“Just letting you know my new assignment is going quite well. Surprisingly so considering how long it took for him to even give me the time of the day.”

“Well, he’s always been a bit of a bastard, right? Too bad mum’s sister can’t quite smell the stench of prick that surrounds him.”

“Uncle has never been a pleasant word, but he pays in cash, so that’s all that matters for now.”

“Think it can turn into something more?”

My chest tightened, as it often did when I thought of my highly limited options. “That’s the rub, isn’t it? Only if there aren’t millions of other Americans who can do what I do.”

“Well, all you can do is try to be the very best at it.”

“I know,” I said, in all seriousness. “I just wish I had a specialized skill set, like you do covering rock music. I have a few more interviews so we’ll see if those pan out as well.”

I walked to the mailboxes and slid a key into the slot for mine. Matthew had been in the United States for nearly a decade now, thanks to his work as a music critic for the leading music magazine in the world. It was the kind of specialized skill set that allowed for work visas to turn into green cards. Matthew was even marrying an American woman soon, too, but he was already a permanent resident before he proposed. Lucky bastard. He didn’t even have to marry her to stay. Not that he should marry her for that reason. Not that anyone should. And not that I was angling to get hitched to keep two feet on American soil. I simply adored this country, and wanted desperately to stay.

Hence, my need for employment. I’d already tried my hand at several jobs since landing here for my junior year abroad, and turning that into a senior year stay, too. Matthew had tried to help me find work, but even though he’s in high-demand, he’s not in charge of any hiring at his magazine, so there wasn’t much he could do. Plus, both the music industry and the journalism business are highly competitive in the first place for Americans without any specialized knowledge. That meant most of the connections he and Jane have in the business didn’t pan out for me. I’d also tried parlaying my language skills into a part-time translation job that could become full-time, but I’d been turned down for having no experience and no degree. Yet. I had an interview at a new agency on Wednesday morning specializing in court translators so perhaps something would come of that.

“That’s the challenge, isn’t it? You do so many things well, but we need to find the one thing you do that no one else can. In the meantime, maybe the State Department will forget your visa is up. Bureaucracy and all,” he offered as the mail tumbled out. On top of the stack of bills was an envelope from the State Department.

“Not likely,” I said as I ripped it open. It was a reminder that my student visa expired in two months, and if I didn’t find an employer willing to sponsor me to turn that student visa into a work visa I’d need to skedaddle then. I told Matthew about the notice.

“You could do grad school,” he suggested, trying to be as chipper as he could.

“That just delays the inevitable. Besides, then I’d go into debt. College is covered. I somehow doubt mum and dad want to pay for more education,” I said, as I read the cold, harsh reminder from the United States of America that my days were numbered as graduation drew near.

“Hey, I’ve got to run. Jane says we need to get inside. She also says she adores you and will hire you as a groupie if you’d like,” he said, and I could hear the playful glint in his tone.

“Tell her she picked the wrong brother. Tell her to marry me.”

“I’m sorry. I believe there is a problem with this connection. I better hang up now or else I’ll fly out to LA on the next plane to pummel your dreary ass to the ground.”

“Enjoy the show with my future wife.”

Once inside my apartment, I flopped down on the futon, grabbed the slip of paper from my wallet with Jess’s number, and cycled through my best options. I wanted to see her again. I also needed a job. She was both to me. Was that so wrong?

Jess

I read over Anaka’s shoulder later that evening, enjoying the latest entry in Karina’s Burn Book.

How is it possible that Velvet Treadman has yet to receive the memo that berets are out of fashion? I mean, they are just soooo last year. In fact, they’re so last year they’re like the year before last year now. The only acceptable fashion for one’s head is a pillbox hat, thanks to the princess. Velvet, dear, do call me before the next time you set your little feet on the tanbark of a playground, and we’ll have a refresher course on the basics.


Tags: Lauren Blakely Stars In Their Eyes Romance
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