Read an Excerpt
"I don't know about you, but that woman can sing to me anytime. That was Celine Dion with 'The Power of Love' on KOLR. Hard to believe that song is from 1993, isn't it? This is the morning drive, getting you to work on time. I'm Jacob Ryan
" and I'm Michelle Colby, on 'Color,' your station at the end of the rainbow where we play the best of the old and the new."
"You wanna do the weather or shall I?"
"You go ahead. You do it so well."
"So I've been told."
"The weather, Jacob, the weather."
"Yeah, well, it looks like it's going to be a hot one here in L.A. today, folks " He grinned at Michelle. She grinned back. What the ? Great, it was happening again.
Jacob finished the weather report, but he was shaken. For a second there he'd actually wished their banter was more than an act for the show. The prospect of his upcoming meeting this morning must have had him more off kilter than he'd realized.
While Michelle announced a giveaway, he glanced at the AP bulletin that had just come in. Then he leaned toward his mike. "For all of you heading into work this gorgeous Monday morning, let's check in with Officer Barb Jansen in the traffic 'copter. You there, Barb?" he asked.
"I'm here, Jacob, and we've got some good news this morning " Barb's voice piped into the sound booth. Jacob shut her off. They had three minutes until they were on again. He needed some peace and quiet.
Michelle was watching him, a pair of scissors in one hand as she clipped an article out of the local newspaper spread in front of her.
"Couldn't be better," he said. It wasn't true, but confiding in people wasn't something that came easily to him. He scanned the Wall Street Journal online, looking for anything that might interest their listeners.
"You seem a little preoccupied."
Of course she would notice. And of course she would let him know she'd noticed. They were casual friends, workmates, but that was all. "Hey, who wouldn't seem a little preoccupied at six o'clock in the morning? It's called 'not awake yet,'" he said lightly.
She gave him a pointed look, telling him she wasn't buying it, but she went back to clipping news articles for them to use on the show. And that was when he realized he was actually tempted to tell her about Friday's phone call, to ask her opinion. What was wrong with him these days?
"It's eight-o-nine on this gorgeous February morning, and in just a few minutes we'll be talking with football superstar Mark Sanchez, so stay right here with us on ninety-four-point-five, KoLR. But first we have a special anniversary wish to send out ." Jacob clicked off his mike and half listened while Michelle took over to congratulate a couple of Los Angeles natives on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Only another hour and he'd be on his way to Lomen Elementary School to tackle whatever crisis awaited him there. The next time they called him from school asking for a conference he was going to insist on meeting with the principal immediately. He'd been driving himself crazy all weekend with possible scenarios of the triple trouble his daughters could have concocted. But really, how bad could it be? They were only seven years old. It wasn't as if they were at an age to skip classes or be caught smoking in the locker room. .
"What do you think, Jacob? A day at the beach sound good?" Michelle's voice cut into his ruminations.
He reached automatically for the button that would turn on his mike. "With you?" he asked, a standard comeback. But for once he really thought about what he was saying. He could imagine a lot worse things than a day at the beach with Michelle.
"That depends," she said.
"On what?" he asked, reminding himself that they'd been trading this kind of banter for almost three years, that it meant nothing.
"On whether or not you plan to wear those ridiculous swim trunks you wore to the company picnic last summer. I gotta tell you, they didn't do anything for your legs."
"They hung down to my knees. You couldn't see my legs." She was looking at him, but she wasn't laughing the way she usually did when they played their on-air roles. For the first time in three years, the sound booth seemed small to him.