All Dressed in White 1
Laurie Moran listened as the teenager in front of her practiced her high school French. She was on line at Bouchon, the newly opened French bakery that was around the corner from her Rockefeller Center office.
“Jay voo-dray un pan chocolate. Make that deux.”
The cashier smiled patiently as she waited for the young woman to string together her next request. Clearly she was accustomed to these clumsy attempts by customers to practice their French, even though the bakery was in the heart of New York City.
Laurie wasn’t feeling quite as patient. She was meeting with her boss, Brett Young, later this morning and still hadn’t decided which story to pitch first for her show’s next special. She needed as much time as possible to prepare.
After a final “mare sea,” the girl left, a box of pastries in hand.
Laurie was next. “I’ll be ordering in anglais, s’il vous plaît.”
“Merci,” the woman said fervently.
It had become a tradition that on Friday mornings she would stop at the bakery and bring in special treats for her staff—her assistant, Grace Garcia, and her assistant producer, Jerry Klein. They were grateful for the selection of tarts, croissants, and breads. After she placed the order, the cashier asked if she cared for anything
else. The macarons looked delicious. Maybe just a few for Dad and Timmy after dinner, she promised herself, and as a treat for me if today’s meeting with Brett goes well.
• • •
As she stepped from the elevator on the sixteenth floor of 15 Rockefeller Center, she realized how the layout of the Fisher Blake Studios offices reflected the success of her work this past year. She used to be in a small windowless office, sharing an assistant with two other producers, but since she had created a true crime–based “news special” focusing on cold cases, Laurie’s career had taken off. Now she had a long row of windows in a spacious office filled with sleek, modern furnishings. Jerry had been promoted to assistant producer and occupied a smaller office next door. And Grace kept more than busy in a large open space just outside. The three of them now worked full-time on their show, Under Suspicion, freeing them from other run-of-the-mill news programming.
Grace had recently turned twenty-seven but looked even younger. Laurie had been tempted more than once to tell Grace she didn’t need to wear all of the makeup she meticulously applied every day, but clearly Grace preferred a personal style quite different from Laurie’s classic tastes. Today, she wore a multicolored silk tunic over impossibly slim leggings, with five-inch platform boots. Her long black hair was pulled into an I Dream of Jeannie topknot, teased into a perfect fountain.
Usually Grace lunged for the bakery bag, but today she did not. “Laurie,” she began slowly.
“Something wrong, Grace?” Laurie knew her assistant well enough to recognize when she was upset.
Just as Grace was about to explain, Jerry stepped out of his office. Standing between Jerry’s long, lanky frame and Grace in her
sky-high heels always made Laurie feel short, even though she was a slender five-foot-seven.
Jerry held up both palms. “There’s a lady sitting in your office. She just showed up. I told Grace to schedule an appointment for her at some other time. For the record, I had nothing to do with this.”