196

Father's Choice

     "These are street people, Joel. I don't have to dress up for them. And they're the only reason I'm here."
     "You are here, Meredith, to raise money for these people you say you love so much. Well, the vast majority of the audience is not made up of street people. They have money and you want it." He moved closer and she began to breath harder. "Even if the whole crowd was nothing but a bunch of transients, don't you think they deserve to be treated with the same consideration that everyone else gets? You are their princess. And you're gonna dress like one!"
     He turned abruptly and crossed over to the telephone, snatching it up and pounding out one of the extensions written on the base.
     "Listen, this is Joel Etheridge! Are there any roadies out there?" He returned her hot glare. "Who's Kenny? Well, get him back here to Meredith Clark's room right now!" He slammed the phone down and pinned her with a look that held her motionless and silent but not for long.
     Meredith jerked up a hairbrush and aimed it at his head. He moved quickly to one side then came slowly at her. She looked around and grabbed a tray, flinging it at him and hitting him in the chest. Joel gripped her shoulders and pressed her firmly against the wall.
     His face was just inches away from hers when he grated out in a scathing voice, "Sometimes I wish you were a man, Meredith! If you were, I'd teach you some vital lessons about these little tantrums of yours!"
     "Oh yeah?" she spat back quickly. "Well, as long as you're fantasizing, Joel, try to imagine what life would be like if you were a man!"
     Their eyes were like hot coals. Joel caught her chin in a fierce grip then released it suddenly as someone knocked on the door. He lifted a warning finger and turned to open it.