One More for Christmas - Sarah Morgan Page 0,1
the imagination and appeal of stale bread.
Howard had interviewed her a decade earlier and he’d been patronizing and paternalistic. It gave Gayle pleasure to know that by insisting on being interviewed by this junior reporter she’d annoyed him. With any luck he’d burst a blood vessel in the most valuable part of his anatomy—which, for him, was probably his ego.
“If I don’t give them what they’re expecting, I could lose my job.”
Gayle opened one eye. “Not if you give them something better than they’re expecting. They’re not going to fire you if the ratings go up. What’s on their list? Let me guess... My work-life balance and how I handle being a woman in a man’s world?”
The woman laughed. “You’re obviously a pro at this.”
“Think of the people watching. Ask the questions they’d ask if they were in the room with me. If you were a woman eager to make a change in your life, what would you want to hear? If you were struggling to get ahead in the workplace—” which you are “—constantly blocked by those around you, what would you want to know?”
Rochelle picked up the papers from her lap and folded them in a deliberate gesture. “I’d want to know your secrets—how you handle it all. How you handled it at the beginning, before you had everything you have now. You started with nothing. Put yourself through college while working three jobs. And you’ve become one of the most successful women in business. You’ve transformed companies and individuals. I’d want to know whether any of your experiences might be of use to me. Whether you could transform me. I’d want to come away feeling so inspired I’d call the show and thank them.”
“And you think they’d fire you for that?”
The woman stared at her. “No, I don’t.” She slapped the papers down on the desk. “What is wrong with me? I’ve read all your books several times, and yet I was about to ask the questions I’d been handed. One of my favorite sections in your last book was that bit about other people’s expectations being like reins, holding you back. You were our role model in college.” She pressed her palm to her chest. “Meeting you is the best Christmas gift.”
“It’s only a few weeks away. I love the holidays, don’t you?”
Gayle did not love the holidays. She didn’t like the way everything closed down. She didn’t like the crowds on the streets or the tacky decorations. She didn’t like the uncomfortable memories that stuck to her like bits of parcel tape.
“Aren’t you a little old to be excited about Christmas?” she asked.
“Never!” Rochelle laughed. “I love a big family gathering. Massive tree. Gifts in front of the fire. You know the type of thing...”
Gayle turned her attention to the makeup artist, who was brandishing lipstick. “Not that horrible brown. Red.”
“Red. And not an insipid washed-out red. I want a look at me red. I have the perfect one in my purse.”
There was much scrambling and an appropriate lipstick was produced.
Gayle sat still while the makeup artist finished her work. “This is your opportunity, Rochelle. Take it and ride it all the way home. If you make an impression on the public, your bosses won’t be able to hold you back.”
Gayle had the power to give her a boost and she’d used it. She liked to give people the kind of chance she’d never been given. The rest was up to them.
“Five minutes, Ms. Mitchell.” The director scanned her shelves. “When we’ve finished the interview we might take a few stills for promotional purposes.”
“Whatever you need.” If her story inspired people, then she was happy. She wanted women to understand their own strength and power.
Rochelle leaned forward. “In case I don’t have a chance to thank you properly after, I just want to say how grateful I am for your support. Do you have any idea how inspiring it is to know that you live the life you talk about in your books? You’re the real deal. You’re right at the top of your game, but still you take the time to reach out and give others a helping hand.”
Her eyes glistened and Gayle felt a flash of alarm.
The helping hand didn’t come with tissues. Emotion had no place in designing a life. It clouded decision-making and influenced those around you. Gayle’s staff knew better than to bring emotion to a conversation.
Give me facts, give me solutions—don’t give me sobbing.
Rochelle didn’t know that. “At