After a successful interview, Elaine takes Austin, Liat and Dwight to lunch at Sarducci’s restaurant. While there, they are summoned to the presence, the GOD of broadcasting, Gordon Vogal, Liat’s father, and owner of the network, wants to see them.
He took a seat beside Elaine, his arm around her shoulders. Liat sat next to Austin, gripping his hand.
“You’ve been busy. Mummy tells me you’ve been masquerading as a Fogleberg.” He tipped his head, narrowing his eyes, but his smirk gave him away.
“Are you mad?”
“Why ever for? You got the part, didn’t you, all on your own merits.”
“Then why would I be mad? What’s all this crap that’s been going on with my network in my city? What’s that annoying pimple of a man doing now?”
“He doesn’t mean me, does he?” Austin whispered to Liat.
“No, silly. Irving,” she replied.
“He’s saying Austin insulted him and called him names in public,” Elaine explained.
“Did you?” he directed at Austin.
“No, sir. Unless he’s a mind reader.”
“Mind reading,” Gordon waved it away, making a rude noise. “Very hard to prove in court. What did you do to make Irving so angry?”
“I took Liat to my trailer.” He held up a hand before her father could comment. “I’ll rephrase that. Pervy Irv was bothering Liat. Rather than see her karate chop his flabby arse, I took her with me to my trailer. We ate dinner, studied our lines and she went home. He didn’t like that I showed him up.” He shrugged.
“I called him sir in a snarky tone and did my best to follow his obtuse directions.”
Gordon burst out laughing. His blue eyes twinkled merrily. The tea arrived and Elaine poured, passing the sugar and cream after. Once they served themselves, they went back to their conversation.
“After inappropriate snarkiness, what did you do?” Gordon asked.
Austin thought a moment. “Said my lines, hit my marks and nailed the scene.”
“Why is the gimpy cretin saying that Austin called him names? Did you call him names?”
Austin shook his head.
“Why’s he saying that?” Gordon persisted.
“I flirted with Liat in front of him.”
“Did you kiss her?”
“Later. It was scripted,” he hurried to explain. “Pants on, I swear.”
“Yes, of course.” Gordon couldn’t keep a straight face. He understood the young man’s distress, but he wasn’t angry, simply confused. “Then what’s he banging on about?”
“Then this is all just stupid, isn’t it?”
Gordon leaned back, running his hand through his hair. “There are people starving in this city and he’s trying to raise a stink over something that never happened?”
“Precisely my point, sir.”
“Are you sleeping with my daughter?” Gordon shot at him unexpectedly.
“No, sir. I’m not.”
“But you’d like to.”
“Don’t make me answer that one, please. I’m thirty-two, single and she’s gorgeous.”
Gordon laughed, nodding. “The same thing I said about her mother thirty-six years ago when I met her. Have you had lunch?”
“Yes,” Elaine replied.
“Good. Did we have anything else to discuss to resolve this nonsense?”
“We’re opting to let it blow over. Babs is setting up interviews and arranging his schedule with Dwight and Sandy.”
“Everyone wants you, kid. How does that make you feel?”
“Terrified. It’s like being the tenderest steak in the shop. Everyone wants to grill you and have a bite.”
“Couldn’t have put it better myself. We’ll get you ready, no fear. I hear you’re some sort of genius at memorizing.”
Austin didn’t bother to ask how he knew. God knew everything. “Yes, sir.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes