“Do you realize how exciting this is for me?” Janette was bouncing in her seat with excitement and anticipation. “I have wanted to meet Angeline for years. This is like meeting a celebrity. I mean, technically Angeline is a celebrity. And I can’t believe she invited me—I mean us—over to her house. Her actual house. It’s probably ginormous! That’s a word, right?”
“You’re the writer,” Chandler said with a chuckle. “You tell me.”
“I’m making the executive decision that ginormous is a word.” Janette looked at her phone. “The GPS says to turn at the next light.”
Before she could finish her sentence, her car’s speaker system called out. “In a quarter mile, turn right at the traffic light.”
“Such a smart car.” Janette reached up and patted the dashboard.
“Sometimes I worry about your sanity, my dear.” Chandler nudged the turn signal and slowed down, preparing to turn. “So, tell me about Angeline. You said she was a celebrity?”
“Yes, she sells about a zillion books a day and makes tons of money.”
“And how did you meet this lady?” Chandler asked.
“We frequent the same author forums and Facebook groups and stuff. She interviewed me for one of her podcasts a couple years ago.”
“That’s what she does. She interviews other authors and asks them the secrets to their success.”
“I meant, why you?” Chandler asks. “If she’s so successful, what could she learn from you?”
Janette’s heart sank and she turned to look out the window, holding back tears. How many books would she have to publish before her husband would see her as successful? Her readers loved her books, and she’d written a lot of books. Just because she wasn’t making much money yet didn’t mean she wasn’t successful. Success is subjective. Janette couldn’t even validate Chandler’s question with an answer without either crying or screaming in anger.
“Hey, are you upset?” Chandler tried to take Janette’s hand, but she pulled away.
“Nope.” Janette kept staring out the window.
“Liar,” Chandler said in a teasing voice.
“So, now I’m a liar and a failure?” Janette turned to her husband and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at him.
“I never said you were a failure. Where’d you get that idea?” He seemed honestly confused rather than defensive.
“You really have no idea, do you?” She wondered how he could not know why his question had offended her.
“No idea about what?”
“People like me, Chandler. My readers like me. My friends like me. You’re the only one who doesn’t like me. That and maybe our kids.” She trailed off in a mumble.
“Sweetheart, I love you,” Chandler said with compassion. “And our kids love you.”
“You may love me, but you don’t like me.” She realized she was pouting like an insecure little girl.
“I love you and I like you,” Chandler said. “You’re my best friend.”
“Really?” Her heart wanted to believe him.
“Really,” he affirmed. “I’m sorry if I made you feel otherwise.”
“I want you to be proud of me,” she admitted. “Of all the people in the world, I want you to be proud of me.”
“I’m already proud of you. You don’t have to sell a million books for me to be proud of you.”
“But I want you to like my books.”
“They’re not my thing. You know that.”
“But I want them to be,” she said, feeling like she was begging.
“What if I asked you to go camping?”
“I’d hate that.”
Janette wrinkled her nose, the thought of dead worms on hooks making her want to gag.
“Being forced to watch Polar Express?”
“Okay, I get your point.”
“Just because I don’t like your books doesn’t mean I don’t like you,” he said in a reassuring voice. “And that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of you or think you’re successful.”
“In order for me to believe you’re proud of me and think I’m successful, you’ve got to stop getting in these little jabs about other people’s success rubbing off onto me.”
“Good point,” he admitted. “I’ll try to keep that in mind and make a conscious effort.”
Their discussion was interrupted when the car called out, “In two-hundred feet your destination will be on the left.”
“Whoa…” Janette’s jaw dropped at the stately home they’d approached. “Angeline must be even wealthier than I thought.”