Saturday, June 27, 2020

Chapter 14

Katie and Jay took the publishing world by storm and were instantly labeled the dynamic duo. They exploded on the scene with Katie’s book going viral, having debuted each other’s venture, breaking all kinds of publishing and sales records for a new publisher and a new author. They virtually came out of nowhere nearly toppling over the big five traditional publishing houses. The media accredited all of this publishing success to Jay’s marketing genius, but both Katie and Jay always gave credit and glory to God. 
Jason “Jay” Pennington was the only child of a black mother and white father, who had fallen in love in the Deep South. With prejudices still thriving in southern Alabama, they relocated to a more progressive city in Lexington, Kentucky. There they received a much warmer welcome in Lexington. They did not want their mixed-race son to face any obstacles, and deep in the heart of Alabama’s country, he would have. Lexington was a more progressive city, having grown by two hundred thousand in population in just over twenty years. It was a city of transient transplants. 
Entrepreneur child prodigy, Jason (Jay) Robert Pennington had the Midas touch. Homeschooled most of his life due to his genius in ingenuity, Jay’s college career ended when he was sixteen years-old, as a Suma Cum Laude graduate with a double major in Software Design/Programming and English. Every endeavor he attempted was highly successful. He could take any failing venture; improve upon it, causing it to achieve great functionality and potential. As a teen, he designed two software programs that a bigger web-developer bought for a cool price in the tens of millions. Books and learning were always his muse to succeed, until his mid-teens when a summer mission trip to Uganda replaced the bookworm in him and turned him into a young spirited philanthropist. 
Jay’s ambition was to change the third world by making it an obsolete term. This was a lofty goal, and one that he would dedicate all his future excess earnings to achieve. He loved to try new things, and continuously branched out, shooting new businesses off First World Developers, which was his first business venture.  
Katie’s book may have become just another garage-stored case of books written by another obscure independent author, if it had not been for Jay. His insight into public demand and trends, combined with his eye for talent, and his ability to take two cents and turn it into two million dollars, created a viral phenomenon in Katie Lynn Moore and her quick wit and humble loving persona. Jay discovered Katie when she had asked a coworker at the Early Learning Village, where she was a kindergarten teacher, to proof read her book. When Jay got a hold of the manuscript, while visiting his mother’s home in Wilmore, Kentucky, he saw dollars and cents signs in every word. This was just what Jay needed to begin that foundation that he dreamed of creating to save the world’s most impoverished children. With times the way they were, with the global crisis that the world had experienced, Jay knew that Katie was just the ticket, the salve in a bruised world.  
He began developing his own independent publishing company with the notion to debut his publishing house, debuting America’s new lovable sweetheart in Katie Lynn Moore. With  the global event that shock the world, having devastated the entire globe's economy and as bad as things were, as dire and doom and gloom it was, for as long as it was, the world needed a pick-me-up-book and a star like no other. He found that in Katherine Lynn Petersen Moore. 
Katie was the third world’s ticket to hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Unbeknownst to Katie, Jay had much bigger plans and loftier goals than she had with her book when he approached Katie with his idea to debut each other with their crafts. Unbeknownst to both of them, God had even bigger plans. Katie accepted the offer, thinking a small one-horse publishing company would be just the size of work she would want out there. She had no idea that her creativity and unique vernacular, wit, candor and likability were a volcano about to erupt. Jay developed a state of the art print-on-demand printing system that would be able to far exceed competing independent publishers, at a much lower cost, thereby he was able to compete with the big five publishers pushing trade backs.  
His ingenuity in test marketing created a stir about this up and coming future bestseller, and it generated the biggest pre-sales any debut book had on record. Jay’s marketing genius caused Katie’s e-book to go viral practically overnight when they finally released it. The viral sales of the ebook generated a six to eight week backlog of orders for the  print books, incorporating the oldest trick in the sales market    creating a demand exceedingly higher than supply.  
The demand for the dynamic duo far exceeded their expectations for speaking engagements and appearances. Katie had a way with words and people, while Jay was the brains of the motivational speeches. The two together were fun and funny. Having broken all pre-release sales records for a debut author and publisher, interview requests abound, and they could hardly keep up with the demand. The new rivalry between the up and coming sweetheart, and the former favorite bachelor sweetheart, created a media storm that only increased the publicity on Katie’s book. 
Katie was the type of person that could make anyone feel as if they were life-long friends. Her humility, wit, grace, and generosity were what made Kate so charming and desired by the masses. Katie’s shyness factor kept her from accepting engagements in larger arenas, thus, the demand for Katie’s appearances grew monthly, by leaps and bounds. She was as much a philanthropist as Jay, if not more. Her love for people was only exceeded by her affinity toward lavish, wasteful, self-pleasing luxurious living. She made it known to the world that money was never her motivation, and she managed to maintain her modest existence. She was a plain Jane in her eyes, and she planned to keep it that way to the world. 
Katherine Lynn Petersen-Moore was not a typical cosmopolitan glamour girl, however, this petite 5’4” Italian Yankee firecracker, as she called herself, had a cuteness factor that drew people to her, as well as her welcoming personality. She had the most enticing light royal-blue eyes that almost did not seem to fit her olive-toned, Mediterranean shaped face. When she smiled, she had a sparkle or twinkle that most noticed right away. Her adorable smile would light up anyone down in the dumps, and her sense of humor could break the thick air of tension. She thrived off making others feel good.
She considered her present circumstance of notoriety as a temporary status and never took herself too seriously. She had anticipated that her status as a popular icon would eventually wane, making her yesterday’s news. To Katie’s chagrin, even after a year’s time, her book remained in the top ten seller’s lists, increasing her notoriety with each passing month. While most authors were on a race to the top, Katie was on a race to get to the bottom; only no one would let her get there.  
Jay noted the light in Katie’s eyes when she spoke of the man Nicolas Paul who had inspired her to write her book. While being supportive of Scotty’s role in Katie’s life as a caretaker and chief of her security forces, he was also behind the scenes manipulating circumstances that would keep Katie and Nick Thomas in constant unexpected contact. Jay even amalgamated in the real estate market, pinning them as future next-door neighbors, unbeknownst to either of them. The boy-next-door was about to be invaded in his own little private secluded habitat by the girl-next-door.
Jay Pennington had connections everywhere, and with Nick Thomas out there available to light up or break Katie’s heart, Jay’s protective nature and ingenuity went to work. He had Nick thoroughly investigated. He hired magazine journalists to do in depth articles on Nick, investigating his background and family upbringing. Journalists hired by Jay interviewed his family members under the guise of doing magazine articles and reported to Jay. Eventually, Jay knew more about Nick Thomas than he knew about himself. 
Jay saw Nick’s prodigal road for what it was, a young man caught up in superstardom, unable to stop the vices that called on his youth. He saw Nick’s ignorance and inability to take the public’s worship of him with a grain of salt. Jay knew that Katie was just the humble pie that Nick Thomas would have to be force-fed to bring back a better than ever Nicolas Paul. 
Jay took it upon himself to get involved in Nick’s family through manipulated contacts and social engagements.  Neither Katie, nor Nick knew of Jay’s connection to the Thomas and Wilson families. He worked tirelessly with trusted family members to find a way to reach Nick to help him win back the heart of his teacher in the pink hat. 
Jay even went as far as to introduce himself into the life of James Thomas, Nick and Annie Beth Thomas McDaniel’s birth father, and life-long inmate at the Tennessee Corrections Institute. He inaugurated an experimental prison ministry and became good friends with the recent convert in James Thomas, whose life was affected by Katie’s book. Jay took it upon himself to disciple him from a distance, visiting him many times when he was in Tennessee on business trips. Jay was the help that James needed when authoring his gut-wrenching, heart-warming apologetic letters to his entire family for the devastation that he caused them. Only about half of James’s family accepted his apology and forgave him enough to reconcile with him. Nick Thomas was on the hostile side of the fence, while his sister, Annie, took the opposite approach. She became extremely close to her father, with whom she reconciled after receiving the inspirational apologetic letter.  
A real breakthrough in Jay’s attempt at negotiating the romance of the century was when he received a call from Shawn Everett, at the behest of his wife Cathy, after their brief meeting in a Nashville pub. The two became friends and in constant contact. They worked together to create a plan entitled Operation Sweethearts Boy Next Door Meets Girl Next Door. Jay brought the major portions of the proposed plan to Nick Thomas’s management and publicity teams, leaving out a few choice details, one example being their past encounter. The executives hopped on the idea, seeing it as a perfect means to clean up Nick’s recent less than stellar image and increase sales of his music with the assistance of the widely known and popular Katie Lynn Moore. 
People from all walks of life adored Katie Lynn Moore, thus a union between these two sweethearts could bring in new listeners and increase fan-ship in the industry. Jay, on the other hand, saw the union as a means to take the First World Foundation from a multi-million dollar charity to a multi-billion dollar organization, saving countless more lives.  
Shawn and Jay presumed the plan to be full proof, assuming Katie and Nick were destined for each other, according to God’s will from what they could observe in each other. Throw in an unexpected, unplanned, inhospitable chance meeting at the Cheapside, landing Nick in the hospital from a severe concussion, courtesy of Kentucky State Trooper, Scotty P. Wells, and plan B would need to be forged.
This set the stage to pit Scotty with Katie’s love and devotion to him, her health and well-being, as well as her desperate need for a sense of security, against the prodigal playboy with a malfeasant past. Game, set, match— to Scotty, no contest. The icing on the cake was the potential prison sentence looming in the wings if Nick ever pursued Katie, due to no statutes of limitations on a felony crime of assaulting a peace officer, which Nick did so efficiently on that night of their confrontational encounter. Jay also underestimated Katie’s resolve to become a post-viral author, returning to her previous life of obscurity with the aid of Scotty and Nick both fighting to protect her from the public’s demand on her life. 
As much as Jay hated the thought of manipulating his dear friend’s life, he believed that the lives of millions of children depended on the growing notoriety and popularity of Katie Lynn Moore. What Jay, Shawn, Nick, Katie, and all else concerned, did not know was that God had already, before the creation of the world, solved that dilemma by his appointed will in their lives. 
Jay always kept a close watch on Katie, having GPS installed on her phone, watching her every move for safety reasons. This call to her was his third attempt to reach her, and she figured she needed to answer it this time. She knew that she would have a lot of explaining to do. The only other person, who would keep a tight rein on Katie besides Scotty, was Jay. He was just as demanding on Katie’s time, attention, and heart, burdening her with the needs of the children all over the world.
“Hey, Jay it’s crazy here, I’m worried about Nick. He’s badly injured.”  She started to walk outside the treatment room and toward the double doors into a quiet corridor.
“I know. I heard all about it. As usual, I had to get in touch with Scotty, when I couldn’t reach you. Honestly Katie, what is the sense of having a phone if no one can ever reach you? Now, what is all the urgency, and what can I do to help?”
“And that is why I hate the phone, Jay, your presence on it, is getting to be too much. Now, however, I may need a good lawyer, so get me one of the best, okay?”
“Why on earth would you need a lawyer, Katie?”
“It’s not for me, but for Nick Thomas. I’m taking responsibility here. Jay. I let it go too far. I was the sober one; he was drunk, as usual. I think I secretly wanted Scotty to punch him out; I just never expected that Nick would get in any shots at Scotty, let alone three. Scotty’s threatening to file charges. Jay, Nick Thomas may be a jerk, right now, but he doesn’t belong in jail.” 
“Katie. I’m sure he can get his own lawyer with his own money.” 
“It’s my fault, please just get one ready.” Right before she reached the doors, she heard what she thought was some activity sounding as if Nick was awakening. “I gotta go, I think I hear something. I think he’s waking up. I’ll call you later.” Before she could hang up, he called to her.
“Wait, Katie, have you eaten anything today?” 
“Jason Pennington, I can’t believe you are asking about food at a time like this.” 
“You need to keep up your strength. You remember what happened two weeks ago in Tulsa. I still haven’t told Matthew or Scotty, but I will if you don’t eat something today.” 
“I will. I’ll eat when Scotty gets here. You blew that whole thing out of proportion like you always do.  I don’t want to get into this now. I gotta go.” 
“Katie, you were out cold and for a long time. You heard that doctor. You will die if you do not start eating, again.”
“Jay, I’m hanging up, now. I love you, thank you for caring so much. I’ll be fine.” With that, she ended the connection. 

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