Part 1, Chapter 5

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In the ladies room, Vyola splashed cold water on her face and rubbed it onto her neck and arms to calm herself down. It was then she realized there were no paper towels, only high velocity dryers that faced downward. She was standing there dripping, trying to figure out how she could avoid kneeling on the floor to stick her face under the blower, when Sandi Bardell emerged from one of the stalls.

"Vyola, hey," she said, removing her ear buds. 

Sandi looked her up and down, "Are you okay?"

"There are no paper towels," Viola said, flapping her arms.

Sandi nodded, "Hold on, I'll be right back."

She walked briskly through the door and was back before it had fully closed, a pack of tri-fold paper towels in her hand. She ripped the paper band from them and handed Vyola a stack.

"I steal these from the maintenance closet all the time," she said.

"I thought you girls were on your way to the radio station."

Viola nodded, blotting at her face. The camera-ready makeup and water had formed a thick, sticky paste on her skin.

"We're supposed to be," Vyola said.

She looked at herself in the mirror, "I'm a mess."

"Here, let me try," Sandi said. 

She opened one of the towels, wet it in the sink and then squeezed it dry. She started to wipe Vyola's forehead, working her way across and down the side of her face. It reminded Vyola of how her mom used to fix the make-up on her face when she played dress-up as a little girl.

"That's a little better," Sandi said stepping back.

Vyola began to cry again.

"Hey," Sandi said, "Hey, there. What is it?"

"Nothing," Vyola sniffed, "I'm just so tired. We all are. Mandi is pushing us all so hard."

Sandy leaned over the sink next to Vyola, looking into the mirror. She swiped her finger along her own lips, then pursed them and ran her tongue over her teeth.

"Mandi Mickel. Yeah, she's tough. I used to work with her."

"You did?" Vyola asked.

"Indeed. I shouldn't say with, though. No one works with Mandi, you work for her."

"I'll say."

"But I'll tell you something about Mandi Mickel, Vyola. She's the best in the business. I've learned so much from her. She knows more people in this business than anyone I've ever met. And she is loyal as hell. You're very fortunate to have her on your team."

"It sure doesn't feel like it."

"I know," Sandi nodded sympathetically, "It isn't easy."

"It's more than that," Vyola said, rubbing at her skin again, "I don't mind the hard work, the long hours, but Mandi thinks there's nothing more important than the work – not friends, not family. Nothing."

As Vyola continued to wipe the makeup from her face, Sandi suddenly slapped herself on her forehead.

"Oh goodness," she said pulling a small pack from her bag, "I completely forgot I have makeup wipes. You better use these, your face is getting raw from those towels."

Vyola took them from her and wiped the dark liner from around her eyes.

"Vyola, I know you don't want to hear this right now, but Mandi is right. If you want to make it, nothing can get in the way. That's harder than the work, but it's true. It just depends on how bad you want it."

Sandi smiled and held out her hand for the pack of wipes.

"Thanks, Sandi," Vyola said, returning them to her.

"There," Sandi said, pushing Vyola's hair back from her face, "You look great. Now go. Have fun on-air."

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