Emma vs. The Tech Guy

By: Lia Fairchild

Chapter 1

“Check out that curly hair.” Jayne sat and stared through the glass window of my corner office, drool dripping from her chin like barbecue sauce at an all-you-can-eat wings night. “It reminds me of—”

“Bozo the clown?” I interrupted, without looking up from my computer. Normally, I’d be up for Jayne’s amusing way of finding “hot” in every guy, but today I was too preoccupied to indulge her. In addition to everything else I had going on, the magazine redesign launch was a little more than a month away. Was I feeling the pressure since it was my idea to revamp the publication? Do supermodels eat salad? I had to stay on top of things to make sure everything turned out the way I’d envisioned it. The way I’d planned it from day one here at New You magazine.

“No, silly.” Jayne turned back to face me. Spring’s daylight shone from the unusually clear L.A. sky and played across her rosy cheeks. “You know, Emma, that sexy actor from the eighties. Now he’s in that hospital show.”

Her stylish apricot skirt pulled tight against her thighs as she crossed and uncrossed her legs. Looked like our recent absences from the gym were showing. I reminded myself we keep those things to ourselves, even though she probably had tuned me out by then. When there was a man on Jayne’s radar, everyone else was simply background noise.

I knew exactly to whom Jayne was referring, but instead I said, “I really don’t have time for this right now. And you need to stop gawking at whomever Bill is meeting with and get back to work before he sees you.” Bill knew Jayne and I had recently grown close, and our inter-office water cooler sessions were becoming way too frequent. Jayne was a copy editor so technically I was her boss, but that didn’t interfere with our new-found friendship.

“Okay,” she said after a long pause. “But just take a quick look first and tell me that guy’s curls aren’t hot.”

“Someone talking about me?” Adam, tall and lanky, stood in the doorway patting his own coiled locks. He liked to describe himself as the gumbo of race. You name it, it was in his genes. He sort of reminded me of Snoop Dogg, but I never told him that. His head was big enough already.

“Not you, Fro-meo,” Jayne spouted. “The mystery man over there in Berkley’s office.” Jayne and Adam had a love-hate relationship. They both respected each other professionally, but they batted heads socially. The irony was they were both flirty, opposite-sex chasing, non-committal flakes when it came to relationships.

“Hey, Adam,” I said, finally looking up. “I was just going to buzz you to ask if you finished the Links file. I need to get in there to make some changes.”

“Yeah, finished with that a while ago,” he said. Always in fashion and dressed to impress, he wore a dark grey suit with faint pinstripes and a deep purple tie.

“Great, thanks for letting me know.” I tilted my head and stared blankly at him, hoping he would get my vibe.

“My bad,” he answered with a smile. I loved Adam, but he had a unique immunity to guilt. Things seemed to roll right off his back like he was lathered in grease. His relaxed attitude made some think he was lazy and unprofessional, but when it came to copy editing, there was no one better, or faster. That’s why I’d put up with him for almost two years.

Adam glanced across the hallway at the two men. Bill Berkley, editor in chief of New You magazine, was behind the desk facing our way. The other man was facing Bill, leaning forward in his chair, speaking and gesturing with his hands. Adam turned back to Jayne, who had resumed her spying position. He shook his head and laughed. “Anyway, I just came to tell you ladies I’m having a par-tay on Friday night.”

Jayne and I peered at each other with raised eyebrows, but different expressions. Jayne was always up for a party; I could take it or leave it.

“When don’t you have a party on Friday night?” I asked.

“Hey, they’re all for very specific events. This one just happens to be celebrating my girl, Tina’s new Chanel ad. You remember Tina, right, Jayne?” He glanced over at Jayne who cocked her head like a collie, adding a crooked smile.