By Brook Williams
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Upon seeing her bumbling audition, Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show. But Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee… he gets a girl who can’t seem to do anything right…and a girl he can’t seem to resist.
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Copyright 2015 © Brooke Williams
“My favorite flower,” Renee Lockhart said, blinking into the bright light of the camera, “is the dandelion.”
The producer scoffed. She couldn’t see him around the bulky black machine recording her every movement and the blinding hot lights shining into her eyes, but he was there. He shot rapid fire questions in her direction.
“You know dandelions aren’t really flowers, right?” His legs shifted.
Renee swallowed. She was uncomfortable seeing only his pants and shoes. It was as if his voice came from some unknown source outside her world under the bright lights. Were they getting brighter and hotter by the minute? “I…I know,” she stuttered as the sweat gathered at the back of her neck. What had she gotten into? She never should have allowed herself to be put into this position in the first place. “But they certainly look more like a flower than a weed,” she continued, picking up speed and gaining confidence. Who was he to mock her answers? “And I enjoy the way they turn to white puff and spread themselves in the wind.”
“White puff?” He snorted as someone else off camera coughed. “I think we’re done here.”
Renee’s face grew warmer. She was already flushed from the heat of the lights and the pressure of the situation, but now she had to be beet red. The producer’s legs turned and walked away from the set as another pair entered her line of sight. As the assistant’s face brightened outside of the shadows, Renee realized what was happening. She was being dismissed. In her fury and embarrassment, she began to pull at the wires connecting her to the microphone. It had taken the staff quite a bit of time to figure out where to place the small bud so her dress would hide it, but it would still pick up her voice. Now, Renee didn’t care how much effort had gone into its placement. She wanted it off. She needed freedom.
Renee shook the wire until it disconnected from the battery pack situated behind her. She pulled the microphone up and out in front of her and threw it onto the chair she had been occupying, only wishing it were heavier so she could make more noise.
What a waste of time. She should have known better than to ever agree to such nonsense. A dating show? It wasn’t like her. Her co-workers knew that. And yet they signed her up for it anyway, just because they wanted her to find someone. And she, even after her doubts and misgivings, had gone ahead with the process. What harm could it do? But now, she had her answer. Renee was mortified. A man with no torso dismissed her…a coward with only legs who had never even shown his face.
* * *
The producer ran his hand over his semi-bald scalp as he made his way across the cold, open studio and into the control booth. The equipment inside warmed it at least ten degrees. He threw his clipboard down onto an empty chair making a nice bang. The board operator jumped and spun on his heel. The other man in the room looked as relaxed as he could be. He slowly swiveled his chair in the producer’s direction, but did not take his hands from behind his head or sit up from his laid-back position.
The producer frowned and directed his gaze at the TV screen behind the other man. Renee’s pink face sat frozen on the monitor, her mouth open in mid-speech. He threw his hands into the air. “I don’t know what to say.”
“I want her.” The seated man half-smiled.
“Her.” The man released one hand and threw his thumb over his shoulder toward the monitor. “She’s the one.”
The producer’s jaw dropped slightly. This was Ben McConnell’s type? He preferred bumbling, fresh-faced girls with little life experience over all of the others they brought in and paraded before him?
“Are you…are you serious?” The producer was certain Ben was joking.
“As a heart attack.” Ben swiveled the chair back around to view the frozen TV screen more closely. “Oh, and change the name of the show. We’re going to call it Accept this Dandelion.”
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