"When?" Rahmiya pressed.
"I said soon."
Rahmiya studied her. "You're not going to send it, are you?"
"Yes I will."
"No you won't. I can tell. You're going to chicken out."
"You totally will."
"I just want to take one more pass through, that's all."
"You're for real going to send it?"
Her friend squinted, clearly unconvinced. Then, in a series of fluid movements that transpired much too quickly for Aidyn to do anything about them, Rahmiya clicked Send on her behalf.
"Rahmi!" Aidyn scream- whispered and lurched toward her laptop. "I can't believe you did that!"
"It was for your own good, Aidie. I can't stand to see you waffle."
"I would have sent it when it was ready!"
"It 'was' ready."
A muffled spat ensued. Aidyn fruitlessly attempted to wrestle the words back from the managing editor's inbox while Rahmiya insisted they had belonged there all along. Their tussle became so absorbing, neither saw Woods come into the newsroom and stop a few paces away, watching. When Aidyn finally glanced up and saw her supervising editor, Woods's frown deepened around her wire- frame glasses.
Aidyn shot upright. "Morning, Woods."
"What's going on?" Woods asked. Whenever she spoke, the jowls of skin melting off either cheek wobbled slightly. In so many ways, she was like a bulldog. "Why are you here?" she said to Rahmiya.
"I was just helping her figure out some—"
"Please go back to Billing."
"Of course." Rahmiya rose with an envious regal diplomacy. She made her exit, leaving Aidyn to bear the ire of her editor alone.
Aidyn threw Woods a smile and lowered herself hesitantly into the chair. Hopefully Woods had not heard either of them say Maper's name.
Fortunately, Woods seemed too annoyed with the world at large to be annoyed specifically by a mysterious exchange between two peons. "Did you get those call notes to Reese for the July Fourth special?" Her voice sounded full of gravel, as if she had chain- smoked from the age of four.
"Working on it. I found a World War II veteran willing to be interviewed." Deep down, she hoped Woods would be impressed by the feat.
"Then I've got your next assignment." Woods plowed forward. "Kansas City Public Schools is changing its busing policy. I need two hundred words."
"On it," she replied, and Rahmi's words echoed in her ears. 'A scrap, not a meal.'
Woods started to turn away, then spun back around. Something had apparently caught her eye. Something under Aidyn's chin.
Heat gathered in Aidyn's cheeks.
Woods opened her mouth, appeared to want to say something. Instead, she gave Aidyn a stern look and lumbered to her office.
Aidyn fumbled for her cross necklace and stuffed it inside her shirt.
According to a whispered consultation with Jimmy in Admin Gal's absence, the gal's name was Margaret, "not Maggie— never Maggie." The name suited her. Margaret sounded like a strong- willed name.
When Margaret returned, she ushered them down the hall to room 310 and held open the door for Clara. "Hopefully this is more what you had in mind."
Clara plodded over to the picture window to take in the new view.