Home > The Risk (Briar U #2)(7)

The Risk (Briar U #2)(7)
Author: Elle Kennedy

On the opposite wall, two big screens are showing two different programs: an NHL highlights reel from this weekend, and a Top Ten segment counting down the most explosive rookie seasons of all time. I wish the TVs weren’t on mute. At least then I could hear something interesting while I’m being ignored.

Frustration climbs up my spine like ivy and tightens around my throat. He isn’t paying a lick of attention to me. Either he’s the worst interviewer on the planet, a rude jackass, or he’s not seriously considering me for this position.

Or maybe it’s D) all of the above.

Tristan was wrong. Ed Mulder isn’t a jerk—he’s a mega asshole. But unfortunately, good, hands-on internships at big networks like HockeyNet don’t come along every day. It’s slim pickings out there in the internship market. And I’m also not naïve enough to think that Mulder is a special case. Several of my professors, both male and female, warned me that sports journalism isn’t the most welcoming field for women.

I’m going to face men like Mulder during my entire career. Losing my temper or storming out of his office won’t help me achieve my goals. If anything, it’ll “prove” his own point in his misogynistic head: that women are too emotional, too weak, too ill equipped to survive in the sports arena.

“So.” I clear my throat. “What would my duties be if I got this internship?” I already know the answer—I practically memorized the job posting, not to mention my CIA-worthy interrogation of Tristan the TA. But I might as well ask some questions, seeing as how Mulder isn’t interested in returning the favor.

His head lifts. “We’ve got three intern slots to fill in the production department. I’m the head of that department.”

I wonder if he realizes he hadn’t answered the question. I draw a calming breath. “And the duties?”

“Highly intensive,” he replies. “You’d be required to compile game highlights, assemble clips packages, help to create teasers and B-roll. You’d attend production meetings, pitch ideas for stories…” He trails off, clicking his mouse a few times.

AKA, the perfect job for me. I want this. I need this. I bite the inside of my cheek, wondering how I can turn this disastrous meeting around.

I don’t get the chance. There’s a loud knock on the door, and it flies open before Mulder can respond. An excited-looking man with an unkempt beard thunders into the office.

“Roman McElroy just got arrested for domestic abuse!”

Mulder dives out of his leather chair. “Are you fucking shitting me?”

“There’s a video of it all over the Internet. Not of the wife-beating, but the arrest.”

“Have any of the other networks picked this up yet?”

“No.” Beard Man is bouncing up and down like a kid in a toy store, and he can’t be a day younger than fifty-five.

“Which talking heads do we have on set?” Mulder demands on his way to the door.

“Georgia just got here—”

“No,” the boss interrupts. “Not Barnes. She’ll try to give it some sort of feminist bullshit spin. Who else?”

I bite my lip to stave off an angry retort. Georgia Barnes is one of the two female analysts at HockeyNet, and she is amazing. Her insights are topnotch.

“Kip Haskins and Trevor Trent. But they’re doing a live segment right now. The Friday Five.”

“Screw The Friday Five. Have Gary write up some copy, then get Kip and Trevor to debate the fuck out of it and break apart the arrest video frame by frame. I want a whole segment on this McElroy thing.” Mulder skids to a stop in the doorway, suddenly remembering my existence. “We’ll finish this on Monday.”

My mouth falls open. “I’m sorry—what?”

“Come back Monday,” he barks. “We’re dealing with a monster exclusive here. The news waits for no man, Brenda.”


“Monday, nine o’clock.” With that, he’s gone.

I stare at the empty doorway in disbelief. What the hell just happened? First he opened the interview with a bunch of sexist comments, then he didn’t listen to a word I said, and now he’s abandoning me mid-interview? I understand that a professional hockey player being charged with abusing his wife is big news, but…I can’t come back on Monday. I have classes. Tristan warned me about Mulder, but the man was even worse than I’d expected.

I angrily gather up my purse and coat and rise to my feet. Fuck that. I’m not returning on Monday. I’m not letting that asshole—

Dream internship, I remind myself, then repeat the phrase over and over again in my mind. ESPN and HockeyNet are the two biggest sports networks in the country. And ESPN isn’t hiring.


I guess I’m skipping school on Monday.

Rochelle, Mulder’s cute blonde receptionist, glances up from her desk when I walk up. She officially reschedules the interview, and I leave the HockeyNet building with the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach.

For the first time in ages, it’s not raining, so I arrange for an Uber and stand outside by the curb. I call my cousin while I wait. “Hey,” I say when Tansy picks up. “My interview’s over.”



“How did it go?”

“It was a total disaster. I’ll tell you about it later. I just ordered an Uber—can I still head to your dorm?” The plan was for me to hang out there alone while Tansy is in class.

“Yeah, I left my key with my RA. She’s in room 404. Knock there first and get the key. I’m in 408.”

“Cool.” I glance back at the high-rise I just exited, with its sparkling windows, glass lobby, and massive white-and-red HockeyNet logo. A sigh slips out. “I hope you’re ready to get lit tonight, because I need to drink the memory of this interview right out of my head.”

“I hate you so much. How do you always manage to look so good without even trying?” Tansy gripes later that evening.

We’re in her suite at Walsh Hall, one of the Boston College residences. Tansy shares it with three other girls, and bunks with a chick named Aisha, who’s away for the weekend visiting her parents in New York. Aisha is a girl after my own heart, because she transformed her desk into a vanity. I would’ve done the same thing to my desk at home, if I had one; I’ve always preferred doing homework while sprawled on my bed or couch.

I grin at Tansy’s reflection in Aisha’s huge mirror, then continue applying mascara to my upper lashes. “I’m putting on makeup,” I point out. “How is that not trying?”

She makes a grumbling noise in her throat. “You call that makeup? You put on a dab of concealer and a bit of mascara. That doesn’t count as trying.”

“And lipstick,” I remind her.

“And lipstick,” she concedes. She rolls her eyes at me. “You know colors other than red exist in this big, beautiful world, right?”

“Red’s my color.” I purse my lips at her, then smack them together in an air kiss. “My friend at Briar says it’s my trademark.”

“It totally is. I can’t remember the last time I saw you without it. Maybe Christmas morning?” She pauses. “No, wait, we both wore red lipstick that day. It matched our Santa hats. I looked awful, though. I remember that. I can’t pull off red lips.”

“We have the same complexion, Tans. You could absolutely pull it off.”

“No, I mean swag-wise. You need to possess a certain amount of swagger to rock the red.”

She’s not wrong. It’s a look that requires confidence. Ironically, it’s what gives me confidence. I know it sounds absurd, but I feel invincible every time I slather on some crimson lipstick.

“I can lend you some of my swagger if you want,” I offer.

Tansy’s nose scrunches up as she grins. The silver stud in her left nostril catches the light and seems to sparkle. “Aw thanks, Bee. I knew there was a reason you’re my favorite cousin.”

“Well, the others aren’t exactly prime candidates for that honor. Leigh and Robbie are too preachy about religion. And don’t get me started on Alex.”

We both grimace. Alex is our uncle Bill’s daughter and she’s incredibly annoying.

I hear the chirp of an incoming message. “Hey, can you check that?” I left my phone on Tansy’s desk, and she’s closer to it.

She reaches over from her bed. “Someone named GB says he misses you. He used about a hundred u’s and five, no, six, heart emojis. Oooh, and it’s the red heart. That means he’s serious. So. Who is GB and why haven’t you mentioned him?”

I sputter with laughter. “GB stands for Greenwich Barbie. That’s what I call my friend. Summer. She’s a hot rich girl from Connecticut.”

“Liar. I’ve never heard you mention a Summer,” Tansy accuses.

“She transferred to Briar at the beginning of January.” I stick the mascara wand back in the tube and twist it closed. “This chick is insane, like in a good way. She’s hilarious. Always up for a party. I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

“Are we seeing her this weekend?”

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