Michelle: Aditi, I’m not trying to get on your case here, but . . .
Aditi: Except that you are.
Aditi: I love you, you know that. And I’m working as hard as I can. Can we please talk about something else?
Aditi: How are you handling things with Ted leaving, Miche? Do you need anything?
Michelle : Next topic.
Elli : We’re just concerned about you, hon.
Michelle : I’m fine. And I’m not interested in rehashing everything. Life goes on.
Aditi : Unless you’re seven seconds late delivering a puff piece on being a female writer, apparently.
Michelle : That’s business. It’s different. And we’re also talking about a whole other novel, not just a blog post or posts.
Elli : And we’re friends. We care about you. We want to know how you’re doing.
Aditi : Then let’s abandon both topics, shall we? I’m not going to fight with you.
Michelle : Who said I’m fighting??
Aditi : Sigh.
Elli : It’s weird that it’s just the three of us today. Where are Christina and Neesha?
Michelle: I assume Christina is hungover, per usual.
Aditi: Well, she was out pretty late last night . . .
Aditi : This is the point when you beg me to share what I know.
Michelle : Oh, God. She wasn’t arrested, was she?
Aditi : Miche, lighten up. She wasn’t arrested. At least, I don’t think she was . . .
Aditi : Anyway, she was all up in the TMZ pics this morning.
Elli : Christina and Vivi, sittin’ in a tree.
Aditi: They were “snapped by paparazzi” on a date. Christina looked pretty happy.
Michelle : Do you think she—dare I say—loves this girl?
Michelle : So Christina is sleeping it off, but where’s Neesha? Given what’s going on, I’m worried that she hasn’t checked in.
Aditi : I’ll call her now. AFK.
Elli : Sweetie, are you sure you don’t want to talk about Ted?
Michelle : El, I didn’t want to talk about Ted while we were married. Why would I want to now that we’re getting divorced?
Elli : To vent? Everyone needs that sometimes. Even She-Ra.
Michelle : Thanks, Elli. I know you’re all here for me.
Michelle: And thanks for comparing me to She-Ra!
Elli: Well, I might say you’re more like Frosta, but . . . Welcome!
Aditi : Back. Found her.
Taneesha : Hi y’all.
Michelle : Hey. We were worried about you. You’re never late.
Taneesha : About that . . .
Taneesha is typing
Taneesha: Things have . . . escalated.
Michelle : What now?!?
Taneesha : Things are being delivered. Freaky things. A Barbie doll with a noose around its neck and a steak knife in the belly.
Aditi : What the ever-loving fuck?!!
Elli : Neesha!
Taneesha : Stuff isn’t just showing up at my house, either. The mailroom at Starwisp must think I’m a serial killer.
Michelle: Go to the police.
Taneesha : I did. They don’t seem to care or believe that it’s really a threat.
Aditi : Is it even safe for you to go home??? These people know where you live.
Aditi : At work, you have plenty of other people around. At home, it’s just you.
Taneesha : I’ve been spending a lot of time at Bobby’s the last few days.
Michelle : Can you talk to your HR rep? Maybe hire some security?
Taneesha : That’s the first place I went. And I make a good living, but not enough for a bodyguard.
Michelle : Go back to the police. Show them the packages. Show them everything you have.
Taneesha : Like I said, I already did.
Michelle : They must not understand. Maybe if you explained again . . .
Aditi : Michelle, what is with you lately? LISTEN to people when they talk to you.
Michelle: I AM listening. I’m trying to help.
Elli : Guys, let’s just take a breath. We need to help Taneesha, and arguing certainly won’t.
Taneesha : I appreciate that, El. But you can’t help me. Apparently, no one can.
Aditi : There must be something.
Taneesha : What? I’ve gone through the whole “you’re being harassed” playbook. HR suggested it was a disgruntled ex-boyfriend or some harmless Internet trolls. Because harmless is a box of shit being special delivered to your front door.
Taneesha : I really appreciate your concern, but unfortunately, we all live thousands of miles apart. We can’t have sleepovers or safety pop-ins every day.
Taneesha: Besides, I do have my family here. Bobby’s taking good care of me.
Elli : I do wish we could be there. If I could afford it, I’d fly there right now.
Aditi : I could be there tomorrow, Neesha.
Taneesha : No, Deet, it’s fine. But if there’s anything you can do, I will ask.
Michelle : Promise?
Taneesha : Promise. Listen, I’m behind in everything today thanks to those WoW idiots. I’ve gotta run.
Aditi : Stay in contact, will ya? I want a check-in twice a day.
Taneesha : All right. Later.
Aditi pushed back from the computer, rubbing her eyes. She was getting some serious screen fatigue lately, yet accomplishing very little. For a few days there at Booklovers Con, she hadn’t wanted to gouge Michelle’s eyes...