Anatomy of a Player(8)

By: Cindi Madsen

I glanced at my book one last time. Frustration rose and hitting the weights seemed like the perfect way to work it out. “Let me grab my stuff.”

Dane gave me a look. “So you’re going to do your assignment when?”

“When I get to it. Jeez, with you riding me all of the time, it’s no wonder I haven’t had any time to work my charms on a girl who can help me with my studies.”

“Ass,” Dane said, adding a middle finger to punctuate his statement. But then he grabbed his gym bag and headed out the door with us. It was nice that he cared so much, I suppose. When he’d first started harping on my grades in high school, I’d found it suffocating. It wasn’t until he’d practically carried me through an algebra class we’d had together that I’d learned to appreciate his big brother complex. Guess that happened when you were the oldest of five.

With his help, and with hockey as motivation, I’d pulled my Ds and Cs to mostly Bs with a few Cs. Unfortunately, after we made it through our college gen eds, our classes diverged—mine focused in sociology and his, along with most of my other teammates, in management and leadership classes.

On the way to the gym, my phone rang. When I saw the number across the display, I muted it. For someone who couldn’t be bothered with me for the last twenty-one years, Mom had certainly worn out my phone number this past week.

I would’ve killed for her to try to talk to me this much when I was a kid. Now… Well, now I didn’t want to deal with it at all.

Chapter Five


So far, the meeting with the editor of the Heights wasn’t going so well. Lindsay Rivera, editor-in-chief, had given a snort of laughter when I said I wanted a spot this semester.

Any other day I might’ve taken that as a sign and given up. Not today. “Yes, I screwed up not coming here earlier, but I’ll take anything. I might look like a ditzy blond sorority girl, but I’m not looking to be an anchorwoman or to spend my life reporting on celebrity gossip for an entertainment channel. I want to do the actual investigating. I want to write hard-hitting stories, not be patted on the head and told to focus on keeping in shape and looking pretty.”

Lindsay’s finger froze on the mouse she’d been clicking—a dismissive gesture I’d decided to ignore. “Let me guess. You have Professor Jessup?”

“Yeah. How’d you know?”

“Because he gave me that same bullshit speech when I took his class.” Lindsay pressed her lips together and narrowed her eyes on me, and I held my breath.

Then I realized I shouldn’t hold my breath. This was my opportunity—really it was everything to me right now—so I was going to take it.

“I understand what I’m asking for is a big deal. I know the Heights is ranked in the top twenty of college papers and has been selected as an ACP Pacemaker Finalist several times.” It was one reason I’d chosen Boston College, and I couldn’t believe I’d given up so easily on trying to get a spot. “I know that it’s been editorially and financially independent from the college since the seventies, which I think keeps it much more fair and balanced and is super cool. I want to work at this paper, and I’ll work hard. I’ll do whatever it takes, and I won’t disappoint you, I swear on, like, a thousand bibles.”

“Well, I like that you can give me a history lesson on the paper, but as much as I enjoy those fun facts, I need more than that to hire someone. After all, I turned down qualified applicants who bothered to apply before the semester started.” She clicked the end of her pen over and over, each clickity-click causing a spike in my blood pressure. “Pitch me an idea.”

Oh, shit. My brain whirred, words tripping over each other as they tried to form a coherent idea. “How about a story on how this generation of college guys don’t want to commit because they’ve had everything handed to them their entire lives? How they’d rather have a lot of shallow relationships than actually work at one?”

Lindsay tilted her head one way and then the other. “That’s a hard sell since the population the paper caters to is just over 50 percent male. We don’t want to look like an angry women’s publication. We need provable facts.”