The tall, pretty brunette walked, full of confidence, into the office waiting room. It was a confidence that faded just a bit as she saw the long line of equally beautiful young women that had gotten there ahead of her. Walking up to the receptionist’s desk, the twenty-five year old started to introduce herself to the older woman but was cut off as the seated blond handed her a small handful of forms.
“Put your name on the waiting list, then have a seat and fill these out,” she said, not even looking up from the magazine she was reading. “When it’s time for your interview, they’ll call you.”
Not used to being ignored, the dark haired girl was about to say something, but then thought better of it. For better or worse, the woman behind the desk was the absolute master of her domain. Unless the brunette wanted her name to go on the bottom of the list, if not be lost entirely, the practical thing to do was just swallow the insult and do what she was told.
It was amazing how much information they wanted to know on a simple interview form, she thought. Especially since there was no guarantee that you would even get an interview. The television station had issued an open call to fill a spot on the early morning talk and news show, and it seemed like every out of work reporter or actress in the city had decided to try out for it. They had stressed that applicants need not be experienced. They were looking for someone fresh and new. Thinking she had faced far worse hurdles, the new arrival took out a pen from her purse and started to fill out the forms.
“A real bitch isn’t she?” said the voice of the girl sitting next to her.
“Excuse me?” the brunette said, looking up from the forms she was filling out.
“The receptionist,” the other girl, also a brunette, clarified. “There’s no reason for her to be so rude. The way she’s treating everyone makes you want to just pick her up and toss her out the window.”
“Something like that,” the first girl said, a smile filling her face as if she was enjoying a secret joke.
“My name’s Mary,” the second girl said. “Mary Bromfield.”
“Linda Danvers,” came the reply. “Nice to meet you.
“The same here,” Mary said. “Have you been interested in television journalism long?”
“I took some courses in college,” Linda answered, “but it was really my cousin who got me interested. He’s a print journalist back east.”
“That’s interesting,” Mary replied. “My kid brother is a radio reporter in the Midwest.”
“Well maybe that’ll be lucky for one of us,” Linda said.
With Mary’s help, it took a lot less time to fill out the endless forms than Linda had first thought. Despite the little fact that they were competing for the same job, she couldn’t help but like the other girl. They were only a year apart in age, with Mary being the younger. Linda was a little taller, by only by an inch or so. Both had well-developed, athletic bodies and in a room of attractive women, both stood out as fresh and clean rather then glamorous. Hopefully what was what the producers were looking for.
The wait turned into an hour, then an hour and a half. The two young women took to time to get better acquainted. During that time, they drew the curious stares of more than one of the other waiting applicants. Evidently, they weren’t used to friendly chatter during auditions. Not when the person you were chatting with might use something they learned about you to get the job you wanted.
“Excuse me ladies, can I have your attention?” the receptionist said in a loud voice as she put down the phone receiver she had been talking into and stood up from her desk. “I’m afraid that the rest of the interviews have been canceled. The producers have already decided on their choice.”
A number of loud groans filled the room, along with a few low expletives. Absorbed in her conversation with Mary, Linda hadn’t noticed which of the girl’s around her had been the last called for an interview. Looking at the closed door to the inner office for a moment, she wondered whom the producers had chosen.
“It figures,” she said to the empty air.
“What figures?” Mary asked, wondering what her new friend meant.
As if in reply to the question, the newest member of Good Morning San Pablo stepped through the now open office door. Rather than the All American Girl image that they originally had claimed they were looking for, the final choice looked more like yet another of the California beach bunnies that flooded the airways. Blond haired, tanned and stacked with an over abundant bust, she almost cried out airhead rather than journalist.
“What are you staring at?” Mary asked, seeing the intensity of Linda’s gaze.
“I guess I just wanted to see if she managed to clean off her mouth after she finished her interview,” Linda said in frustration.
“That’s wicked,” Mary laughed softly.
“I shouldn’t have said that,” Linda said a moment later. “It sounds so petty.”
“I guess so,” Mary responded. “Then again, who knows, it might be true.”
Now Linda had to laugh.
“Maybe we should’ve come as blondes,” Mary noted as they got up to leave.
“Maybe I should’ve,” Linda replied, again smiling as if hiding a secret.
Leaving the office building, the two seemed reluctant to have their chance meeting come to an end. Mary suggested that if Linda didn’t have anything else to do, maybe they could get some lunch. Not feeling the least bit hungry, Linda replied that she was famished.
At a small restaurant around the corner from the television station, Linda and Mary continued to learn more about each other. Both of them had been orphans and both had the good fortune to be later adopted by wonderful people. Both had grown up in the Mid-West and other parts of their backgrounds were similar enough for them to almost be sisters. Each seemed to look at life’s problems in much the same way.
The conversation moved from subject to subject, until Mary decided to take a chance and ask what had been on her mind since meeting the other brunette.
“Linda, can I ask you a personal question?” she said, glancing over her shoulder to be sure the people at the next table couldn’t hear her.
“Are you seeing anyone?” Mary asked. “I mean, what I guess I really should be asking is, how do you feel about other women?”
“Other women, as in relationships,” Linda replied cautiously. “Other women as in dating?”
“I guess that’s what I mean,” Mary admitted, a touch of worry in her voice. “If I’m way over the line here, just tell me. I hope I haven’t offended you because that’s the last thing I’d ever want to do. It’s just that since the moment that we met this morning, I’ve been getting the strangest vibe from you. I can’t really explain it, but it’s there. That, and the fact that I think you have the most beautiful eyes that I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with eyes that blue.”
“It’s a family trait,” Linda said, ignoring the rest of Mary’s statement for the moment. “My cousin has the same color eyes.”
“I guess I should take that answer as your way of letting me off the hook for what else I said,” Mary said, noting what response the woman across from her didn’t give.
Linda paused for a long moment, thinking that maybe silence was the best answer to give. It would be so easy to simply say that Mary was mistaken in those vibes that she had felt. The only problem was, Linda had felt them too.
“I have been in a few relationships with other women,” Linda finally said. “They don’t seem to work out for me, at least not in the long run.”
“Could I ask why?” the younger woman asked.
Now an even longer pause filled the air. Linda had never told anyone why her most serious relationships had failed. But something made her want to tell Mary. Something told her that this woman sitting across from her might understand.
“A few years back,” Linda started to explain, “I fell in love with a woman named Susan Wienczorkowski. She was a police officer back in Metropolis. I met her while I was visiting my cousin. Things were great in the beginning, as I guess things usually are. But then we began to have problem. Actually, I was the one who began to have problems.
I found myself becoming overprotective and constantly worried about her. You see I lost my family and all of the people I loved in ... in a disaster when I was younger. I guess that made me fear losing Susan as well.”
“One weekend, after we’d been together for a while, we had a big argument about it. She said she couldn’t do her job with me constantly trying to watch out for her. It was a bad time for it all to come to a head. I had to go out of town that night, so I promised her we’d try and straighten it all out when I got back.”
Linda stopped her story for a few heartbeats. From the look on her face, Mary knew the story didn’t have a happy ending.
“Susan as a member of the Special Crimes Unit and that night, they responded to a building collapse. It turned out that there was a child that had somehow been missed when the original Fire Department units had evacuated the building. Ignoring the danger, she went in after her. The little girl made it out, Susan didn’t. I got home as fast as I could when I heard about it, but it was too late.”
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