Jane cleared her throat. “Hello, I’m Jane.”
“Hello.” They answered her simultaneously, like students meeting the school principal for the first time, their apprehension evident in their tones.
It was quite…cute, and despite the seriousness of their situation, Jane couldn’t help smiling a little.
Seeing it, Christian’s P.R. staff allowed themselves to smile back, just a little as well.
“So…I was told there was a crisis?”
The P.R. team nodded.
“Is it about the security breach?”
Everyone looked relieved, and she said gently, “I know everything about it. Agent Thornton of the FBI has explained all the pertinent facts to me.” Of course, she conveniently neglected to inform the P.R. team that it was so because she had initially been considered a suspect.
What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them, she told herself, and besides, it wasn’t like she was out to hurt Christian.
“About the crisis then? I might be able to help since I used to work the P.R. team at AMC.”
There was a second of silence, and then everyone started babbling. A picture slowly started to form, and Jane was both shocked and dismayed. Apparently, someone had leaked the security breach to the press, and whoever this was, the person seemed determined to whip the media into a frenzy about the issue.
“And what’s the position Christian wants you guys to take?”
She frowned. “Have you at least been given a debriefing of what’s going on?”
“When’s the last time Christian spoke to you guys?”
There was a bit of mumbling and looks being exchanged, and then a girl volunteered hesitantly, “Maybe a few months ago? It was our company’s anniversary, and Mr. Ravenhearst told us to keep doing a good job.”
A few months ago? She smiled encouragingly at the staff. “That’s great.”
Nobody smiled back at her.
“Or not so great?”
“We don’t really have much to do,” another girl mumbled, “except answer emails from players messaging customer service.”
Jane squared her shoulders. “Well, that’s all going to change. Christian needs you guys more than ever now, so we’ll make sure you have your president’s back. Okay?”
She knew those were pretty big words, but she also knew she had done the right thing when she saw Christian’s P.R. team start losing their frazzled expressions. She could feel their energy levels rising and knew it had come from finally having a sense of purpose and knowing that their efforts were being recognized.
“Let’s get to work then.”
Using AMC’s emergency response plan as a pattern, Jane divided the P.R. team into small groups and gave each one a set of tasks. Soon, it became evident to them that a P.R. disaster was just around the corner, and it would happen if they didn’t act soon.
“Let’s schedule a press conference then,” Jane decided. She knew she might be meddling too much, but she also knew that this was her forte, and Christian, for all his great attributes, was not a people person. His time was better spent in the work lab, where he had been locked in with his I.T. team for days.
“Is there any place in this building we could hold it?”
“There’s the conference room on the second floor,” Matt in the checkered shirt told her eagerly. “No one uses it.”
“Great.” She nodded at Matt. “I’ll leave it to you and your group to make sure the conference room is presentable. Make sure the sound system and the projector works, and prepare some refreshments. Reporters are always nicer when they’re well-fed and you’ve got free-flowing wine.” She turned to Rosie with the pigtails, saying, “You and your group will be responsible for issuing official invitations to the press. And finally—-” Jane gestured to bubblegum-snapping Minnie. “You guys are in charge of creating the media kit, drafting the official statement, and gathering all pertinent facts and figures that we can use during the press con.”
Jane took a deep breath. “Can we finish this by tonight?”
Everyone grinned. “Yes, ma’am.”
A flurry of activity followed as everyone got to work. Their enthusiasm was palpable, their reawakened vigor for work a pleasure to watch. Hours passed, and Jane made sure to order pizza, urging everyone to load up as they went into overtime.
A stray thought drifted into her mind.
What could Christian be doing now?
Would he be happy about what she was doing?
Would he no longer think they were wrong for each other?
Her heart squeezed. She missed him. She really missed him. And before she knew what she was doing, she already had her phone out and she was placing a call to Christian.
Jane heard one ring and then nothing. She frowned and tried to make another call, but the same thing happened. “Umm, guys?”
Christian’s P.R. staff glanced at her questioningly.
“When you say Christian is in lockdown, what exactly does that mean?”
“The lab’s off-limits,” Steven in the overalls said right away. “It’s got high-tech security, and with three sets of doors, no amount of knocking or shouting will make the people inside hear you.”