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Awakening

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It’s my first day at my new job, and I can’t wait to start! I’ve landed my dream job, finally! But, also, I definitely can wait to start because when I get in the elevator at 30 Rock, my palms are drenched and my whole body is shaking. I wipe my hands on my jeans and take some deep breaths as the elevator takes me up to the eighth floor. I notice the peacocks on the carpet of the elevator, and it hits me again in a huge wave that I’m about to write for Saturday Night Live. Now my palms are wet again.

I get off the elevator, and I’m greeted by a page who directs me to the studio. I’ll never forget this first time walking onto the floor: under the scaffolding, then the lights and stage coming into view. It took my breath away.

There is one other new writer and three new cast members this season. I had been glad to have some company to take in all the newness with, except I’m the first one here because I’m obsessively early to things. The page told me to sit on one of the stools, so I do. I’m looking around, really trying to soak in every last detail, when I hear voices behind me. I recognize them both immediately. Fuck. Kate McKinnon and Lorne Michaels are approaching the room I am sitting in. I’m probably about to have to talk to them, and that’s a lot to take in. Obviously, I’ll eventually have to get used to talking to people I idolize, but this is a big encounter on day one. I take a deep breath, and turn around to face them.

“Ah. Looks like we have another early bird on the team!”

Holy shit. Her eyes are even more blue in person. She’s wearing jeans and a chambray shirt with black tennis shoes. Lorne, of course, is in a suit.

He introduces me to Kate.

“It’s so nice to meet you. I’m a big fan.”

“Well, I can’t wait to be a big fan of yours!”

I laugh at that. I’m not entirely sure how I got this job, so I’m pretty doubtful I’ll make an impression. She ignores my deflection.

“I’m excited to work with some new people! And I’ve heard great things about you, but mainly I’m excited to have someone to talk to in the mornings besides Lorne because no one else is ever early.”

“Well, good to know I’ll be useful in at least one respect.”

The rest of the day is a blur of meeting people and tours. It's exhausting and overwhelming. I spend most of the day with the other new kids, and I love them! We all get along really well, and I'm super excited to work with them. I go straight to bed when I get home, and I fall asleep so fast that I don't even remember laying down.

 

I arrive considerably early again the next day. I allowed myself an hour for my 20 minute commute just in case something went wrong. I’m ridiculous like that. I wander around the empty halls for a bit before I end up at Kate’s office door. It’s cracked open, so I can hear  her typing. I knock gently, and I’m greeted with, “That must be Emma!” She pulls the door open, smiling.

“How’d you know?”

“Well, like I said, no one else would be here this early, and Lorne wouldn’t knock.”

We both laugh, and she invites me in. She motions for me to sit on the couch, which I do. She sits back down at her desk.

“So, how are you feeling?”

“Still very nervous.”

“I feel ya. I was terrified the first two years full years here.”

“Yay! Things to look forward to!”

We both laugh.

“It’s not that bad. You will be stressed, but it’ll be fun! And, look! We already have a morning routine!”

I can’t complain about this new world where my morning routine apparently involves casual conversations with Kate McKinnon. This has to be a dream. But then again, hopefully my dream version of this would involve less anxiety. She must sense that I’m still apprehensive because she puts her hand on my knee and quietly adds, “I know it’s intimidating, but you’re going to be great. Let’s get out of here for lunch later and chat. Think that would help?”

I smile with relief of not being in this building thinking about the pressure all day. “Can’t wait!”