Juggling her laptop bag and purse, she somehow managed to unlock the three deadbolts to her walk-up apartment. As Julia kicked the door closed behind her, Nora came bursting into the entryway. Never short of energy, Nora was even more over-the-top than usual as she squealed with excitement.
"What? What is it?" Julia said, setting her things down on the kitchen counter.
"Didn't you get my message on your cell?
"No, I was just in to see Gloria. I didn't even check my messages." Julia pulled out her cell phone and noticed that she had indeed missed a call. She must've been under the hair dryer when it rang. She felt the urge to listen to the message, but thought Nora would kill her if Julia didn't let her pass on the earth-shattering news.
"So what is it? Did I finally win the lottery?"
"No, even better!" Nora took hold of Julia's hand and practically dragged her into their small living room.
"What? What is it?" Julia asked.
Nora made Julia sit on the loveseat before she leaned against the desk crammed into the corner of the room. With her eyes shining and a smile wide across her olive-toned skin, she was about to start speaking but couldn't help herself. Her hands shook in front of her and she let out another squeal. Julia hadn't seen her this excited since she received her acceptance letter to the Chicago Veterinary School of Medicine.
"Nora, you're starting to scare me. Who called?"
Julia's agent only called when he had good news to share; otherwise he preferred to dispense disappointment via email.
"Darius called… and what? Did he sell my book?"
"Don't tell me it's a multi-book offer!" Julia's heart raced at the possibilities. If she landed a multi-book deal, she might actually be able to pay her bills on time. She might actually start to feel like an adult instead of existing in the muddled land of the almost-grown-up. Darius had been shopping a book-length compendium of her syndicated column for a few months, but had only received nibbles from book publishers. Julia had doubted Darius when he originally contacted her to offer his representation. After all, if the Herald didn't want the rights to her blog, why would a book publisher?
"Not just a book offer. A book and TV deal! Can you believe it?"
"Wait…" Julia leaned back on the old couch they'd had since their college days. If she'd been standing, she would've probably been wobbly on her newly pedicured feet. "Are you sure you heard him right? Book… and TV? What do you mean TV? Like an appearance on Live With Kelly and Michael? Oh, don't tell me, he got me a spot on Ellen!"
"No, silly. A TV deal, as in a deal for your own TV show. He said something about Randal Publishing and its subsidiary—"
"GreenTV? He landed me a show on GreenTV?"
Julia felt short of breath. She had to stand, had to walk. If she didn't move around she would explode. After pacing the small living room two, three, and four times, she realized she was holding her breath.
"You… you aren't playing the worst ever practical joke, are you?" Julia finally said.
"This is me you're talking to, your best friend. I wouldn't do that to you."
"I know you wouldn't, it's just…" Julia said, and then her pacing led her into the kitchen. She looked at the clock on the microwave: 3:17 p.m. She figured it was close enough to happy hour, especially when she had something to be happy about. She grabbed a bottle of elderberry wine, a vintage from a valley farm not more than a mile from her grandparents' home. She exited the kitchen while carrying the wine bottle and two mismatched glasses, decidedly not of the wine variety. "Want a glass?" she asked, but before Nora could answer, she continued. "It's just… I can't wrap my mind around it. How can this be happening to me?"
"Yes, I'll have a glass," Nora said. "Here, let me open that. Your hands are shaking." Nora hurried to the kitchen for the corkscrew. When she returned, she took the bottle from Julia and uncorked it.
Julia held up the glasses as Nora poured. As she poured, Julia saw her gorgeous manicure, and that her hands were indeed shaking terribly.
"This is happening to you because you deserve it. You're talented, beautiful, and hard-working. No one deserves it more than you."
Julia couldn't say anything for fear she would start crying. And if she started crying, then Nora would start crying. Julia could tell that Nora knew what she was thinking; she took a sip of wine and stepped away, casting her gaze out the window over the desk. The view was of the pitted, crumbling brick wall of the building across the narrow alley. That view was reason alone for Julia to justify spending so much of her time at Gloria's salon.
And to think, all of those mani/pedis helped her to land the deal of a lifetime.
Julia drank half of her wine and felt the tightness in her chest easing. Her breathing was steadying.
"So Darius... what else did he say?"
"Not much. I'm not his client, you are. And I suggest you call him back, especially before that wine starts kicking in."
"Okay. I'll call." Julia took her cell phone from her pocket. "But one thing."
"Stay here when I talk to him. I don't think I'll remember how to speak if I make this call by myself."
"I wouldn't miss it for the world. Just make sure you put it on speakerphone."
As Julia punched in Darius' number, Nora gasped, "I can't believe I took a phone message for a future TV star!"
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.