Episode Eighteen - I Can Make Or Break You.

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Madeline's office was black and white like the rest of the building seemed to be, but there were small touches of red everywhere. A stapler, a picture on the wall, her lipstick. It was almost like it served as a metaphor, this was her domain, she was the boss and if you crossed her... she could make you bleed.

"Take a seat." She spoke warmly, which caught me off guard, considering she had been moments away from hauling security in to kick me out. She was Fake with a capital F, but she was also the boss for a reason. I sat down in one of the plush white chairs, and so did Sebastian.

"Emily..."

"Emelia." Sebastian corrected Madeline, who eyeballed him before returning her gaze to me.

"Emelia." She said sweetly. "Your book has the potential to hit all of the best seller lists. You have a talent that quite frankly hasn't been seen in this office in far too long."

I held eye contact with the woman, who seemed to be genuine. She lifted up my manuscript and thumbed through it.

"Thank you?" I managed to stammer, my voice meak. My face felt like fire and I knew I was blushing. This was why I could never make it as a big time author.

"Of course, it needs editing. I'm not going to lie though. I want to sign you. I want you to publish exclusively with us and I want to get the ball rolling immediately."

My heart thudded, I wasn't exactly sure what 'getting the ball rolling' entailed. I was venturing further and further into the unknown and if I didn't leave breadcrumbs I was afraid I'd never find my way back. I tore my gaze from Madeline and looked at Sebastian, he knew more than I did what this meant.

"What does that entail exactly." Sebastian exclaimed, asking the questions I couldn't.

"We'd get our best editors on the case, you and perhaps Jeffries. In the meantime I'll start teeing up a book tour. There is a book convention on in Los Angeles in a month, introducing her as our new up and coming author would be just the kind of publicity we need."

"Emelia lives back home... where I'm from, Madeline. She has a life back there."

I turned and looked at Madeline whose sweet smile slowly fell to a scowl. She dropped the manuscript down on the desk and folded her arms across her chest.

"Time is of the essence. Either you want this, or you don't." Madeline exclaimed.

"Madeline, It's not that black and white, I think if you gave Emelia more time..."

My stomach churned, this meeting was quickly turning into the kind of high pressure situation I had been dreading. Being put on the spot to make an impossible decision. I had been curious, hell I'd been more than curious. But if it meant sacrificing everything, then I just couldn't do it. I went to open my mouth, but Madeline leaned forward , unfolding her arms she placed them down on her desk and began to speak before I could.

"May I be frank with you Emelia?" She questioned.

I nodded, under the impression that she wasn't really asking.

"Good. Well, the publishing business is flooded. It's like letting sand fall through your fingers, hoping for a diamond to reveal itself. Finding those diamonds are damn near impossible. This," She paused and picked up my manuscript. "Is one of those diamonds. But you still need to reveal yourself among the sand, I'm afraid if you don't decide now, you will be buried."

I frowned, frustrated that she had proclaimed a want to be frank, and then went on to be anything but. I shook my head and looked at Sebastian, who looked back at me with fear in his eyes. He already knew my answer and I had said nothing. He let his eyes drift from mine and back to Madeline, giving her a small head shake.

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