An old, monster of a roll top desk made of a thick wood, stained a dark shade of brown dominated her office space. She’d bought it at a yard sale for just a little over two hundred dollars and been pleasantly surprised when she had it restored, to find out it was an original Cutler & Sons oak roll top, hand-made and worth about six thousand dollars. It stood in all its glory facing the windows.
It served as her primary writing space; she did all her drafting in long hand, writing for hours atop its scratched surface. She hadn’t felt right cluttering it with modern conveniences such as a lap top or other electronics. Even the ink pens and pencils she used were vintage looking.
The walls of the room were lined with oak bookshelves and a low work station for the gadgetry that made telecommuting possible. Flanked by rows and rows of books, sat her touch screen computer, wireless keyboard and mouse, a laptop docking station for easy syncing of her laptop, a printer / copier / fax combo, and shelf stereo system.
The animals had their designated areas as well. When they ventured in to keep her company, Hun enjoyed curling up on whichever windowsill was awash in the most sunlight, and Tila folded her massive frame down onto a large cushion just to the right of the doorway.
There was a small automatic tea pot giving off just a hint of steam as Caitlyn walked in that morning. The smell of apples and cinnamon wafted from its small spout as the brewing process had already started. The aroma signaled the official start of Caitlyn’s work day.
She sat down at the computer station first, powering up all of the various components. Next up, she grabbed a large mug from a collection of five on the corner of the work station and filled it with tea while the computer booted up. The screen came on, her Outlook calendar showed just a few items on the to-do list. After a couple of quick sips of tea, she reached for the phone, just to the left of the computer screen. A quick hit of a speed dial button connected her to the world.
“Good morning Liz. Happy New Year.”
“Hey, good morning and Happy New Year to you too. Must have been some New Year’s celebration, you’re all of five minutes late this morning.”
“Ha, ha. What’s on the schedule for today?”
“Well, looks as if you get the day off. The last two articles left editing on time for a change, so we’re good there. No rewrites, thank goodness. The next deadlines are the rewrites to the Dateless in Denver articles; those are due to Ken by the 25th. Please, please, please make sure he gets them on the 25th. He’s being real persnickety about this one.”
“I got it, I got it.” Caitlyn scrolled to the date on her calendar, then backed up a week and marked the deadline a week in advance. Being on time was her trade mark. “Anything else?”
“Nope, we should be good. But hey, since I have you on the line, I’ve been meaning to ask how the book is coming along?”
Caitlyn looked at her computer with a slightly panicked expression. The Zen-like peace her morning routine created slipped at the mention of the manuscript.
“Uh, pretty good.”
“Great. Terry’s going to want those first three chapters soon. He’s anxious to capitalize on your current popularity.”
“Good grief. I’m not all that popular anymore. It’s been over a year. I’m old news already.”
“Well, it won’t take much to remind the public that you were the one to end the South End Rapist’s reign of terror.” And at that, the remaining peace Caitlyn felt was completely wiped away. Her hands trembled just enough that she had to use two hands to steady her mug so none of the hot tea could splash down onto the keyboard.
“Please tell me they won’t be using that to promote the book.”
“You never know.”
Caitlyn set her mug down and put a hand over her eyes, forcing any memory of that night out of her mind. “Promise me you’ll do what you can to convince them that it’s not a good idea.”
“I’m sorry Caitlyn. I didn’t think it might still be bothering you.”
“No, no. I’m over it. It’s just that, we might not want this book to be associated with such sensationalism. That’s all.”
“Well, we’ve got plenty of time to work on an actual marketing plan. I’m sure it’ll be like you said, considered old news for sure.”
“Yeah, well, sorry I brought it up. So, let’s just count on getting those first three chapters to Terry on time.”
“I’ll work on it some more today. Should be able to send him something by the end of say, next week?”
“Great. I should never doubt you. Okay, well, I’m off to a meeting. Have a good day, get some writing done, and stay out of trouble.”
“Will do. Talk to you later.” She sat with her eyes closed, her head cradled in her hand; her mouth turned down in a grimace as she worked to slow her racing heartbeat.