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Zoe was sensitive by nature. She’d grown a hard shell of protection. Advertising wasn’t for the feint of heart. It took guts, stamina, intelligence, wit and knowing the difference and awareness regarding the current climate.
The banner across the stage was for her. Extolling excellence. She’d earned it, every step of the way. Dogged pursuit of perfection along with high ideals.
As she walked toward the stage, she felt strong emotion emanating throughout the room. Zoe walked head held high, proud of her accomplishments. Neigh-sayers could think what they wished, but she’d reached her goal honestly with integrity. No one could take that from her.
A few friendly faces raised glasses as she made her way to the stage. Some looked on with raised eyebrows. She took her place before the mike, ready to begin. A hush fell over the crowd as they eagerly waited.
Before a word was spoken, a blast reverberated through the building shaking its very foundation. As she looked across the room, some made ready to run, others sat eyes flicking from person to person. Some grabbed onto the hands of those nearest.
Security rushed the room. “Stay calm, please, and follow us.” They were ushered to a nearby stairwell down three flights and through a back door. Safely on the street, they looked back. The building was engulfed in flames.
Zara made her way to Zoe’s side. They held hands. “Someone planted a bomb.”
Zoe was startled. “Bomb?”
“Bomb squad is here asking questions.”
“Oh my god!” Zoe turned white.
“I received a threat this morning, but I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it was someone’s idea of a prank to unnerve me before the speech.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Who’d want to hurt you?”
“I don’t know. Any more than I know why.”
“I guess I need to find the man in charge.”
She made her way to the man giving orders. “Excuse me, I need to speak with you.”
“I’m a little busy.” Irritation laced his words.
“I think you’ll want to hear this.”
He turned and looked her in the eye. There was something familiar about her but he wasn’t sure what. “Go ahead.” Zoe began her story sensitive to the nuances of what she was about to devulge.