As she began to write, she found that she had much to say. She wanted to talk about the judgments that she got that hurt. She wanted to talk about the things she accomplished on her own. She wanted to talk about the benefits she found. She wanted to talk about the humor she found in the men that saw her column as a challenge. The more she talked the more others responded. She got mountains of emails everyday in response to what she wrote. As much as she tried to prevent it, they did interfere with her job. It was only 3 months into the deal and she was worried about her job. A Friday afternoon in that third month her editor called her into his office.
She took a deep breath. "This is it, but you will survive because you have a following and you have your work. You could even publish a book."
"Ms. Rayburn, when you proposed this column 3 months ago I was a sceptic. However, it has become one of the most popular columns. That has forced us to break our agreement and offer you the position of staff writer earlier than agreed."
"We are officially offering you the position of staff writer at this time. "
"Thank you sir. Are you sure about this?"
"Honestly Miss Rayburn if we don't someone else will. We have fielded several calls asking to syndicate your column. These papers have noticed that you are not currently listed among our writers. That fact has made them rather excited. We would like to keep you here at The City Post. We are more than happy to syndicate your column to as many papers as ask. We do require that you give us first publication rights for your articles and that you stay with us for the duration of your column or 2 full years, whichever comes first."
"What if I want to publish a book? Would I have to buy the rights to the articles from you?"
" I don't know what the decision about that is. We can discuss it further on Monday. Today I would like a verbal agreement to stay with this paper."
"Yes I would love to stay with the paper. However I do want final publishing rights to my work."
"If you are serious about that, then this weekend prepare the wording that you would like to have on the contract and we will leave a space for it."
"That seems more than fair, Mr. Barnes. Thank you." Noelle said exiting the office.
Noelle took the directive seriously. She came up with various phrases and sentences. She spoke with several friends and some other colleagues to ensure that it was just what she wanted. First thing on Monday morning, Noelle met with Mr. Barnes, the owner of the paper, and two other supervisors. She presented her wording and her reasoning. It was a remarkably simple discussion. They thought it was quite fair and put up no argument. The contracts were signed and she was now officially a staff writer with protected works. She spent the rest of the morning moving from one desk on the second floor to a desk on the fourth floor. She said good bye to her friends in the advertising department. As she was moving into the new desk, she saw several staring at her. Some were envious. Some were curious. Some just stared with no particular emotion. She just continued about her business without responding to any of the stares.
Lunch came quickly. She gathered her purse and headed toward the deli around the corner. She entered and Julie asked, "The usual?"
"No. I'm rewarding myself. A Hot Pastrami on Rye with deli mustard."
"What is the occasion?"
"I got a promotion."
"Congratulations! It's about time. You've been working your rear end off. You deserve this!"
"Thanks. You are too kind." Noelle complimented as she was picking up her sandwich. She moved to an empty table and began to eat. A few bites into the sandwich a well dressed man approached her.
"Are you Noelle Rayburn of Professionally Single?"
"Yes." She said cautiously wondering if this was an aficionado or a conquistador.
"I really admire your writing is humorous and realistic. You don't take yourself too seriously, but you do take your work very seriously. It is really enjoyable."
"Thank you. You are very kind." Noelle said still unsure of his intentions, but appreciative of the genuine compliments. Not quite sure what to say next an awkward lapse began to yawn between them. He didn't fidget or move. He just kept standing there. So she invited him to sit down.
"I would love to sit down and chat some more with you about your writing process."
"Are you an aspiring writer?"