IT’S NOT OKAY
We start backstage with Angelica Brooks holding a microphone. She looks a little flustered.
Angelica Brooks: Hello. This was originally supposed to be an interview with Paxton Ray. As you are all aware, however, Ray was fired by PRIME President Lindsay Troy tonight. So instead, we have…
Angie breaks her professional voice for just a second as she looks past the camera.
Angelica Brooks: Do we have it ready?
There is no verbal response, but Angelica’s posture relaxes and she nods.
Angelica Brooks: Ok. So instead, we have another interview lined up. I’m pleased to be joined by Jonathan Rhine’s girlfriend and manager, Shweta Kallemullah. Shweta…
The shot of Angelica shifts to the left as another screen of a hotel room pops up. Shweta sits at a desk with earbuds in. Angelica has to pause because as the screen wipes, the PRIME audience lets out a healthy cheer for the Chairperson. Shweta smiles briefly, but it’s a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. We
Angelica Brooks: Thank you so much for joining us. I know this has been a terrible time for you. So I have to start by asking what may be the hardest question to answer: how are you guys doing?
Shweta Kallemullah: Thank you Angelica. That is a tough question to answer. “Better” is probably the best answer I can give. So that’s what I’ll say. We’re doing better.
Angelica Brooks: Better is good. Obviously we heard the results of Jon’s surgery and the prognosis last week, which is not what any of us wanted to hear. So I have to ask now, a week later as the dust has settled a bit, has that prognosis changed at all?
Shweta Kallemullah: Unfortunately not. Jon has regained the ability to move his head, and the doctors say that feeling and movement should return to his arms soon. But the problem is with his legs. The doctors say it will be a long time before he walks again, if he ever does.
Angelica is visibly shaken by the words. Yes, she had heard already. But hearing it from Shweta hits different.
Angelica Brooks: Shweta, I’m…I’m so sorry to hear that.
Shweta, for her part, sucks in her lips and closes her eyes for a moment. She is trying to stay composed, but…
Shweta Kallemullah: It’s okay.
There is a brief pause. Angelica opens her mouth to speak, but Shweta shakes her head.
Shweta Kallemullah: I don’t know why I said that. It’s not okay.
Angelica nods, but doesn’t respond, opening the floodgates for Shweta.
Shweta Kallemullah: It’s not okay that a man who spent his life fighting in the ring now has to fight for his life out of it. It’s not okay that a man we trusted, loved, supported, would turn on a man who tried to help him. It’s not okay that I spent my young adult life as a wayward soul, hurting others in a desperate search of feeling whole, only to rehabilitate, finally find what I was looking for, and have it — not taken away. I’m not leaving his side. But…but…
She finally runs out of steam. There are no tears, but her breathing is erratic. Slowly, Angelica tries to regain control.
Angelica Brooks: I’m so sorry. I only have one more question, but we don’t have to ask if you don’t feel up to it.
Shweta Kallemullah: No, this is okay, Angelica. Go ahead.
Angelica Brooks: Thank you. Now, I know you probably weren’t watching the show earlier. But I wanted you to know that earlier tonight, Lindsay Troy fired Paxton for his attack on Jon. How does that make you feel? Are you relieved?
Shweta’s eyes lower.
Shweta Kallemullah: Honestly? It makes me afraid. Afraid for Lindsay, for Jared.
Angelica Brooks: What do you mean? Paxton is gone from PRIME.
Shweta Kallemullah: Angelica, I just told you about my past. I was aligned with one of the worst people anyone has ever met. You could say that I became very acquainted with evil. And I know one thing about people like Paxton — a man I misjudged in weakness and will never forgive myself for — those people do not respect pink slips. They don’t just turn away at closed doors. They bust them open. They go through windows. They keep coming. And they don’t stop until someone actually stops them.
Angelica Brooks: I…that was Shweta Kallemullah. Shweta, please give Jon our best as we hope for a full recovery.
Shweta Kallemullah: Thank you Angelica.