Wednesday, June 8, 2005
“We’re going back to New York this Saturday,” Marcel said this to UTurn in his office.
Riley said, “Marcel, I have my graduation this Saturday. I was planning to walk the stage with my friends. My entire family and our relatives are going to watch me.”
“Is it mandatory?” he asked.
“Well, no, but it’s important for both my family and I.”
Derrick chimed in, “I agree. She should go to her graduation. How would you feel if someone told you that you have to miss graduation over business stuff?”
Marcel sighed. Alyson cleared her throat, and asked, “So why are we going back to New York?”
“Glad you asked!” he exclaimed, obviously changing the subject. “We’ll be meeting with the executives at a major record label, MainStreet Records. They sign primarily teen pop acts. They are under the subsidiary Worldwide Music Group. This is the same company that housed Connect8’s labels, Number9 Entertainment and Telegram Records.”
Alyson’s eyes widened. UTurn would be somewhat close to Connect8, even though the British pop act was all but defunct. Still, it was something!
Then she looked at Riley, who seemed to be both excited and concerned. Riley had told her bandmates that walking the stage for her graduation was an important milestone. Granted, her parents and siblings had all graduated from high school. They all went to college. Even her parents held doctorates. Still, it was big deal for her family.
Alyson faced Marcel, and asked, “So why can’t we move the date to Friday? All of our finals are done. Riley wants to walk the stage for graduation.”
Marcel replied, seemingly reluctant, “I’ll talk with the executives about this. As for why they want to meet with you, they want you to perform for them. I suggested your current hit single, All Around the World, and you next single, Break My Heart.”
UTurn were on the train to New York City. The event was moved to Friday, allowing Riley to attend her graduation.
They were going over the choreography for their two songs. They already knew the routine for All Around the World, but they hadn’t been given the moves for Break My Heart yet. Their album was in its final stages, but they were already going on a New England region tour with stops at New York City and Toronto. Popstars:2005 Theatre Tour was the name, and tickets were being sold out fairly quickly.
Andrew sat on the attached table as he watched his bandmates go over their makeshift dance routine. He had to be the band’s temporary choreographer. Their own choreographer has back in Boston, working on their tour.
His mind was still on Blake’s words. Andrew told Alyson everything. He knew Alyson did as much as she could to make feel better. Still, it didn’t mean the stuff Blake said to him still left a stinging wound in his heart. Yet Andrew needed to get his mind back on UTurn. They were about to get signed onto a major label. It was a big deal for everyone. That was more important than some ex-boyfriend throwing some shade at him.
Before he knew it, Break My Heart had finished playing. Andrew noticed his bandmates staring at him, waiting for his response. He got off the table, and said, “It’s getting better, but the whole thing still needs work.”
Derrick said with exhaustion in his voice, “Andrew, we went over this ten times now. We need a break.”
“Well, it’s not my fault you all still look like a hot mess!” Andrew exclaimed.
Derrick raised an eyebrow at him. Alyson walked up to Andrew, and said, “Andrew, just calm down. I think we should all take a break for now.”
Andrew rubbed his eyes, and said, “Yeah, fine, whatever.”
With that, everyone but Alyson and Andrew walked to another train car. As they sat down, Alyson rubbed his thighs, and asked, “Blake again?”
He sighed tiredly, “I know I shouldn’t let any of that bothered me, but it still does. I mean, he was the first guy I’ve ever dated.”
Alyson sighed, “Then you know what it was like for me back in fifth grade.”
Andrew looked at her, and said, “You know I told you right afterwards, right?”
“I know. You didn’t mean to break up with me and treat our relationship like a joke. You were dared to, but you truly did like me. You were even the first person to tell me that I was pretty despite looking like a sad nerd.”
He held her hands. “I still think you’re beautiful. You were the only person I couldn’t stop thinking about.”
Alyson sighed. “But Blake made some remarks about you being bi. He was no better than Libby.”
Andrew sighed, “I know.”
The two shared a hug. It gave some comfort for Andrew, reminding him the person was dating him supported him. She was always there for him. For that, he felt better.
UTurn and Marcel were in an elevator. The band was dressed in their punk-pop outfits in the coordinated of black. They needed to show the executives their image while giving their best performances.
Alyson could feel her cocktail of emotions running through her body. She was nervous, as this was a make-or-break for UTurn. They would finally make their music widely and physically available nationwide. Sure, their debut album was going to be on iTunes, but it wasn’t the same as one holding the actual packaging for the CD.
She suddenly felt someone’s hand holding hers. She turned to see Andrew, giving her a smile. He said, “We got this, Aly.”
She said, “I hope so. We get to be under the same company as Connect8 once was.”
“Didn’t I get people across the nation buzzing about us this past Sunday?”
Alyson smiled. “Yeah, you did. The follower count on our MySpace page has grown a lot since then.”
Andrew grinned. “Like I said, we got this.”
Before they knew it, the elevator doors were opened on the second to the highest floor of the MainStreet Records building. As everyone walked out, Marcel faced Andyson. He told them, “Look, you two are cute and everything, but don’t hold hands or do any other PDA stuff. You have to look professional.”
The couple stood there, staring at him. Alyson couldn’t believe what she heard. She couldn’t hold her boyfriend’s hand? Marcel never seemed bother by the couple. It wasn’t like they had full-on make-out sessions in front of the entire world. All they ever did in front of the TV cameras was hold hands.
Alyson looked at Andrew, and he did the same. They both let go of each other reluctantly. The feeling was mutual, but they had to. They needed UTurn to get signed onto a major label.
The band and Marcel finally entered a large room, complete with chairs on one end, and an empty space on the other. There were eight microphone stands in that space. UTurn walked over to their makeshift stage, facing a large group of executives.
Marcel stood in front of the band, and announced: “Everyone, this pop band was formed last year at their high school. Last month, they had won on a regional televised singing competition. Now they’re getting ready to release their debut album and go on tour. But we all want to move out of the New England region. We aspire to bring this band to a statewide and international level of success. Here are Andrew, Alyson, Justin, Bailey, Stacie, Amanda, Riley, and Derrick, and they are UTurn.”
Alyson looked at the crowd, and then back at her bandmates. This was it. Their two-song performance was what could make or break them. They needed to impress these people if UTurn wants to go outside of the New England region.
She nodded her head at her bandmates, and they did the same. Alyson faced the important crowd, giving them a smirk smeared with confidence.
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