Fame or Friendship
Emma trembled with anticipation. “Finally,” she thought, “my Managing Editor wants to hear what I have to say. No more writing obituaries, covering garden parties, and dog shows.” All Emma had ever wanted since she was fourteen was to be a serious journalist. She constantly daydreamed about interviewing movie stars, being in the middle of the action of a war torn country, or reporting about a medical breakthrough. In the two years since she graduated from college and took the job with The Gazette, it had been anything but exciting. Her first year, they had her proofreading the work of the more senior reporters and checking their facts. Then this year, when they promoted her to Reporter, her first assignment was to cover the annual dog expo at the community center. Boring. Eagerly, she knocked on the door of her boss’s boss. “Emma? Come in.” She extended her hand to the distinguished older gentleman who was a well-known war correspondent decades earlier, “Mr. Robbins, it is my pleasure to meet with you. I will be happy to help you with this assignment.” She took a deep breath, “Your email didn’t give much detail but I know I’m up to the task, whatever it is.” Mr. Robbins smiled, “Emma, I know that you went to high school with Cassandra Clarke. Quite a talented musician. Too bad her personal life is in such shambles.” Cassie and Emma were inseparable since Kindergarten. Despite her fame and fortune as a pop singer/songwriter, Emma remained Cassie’s closest confidante. Every Monday, no matter how busy her tour schedule was, she always made time for an hour long phone call with Emma and they emailed and texted constantly. Cassie once said that Emma was the one thing that kept her sane in her tumultuous lifestyle. The latest scandal was her recent ex Daniel who was locked up for possession of cocaine. Cassie was at that wild party where the drug bust took place. Mr. Robbins continued, “I want a tell-all report of the good, bad, and ugly on Cassandra. Don’t hold back. I understand her boyfriend before Daniel Descartes was locked up for giving her a black eye and yet she stayed with him for another six months. And her parents? Readers want to know why she hasn’t spoken to them for four years. Are you up for the assignment?” Emma gave the Managing Editor a trembling smile. “That’s a lot to think about can I let you know?” Mr. Robbins shook his head indulgently, “It’s a plum writing assignment. Your career will take off. What’s there to think about?” He paused, “All right, I’ll give you until tomorrow morning.” Emma walked back to her desk in a daze. What to do? Take the story of a lifetime? Yet Cassie is a private person and would inevitably feel hurt and betrayed. Could Emma expose her closest friend like that? But how could she walk away from this career changing assignment that would put her on the map as a reporter? Should she choose her friend or her career?