Chapter One - Maybe You'll Be The Girl
I stood in front of DarkStar Records staring at the intimidating building like it was made of poison. Some of my favorite musicians had walked through the front doors nobodies, and back out them major rockstars. I straightened my jacket, it was black and matte leather, but I was not here to live out some kind of rock star dream of my own. My career path had a different trajectory, birthright had destined me to be an assistant manager at my parents marketing company. I’d studied business at their insistence, and now I was going to work in the family company at their insistence.
This job was a detour though, I’d painted the opportunity as a way to gain experience for my parents and being that they thought the job was being assistant to someone so important it was confidential they had ‘let’ me take the three month opportunity... if I got it.
I’d found out about the job through a friend at college, one who had more time than me to frequent the clubs where DarkStar Records musicians music could be heard for miles. It had fallen into my lap like it was meant to be, so I called the number and applied.
I hadn’t expected a call for an interview. On paper I looked good until my lack of experience assisting anyone became blindingly obvious. However, I got the call and now here I was. Almost too terrified to even walk inside the building.
The fear of starting work at my parents business sooner rather than later was enough to spur me on. I had studied business because it had been expected of me, I didn’t live and breath office work.
I sighed and walked towards the doors, they slid open as I approached, exposing the beauty that was the building inside. It was modern and sexy, the reception desk was lime green against a black marble floor and white walls. It could have looked tacky, but it didn’t. I approached the reception, a woman no older than me was staring at her computer screen. She had earphones in and was enthralled in whatever she was doing. I cleared my throat, hoping it was enough to garner her attention.
“I have an interview with Mr Hall at 10am.” I said with a smile to the girl who didn’t know what customer service meant. She finally looked away from the screen and up at me, her eyes widened and she pulled out her ear phones.
“Oh sorry.” She apologized, I softened, she seemed to be genuine.
“Are you okay?” I asked softly. “You seem distracted.”
She nodded, but her eyes were a dead giveaway, they began to water and her lip wavered. I looked around, there was no one else around, no one waiting behind me.
“Sometimes offloading to a stranger helps.” I offered.
She let out a sob, and tears rolled down her cheeks. This was not going well. She covered her eyes and then whispered so low only I could hear.
“My boyfriend dumped me this morning.” Her voice cracked and she wiped her tears on the sleeve of her long sleeve dress. “For my best friend!”
I walked around behind the desk and helped the girl to her feet. “How about you take a few minutes. I’ll watch the desk.”
Her eyes widened. “I really shouldn’t”
She looked a mess however, mascara lined cheeks and patchy foundation. I wasn’t much of a makeup wearer, but even I knew her current style wasn’t about to become a new trend.
“They deserve each other if they’re going to treat you like that, remember your worth and don’t settle for mediocre. Go clean yourself up. I’ve worked a reception before, it’s fine.”
She smiled and nodded. “Thank you...” She paused.
“El.” I offered.
“Kendra.” She replied. “Thank you El.”
Kendra left the desk and I sat in her chair. I prayed no one came through the doors because despite my assertion I knew what I was doing, I absolutely didn’t. After a few minutes an office door opened and a man of about 30 walked toward the reception desk. He wore black jeans and a black button up top, he had black thick rimmed glasses and a kind smile... until he laid eyes on me.
“You’re not Kendra.” He noted.
I nodded and opened my mouth to speak, but before I could get anything out Kendra placed her hand on the Man’s shoulder.
“Lyle, this is your 10am El. She’s here for the assistant position. I was a bit of a neurotic mess when she arrived, and forgot to leave my baggage at the door.” She shot me a winning smile. “El however helped me out of my funk and offered to watch the desk for me while I gathered myself. I figured since she’s here for a job interview she’s trustworthy enough.”
My stomach dropped, the man in black was Mr Hall. He looked at Kendra and then at me. His frown slowly changed to a smile and he held out his hand. “So you prefer El?”
I stood up and shook his hand. “Yes, El.”
Lyle pulled his hand back and shoved it in his pocket. He looked at Kendra and smiled.
“I trust you’re okay now?”
Kendra nodded. “I will be. Thanks to this one. I hope you employ her Lyle.”
Lyle smiled curtly before turning on his heel. “Follow me El, lets see if you have what it takes.”
I followed Lyle through the large foyer and into the office where he had come out of. He walked behind a large black desk and sat down in an equally large black leather chair. The room was large, but the design in here was more clinical. Everything was white except for the black furnishings. Lyle gestured to another black chair.
I sucked in a breath and sat down.
“You think on your feet don’t you.” He asked with a glint in his eye. “Able to manage the breakdown of a woman with ease.”
“I wouldn’t say it was a breakdown Mr Hall. But yes, I like to think I am a quick thinker.”
“Lyle.” He offered. “Look, I’ll cut straight to it. This job is time limited. 3 months. You’ll be assistant to one of our more well known band’s lead singer. He’s a wild one and we’ve let him choose his own assistant until now, however it always ends in tears.” He paused and then looked me up and down. “Theirs.”
I frowned and pulled my jacket closed. I tried not to read between the lines, but it seemed like he was considering me because I didn’t look like his clients type.
“So you’re going to hire me because your client won’t be interested.”
Lyle laughed and shook his head. “No, of course not. I’m hoping you’re a no bull shit kind of girl more than anything.” he replied.
I smiled. “Right.” I paused. “Can I ask who the client is.”
His smile faded and he nodded. “Of course, you’d be assistant to Flynn Stone.”
Flynn Stone... the Flynn Stone? As in, lead singer of my favorite band Flynn Stone? I swallowed the sudden ball of nervousness and nodded. “I see.”
Admiring Chaos’ music from afar was one thing. Their musicianship was amazing. However Flynn’s reputation preceded him. He was a wild one, his antics had been caught on camera more times than I could count. He was a handful, it was no wonder he went through assistants like crazy.
“Look, based on what I’ve seen of you already this morning El, I don’t need to continue this interview.” He paused and stood up.
I looked down at the floor and my stomach sank, had I given a bad impression?
“The decision is yours. I’m afraid I’ll need an answer by the end of the day, the tour bus leaves on Friday and you’ll need to be on it if you decide to come.”
I looked back up at Lyle and he smiled and walked to the door. I shook my head and stayed glued to the spot.
“You’re giving me the job?” I stuttered. “You barely asked me anything?”
He smiled and nodded. “You dealt with an issue before you even came into my office El, seamlessly I might add. You’re educated and well spoken and I think that you’ll do much better than any of your predecessors. Also, as I mentioned, we’re on a time restraint.”
I smiled back and nodded. “I’m in.”
Lyle raised his eyebrows and smiled. “I feel I must remind you that Flynn Stone is known to be-”
“Difficult and high maintenance?” I replied. “I’m aware.”
Lyle nodded. “Very well. I’ll have a contract written up and a brief and itinerary sent out to your email today. Welcome aboard El.”
Lyle held out his hand and I shook it. I had bought myself three months of time. I walked out of the office and stopped by the reception desk. Kendra grinned up at me. “I hope that smile means you got the job.”
I nodded. “Sure did. Are you going to be okay?” I asked softly.
“Oh me? I’ll be fine. I’m worth more than the both of them put together. Thank you for today.”
My parents were still at work when I got home, which I was more than thankful for. Lying to them wasn’t easy, or something I had even wanted to do. Them knowing the truth wasn’t an option though, not after my brothers accident.
He’d been on the road to fame since I could remember. He was the one who’d taught me to read music and harmonize. He had sparked my love of music and the flames had caught. When I was 13 and he was 19, he left home, much to my parents chagrin to begin his career as a rockstar. He would have made it too, he had the talent. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident. It had been 9 years, and my parents had never recovered. My sister Jasmine and I had lived in his shadow ever since.
“Tell me you got the job?!” Jasmine exclaimed running down the front path.
I nodded and got out of the car. “I start on Friday. Three months.”
Jasmine leapt at me. At 16 she was already taller than me. I was short, not overly so, but at 5"5 next to my 5"11 sister it was noticeable. “Gah, stop growing would you.” I mused. “I feel like I need to wear heels just standing next to you.”
Jasmine grinned and pulled back, she took after our mother, with olive skin, green eyes and dark blonde hair. I however looked more like my father with brown hair, skin so alabaster 5 minutes in the sun would turn me into a lobster and grey eyes. I wasn’t sure where I’d got my stature or figure from however. Both my parents were tall and slim, my brother had been too and Jasmine could walk out the front door and on to a runway if she wanted. I on the other hand was average height, curvy and if I didn’t look like my father I’d have assumed I was adopted.
“You’re a bombshell El, I don’t get how you can’t see it.”
“Whatever.” I laughed. “I’d better start packing, oh god and figuring out what to say to Mom and Dad.”
“You’ve already told them it was a possibility.” She smiled.
“Yeah but now I need to keep up the façade. I’m not a good liar.”
“I don’t know about that. You studied business and made them believe you wanted to.” She chuckled.
I frowned, she wasn’t wrong. “Except I’m lying about where I’m going and what I’m doing.”
My mouth fell open. “I’m going to be an assistant not a groupie!”
Jasmine laughed out loud and pulled me in for a hug. “Relax okay. I’ll keep things smoothed over here. This is a big opportunity.”
“It’s a three month tour Jaz, I’ll be back and in the office before too long.”
“Maybe... maybe not.” She smiled. “Anyway you never said who you’re assisting.”
I cleared my throat and began walking up the path. I knew the minute I said Flynn Stone’s name she was going to go postal. We were both fans of Chaos. They had a musical style similar to what my brothers was. Together we owned all their vinyls and albums, though granted we only got to listen to them when we were home alone.
I walked up the stairs and through the front door.
“El?!” Jasmine called out from behind me. “You have to tell me. I’m your sister!”
“Flynn Stone.” I whispered so quietly I knew she hadn’t heard it.
“I don’t have superhuman hearing.” She replied, folding her arms across her chest and scowling.
“You can’t go crazy.” I replied softly.
“I’m not a child El.” She retorted. “I will be completely composed!”
“Flynn Stone.” I said without smiling. Jasmine’s eyes narrowed and she shook her head. She looked at me then opened her mouth.
“No, who really.”
“Flynn Stone.” I repeated for the third time.
“Oh My god.” Jasmine managed to splutter. “You’re going on tour with Chaos? Can I sneak in your suitcase. What the hell El.” Before I could say anything, Jasmine squealed and then jumped up and down on the spot.
“Listening to Chaos is one thing Jaz. Flynn is reckless and self absorbed. I’m literally going to be babysitting him.” I replied finally, attempting to downplay it.
“Or.... maybe you’ll be the girl... the one. You’ll become his muse and he’ll fall for you. He’d be crazy not to. He’ll hear you sing and realise that you being stuck in an office or as anyone’s assistant is shit balls crazy... and you’ll get married and make musical babies.” She grinned wistfully as she sat down on the sofa.
I shook my head and chuckled. “Oh, you beautiful, hopeless romantic.” I walked toward the staircase and began the ascent to my room.
“It could happen!” Jasmine called out.
I pulled my suitcase out from under my bed and began to go through my clothes. Nothing really seemed fitting for a rock band’s tour, but I had limited time. I packed a case and spied my brother’s guitar in the corner. I smiled and pulled the guitar cover out. My brother couldn’t come, but I could take part of him with me.
The email from Lyle came not long after I had finished packing. I digitally signed the contract. Jasmine and I told my parents I got the three month job, and luckily because I’d told them it was all highly confidential they didn’t ask too many questions. By the time Friday came I was equal amounts of excited and nervous.
“Are you sure Dad and I can’t drop you at the airport.” Mom asked softly. She sounded almost tearful, guilt simmered in my gut. I shook my head.
“No, Jaz is going to borrow my car while I’m gone. She wants to take me. I thought it would be nice.”
Mom nodded and pulled me in for a hug. She held on tight and squeezed. My parents never really hugged me, or any of us. Public displays of affection weren’t exactly their forte, but me leaving for three months was the first time either Jaz or I had left home for an extended time since Josh had died. Once she was done, Dad pulled me in for a hug too, though he was more muted.
“Remember to call as much as you can. Be professional and remember we’re so proud of you.” Mom exclaimed.
I nodded and looked at Jasmine who picked up my suitcase. The guitar was already in the car, I’d put it out there earlier so my parents didn’t ask questions. “Shall we go El?” Jasmine exclaimed.
“Yes.” I replied. “I’ll call you in a few days.”
I walked out the front door and to the passengers side of my car. Jasmine giggled as she put my case in the trunk. We drove to the record studio, the bus was already out front. I spied Lyle walking out the front of the building.
“Promise me you’ll call me if they find out.” I whispered.
“Of course. But they won’t.” Jasmine assured me. “I know you want to make a good impression so I won’t be a giddy school girl leaping around for a signed copy of anything... But uh, I can’t promise the same come the end of the tour.”
“I wouldn’t expect any less.” I grinned. I leaned across and gave Jasmine a hug. “I am going to miss you so much.”
“Same.” She whispered.
I got out of the car and grabbed my guitar and suitcase from the trunk. I walked to the bus and smiled at Lyle who walked over and grabbed my things. He handed them to an usher who walked onto the bus.
“The boys are on their way out now. I must warn you. Flynn is most annoyed I hired his assistant, so if he’s a jackass, feel free to tell him he’s being one.”
I nodded. “Roger that.”
A few minutes later I could hear voices behind me, and laughing. I turned and looked at the group. It was chaos, Flynn, Jack, Todd, Carter and the latter three’s wives. They piled on to the bus bar Flynn who walked right up to me. His jet black hair flopped over his eyes, shadowing the bright blueness of them for just a second before he lifted his tattooed arm and pushed the strands off his face. He smiled, the perfect half smile I’d seen on posters and in music videos for years. He licked his lower lip and leaned in close.
“You’re not my usual type.” He grinned. “A little to straight edge for me. I guess I’ll have to make an exception.”
I frowned and folded my arms across my chest.