The floor was uncomfortable and cold; Kate hoped at least it was clean. She bent down farther, her face almost touching the tile and her deep brown hair brushing the floor. She tried not to think about how many germs she was being exposed to. She could see a sliver of light under the door and knew that Chelsea was standing just on the other side. Why the hell couldn’t anyone find the key? Oh, right, she couldn’t tell them her author had locked herself in the green room minutes before she was going on one of the top national morning shows. Of course, this couldn’t happen on some small, podunk station in the middle of nowhere. It had to happen in New York, and it had to be national. No one could find out that Chelsea was in full red-alarm-pre-TV-interview meltdown.
Kate could hear sobbing. She wondered if the last thing she would remember on her deathbed would be the sound of one of her authors crying or wailing. God knows she’d heard enough of it to last her a lifetime. Kate scooted closer to the door, No, she thought, likely it would be Mac finally telling her he had left his wife. Sure. Perfect timing. She could hear him now. “Sorry you’re dying. Guess what? We can be together now.” Just her luck.
The sobbing from the other side of the door grew louder.
“Sshhh, Chelsea, keep it down. We can’t have people knowing you’re having a panic attack.”
“I’m not having an attack!” she screamed. Well, so much for that. Kate heard footsteps in the hallway, which made her jump to her feet.
“Hi,” she said, louder than necessary. “I just dropped, eh, my….”
“Is she nearly ready?” The producer interrupted, stepping toward her. He was clearly not interested in why Kate had been on the floor. “We’re on in ten and I have to get her mic’d.”
Kate threw him her best ‘I’m-the-publicist-and-in-control’ smile but her green eyes showed a glint of worry. “Of course. She’s just, eh, meditating.”
He shook his head, “Sure, whatever. You have five minutes.”
The producer escaped back into the studio, so Kate pulled a small pill from her purse, then dropped to the floor again. The day before the segment, Chelsea’s manager Francine had shoved a pill bottle in Kate’s hand. At the time, Kate was a bit confused. Valium? Francine said it was for “just in case.” Francine was always annoyingly chipper and, at the time, Kate didn’t really give it another thought. Francine assured her it was hardly necessary. Right. But right now she didn’t care. Valium would save the day. She wrapped it in a tissue and shoved it under the door.
“Chels, you take this and then unlock the door; otherwise the entire segment will be canceled.” Kate took the chance that this would only increase her panic, but then she saw the pill disappear under the door and heard the crying subside.
Within minutes, the door unlocked, Chelsea stood there, face swollen and tear stained. Nothing that some heavy makeup couldn’t fix. Kate pushed her back into the green room and started digging in her purse for the emergency stash of concealer she kept for just such an occasion. She considered investing in the company that created this stuff or, hell, developing her own. She’d create a line called “Panic” and sell it to other publicists. She could make a fortune. She pushed Chelsea into the chair and started smearing it on her face.
Chelsea pinched her eyes shut. “I’m sorry,” she said in a gentle voice.
Kate had a feeling she meant it. Kate wished that Chelsea’s manager had warned Kate that her author had an intense fear of being on camera; it could have saved her a lot of trouble booking her on TV shows. She would have pushed her to magazines, gotten her the number for a good therapist, and called it a day.
“Ready?” the producer asked, clearly annoyed that things were taking so long.
Chelsea threw him her brightest smile, and he—like every other breathing male on earth—melted.
“It’s so nice to meet you,” he beamed, clearly hoping for more. Kate rolled her eyes. Another crisis averted and it was only 6:30 a.m.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.