We're in for a Rough Ride
Look for Highway 380. That's our exit," Katherine said. "I'm looking, I'm looking. According to this map, we have a ways to go." Christy checked her watch again. It would be close. If they could keep up this speed and not get lost, they should make it with just enough time to change their clothes. "There it is! There it is! Get in the right lane."
"Jesus, you said we had a ways to go." Katherine swerved and the Taurus careened across three lanes, miraculously avoiding at least five collisions and inspiring a cacophony of horn honking. "Oh my God," Christy said as she covered her eyes and ducked. Katherine was silent, intent on getting them to Menlo Park before two. When their plane had landed in San Francisco, more than an hour late, they'd called the Steiner McClane office. The meeting couldn't be postponed. Mr. Roche was booked solid, then leaving for Europe on Monday.
"Good thing it stopped raining." Christy had the habit of pointing out the positive whenever things got tense. Katherine preferred working up a good head of steam.
"Oh no, no, NO," Katherine said, spying the traffic ahead. In seconds, they slowed to a complete stop. "How much time do we have?" she asked.
Christy checked her watch. "Thirty-two minutes," she reported, biting her lip.
"You know, Chris, maybe Baby G Sports wasn't meant to be. It could be a sign," Katherine said.
"It's not a sign. There's an accident ahead. See those flashing lights?" Christy climbed into the backseat and unzipped her garment bag. "I'm getting dressed. So when we make it, I can run in."
"Good idea. With this traffic, it could take us half an hour, maybe more."
Christy shook her head as she unbuttoned the Chanel jacket. "I still can't believe you made me spend five thousand dollars for this suit." The thought of the amount made her sick.
The cars started moving again. "Trust me, Chris. You have to dress like you don't need the money or you won't get any. Steiner wants to turn us down, just like those other firms did," Katherine said. She sounded like she knew what she was talking about.
"Do you really believe they're gonna decide based on our outfits? What if they think we're wasting money?"
Katherine locked eyes with Christy in the rearview mirror as she spoke. "Chris, very few women ever get seen by these guys. Our performance has to be perfect or it's over. Could you have won the Olympics in a pair of Hush Puppies? No. This is the same thing."
"Watch out," Christy shouted as Katherine barreled into the back bumper of a Cadillac changing lanes in front of them.
"Shit!" Katherine yelled. "Did you see the way that asshole cut me off? He never signaled!" She pulled over to the side of the road, behind the Cadillac, and stopped. A red-faced man leaped out of the luxury sedan and inspected the damage, then began screaming and raging, waving his hands in the air.
"Why didn't you slow down?" he ranted. "For Christ's sake, couldn't you see I was pulling over?"
Christy was overwhelmed by a sudden and profound sadness. Is this it? Is this how the story ends? In her mind, she saw her fledgling company's life flash before her eyes: the first meeting around the dining room table; the moment Sasha, queen of hip-hop, bounded onstage in a pair of Baby G's; herself and Katherine collapsing in laughter the next day as the orders poured in.
"I did signal, dammit," Katherine was saying. "Look! My light's still blinking."
As they argued, Christy came to a decision. She stuffed her laptop and a pair of heels into her backpack. She put on her running shoes and slipped out of the car.
"I'm outta here," she shouted.
Katherine checked her watch. "You have fourteen minutes."
Copyright © 2007 by Karen Quinn