It was hard to focus at the book event because my mind was so stuck up on how mad Lenore was at me. She thought I was a chair thief! I suppose it’s better than her thinking I’m crazy. Although, she probably does think I’m crazy. What if she runs off with Burbank?! Okay, I know that Burbank is far too loyal a friend to steal my girl, but I’ve seen her giving him the once over and the twice over, for that matter. It was eating me up, and at a time like this, I just couldn’t keep focused on my fans with all these thoughts burning through me.
I stood up at the microphone and said hello, and people said hello back. It was such a relief to be able to speak English at people again, and to have them understand, as much as a person can understand my muddy American accent. “I’m told I should read you a selection from my new novel,” I said, and the crowd looked pleased, “but there’s something I need to get off my chest first.”
And then I gave this speech: “I’ve spent the last month traveling around Europe, meeting all sorts of extraordinary people, people with remarkable lives I couldn’t come close to living, and I’m honored that they look so highly upon me and my work. Nevertheless, this tour hasn’t been all bubbles and squeaks. It’s been difficult, fighting through misunderstandings with people of other cultures and I realize how small and insignificant I really am humbled by it. I couldn’t have done this trip alone, is what I’m trying to say. Through it all, I’ve had my best friend by my side. Many of you probably know him because of that damn blog he writes about me on the internet. But he really has been there for me through all of this, and I couldn’t have done this without you, pal. Thank you Burbank.”
There was an uproar of applause and lots of people looked around the room, trying to spot Burbank, who clapped along with them, too modest to point himself out in a time like this.
I put my hands up. I wasn’t done with my speech. “I’ve also been accompanied by the best agent in the world. Lenore has been with me since the beginning of my career as an author. I don’t only owe the success of this tour to her, but to my career. To my life. And I know I haven’t been a very good client. I’m not easy to work with, but you don’t know how hard it is to play it cool when there’s something growing inside your chest and it wants to get out. Well, tonight, it can’t stay caged for any longer. So here it goes: Lenore, I love you. I always have. I don’t expect you to feel the same about me, and in fact I expect you to be pissed saying this in front of all these people, but that’s the truth, and I thought you deserved to know.”
There was some hesitant clapping at first. Heads wheeled around again, not knowing where to spot Lenore. Only from her would they be able to tell if this was a clapping moment. Without serious reaction from anyone, the clapping grew louder, but then through it all, there was one loud sob.