what you said." One of them said.
"Sir, I will say that the public does not need to hear anything about this. They must decide for themselves what to believe. I refuse to tell them. It's unnecessary."
"Unnecessary? Nay, Miss Rein, I believe it is very necessary. Especially if you are expecting us to publish this book of yours." He held it up to add to his point.
"I am. I am asking you to do this, and many of you will read the book and hate it, I am sure. But it will be published. I am asking for you to help the economy by publishing it and taking a piece for yourselves. But I will not force you to take your bit if that is not what you want. Excuse me for trying to make you money." I tried not to sound so snide.
"Eliza!" Cassandra said in horror.
"Forgive me gentlemen, but it has been quite a long day and I'm sure that I'm in culture shock. You have already picked up on my accent, I am sure. Yes, I'm not from around here, I don't know your customs, and the way I am supposed to behave and or speak, but I will do all in my power to prove via my book that I am a great writer. I'm going to publish it no matter what you say, so you might as well take your cut while you have the chance. No matter what I say." I have really done it this time. So, I head for the door, just as I always do when I've said my piece and they can't stop me. "Good day gentlemen. Make up your minds, why don't you." And I leave that room and don't stop walking until I reach the bus station.
"One ticket to Colorado Springs, Colorado, please." I say to the man behind the desk.
"Is that all for you miss?"
"Yep. Get me home."
"Alright miss. We have a bus leaving for Denver in 40 minutes. You want to wait?"
"Yes. I'll wait."
I take my ticket, and dash back to the hotel, grab my suitcase, which I had already packed, and dash back with 20 minutes to spare.
I sit down on a bench and wait for my bus. A man sits down next to me and smiles at me.
"Hey." He says.
"Hi." I say. I am so not in the mood to talk to anyone.
"I'm Jack. Jack MacPherson. And you are obnoxious." I glare at him.
"Gee, thanks." I say, shaking the hand that was offered. "I'm Eliza Rein."
He smiles even bigger at me. "I know. I read your blog, and was at the debate today. I was very disappointed that you left."
"Sorry. I have that habit. I say something stupid and run away. It's my favorite way of coping."
"I'm sorry. I wish you would have stayed to see the chaos you created." He shrugged. "I didn't stick around though, and I've spent all day trying to track you down. Then it's all over the news what happened at the debate, and that you had a fall out with your publishers shortly after. I figured that someone with that much bad luck would be trying to go home."
"You're annoying." I say with a bite in my voice. "I want to go home and will in the next 20 minutes. I'm leaving and I will not return." I cross my arms. "I have no reason to."
"You don't like New York?"
I raise an eyebrow at him like he's stupid. "Were you not at the debate today?"
"Yes, I was."
"Then you should know that I thoroughly despise the behaviors of the people of New York. The city itself is fine." I say with the same powerful clip I always have in my voice.
"I see." He nods and shuts up. Good glory, who is this guy? "I'm sorry. I'm a big fan of yours. I heard you were going to write a book and haven't gotten it published."
"Yeah, I'm going to get it published. It would seem that a few of my… publishers don't want their cut, but whatever. I'll self-publish if I have to."
"Can I see it?" he asked as if he were a small child asking to see a magic trick.
"Yeah, sure." I reach into my bag and hand him one of my signed copies. "I have a strong feeling that very few people will like it, but whatever." I shrug it off and keep waiting for my bus. 10 minutes.
He's reading it like he'd never seen a book before, and was fascinated by the concept. He was just sitting there reading my book in front of me, and greedily consuming every word. Who the heck is this guy?
"I'm sorry. You say you read my blog." I venture with 8 minutes until my bus arrives. "How well do you follow it?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm your biggest fan in all New York. I have read everything you post, every week, exactly when you post it. I can't possibly get enough of it. The extreme diversity of your work is just fascinating. I've never met someone who could say what no one else will with such … elegance."
"Elegance?" I try not to laugh. "What on earth is elegant about my work? I'm cruel and biting at the very least."
"Which is what is so elegant. You say so smoothly the most cruel and biting remarks about the people that no one else will."
"You are out of your mind." I say and turn away, trying desperately not to count the seconds until my bus arrives.
"You are a remarkable woman." He says quietly. "I've followed you religiously for years and I just…"
"You just are so happy to meet me at long last, and find that I'm just as obnoxious in person as I am on the blog. Yeah, be happy." I say with a sarcastic twang.
"I am happy. But that's not the reason why." He paused.
"I gave you my book that not even the publishers have read yet. Yeah, yeah. Whatever." I cross my arms then check my watch again. 6 minutes.
"No," he smiled. "It's because you're so impressive. And because you were able to give a perfect description of me, without ever meeting me, in your blog."
"You have got to be kidding me." I look at the sky and send God a prayer.
'God, what on earth are You doing?! I can't get in a relationship right now! Especially not with this nasally sounding New Yorker. Especially not since I just butchered my chances of making the big time today! HELP!'
"I am quite intrigued. Is that man you described your husband, or just what you would like your husband to be?" he asks me with his head cocked.
I sigh. "Look. You seem to be a nice guy, but I'm going home." I check my watch again. "I'm going home in about 4 minutes and I don't ever want to return. I don't have time for a relationship and I have no idea who you are, other than my stalker. I'm pleased that I have at least one fan still in New York after I messed up, but I don't care to get entangled in a relationship. I'm trying to rule the world right now and it's not going so well. So, you can ask all the questions that you like, but I'm leaving. I wish you good day, and farewell." And I get up and walk to the counter.
"Excuse me." The man behind it looks at me. "When is the bus to Colorado going to arrive?"
"What's the number?" he asks.
"2685." I say, tension rising in my voice.
"Oh. Miss, there's been a terrible storm out there. I've been told that none of our busses headed out will be leaving for the next week. The route is just too treacherous."
"What are you saying?" I'm trying to keep it together, keeping my voice as level as I can.
"Hand me your ticket and I'll give you your money back. You're not leaving on bus 2685 today. No one is leaving the state today, not even if you're going to Maine or Florida. The state of New York is locked up."