Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Teaser Tuesday ~ Gemini





Springhill publishing is a place where drama is created and sold for profit. When events surrounding the staff of Springhill start rivaling the dramatic pros of their authors it’s anyone’s guess what is going to happen next and who will be the latest victim.

Teaser ~

Publishing Mogul Aidan Durrant walked through the doors of the top floor at Springhill Publishing. A typical day, he had a slew of meetings, projects, and details all waiting on his review and or completion. Feeing a tingle on the back of his neck, he looked up. It was quiet, too quiet. Almost like the calm before the storm, he dismissed it walking by Chief Editor Leo Cadilli’s office.

"Aidan."

"Yeah?" Aidan turned hearing Leo, his gruff voice typical of a man who spent years yelling over the mechanical presses in a newspaper outlet. The man had been in some part of the publishing business for over four decades. He’d hired Aidan ten years before and mentored him, encouraging and guiding every move he’d made in the publishing world.

"Did you meet with Wailand on the twenty-fourth?" Leo stepped into the hallway.

Aidan couldn’t help but cringe a little at the thought of Literary Agent Derek Wailand, "Uh...the twenty-third?"

"Twenty-fourth."

Aidan straightened his back, searching his mind so some reason Leo was asking. Any meetings with Wailand tended to be memorable if only for the migraine he always endured after. "I don't think so, what was it about?"

"I don't know."

Aidan nodded his head. "Tess would know for sure. What's up?"

"Nothing." Leo put his hands in his pockets, his short stature only adding to his commanding presence. "Just let me know okay?"

"Yeah sure."

"You ready for today?"

"Yeah, definitely."

"Good. You pull this off and you can start writing the checks."

"Goals are good.”

“Results are better."

"Yeah."

Leo retreated into his office and Aidan racked his brain for the events of the twenty-fourth. He stopped at the coffee machine pouring himself a cup. He then walked into the office and his executive assistant aka partner in crime, Tess Winters entered the office seconds after him.

"Morning."

"Good morning Aidan," Tess picked up a file from his desk. "You have staff in forty."

"Yes, I do." Aidan looked over the items he'd left scattered across the desk from the night before beginning to feel a little overwhelmed.

"When you get back, we can start on the galleys for the tenth, I've already gone through everything up until then."

"You have?"

"Yeah."

"When?"

"This morning." Tess walked out of the office and then back in, Eileen, a marketing staffer followed. Tess focused on her tablet, picked up the phone on his desk dialing a number before turning to Eileen. "Make sure you make it for three. It can't conflict with the GC lockdown."

Aidan scratched the back of his neck, attempting to keep up with the flood of activity. Normally he could ignore the distraction of business but today that was not the case. "What time did you get here?"

"Five." Tess glanced at the phone, handing him the receiver. “Ben Weaver, contract change for the summit.”

“Crap. You can handle him, can’t you?”

“No, I can’t. He’ll only talk to you.” Tess put the phone in his hand and moved to the credenza behind him collecting files.

Aidan started to reach for the hold button but stopped. "Tess, what were you doing here at five am?"

"There is a lot to do before The Summit, I decided to get a head start."

Tess turned and started out of the office. "Tess."

"Weaver.”

“Yeah, I know. He can wait a minute.”

“What?”

"Did I meet with Wailand on the twenty-third?"

"It was the twenty-fourth, and no."

"How do you know that?"

“Aidan, talk to Weaver.”

“Fine, but don’t disappear.” Aidan engaged Ben Weaver the owner of the resort they would be holding Springhill’s Author Summit.

An annual event, it took months of planning and prepping. Seven days of speeches, workshops, dining, networking and schmoozing. It was the best of times and the worst of times.


Twelve minutes later Aidan appeared in the door of his office looking for Tess. He found her balancing a stack of files in her arms and a tablet in her hand. She handed Aidan the tablet and a file off the top of the stack.

"Tess do you have the Summit schedule?" Clara, a new intern asked, taking a stance just behind where she stood.

"Yeah." Tess turned to Clara retrieving the needed file out of the stack of files she held. "Don't schedule anything on the twelfth we’re already booked." Clara took the file and disappeared.

"Maggie, can you crunch the Dennison numbers for me?" Aidan requested to a support staffer two desks form where they stood.

"Sure." Maggie nodded.

Aidan opened the file in his hands. "How do you know I didn't meet with him?"
"That was the day you spilled coffee on your shirt."

"I didn’t..."

"The twenty-fourth was the day after the third meeting with Ronald Lewis and we were here until four am rewriting the summary points for his marketing package." Tess leaned against the doorframe.

"That was hellish, but what does that have to do with the meeting?" Aidan asked as he watched her handle him and the rest of the chaotic office with ease. She was constantly amazing him with her ability to juggle eighteen things while having five different conversations and still manage to keep smiling.

"The next day, after you’d been on conference calls most of the morning, I came into the office to remind you of the meeting with Wailand and found you asleep at your desk. I didn't realize it until too late and you spilled the cup of coffee in your hand down the front of your shirt." Aidan began to recall the incident.

"I wasn't asleep."

"Aidan."

"I was thinking. So why did you cancel the meeting?"

"You told me to." An intern handed Aidan a document.

"This was sent over from Ginger." The intern said.

Aidan looked at it briefly. "Are theses the GC numbers?"

"Yeah." The intern replied as she walked out of the office.

"Why would I do that?"

"What?" Focused on the file in front of her, Tess didn’t bother to look up.
"Tell you to cancel the meeting."

“You have fifteen minutes to get to Leo’s office.”

“I have twenty-three minutes. Answer the question.”

"Because you had coffee down the front of your shirt, you were exhausted and you said, I quote "Anyone who can't tell me why he wants to see me doesn't deserve to see me." Tess moved to her desk. "Kathy, can you please call Bridgett in editing and tell her that we can't do it on the sixth, but we can do it on the eighth." Kathy nodded and walked away. “Thank you!”

"I said that?" Aidan replied looking up in annoyance at her remembering the events so accurately. "I never said that."

Aidan held his breath in realization he was not only picking a fight with Tess who knew everything and was rarely wrong, but he was also calling her a liar.

 Not a good day Durrant.

He waited patiently for the wrath to begin. Today was the deadline for all things Summit and they, aka he, had a big presentation this afternoon.

"Aidan you can believe anything you want in that genius mind of yours, but there were witnesses and it doesn't matter does it? You didn't take the meeting, there were too many other things on the docket, and it got pushed off. Big deal." Tess looked back down at the piece of paper in front of her.

“Aidan” He heard his name seeing AJ, the PR director walking toward him.

"What's up?"

"Have you met with Wailand?"

"On the twenty-third?”

"It was the twenty-fourth but no, since then."

"How do you know I didn't meet with Wailand on the twenty-fourth?"

"I was here when you spilled the coffee down your shirt and canceled the meeting." AJ stopped in front of him. "Have you seen him since?"

"No, why what is going on? Leo asked me about it this morning also. I know he’s the lead for the GDC but what's the deal?"

"I don't know yet, I was hoping you could tell me. There is a buzz going around about him and I want to find out what it is. Can you try and meet with him today?"

"Is he in town?" Knowing the Author Agent resided somewhere in Arizona.
"Aidan Springhill Summit is the single most celebrated week of the publishing year. If something is potentially jeopardizing the success of the event and I don't know what it is first because of your inability to stay awake during normal working hours I will have that self-centered head of yours on a platter in the editorial hall for all of your enemies to spit on!" AJ roared at him.

"Fine, I’ll handle it.” Annoyed and sincerely terrified in the same moment. “Tess!"

"Kathy is getting him on the phone now," Tess passed the office. Aidan watched as AJ winced slightly and groaned under her breath.

"Headache?"


"Shut up, Aidan," AJ rubbed her temple. Tess returned, looking at AJ who was biting her lip. "Do you have any Advil?"


****



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