© Copyright 2008 by Elizabeth Delayne
Laying on the bed in the upscale hotel room, Jamie stared up at the ceiling. She was crazy.
Her grandmother was crazier.
What was she doing, away form home, away from her respectable job, in a strange city waiting to begin the oddest, most impractical thing of her life? She’d packed knowing she’d be away for two months, arrived at the airport not knowing where she was headed until she picked up her ticket from the front desk.
She was an idiot.
She could have put her foot down, couldn’t she?
But no ... she had to give into her grandmother. Her crazy grandmother whom she loved.
Just before four the knock came at the door. She was expecting it. She’d had an orientation with the producer that morning. She’d received her instructions, her itinerary for the day.
A day. A single day.
And from this point out, she wouldn’t even have that much planned.
It went against her very nature.
She pushed up from the bed and smoothed her hair, before opening the door. A man with a camera and a woman with a notebook stood outside.
“Just go about your business,” the one with the camera said, lifting it to his shoulder. “Pretend we’re not here.”
Jamie nodded. She knew the rules, had been briefed several times on them. In the theater, the audience was considered the fourth wall ... you stayed in your world, they stayed in theirs. In reality tv, it was all that made it television. You–the participant–went along with the flow.
She left the door open and let them come in. Having already considered this moment, she’d wondered what they would want for her to do on film.
She’d decided to do what came natural and what would make her grandmother most happy. Jamie was, after all, doing this because of her grandmother Nell.
So she called her.
“Hey Gram,” she said when her grandmother picked up.
“If it isn’t my most adventurous granddaughter.”
“Hah ha,” Jamie said and sat down on the bed again, pushing herself back to lean at the headboard. “This is an adventure all right.”
“Where are you?”
Jamie worked not to look at the camera as she struggled to hold in the information and deal with the knowledge that they were recording both sides of the conversation. Nothing was private or secret. “You know I can’t tell you. You know the rules better than me.”
And you know they’re filming.
At that her grandmother laughed, a delightful roll of a laugh that warmed Jamie’s heart. So this was different, but it was about time her grandmother was free to laugh.
“Is there anything you can tell me?”
“I’m fine. I’ll be on a bus for the summer. I’ll see you in August.”
“Do you know who your team members are yet?”
“And would you tell me if you did?”
“You’ll just have to wait six weeks, Gram,” Jamie reminded her. She knew what her grandmother was after, what most of the female fans of the UnWheeled reality show were wanting to know.
Who would be on Tyler Fletcher’s team?
He’d been on the second season of the show, come back a second time as the captain, and carried his crown another three seasons. Relaxed, smart, fun and responsible, his trademark dimpled grin, strong jaw line, and over all nice guy attitude made him a sweet spot for tv.
But she didn’t know ... for her grandmother’s sake, she didn’t know what would be better.
“Have you talked to mom?”
“This morning,” Nell Jenkin’s answered, then dove into a little family news and info. They’d actually practiced talking on the phone. Maybe it made her uptight, but Jamie was afraid of what her grandmother would spill over the phone.
“And your mother. You should know, she’s catching up. She was brimming with questions about the third season.”
“You’re absolutely awful. Drawing mom into your tv addiction, too.”
“It’s about time I had some support.”
“You want support? I’m on this journey for you.”
“Jamie,” Nell admonished. “Be on the journey for yourself. That’s the only thing that will make it worthwhile.”
She could hope so ... but she wasn’t sure.
It was about to be a horribly long test of her naturally ordered nature that would last all summer long.
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