All the Lies - Charlotte Byrd



“You either get this done or you're fired,” my boss says, slamming the door to my office in my face.

A cold shiver runs down my spine.

This is an impossible task.

It's also a trap.

She knows that I could never get an interview with someone like D. B. Carter and it’s her way of finally getting rid of me.

I put my head on my desk and sob. I've never cried at work before.

I've always saved those moments of total breakdown for the couch in my living room where I could have a glass of wine in one hand and a remote in the other, but today I just can't stop myself.

Corrin Matthews has been trying to get rid of me for months. She's my immediate superior and she has made my life at Coast Magazine impossible.

She's the kind of boss who never lets up. She works harder than everyone else and is always the first one to get to the office and the last to leave.

It's not that I'm not a hard worker. It's just that I do my best work outside of here.

After a while, the walls start to feel like they're closing in and I need to grab my laptop and write somewhere else.

I hope that it doesn’t seem like I’m slacking, but I think it does.

Of course, it doesn't help that there's something else creating the wedge between us; my fiancé.

Tall, easy on the eyes, and broad-shouldered, Alex Wetterling first bought Corrin a drink during a girls’ night out after work.

When she went to the bathroom, he bought me one, too, and we ended up closing down the bar, driving to Zuma Beach, and making out in the front seat until the sun came up.

He was quite a gentleman that night and for three more dates after and we did nothing more than kiss, laugh, and talk.

After wiping my eyes, I call Alex on the phone, but he doesn't answer. I know that he can't always talk on the phone while at work. I text him a couple of times, but he doesn't reply.

I turn on the camera on my phone and check my appearance. My eyes are bloodshot. I dab a little concealer underneath and hope that’s enough to cover up the evidence of tears.

Everyone in the office knows that Corrin hates my guts and many have even admitted it out loud. I wish there was something I could do to change it, but I can’t.

Corrin’s uncle owns Coast, this fledgling magazine trying to compete in an ultra-competitive environment where print and online media outlets with much more power and gravitas go under all the time.

Coast started out as something of a lifestyle magazine focusing on coastal living and showcasing brands that represent that style.

However, when one of the writers broke a story about a movie studio executive abusing many well-known actresses and other female executives, Coast found something of a niche in juicy investigative journalism.

Daniel Matthews, Corrin’s uncle, was very keen to jump on all of this exposure and even found a few journalists from other news outlets to do deep dive pieces similar to this one.

Back at the University of Southern California’s School of Journalism, I wrote a number of pieces for the school’s newspaper that got picked up by the LA Times.

My stories focused on the sexual abuse that the head gynecologist perpetrated against female students for almost three decades.

USC had paid the students settlements in a number of these cases to keep quiet and I almost didn't get my degree in my efforts to uncover the truth.

It was Daniel Matthews who conducted my interview and who hired me on the spot. When he had a heart attack and had to take time off, his niece, Corrin Matthews, increased her sphere of influence.

Now she is the managing news director and in charge of my entire department.

It would be a stretch to say that Corrin is bad at her job.

She isn't. Actually, she's quite good.

The problem is that she can't stand the sight of me and despite how good she wants Coast to be, she’s going to do everything in her power to stop me from making a career here.

“Alex, pick up. I know you're there. I really need to talk to you,” I speak into my watch on the way to his office and it sends the text message.

We don't have plans to meet until our engagement party tonight, but his office is only five blocks away from mine in downtown LA and I know that