January 9, 2014

Santa, BABY

I stepped into the guest room, where Richard was staying, and put my hands on my hips. "Well?"

He grimaced and held his hand over his chest, like he was having a heart attack. "I may never have a boner again."

I tossed a pillow at him. I'd gone all out for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. I'm not sure if words can do my masterpiece full justice, but gosh darn it I'll try. First, I started off with a sweater I found in a Salvation Army on the Lower East Side (I had it dry cleaned...the last thing I need is Roscoe the bed bug sniffing dog tearing up my already sad apartment). It's checkered with mustard yellow, navy, and black, and looks like something a hybrid Billy Cosby and Dwight Schrute would wear. Certainly takes care of the ugly part, but not exactly Christmas colors, so this is where I got a little Martha Stewart. I cut three pieces of white felt to assemble an enormous Frosty the Snowman, cut some black felt for his eyes and buttons, and then molded orange felt into a long, pointy carrot nose. I glued that on, and outlined his buxom shape with gold tinsel and little red and green Christmas bulbs. From the side, I looked like I had a giant orange unicorn horn sticking out of my chest. Obviously there was a red Santa hat on my head too. I was determined to win this thing.

Richard caught the pillow and tossed it back at me. "I'm still going to beat you though." He stooped and rummaged around in his bag, pulling out a bright green cardigan decorated with gingerbread men and candy canes.

I pshawed. "In your dreams. You didn't even get crafty!"

"Just wait for it." He pulled off his sweater and the t-shirt under it, and I tried to pretend like I wasn't totally checking out his body. Guys like Richard are so lucky. He can eat whatever he wants, and he goes to the gym like three days a week for forty minutes and does some push-ups and sit ups and runs one measly mile on the treadmill and he comes out looking like fucking Ian Somerhalder. All I want for Christmas are Jessica Alba's genes, okay?

He pulled on his cardigan and sweet baby Jesus that thing was tight. It had a V-neck, and it exposed all of his skin down to the middle of his chest. "I'll add a t-shirt under it if you think Nance will be offended."

I laughed. "No way. That is right up Nance's alley."

He gave me a look, like, and yours? I glanced behind me at the empty, dark hallway. I could hear my parents futzing around in the kitchen, getting everything ready for the party, and I closed the door with my foot.

Richard was in front of me, his hands cupped around the nape of my neck. "Watch the carrot nose!" I hissed. He was dangerously close to crushing it. He rolled his eyes and tugged at the hem of my sweater. "Take this off anyway. I couldn't have sex with Blake Lively in it."

I didn't even realize I'd done it until after, but I'd given him a little, playful slap on the cheek. Something lit up in his eyes and he ripped off my sweater (yes, I had to reassemble the nose after, harrumph.).

He tossed me on the bed and threw his hideous cardigan on the ground. I'd barely bounced once before he was over me, one of his hands wrapped around both my wrists, pinning them to the bed. I was breathing hard when he said, "Now you're in trouble."

He unbuttoned my jeans, painfully slow, and I kicked them off my legs. He took care of his own next, holding his mouth over mine at the same time he pushed inside me. I yelped, surprised, when he gave my lower lip a nip. He looked down at me. "Don't make a noise." His hand slipped between my legs and I exhaled, shakily. "Or I'll stop." He kissed all along my neck. "And I don't think you want me to stop."

He moved on top of me, quietly, slowly, until both our faces crumbled and we were gasping for breath.

Kept the Santa hat on for all of it too.

_ _

My Dad was putting the finishing touches on his infamous bourbon milk punch and Nance was assembling the cheese plate when we came downstairs. "Can I help with anything?"

"Can you grab the cheese knives from under the sink?" Nance looked up from the Gruyere and laughed. "Oh my God, you two look hysterical." She narrowed her eyes at me. "Josie! What happened to your lip?"

"Huh?" I brought my fingers to my mouth and when I pulled them away, I saw there was a little bit of blood. "Oh my God," I said. "I...I tripped and bit my lip at the same time. I didn't realize I was bleeding." I shot a look at Richard, who pretended to cough into his hand.

I wet a paper towel in the sink and dabbed it at my mouth before getting the cheese knives for my Mom.  Just as I was handing them to her, my phone rang. It was William.

"I have to take this." I showed the screen to Richard and he made a fist. "Take no prisoners."

I hurried into the dining room for privacy before I picked up. "Merry almost Christmas!"

William yawned. "I just got in. It's after midnight here. It is Christmas."

"Oh," I said. "Sorry, you didn't have to call me tonight. It could have waited until after"—

"Lesson number one," William barked, "you're always on in this job. Don't care if it's Granny's fucking funeral, you better pick up your phone when a client calls."

"My grandmom died three years ago."

"Good! Then you'll never find yourself if that unfortunate situation, like I have." He started in on one of those great, hacking coughs. I waited patiently for him to finish. "Now," he cleared his throat, "what is so important that you needed to speak to me ASAP?"

"Literatti gave me a counter offer."

For a few moments, there was just the sound of William breathing hard, making his way through the airport. "Did you take it?"

"No!" I said. "I haven't accepted any offer. I haven't even signed your offer letter yet."

William sighed. "What are they offering you?"

"Well," I said, "more money. And a promotion. To associate editor."

I held my breath and waited for his reaction. Finally, William said, "And you want us to do better?"

I closed my eyes and remembered the speech I'd worked up with Nance. "William, I'm going to be twenty-six in a month. I've been an assistant since I graduated college and moved to New York four years ago. I'm ready for the next step. And I've proved myself to be ready for the next step."

"Look," William said, and I could tell he'd stopped walking to tell me this. "I get it. You're over getting someone's coffee. You're contributing at a much higher level than that, I agree. But I don't have anything to offer to you other than assistant, because you can't just be an agent."

"That's not what I'm suggesting," I said. "But isn't there something in the middle? I did some research, and some agencies have these like, literary coordinators."

"That's a managerial job," William said. "There's no room for growth. You won't get to an agent by being a coordinator." He cleared his throat again. "Josie, listen, this is just how it works at an agency. We have some very talented, very successful agents who were assistants until they were twenty-eight, got into the training program, toughed it out, and then that's it. They're agents and they don't answer to anyone and they have their entire career in front of them with opportunities you can't even imagine." He lowered his voice, reverently. "Not to mention they were pulling in high—and I do mean high—six figures by the time they were twenty-nine." He paused and I could imagine him snapping his fingers. "It happens that quick, kid."

My carrot nose suddenly unstuck from my sweater and tumbled to the floor. It was like an omen or something. "That's the other thing I wanted to talk to you about," I bent down to pick up the now flaccid orange felt. Goddamnit, Richard. "The training program. I've been hearing some...intense....things about it."

William laughed. "What, from Frank? That nerd wouldn't last a day in the program, so yeah, I'm sure the idea of it scares the crap out of him."

"I'm serious, William." I told him everything I'd heard—the nineteen hour work days, the seven day work weeks, the ambiguity about the end of the program and the possibility of being told I had to stay in LA.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat things," William said. "The program is tough. And people do drop out. But you wouldn't, Josie. You've got a work ethic like I haven't seen in a long time."

"But what if they tell me they want me to stay in LA at the end of it? I don't want to live in"—

"They won't," William stressed. "You're in literary. The entire publishing industry is in New York. There would be no point in having you stay out there." He coughed again. "And here's the other thing. While, yeah, you go into the program not knowing how long it will last, generally it lasts three months. You can do anything for three months." He laughed, suddenly. "Josie, if I can do it, you can do it. And part of surviving it is just ingratiating yourself with people and making friends with the other trainees and giving each other support, and that's the kind of stuff you're great at."

Richard appeared in the frame of the door and held up his hands, like, "So?" I just shrugged.

"Listen," William said. "Let me talk to HR. Maybe there's some way we can guarantee you entrance into the program this summer."

"This summer?" I squawked.

"CWA is building out their books division," William said. "Right now it's just me. But they need a female agent. Someone who can handle all the women's fiction and memoirs and what not." He laughed. "I'm clearly not the man for that."

I held my hand to my chest, even though he couldn't see me. "And you're thinking that could be me?"

"Josie," William said, "why do you think I wanted to bring you in? I don't want you to just be my assistant indefinitely, I want you to be my partner. We could be unstoppable. We could acquire Literatti with our resources. Fuck that associate editor shit. A year or two from now, you could be a full blown agent."

I heard the sounds of outside—cars honking and wind blowing into the mouthpiece of the phone. "My car's here!" William shouted. "I'll get back to you after the holiday."

I ended the call and looked up at Richard, excitedly. "William is going to talk to HR to see if there's a way to guarantee me a spot in the training program this summer."

Richard folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the wall. "Wow."

"I know! I mean, it may not happen, but if it does it means I would come back in the Fall and be an agent. At twenty-six."

Richard smiled, but it was like he had to force himself to do it. "And you'd be going to LA."

"Yeah." I waved my hand, dismissively. "But only for three months."

Richard nodded. "Well, come have a drink with me, to celebrate!" He was working even harder to smile now, and I smiled back, pretending not to notice.


  1. <3 this post! Can't wait until next week! Josie has some big life choices to make! I still can't shake the feeling Richard is going to do some atrocious.... I just can't trust him!
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Neither do I. I hate that guy more and more which each post. He's a jerk, Josie has avoided all the signs because she likes him. But then again, she avoided all the signs of the last guy even when she had red handed proof that he was a jerk. My prediction, the more successful Josie gets with her job stuff the more insecure and awful he will act. Remember he just had a break down at his b-day because he is still an assistant and then got fired. Now all of sudden two big name places are clamoring for Josie...

  2. Ugh, I hope she stays in New York and continues to work for Frank.

  3. A Difficult decision work wise. I was hoping in the Christmas recap they'd run into Ian and Richard would sock him!

  4. I. Love. Richard. Everyone needs to get over this "I don't trust him" bullshit. He obviously is great for her!! Love him. Love her. LOVE them together!! Please please have them last, at least for a good long while!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. How is he great for her? His character is adolescent at best. He is clearly struggling with jealousy that Josie is having opportunities career wise. He personality leans toward we will him start to mentally and emotionally manipulate her the more good things happen to her. I think he is a baby.

    2. Why assume it's jealousy? Richard could be getting nervous about losing her to California.. he's not too experienced with the girlfriend thing and this is new. When you're in a new relationship you don't want to spend ANY time apart, let along three months and 3,000 miles away.

    3. Jealousy because he has always acted this way about her career. Even before they were together.

    4. Yeah, I think they made it very clear he wasn't jealous but upset she could be going to LA. Richard doesn't seem jealous at all, at least not in an unhealthy way.

    5. If anything he was admiring her for making better choices than he did. He didn't do it in a spiteful way at all.

    6. I don't think he's necessarily jealous of her career opportunities, just upset that she'd be in LA for 3 months if she chooses CWA.

    7. Don't get what's wrong with Richard, I can relate to him. Maybe something is wrong with me, he seems cool. Hard for some guys to commit. I don't think he's burned her, they've been good friends so far.

    8. I love them together too!!!! I kind of hope she stays in New York though...

  5. Yay! Go with William!

  6. GREAT entry! I'm torn, though.. I don't know if I trust William completely. He had the seedy reputation when she started at Litterati so I wonder if that'll appear, for real.

    I'm loving Josie and Richard together - it just seems easy, fun, and at the same time meaningful because they were friends first. I hope they can last if Josie ends up going to LA for CWA.

  7. LOVE Richard...stay with Frank!!

  8. Love Richard!! I agree, stay with Frank, William seems to be blowing smoke up her bum. This blog makes my day.

  9. So. Freaken. Good. Hey how about posting like 12 times a day so I can keep up with my Josie obsession? Kidding, but I really am addicted.

  10. I think Richard is just sad that Josie's career is moving forward better than his did. Oh well, too bad for him. I wonder if those who say Josie should stay with Frank are the same people who said she should have stayed working for Bill Shakespeare. Living in NYC, you have to take risks and work your butt off - if I were Josie I'd go for the money and connections at CWA!

    1. Money should not be the only factor when considering a job. Josie never wanted to be an agent, she wants to be a writer and staying with Frank gives her tremendous opportunity to learn about the publishing industry while working her way up the corporate ladder. William is telling Josie what she wants to hear. You have to take risks but what about following your dreams. Frank has a wealth of knowledge from which Josie can learn, what does William have to offer other than money?

  11. Great post!!! If it only take 3 months for her to be in her dream job, she should go for it. I've been a in a long distance relationship over a year now- so 3 months is nothing! especially since she'd be coming back to Richard. She should take the chance!!

    1. Yeah, but the relationship is brand new and Richard is not too experienced with long distance..

    2. I think he's more concerned about the fact that it would be LA - Richard does know about everything that went down with Ian, remember?

    3. And he also knows how much Ian hurt Josie (he saw, actually) and that Josie isn't thinking about him (if she was, I think Jessica would've written it to us in Josie's thoughts)

    4. We don't see Richard's thoughts - how do you know he isn't worrying about whether or not Josie is worrying about Ian? Yeah, he saw Ian hurt her...but are we really going to act like Josie has never gone back to a guy who hurt her? Richard has seen her do it! I'm sure Ian will bug the hell out of Josie if/when he finds out she's going to LA, and I'm sure Richard would be bugged by it.

  12. I have to say, Jessica, you came back with FLAIR! I am figuratively at the edge of my seat about how this will all unfold. Hurry up Tuesday!

  13. Love this post! Richard looks like Ian Somerhalder? Hot. And don't worry about the LA thing, I have a feeling he may end up going with her.

  14. Josie needs to stay with Frank. First off, Frank is a professional. When he was running down all of the information that William failed to tell her he was a professional. William however, name calls etc. The wariness I have is that William can afford to make career moves without financial strife. Josie cannot. I just think professionalism should outweigh past relationships. Plus William is still a skirt chaser!! I would hate for Josie to work with him and have to quit over harassment.

  15. I like the idea of partnering with William, and Josie always seemed to have a better relationship with him than with Frank. I also think the time in LA would be good for her, as she'd be forced to stay single and not jump into anything with Richard.

    If anyone is looking to get hooked on another blog like this, I'm trying my hand at one. LSP is obviously the master, but I thought I'd give us all something to read on the days Jessica doesn't post. I'll be posting Mondays and Wednesdays for now.


    Would welcome your readership and feedback!

  16. This has "The Hills" written all over it. I hope she doesn't go all LC on us and waste this opportunity to spend the summer with Richard.

  17. I like that Jessica is delving into the powerful-career-woman-who-may-soon-outearn-her-boyfriend situation because this is becoming the new norm. More women than men are being accepting to, and graduating, college; they are weighing in as the heads of households; they are the main bread winners of those households; and they are replacing men in occupations such as doctors and lawyers. I love it! We are women! Hear us ROAR!

  18. Love Richard! :) I really like these two together, I think Richard is a bit of a typical guy, just a little insecure an immature which isn't a terrible thing! Love love love it!

  19. Hello there!

    I'm also giving blogging a try! it is nothing like LSP, but it will be an interesting read you could add to your newsfeed :)


    Hope to see y'all over there!

  20. I wonder how that is going to work out, in real life its just not that easy but lets hope for the best career wise :) As for Richard, please dont rub him out damn it i like them together so far!!! Love your blog J!!

  21. You know, I have a feeling she might get in trouble in LA. I know that she's done with Ian, but I have a feeling that he will be badgering her if he finds out that she's out there. True test of a relationship though, and I hope both her and Richard figure it out. I hope they BOTH behave. :) Good writing! Missed it over the holidays!

  22. I love love love love love Josie and Richard!!!! They absolutely NEED to stay together!

  23. o.O am I the only one bummed at there being no post today?

    1. She usually posts by 2 pm, my time, which is in another two ish hours :)

  24. Lmao my bad, silly insomnia got my day turned around, i thought yesterday was tuesday! MUCH apologies!!!!

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