Scandal:The Complete SeriesBy: Alison Foster
Prologue - The Day I Met Jaxson Cole
Imagine a day that begins as a tedious repetition of any day from the previous three weeks at a new job, a day that would so completely spin off its axis that it would bring about the two most defining moments in your life.
In my case that life has spanned twenty-two years.
This day would be equal parts ominous and promising. It would be blindingly bright. It would rock the very foundations of your existence. You would be reeling from shock until you stumbled upon your wildest dream.
Imagine that day in your own life and you can begin to understand what happened to me exactly five days ago, on June the twenty-third, when male model Jaxson Cole jumped off the fashion runway during a rehearsal to land right in front of me and take my hand.
You might know his name or you might know his torso which has stared at you at drug stores, airports and websites from the covers of high fashion and fitness magazines. The man lives in an orgy of flashing bulbs as he does the catwalk for the likes of Armani and Tom Ford.
It’s quite possible you heard his name in the gossip pages featuring articles about his supposed, torrid romance with Madison Starr, my ex stepsister and lingerie fashion supermodel, before she met her tragic end.
Yes, that Jaxson Cole. We all remember the headlines.
Details come flooding into my mind now. It seems that I’ve gotten entirely too ahead of myself.
The phone keeps ringing and I keep ignoring it, turning the music a tad louder on my iTunes—as much as Hanson will allow before leaning in from his cubicle to politely ask me to turn the volume down.
Hanson’s tiny cubicle and mine are stuck in a nook like two sardines packed in a small tin. If I dropped a feather, Hanson would hear it. Should I mention that Hanson is a hypochondriac mess of a nerd who can’t stand loud music of any type? No? Well, there you have it. My life.
It’s been three weeks since I officially started working as a junior editor at the Daily Scandal and I’ve already contemplated quitting more than once, but the truth is I need the money badly and the people here are all cool and supportive. We all know what we do will not end world hunger or even improve a single person’s life in any meaningful way, but there’s demand for scandalous stories and wherever there’s demand, there’s supply. That’s us. And we all have rents and student loans and the Starbucks’ drive-thru to fund.
It’s immature not to answer my phone on a work day, especially since I can clearly see that it’s Mark Devlin, my all-too-serious and sneakily attractive editor-in-chief who’s in New York right now, rubbing elbows with a sketchy adult film producer with loose lips and a story to tell.
I hesitate to take the call because I know what Mark wants. He tipped me off when I dropped him at LAX to catch his flight to New York. There’s a paparazzi assignment that just opened up to fly to Hawaii and stalk super couple Tobias-slash-Elisabeth Lomax, a.k.a Tobiabeth, and Mark’s usual guy might not make it on the trip due to a laser eye surgery mishap.
Mark informed me I should be on standby since I’m the most talented writer in the office right now. (He could fuel a locomotive with his bullshit.) False compliment aside, I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of stalking. So far, all I’ve done is punch up other people’s reports, making them quicker and hookier—which has proven to be my specialty. I’m a writer, plain and simple, and I never expected to be anyone’s unwanted shadow.
My desperate hope is that Mark will tire of trying to get me to answer and will find someone else. There’s always the risk of getting fired, of course, and I know I’ve reached my call avoidance limit. If there’s a next time, I’ll have to pick the damn thing up.
Flying all the way to Hawaii to spy on two perfect, tanned bodies to prove the rumors are true and their marriage is a sham and they are actually gay is not my idea of a vacation. It’s more like a vacation in hell. Even Mark calls it a long shot, but if this could somehow be verified, it would become the centerpiece for Mark’s big Exposé issue he has planned.
Dear innocent Ella, what did you expect when you signed on for the job? We’re called the Daily Scandal. We pull back the curtains and reveal what’s hiding its ugly head. Yes, I knew that.