I looked at Scott in his uniform. I looked at Victor. I couldn't believe the two of them did this to me! Couldn't they reserve their fighting instincts for the Axis? I managed to wedge between them before a fight broke out. "Excuse me, gentlemen. Could I have a moment to think this over?" I didn't give them a chance to answer. I walked out the door, slamming it on my way into the hall.
Once outside, I breathed a sigh of relief. How did things end up like this? I never encouraged either man to fall in love with me. Not like this. Oh, sure, I've dated both of them in my rare spare time. I'm not a flirt, though, and lately I've tried to discourage Scott. Scott Sherwood is not one to be discouraged, though. I'll give him that.
I'll give him a lot more than that. I admit, I've treated him like dirt lately. He deserved it. He stole a man's job and lied his way into this station. I often wonder what would have happened if Victor hadn't "died" in the Blitz. Would he have come back and discovered Scott's deception? Would Scott have stayed? Probably not.
Scott is a complex case, to say the least. When he first came to WENN, he seemed like your common con artist. I knew the type in college, and even in Indiana. Yes, there are con-men in Indiana, peddlers and snake-oil salesmen and the guys who tried to sell Dad used bibles every year in the spring. I knew how to handle con-men. I grew up handling them.
Scott started out that way. Only a con-man would pull the stunts he did, like the rigged quiz show and telling his aunt that we were a branch of the FBI. Ok, I enjoyed the FBI stunt, at least until it occured to me that Aunt Aggie caught on before we even started. It was around then, around the time that I kissed him on the cheek during that crazy quarantine, that I began to realize that the station meant as much to him as it did to me. I wasn't thrilled with him when he told me about the Victor Comstock Memorial Fund, but I hoped it, and his obvious jealousy of Doug Thompson, meant that some of his feelings for me and for WENN were genuine.
I thought I was wrong about Scott when Pruitt kicked him out. I didn't like Pruitt taking over, and I know now that Pruitt taking over was one of the worst things that ever happened to WENN or its staff. We later found out that we could have nipped the whole sabotage ordeal in the bud after Holstrom's arrest if Scott's duplicity hadn't left the door open for Pruitt's return.
I don't blame Scott for that now. If Scott hadn't gotten fired, Pruitt probably would have wormed his way into WENN anyhow. Gloria Redmond saw nothing wrong with Pruitt, other than his lack of humor. It's the other thing Scott did, taking Victor's job, that still angers me. Not only did he lie and embezzle and forge Victor's signature, but he stole a man's life. Just another day in the life of Scott Sherwood.
Scott's changed since then. I don't know how much I had to do with it. He came back. He could have left, could have gone anywhere he pleased, could have joined the Army earlier, with his cryptography skills. He chose to work at WENN. He became another staff member, another family member. He saved my life, and probably Hilary's sanity after the whole Pavla mess. Even as I pushed him away, turned down his dates, I admired his guts in returning after his disgrace and in helping Hilary cope by driving her crazy.
I didn't want him to leave. I didn't want him to possibly die. C.J was already in basic training in Biloxi. Jeff spoke of finding a correspondant job, much to Hilary's annoyance. Mackie and Maple both wanted to join the USO, Doug joined the Navy yesterday, and Enid was talking about becoming a WAC. The war was already slowing breaking apart the staff.
The sound of arguing voices reminded me of the other point of the triangle. Victor, dear, sweet, sophisticated Victor. He opened my eyes to the world of radio, and then shut his eyes to the possibility of a relationship. It was his "abstract ideals" that drew me to him in the first place. I admired him. I loved his mind. But did I love him? I had a crush on him for the longest time, long before he went to London. I thought I was going to die when I caught him kissing Grace Cavendish. Grace mentioned that they knew each other in New York, but I didn't think it was that kind of knowing each other.
We never kissed, not then. Not even when he told me he was going to London. It was always about the station, or the government. There was no time for romance. We were always occupied with some new idea to keep the station afloat. He was a wonderful, if slightly distracted, manager, and it was hard not to compare Scott to him. Even Scott noticed when he first arrived.
The day we found out about Victor's "death", we were all listening to the radio. We'd barely left it since the World's Fair broadcast. They finally announced the casualties. I later found out from Gertie and Scott, who were sitting closest to me, that I went into shock when I heard Victor's name announced. It was two weeks before I really recovered. I couldn't believe that someone as vital and alive as Victor Comstock was gone, especially without my expressing my feelings about him. I don't really remember much about those weeks, other than Scott following me. I owe him for keeping the station afloat in those weeks, and for eventually keeping me afloat as well.
I'm still having a hard time believing that the last year or so wasn't merely an episode of "The Hands of Time" or "Amazon Andy". It certainly seems like a radio show. Who would believe Victor's story about being Jonathan Arnold, coming back from the dead, and almost shooting me in the green room? He doesn't remember anything about that night, and the staff and I decided that it's best we keep it that way. We later used Mackie's "What's Wrong With This Program?" idea to explain what went on over the air. Pruitt was arrested and, last any of us heard, is awaiting trial for sabotage, treason, and attempted murder.
How do I feel about Victor now? I'm not sure. I thought I was when he came back. I thought that everything was going to be the same as when he left, and our relationship would be the same. I was wrong yet again. Everything isn't the same, and not just because we have three new people working at the station, not to mention the interns. Victor's never here, and not just in spirit. He doesn't have time for anything but his abstract ideals in his schedule. He certainly doesn't have time for me.
I sound resentful. I shouldn't resent what he's chosen to do. He's doing the right thing, just as Scott did by joining the Army. He's noble and good and trustworthy. I used to think that he wouldn't walk on window ledges to create news, but after he approved of some of Scott's wilder ideas, I began to wonder.
He's also as dense as a brick. If a man doesn't notice Maple's flirting with him, there's something wrong. He gets so wrapped up in his high ideals that he doesn't notice anything else. I still admire his patriotism and his ideals, but one needs common sense, too. His kiss today just didn't feel...right. It was passionate, as much as last time, when I thought he was going out of my life forever. The spark that I felt the night he came back was gone, replaced by...I don't know what. Confusion, frustration, maybe.
I don't want him to go back to London. The W.E.N.N sounds like just what he needs. It's a job that's based out of Pittsburgh, and he won't have a second chance to die. He loves the idea. It's not hard to tell, the way he raved about it. He adores a challenge.
My head is starting to hurt. The shouting in the office is getting louder. I've got to get back in there, before the boys decide to hold their own personal war over the desk. I don't need them making the paperwork sticky. I took a deep breath and, pausing only a moment, walked forcefully in the room.
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