NFL Running Back Stephen Pierce is football’s darling. He’s spent his entire career doing community service work with at risk kids, and endeared fans as a devoted Christian, even claiming celibacy. It’s time for his high school reunion. Stephen is determined to get his EX, Tamar, to come out of hiding, even going as far as posting their prom picture on Instagram in hopes that she would accept the challenge to show up.
Tamar isn’t interested in the reunion, but her boss is. She writes for a small magazine. Stephen Pierce is a BIG story.
With reunion activity in full swing, tension between Tamar and Stephen reaches an unbearable level.
Before it’s over will the world find out who the real Stephen Pierce is? And will Tamar survive spending time with the only man who’s ever had her heart?
Coming Thursday December 15th.
I frowned. “You can’t fire me.”
“Actually, I can.” My boss, Eva Stanford, dropped into her chair. She folded her arms over each other on the desk. That position meant business. So did the steely glare in her eyes.
“You can’t.” This time my voice held the question. Could she?
“I’m the managing editor. I can fire whomever I want.”
“But I have a contract.”
“You sure do. Have you looked at it since you signed it? There’s a part in the legalese that says you have to do the stories that are assigned to you.”
I hadn’t looked at my contract in years. I never had a reason to. I was happy doing the stories that came across my desk. I didn’t have aspirations of becoming some big time reporter. All I wanted to do was pay my bills and keep pecking at the novel I’d been revising for three years. But now paying my bills might become an issue.
“I can’t do a story about Stephen Pierce. I don’t know anything about sports.”
Eva picked up her cell phone and shoved it in my direction. “You may not know sports, but you know him. I’m pretty annoyed that you kept that from me.”
I took the phone and looked down at an Instagram photo of myself and Stephen. The blood drained from my face. Pain constricted my heart. He was going to be the death of me. “This is my prom picture.”
“That’s obvious.” Eva rolled her eyes. “One of the interns brought it to my attention. He recognized you.”
I squinted at the picture. My head got light. I was glad I was sitting. “I can’t believe he posted this.”
“He’s on his way to your reunion. I guess he’s feeling nostalgic.”
I continued to stare at the picture – at him really. I hadn’t seen this picture in years. I didn’t even have my yearbook or any of the memorabilia anymore. My exasperated sigh filled the momentary quiet. “It’s not my reunion. It’s a thing they do. It’s for all classes.”
“Small school stuff. I get it.” Eva unfolded her arms and pressed her back into her plush, leather chair. “You’re thirty, right? So it’s been eleven – twelve years since prom?”
“Did you go to this thing last year?”
“I don’t go to my reunions.” I pushed the offending phone across the desk to her.
Eva cocked her head. “I’m sure there’s a story there. Does it involve Pierce? Do you ever talk to him?”
I fought hard to keep my face from telling my truth. “He was a prom date, Eva. It was a lifetime ago. I have no idea what he’s doing now.”
Eva extended a manicured fingernail and tapped on the screen. “Hmmm…the caption over his Instagram is evidence that he’s curious about what you’re doing. He put the same thing on Twitter.”
I sighed again. I could tell by the look in her eyes that I was not getting out of this. I harnessed my irritation. “I can’t believe you’re going to make me do this. I haven’t been to Pine since I finished high school.”
Eva reached for a lipstick-smeared, latte cup. “Stephen certainly seems to love it. It looks like he spends a lot of time there.”
Easy for him to do. I resented that.
“Do you have family there?” Eva probed.
I shifted in my chair. “Some.”
“They’ll be glad to see you.” She pushed the button to boot up her laptop. “People get old. They die. I can’t stand my family either, but I visit every few years or so.”
I stood. The booting up of her laptop meant I was dismissed. “Eva –”
“It’s settled, Anne. I need a good story. We’re going to run this for February. Try to find out if he’s dating someone. Something romantic for a Valentine feature.”
I shook my head. “You know how private he is. He’s not going to tell me that.”
Eva cocked an eyebrow. “I won’t push. You know what I need for a cover story.”
I turned to leave the office.
Eva called to me. “Any truth to that rumor about him? The one about the video.”
I swallowed. “That old story?”
“Nothing is really old. I’ll have to see if we can dig up that video. Ask him a question or two about it.”
“Asking him about the video is not going to endear him to me. He really won’t talk to me then.”
“You’re right, but you can ask. I know this isn’t what you normally do, so I’ll send you a few questions. You always ask the hard stuff after you get the easy stuff.”
“I know how to do my job, Eva.”
She lowered her eyeglasses and peered down her nose at me. “You’re acting like you don’t.”
I resisted the urge to fight with her. She always won. “I need to take the afternoon off. I wasn’t planning to go, so I don’t have anything to wear.”
“Fine. Expense it. Expense a trip to the hair salon, too. You need it. Donna has your itinerary and some other details.”
I walked to the door, grabbed the handle, did a half turn and looked back at her. “I guess this is just as good a time as any to tell you this, because it’ll probably come out now that I’m going to the reunion.”
A disconcerting look came over Eva’s face. “Spit it out.”
“Anne Ferguson isn’t my real name.”
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