For Jackson, it was a nightmare scenario.
Nausea flowed through him like a slow electric current.
Meet with them? Face-to-face? Tomorrow? In a coffee shop? Outside? The two of them together? Out there?
His hands began to shake. He knew this couldn’t be good. He would have to go outside. Where there were people. He’d been in a coffee shop once. It was full of people. And they looked at him when he walked in. They studied him, talked about him, said things about him and he didn’t know what they were saying but he could hear the giggles and see the smirks.
What am I going to do?
He didn’t mind losing one of them as a client. In fact, he was almost looking forward to losing Jody. But losing both? That would put a big dent in his cash flow, and they’d both been clients for years. He’d built up trust with them, knew them. They paid their invoices on time. They had content that he could actually use to create courses that received great reviews and sold better than most of his other courses.
He was boxed in and the box was tightening all around him, squashing him. His breathing became irregular. His heart beat faster. He was getting dizzy. He walked erratically across the room and slumped down on the floor between the two high windows. They were open and he could feel an autumn breeze circulating around him. He breathed in deeply.
Why? Why can’t we just do a group meeting online?
He’d done group meetings before. They’d always worked out well. He couldn’t think of any good reason why they had to meet in person. The internet was so much easier. So much more focused without all the distractions of people staring, talking, jeering.
He sat on the floor for nearly an hour wondering what to do, how to handle this?
How to handle this?
He stood up, walked back to his computer and re-read Roy’s email. He noticed there was another email in his inbox. It was from Jody. His heart started pounding again. He opened the email.
What antipathy, Jody? We never talked about your antipathy. It was just understood.
He closed shop for the night and headed into the bedroom. He generally had a snack before bed but tonight he just wanted oblivion.