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The Bachelor

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Julianne walked along the corridor, the sound of her plain black shoes muffled by the carpeted floors. She held tighter the folder in her hand and halted her steps outside the door that held the sign, Director.

Lifting her fist, she knocked twice.

“Come in,” came the reply.

She pushed the door open and wore her pleasant smile. “Good morning, Mr. Carter,” she greeted.

“Yes, yes, come closer.” The spectacled man did not glance up from the paper he held in his hands. “Sit,” he motioned his head towards the only chair standing across his messy table.

Julianne did as she was told and sat down.

“You applied to be a script writer?” came the question.

“Yes, sir.”

“For one of our TV series,” he stated without question, still examining the papers before him.

“Yes.”

“I see you haven’t worked as one before.”

“No, sir, I haven’t.” She left out the part that she was a published author in her resume and that her book had done quite well for a beginner. But she couldn’t brag about that. She never planned to anyway.

“And why do you think I should hire you?”

“Because apart from having a degree in English and Literature, I believe I also have the knack for it.”

For the first time, Jack Carter looked up and studied her. He didn’t look bad or old as she had expected. As a matter of fact, to give the man credit, he looked rather handsome with his messy brown hair and black eyes. And right that moment those eyes were looking at her and she didn’t know if what he found in her was pleasing him or not.

Julianne mentally racked her memory, trying to remember if she had combed her brown hair neatly enough or if she made sure that the only thing she had put on her face, which was her light pink lipstick, was not smudged or if her glasses were crystal clear. She also tried to think if her black dress was not at all askew. And by the time she was done with her mental wanderings, she was pretty sure she looked clean and presentable enough to pass the director’s eyeful judgment. After all, the job she was aiming for did not require having to appear in front of the camera.

She was starting to feel uncomfortable under his intense gaze when he spoke, “I’m sorry, Ms. Grey, but all slots have been filled since yesterday.”

Julianne was not the type to drop her shoulders and leave defeated, but she was the type who would want an explanation first—and then take her leave. “Then why did you call me in?”

“Because,” he leaned closer, resting his arms on his desk. “We want you to fill another spot.”

She frowned, “What spot?”

Jack Carter did not hear her answer—or rather chose to ignore it—because once again, he looked down at his paper and then back at her. “How old are you exactly?” he asked.

“Twenty-five.”

“You don’t look twenty-five,” he said more to himself than to her.

“A lot of people say that,” she replied. “What spot are you talking about, Mr. Carter?”

“Ms. Grey,” he stood up and started to pace behind his chair. “Do you watch the show The Bachelor?”

Julianne’s frown grew deeper. “The game show?”

“It’s not exactly a game show,” he corrected. “It’s reality TV.”

It’s still a game show. A stupid, egotistical, narcissistic, unliterary game show, she said to herself. “What about it?” she asked.

“I’ll be directing the next season which will start airing live two days from now and just a few hours ago--before you got the call to come here, actually,” he leaned against his desk with one hand and looked at her, “I received a call that one of the twenty-five girls who got in to be in the show backed out, saying she got engaged yesterday.”

Julianne waited for him to continue and when he didn’t she said, “Well, good for her.”

“And now we’re short of one girl to complete the twenty-five.” Julianne got a strong feeling where their conversation was heading and she was ready with an answer: NO. “And then, just minutes after I received that disappointing news, I got a call from one of my script writers from the TV series Living Life, which I will be directing next season, telling me that she will quit once her baby comes out. She said she wants to be a full-time mom.”

Julianne tried to hold out her ready-made answer for a moment after hearing that last part. She did not say a word and let Jack Carter continue his speech.

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