Sunday, September 6, 2015

A New Kind of School by Meg Gray

The kids were at school. The apartment was silent, minus the puppy snores coming from Butterscotch, soft and adorable. Nothing like the yelling and chatter-filled air that polluted the apartment every morning as she hustled the children out the door to school. This morning was no exception either.

Fern fired up the PC in the den. The teakettle whistled from the kitchen and she padded barefoot to the stove to fix her cup. Her calf-length yoga pants and baggy sweatshirt over her Arizona State t-shirt added a layer of casual to her new work environment. Something that could have gotten her fired from the She-devil herself at the law firm.

Last month Fern submitted her notice to Abigail. Two weeks later, she shed all the workplace stress as she carted out a box of her personal belongings from her desk. Her desire to go back to work remained, but it wouldn’t be in that office.

Steam rose from the teacup. Fern set it next to her keyboard and clicked through to her email, finding the message from Heidi Wickham.

Today marked the beginning of a new chapter in Fern’s life—she was going back to school. Online school where she got to wear comfy clothes and sit at home while she learned all about how to run her own online business, featuring her editing skills.

According to Connie Wright—Caden’s mother—there were a number of businesses around the city that would contract out services. And Connie should know. She was well connected in the city. Connie also said growing a business online would give her a global reach. It sounded scary, trying to reach out to clients all around the world. The internet was now the hub of business, and if Fern was going to succeed, she had to know what she was getting herself into.

Fern had considered just hanging a shingle and figuring things out as she went, but she prized her organizational skills and decided if she was going to roll out an online business, she was going to do it right. Straight from the beginning. And that’s where Heidi Wickham came in. The model-turned-juicing-queen ran a twelve-week course detailing the ins and outs of running an online business. And if little Miss Heidi from southeast Texas could do it, so could Fern…at least that’s what Heidi promised in all her online ads.

The timer on the screen ticked down the minutes and Fern felt a funny first-day-of-school flutter deep in her belly. This was so exciting. She checked her pencils, three number twos, sharp and ready to go. A fresh yellow legal pad sat to the right of the keyboard, ready to be filled with notes on today’s one-hour lesson.

Fern picked up her tea and sipped it. She set her cup down as the timer ticked down to zero. The screen changed, taking her into her virtual classroom. A gorgeous model-thin blonde in a strappy sundress smiled at the camera and welcomed her to the “You Can Do It Too” class. The camera panned the beautiful beach backdrop in Heidi’s world. Fern pictured herself there too, or maybe it was Hawaii, she wasn’t sure, but she saw herself on that beach with her laptop, editing pages, and raking in the money. This was all so exciting!

Heidi’s glossy lips reeled Fern in for her first lesson. “Imagine this as your office.” Heidi turned away from the beachscape. “Over the next twelve weeks I will give you the tools to make your dream job a reality. Don’t get me wrong,” she shook a finger with a manicured pink nail in front of her, “it’s going to be a lot of hard work. Are you ready for this?”

“Yes, I am,” Fern yelled at her screen. Butterscotch lifted her tired head, her droopy eyelids begging to know why she’d been disturbed. Fern patted the dog’s head, lulling her back into a snooze.

“Great,” Heidi said as if she’d heard Fern. “Because if I can do it, then you can do it too, so let’s begin…”

Fern picked up a pencil, ready to note every single word of Heidi’s foolproof business success-plan, because she was going to do this!

Heidi sat, daintily perched on the edge of a floral print couch, crossed her legs and began, “The first thing to remember is…”

The lights from above snapped out, the screen went black, and Heidi was gone.

Fern looked to her phone still plugged into its docking station. There was no way it had had enough time to charge. She bolted to her bedroom, looking for her laptop and prayed the kids hadn’t run the battery down. She didn’t want to miss her first day of school because of a power outage.
Meg Gray uses a small world approach when crafting her contemporary romance novels, tying minor characters from one story into another—demonstrating how intertwined our human lives really are. The city streets and country roads she takes you down aren’t necessarily a structured series, but the stories are connected. Within the pages, her readers will catch glimpses of some of their favorite characters again and again. This is a concept that mirrors itself in our everyday lives. Our worlds are much smaller than we realize, often times we are unaware of the way our lives intersect with those around us. Visit to learn more.

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