January 14, 2014

The Big Pond

On Christmas morning, I woke up the only way anyone should ever wake up: To the smell of greasy, delicious bacon sizzling in a pan.

I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, and threw on a sweatshirt. It was almost 10AM, and I was surprise slash disappointed Richard hadn't crept into my room in the middle of the night to do it on my twin bed. Nance would have totally looked the other way.

I was just about to knock on the guest room door, but something I heard on the other side made me stop. It was Richard, speaking in a hushed tone. "You need to calm down. Calm down." Pause. "Yes, of course I love you." Pause in which I thought I might throw up. "I'm not just saying it. I do." I heard his voice travel back and forth as he started to pace. "Maybe this weekend. ...okay, okay, Merry Christmas."

Then it was silent, save for my labored breathing. I didn't know whether to knock and confront him on what I'd just heard or go crawl back in bed and stay there until doctors developed the cure for douchebag. But before I could make a decision, the door opened and Richard was in front of me.

"Josie!" He said, surprised.

"Who were you just talking to?" I asked, quietly, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.

Richard folded his arms over his chest and didn't say anything for a moment. "You were totally eavesdropping on me."

I stared him down. "In the hierarchy of asshole offenses, eavesdropping is way lower than stringing along two girls at the same time."

Richard held up his phone to show me his call history.

"Oh," I said, meekly.

"So who's the asshole now? The girl who was eavesdropping on the guy who was calling his mother on Christmas or the guy who was calling his mother on Christmas?"

I traced my toe on the carpet. "The girl who was eavesdropping on the guy who was calling his mother on Christmas."

Richard laughed. "Thank you."

"I thought you were, um," I searched for the right word,"estranged from your parents."

Richard shrugged. "It's complicated."

I waited for him to say more but he didn't. "Are you going to tell me?"

Richard put his hands on my shoulders and hunched down so we were eye to eye. "It's incredibly depressing. I don't want to depress you on Christmas." He straightened up and looked over his shoulder. "Speaking of...." He motioned for me to follow him into the guest room. Sitting on the nightstand was a lumpy present bound together with about two rolls of Scotch tape. "Sorry," he said as he handed it to me, "I suck at wrapping."

I tore the paper off and gasped. "Is this a...?" I turned the copy of The Bell Jar over in my hands.

"First edition," Richard smiled.

I clutched the book to my chest. I was so touched I could have cried. "Richard, this is too much. This must have cost you a fortune." I examined the cover closer. "Seriously, Richard. I can't believe you did this. You were out of work for a while and you really don't have to spend this kind of money"—

Richard cut me off with a kiss. "It didn't cost me a cent," he said when he pulled away.

I looked up at him, confused. "I don't understand. Did you just have a two thousand dollar copy of The Bell Jar collecting dust on your bookshelf or something?"

Richard caught my chin in his hand and pinched, smushing my cheeks together. "How about you just say thank you?"

"Shank shou."

Richard dropped his hand. "You're welcome."

I cleared my throat. "Well, you're not going to believe this." I nodded at him to follow me into my bedroom.

Richard laughed when he opened my gift. "Great minds think alike I guess." He held up the leather bound, autographed copy of Bright Lights, Big City. I bought it at the Brooklyn Flea for eighty dollars—which has to be only a fraction of what the first edition of The Bell Jar is worth.

"I remember you said how it inspired you to write your own book," I said. "I hope you follow through with it."

Richard opened the book and traced his thumb over Jay McInerney's signature. He looked up at me. "This is seriously the best gift anyone's ever given me."

We just stood there, smiling at each other like two dummies, until Nance yelled from the kitchen that the mimosas weren't just going to drink themselves.

The next day, Richard and I took a late morning train back to the city. We were both off on Thursday and Friday, and were in no rush. "I think," Richard said as we pulled into Penn Station, "you should just come back to my place since your place is such a pain in the ass to get to from here." That much is true. Richard lives on the Upper West Side, and you can grab the 2 from Penn and ride it to the 72nd street stop and it's like an avenue from his apartment. There is no easy way to get to my apartment from Penn. There is no easy way to get to my apartment from anywhere, really, because the Second Avenue subway Gods do not look kindly on us poor Upper East Siders (tiny violins). Still, I wasn't buying it. I raised my eyebrows at Richard and he added, "Fine, and also because I want to do bad things to you."

I exaggerated my gasp. "You mean like tie me up and force me to watch daytime talk shows?"

Richard shrugged as we filed off the train and started to climb the platform stairs. "What can I say? I'm into some pretty kinky shit."

I felt my phone vibrate in my bag. I'd been waiting for William to call me all morning. Frank had asked for my answer as soon as Christmas was over, and I needed to know what CWA could offer me before I made my final decision.

"It's him." I showed my phone to Richard.

"Moment of truth," Richard said.

"So here's the deal," William said, without even bothering with a hello. "I can't officially guarantee you a spot in the program this summer. But off the record...it's a done deal."

"What does that mean?"

"No one here has ever worked with you before," William said. "The other agents can't just blindly agree to speed you through the process. And under normal circumstances, they wouldn't even consider something like this, but you're in a good position, because, like I said, we're building out the books department and we need bodies in the New York office. Especially bodies with publishing experience. I need you, and therefore CWA needs you."

Richard and I reached the top of the stairs. I was embarrassingly out of breath. Two days of sitting on your ass and consuming an entire honey baked hog will do that to a person. "What exactly," I huffed, "did everyone agree to off the record?"

"That if you demonstrate instinct and show you have some hustle, a spot is yours as early as this summer or this fall."

"So it could be fall too?"

"It's a rolling program," William said. "Like I said, no set start date or end date. Once they have a good group of candidates they send them out together. Generally a new group heads out to LA every three months or so. Summer might be a little too soon. You need to get your feet wet here first."

I paused at the foot of the next flight of stairs. "I mean, William, do you understand how torn I am here? I really want to go with you, I do, but I'd be turning down a guaranteed title bump. I don't want to be stuck as an assistant for the next three years of my life." As soon as I said it, I regretted it. I know how sensitive Richard is that he's still an assistant at almost thirty years old. I glanced at him but he was thumbing through his phone, pretending like he hadn't heard me.

"That's not going to happen if you don't want it to happen," William said. "That's what you need to understand. If you work hard, CWA has the resources to make you successful in a way a place like Literatti can't. CWA is breaking ground in terms of how we produce and package content. Literatti is stuck in the print age, and guess what? The print age is over. You've gotta have your hands in other media if you want to survive. That's why CWA is growing, and Literatti is downsizing." William exhaled in frustration. "Josie, you have the opportunity to work for one of the most powerful companies in the country. Do you know how many people would kill for an offer like this?"

I realized I was nodding. "I know, you're right."

I could tell William was smiling when he said, "So? What do you say?"

I sighed. Eight months from now, I could regret this. But I knew I would regret not giving it a try even more. Before I left, Nance told me that sometimes you have to move sideways in order to move forward. I might be delaying a title change in the short run, but in the long run, I knew CWA could offer me more in terms of the dynamite career I envisioned for myself. I didn't want to be a big fish in a small pond, which was the most I could hope for at a place like Literatti. I wanted to be a big fish in a big pond, and CWA was the big pond. "I say how do you like your coffee again?"

William laughed so hard I had to hold my phone a few inches from my ear. He calmed down enough to say, "I'll see you the Monday after New Year's. Another great thing about this industry—the whole place shuts down for two weeks over Christmas even though everyone is Jewish. Makes no fuckin' sense."

"Well, I'll probably have to finish out the week at Literatti," I said.

"Oh, God," William groaned. "Just take the week off. Don't be such a goody two shoes."

I rolled my eyes. "Bye, William."

"Bye, Josie."

I ended the call and tucked my phone into my pocket. Richard was looking at me, waiting for me to say something. I turned my hands up. "Well, I'm going to CWA."

Richard pressed his lips together and nodded, slowly, like he was absorbing the news in small doses. "Want to know something?" he finally said. He took a step towards me and relieved my overnight bag from my shoulder, slinging it across his own.

I kneaded the imprint the strap had left in my skin. "I don't know," I said. "Do I?"

Richard reached out and tucked me underneath his arm. His fingers found the same spot I was just massaging and took over. "I think you made the right decision."

I burrowed deeper into his side and gave in to a smile. "I think I did too."


37 comments:

  1. I think that Josie is making the right decision for not only work, but for her life as well. It will be good for her to get away from everything and go to LA, and take a break from jumping into a relationship with Richard. As for work, agreed that she needs to make a jump to a big company to really make impact. Good decision!
    ____________________________________________________________________
    I'm also trying my hand at at writing a LSP-esque blog as well. Would love for everyone to check it out - obviously this blog is the master, but perhaps mine will give people something to tide them over! www.minneapplegirl.wordpress.com

    Would love any readership, comments, and feedback!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's more than a little lame that you're using Jessica's blog to promote your own agenda. It's also totally transparent. Come on, now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As much as I've seen that's how it's done in the blog world. Everyone shares their sites with others. It's not just on dating blogs either. Plus this blog is great but there are so 7 days a weeks and only reading one blog would be lame imo.
      p.s. I hate when people hide behind anonymous.
      Renee Marie

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  3. Short entry, but nice. I hope that people may calm down with getting after Richard. Has he done awful, crude things in the past? Yes, but everyone deserves a second chance, and everyone grows. I think he is. I think he's insecure but supportive.

    Not sure how I feel about Josie going to CWA - I was hoping she'd stick with Litterati - but we'll see!

    (ps nice throw to the SNL clip - hilarious short)

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    Replies
    1. People who comment on this blog and others are always looking for other blogs to read so what is wrong with her posting a link, I started reading it and I think it looks good!

      Love Richard, I think there is a backstory there about his family, could be interesting! Was hoping she would stay at Litterati but I think CWA will provide for lots of adventure!

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    2. Agreed! It's not like Minnie is taking money out of Jessica's pocket for heaven's sake. And I think Jessica would support a new writer. We are always looking for new reads. Thanks for letting us know about your blog minnieapplegirl14! mum

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    3. Thanks for the nice comments! I actually get the majority of my readers from other blogs I visit and Facebook traffic, not here. I did advertise it because I've seen many comments asking if there are similar blogs to LSP - don't blame them because I love it too! Besides, how else are people supposed to find out about blogs if people don't tell them? I'm certainly not taking away Jessica's readership. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it. *shrug* Thanks everyone!

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    4. Minne i am loving your blog too. Hoping to read more of Maddie adventures!!! :)

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  4. Richard is getting sweeter and sweeter. Love it

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  5. I started to get all huffy at the whole "stringing along two girls" comment. Josie has some insane jealousy or insecurity issues that I don't think she really realizes. But then, I thought maybe that's exactly Jessica's plan.. to give us insight into her insecurity and jealousy even though Josie might not totally recognize it herself.

    Either way, I freaking love this blog, so way to go, Jessica

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  6. It's a bit annoying when the majority of posts thus far are about another blog. I feel Josie is making a huge mistake and William is just telling her what she wants to hear. I hope that she doesn't end up cavorting with Ian in LA eventually. Where are Kate, Nina and Ashley? What are they up to? I realize i might get criticism for this but I,m finding Richard and Josie boring together, like even their sex scene are blah. I was expecting a steamy, hot romance.

    Sidebar, I love your writing Jessica and when available do tell details about your new book. I'd love to get it:)

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree. They have no chemistry whatsoever. Even Josie and Justin had more sparks than Josie and stupid Richard. And if he was actually talking to his mom, why would he be whispering? He's a total douche and I just know he is going to screw Josie over sooner or later.

      I'm so glad I read this blog! It's the best out there even if I thoroughly dislike one of the current characters. Good job, Jessica!

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    2. He was whispering so the Josie's family wouldnt hear his family drama, nothing weird about that AND he showed her his call history. It may have been different if he told her it was just his mom, but he showed her the call, plus it being his mom makes sense. If you're gonna criticize Richard (my fav!) at least get your facts straight.

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  7. I love that Josie took the position with CWA. So far William has done nothing but uphold his promises to her since he left Literatti when he told her that he would do his best to bring her with him wherever he went and I think that he probably pulled a lot of strings to get her the type of offer he did in the first place! $75,000 is a ridiculous salary for a measley assistant position and there's still room for Josie to climb the corporate ladder!

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  8. Couldn't the call have waited until AFTER they'd gone back to his apartment and had some kinky sex? I just love Richard and Josie so much! I've wanted then together ever since they met! But as always your writing is excellent and I love how life is going for Josie! Just don't let Richard hurt her like every other guy has!

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  9. BTW....toats forgot to mention the twin bed link. Loved that skit. I think Fallon and the girls were hilarious! mum

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  10. Richard is hiding something. Once a douche always a douche. I hope he is hiding something because it's kinda boring reading about them. If Josie wants to be a big fish in a big pond she definitely needs to go to CWA. Plus it will make some interesting reads.

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  11. I agree Richard is up to something, who whispers while talking to their mom. You can never trust someone who is jealous of of what you have and Richard is definitely jealous of the opportunities Josie has available to her right now.

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  12. I literally hate Josie and Richard so much together. They have absolutely no passion or chemistry, can we please bring Peter back???? The job with CWA seems super shady and I think that Frank has a better outlook on professionalism than William does, Jodie should listen to his advice. But really all I care about is Josie getting back together with Peter

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  13. Man, people here have serious trust issues. Give Richard a break! (And yeah, I am sympathizing with a fictional character who is being defenselessly bullied in the comments section). Can't you be sad about the way your career ended up and be supportive to your successful partner at the same time? Should it always be labeled as an insecurity? Just 'cause he was a douche before, does that have to equate to having "the emotional range of a teaspoon"? Do give the guy the benefit of the doubt. And, I think, talking to the phone in hushed tones early in the morning at a place where you're a guest is respectful, not fishy.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree with you on your comments! Plus I feel kinda bad for Richard, I think he's bummed about loading Josie so soon but cares for her too much to say anything so he grins and bears it like a champ. I think he's a sweetie.

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    2. I also don't understand why so many people are against Richard. Yeah, he's been a douchebag in the past, but people change. He seems like he could be an actual decent guy and they are still new together so come on give them a break.

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    3. Thank you SO MUCH for saying what I couldn't find the patience to say.

      People hate on him because they didn't agree with the relationship before it even started, so they're just not giving it a chance, & I think Jessica might be baiting them a little, just to turn around & prove that he's a decent guy.

      Also, they've been seeing each other for about a minute, unofficially, & everyone thinks there's some shady ass girl in his contacts as "mom"? Girls... get a grip. Is he seriously that shady in your eyes that he's already trying to hide something that you think is there? Some of you need psychiatric help. Haters need to get off the Peter train... that train must be in California, by now, because it's so far gone!

      As for the chemistry part, being jumped in the guest room in your ugly Christmas sweater & biting lips till they bleed sounds like some chemistry to me! You only think there's no chemistry because they've only been dating for like a week, but Jessica had to recap in like 80 different posts, thanks to the holidays.(:

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    4. Molly with all due respect I find your post insulting. Insinuating that some readers need psychiatric help because they don't share the same opinion as you is immature and uncalled for. Some people don't care for Richard just like some disliked Peter but that doesn't mean that they are haters. We are all reading this blog because we enjoy it. We are all entitled to our opinions without being called haters or in need of psychiatric help. Such comments are uncalled for.

      I don't see how biting lips is deemed as chemistry or having sex in an ugly christmas sweater. There is no passion there in my opinion. I'll give you that Richard has been sweet but I find Josie and Richard boring together. Even get hookup with Ian was hotter.

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  14. Love the mis-leads! I start thinking, "Oh, Gawd, Richard is a dirtbag after all..." Then you throw us a curveball and it turns out to be NOTHING! Absolutely LOVE it....reminds of the times early in my relationship with my husband when I had trust issues and everything always turned out to be NOTHING to worry about...
    Richard is OUTSTANDING! I really hope he and Josie last...Good stuff, Jessica!

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  15. Starting to like Richard more and more I just hope he doesn't turn bad on Josie I like them together!!

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  16. So sick of people hating on Richard. I like him! And peter was sooooooo boring. Ugh.

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  17. I wish Richard turns out to b more interesting...he's kinda boring...
    N Jessica wel quoted dear... Eagerly waitin for tomorrow's 2 pm...any way lovvvvvvvv uuuuuuuurrrrrr blllogggg :)<3<3<3<3<3

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  18. I love Richard! But to be honest I'm kinda with people on the sex scenes being boring. But they're heading home right now so we will see....

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  19. I love Josie and Richard together! Jessica does an excellent job of building their story, and I agree with a previous comment that Richard is getting sweeter and sweeter by the minute(: For the job offers and promotions, I was really wishing that Josie reject CWA's offer, but we'll see where this leads her. In addition, Ian, I think that is his name, better not be including himself in Josie's life when she goes to California (that is if that training program happens, which it better). Anyway, I am so over Ian, and I am so over Peter too. In addition, I don't blame Richard for being jealous of Josie (he can't help it). As long as he supports her and doesn't go psycho over comparing her achievements and his achievements their relationship will be fine. Furthermore, Josie and Richard need to be more comfortable with one another to tell each other everything and overcome their insecurities if they really want to commit to this relationship. Until then, I expect more awesome posts from Jessica to feed my guilty pleasure. (:

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  20. I love Richard, that is all.

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