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Agreement(2)

By´╝ÜJackie Steele



“I think all our neighbors did.” I smiled at her. “What happened?”

“Oh God, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I just talked to some big-shot producers and they told me I’m going to be a TV personality. For real.”

“Tell me all about it.” I pulled her to the couch with me, forcing her to sit down as I tucked my legs beneath me. “What did they say exactly?”

“You know the blog I told you about? The one with my personal home-decorating ideas?” I nodded and she continued, “Well, apparently, it was a huge success with the focus group, and now the head honcho of the channel wants me not only to appear on a huge network once a week, but he’s also asked me to do a show. That’s two regular gigs!” She held up two fingers and began to squeal. “Can you imagine?”

“Two shows?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Wow.” I shook my head in admiration. “That’s amazing.” Drawing her in for a tight hug, I wrapped my arms around her, letting her happiness pour through her into me. “Congratulations. Now you’ll have to hire me as your personal bodyguard to keep them from wanting a piece of you once you’re famous.” Smiling, I grabbed her in another hug, mostly to stop her from jumping up and down, which she always did when she was excited. She had both the excitement and the attention of a five-year-old—things that often came in handy, like now that I needed to take my thoughts off the hot guy who had proposed.

“Tell me everything. When are you starting? How much are they paying you?” I squinted, unable to remember whether she had said anything about a paycheck. “They are paying you, right?”

She nodded. “Plus insurance and a bonus if I reach a ten per cent increase in viewers. I also get a personal assistant and a driver who picks me up and drops me off at the studios.”

“Wow.” I couldn’t help but be impressed. I had never envied people working in show business because, first of all, it required a certain amount of self-confidence. And second, a chatty personality, which I didn’t possess. Public speaking had always come naturally to Jude. Back in college, she wouldn’t hesitate to stand up in front of a class and start asking questions. She had always been popular. As she often said, she loved the attention. She loved to inspire people, which was why she started blogging in the first place. Even then I knew she had the potential to be huge one day. Me…not so much. I always took things quieter, maybe because all my life I had tried to remain hidden. Low-key. Inconspicuous.

“See, the thing is I’m supposed to have my first day tomorrow. Just a test shooting to see how people react to me and whether I have what it takes.” She laughed nervously. “I’m not sure I have what it takes to impress them. At home, behind the computer screen, I feel like I can be myself. But in front of a huge crew, and recorded live? I don’t know, Laurie.”

“You do have what it takes. I have no doubt about it,” I said, meaning every word of it. “If anyone can impress them, it’s you, Jude.”

“Thanks.” She shrugged, her nervousness slowly dissipating. She was going with the flow, living in the moment, worrying about things when she was forced to face them—the way only Jude could. “I was wondering if I could borrow something from your wardrobe.” Her red-tinted lips stretched into a wide smile—the kind she always employed to get what she wanted. I didn’t mind sharing whatever I had with her, but Jude never borrowed my clothes. My taste in clothes and consequent wardrobe were the two things she always laughed about.

“Why? What’s wrong with your clothes?” I asked warily.

“Nothing.” Her voice came out too loud. She sounded so guilty I almost cringed. “I just like yours better.”

Big, fat lie.

She never ever would wear my clothes unless…

“Oh my gosh.” I snorted. “Admit it, Jude, your clothes are too slutty for the occasion.”

“They’re not.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and regarded her, amused. “Look who needs one of my business blazers now. After all those years of insulting my choice of clothing, I should make you write an apology letter.” A better idea crossed my mind. “In fact, you can choose whatever you want under one condition. You wear something from my wardrobe for a week. And yes, it has to be a different outfit every day.”

“No.” Jude’s eyes widened in horror. I bit back a snarky remark. My clothes weren’t that bad. “They just called to remind me to wear something conservative. As in a dark gray suit with just a hint of color.” She said the word like it was a rash. “I have no choice or say in the matter.”

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