Home > The Stars Shine Down(3)

The Stars Shine Down(3)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

"What about Forbes?"

"All set. People has you on the cover next week. Did you see The New Yorker article on you? Wasn't it great?"

Lara walked over to her desk. "Not bad."

"The Fortune interview is set for this afternoon."

"I changed it."

He looked surprised. "Why?"

"I'm having their reporter here for lunch."

"Soften him up a little?"

Lara pressed down the intercom button. "Come in, Kathy."

A disembodied voice said, "Yes, Miss Cameron."

Lara Cameron looked up. "That's all, Jerry. I want you and your staff to concentrate on Cameron Towers."

"We're already doing..."

"Let's do more. I want it written about in every newspaper and magazine there is. For God's sake, it's going to be the tallest building in the world. In the world! I want people talking about it. By the time we open, I want people to be begging to get into those apartments and shops."

Jerry Townsend got to his feet. "Right."

Kathy, Lara's executive assistant, came into the office. She was an attractive, neatly dressed black woman in her early thirties.

"Did you find out what he likes to eat?"

"The man's a gourmet. He likes French food. I called Le Cirque and asked Sirio to cater a lunch here for two."

"Good. We'll eat in my private dining room."

"Do you know how long the interview will take? You have a two-thirty with the Metropolitan bankers downtown."

"Push it to three o'clock, and have them come here."

Kathy made a note. "Do you want me to read you your messages?"

"Go ahead."

"The Children's Foundation wants you to be their guest of honor on the twenty-eighth."

"No. Tell them I'm flattered. Send them a check."

"Your meeting has been arranged in Tulsa for Tuesday at..."

"Cancel it."

"You're invited to a luncheon next Friday for a Manhattan Women's Group."

"No. If they're asking for money, send them a check."

"The Coalition for Literacy would like you to speak at a luncheon on the fourth."

"See if we can work it out."

"There's an invitation to be guest of honor at a fund raiser for muscular dystrophy, but there's a conflict in dates. You'll be in San Francisco."

"Send them a check."

"The Srbs are giving a dinner party next Saturday."

"I'll try to make that," Lara said. Kristian and Deborah Srb were amusing, and good friends, and she enjoyed being with them.

"Kathy, how many of me do you see?"


"Take a good look."

Kathy looked at her. "One of you, Miss Cameron."

"That's right. There's only one of me. How did you expect me to meet with the bankers from Metropolitan at two-thirty today, the City Planning Commission at four, then meet with the mayor at five, the architects at six-fifteen, the Housing Department at six-thirty, have a cocktail party at seven-thirty and my birthday dinner at eight? The next time you make up a schedule, try using your brain."

"I'm sorry. You wanted me to..."

"I wanted you to think. I don't need stupid people around me. Reschedule the appointments with the architects and the Housing Department."

"Right," Kathy said stiffly.

"How's the baby?"

The question caught the secretary by surprise. "David? He's...he's fine."

"He must be getting big by now."

"He's almost two."

"Have you thought about a school for him?"

"Not yet. It's too early to..."

"You're wrong. If you want to get him into a decent school in New York, you start before he's born."

Lara made a note on a desk pad. "I know the principal at Dalton. I'll arrange to have David registered there."

"I...thank you."

Lara did not bother to look up. "That's all."

"Yes, ma'am." Kathy walked out of the office not knowing whether to love her boss or hate her. When Kathy had first come to work at Cameron Enterprises, she had been warned about Lara Cameron. "The Iron Butterfly is a bitch on wheels," she had been told. "Her secretaries don't figure their employment there by the calendar- - they use stopwatches. She'll eat you alive."

Kathy remembered her first interview with her. She had seen pictures of Lara Cameron in half a dozen magazines, but none of them had done her justice. In person, the woman was breathtakingly beautiful.

Lara Cameron had been reading Kathy's resume. She looked up and said, "Sit down, Kathy." Her voice was husky and vibrant. There was an energy about her that was almost overpowering.

"This is quite a resume."

"Thank you."

"How much of it is real?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Most of the ones that come across my desk are fiction. Are you good at what you do?"

"I'm very good at what I do, Miss Cameron."

"Two of my secretaries just quit. Everything's snowballing around here. Can you handle pressure?"

"I think so."

"This isn't a guessing contest. Can you handle pressure or can't you?"

At that moment Kathy was not sure she wanted the job. "Yes, I can."

"Good. You're on a one-week trial. You'll have to sign a form saying that at no time will you discuss me or your work here at Cameron Enterprises. That means no interviews, no books, nothing. Everything that happens here is confidential."

"I understand."

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