I was in a rush to get back to the office because Conspiracy was to be speaking with the potential buyers, and no one was confident that was going to go well. Conspiracy refused to come into the office to make the calls, so Loraine was at his house coaching him.
As I walked back from the café I got a call from Loraine. He wasn’t taking her instructions and, with Saint at work (she couldn,t get the day off), he wasn’t comfortable with all the commotion. (‘Commotion’ was his word, as I hardly think Loraine caused any commotion.)
Loraine was asking how quickly I could get to Conspiracy’s house, but without a car it would be hours. I rang Fife and told him the situation. He suggested that he drive me over to Conspiracy’s. Not just because it would be faster, but because Fife thought he might be able to help.
We walked into Conspiracy’s house to find him pacing and arguing that he didn’t want to do this any longer. He wanted to quit and just write in peace. And he most certainly didn’t want to speak to people. Why couldn’t he just use a pen name? Or be left alone?
Fife went over, put his arm across his shoulder and tried the, ‘Buddy. Buddy. It’ll be okay’ routine I’ve seen him do with his kids. Conspiracy knocked Fife’s arm off him and told said, ‘This is all your fault. I don’t want to speak with you just now. If it weren’t for you no one would have bothered to notice my writing.’
Most authors would mean that as a compliment. Not Conspiracy.
I asked Conspiracy what the ‘real’ problem was. He really liked talking to those people at the readings, and I tried to explain that this was the same sort of thing. He wasn’t buying it.
Loraine was now starting to get aggressive. The first publisher had already tried to Skype through, and Conspiracy was ignoring it. She kept glancing at her watch, now pacing herself, she gave me a scowl to say, ‘You fix this.’
Just then I heard a car door shut across the way. Fife’s kids must be home from school. And it dawned on me. BigOne. He could help.
I ran out without saying anything and caught BigOne just as he followed his grandmother into the house. I called out to him, and he turned.
‘I need your help. [Conspiracy]’s a bit nervous, and he needs a little pep talk. You in?’ I asked.
BigOne tossed his bag into the house and ran over. Inside Conspiracy’s lounge BigOne went over calmly and tapped Conspiracy on the shoulder, ‘What’s the problem?’
‘I can’t do this. It’s not what my books are supposed to be. Talking about them and having people judge them. I don’t want them to change it. I don’t want them to touch them. I don’t want them to be gawked at.’ Conspiracy rambled on, and BigOne put his hand on Conspiracy’s elbow and lead him into the kitchen. As they rounded the corner, BigOne said, ‘Why hasn’t anyone gotten him a cup of tea?’
Loraine went to follow, but I touched her shoulder to indicate that she should hang back.
We all waited as they talked, and waited some more, and some more, until about fifteen minutes had passed.
‘Right, let’s do this,’ Conspiracy said as he came out of the kitchen.
Just then there was another call through Skype, and Conspiracy took the call. He seemed confident and assured. He answered all their questions not only professionally, but with passion for his writing and for literature in general. BigOne sat doing his homework at the coffee table.
After it was all over, I asked BigOne what he had said to Conspiracy?
‘Nothing really. Just that it was selfish to keep his writing to himself.’
Today was the kids’ last day of school. Helen’s been gone most of the week, but she’s taking a week annual leave to spend time with them. Fife and I said good-bye to the kids as Helen’s mother glared at me. Like their divorce is my fault.
On the way home, Fife broached the subject of summer holidays. He thinks that it’s silly for the kids to be in summer care or with their grandmother (which is Helen’s plan) over the holidays, when Fife’s free to watch them. Also, Fife rightly thinks that the flat is way too small to hold us all for the duration of the summer.
His solution is that we ALL move to the cottage. As much as I’m getting along with BigOne, and as happy as living in the cottage with the boys will make Fife, because I don’t drive I can’t live that far away from work. It just wouldn’t work.
I said this to Fife, and his reaction was, ‘You’re job’s coming to an end anyway.’
I couldn’t believe he just said that. Had he not just seen what we’d been through with Conspiracy? Has he not seen what the Agency has done with Conspiracy’s career? Not to mention the other deals we’ve sorted lately. Not to mention the hours we’ve all put in.
And, even if it does all go down the shitter, which it may, I’m going to continue to work. And at the moment, there’s not a lot of opportunities for publishing in either Dundee, Fife or Perthshire.
I was livid. I am still livid.
I told Fife that I think it would be best if he and the kids moved into the cottage for the summer. I paused for a bit and added, ‘I’ll see you on the weekends.’ And to be honest, I wasn’t sure at that point if I wanted to see him at all.
And what makes me even angrier, he didn’t even realize I was mad or that he said anything wrong. He’s snoozed out in bed just now, and I don’t know what to think. Yeah, I had sex with him tonight, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not beyond angry. I wish I could escape to a little cabin in the woods and leave him here.