“One day,” I tell her. “But I’m not in a rush, Anna.”
“I know.” She pouts, and for a split second, I feel bad for her. Then I remember she chose this.
As if ignoring my comments about what I want, she launches into a new plan.
“Ohh! Brent can set you up with someone from work and we could have a double date. God, I need a night out.”
She is literally the last woman I know who needs a night out. She sends Nicolette to a fancy-pants preschool, has a private chef and a personal driver.
“No thanks, and I doubt Brent would want to help me,” I snort, thinking about her husband and the way he was condescending when I told him that I wouldn’t be taking my father’s money.
“It’s because you aren’t grounded. Once you have your shit together, a husband, a house, and a 401k, then you and Brent will get along.”
I swirl my mimosa, wondering what planet my sister lives on. I love her, I do. But she’s living in a completely different galaxy.
Anna must sense my irritation because she softens her stance. “Listen, I just care about my little sister. You’re twenty-five and don’t have a plan.”
I groan. “I do have a plan. The reality TV show is going to fund my life,” I explain, circling back to where we started.
Anna raises her hand and signals for the check. “And if you don’t get the job?”
I down the rest of my mimosa. “Then I guess we’ll have to go on that double date.”
* * *
Well. That sucked.
I was so not supposed to eff up that interview. I was supposed to be classy and smart and current. I was supposed to speak clearly and look at the camera.
Instead, I was a bumbling mess of nerves.
A complete disaster.
I was thrown the moment the concept was pitched. I thought the show would entail me making over some mansion in the Hollywood Hills, not designing the interior for a cabin in the woods. My ideas were all wrong. I was thinking gilded tables instead of buffalo plaid.
My design work had not prepared me for this. At all. I couldn’t be less suited for the job.
“Ms. Saint Claire,” a television producer says, stopping me in the hall. “I want you to know I was rooting for you. I saw some of the work you did in the last Seattle City magazine, and it was gorgeous, which is why I brought you in for an interview.”
“Well,” I tell her, swallowing tears. “Thank you for your time. I know I don’t have experience with this sort of design and would be all wrong for the project.”
“I wish this show was a better fit for you.”
I take a deep breath, wishing I hadn’t pinned all of my hopes on this, and say goodbye.
* * *
In the hotel lobby, I order a well drink, gin and soda, grateful for the happy hour prices. Sure, I could ask my parents for money, but that has never been my mode of operation. And I’m not destitute. I have a few more projects lined up for the spring, and by then I will have found a few more.
I look down at my phone, not having the courage to text my sister. I swear to God the moment I do she’ll be making reservations for our double date.
Instead, I lift my eyes and look down the bar.
A man raises his pint of beer to me, smiling. Unabashedly. They aren’t tiptoeing around anything. His eyes say, Slide down, sweetie. Let’s make this a night to remember.
I smile back, because, well, it’s nice to have someone flirt with me, especially after the afternoon I’ve had. Especially this someone.
He’s the opposite of Brent, even though he’s in a dress shirt and tie. His shirtsleeves are rolled up, revealing tattoos on his forearm. He may clean up nice, but it’s clear he’s rough around the edges. His beard could rival any of the hipsters in town and he has a look that says, Let’s do this, baby.
Without hesitation, I pick up my drink and move four seats down the bar.
I may not have gotten a television gig today, but I can certainly end the night with a bang.
Wilder comes out January 12!