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The foundation series bo.., p.35
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.35

           Kira Adams
 

  “I’m sorry, Justice, I know you and Syble were really counting on my relationship with Angelica to increase our fan base, but I just couldn’t pretend anymore.” I glance over at Chenise who is seated beside me in the SUV, staring blankly at the screen of her phone. I know she is just as shocked as my agent.

  “There has to be something we can do to fix this. A public make-up, or something. I’ve already called Syble and she said Angelica is good with something like that.” Justice is scrambling to clean up the mess I left for him.

  “No,” I say simply.

  “But…”

  “I said no,” I repeat myself calmly. “I don’t think I need to remind you that you work for me.”

  I hear a sharp intake of breath on the other side of the line and it makes me want to chuckle. I’m sure Justice wants nothing more than to strangle me for this entire fiasco.

  “Alright then. I will call Tiffany and see what kind of recourse she can come up with for this,” he says shortly. He is referring to my publicist, Tiffany King. One of the best in the game. “Was it Angelica? We could always look into hooking you up with someone with a more wholesome image.”

  “No,” I say again, shutting him down. “From now on, we’re leaving my love life up to me, understand?”

  Silence fills the line until Justice finally caves. “Alright. What is your plan for Kelley? I’m sure she’s heard the news.”

  I sigh. “Kelley has tact. She’d never ask me about such a fresh break-up on-air.”

  “How can you be so sure?” Justice tests me.

  “I just know.”

  * * *

  “Jace Austin!” Kelley greets me with a warm hug. “It’s so good to see you again!”

  I take a seat in the chair next to hers. “Likewise,” I say over the rambunctious audience.

  The cheers emanating from the audience are even louder than the first time I appeared on her show. She allows the audience to quiet down before she continues. “Oh my gosh, it feels like forever since you were on my show last…doesn’t it?”

  I chuckle. “Yeah, it really does.”

  “So much has happened since your last appearance. For one, you accepted a part as Fenton from the Strategic Arms trilogy, which they’ve been calling the next Hunger Games.”

  I nod as the audience cheers on loudly. “Valor broke worldwide records by raking in nearly three hundred million its first weekend in theatres, and you’ve already finished filming Fortitude, is that correct?”

  “Yeah, we wrapped about two months ago.”

  “And when is that set to release?” she asks, looking between me and her notes.

  “March 20th,” I reply, but I’m drowned out by the audience reaction.

  “Tell me, how much has your life changed since we saw you last?” She is staring at me.

  I take a deep breath. “Oh wow, a complete 180. You never realize just how much you value alone time and privacy until you don’t have it anymore.”

  She giggles. “Well put. Well, if you weren’t a household name before, you definitely are now.” She shuffles her notecards around in her hand. “Now, I saw Valor, and I was absolutely blown away. It was hands down, by far, the best movie I’ve seen.”

  “Thank you, that really means a lot,” I reply, flashing a charming smile.

  “So, tell me, how does it feel to be part of something that is literally shaping history?”

  I exhale, digesting her question. “It’s amazing. We have an incredible cast and crew, and I feel extremely blessed and honored that I get to be a part of it.”

  “I heard that you guys like to have fun on set—especially you and Tyrone.” She is smiling widely at me.

  I laugh. “Yeah, Tyrone and I are definitely the pranksters of the group, and we do our best to keep things interesting.”

  “Tell me about the last prank you two pulled off,” she urges me.

  I break into a wide grin. “Well, right before we wrapped the movie, we locked Tim, our Director, and Jason, our Producer, out of their trailers and turned all the furniture upside down. All the furniture that wasn’t attached to the ground that is.”

  The audience breaks out in loud laughs and cheers.

  “Well, as you know, we love pulling pranks here, so I thought you could help me pull off one on my receptionist. Her name is Theresa, and she is obsessed with you.”

  The audience continues to be loud and riled up.

  “I’m serious,” Kelley continues. “Her background on her computer is a picture of you.”

  I chuckle. “Alright, so, what did you have in mind?”

  “Well, Theresa has been looking forward to you being on the show so much, she literally has a calendar that she has been crossing out days on. She can’t hear us right now because she’s in the lunch room on her break. I’m going to send you in there with an earpiece and you’re going to do what I say, alright?”

  I nod smiling, rubbing my hands together. “I can’t wait.”

  * * *

  Kelley turned me into the male version of a prima donna for our prank session on her receptionist. When I first entered the lunch room, the poor girl shrieked so loud, I thought she might pass out from excitement. She timidly came up to me asking for a picture, and I had to follow Kelley’s instructions and brush her off telling her that I only take pictures when monetary compensation was involved. I asked if she wanted to pay me for a picture, and she asked how much it would cost. Kelley instructed me to say twenty-five pickles and a green tea. The poor girl was opening up every refrigerator, hoping to swipe someone’s jar of pickles. The audience was beside themselves in a fit of giggles and after five minutes of torture, we finally gave her what she was looking for—a picture with me, after we revealed our prank.

  My time on Kelley was so laid back this trip, I was relieved. Not only did she not bring up Angelica and our status, she left Peyton out of the conversation as well. I was beyond thankful.

  By the time I make it home, I collapse onto my bed, tired from the taxing day. Chenise positions herself in my doorway within minutes of our arrival. “Anything else you need from me right now?” she asks timidly.

  I sit up, looking at my assistant. “No, go ahead and take off for the day. I’m sorry for being an asshole earlier.”

  Her eyes widen. “It’s okay.”

  I sigh, rubbing my face. “No, it’s not. I know this lifestyle has changed me, I’m aware of it, but I’m trying to be conscientious about the way I treat others. I don’t know how I’d survive without you, and I mean that, so thank you.”

  A small smile forms upon her lips. “You’re welcome.”

  “Now get out of here before I change my mind,” I tease, falling back onto my bed.

  I hear her scurry away and then the door downstairs close shortly after. I know I am alone. I pull out my phone, logging onto Facebook. The first thing that pops up on my newsfeed is a post by Entertainment Tonight. The headline reads, “A Change in Time signs to Black Runs Blue label.” I swallow, scrolling through the article. There is a picture of the band posing with the lead singer of Free Falling, Luis Rodriguez, who is also the head of the label. My eyes linger on Peyton’s smile. She looks happy. A small pang in my chest begins to grow as I realize this big step in her life was taken without me.

  We haven’t spoken in almost nine months. I’ve tried reaching out a couple of times, but never gotten a response. I miss her and always wished she would have allowed me the chance to explain everything…but at the end of the day, I know I am to blame for our break-up. I let my career and fame get in the way, and I lost the love of my life. I haven’t been able to listen to her music, just as I’m sure she hasn’t been able to see my movie. The thought that she may have moved on haunts me daily. I haven’t stopped thinking about her, not even for a second. I’m just hoping and wishing that things get easier as time goes by, that I can learn to live without her somehow.

  Three: I’m Not a Home Wrecker

  In the Zone

  © 2015
DarienMae

  Teach me some moves

  Pull me into you

  Whisper in my ear

  Things I shouldn’t hear

  I never meant to

  Fall in love with you

  The beat dropped so quickly

  It made me dizzy

  I’m with the beat, I’m in control, I feel the fire within my soul

  In the dark is where I’ll be, ready to dance to this sick ass beat

  Sipping whiskey like it’s my last, I feel my world begin to flash

  In the zone is where I’ll be, under the lights like a dancing queen

  I feel like letting myself go, feel like letting myself go, feel like letting myself go

  On the dance floor

  I’m feeling it, I’m feeling it

  I’m feeling it, I’m feeling it

  I’m filling up my cup

  I feel like letting myself go, feel like letting myself go, feel like letting myself go

  On the dance floor

  Burning up, set me free, in the zone forever I’ll be

  Burning up, set me free, in the zone

  Peyton

  It’s our first studio session with the new label and the pressure is on. I know that in order for this to work, we have to produce quality tracks that can be played on the radio. You could say I’m beyond nervous.

  “So, we are going to begin with an EP of five songs. We want to garner interest and gauge people’s reactions. So knowing this, what songs would you guys like to include?” Luis addresses the entire band.

  We all exchange pondering glances, but I know Noah and I will do the majority of the decision making.

  “Deuces Wild,” Brooklyn states without hesitation.

  I nod, holding up one finger.

  “This is Me,” Noah chimes in. I throw up another finger.

  “Traveling,” Harper throws in her vote. We are past the halfway point, and I know I better speak up soon.

  “On Tour,” Madison beats me to the punch. And then suddenly all eyes are on me.

  “What?” I ask, startled.

  “You want to choose the final song?” Noah pipes up for the entire band.

  I nod, smiling. My band knows me all too well.

  I inhale deeply. “I’d love to do Bone Breakin’.”

  “Alright, so we have our song list,” Luis states, glancing at me and then the rest of the band. We need to spend the next few weeks getting everything perfect. We’ll start with guitar and drums and once those are laid down for all the tracks, we’ll call the rest of you in for your individual parts.”

  I can’t help the smile that is spreading like wildfire across my lips. I’ve wanted to record my music in an actual studio for as long as I can remember, and now that it is finally happening, everything seems to be going right in my life for once.

  * * *

  After the meeting with Luis, the girls and I decide to grab lunch at a local restaurant.

  “So, how are you feeling now that you’re back home?” Madison asks. Brooklyn has only recently moved back to Day Heights from Atlanta, and I know it’s been a bit of a transition for her.

  “It feels like home,” she responds giggling. “There’s still not much to do here, like normal, but I’m happy not to be commuting so often anymore. I’m sure I have a few free flights by now from all my air miles.”

  We all laugh in understanding.

  “So, how do you guys think it’s going to be?” Harper asks.

  “What?” Madison prods her.

  “Living together!” Harper exclaims like her question was so obvious to begin with.

  “Oh, I’m sure it’s going to be fine,” Madison replies.

  “Being friends and living together are two separate things…don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Harper takes a sip of her water, eyeing each of us down.

  “Gee, thanks, Mom!” Madison jokes.

  The server brings our two orders of nachos and my mouth salivates at the sight of the food. I guess I didn’t realize how hungry I was.

  “So, did you get a chance to see Valor yet?” Harper asks the girls and I can feel the tension and uneasiness almost immediately. “Oh, whatever, she can’t avoid him forever…and plus, it’s an amazing movie! I’ve already seen it three times.”

  I sigh. “Thanks, Harper. I thought you were supposed to be my friend.”

  “I am your friend!” she exclaims through bites. “Friends are honest, and that’s exactly what I’m being with you.”

  “She’s not ready, okay?” Brooklyn snaps and my eyes immediately lock with her chocolate ones giving her a silent thank you.

  “Okay…fine, fine.” Harper holds up her hands in surrender. “How’s everything going with Forrest?”

  Madison looks up from eating. “You’re sure a barrel of questions tonight.”

  Harper shrugs. “I want some gossip! You guys are so boring lately!”

  Madison slaps her across the shoulder, causing Harper to break out into a fit of giggles. “Kidding, kidding…but really…”

  Madison wipes off her messy fingers and finishes her bite before answering. “Good. He introduced me to his parents last weekend.”

  We all gasp as she hasn’t shared this news with any of us.

  “Seriously?” I choke out, gulping down my water. “Isn’t that moving kind of fast?”

  Madison’s blue eyes turn grey as she glares at me. “We’ve been dating for six months.”

  “Shit,” Brooklyn exclaims animatedly. “Has it’s already been that long?”

  Madison nods, seemingly annoyed.

  “That means me and Darren have been together for nine months!” Brooklyn began dating a semi-pro football player from California last year. It’s been long distance since the beginning, but it seems to be working for them. After she broke up with Isaiah, I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to find someone who made her happy like he did, but Darren was in a league of his own. We hit it off almost immediately and I gave her my blessing right away.

  “And Peyton and I are going to be single for life…ain’t that right?” Harper breaks me out of my thoughts.

  “Amen.” I clink my glass with hers.

  “I still think you need to get some,” Harper says, eyeing me down intently. “You have no idea how many cobwebs are in there by now!”

  As she continues cracking jokes at my expense, guilt pours over me. I forgot to tell them. At this point, I’m not even sure I want to tell them. I have no idea of the crap they will give me for hooking up with Luis, but they are my best friends and I’m a terrible liar.

  “I might have already taken care of that issue,” I say softly, my eyes shifting between my three best friends.

  “What?” Madison shrieks as Brooklyn spits out the water in her mouth.

  I nod, unable to contain my grin and the redness spreading up my neck and over my cheeks.

  “Please tell me you didn’t fuck Noah!” Harper exclaims, a little too loudly for comfort.

  All of my friends are wide-eyed, open-mouthed, and staring at me for an explanation.

  “Classy,” I joke. “No, I did not do the dirty with Noah.”

  “Thank God” Harper falls back against the back of the bench, clutching her heart.

  “So what if I did?” I press. “It wouldn’t be anyone else’s problem but mine.”

  Harper’s eyes widen. “Rule number one, never get involved with a band member. The minute things go south, the band is done.”

  I roll my eyes. “Please. I’m not a home wrecker.” I really like Noah’s girlfriend, and I can’t imagine hurting someone like that.

  “Well, are you going to just make us sit here and sweat it out, or are you going to spill the beans?” Brooklyn exclaims eagerly.

  “Okay, I’m going to tell you guys, but you have to promise not to freak out.”

  The three exchange wary glances before training their eyes back on me. I exhale, attempting to find the right words. “Luis, I had sex with Luis.”

&
nbsp; “Luis?” Harper asks, confused. “As in, lead singer of Free Falling and the guy who just signed us to his record label, Luis?”

  Suddenly, everything around me seems overly quiet. I swallow, nodding.

  That’s when Brooklyn drops her glass on the table, shattering it, water and ice flying everywhere.

 
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