She nursed her glass careful not to let any thought transpire. She’d always valued her privacy and it was annoying to have her life scrutinized and put under the magnifying glass of the media. It was necessary though, she’d been told. She wasn’t convinced but if it helped, she had to pretend and lend herself to the exercise. And she knew that if the mirror like image she presented was in danger of cracking, there would be some sort of silent message from her companion.
She didn’t like Mr. Dicey nor his rimmed glasses that gave him a false air of innocence: he was all about pretence: she could never stand people who lied to make other people like them. Which made this exercise a certain failure. She’d argued as much but in vain. They were convinced she could play the role and like smoke and mirrors make people believe she was the ingenue they intended to show her as.
Except she wasn’t an ingenue; she wasn’t even innocent and the stupid glass of water… well she’d rather have a glass of wine; better yet a shot of liquor. Not that she would actually drink any: it would be stupid.
“Thank you for meeting us Ms. Hammersham.”
“I was given the impression I didn’t have much of a choice.”
The journalist laughed. Good for him: it wasn’t his privacy that was being put under the microscope like some potential life saviour gene, not his life that was about to be exposed as if it were a tapestry for everybody to look at. People could go to Bayeux for that. Dicey threw her a warning glance. What? If she were going to play this charade, she would on her own terms: and she wouldn’t lie. Once they started scratching the surface, and they would, they’d see through the cracks. She wouldn’t give them an excuse to dive too deep. So lie she wouldn’t.
“We journalist can be… how could I say?”
She smiled again. And he laughed in echo.
“Yes, yes we can be that. Thorough and resilient. We don’t easily let go…”
She almost said it but she didn’t: even she knew a bait when one was handed down to her. But yes they didn’t easily let go of a prey once they found one.
“I guess that’s what makes your job at once exhilarating and potentially dangerous. Are you in it for the adrenalin then?”
The man seemed surprised.
“No. Although sometimes it’s exciting. Take your story for example: you come out of the blue and we know nothing of you. If you’re going to be the next Governor’s wife, well… we need to discover your story. The public has a right to know.”
“Do they? Don’t I have a right to my privacy?”
“You’re going to become a public figure. Nothing you’ve done in your life is private anymore.”
“I see… So I might as well fess up or you’ll dig until you find out everything.”
Again he laughed.
“Yes, pretty much.”
She looked at Dicey; the man was uncomfortable. She smiled to him broadly: served him right. Behind his glasses, he narrowed his eyes.
“It’s a good thing I don’t lie.”
“You’d be the first not to.”
“Well, I’ve got no poker face. I learned it the hard way.”
No privacy… well, her past might destroy her husband’s prospects. He knew everything about her; he met her when her circumstances were… at their worst. Maybe a call.
“Would you give me a moment? Do order a glass of something. On me.”
She walked away, Dicey at her heels, sweating heavily.
“What are you doing Amanda?”
“Just shut up will you? I need to speak to my husband.”
She dialled Jessie’s number.
“Hey Honey. How’s the interview going?”
“It’s not started yet. Jessie. They will dig. You know it.”
He paused… And then sighed.
“How about I come clean now.”
“No. Amanda, no. We decided. Jessie.”
He grabbed the phone and urged his candidate to reconsider, to not let his wife ruin his chances to run the state. She heard Jessie when he ordered his campaign manager to return the phone to his wife.
“Amanda, I trust you. I love you and I love you also because of what you’ve overcome to become the woman I married. Do what you feel is right.”
“I love you. Bye.”
Dicey looked ready to kill her but she didn’t care. If she was going to be under the magnifying glass, she would decide which parts of her life would be the focus of the media and which parts would remain a blur. She wouldn’t let them decide what defined her.