Fake It Til She Makes It, a Novella/Short Novel
(Love and Work Series, Book One)
Nora Leeds wanted nothing more than to be the new staff writer for LivBold magazine’s Relationships section. Her résumé was perfect. Her writing samples were succinct, witty, and informative. And her blog, Single Girl Speaks, where she vented with other single women about tough times with relationships and dating, had just hit 500,000 followers. Writing and managing the blog had helped Nora get the interview, and this major milestone was another plus.
All she had to do was wow them with her charm.
Nora rode the Metro to Dupont Circle and strolled confidently through the revolving doors of the magazine’s building. She checked in with the security guard, made her way up to the twelfth floor, introduced herself to the receptionist, and took a seat in the lobby.
Shoulders back, chin high, disposition bright. Soon I’ll be meeting Susan Grace.
Susan Grace, the editor-in-chief of her favorite magazine. According to the media industry, the woman walked on water. She turned LivBold from a little-known publication to an award-winning one. And this amazing woman would be Nora’s boss. If Nora could burst from excitement she would.
She straightened up in the plush chair and continued her self-pep-talk.
I will get out of my dead-end marketing-assistant job. I will do something awesome with my life. I will—
A faint vibration caught her off guard.
Her phone. She thought she’d turned it off. But better to have a reminder now than during the interview.
When she saw the caller’s name, her excitement bubble popped like a wet balloon on concrete.
Jacob! Why is he calling? And why now?
Jacob was her ex. The ex. The guy she thought she would marry, until he moved to New York to become an actor. Not that his decision upset her. Who was she to come between a man and his dream? She wasn’t that kind of girl.
She wasn’t the kind of girl who moved on easily, either.
And though their relationship ended five years ago, seeing his name on her phone was like digging into an old wound with a salty toothpick.
As the vibrations continued, her breathing quickened.
Breathe-breathe. Buzz-buzz. Breathe-breathe.
Nora had a million reasons not to answer the phone. Mainly, what if Susan Grace walked up mid-conversation? How awkward. Also, what would Nora have to say to him after five years? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That alone counted for at least five hundred thousand of the million reasons.
Yet there were a million reasons she wanted to answer Jacob’s call. She wanted to know how he was doing. Was something wrong? Had he developed some bizarre disease, and this was his last call to say goodbye? An unlikely scenario, but her stomach clenched at the idea anyway.
She took a deep breath and hit the Answer button.
“Hello,” she said casually.
“Nora, hey. I thought I was about to get your voicemail.”
His voice still sounded the same, like soft butter on a stack of pancakes.
“I wasn’t going to answer,” she hurried. “I’m about to go in…” He didn’t need to know about the interview. “I’m busy.”
“Then why’d you answer the phone?” He was still matter-of-fact Jacob. “I would’ve left a message or sent a text.”
She glanced at the receptionist, who had stopped typing. “I think I have a minute. What’s up, Jacob?”
“I wanted to let you know I moved back to DC. Last week.”
“I thought I should tell you, in case we bumped into each other,” he continued. “I didn’t want it to be weird.”
As weird as her heart racing like a gerbil on steroids?
“Okay” was all she could say.
Tell him thanks for the info. Say goodbye. Hang up. Now!
He cleared his throat. “I was also wondering if, uh, you’d like to get a cup of coffee sometime. To catch up. I feel like there’s stuff we didn’t get to talk about before I left for New York.”
“Nora?” a voice called out.
Nora looked up to see that the voice belonged to Susan Grace. Not the receptionist. Not an assistant. Susan Grace, herself, and all her media-titan magnificence. Her brown skin, striking eyes, and prominent cheekbones were made up like an Estee Lauder ad. A long, braided ponytail swept over her shoulder, like an elegant mane. She wore a pair of black, cigarette-style cropped pants, and a cream, fitted blazer. A red, silk scarf floated around her neck, topping off the look. She stepped closer in expensive, black stilettos.
Nora was entranced and completely caught off guard.
Instead of the bright demeanor she’d practiced—chin up, winning smile, shoulders back—her hand cupped the phone, her shoulders hunched, and her eyebrows furrowed in angst.
She quickly slathered on a smile that stretched so wide it nearly hurt her cheeks.
“Yes, will do,” she said into the phone. “Thanks for calling. Bye.” She stood and shook Susan’s hand. “Sorry about that. A work call.”
“No problem. Let’s head to my office.”
The receptionist smirked as Nora passed by. Was that directed at her? Had the woman overheard the exchange with Susan? Or worse, had she overheard the call?
It didn’t matter. All that mattered was getting this job, taking her life to the next level, and….
Did she say “yes, will do” to Jacob? Did that mean she accidentally agreed to have coffee with him?
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