Chapter 6

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'Good morning, gay UK! You're listening to Verve FM and the time is 8.55am. The 9 o'clock news with Scott Smith is coming up just after a bit of Scissor Sisters.'

From my brand new desk, I sat staring at the On-Air studio light blinking red then turning black as Jake Shears's voice shrilled through the ceiling speakers. Behind the door underneath the light sat Mikey and Loz, the breakfast team. In front of me, the blank computer screen was waiting to be brought to life.

My new BFF, Kade, hadn't kept me waiting in the lobby this morning, but he'd pursed his lips and raised an eyebrow. I'd stepped in with an attitude of my own, flicking my hair over my shoulder and sneaking a quick glance in the mirror. I was wearing the outfit I'd skipped out and bought yesterday afternoon on my way home from the world's greatest interview. I'd teamed black mid-calf boots and sheer, argyle-patterned stockings with a gorgeous black leather skirt and white blouse. My mum had helped me pick the outfit as I'd flicked through racks of clothes and babbled down the phone to her about what had just happened to me. She'd sounded excited, but I'd detected a hint of sadness that I wasn't coming back to Perth anytime soon.

I'd talked over what was left unsaid in our phone conversation with anecdotes about the whacky receptionist and ideas I had for the column I was going to put out to the world. My dad had got the practicalities out the way, asking about pay and leave. He'd expressed his disappointment at the salary but, just like any great dad, knew that the job was the type I'd been wishing for since the moment he'd given me a gold star sticker for the short story I'd written for him when I was seven. My sister had squealed and asked if I was going to meet anyone famous.

After the shopping expedition, I had just enough left in my account to make this month's rent and pay Scott back for when he'd snuck out of the office right after my interview to buy me a champagne in the dodgy chain pub across the road. It was served in plastic flutes that made a dull tap rather than a crisp clink when we raised a toast.

'Here's to shit pay and a fabulous existence,' Scott had announced, looking around at the bored bartender and elderly patrons reading papers and hunched over the slot machines. 'Oh, and to you, of course,'

He was now saluting me on his way to the studio, news script in hand. I waved enthusiastically, possibly maniacally, from my desk.

'Welcome Beth!' boomed a voice next to me. I turned to see Eric winding his scarf off and shrugging his shoulder bag onto the desk next to mine. It landed with a loud thud. 'Your computer should be all set up. The username and temporary password are on that post-it note on the screen. Why don't you give them a whirl?'

Eric proceeded to pull a laptop and several expensive looking notebooks out of his bag. I looked down at my own lime green plastic covered notepad, bought from a supermarket.

'Two youths from London have been charged for their part in a homophobic attack on a 34-year-old man in Elephant and Castle...'

I listened to Scott's news reporter voice, so different from his regular voice, as my computer screen lit up brightly to greet me.

'I'll show you how to use the content management system this afternoon,' said Eric, 'but for the morning, just get yourself set up and perhaps work on that article of yours.'

'No problem!' Little did Eric know that I'd already started working on that and emailed what I'd done to myself at 2am before finally drifting off to sleep around 3am.

'Rosalia will show you around at some point,' he said, turning his attention to his screen.

Two minutes and a couple of 'Authorisation Required' messages later, I built up the courage to distract Eric from his inbox.

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