Days Go By
It was a breezy autumn Monday morning when Amber rolled over and groaned at her alarm clock. At 21, she was beyond tired. It was her first day of senior college and the first thing she did was text her best friend, Brad. "You awake yet?"
Brad heard his phone buzz across the table near his bed. He sighed as he looked at the celling. Reaching for his phone he replied "Reluctantly so..." He was more than nervous as at 21 he'd just now decided if he were to ever see his dreams come to completion he'd have to put the work behind it. Being accepted into college was no small task for him. He'd never been more than an average student at best.
Amber climbed out of bed and texted him, "No kidding. I'm kicking myself for signing up for the 8am." Then she went to her closet to find something to wear. Nothing seemed to jump out at her as she noticed it was 6:25. "Ugh." She murmured.
Brad sat up in bed. Rubbing his face he threw his legs over the side of the bed and sat there for a moment taking time to reply "Yeah, tell me about it. My first class is Making Connections... who wants to make connections at 8am?!?"
She laughed as she looked down at the text, "Why am I texting you when you're just down the hallway??" She walked down the hallway and rapped on his door, "Hiya Roommate." She laughed.
"Ugh!" She heard him from just on the other side of the door. "Dont come in I'm still in my boxers and I know you wants a piece..." He laughed
Amber rolled her eyes, "Shut up. I just need your opinion." Brad cracked the door and looked out at her with a grin. "I figured you would..after all your world does revolve around me" He said with a wink
"Right, that's completely it. So, should I wear the pink one or the blue one?" She held up two shirts. "I'm pairing it with a denim skirt.."
Brad took a moment to look at the shirts. "Blue, always assume blueâ€¦." He said as he turned around scratching his head and looking around his room.
"Ass..." Brad laughed as he shut the door and walked over to his stereo. He flipped through an open cd case that laid near before stopping on Mario's latest album "Turning Point" He carefully placed it in the changer. Pressing play he walked over to his closet and opened the door looking around as he sang along. "Next time yall nigga's try to compare me remember I just turned eighteen, that means I've got seven years to catch up... so what's up"
When she got out of the shower she screamed, "Your turn!" Then she went to her ipod deck and hit the shuffle button. The first song that came on was, "Tattoo" by Jordin Sparks. She sat at her vanity and belted out into her hairbrush, "I can't waste time so give it a moment, I realize nothing's broken...no need to worry about everything I've done...live every second like it was my last one..>"
Brad showered quickly. Twenty minutes later Amber heard a ratteling on her door handle "You ready?" Brad said as he stood in the hallway.
She sprayed more hairspray in her hair that she had curled and pulled back half-way. Applying just a touch more of lipgloss, she grabbed her books and her purse and opened the door. "Yeah, yeah, I'm ready." As she surveyed him she said, "Not bad..."
Brad looked down surveying himself following the comment. "It's a pair of faded arizona's and a polo with some flip flopsâ€¦" He shrugged. Amber popped a piece of gum in her mouth, "It's fine. Let's go...parking is hell." Then she added, "Are you gonna make it without me in your first class?" She teased.
Brad cocked his head to the left and looked at her like a confused dog. "You got it twisted" He said as he pulled on his backpack strap and turned away from her leading the way out of their apartment. When they reached Brad's 95 Chevy Silverado he climbed in behind the steering wheel.
She put her own backpack messenger bag over her shoulder and climbed in the truck, "Okay my first class is Introduction to Forensics 101, then I have English Comp with you, U.S. History with you, and then Algebra with you....joy...." She laughed.
Brad turned the key as the radio blared. He reached over and adjusted the volume. "The only class Im looking forward to is Emphasis In Composition" As the commerical ended the DJ spoke "Good moring JBâ€¦ it's a beautiful autumn morning in 2003 isnt it folks?"
"I'm excited for Anatomy and Physiology...I get to bring home the animal specimens I dissect..." she said. "So are you and...what's her name, Tori...are you and her still an item?"
Brad grabbed his sunglasses from his visor as he steered the truck. "Nopeâ€¦" He quickly changed the subject "Fyi I get the living room tv tonight for at least thirty minutes. I still havent watched 8 Simple Rules from last week"
"It's yours, I have a date anyway." She told him. As they arrived on campus, she saw the parking spaces quickly filling, "Oh Man." She said.
Brad circled around looking for an avaliable spot. "Who's the flavor of the week this week?"
"Flavor of the week? Hardly, his name is Jordan, I met him the other day when I was getting starbucks." She told him.
Brad laughed as he pulled into an open spot. "Whatever helps you sleep at night." He turned the igniton off "What do these guys think of you living with some dude and only some dude?" He questioned as he opened his door.
"Later babe" He said as he grabbed his bag and headed in the oppisite direction. When he finally found his classroom he stepped inside. He saw some walking around. Other's were finishing their sleep right at thier desk. He quickly grabbed a seat at the very back of the class. He reached for his phone and text'd Amber "What's the point of this class anyway..."
Amber stared at the slides the professor was clicking through. She smiled down at the text and replied, "Um, to learn? Atleast you don't have a 89 yr old man who can barely see attempting to tackle a powerpoint..." She hit send.
Brad laughed as he could picture some guy, old as dirt attempting to lead her class. He laid his head down on his backpack and started to drift off. He was quickly awoken however "You've got the right idea" Brad looked up to see a dark haired guy with blonde highlights sitting down beside him. "The name is Ryan..." the guy said extending his hand. "Brad..." He said accepting the handshake.
"So are you as bored with this class as I am?" Ryan questioned. "Apparently so....you were just about asleep.."
Brad laughed "I just dont understand the point. What are they doing..trying to teach us how to be socialable..I think I have that down pretty well thank you"
Ryan shrugged, "I just came for the girls. I heard there were a lot in here and I was sadly disappointed...dammit." He chuckled. Ryan leaned back in his desk, "Just a guy with dreams that seem to big to fill. Travelin' along not doing a damn thing to accomplish them. Yours?"
Brad grabbed a piece of gum. "I've got plans... and I feel I'm heading in the right direction." He adjusted himself in his seat "What's your major?"
"Production and Management." He told him, "Yours?"
Brad looked around the room. "Double-major in Music and Business"
"Ah, good ones." He said. Brad's phone buzzed with a text from Amber. "Oh my God, save me now. This man is now attempting to use a laser pointer...it is NOT working!!"
Brad answered back quickly "Cover your eyes! Save yourself!" He laughed a little as he looked back at Ryan "So, what's the ultimate goal?"
"I want to be a production manager for broadway musicals, that kind of thing...you know just be a behind the scenes guy, I have a soft spot for broadway..." He said, "Your a texting fan too, I see."
Brad grinned "It's a way of life. So Broadway huh?"
Ryan nodded, "Yeah, I'm really into the theatrical side of it. I love watching the story evolve through music and dance. What is your ultimate goal?"
Brad's eyes lit up "I just want to make music. All aspects of it. I want to sing, produce. My ultimate goal is to run my own label"
"Nice goal." He told him, "Good luck with that, I hope you achieve it. What's your next class?"
Brad thought for a moment "English Compâ€¦ Have you heard of King James?" Brad questioned
Ryan thought for a moment, "Can't say that I have..."
Brad reached into his bag and grabbed a cd. "Check this out. He's a local boy that I went to highschool with. I work with him on some stuff and this is just a sample of some things we've put together. Let me know what you think"
Ryan put the CD in his bookbag, "Thanks, I'll check it out. What's your number so I can text you later and give you an opinion?"
Brad told him the number "Yeah, let me know what you think. I'd love the opinion"
Ryan nodded. Amber came up to their classroom door and was waving at Brad furiously. Ryan looked at Brad and then at Amber, "You um, know her?"
Brad waved at Amber "She's my roomate" He said looking back at Ryan
Ryan arched his eyebrow, "Roommate? When can I move in?" He laughed as the professor declared their class too, over.
Brad grabbed his bag as he laughed "You'll have to come hang out sometime" He said as he headed toward the doorWhen the door opened Amber said, "Brad, OMG, kill me NOW." She noticed Ryan, "Oh...hi..." glancing at Brad she made the "You have a cute guy and you let me make a fool of myself?" face.
Brad grinned at her "Tell me, why should I kill you now?"
"First of all, the powerpoint wouldn't work, wanna know why?? He was using freakin' Windows 95....1995! C'mon! Ugh...I hope English is better..." She turned back to Ryan, "My name is Amber, since Brad won't introduce us.." Brad laughed, "Maybe because you haven't shut up long enough for me to do so...." Amber shot him a look "And you...are?"
Ryan laughed "Ryan Shempert" He said as he smiled at her
"You will..." Ryan said. Brad threw his arm around Amber "Lets go crazy girl"
"He's hot.."Amber told Brad, "God I hope we survive this next class."
Later that night Brad sat in a recliner in the living room. He took a sip of his mountian dew and grabbed a handful of chips as she scanned through the DVR stopping on an episode of 8 Simple Rules he hit play. He'd recently started watching the show due to being a John Ritter fan and had quickly became enthralled with the girl who played the eldest daughter.
On her date, Amber sat as she listened to Jordan ramble on and on and on about himself. She never was the type of person to fall for someone who was full of themselves. She idly nodded and offered up comments here and there. She looked at her cell and noticed the time. She wanted it to end....and soon.
Laughing as he watched the tv Brad text'd Amber "Your missing a great episode... how's the flavor of the week?" Amber heard her phone buzz and smiled when she saw Brad's name pop up. She texted back, "Save. Me. Now."
Brad laughed. He waited a few minutes before he called her. He sat and tapped his fingers on the arm of the chair waiting on her anwser.
She looked at Jordan, "Oh no! It's my mom...just a second." She picked the phone up, "Hi Mom...what? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No no, don't panic, I'm on my way!!" She hung up and looked at Jordan, "Sorry, I have a family crisis. I'll have to cut thsi short...I'll call you ok?" She didn't wait for him to answer as she dashed out of the restaurant.
Brad laughed as he hit play again. He was used to this routine and he waited paientley on her return home.
Amber was thankful the restaurant wasn't too far from home. She half-ran, half-walked and made it there within twenty minutes. When she walked through the door, she announced, "Thanks!"
"You already know" Brad said as he glanced back at her then back to the tv as Kaley came running down the stairs "Oh. my. God!..." Brad smiled
"You know if you stare any harder at that TV, drool is going to short the remote out>" Amber told him.
Brad quipped quickly "I'm simply studyingâ€¦ she'll meet me one day and when she starts to pass out at my pure sexy I need to be prepared!"
Amber went to her room and pulled on a spaghetti strap and some shorts. Walking back into the living room she collapsed next to Brad, "God, it was horrible."
Brad took a drink and passed Amber the bag of chips "What now?"
She took a chip and said, "He talked about himself..and that's IT. It was what an accomplished person he was...how he achieved greatness, blah freaking blah."
Brad grinned "What exactly is his greatness?"
Amber shrugged, "I didn't listen because I genuinely didn't care."
Brad looked at the tv as he spoke. "He was probably just trying too hard to impress you. Give the guy a break."
"Sorry Captain Save a Pimp, Jordan just aint the one." she said to him. She got up, "I'm going to study"
"Yeah yeah... the best part of that last statement was that your leaving the room" Brad said sarcasticly as he glanced at her ass.
She didnt turn around, she just rolled her eyes as she walked away, "And stop staring at my ass!!!"
Brad laughed "You know me too well.." After the episode ended Brad went and sat down behind the computer in his room. He had it fixed specifically for mixing music. A small keyboard was in place and ran through the computer. He put on his headphones as he began to play. They had been reviewing classical progression in his music class and he was testing his skills.
Amber sat on her bed, with a pen behind her ear. She looked at her computer and decided to go through her videos. She laughed at the cheerleading camp ones, where they were doing silly stunts and the standard dances. She watched and remembered how much she loved to dance. Glancing at her investigation notes, she wondered if being a forensic pathologist was really what she wanted to do.
Brad played through the pieces that they'd been working on before he pulled up the program he used to mix tracks. He started by recording a simple piece with the keyboard before switching to synth and drum patterns. Over the years he had found that he could take an entire day and devote it to that with nothing but bathroom breaks to silence him on occasion.
His phone buzzed with a text. "Listened to the CD. Good stuff."
He replied "You think so?" Before sitting his phone back down and going to work. He looked over at his algerbra book, he had homework due in the morning but couldnt motivate himself to touch it as he continued with his music.
"Definitely. Gotta do some hmwrk. Whats ur roomies number...u know for english questions " He texted back.
Brad laughed as he gave him the number. "Catch you in the AM"
Amber was furiously writing away when he phone buzzed with a text. Sighing she picked it up and didn't recognize the number. "Hey. Got ur number from Brad. Its Ryan." Amber smiled and texted back, "Ha. Cool. How you doing?" He texted back, "Good..........you?" She stared at her books before replying, "Trying to accomplish homework, you?" "Chillin about to do homework, how about we do lunch tomorrow?" Amber thought for a moment, "Sure...see you then." She put her phone down and walked down the hallway and knocked on Brad's door. "B." She called.
Brad moved one of the ear pieces back before replying "Yeah?" He hit pause on the piece he was working on as he turned toward his door.
"Can I come in...."
Brad stood up and moved some clothes off his full sized bed "Sure"
She came in and laid on her stomach on his bed. "Brad, What would you say if I pursued a music degree...with a minor in choreography?"
Brad looked at her quickly "Where is this coming from?" He said as he sat his laptop down on the desk
"I had so much fun in high school when I was cheering and dancing. I don't ever remember being stressed over having to perform.." she said, twirling a strand of her hair. "I just dont....know"
"You've got to follow your heart. I'll support you in whatever you do." He spun around in his chair to face her. "Music isnt nessicarly a steady carrer. Your either going to make it or your going to fall flat on your face. To me there is no inbetween and you've always supported the fact that I don't waiver on what I'm set on doing."
"Thanks...I don't have the production dream aspect that you do, I don't want to be the one doing that, I just want to...perform." She said, yawning. "Can I listen to what you have so far? I love to hear your samples"
Brad flipped through some files and turned on his speakers. He removed the headphones and took a deep breath before pressing play.
Amber watched him staring at the keyboard focused intently, as if he were listening to each and every beat. As she watched, she felt her eyes growing heavy and before she knew it, she'd fallen asleep.
After it ended he looked back "So what'd you think?" He grinned as he saw that she was asleep. He shut his computer down before going over to her. He picked her up long enough to move her to one side of the bed. He got her covered up before turning off the lights and climbing in bed beside her. He turned with his back toward her as he heard the music in his head he thought about how his parents had always been somewhat divided on what he should do. In one ear he heard his dad saying "Why wait, you've got what it takes" but there was always the voice of his mother backing it up with "But you need something to fall back on" It was her what if stance that left him questioning himself and weither he could really make it in the cut-throat industry.
When morning arrived, Amber heard the annoying alarm going off from Brad's phone, she turned over and was practically on top of him, "What the hell..." She laughed. She shook him, "Um......Brad...."
Brad's eyes opened slowly as he looked at her "Hmm?" He said without much excitement
Brad pulled a pillow over his face "Fuck class..." He turned over before replying "It was magic"
Amber giggled, "You're such a jerkface." She pulled the pillow away from his eyes. "C'mon, savor the moment, it isn't everyday you get to wake up to someone as....gorgeous as MEEEEEEEEEEEEE" She teased.
Brad rolled over and smiled at her "That part is not an issue." He sat up "I was serious about class thoughâ€¦" He threw the covers back and got out of bed. "I'm not going"
She sat up quickly, "What?!"
Brad grabbed some basketball shorts from the floor and slipped them on. "I just aint feelin it today..." He said as he rubbed his abs and yawned.
"It's day 2!" Amber said getting out of bed and stretching. "You aint feelin it the second day?"
"Nah...I'ma see if I can pick up some more hours at work" Brad worked at a small music store called Back Beat Music he made his money by assisting seasoned and wannabe musicans find the right instrument for them and also giving the occasional music lessons.
"If you say so." She told him. "I'm having lunch with Ryan so I've gotta go...I'm gonna go get showered and dressed, I'll see you later"
Brad stood behind the counter at work. Leaning on the glass he looked up at the tv on the wall as he watched various videos on MTV Hits. "I could do thatâ€¦ it could be me" He thought as he watched a group of guys come in. "Welcome to Back Beat. How can I help you?" He said as he walked from around the counter.
"We are interested in purchasing equipment for our band." The front guy, Rob, announced.
Brad looked around. "Any specifics?" He questioned as he walked over to a amp and sat down on top of it leaning on his knees he looked at Rob
"I need a bass guitar, Andy needs acoustic, Grant needs some drums...." he told him, glancing around the store.
"Let me show you a few things" Brad said as he stood up and walked toward the back of the store where rows of guitars were lined up.
Back at school Amber sat in Algebra and looked over at where Brad would have normally been seated.
She was staring at the formulas on the board. She kept glancing at Brad's empty seat and rolled her eyes. She got her phone out and sent a quick text, "Could you please never leave me alone in algebra again?"
As Rob and the guys looked around the store Brad sensed that he was close to a sale. This meant that the next check would be significantly bigger. It wasn't in his hourly rate that he made his money, in fact that was mediocore at best, but rather comission from big sales. Brad looked at his phone "What the problem?" He sent to Amber as he tucked the phone in his back pocket.
"I actually miss your stupid face. It's boring." She sent back and was thankful when class adjourned. Meeting up with Ryan she said, "Ry, before we go to lunch can I go take care of something, first?"
Ryan nodded "My car or yours?" He questioned with his hands in his pockets. Brad replied to Amber quickly "It's love, what can I say..." As he saw Rob approach him.
She heard her phone buzz and said, "Actually we can walk, it's on campus..." she laughed and sent back, "Don't over-credit yourself" Looking back up at Ryan she said, "I need to go to the head of the Music department"
Ryan looked at her "Ok, sounds good" Brad was pleased as he finalized the sale and the guys stated they would be back later that afternoon to gather their equipment. Brad replied "Someone's in denial. Btw I just closed a 3100 dollar sale. We're goin out when that money comes in" Brad smiled as he hit send. At fifteen perecent comission in his lead sales position he'd just secured nearly 500 dollars for his wallet.
Amber walked next to Ryan as she got the text. Reading it she said, "Definitely taking me out...no low-scale place either. We're gonna eat like celebs..." As they neared the building she sighed, her mind tossing between thoughts.
Ryan opened the door for her. "I'll stand out here. You do your thing" He said as he leaned against the hallway wall.
She walked in and approached Professor Charles Linegar who had a PH.D in music and was well accredited. "Um, Dr. Linegar...can I have a word with you?"
He removed his glasses and said, "I suppose. You are..." "Amber Callahan..." She said, "I just...needed to speak with you about a few things. I'm considering changing my major to music...but I want you to honestly tell me if it's worth pursuing...do you have any campus auditions or anything that are upcoming so that I could test out the water so to speak?" Dr. Linegar thought for a moment, "We have the fall musical auditions coming up. Be at the Lyrical Theatre on Wednesday at 3pm for an audition." Amber nodded. "I will be...thank you so much.' She felt a wave of relief hit her as she walked out of the building. 'Okay we can go to lunch now."
Ryan leaned up "What was that about?" He said as he reached above her to push the door open for her.
"I'm auditioning for the fall musical..." She said, "And I'm doing so because I want to see if I have what it takes to be a music major....nothing to the degree of Brad though, he wants to be the all-around guy, I just want to perform..." she shot Brad a text, "I forgot to tell you, good job on the sale...you know me, I do care I just dont' always show it."
Brad looked at his phone as he sat in the back room of the store on his lunch break. He sat it down on the table "I'll get back to her" He thought as he looked at the pad in front of him at the lyrics he'd written down. "I wanna be your lake or your bay and any problems that you have I wanna wash em away. I wanna be your sky, so blue and high and anytime you think of me I wanna blow ya mind" He probably had hundred of notebooks full of lyrics, notes, thoughts, things he'd collected from the age of thirteen when he first got into writing and music.
Ryan opened the car door for her and she climbed inside, "Are you auditioning?" She asked him.
"I'd thought about it" He said as he stuck the key in the ignition of his Toyota Camery
"Oh if you audition, I won't be near as nervous and if I don't make it I can still root for you" Amber told him. Ryan looked at her, "So what's the story with you and Brad?" Amber shrugged, "Best friends." Ryan looked at her, "Did you guys ever....date?" Amber laughed, but didn't answer.
Ryan shurgged "I mean, how far do you two go back?"
Amber spoke without hesitatiton, "I moved from Mississippi to this place in the fifth grade. I thought everyone was stuck up so I started talking to Brad and I've stuck with him since."
Ryan pulled out on Stadium a main strip near the college as he focused on the road. "What's Brad's story. He seems nice enough but I get a vibe off of him I cant explain" Ryan said glancing at her
"He's musically enthralled. He eats, breathes, sleeps music. Has since the awkward teen years. I understand him nonverbally and verbally. I can look at him and just...know what he's thinking. I can't really explain it to other people." she apologized. "What's YOUR story"
Ryan laughed "I'm just a guy who really has no idea what he's doing. I just get up every day and take a big deep breath and hope for the best. Where are we eating?"
"You choose." Back at the music store, Brad was scribbling lyrics, looking out the window and for once, enjoying the isolation of the empty store.
Ryan pulled up outside of Kirin a chineese resturant he frequented. "Hope this is ok" He said as he pulled into an empty space.
Amber nodded as she was surprised he opened the door for her. "This is perfect. I think I'm gonna skip my last two classes, I have a few things I need to do at home before auditions..." when they went inside and got seated she said, "Are you ever afraid of failure?"
Ryan took a sip of his coke "Oh yes.. every day. I look at people and I think... they are going somewhere, but I cant say that about myself for some reason."
"I'm taking a big risk by changing my major. I came into school dead set on being a forensic pathologist. One simple viewing of a high school video made me realize life is too short to do the things expected of you, doin the things you dream of is such an experience....so that's where I'm at now"
Ryan looked at her "True that. I just want to do something that I can honestly say I love every single day when I get up to start my day."
"That's the life accomplishment of many. I just hope Brad succeeds. I would rather see him full of success and fame than myself. He's wanted this from the age of 13. I know he has the talent within him. I know it."
Ryan sat back for a moment "Your gonna think Im crazy but that's the feeling I got when I sat down and talked to him. I wasnt thinking about the college student sitting next to me. I was thinking about this vibe coming off of him that told me I'd be hearing from him later"
"You aren't crazy. He is talented." As they ate and their meal was finished, Amber got up and said, "Don't tell Brad about the auditions. If he came to them, I'd be so damn nervous I'd choke...if I don't make it, I won't have to tell him I failed...so do me that favor and shhhhhh" she said.
At around five Brad came home to the empty apartment. He picked up his phone and text'd his dad "Hey" He sat the phone down on his chest as he laid back on the couch.
His dad texted back quickly, "How's campus life"
Brad sighed as he contempated his answer. "Second day and I went to work instead..." He closed the phone and flipped through channels on the tv
The reply came, "rethinking things or just confused?"
Brad's fingers tapped the keys rapidly as he hurried to reply. "I just... I know this stuff dad. I mean, the stuff that actuallly pertains to what I care about. I'm sorry but I dont need algebra and world history to make an album."
"You need those for a foundation son. Music doesn't begin with lyrics and a melody, it begins with beats, rhythmns....you gotta start from the ground up"
Brad tossed his phone down on the coffee table as he drifted off to sleep. Several hours passed before Amber came home. When she walked in she saw Brad still steadily asleep. She decided to shower.
When she was finished, she came back out and went over to the sleeping Brad and covered him with a blanket throw. Kissing his forehead she went to her own room and was flipping absently through her algebra homework. She couldnt' concentrate as the auditions stayed in the front of her mind.
As Wednesday arrived Brad decided to return to classes. He sat in algebra doing his best to listen to the professor. He'd never quiet understood how letters fit into the equation of math but he was doing everything he could to grasp it even with his mind drifting.
Amber had put her head on her desk and was desperately fighting sleep. She'd been up all night going over audition songs in her head. She hated math with a passion and listening to the conversion of equations was literally boring her to sleep.
Brad looked over at her with a smile. He didn't let her know but he'd been developing a crush on her over the summer when they'd first moved in together. He picked up his phone and sent a text her way "He girl, that check came in. Friday it's you and me" He hit send and laid his head down on his desk.
She heard it buzz and titled the phone to where she could read it. A smile spread slowly as she texted back, "Okay, I'll pencil you in for Friday...btw, I have a stupid meeting with the idiot professor today at 3...I'll meet u back at the apt afterwards, k?"
"Sounds good" He replied as he turned his attention back to the board in front of them.
Finally, after an eternity, the class was over. Amber jumped up out of her seat. "Be careful driving home...ok?"
"I got this" He hugged her and he was out the door. When he got into the truck he looked in the seat at the envelope he'd prepared to send off. The contents were two cd's one was simply tracks he'd made and another was him singing song's he'd written in acapella. When he arrived at the post office he sent it off. "Come on interscope, dont let me down" He thought as he made his way back to the truck.
She walked into the Lyrical Theatre and was met by Ryan. "I'm so freaking nervous." Ryan waved her off, "Don't be. Just do what you do and if it doesn't work out, don't get upset...this isnt the end of the world." Amber laughed, "This is like cheerleading tryouts all over again." She shot Brad a text, "Pray this meeting goes well for me."
"If she only knew" He thought as he carefully drove as he replied "Always..." He hit send.
Amber watched as they called Ryan's name. "Oh my god! It's your turn...good luck!" She told him and he shrugged, "Thanks..." She saw her text and smiled. Brad was the person she could always count on. She suspected he had a crush on her, but never spoke about it in case she was wrong and the awkwardness it would cause. Amber looked up as Ryan took the stage.
When Ryan finished he sat down beside her just as they called her name "Amber Callahanâ€¦" Ryan looked at her "And now it's you!"
She looked at him, "God be with me" nervously laughing she took the stage. The director spoke, "Okay I need you to sing the chorus from a song that you are familiar with." Amber nodded and looked at Ryan. But, instead of seeing Ryan, her brain saw Brad sitting there and it allowed her to imagine them being in the apartment like any other normal day and her nervousness disappeared. She lifted her chin and belted out, "Unbreak my heart...say you'll love me again...undo this hurt you caused when you walked out the door and walked out of my life..." Emotion leaked into her voice as she capitalized on "Uncry these tears...I cried so any nights...un-break my heart....my heart..." When she finished, it was silent. Biting her lip she said, "Um...thanks for the opportunity" and dashed off the stage.
When that Friday finally arrived Brad had again told Amber he wouldn't be at school. He took off for work that day and was able to close a couple small sales that would bring him about 200 more dollars. At around 3pm he picked up his phone and called Amber's phone "She should be out by now" He thought as he waited on the answer.
She picked it up, "Yes, can I help you?"
Brad was silent for a second "Can you help me?" He said a little thrown off at the greeting.
Amber laughed, "You tell me. You called ME. Remember? Besides, I felt like answering the phone differently. Judging by your response, that one is a no-go..thank you for participating in the small Amber answers her phone survey...please stay on the line for the operator." Amber laughed again, "Hey B, what's up"
Brad laughed "I'm outside in student parking if your ready. I wouldnt suggest looking for the old Chevy though...."
"What....what the heck am I supposed to look for?" She questioned.
Brad laughed "Nope, we're good. I traded in the silverado on it and dipped into my savings and paid a little more than the standard downpayment. It'll run me 300 a month. Im gonna pay more on it every month if I can keep the sales up though"
Amber saw him in the distance, "You bastard." She laughed and raced to it. Jumping in she said, "You better not have spent our dinner money on this!"
She put her seatbelt on, "Ah, it's nice. I like it."
Brad started to back out "I like the interior. The mix of leather and cloth, the way they have it laid out is neat looking"
Her eyes widened, "Memphis? For...the weekend...you...and me?" She questioned.
Brad looked at her "Yeah, why not?"
"You won't mind being couped up with me all weekend?"
"I've been couped up with you since we were like ten years old" He laughed
"But not always in the same room!" She laughed, "Do I need to pack any luggage or something?"
Brad looked at her as he made the left off of stadium and on to the interstate memphis bound. "Nah, I got you... our bags are in the backseat"
Amber arched her eyebrow, "How do you know what I like to wear?? Or did you pick what you WANTED me to wear?" she teased.
"I just threw a few outfits together so you'd have choices. I also packed all your bathroom and other essentials" He said as he glanced over to switch lanes
Amber looked out the window. It dawned on her that Brad knew her better than anyone else. She was looking forward to spending the weekend with him.
Brad spoke suddenly "Oh!" He looked at her "The best thing about this truck...." He reached over and cranked it up as the sounds of Young Buck blared "Shorty Wanna ride wit me, ride wit me..."
She began dancing in her seat. "That's an awesome bass." Then she added, "Brad, what made you buy all this stuff...I mean have you gotten a really big bonus or...are you selling drugs?"
Brad looked at her "It's totally drugs, you got me" He laughed
She rolled her eyes, "Nah, really. You must be doing great at work, huh? I feel like even though I live with you I'm missing out on your life cause you never go to freaking class!"
Brad switched lanes again as he went around a slow driver. "I havent decided what I'm gonna do about all that yet. But yeah, I had that money come in for the sale earlier this week and I closed a couple others today that is gonna be getting me around 200 more. My paychecks have been better since Im picking up more hours. Besides, I've been saving for years, I have like 6 grand in the bank"
"Share the wealth, freak!" She told him. She saw the signs flying behind them. "Should you...I dunno..slow down?"
Brad kept his eyes on the road "Ah since when does a little speed scare you?"
She playfully punched his arm, "Your driving sucks. My driving is nascar material...so did you book us a room or are we just doing that when we get there?"
"I figured we'd take it by spur of the moment. Im thinking Red Lobster, then party on beale for the night... sound good?" He said looking at her.
She nodded "Sounds like a plan"
When they entered Memphis Brad took the Germantown exit and headed straight for Red Lobster "I'm gonna eat like a king tonight girlâ€¦ you watch this, it's goin down in the RL" He said with a laugh.
She laughed, "It's nice to see you so...happy." Amber said to him, "It's definitely a nice side of you."
They pulled into the parking lot. "A nice side of me... I dont understand" He questioned as he looked for a parking spot.
"You're totally reading to much into that. Everyone has 'sides' to their personality this is a new side, and it's a nice one. That's all."
Brad turned the truck off and looked at her "So, what's my other side, if this one is so newâ€¦ enlighten me" He opened his door.
"You arent as...tight, reserved...acting shy all the time. Hargett, your a nice guy and all, you just need to let people know it more..." Amber smiled. "So let's go in already I'm starving!'
Once inside they had to wait on a table. This was nothing new for a Friday night in a Red Lobster so they opted to sit at the bar. "What can I get you two?" The bartender said as he approached. "Miller Genuwine Draft if you've got it" Brad said "Got it" he replied as he looked in Amber's direction "And for the pretty girl?"
Amber beamed, "Smirnoff, triple black...please." The bartender winked. She looked to Brad, "You know how crazy I get with alcohol..."
Brad laughed "Mmhm" the bartender popped the top off his bottle and handed it to him. Brad didnt waste time to take a drink.
She sipped on hers and said, "You wouldn't be purposely trying to make me drunk, now would you?"
Brad looked at her as their buzzer went off. "Why would I do that?"
She shrugged, "I dunno" as she grabbed her drink and hopped from the barstool. "but with you, it wouldn't surprise me..." she winked.
Once they were seated Brad began looking through his menu. "I already know what Im getting... how about you?"
Amber glanced down, "Yeah I'm pretty sure I know what I'm getting."
Brad looked at the waitress. "I'll have the steak and lobster. Steak medium rare with mashed potatos on the side. I'd also like an order of the coconut shrimp" He handed her the menu.
"I want the shrimp trio with a baked potato, a chef salad with ranch on the side...and thanks." Amber told her handing the waitress the menu.
Brad smiled at the waitress "Thank youâ€¦ could I have another beer please?"
She nodded and Amber said, "I'm fine for now, thanks"
Brad grabbed a biscut. Tearing a piece off he took a bite as he looked across the table at Amber. "So, how was class?"
As they waited on their main food Amber heard her phone buzz. It was Ryan. "Ambz--you got a part in the musical. Congrats." She wanted to jump up with excitement, but she didn't...she texted back, "Cool--which one?" Moments later a reply came, "Belle. as in THE Belle. We're doing Beauty and the Beast.." Her eyes bugged out and she put her phone back in her purse. She looked at Brad, "Class was...class."
"Thanksâ€¦" he said as the waitress handed him his second beer. He took a drink. "So, what was this meeting about earlier this week?"
Brad shurgged "Ok... so how's the family back home these days?"
"Same." She told him, "No change there whatsoever. Thanks again for bringing me with you. I'd be dying of boredom at home"
Brad ran his hand through his hair. He hadnt cut it in awhile and it was starting to curl a bit. "No problem, who else am I gonna bring?"
Amber rolled her eyes, "Geeze I went from thinking aww he brought me to, damn I'm his last resort." She laughed.
Brad cocked an eyebrow as he took a drink "You know that's not what I meant..."
"Oh really?" She teased. Their food arrived and she said, "I totally forgot how big their proportions are...." she looked up at the waitress, "I'll need a to-go box at the end"
Before he could begin to eat his phone rang. He reached in his pocket and flipped it open. "Hello" his expression changed as he listened to the voice on the other end. "Yes, this is him" Brad was silent as Amber watched. After a few moments he spoke "Oh wowâ€¦ of course I can. I'll make it happen, see you guys Monday" Brad closed his phone and slid it in his pocket.
Amber looked at him, "And who was that?"
Brad cut a piece of steak as he cut his eyes up in her direction. "A girl from talent relations for interscope records" He said as he took a bite
Amber's eyes widened, "Interscope?? You're signing a deal? OMG!" She said.
Brad took a drink. "Not so fast. I just sent some stuff off to them earlier this week. They want to meet with me" He took a bite "They responded too fast I think"
"Is that why you've been skipping class?" Amber asked him, "because of that? WHY oh WHY didn't you tell me?"
Brad scooped up some of his potatos and grabbed a biscut. "I didn't expect to hear anything so I was gonna keep it on the downlow"
Amber shrugged, "Well don't think so negatively"
She was getting full as she said, "What club we hitting next?"
Brad finished off his beer. "I just wanna see what's going on Beale and take it from there"
When they finished their meal they made their way outside. Brad climbed in the drivers seat. Reaching in the center compartment he grabbed a breath strip and poped it in his mouth. Amber made her way inside the truck and buckled in. Brad flipped through a few cd's that he had in the truck before putting in T.I.'s first album. He flipped through a few songs before stopping. "Saw the drop top like bezzle in my watch, saw the, saw the drop top like the bezzle in my watch" Brad nodded his head as T.I. began speaking over the loop before starting his verse.
She grabbed a piece of gum from her purse. As they approached Beale, she saw people already mingling down the street. Many, actually most, with a beer. Amber looked at Brad, "Oh it's party time" she laughed
Brad tapped the steering wheel. "If I ever make an album I'm gonna beg this dude to drop a verse on a song" He said as he listened to T.I. intently.
"Oh I love me some T.I." She said, "If you ever make an album, I better be your backup dancer or singer or something!" She put her hair up and let some strands stay down. "I'm ready to party."
Once they parked the truck Brad grabbed his ballcap that matched his all white polo and put it on. He put his keys in his pocket as Amber made her way to his side of the truck. "Hold my hand. I don't trust half of these skeezebuckets"
She took his hand. "Don't be grinning from ear to ear like that." She laughed, "You can grin when you see me danceeeeee"
Once they made their way down the road they were actually entering beale. They listened as blues music filled the air. "That's why I love this place" They then passed a beer vendor "Well , and this" Brad stopped and ordered the standard 32oz big ass beer before they made their way down the street.
As they kept walking she said, "Okay, find me somewhere we can drink and have a good time"
Brad held her hand tighly as he sipped his beer. "Any objection to Coyote Ugly?" He said looking at her as they approached it.
Amber looked at him, "None." Flashing their ID's they went inside and she decided to tie her shirt in the back so that her stomach showed to just above her pierced belly button. "You gonna stand there, or what?" she winked.
Brad laughed "It's what I do yo" He said as he took a big gulp of his beer
She shook her head, "Yeah well, it aint what I do..." she made her way to the front and looked back at him, "This is what I do...." Amber jumped up on the counter with other club go-ers and began to dance.
Brad laughed as the club was taken back to 2001 as Jay-Z's "Izzo (HOVA)" began to play.
As she danced she was having a blast. When the song was over she hopped down and went back to him, "I need a drink."
He handed her his credit card. "Here, just have them start a tab on this"
Amber shrugged, "Okay, big spender." She went to the bar and ordered her drink.
Brad sat at a corner table drinking his beer and watching the crowd. He enjoyed the atomosphere and the fact that Amber was having so much fun but his mind was on going to Los Angeles on Monday for the meeting with Interscope.
She came back up to him and said, "Brad...stop thinking about Monday, I know where your head is....and dance...with me"
Brad sighed "Ok" As he stood up "Area Codes" began and he laughed "What is thisâ€¦.. throwback night?"
Amber shrugged and grabbed his hands, "Shut up and move." When they hit the floor she turned to him, "No holds barred."
When she pulled him close he began to move with her body. He had his head down close to her face almost as if he was leaning into her neck, close enough she could feel his breath on her skin.
Despite being in a humid club setting, she shivered. Their faces were inches apart and she stared into his eyes. She kept the stare as she moved. She wondered what he was thinking, and if it suddenly seemed a lot hotter to him.
At around 2am they finally decided to leave the club. They were both buzzing pretty heavy so they decided to leave the truck parked and make the walk to the end of Beale to the peabody hotel. At nearly 200 dollars a night it wasn't a cheap nights sleep but Brad threw his credit card down regardless "Hey, safety is worth 200 dollars I say"
Amber nodded, "You can say that again." The desk clerk looked up, "Are you two, honeymooning with us?" She asked.
Brad's eyes grew big as he laughed "Nah nah....."
Amber hit him lightly in the back and said, "Baby..." She looked in his eyes and said "Go with it..." She got closer to him and put her head on his shoulder, "Yeah, we just got married like four hours ago, we ran away from home so to speak...our parents don't even know yet, we may be of age, but they still try to run things you know.." The clerk smiled really big, "That is so cute...let me give you guys the honeymoon special...$100 a night, plus 1 night free...and you get the honeymoon suite.." Amber kissed Brad's cheek. "Honey isn't that the SWEETEST thing"
Brad tried to hide his gin. "I know!"
The clerk handed him his card, "You two have a great stay!!" Amber nodded, "All thanks to you!!" When they got in the elevator she said, "Damn, Hargett, do I have to do EVERYTHING?"
He shurgged "I...guess so?"
"What, you don't like being married to me?" She giggled.
"Hey, this isnt 1992, we arent playing house damnit" He laughed as the elevator doors opened.
Amber sighed, "I know, I was only kidding, gosh!" When they got to their suite she put her hands on her hips, "It's only customary--you have to carry me over the threshold..."
Brad smirked as he threw the bags down "Oh I'll carry youâ€¦" He quickly lifted her up and threw her over his shoulder.
She squealed as they got into the room and he put her down. "Well that was NOT what I was expecting" she said.
"Juding by the view I just got of your assâ€¦. Me neither" He laughed as he sat down on the bed and began to untie his shoes.
Amber's eyes widened, "You pervert!!" Then she said, "Wow this is a nice room"
"No kidding" He said as stripped down to nothing but his boxers. This was nothing out of the oridnary as they'd known eachother so long and lived together she'd seen this countless times.
She untied the knot in the back of her shirt and pulled it off, revealing just her bra as she pulled on a spaghetti strap and took off her jeans and put on cheer shorts. "I so shouldn't have drank that much" she laughed.
"It was fun though" He said as he laid in the bed resting his arm on top of his head.
Crawling in the bed beside him she said, "Oh yeah...it was tons of fun. I don't remember it being that exciting"
Brad put an arm around her as they drifted off to sleep.
Brad rushed around his room packing a bag. It was finally Monday morning and he had a 12pm flight to catch. "God, I cant even think right now" He said outloud to himself. The meeting coupled with the fact that he'd just never been to LA and always wanted to experience it had his stomach in knots.
Amber came up to him "Calm down. Seriously. Babe you can do this. I know I'm your best friend and all, but you have talent, and you will be okay." She put her hands around his face and said, "So just chill, ok?"
"Easy for you to say. For the next two days I'll be in this area I have no clue about meeting with people that have much more influence than I" He put pressure on his temples "It's intimidating"
"Don't let it be." She told him. "Just. be. you."
Once Brad landed in LA he stepped off the plane. There he stood in the middle of LAX. It was a busy airport with people going in every which direction. As he looked out over the crowd he picked up his phone to text Amber "So, I totally just saw Bruce Willis in here"
She texted back, "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK. OMG!!!!!!!!" Then she looked at Ryan, "Brad saw Bruce Willis" to which he said, "Ambz, that's great, but we have a musical to rehearse.." She sighed, "Sorry yeah I know okay...let's go."
Brad finally gathered up his bags. While holding them he was attempting to juggle them while dialing the talent rep for Interscope to let them know he'd arrived. As he walked through the airport he had his head down looking at his phone and trying to hold on to the three bags he'd brought with him. He felt resistance as he ran into someone when he looked up he saw Kaley standing there "Oh, Im SO sorry" He said looking at her. She smiled at him "Oh it's not a problem, you looked busy" Brad nodded as Julie answered. Kaley smiled at him as she went on her way.
"Julie speaking..." She said.
Brad stopped and sat his bags on the ground "Hey Julie, it's Brad Hargett. I just got in town"
"Wonderful. There will be a driver waiting to pick you up. He'll have a sign with your name he should be at the airport loading area."
Brad took a few more steps as he saw the man holding a sign "Yeah, I see him now. Thanks"
Walking up to him he spoke "I think I'm who your waiting on sir"
The driver nodded and immediately began taking his bags and putting them in the trunk. He then opened the door and said, "After you, sir."
Once Brad was seated in the limo he looked around and couldn't help but be just a tad overwhelmed. He was an Arkansas boy, limo's werent part of his day to day. After about an hour stuck in LA traffic they reached a decent sized office building. Brad again saw people waiting near the doors.
"Welcome, to Interscope records." They said to him.
Brad nodded shly and stuck his hand out to greet them "Thanks for having me. Sorry Im just a little bit nervous" He said with a laugh
"You'll be meeting with Julie McPherson, third floor, suite 28." The receptionist told him. "She's expecting you so go on up"
Brad climbed on the elevator and punched the appropriate button. In mere seconds he was on floor three. He searched for a moment before finding the right office. He knocked on the door.
"Come in." Julie called.
Brad opened the door and stepped in with as much confidence as he could muster. "Hello"
She got up from her desk and came to shake his hand. "Welcome, Brad. We'll be meeting in the conference room, just follow me." When they entered the room there was a big round table with 8 other executives placed strategically around it. "Have a seat." she said to him and then began the introduction process.
Brad did as he was told and took a seat. He introuduced himself to each member of the board as he waited on their process to begin, whatever that was. "Be calm, you've got the skill" He thought to himself.
"We thank you for your submission to interscope records." Julie said, as she laid the disks out on the table before him. "You're musical taste is excellent." Another board member spoke up, "Definite potential in musical composition." Julie's face was still smiling as she nodded. Then, she gave him the news, "Unfortunately, we don't feel that interscope is the right choice for you." At that time, the president of interscope stood up, "Our biggest influence in decision was based on the pure and simple fact that we don't feel you are marketable decision."
Brad sat there for a minute taking the sting of rejection. He decided to speak up. "No disrespect because I do appreciate the consideration but isnt this something you could have told me over the phone. I've flown out here to be in this office for a total of 10 minutes to hear you tell me no"
Tom, the designing executive spoke up. "We feel that creating a connection with our clients or our potential clients is key to success. You may be angry with us right now, but years down the line you'll be thankful and it will be rememorable that we took the time to sit down with you and let you know that we actually considered your music, and didnt just send out a computer generated response."
Brad sighed before mustering up the courage to say what he really thought. "Im a little angry, yes. But it doesn't change the fact that I appreciate the time you guys took with me. However I do feel that your making a mistake. One day your gonna hear me, your gonna see me and your gonna wish you had took the chance" He then stood up
Julie shook his hand again, "We appreciate your cooperation and choosing interscope to listen to your music. Good luck." she told him.
Brad was escorted out. Whe he reached the sidewalk he looked around "Well, damn" He thought as he shot Amber a quick text "It's a no-go"
Amber looked at it and her face fell. "Oh, I'm sorry..."
"Eh, now I just gotta figure out what to do with the rest of my time here" He shot back quickly before flagging down a cab.
Brad climbed inside the cab "Where's somewhere good to eat?" He questioned the cabbie before responding to Amber. "My flight back isnt until tomorrow afternoon"
"I will take you to an italian eatery that is fabulous." the cabbie responded. Amber texted back, "Go have fun!"
After Brad ate his dinner at the italian resturant the cabbie suggested he decided that since he was on Rodeo Dr he'd check out some of the stores. He walked a few blocks before a vintage clothing store called "Post 26" caught his eye and he stepped inside.
The store worker immediately welcomed him, "Hi sir, anything I can help you look for?"
Brad thought for a moment "Any cool jackets or sneakers?"
She nodded, "Yeah, right back here." She led him towards the back of the store. "These were all sold in the early 90's thus being authentically vintage."
Laughing at her own joke she said, "You know cause early 90s was soooo long ago."
Brad smiled "I know, right?" He laughed "I was thinking maybe a little further back than that"
"We have an 80's selection...and 70's....so pick" She shrugged.
Brad thought "Lets see some 70's"
The worker, who's nametag read Susie, walked towards a rack. Here's our 1970's collection..." She let her eyes travel up and down..."You aren't from here huh?"
Brad flipped through a few jackets "What gave it away?"
"They don't make cuties like you here..." She winked.
Brad laughed "Oh come on. You live in the land of the rich and famous"
Susie stepped towards him and said, "But they dont' come in here that much.."
"How unfortunate" Brad said as he turned his attention to a rack of shoes
"You uh..in town for awhile?" She asked him, following him to the shoes. The door rang signaling a new customer and she shouted, "Be with you in a few...welcome to the store..." then back to Brad. "anyway..."
Brad looked back at her "Just til tomorrow afternoon"
"That's too bad...' Susie said. "You're certainly a hottie...need someone to show you around"
Brad looked back at her as he picked up a pair of chucks "That wouldn't be bad thing I suppose"
Susie bit her lip and handed him a card. "Call me..."
Brad sat the shoes back down. "What time do you get off?"
She shrugged, "Depends on how good you are..." and with a wink, she walked off to help the other customer.
Brad laughed to himself as he walked toward the door. "I'll call you" Once he left he walked a little ways down the sidewalk. He was amazed at the difference in this city in comparrison to other places he'd been. He soon figured out that just hearing about LA didn't give you a true picture until you saw it. He reached a starbucks and decided to grab a drink. As he stepped inside and got in line he was sending Amber a text "Im at your home away from home" He hit send. As he looked up he realized that it was none other than Kaley standing in line right in front of him.
Amber got his text and replied, "Get a dark chocolate mocha, extra whip and chocolate sprinkles...in my honor. I miss you kid." Kaley Cuoco looked up at the menu, "Grande skinny vanilla frapp, lite whip no sprinkles."
Brad kept his mouth shut while she ordered. Despite his infautation with her he was able to remain collected. As she stepped to the side to wait on her drink he stepped to the counter. "I'll have a dark chocolate mocha, extra whip and chocolate sprinkles please"
Brad stepped over now standing right beside her. He smiled shly "Yeah, that's me. Sorry again..."
Brad looked at her for a moment. He reached for his wallet and grabbed a five spot. "You know what... let me buy your drink" He handed her the bill. "Just my way of saying... my bad"
Kaley laughed and waved him off, "I appreciate the offer, but really it isn't a problem at all. But, you are awfully sweet to even do that." She pushed his money away, "Thank you so much." Giving him one last smile she walked out the door.
Brad turned and watched her as she left. He took his drink and walked outside. After walking for about twetny minutes he stopped inside Macy's. As he wondered aimlessly he saw her again, this time looking through some shirts. He grinned to himself as he passed by her. She looked up and caught him out of the corner of her eye. "Hey!" She yelled. He spun around quickly and looked at her. "Yeah?"
He laughed as he took a few steps in her direction "I'm on foot... trust me I couldnt purpousely follow you if I wanted to"
"Kaley. I'm sure you already knew that, though." She laughed.
Brad grinned "That I did.. I just wanted to hear you say it" He laughed.
She shrugged, "Mission accomplished." Her phone buzzed as she looked down. When she glanced back up she said, "Well, have fun in L.A"
"Thanks, nice meeting you" As he turned away from her he was quiet proud of himself. He never let her know that he was crazy about her or that he even followed her carrer. "Pretty smooth" he thought to himself as he reached for his phone. "So.... I've been in LA... what... four hours..... I've ran into Kaley three times LOL" He sent it before walking toward mens clothing.
As he looked through some shirts he replied. "First time I litterally ran INTO her in the airport. Second time we were in line in starbucks. Now we are both in Macy's..."
When she got the text he was at Macy's a pang of jealousy hit her. "I soooo want to be shopping at Macy's right now. I loveeeeeeeeee shopping." she hit send.
As Kaley was trying some clothes on in the dressing area she pulled out her phone and sent Amy a text. "So, totally ran into this same cute guy three times today in different placesâ€¦"
Amy texted back, "You get his number?"
Kaley grinned "Sigh... no. I'm always leary but now you've got me questioning myself. All three times he never aknowledged he knew who I was.. until this last time when he asked me what my name was..... then he admitted he already knew.... smooth"
"You loser." Amy sent back jokingly and then sent more, "Rehearsal in the studio in thirty...get your ass down here. Now, comprende?"
Kaley arrived on set and immidately went over to Amy. "So, I tried finding him but he was gone! He was cuuute Ames. He had these slight curls in his hair, smooth skin, this sly smile and crazy blue eyes... damn"
Amy rolled her eyes, "Kaley I'm sure you'll find him. You're prince will come...all that jazz, but right now, I need to focus on this scene I'm doing with you and I'd appreciate it if you'd stop drooling over mystery boy"
Kaley frowned "I dont think he's from around here anyways...."
Brad arrived back in Jonesboro at 3pm on Tuesday. He went straight to the apartment and walked in. He saw Amber up cleaning. "Hey surrogate wifey"
She spun around, "OMG!! Heyyyyyyy" she ran up to him "I missed you...like...seriously!!"
He laughed. "I was barely gone 48 hours babe"
Amber shrugged, "So? I still missed you..." To herself she thought, "Wth? Why do I act like I've not seen him in months.."
A few months had went by since Brad's meeting with Interscope. It was now December and Amber and Brad had finally reached a place of admitted feelings. They'd been dating consistantly since late September. Both familes were very supportive and played postive roles in the budding romance. All was well. Brad had set his music aside and was honestly a little discouraged since the disheartning trip to the city of angels. He'd since focused solely on work and school and spending time with Amber. It seemed that the only music he touched at that point in time was the required pieces for his courses in school.
Amber had pulled her role off in Beauty and the Beast flawlessly and Brad played the role of supportive boyfriend as Amber went after the vigorous task of handeling her previous major along with her new found love for stage.
She walked into the house and groaned, "If I have to hear one more lecture on the importance of staging the time for decomposing bodies, I'm going to go nuts." She walked over to him and kissed his lips. "How was your day?"
He looked away from the tv as he spoke to her "Great, considering it's my last day until after winter break"
"I hear that." she sat beside him and said, "What are we doing for break anyway...are we doing anything?"
Brad flipped through stations on tv. "I was thinking about spending some time in St. Louis before we have to be back for the holiday festivities"
She kissed the space just below his earlobe and said, "Sounds like a plan, when do we leave?"
Brad shurgged "When do you wanna leave?"
Amber shrugged, "Doesn't matter to me"
"Give me about thirty minutes to change and pack, then we can." She told him.
Brad stood up. "Alright, I figure why waitâ€¦ we have nothing holding us here and I'd like to see my family there. I havent seen them in like forever. I'd also like to go to the brewery"
Amber went to the room they now shared and began to pack. She threw on a light sweater and some gray dress pants and finished putting her luggage together. "Baby...can you come help me zip this thing?"
Brad walked up behind her "Sure"
She smiled, "Thanks." Then she said, "Who would've thought that I'd be your girlfriend..haha"
"I know right" Brad grinned as he finished zipping up her bag. He quickly threw his own luggage together before changing into a pair of sweats and a hoddie.
Brad shurgged "Guys are simple I guess" He picked up his bag and threw it over his shoulder before grabbing two of her suitcases. "Are we forgetting anything?"
"Nope." She said.
They climbed in the truck. Once everything was setteled in Brad took off. By the time they hit the highway Brad turned on the radio. "J-Townâ€¦ he's our local arkansas hero King James and one day he's gonna be heard on nationwide radio but until then we are proud to have him on the waves for the hometown crew. Here he is with "Get To Da Dough" off of the upcoming mixtape "The Difference"
The song began as King spoke as the track came together piece by piece. "Yup..oh yeahâ€¦ I fuck with the B squad too homey. Imma need yall to pay close attention on this oneâ€¦ B and me we is the difference homey"
Amber looked to Brad, "That's your music, isn't it?"
Brad nodded "Yeah, that's the last thing I did for him before I left for LA"
She reached over and grabbed his hand, "Just because interscope told you no doesn't mean that you should stop"
Brad shrugged. "I may have been chasing a hopeless dream" He said as he leaned back relaxing in preperation for the six hour trip. "I've thought about dropping the music major and just doing business" He said looking at the road.
Amber gasped, "Absolutely not! You have talent and dammit you are not going to throw that away because some stupid ass at interscope said you weren't marketable. Fuck interscope and you are NOT giving up."
Brad looked at her. "Sadly in today's market it doesnt matter all that much if your music-minded but more about who you know and what image you can protray. People dont want someone who can just sing them out of their seats anymore"
"Bradley Blake Hargett, you are not..." she scooted closer and said, "You are NOT going to give up on your dream. I've seen you put too much of your sweat and tears into it...I promise you, I will not let you give up"
They reached St. Louis at around 11pm that night. They stopped in at his aunt and uncle house getting their stuff put away in the basement bedroom before making their way to downtown St. Louis to check out the club scene.
Amber looked at him, "Any particular club you want to go to?" She asked him, "I know you probably have your preferences..."
Brad squeezed her hand. "I don't care. You pick" He said
She put her head on his shoulder as they walked aand came upon a club door. "This one looks fine...the music is bumping and everyone looks to be enjoying themselves"
Once inside Brad made his way to the bar to order them a couple of drinks. "I need a Miller High Life and a Smirnoff Triple Blackâ€¦" He said tossing down his credit card. As he waited he glanced to his left and saw a guy seated on a barstool that appeared to be alone. "What's on your mind bro?" Brad said as he sat down beside him.
"Nothing for the moment and that's a rare and well appreciated thing." He laughed, "I'm Matt."
"Brad" He said extending his hand.
"That your wife that came in with you?" He questioned.
"Girlfriend" Brad said as his drinks were sat down in front of him. He took a sip of his beer and looked around for Amber.
She walked over to him and sat down on a barstool next to him, "You order my drink?" She questioned.
Brad pointed to her bottle as he turned to Matt. "So, what's your story dude" He didnt know why but something drew him to this guy.
"Story? I don't have a story...I'm just a guy, sitting in a bar, enjoying my drink." Matt told him. "Do you have...a story?"
Brad laughed "Sorry... Nah I'm just in town visting some family"
Matt took a long swig of beer, "Sounds like everyday normal...fun." Amber took a sip and watched the two of them.
Brad took a drink "I see your drinking a bud... one of my faves"
"The only acceptable beer." Matt told him. Amber nudged Brad and whispered directly into his ear, "Who the hell is he?"
Brad shrugged "Well, I guess we will leave you be" Brad said to Matt as he started to move from his barstool.
Matt took another swig and slammed his bottle down slightly, "You hitting the dance floor?"
Brad stood up and finished his beer. "She'll kill me if I dont" He said motioning over to Amber.
"You should be killed if you don't..." Matt laughed, "She's a hottie and she looks like she can be feisty..."
"That's an understatement" He laughed "Amber this is Matt..I'm sorry I didnt get your last name..." Brad said looking back and forth between the two.
"Matthew Collinsworth." He said, "And Amber...if your boy won't dance with you, I'm gonna be right here at the bar..." he said winking at her. Amber laughed, "Pleasure to meet you."
After dancing to a few songs Brad made his way back to the bar. "Barkeepâ€¦ Miller High Lifeâ€¦two shots of patron....jack and coke on the rocks please"
Amber appeared beside him, "Crown, double shot..."
Brad looked at her "I ordered you a jack and coke, but alright then" He said sitting down and seeing Matt still posted in the same spot "Are you ever gonna move?"
Brad took a sip of his beer. "What kinda music you into?"
"Pop, anything that will make someone say...oooh who is that?" Matthew answered. "The problem is, it's hard to find new artists that give that factor...I'm steadily shopping for new CD's to buy"
Brad took one of his shots of patron before turning to Amber and kissing her. He then put his attention back on Matt "Yeah, I feel ya thereâ€¦ the scene is getting stale. So what brings you hereâ€¦ are you a local?"
Matt shrugged, "You might say that. I'm a local everywhere it seems." Amber looked to the bartender. "I'll take the crown now..."
Brad arched an eyebrow at him. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." Matthew said as he ordered another beer. Amber took the shot of crown and said, "Baby...you hear that beat?"
Brad's ears perked up as he listened "Yeah..."
Matthew listened too, "That's the shit I'm talking bout right there. It's that catchy shit."
Brad took a drink as he listened to King "Imma need yall to pay real close attenion on this one..... me and B the difference Homie"
Matt spoke, "I need to know who made that track..." Amber nudged Brad.
Brad took his other shot. "The vocals come from a dude from my hometown...." He took a drink of beer.
"Oh yeah? How can I get in contact with him..?" Matt questioned. "Do you know him?"
Brad took another drink "Yeah, I know him..."
Amber pulled him close to her, "Tell him you done the track..."
Brad looked at her and moved his mouth silently "Whyâ€¦"
"Did the guy singing produce the whole song or did he have a producer?" Matt interogated. Amber mouthed, "That's why"
Brad looked at him "Your looking at the producer" He then looked back at her "There..."
Matt's eyes widened, "Really? Interesting...you do music all the time?"
Brad stopped as King spoke on the ending beat "These niggas in the game but they aint got no gameplan. I do this shit... the natural state of mind... the album's on it's way... shout out to the hottest producer... the most known unknown we call him B"
"You're B?" He asked. Amber nodded, "Yes, yes he is...my almost famous boyfriend, B...as in Brad."
Brad nodded "I mess with some beats. My boy has been droppin ryhmes since we were in Jr. High."
Amber stepped in front of him and said, "And he sings." Matt arched an eyebrow, "Oh really?"
Brad shot Amber a quick look berfore turning back to Matt. "I enjoy singing yeah"
He stood up from his barstool. "So come down and talk to me in my office..." Here's my card. He handed him a business card that said Matthew Collinsworth, Agent, Jive Records. "I'll be looking to hear from you, B." He shook his hand and then left the bar.
Brad looked at the card and up at Amber "Are you kidding me?"
She shrugged, "Told you I wasn't letting you give up"
Brad shook his head. "Butâ€¦ we didn't have a clue who the dude wasâ€¦."
"Nope, but I knew that you weren't gonna get anywhere by not letting people know you can do stuff like that." She pulled his lips close to hers and kissed him deeply. "You can thank me later" she winked.
It was a two week stay in STL before returning back home to Jonesboro. Brad had tucked the business card away and avoided calling Matt. He just wasn't ready for the chance of rejection.
Amber walked into the living room and stared at the Christmas tree in the center. "I can't believe it's already Christmas."
"No joke" Brad said as he took a bite of his sandwhich.
"What time do we have to be at your parents tomorrow?" She asked him.
"Eight... you know they dont play" Brad laughed
Amber groaned and sat beside him, "I know, I know...I wanna give you your present nowwwwwwwww, but I kinda don't"
Brad looked at her "You've spiked my curiousityâ€¦"
She kissed down the side of his neck, "I have, huh?'
"Mmhm" He said as he kissed her jawline.
She giggled and watched him put his sandwich on the coffee table and she sat in his lap. "I should totally make you wait"
"You shouldâ€¦ but we both know you wont so lets get on with itâ€¦" He winked
"With that attitude, I totally should." She said kissing him again, "Besides, I kinda like watching you wonder."
"Whateverâ€¦" He shrugged as he picked his sandwhich up and looked back to the tv.
Amber stood up, "Oh no the hell you just didn't." She said, laughing.
He cut his eyes toward her and winked as he grinned and took another bite.
She let her mouth drop open, "Oh so that's how it is, huh?"
He sat up and smiled at her "At this point I suppose that's up to you"
"Up to me? How in the world is up to me? I totally was trying my best to be all seductive and you acted like you were in the fourth quarter of a tie game and you totally blocked it."
Brad sat his sandwhich down "You're the one who made this into a game when you talked about making me wonder."
She pouted, "Because you are so cute when you're trying to figure something out"
Brad stood up and kissed her lips before making his way to the kitchen and placing his saucer in the sink. He came back into the living room sipping a bottle of water "So, what's the verdict?"
"Okay okay' She said, "I'll give you your gift..or atleast...one of them"
Brad sat down and rubbed his hands together. "Bring it on"
She went and got a wrapped box and brought it back to him, "Okay okay....open it..." She watched him tear into the box and discover a new set of equipment to aid him in producing music. "Sooooo you like?"
Brad looked it over "It's great baby.."
"Are you sure...?" She asked him, trying to gauge his reaction.
"Mmmh. Im sure it will come in handy at some point" He said sitting it down next to him.
She pulled his hands and made him stand up, "Oh I know it will...." She winked.
He kissed her "What are you winkin about"
She grinned slyly and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, "Nothing"
Brad pulled back. "I know that grinâ€¦ what did you do?"
She looked at him, confused. "Nothing...what are you even talking about? Baby, I just know you, I know you'll make use of that equipment."
A few hours later Brad sat outside the apartment. He pulled the business card out of his wallet and reluctantly made the call to Matt. He didn't expect an answer it being the day before Christmas Eve but he placed the phone to his ear.
Matt's answering machine picked up, "Yo it's Matt, I'm outta the office at the moment, but leave me a brief note on what you want, who you are, and how to call you back. The rest is simple...." The answering machine beeped.
"Matt, it's Bradâ€¦ from the club in St. Louis. Just thought I'd give you a callâ€¦ you can reach me on my cell. 870-545-1822â€¦ thanks" Brad hung up the phone and looked out across the parking lot of their complex.
Amber came outside and sat beside him. "Babe, what's wrong?"
Brad looked back at her "Oh nothing is wrong. I was just thinking..."
"I gave Matt a call.. left a message. I figured I'll go meet with him and see what the deal is" Brad sighed "But Ambzâ€¦ I promise you if he gets me all the way out to LA just to give me a 5 minute curiousy meeting like Interscope did I'm doneâ€¦ if he's not playing ball then he better let me know up front"
She looked away from him to smile really big and then looked back at him, her face non-expressive. "Oh really? Baby it'll all work out, I'm sure"
"You better be right" Brad said as he stood up to go back inside as his phone rang.
"Who's that?" Amber questioned.
"Mattâ€¦" He said as he answered "Hello?"
"Brad, I just got you message, what's up?" He asked.
Brad looked at Amber. "Hey man... how's it going?"
She smiled at him. Matt continued, "Great, so are you calling to cancel our meeting on Tuesday...or did you have something else in mind?"
"Our meeting on Tuesday?" Brad questioned. "Since when do we have a meeting on Tuesday?"
Amber got up quickly and raced to their room. Matt paused, "Um, your girlfriend, Amber, she called me the other day, set up a meeting for Tuesday. Said you wanted to call yourself, but you were sick...damn what'd you have a serious case of amnesia?"
Brad paused for a moment. "More like a serious case of sneaky ass girlfriendâ€¦"
He laughed, "Yeah man, she set it up for you and everything...I don't guess she told you, huh?"
Brad laughed "Something like that.... so in light of that could we make it Friday so I'm not so rushed to get out there. That's only three days away and with Christmas Eve being tomorrow and all..."
Matt laughed, "Friday it is. I'll set your appointment at three p.m. We'll have some reservations made for you and a guest at the Hilton Hotel for the entire weekend. That sound okay?"
"Sounds good... do I need to bring anything? Brad questioned
"Your material." He said, "Any music that you have ready."
Brad thought for a moment. "Alright, see you then Matt"
"Deal." They disconnected the phone call and Amber waited in their room, with her head down.
Brad walked back inside. "Amber Elise Callahanâ€¦"
She winced, "I um...think that perhaps, she left?"
He walked into their bedroom. "So, you make appointments for me nowâ€¦. When did you plan on telling me?"
She sighed, "That was your other Christmas present..."
A week had passed and Amber and Brad landed on the runway outside of LAX. Brad looked over at her. "This city is gonna blow your mind kid."
Amber shrugged, "Nothing I can't handle"
Once they made it off of the plane they walked through LAX. Amber's eyes were wide as various celebrity's walked by, some with crowds of security and others just trying to play low key.