Upon a Mystic Tide by Vicki Hinze
Body language rarely lies.
That Bess Cameron’s boss, Sal Ragusa, stood about as stiff as a totem pole set her ragged nerves on an even sharper edge. While divorce never bares its pointed teeth without pain and suffering to everyone involved, in her case, it appeared those teeth would be mortally wounding far more than her marriage.
Resigned to yet another lecture, she held up a give-me-a-second finger, punched the tape labeled “Commercials” into the deck, pressed the play button, then rocked back in her squeaky chair. “All right, Sal. Go on.”
“I’m really worried about you.” He slumped against the recording booth’s doorjamb, deliberately trying to look less concerned. Harsh light from the hall spilled across the WLUV 107.3 emblem on his T-shirt and swiped a slash across his clenched jaw. “This is the only way I know to protect you, and you refuse. When Millicent hears about your divorce . . .”
Bess would feel the bite of the teeth. She sighed. Why did formally ending a marriage that had died and been mourned long ago conjure intense hurt that felt so . . . fresh?
Seeing little productive coming from exploring that question and certain she’d miss nothing that hadn’t been covered on countless other occasions, she let her attention drift from Sal’s lengthy monologue.
The eerie green, red, and white light emitting from the booth’s controls typically seemed familiar and comforting. Tonight, it made her uneasy, though she was enough of a pro to admit that the root of her discomfort really wasn’t the light. It was her, inside—and for a good, logical reason.
It was late, nearly midnight, and she’d had so much on her mind lately that she hadn’t been sleeping well. Big understatement there. And even though she considered self-analysis the fodder of fools for professional psychologists, Bess risked speculating on her unprofessional opinion of her current status. Diagnosis? She was physically tired, emotionally wrung out, spiritually drained, and about as sick as spit—a term she’d picked up from her friend, Maggie MacGregor—of worrying. Prognosis? Grim. From all indications, things were doomed to get worse before they got better. And exactly how much worse remained totally out of Bess’s control.
The first commercial started playing. She tapped the mute button so it’d be transmitted but not heard in the booth, then checked her watch. They had three minutes to wrap up this conversation before she had to get back on the air.
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