Jude woke up and looked at the clock on her night stand, 6:45 a.m. Groaning to herself, she quietly got out of bed, put on her plushy white robe and walked into the kitchen; she turned on the light and squinted in the brightness. Then walking over to the cupboard and grabbed a glass and filled it with water and walked back towards her bedroom she heard the answering machine beep once again. She stopped and debated whether or not to play the messages. Choosing the latter, she turned to go back to bed when Lara appeared at her feet and gently tugged on her robe string. Jude bent down and picked her up and walked down the hallway to the bedroom, stroking her fur. Walking in the doorway, she looked over at Tommy, who was still asleep. She sat down on the bed and set her down next to her. Jude laid down and tried to relax and fall back asleep. She glanced down and smiled at Lara who began to bounce around the foot of the bed. Lara bounced over to Tommy and carefully crawled over his legs and walked slowly up toward his face.
“Hey,” Jude whispered, “leave him alone.”
Lara looked at her and Jude could see a smile in her eyes and slowly moved forward. Suddenly with a bound she jumped right next to his head. She stood still for a moment and noticed that she didn’t catch his attention and scooted closer to him and watched him wagging her tail.
Jude rolled on her side and propped her head on her arm. She saw Lara suddenly jump up and start licking Tom’s face. He opened his eyes and smiled sleepily at her and rolled onto his back. Lara laid her head on his chest and stared at Jude. Tom looked down at Lara and then at Jude, who had turned and was staring out the window watching the sun finish rising in the sky.
She felt their eyes on her; she turned to them and said, “Morning.”
“Morning.” He replied sleepily, stretching slightly and then lifting himself into a sitting position.
They both sat there for a couple minutes, half asleep. Then Jude rolled over and drowsily asked, “Do you want breakfast?”
“Sure, what do you have in mind?” he answered
“I don’t know; let’s just see what we’ve got.” She answered as they both got out of bed.
They walked towards the kitchen and started to look around in the cupboards. They both started pulling random stuff out and setting it on the counter. They both stared at the contents place out before them and decided to make pancakes. They worked in a comfortable silence, Tommy pouring coffee grounds into the coffee maker and Jude leaning against the counter, next to the stove, mixing the batter in a bowl. Tom looked over at her, watching her stir the thick liquid quickly. She looked up at him as she poured the batter in to the frying pan and smiled.
“You should see what I can do with this.” She told him testing the edge of the pancake with the spatula and picking it up and moving it back and forth.
“Really now, what can you do with that?” He asked amused.
She moved the pan forward a little harder and flipped the pancake in the air, watching it land in the pan.
“Impressive.” He told her “Next time I’ll show you what I can do with an omelet.”
She smiled at him and they finished making the food. They sat down at the table and ate and talked. After they were finished Tom started to clear the table and Jude said, “Let me do that.”
“It’s my turn.” He told her as he walked into the kitchen and set the dishes in the sink.
“Okay.” Jude answered.
As he was finishing putting them in the dishwasher he heard Jude say, “That beeping is driving me nuts.”
He heard her chair scoot across the floor as she got up and the beep as she pressed play. Just as he shut the dishwasher door he heard Jude say, “Guess what.”
“What.” Tom answered
“Darius got you that interview today at one and I have a meeting.” Jude told him, “So you need to be at the studio by noon and I need to leave in about ten minutes.”
Tom walked into the G Major lobby and was quickly ushered to the back conference room for the interview. As he walked in he saw a woman with tan skin and chin length auburn hair sitting in one of the plushy leather chairs with her legs crossed. She stood up and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Amy from Emerging Artist.”
“Hi, I’m Tom Quincy.” He answered and they shook hands.
“Ready to get started?” Amy asked him.
“You bet.” He answered and they both sat down.
Amy pulled a tape recorder out of her bag and placed it between them on the table and hit record.
“So, how are you today?” She asked
“I am fantastic, how are you?” he said
“Not gonna lie, I am psyched to be here talking to you.”
“Same here.” He smiled.
“Let’s talk about your debut album.” Amy said “how does it feel to have the most downloaded album on the internet?”
“Honestly, it’s great. I am so happy that people are enjoying mine and the team’s hard work.”
“Speaking of you and your team,” she said, “how was working with Jude Harrison?”
“Jude is great. She is the one of the best. I am lucky she is the one I get to work with.”
“Nice segway.” Amy said and they both laughed. “The song you sang with Jude, it’s so different from everything else on your album. How did you come up with it?”
“That’s kind of a funny story.” Tom answered “Jude and I were working a late night, don’t tell D this, but we were goofing around and just came up with it.”
“Sleep deprivation and caffeine make and interesting combo.” He laughed
“So how did it end up on your album?”
“Darius got his hands on it and liked it and the idea.”
Amy nodded, “So how did you end up in the Instant Star competition?”
“It was a spur of the moment type thing, kind of one of those what do I got to lose moments,” He said, “and a couple of my friends put me up to it.
“Really,” she said, “are you glad they did?”
“Definitely, this is one of the most awesome and surreal things that has happened to me.” Tom replied.
“Okay, I just have a couple more questions for you.” Amy told him.
Jude was now sitting in the front conference room, listening to people discuss details about changes being made to policies at G Major.
“Are we in agreement?” Darius asked the people that lined the long table. Everyone nodded and he said “Okay, see everyone later.”
Jude stood up and started toward the door when her phone beeped announcing a new voice mail. She pressed the speed dial button and listened to the message…
“Jude,” a raspy voice said in a singsong tone and then got serious “I saw you tonight Jude. I thought I told you. I told you, you didn’t listen; now you must pay.” Then the deafening click of the receiver was heard.
Jude stopped short and her eyes went wide as she listened to the words. Someone bumped into her as they walked by and her phone started to fall. As she caught it she bumped the speaker phone button. Darius, who was now standing behind her heard ‘now you must pay’ and looked at her. She quickly pressed end, composed her face and started to walk away but Darius stopped her.
“So is there a tour lined up?” Amy asked
Tom nodded and said “A tour is in the works.”
“Ok, one more…do you have a message for your fans?”
“Thank you for supporting me and believing in me. I look forward to meeting every one of you.”
“Ok, thank you for your time. I appreciate you meeting with me.” Amy said and stopped the tape recorder.
“No problem, it was nice meeting you.” he responded as they shook hands again.
“Jude are you alright?” Darius asked her.
“Yeah, I think so. I just got a disturbing voice mail.” She answered uneasily.
“Who was it from?”
“I don’t know.” Jude answered, listening to the recording at the end of the message. It said the message was received last night, right after the performance. It also gave the option to return the sender’s call.
“But I am going to figure out.” Jude continued and walked into her office. She sat down at her desk and pressed the button to call the message sender back. As she listened to the ringing she started to get nervous and started second guessing her decision.
“Hello?” the person answered.
“Hi.” Jude said, recognizing the voice on the other end, Adrian.
“Jude, what a surprise.” He told her.
“Yeah, I’d say.” Jude mumbled.
“So, to what do I owe this honor?” he asked.
“I was actually calling because of the message you left on my phone.” She told him.
“I didn’t leave you a message.”
“Yes, you did and I don’t appreciate it.” She told him in a firm voice, starting to get upset.
“Whatever.” He replied, just blowing her off.
“You are not going to come near me again because if you do the police will be involved.” She said firmly, her voice rising.
“You know what Jude…” he said getting angry, “No one is going to believe you anyways so why don’t you just give up. You’re good at it.”
“That’s where you’re wrong; I do have someone that will believe me.” She said as a matter of factly.
“Tom? Yeah right, he won’t believe you.” he stated in an overly confident tone.
“But anyways, if you say anything your punishment will be ten times worse than if you keep your pretty little mouth shut.” Adrian warned and when Jude didn’t say anything he continued “Just remember I don’t go back on my promises.” and then hung up.
Jude roughly set her phone on her desk and leaned back into the chair and closed her eyes, letting everything sink in. She stood up and walked out and into Studio A and started fiddling around but soon realized she didn’t have anything specific to do. She only had one artist, which was a nice break from before when she had four or five, and his album and everything was taken care of as of right now. Needing to do something, she picked up her acoustic and started playing. After several minutes she decided to pack up and go home.
As Tom was driving back to Jude’s house his phone rang. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out, looking at the caller ID.
“Hey Aid, what’s up?” he asked
“Nothing really, what are you up to?” Adrian replied
“On my way to Jude’s.”
“Really.” Adrian said, with an interested tone
“Shut up, what do you need?”
“Well, speaking of Jude…” he said.
Jude was already at the house when Tom got there; lying on the floor with her legs bent and propped up on the couch reading a book. She looked up when she heard the door open and asked “Hey, how’d the interview go?”
“It was good.” Tom said.
“That’s good.” She smiled.
“How was the meeting?” he asked.
“Dull and boring as usual.” She said putting her bookmark in her book and standing up “But it’s all good.”
Jude looked at him and noticed something wasn’t right. “Is something wrong?”
“I have a question for you.” he told her.
“Ok, what do you want to know?” she answered.
“Why did you call Adrian and threaten to call the cops on him?” Tom questioned.
“Because he threatened me, twice.” Jude stated.
“What are you talking about?”
“He left a message on my voicemail and I called him back and told him to stop and he did it again.” Jude answered.
“I asked him what he did and he said nothing.” Tom told her.
“So you’re calling me a liar.” Jude stated, hurt flashing on her face.
“No, I’m just saying that I trust him and he said he didn’t do it.” He insisted.
“So you’re saying you don’t trust me.” Jude said, her expression going blank.
“You want the proof?” Jude asked, getting angry and pulled out her cell phone and handed it to him.
“I don’t need it.” He said giving it back to her.
“Look, I know he helped you out but…”
“That’s enough Jude.” He said cutting her off. She glared and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Damn. I can’t believe he was right.” Jude raised her voice and threw her hands up in the air, “You know what, just leave me alone.”
“Jude.” Tom started and reached out.
“Don’t touch me.” She said, her voice livid, “I’m mad at you.”
He watched her walk down the hallway the hurt written all over her face, listening to her yell “My parents are moving to Cincinnati and now this, damnit.”
Tom heard the bedroom door slam. He closed his eyes and sighed then walked out the front door.
Jude was in her room for about 30 minutes and then walked quietly out of her room and then into the bathroom. She turned on the radio and then started the water. Jude then looked at herself in the mirror and turned away. She pulled off her shirt and tested the water then pulled off the rest of her clothes, stepped into the tub and sank down into the water. The heat unknotted the tension from her muscles. Closing her eyes, she leaned back and rested her head against the wall. I can not believe he thinks I am not being honest. I understand that he is his friend but how could he think I am lying. Hell, he doesn’t even trust me. I mean what the hell. I don’t get it. What did I do? She drew in a deep breath and lowered herself until she was completely submerged under the water and stayed that way until her lungs burned from the lack of oxygen. Several minutes later, Jude stepped out of the tub, wrapped a towel around herself and then grabbed her lotion off the vanity and began to spread it across her skin.
Tom was walking down the street trying to wrap his mind around what had just happened. Why would she get so upset if she was lying? She could just be a good actor. I don’t think that was the case though; there was something in her eyes. I know Adrian can be an ass, but why would he go after Jude? He has no reason to. Plus, I just can’t see him doing that. I don’t know. I just don’t know. He turned back and headed towards Jude’s house still thinking. The same thing kept popping into his head as he walked at a slower than normal pace. I have no reason not to trust her…
Jude stepped out of the bathroom and walked into her bedroom. As she pulled her pajamas from the drawer Lara nosed the door open and walked in, looking at her with sad eyes. Jude looked down at her and said, “Hey honey,” she petted her, “Sorry you had to hear that.”
Jude turned and pulled on her pajamas and pulled back the blankets on her bed. As she lay down Lara sat next to the bed and stared at her.
“Come on up.” Jude told her and Lara wagged her tail and jumped up on the bed. She laid next to Jude, resting her head on one of the pillows. Jude rolled over onto her side and pulled her blanket up to her chin. Jude lay awake for several minutes waiting for sleep to rear its head. Finally her eyelids became heavy and she started to slip into a state of unconsciousness. Suddenly she was back in the dark alley
Run, was all that ran through her head.
Faster damnit, why can’t I go faster she thought as her feet felt like concrete.
Panicking, she stopped and looked around to see if the person was still after her.
She saw the man, the same one as before gaining fast, but there was another standing just out of sight in the shadows.
Again the man chasing her grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to the ground. He began to assault her once again.
“HELP ME!” she screamed to the figure in the shadows when they didn’t respond she pleaded “PLEASE HELP ME!”
“Yeah right, he won’t help you.” the man pinning her to the ground laughed and the one in the shadows joined in.
The man hit her once more, causing her head to collide with the pavement, before he rose to his feet. As he turned to walk away the light brushed across his face.
She recognized him and knew exactly who he was this time. She was just about unconscious, the person beating her and the person in the shadows walked up to her and picked up her limp body. Then a third appeared out of nowhere to help them move her just off the pavement and into the bushes. They then walked away, only one looking back in remorse.
Tom walked into the house and noticed all the lights were off. He prayed that he was still able to get into the house as he approached the door. He tried his key and let himself in, the place was very quiet. He quietly walked down the hall and peeked his head through the bedroom door and saw Jude asleep with Lara sprawled out next to her. Instead of looking peaceful, she looked troubled as she slept. He then walked back down the hallway and into the living room and laid down on the couch, pulling the blanket down off the back of the couch and resting his head on one of the throw pillows.