Chapter 13

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Since the issue and the event became the biggest hit in the entire history of Cosmo, everyone became super nice to me. For my trip to Washington, they let me fly in first class, which I loathe because it means I have to be together with James, his Businessweek Managing Editor named Justin, and Eric, Esquire's Editor-in-Chief.

I prefer Esquire any day, so I told Eric I'll sit with him.

"Didn't they already pre-book our seats?" Eric says, "I'd kill to sit with you though. I wanna know all about Jimmy Fallon."

"What do you mean pre-booked?" I ask

Oh Christ, I am going to die if I have to sit next to Justin. I did once, in one of those Christmas dinners and we had absolutely nothing in common.

But it turns out they pre-book me to sit next to James.

"Who does this seating arrangement?" I ask James when we're walking to the plane.

Eric and Justin are already walking ahead of us because they both feel relieved they don't have to sit with the boss.

"Oh, so the big shot Pamela Pollak don't want to sit next to the boss anymore."

"Um, wrong. It's because you're the boss so I don't want to sit next to you."

"We don't have to speak to each other."

"That's the plan," I say.

***

I always like Washington. I like the irony that the city is so serene while the dirtiest politics are probably happening inside the buildings. We are staying at the Hilton so we won't have to move anywhere for the dinner. I call Jimmy when I land and he asks if I want to spend the rest of the weekend in Washington.

"I could fly in," he says.

"I think that's a great idea."

"Or," he says, "I was thinking, tomorrow I pick you up at the airport and we go see your mom."

I pause.

"I have invited myself twice and about to be rejected twice," he says. "Alright I'm flying in tonight then."

I laugh, "No. Let's just go see my mom."

***

For the dinner I wear a long red lace gown, courtesy of my ever favorite Valentino. I didn't buy this, of course, but Kim pulls another one of her brilliant moves with the PR.

Eric whistles when I arrive at our table.
"Looking spectacular, Pam," he says.

"Thanks," I say, looking for my name on the table to find my seat.

Oh son of a b...

"Looks like we're seat mates again," James says.

I say nothing. I sit down and later I say hi to my friend from the New York Times and Huffington Post.

"I see James Gates is here," she says, "God, he's so handsome. You think he'd mind if I interview him tomorrow? When is he flying back?"

"I don't know, you ask him yourself."

"Okay," she says. Then she walks toward James who is talking to the State Secretary.

Gah, how come he knows everybody?

About 15 minutes later, the dinner starts. The President and First Lady enter the room and he gives a speech about national security, how the press has helped his both national and international policies, and I remember Jimmy said to me, "You're gonna be bored shitless there."

He was right. I am bored. I actually thought about editing an article when the President wrapped up his speech and Jimmy Kimmel went on stage to do his stand-up. Which thankfully, quite funny.

When they lift the main course, I ask James, "Do I have to be here the whole time?"

He looks at me like I'm the dumbest person in the universe.

"What do you think?" he says

"I don't see any reason why I have to stay longer."

"Don't you want to network?"

I scoff. "Why should I do that?"

"Oh I forgot. You're famous now. You don't have to network."

"Why do you always have to be a jerk?" I snap.

"Excuse me?"

"You always give me these comments... Which I find to be unnecessary. Why do you have to bother me? I don't bother you. Aren't you a busy person?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"Oh, you don't know what I meant." I grab my champagne glass and take a sip.

"Look, I don't know what it is you're thinking, but I don't think we know each other that well to actually judge one another."

I scoff, "I don't judge you."

"You called me a jerk!"

"Did I?"

"Are you drunk again?" he asks, "You know what, you also made those unnecessary comments that night we went out. I said nothing, didn't I? So don't you get angry when I did the same."

"I made those comments because I was drunk. You did it sober."

"No difference!"

"Oh yes difference."

I am a little tipsy. As a matter of fact.

"Just eat your damn desert," he says

"I will," I say, grabbing a fork.

We eat in silence. The President gave an appreciation award to the most senior journalist in the room, and they closed the session.

"Oh thank God," I exhale.

I say goodbye to Eric and Justin, approach my friends to say goodbye, and I walk back to my room. Jimmy texted me saying that he was going out with SNL guys, so I took a shower and get myself ready for bed.

Then I feel hungry. I did not eat the appetizer because it looked weird, and I did not finish my main course because I was too busy laughing at Jimmy Kimmel's jokes.

I was going to call room service but I know there's a great kebab just across the street. Besides, it would be good to take a quick walk in the city while I'm here.

I put on my running gear (I do carry them every where I travel), and head outside. I still see some of the dinner guests standing in the lobby, talking in groups. Geez, don't they have a life?

I stop just in front of the door and put my earphones on. My eyes catch someone watching me. I turn my head and see James. He is standing with a circle of 3, one of them I recognize to be the Trade Secretary.

I ignore him and head outside.

***

I got back maybe about 2 hours later, feeling extremely exhausted from the walk and my stomach was full of kebab. I walk across the lobby and as I wait for the elevator, someone taps my shoulder.

"Hey."

Oh Lord.

"What do you want, James?" I ask.

"Listen. I don't want to get into sour note. After-all, we work together."

"You're my boss' boss."

"Correct. That's why maybe we shouldn't do what we did."

"Being a jerk?" I ask

"You wanna grab a drink?"

"I just came back from a run. I'm pretty exhausted."

"This is your boss' boss order. One drink."

I look at him. "Did you wait down here for me to get back or you literally spent 2 hours talking to the Trade Minister?"

"A bit of both," he says

"Geez," I roll my eyes, "Let's go."

***

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