only fools rush in | the newsroom. will/mackenzie.
Lather, rinse, repeat. ϟ 764 words.
After the summer hiatus, Will and his new girlfriend have become a household (newsroom) topic of discussion and Mac clocks out during work hours.
The only exception is News Night. The microphone snapped onto her ears reminds her that she has to do her job every once in a while. She’s more scrutinizing of Will as time goes on, until there isn’t anything to complain about.
When that night comes, she rips her mic off and hands it to Jim, a metaphorical passing of the torch, considering he already has his own headset.
It’s the first time she’s left the AWM building before ten o’clock. Will leaves a message that she actually has the pleasure of receiving and deleting without listening to it.
Will breaks up with his girlfriend. Lather, rinse, repeat.
She doesn’t show up for a week.
Charlie rips her a new one, but she stares out the window for the entirety of their meeting. He doesn’t call her out on it; Mac has always been the most “together” of them all, despite her somewhat frequent freakouts. He’d rather forget about all of this after it’s over, and Mac’s inability to pay attention makes it that much easier.
Jim handles the newsroom much better than any of them could have expected, but he can’t play the part of Will’s boss just yet. He is more relieved than disappointed when she walks into the control room with the poise and determination of her best nights. Will is startled when he hears her voice on the other side of the line, but he is just as controlled as she is, and another night of election coverage goes off without a hitch.
The camera turns off, and MacKenzie delivers her first off-duty words to Will in weeks.
“I know you missed me.”
She doesn’t wait for a response before taking off her headset and leaving her walkie-talkie on top of a crew member’s desk.
A president is elected. Mac is offered six other jobs in the span of six months. She knows she won’t take any of them, but she meets with all of the important people, all of who might as well be physically connected to Charlie’s phone line. New York City is a much smaller town than most journalists realize.
She takes a raise with a fake smile on her face and blatantly ignores the fact that some nicely wrapped McAvoy threats are probably a large part of her bigger paycheck.
She’s still not used to getting what she wants, but this is a lovely way to introduce her to a world where (mostly) good things happen to her.
Something profound happens on News Night and she gets a third Peabody. She remains unmoved.
There’s a party in the newsroom for her; there are drinks and laughs, neither of which she participates in. Near the end, there’s a toast and Will steps up to the plate.
“Mac, you are News Night 2.0,” he has the closest thing he’s ever had to a shit-eating grin on his face, though she’s not giving him any sort of response. “I – we – owe all our success to you. I know I can definitely speak for everyone when I say that we’re grateful for your perpetually idealistic view of redneck America.” More laughs, more drinks. It’s all to be expected.
When he approaches her afterwards, clearly expecting a thank you, he only gets “So how is your new girlfriend?” She walks away, and while doing so adds, “Good to know that you accredit all of your success to me. You’ve finally touched base with reality.”
The only reason she regrets not turning around is because she never gets to see the expression she’s sure was priceless.
“I don’t know why you’re so upset. We go around each other in circles. It’s what we do. But I just wanted you to know that I forgive you. For everything. And I know I have something to apologize for – a lot of things, even if I don’t know what they are. I want you to be able to forgive me, Mac. I want a clean slate. And about that message I left you that night, I just – I needed – and right now, I want – I just need to tell you, I never stopped –“
She shouldn’t have started listening to it in the first place.
She expects him to pick up the phone, but her form of communication is poignant in some sort of way.
Beep. “Good for you.”
She gets the last word outside of the control room, for once.