The Publicist's Plight (Book I in The Harrison Inc. Series)

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 15

It truly amazes me, the power of a woman—the mere ability for a woman to open her mouth and twists the reigns of the universe with just a few words, whether or not they are true or false. Not only does the power of a woman’s words amaze me, but Felicity Felix, more specifically, amazes me.

Because I cannot think of anyone who would pull off a stunt such as this with the utmost confidence and contentedness. Honestly, I think this woman is insane.

“Are you serious! That grimy bitch!” Sarah yells at me when I explain the entire situation, from beginning to end, when we arrive back at the manor. She paces the library just as she did when she was on the phone earlier, except she is angry, and I am angry, too, but more reserved about my anger. Why? Because if I show the extent of my anger with Felicity, the paparazzi, and even Kenneth, I would look like an absolute mad woman.

“Her reps refuse to talk to us,” informs Lucas from the desk. He sets the phone down on the receiver and stalks towards us with more worry than anger on his face.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Sarah says, stressfully pulling her hair back with her hands. “Maybe we can…maybe we can claim that Felicity is under rehabilitation and she’s not in her right mind—”

“Yes, that’s good, that can work,” I nod, trying to think of something else to add to her suggestion. “I can have Darcy send an anonymous tip to some media outlets about that.”

“Guys,” I hear Sebastian say behind me. We all ignore him.

“That can cause a full-out bloody war, though. Have you told Darcy to inform the callers that we aren’t issuing any comments about the situation?” Lucas asks.

“Yes, I did on the way here.”

“Which means we’ll have to wait a while before we can do anything, really, considering her reps aren’t answering and the situation just started. Acting too soon may imply falsity in our claims.”

“I’ll have to write another statement for Sebastian, then?”

Sarah nods, “Looks like it.”

“Guys,” Sebastian says again with more emphasis.

“Oh!” I snap my fingers excitedly, “Interviews! This is a window for interviews! So many people will be dying to talk to him, and this will give him a chance to open up about everything and play a very well executed victim card.”

“That is true,” Lucas rubs his eyes, “but what if potential business partners and sponsors see his continuous close-knitted relationship with gossip-media and refuse to want to try and associate themselves with Sebastian because of it?”

“Any media is good media. That leads to good publicity,” I argue.

“Hate to admit it, but Coco Puff is right,” Sarah says.

I smile with gratitude until it’s replaced with a frown, “Wait, Coco Puff?”

“GUYS!”

There’s a sharp intake of air from all of us at Sebastian’s voice. It was almost as if he wasn’t even sitting on the couch in front of us.

Sebastian looks tired and very irritable as he stands up and buries his hands in his jean pockets.

“Look,” he sighs. “I know you guys are ‘professionals’ and you know how to manipulate the media and the press and…whatever. But you aren’t taking into consideration possibly the most important attribute in this entire situation.”

“Oh really?” I cross my arms over my chest. “And what may that be?”

“Felicity Felix.”

Sarah, Lucas and I look at each other, confused. Did our entire discussion completely go over Sebastian’s pretty little head?

“I’m sorry, Sebastian, but did you not just hear us going back and forth about said person you just mentioned?” Sarah says with an annoyed look, stunning me at the fact that she took the words right out of my thought bubble.

“Yes, I did hear you guys. But you guys, as usual, don’t listen to what’s really important. Yes, Felicity Felix is smart, beautiful and rich. But so am I.”

I roll my eyes.

“However, one thing we don’t have in common is that she’s a woman. And women in the media have a huge advantage when it comes to he-said-she-said. So whatever I say will come out as the words from some misogynistic asshole who enjoys knocking women up and leaving them with the burden. Because let’s be honest here, who are they going to believe: Sebastian Harrison or Felicity Felix. Think really hard on this.”

Damn it. Sebastian is right.

“He has a point,” I say.

Sarah can’t help but laugh at my response, “Are you out of your mind, too?”

“Think of it this way, Sarah. And Sebastian,” I give him an apologetic look. “I’m going to be blunt here. Sebastian has a long track record of one night stands, short relationships, pregnancy scares, and a lack of wanting to pursue a serious relationship with any woman that reports that she wants to. He drinks, he parties, he smokes, he consumes narcotics, he’s rich and entitled yet lazy and unmotivated. He’s the epitome of a Hollywood Playboy.”

Sebastian wears a sour face at the reality of himself.

“I mean, if ‘Playboy’ or ‘Drunkard’ or ‘Player’ were in the dictionary without a definition, all you would need to do is paste Sebastian’s picture below the words—”

Alright, I get it. Thank you.”

I bite my lip, “Sorry. Got carried away a little.”

Sarah slaps her hands down on her thighs in agitation, “Okay, we know that. What’s your point, though?”

“Can you explain to me Felicity’s track record? And if she does have one, can you possibly compare it to Sebastian’s?”

I already know Felicity’s almost pristine track-record, due to extensive research before I got here. But by Sarah’s blank face I know she has no clue. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that Felicity is practically a saint in the media’s eyes.

“I take it that you can’t think of anything significant.” The smug smile on my lips visibly makes Sarah’s eyebrow twitch.

“So what do you suppose we do?”

“Not we. Me,” I smile. “Sebastian’s public image is a job reserved for myself and myself only. I’ll take care of it.”

“You’ll take care of it?” Sarah’s smirk is almost challenging.

“Yes. That is my job. Am I not the publicist?”

Her smile is replaced with complete contempt.

I gather my things, “I’ll continue making a few calls and try to figure something out. In the meantime, how’s the North Carolina thing coming along?”

“He said he’ll call me back.”

“That’s it?”

Sarah nods, “Yeah. I’ll take care of it, since this is my job as Sebastian’s manager; I do everything.”

“Well that hasn’t been the case lately.”

“Excuse me?”

I chuckle spiritlessly, “To be honest, it seems like between the two of us, I’m the only one busting my ass right now. Do you even remember why we’re here?”

The look on Sarah’s face makes me regret even letting the words come out of my mouth. Her eyes are so lifeless and her mouth is morphed like she tasted something horrid. I won’t lie, it’s absolutely terrifying. And I’m not the only one who sees it.

Sebastian and Lucas both take a few steps back as Sarah takes a few steps forward; they both know the impact of her wrath.

“Do you think I’m stupid or something? Of course I know why we’re here. And the fact that you think I haven’t been contributing my part is insulting.”

“I never said you weren’t trying.”

A pin can be heard hitting the ground during the cold silence.

“Wow, you know what, I think my mother is calling me,” Sebastian blurts out.

Lucas inches closer to the door, “Yeah, and I think I need to call mine—”

“Don’t move!” Sarah and I yell in unison before their hands even touch the door handle. They both freeze and turn around towards us with awkward faces.

Sarah looks at me again and speaks in a disdainful whisper, “You waltz in here thinking you’re all high and mighty? Like you’re our savior or something? Like the people who have worked with him for years have done absolutely nothing to benefit his image based on his personal choices that you see on television? I would think you, out of all people wouldn’t be so ignorant but to my surprise I guess I’m wrong. Because who pulled countless strings for that spread for Sebastian in Rolling Stone? Me! Who bent the story about Sebastian being arrested for possession of narcotics a few years ago? Me! But fuck me, right, because Leslie King is the publicist who is more credible because she has a more credible boss! Yet name one positive thing you’ve done so far since you’ve been here?”

I struggle to say the exact words I want to say. Sarah’s stare, her dark, onyx stare is so animus it reminds me of my mother’s stare. Bur her stare was more full of animosity than Sarah’s, bearing in mind the fact that her hatred towards me was completely random and without origin. At least Sarah’s hatred is stemmed from truth, however the words that she says are so truthful they hurt, but so parallel to my mother’s that they hurt even more:

Name one thing you have done for any of us in this family, Leslie? You can’t even oblige me with looking a sliver like myself or your little sister, you’re embarrassingly overweight, and to top it off, you have left me with the burden of raising two young girls since you were the reason your father and I couldn’t sort out our differences. What…pride or morale can you possibly still have left in yourself I mean…sei indegno! You’re worthless!

I take a deep breath and smile, regardless of how tired I am of doing so in situations like this.

“Look, I understand your anger towards me. And maybe what I said was a little…uncalled for.”

She isn’t fazed by my attempt at apologizing.

“But you have to admit that so far, speaking about this trip, you haven’t done anything in comparison to what I’m currently doing. I haven’t accomplished much yet, but I’m working towards accomplishing things. Which is much better than not doing anything.”

Sarah laughs, even though it’s far from comical, “You still haven’t figured it out! Even if someone tells you, you still won’t come to terms with the fact that you’re a selfish, patronizing, rude, corporate bitch who believes that everything is ruined until you apply your magic touch on it! You’re so in denial!”

I feel my blood boil in my veins. Bitch. The dreaded word. The word that can cause me to make a swift 360 in my attitude. If I show her the bitch she really wants to see, the bitch that has been the reason I have lost friends and other relationships, I will still be labeled the word either way. No matter what I do, no matter how I act, I’ll always be worthless, a failure, a bitch to someone. Whether it be to Sebastian or Sarah, my mother or Hudson or even other people I prefer not to mention that used to be part of my life.

So I guess I’ll just be a glorious bitch.

“You know why I believe that? Because it’s true. The reason that Sebastian is a media trainwreck is because you don’t know how to do your fucking job!” I yell at her, feeling the built-up anger release from my body. “Who cares if he drinks or smokes or does whatever he wants, it’s the fact of people knowing that he does these things that’s important. So you got him out of a jail scandal. So what? I’ve gotten Garrett Harrison out of countless escort scandals that would have costed him his chair.”

Sebastian’s mouth drops at the words “father” and “escort” in the same sentence.

“Sebastian is still America’s Playboy, and that steers us away from the goal we are set to achieve: Get. Him. Corporate. Supporters! So I don’t care if you think I’m a bitch, or if I’m a horrible person, because I am. I’m a huge bitch. And I use horrible methods to get what I want and need. Just ask any publicist in L.A. or any journalist in L.A. county and they’ll tell you how many times I’ve passively ignored their calls. But I’m a bitch who knows what the hell she’s doing. And I do it my way, which is why Garrett Harrison, Sebastian’s father, appointed me, and appointed you to help me. So we can work together and do this my way, or you can do this your way and get nowhere. Because I have a game plan. Do you?”

I have never seen Sarah so aphonic. Her lips quiver while she tries to speak or say an actual coherent sentence.

I adjust my purse higher up on my shoulder and step aside so I’m overlooking all three of them, “I understand that you’re Sebastian’s ‘pals’ and his ‘buddies,’ and that’s really sweet and cute and everything, but you need to understand that sometimes the way we all feel about things doesn’t matter. Sebastian is under a contract. And if he doesn’t convince the Board of Directors that he is a worthy individual for the CEO position for Harrison Incorporated by next month, the contract is void, and he will be broke. Now where does that put all of you?”

No one replies.

“I was sent here to do a job. And I know all of you think I’m an annoying bitch. Including you, Lucas, even though you’re the nicest person to me here.”

“What? No I…don’t…” Lucas squeals in a high-pitched voice, trying to deny my factual claim.

I give him a small smile, “Nice try. I don’t mind you thinking so because, as I said before, it’s true. But what I also don’t mind is doing this by myself. I will be more than happy to work with Sebastian on my own if you don’t like the way I am or how I do things. Please, be my guest.”

I gesture to the front door, but no one moves.

“By your immobility I take it you’re going to stay. Which means you will cooperate with me. Splendid. So, the plan is, I will work on contacting Felicity’s reps, and you can make sure that the North Carolina party you spoke about, Sarah is a go. And Lucas, please update me about the Tea Party Movement function in Mississippi you spoke with me about earlier today.”

My hand touches the door handle and pulls the door open during the stone-cold silence. When I’m out of the library, I remember I’m much too smart to leave without eavesdropping first. Again.

I press my ear against the door after a few seconds.

“I fucking hate her! Puta!”

I shrug. Predicable first response.

“You’re being too hard on her,” I hear Lucas say.

“Oh, really? I’m happy you’re very neutral about this since she basically spoke down to you like you were a child! To all of us!”

“She’s too much for me, sometimes, I have to admit. But she knows what she wants,” Sebastian says. For some reason I grow tense when he begins to speak.

“You’re damn right she knows what she wants: that pay check! I wonder how much your dad is paying her for this.”

“He isn’t paying her,” Sebastian replies with a bit of uncertainty in his voice. “She probably denied the paycheck. She loves Harrison Inc. too much to do it for the money.”

“Oh, please. You can tell she’s a money whore.”

I roll my eyes so hard my sockets hurt.

“I hate to admit it, but I think Sarah’s right,” Lucas says. “I don’t really have anything against her, but perhaps there’s a reason she’s so adamant on this working out so perfectly.”

“Well if she is, it figures, then. She’s got issues.”

“What issues?” Sarah asks.

Sebastian doesn’t say anything, but I feel my lungs constrict inside me. I remember the lunch and everything that I “accidentally” told him. There’s no way he could possibly think that all of it would be true enough to pass on. Right?

Wrong.

“Well you didn’t hear it from me,” he starts.

“Who did we hear it from, then?”

“Lucas, shut up please,” Sarah laughs.

It’s silent for a moment. I can feel my hands stick to the wood of the door from the sweat gathering on my palms.

“Well when we were at lunch today she told me some things.”

“Like what?” Sarah asks quietly.

“I guess her parents divorced when she was eight. She lived with her mom who was a pretty big bitch to her.”

“So that’s where she gets it from?” Sarah says.

Sebastian laughs, “Not funny!”

I force myself to keep listening in, even though I truly don’t want to.

“She probably had the snotty rich family with the dad who was never home and the mom that was a housewife.”

Not true.

“Like the dad who spends ‘too much time at the office’?” Sebastian asks. They all laugh.

“You guys, stop being so mean,” Lucas says, defending me.

“Oh, please I have a right to be anything but nice to a woman who thinks I don’t know how to do my fucking job. Who the hell does she think she is?”

“You think she’s a virgin?” Sebastian asks. I already know I’m blushing tremendously.

Sarah snorts, “Of course you would be wondering that.”

“She’s like, twenty-seven, though,” Lucas says.

“A woman can be a twenty-seven-year-old virgin. Especially her. Wouldn’t be surprising.”

“She got mad a few days ago because I told Trevor that I thought she had a ‘wood chipper for a coo—’”

Please stop quoting ‘Breaking Bad,’” Lucas groans.

“You really said that, though?” Sarah asks Sebastian before she bursts out into laughter with him.

“I asked her about her sex life when I was in her office and she got all nervous and defensive. I swear, every girl who was a virgin before I ‘deflowered’ them acted the same way when I would ask.”

“Would you fuck her?”

There’s a long stretch of silence after her question.

“Yeah, I-I think so. I mean I guess.”

“You think so,” Lucas chuckles, “that mustn’t be a good thing since you wouldn’t think twice about fucking a pole.”

Sebastian wheezes in laughter, “That isn’t true at all!”

“I feel like she’s the romantic type.”

“Yeah, like if we’re fucking she’d be like, ‘I don’t want to go too fast,’ or, ‘that kind of hurts,’” he whines, in the worst impression of myself I’ve ever heard.

“Poor thing,” Sarah says lowly. “She may be good at her job but I would never trade places with her.”

“You know what, at least she has nice tits,” Sebastian points out. “I don’t even look at her half of the time when she’s speaking.”

“She wears those big ass work clothes, though, I’m surprised you even notice her tits.”

I can’t bear to even hear more. I peal myself away from the door and scurry down the hallway. My throat feels tight and my vision blurs in front of me. Am I seriously going to cry?

What the fuck are you doing? Stop being such a wuss!

The little voice in my head is right. I shouldn’t let their words get to me, especially since it should be no surprise they feel the need to say those things about me. But I can’t help but feel so…humiliated. It was as if I was pried at openly without a care in the world by them. The way Sebastian talked about me made me feel disgusting, how uncensored he was. How uncensored they all were.

I’m in the kitchen now, nearing the back door. It’s empty of cooks, which makes it look bigger and brighter than it usually looks. I have managed to choke back the sob that was threatening to escape by blinking the mist covering my eyes away, and I believe I’m going to make it. It’s hard to suppress their words from my brain, but if I become clouded with the nonsense of their teasing I will get nowhere work wise; I have Felicity to continue worrying about.

The heavy feeling still sits in my throat as I’m halfway through the kitchen, yet I think I’m going to be…okay, at least. I’m humiliated, but I’m fine.

“Leslie!”

I turn around and see Fiona smiling behind me, her blonde hair in a modest bun like mine but of course executed perfectly. I smile, but I know by how a look of concern crosses her face that it isn’t believable.

“Are you alright, honey? What happened?”

“Nothing!” I smile again, even though it hurts my throat to. “I’m fine.”

But then I immediately and without a friendly warning break down into an uncontrollable wave of tears.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.