Thomas & January doesn’t yet have a release date but I’ve been telling everyone ‘soonish’. I’m working with a new editor and have no idea when they’ll be done. So, as a peace offering, I’m officially releasing the cover today as well as giving you the first chapter! Yaaay! This book is nothing but music, folks! I’m in love with it already! It’s a lighter feel than Callum & Harper but very much in keeping with the series.
“She gently placed her mouth on mine and a surge of electricity seemed to pass between us. All I could think of was that I’d somehow zapped January Mac Lochlainn, that she’d been served a tablespoon of her own medicine and that its effects were immediate.” – Thomas Eriksson
And now for something completely different! (Not really)
The first chapter of Thomas & January!
People crossed the street when they saw me. I’m not really sure why that was. I mean, okay, I might have looked a bit intimidating if I was being truthful with you. I’d changed since New York. New York represented a life that wasn’t real, not truthfully anyway. No, New York was the young, immature, in love, idiot side of Tom. The ‘Tie-Dye Tom of New York City’ didn’t exist anymore. Tie-Dye Tom was dead.
But that’s okay because the new Thomas was happy with the new him. Kind of. Not really. But at least he no longer looked like a douche-bag but I suppose that depends on your definition of douche-bag.
For instance, if a tall, somewhat built, asshole is a douche to you than you probably wouldn’t have gotten along with the new Tom because that’s what he was. The only thing not drastically different from the old me was my given name. That’s about it.
A couple of weeks after Callum married Harper, I discovered that I was in love with one of my best friends, Kelly Simsky. The idea hit me when I picked the ladies up to deliver them to The Bowery. I saw her in all her spritely glory, five foot, one inch, barely reaching my waist, Kelly Simsky. Kelly Simsky with her short blonde hair, the blonde hair that met her chin and would drag forward when she laughed. Kelly Simsky, the tiny nymph of an actress who would sway and leap into a room and bow when she left. That Kelly Simsky. And damn, did I have it bad. I was forced to face the truth just about the time she met Carter Williams.
Speaking of douche-bags. Carter Williams. Perfect Carter Williams with his perfect effing teeth, his perfect effing vocabulary, his perfect effing money, and his perfect effing sincerity. God, I hated that guy. He was my polar opposite in everything. Educated, born with money, and in possession of the one girl I wanted more than anyone. Perfect. Effing. Carter. Willams.
When Cherry and Charlie married, the band, my band, The Ivories, disbanded. I was pretty upset but it was time. I knew it. We’d been at it six years with little interest from labels. We had a massive following but as we all know that doesn’t get you signed and there’s only so many nights you can play for a measly five hundred dollars before you get bored with your band, no matter how awesome they were.
But that didn’t mean my band didn’t remain my family. No, it just meant we would have to find a different reason for hanging out on Friday and Saturday nights. And we did but when Carter Williams began his ridiculous infiltration into my extended family, I was less than thrilled because that would mean I’d have to watch him lay hands on Kelly but it was okay, because I was just biding my time until Kelly kicked Trust Fund to the curb, until she realized I was the one she was supposed to be with.
But that didn’t happen. No, in fact, six months later Kelly’s ring finger was dressed with the biggest freaking diamond I’d ever seen and that’s when I’d lost my chance. So when my friend Jason from Seven Seas, one of the biggest record labels in the United States, offered me a chance to move to Austin for a year as a talent scout, I jumped at the chance. Hell, I leaped at the chance.
In Austin, I immersed myself in the culture and that’s what it was, a culture, and a beautiful one at that. God, I loved Austin. It was weird. So weird with amazing barbecue and it was made for me.
Scouting bands until late at night, I’d still wake early not able to sleep because I wasn’t over Kelly and she haunted my every thought including in my dreams. I’d hit the gym for a few hours, then return home to my apartment, ready to see more bands and repeat the entire process day after day…after day. For an entire year I did this, aside from one tiny indiscretion. Needless to say, I was an expert at finding awesome bands. I was also built like a freaking brick house.
Which is why people crossed the street when they saw me coming. Well that and the fact I didn’t wear a color on my body that couldn’t be confused with night. Layers, that’s what I felt comfortable in. Dark tees, black jersey hoodies, dark jackets and I wore these together. Anything that would help me keep the hate in along with black boots heavy enough to weigh me back down to this earth, preventing me from drifting off into insanity. I buried myself in my hair too, kept it at my jaw as well as on my jaw. Camouflage. ‘Nobody look at me. I’m too busy being in pain’. And I wanted the hate. I reveled in it, actually. I felt powerful and dangerous and pissed off, a perfect combination to intimidate the bands around me.
Soon, I had a reputation for being the guy with which one did not screw. I also grew the reputation for being the scout you went to when you wanted to be taken seriously because I lived, breathed, and slept music. It was my only refuge from the hate I was drowning in and the only thing that kept the small sliver of flame that was the old Tom. I wanted that to burn slightly, to keep it around just to remind me of what I never wanted to go back to.
I was Thomas Eriksson, talent scout for Seven and scorned in a one-sided love. An amazing job and a worthless state of mind.
“It’s time to pack your room, January. You’ve procrastinated enough even for me.”
“Uh, Janet?” Janet’s my mom. None of us were allowed to call her mom because the word ‘mom’ was ‘intimidating’ and she wanted her kids to be able to freely go to her and tell her anything. Most of us called her Mom anyway just to bug her.
“Yes, my love?”
Pull the Band-Aid. “I’m not going back.”
My mom dropped the pan of tofu peanut butter cookies she was carrying to the table to cool.
“Excuse me, January?”
“I said I’m not going back to Berkeley.”
Janet grabbed the cracked linoleum counter top to balance herself. One of her signature dramatic moves that may have worked splendidly on me as a kid but held no real effect on me now that I was accustomed to nineteen years of her theatrics.
“Ralph! Ralph!” She called to my dad from the kitchen.
I heard a slow moving almost sarcastic shuffle from Dad’s office to the entrance of the kitchen.
My parents were what you’d call made for each other. Mom and Dad met in college, ironically at Berkeley, and fell in love. They married, had ten kids, starting with me, January, and lived hectic lives of protests and pro-bono law work all while towing us ten behind them. I loved them more than life itself, which is probably why I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was anti-government, borderline anarchist. I felt like the least government was involved in my life, the better because I’d seen first hand what it did from the programs my parents supported. I’m not sure what my parents saw in government but they were in love with it. Again, didn’t have the guts to tell them that. Heart attacks are one of those things best left unprovoked.
“Repeat what you’ve told me, young lady! Tell him what you told me!”
I took a deep breath and steadied myself. “I’m not going back to Berkeley.”
Janet sucked in a squeal and my dad fell into the chair next to me at the kitchen table.
“Now, January, explain to me why you’re not going back?” He asked.
Another deep breath. “I’m not having fun there.”
Janet went to the sink to clean because that what she did when she felt overwhelmed or wanted to slap one of us or both. ‘Cleanse the violent tendencies,’ she’d always say. Kind of liked that one.
“Fun,” my dad asked incredulously. “It’s Berkeley, January. Berkeley! Speak to me, love. Tell me why you don’t want to return.”
“I just want to write my music, Dad. I don’t do well with structure.”
Janet turned back around, seemingly calmer, and sat next to my dad across the table from me. “Oh, January, I fear you’re finally going to kill me this time.”
“Janet, stop being dramatic,” I told her, rolling my eyes. “It’s not the end of the world.”
“You’ll lose your scholarship! A full ride to Berkeley’s Department of Music, Ralph! Gone!” She straightened her slumped posture and looked me dead in the eye. “How are we going to tell Grandma Betty?”
That was her last resort strategy. I knew she had topped off her desperate meter when she brought grandma into the conversation. That probably would have worked accept I’d already told Grandma Betty. In fact, she’s the one who encouraged me to follow my dreams. The day I told her I wanted to learn the piano she encouraged me. It was no different when I phoned her with my intentions to quit Berkeley. She always supported me. Always.
“Janet,” I said, leaning over and grabbing her dish-gloved hand, “I’m not going back.”
That night, I agreed to come to my friend Casey’s show. I promised I’d help him fine tune a few of his songs so he could ready for ACL in September in exchange for use of his couch since my parents kicked me out with a ‘have fun’. I was surprisingly unworried about my predicament. I knew something would come up for me. I had a gut feeling.
“What’s up, doc?” I asked Casey.
“What’s up, baby girl?” Casey said, lifting me up and spinning me around. “Every time I see you, you just get more and more beautiful, January Mac Lochlainn. Still single?”
“Ha, ha, Casey. What are you playing tonight?” I asked, as he led me back to his makeshift studio, otherwise known as his garage.
“Thought I’d start with Pampered Life. What do you think?”
“That’s a strong start. Show me your list.”
I sat down at his keyboard as I read over his list. We spent most of the afternoon cleaning up his set then stopped by The Salt Lick and ate before heading toward Stubb’s where his band, The Belle Jar, was opening for Circumvent.
Word around town was a talent scout for Seven Seas would be there to check out Circumvent. I really wanted The Belle Jar to be at their best. They were just as talented, if not more so, than Circumvent but had only been an Austin staple for about eight months.
“That’s him,” Casey said, nudging my shoulder with his. He pointed toward a blonde guy wearing all black, but I could barely see him through the people crowding him.
Casey looked at me like I was a fool. “The Seven guy, doofus. Come on, we’ll get closer. Try to edge in on him. Can I use your body to get me noticed?”
“Oh, by all means.”
“Thanks, buttercup,” Casey said, ignoring the bite in my words and disturbing the top of my hair.
“You’re an idiot, Casey.”
“I love you too, January. Fix your hair, it looks like shit.”
I rolled my eyes at him and ran my fingers through my hair. We hedged through the crowd to AWOLNATION’s Not Your Fault, finally finding this mystery guy slumped over the bar, again, surrounded by twenty people hoping to get his attention. Let me clarify, the twenty girls trying to get his attention.
When we got close enough and I could get a good enough view of him, I was forced to stop short. My heart beat wildly in my chest. My tongue swelled in my mouth and my chest felt constricted. My blood rushed through my veins, heating up my face and neck. He was unbelievably gorgeous. My hand flew to my neck to hide the obvious red I knew was painted there, a tell tale sign that I was intrigued by something. Casey knew about this little trait I held and never let it down when it made an appearance.
He was tall, taller than most everyone in that room. He rested his forearms on the bar in front of him, a pair of callused hands, giving him away as a musician, nursing a pint on the flat wood before him. His hair reached just below his ears, which he tucked behind, and his goatee was a little scruffier than I usually liked but then again, I’d never been attracted to an actual man before. Mostly, my silly crushes belonged to some fellow teenager and usually ended as quickly as they started. He was frightening yet compelling all at the same time. I felt like a moth to a flame. My hands itched to run my fingers through his hair and along his jaw line. My eyes were transfixed on his mouth.
“Come on, redneck.” I cringed. “Yeah, didn’t think I’d see that, did you? Well, I did. Come on.” But just as Casey reached him, the lead for Circumvent beat him to the punch. Casey retreated.
“What are you doing?” I asked him. “Go up there.”
“Nah, I can’t move in when Stephen’s there. I’ll have to wait.”
“Okay, redneck. Let’s go catch up with the guys. You can help me tune my keyboard.”
“Hardy, har, har,” I said absently, not able to take my eyes off the scout for Seven. I didn’t move though. No, I dumbly stood there, staring like an idiot. I watched his beautiful mouth and teeth as he made conversation with Stephen. I imagined my own lips meeting his…Casey surprised me by throwing me over his shoulders and started to walk away, briefly distracting the Scout and Stephen from Circumvent.
The blush I knew was staining my entire body by that point boiled to an unnatural heat and I tried to smile at the both of them but found my stare burning solely through the blue eyes that belonged to the scout. He eyed me with a hard expression, my insides came unglued a bit in alarm but also a little bit in excitement. I was Dali’s melting clock personified at that moment. I felt like burning wax down Casey’s back.
Casey set me down backstage after an embarrassing walk through the bar, a walk where the scout’s eyes never left mine until we’d rounded a corner. I was humiliated.
“Gosh damn it, Casey!” I said, slapping his shoulder repeatedly. My hits felt like being pelted with cotton balls apparently because Casey was red with laughter. “You made a fool out of me!”
“Oh, calm down, January. He probably won’t even remember you. He lives in this scene remember? Sees that kind of nonsense all the time.”
“Thanks, that’s very comforting.” I dropped my voice an octave. “No worries, January,” I mocked. “You’re not memorable enough to remember. You’re invisible.”
Casey’s face softened. “Oh, baby girl, I’m sorry,” he said, hugging me closely. “You’re right. I apologize.”
“It’s okay, idiot.”
Casey hugged me tighter. “You know you’re memorable, right?”
“Sure, sure,” I said, fighting back stupid tears.
“No,” he said, bringing me out from under his arms, looking at me with a pained expression. “I’m serious, January. You’re one of the most beautiful women I know, inside and out. If I wasn’t in love with Sunny, I’d be all over you like white on rice.”
“Shut up,” I said grinning and shaking my head. “Let’s go tune your keyboard.”
We walked to the band room The Belle Jar was readying for the show in and I helped the band learn a lot of the key changes we’d made that afternoon. When I left to join the crowd at the bottom of the stage, I couldn’t remember a time they sounded better to me. They were going to knock the scout’s socks off the way he knocked me off mine.
I positioned myself up front next to Sunny and we linked arms.
“Did you see him?” She asked.
“Yes! My God, Sunny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone sexier than that scout.”
“Scout? I meant Casey but now I’m no longer interested in whether you’ve seen Casey,” she said, her eyes roaming the crowd around us. She pulled me closely. “Who is this scout?”
“Seven Seas have a scout here to see Circumvent.”
“Oh yeah, Casey mentioned something like that to me.”
I stared at her in wonder. “I swear, woman! This is a huge deal!”
“I know, I know! I remember now.”
I rolled my eyes playfully at her. We talked for a few minutes before The Belle Jar began to set up their instruments at eleven, readying for the show.
“Be right back,” I said. “I’m going for a water. You want one?” I asked Sunny.
“Nah, I’m fine.”
“‘Kay, save my spot, missus.”
I ran toward the bar and stood behind a few people waiting to be served. I kept throwing a head over my shoulder to spot the scout. I’m a freaking maniac! Why can’t I get this guy outta’ my head? I need to focus!
“What’s your poison?” The guy next to me asked.
I smiled at him. “I don’t drink. Still underage.” I held up my black X-ed hands in proof. “I’m in line for water. Boring, I know.”
This usually worked but not with this guy.
“That’s cool. What are you doing out here tonight?”
“Oh, I’m here for The Belle Jar. I helped them clean up a few songs for tonight’s show. There’s a Seven scout in the audience for Circumvent tonight and I want them at their best. They’re brilliant.”
“Very cool. So, you’re a musician?” He asked as we inched closer to the bar. It was still ten feet away.
“Yeah, a pianist.” I turned my head away and fought a private grin.
“What’s so funny?” He asked, confused.
“Oh, nothing. I-well,” I said, facing him, “it’s just, I threw away a full scholarship to Berkeley for music to stay in town and help other musicians become successful. It just dawned on me how ironic that was. I find that hilarious.”
“That is…funny,” he said, not finding it funny in the least.
“I know it’s not funny, ha-ha, it’s funny, ridiculous.”
“Ah, I see.” He looked around a bit, decided he was bored enough to continue the conversation and asked, “So do you like Circumvent?”
“Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t dare step on an Austin staple like Circumvent’s toes but, yeah, they’re okay.”
“No, really, tell me. I don’t know about them. First time seeing them, actually. Enlighten me.”
I bit my bottom lip, contemplating ragging on this band that was merely okay. “You tell anyone I thought this, I’d have to kill you, capisce?”
“Lips are sealed,” he said, leaning closer.
“Circumvent,” I began, “have an incredible base which is fairly impressive but I believe that’s because of longevity mostly. Their talent is mediocre, their songs catchy but a bit too commercial, and their stage presence lacks. They’re just, ‘meh’. They lack the talent to really push themselves over the edge, to put them in a position to gain a national following.” As I spoke, the guy was leaning closer and closer to me. He looked at me like he’d just noticed me. “What?” I asked.
“What are you doing for a living right now.…?”
“Oh, sorry,” I said. “I’m January.”
“I’m Jason,” the guy said, holding out his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Jason,” I said, taking his hand before dropping it. “I’m, uh, currently unemployed,” I said, laughing.
“Cool, cool. Don’t go anywhere after the show, okay?”
“Uh, okay,” I said, eyeing him strangely.
“I’m not a freak. I promise,” he said. “Just hang around in the crowd after the show. I’ll find you.”
“Why?” I asked him as he stalked off outside, forgetting why he was standing in line.
“Trust me. It’ll be worth sticking around for.”
This equally intrigued me as well as frightened me but not enough that I wouldn’t find out what it was all about.
After I got my water, I headed back up front and squeezed my way through the crowd back to Sunny’s side but she was nowhere to be seen so I stood lamely by myself. I didn’t care that much actually because I wanted a good ‘seat’ for The Belle Jar. I wanted to be near the stage because there was a chance I needed to help cue Will on bass as he kept missing his new entrance on their third song.
Pampered Life shot out like a rocket from the beginning and blanketed the crowd around me, making everyone stunned by the power of it. It wasn’t long before everyone realized that The Belle Jar was a force to be reckoned with. I was so proud of them, riding high on their talent right along with them.
Seemingly out of nowhere, my breath was wrestled out of my chest when I saw him inch closer to the stage, a quiet towering figure, and eyes intent on the stage. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Breathe, January. Breathe. He watched The Belle Jar with rapt attention. As I looked on him, my feet pushed themselves closer of their own accord. An unseen force was pulling me toward him. I found my feet planted right next to him but couldn’t bring myself to look up at him. He was too magnificent to behold, really. He smelled so delicious I could have eaten him with a spoon. He was all man, no boy in him at all. I peeked briefly at his hands and guessed he probably played the bass judging by the size and location of the calluses.
I wanted to take his hands in mine and study them for hours, rub my thumbs over the worn bits of skin and warm them with my touch. The attraction I felt for him was heady and nothing like I’ve ever felt for anyone before. My eyes followed his heavy clad feet, up his worn jeans, and around his wallet chain. I froze, not wanting to take it further, not wanting to know what I’d do if I went any higher.
A minute passed before my gaze traveled over the little bit of wide leather belt exposed under his dark, weighty hoodie and jacket. When my eyes stopped at his goatee, I felt his considerable stare on my own face. He’d discovered me but I was too enthralled to be embarrassed then. I reached up and met my eyes with his. They pierced me like an arrow, those ice blue eyes.
I don’t know what came over me. I believe I just couldn’t help myself as I watched my right hand travel up his arm slowly, glide over his shoulder, hesitate at his neck, but push further past the boundaries of sane as the back of my fingers trailed over the line of his jaw. I was pulled into the incredible magic this guy possessed over me. His skin was warm and surprisingly soft. His eyes closed at the feel of my hand, his jaw clenched slightly. I was distracted as his chest pumped with each deep intake of breath.
He surprised me when he turned more fully toward me and reached down, threading both his hands through my hair, bringing his face closely to mine. He narrowed his eyes, his brows furrowed slightly, conflict written in droves in the lines of his face. He took a deep breath in through his nose and exhaled slowly.
Languidly, I brought his beautiful mouth to mine. He tasted of mint and a little bit of yeast from the beer I saw him drinking earlier. It was the sweetest, most delicious flavor I’d ever tasted and, God, I wanted more. There was no shame in my motions as I gripped the front of his hoodie in both my hands and delved my tongue deeper into his. The kiss became feverish, dangerous, heated. I felt him move one of his hands from my hair to the back of my neck and drag down to the small of my back, pressing me deeper into his chest and hips, inciting a slight moan from me which only spurred him on more.
But suddenly, his eyes shot open in realization. He broke it abruptly, pushing me away lightly, setting me right on my feet. I felt bereft of something but didn’t know what that something was. I didn’t know this guy, didn’t know his name, yet it didn’t scare me or make me feel ashamed in any way. It felt right, so very right.
We both stared at the other deeply, panting from the exertion of our unbelievable kiss. I opened my mouth to speak but closed it, breathing deeper through my nose to control my nerves. Nobody had ever made me feel the way this stranger did. He was like electric fire on my skin. I needed to know his name but the silence between us seemed impenetrable, neither of us wanting to break the charged calm separating us.
Suddenly, his eyes became hard, his stare admitting disgust? His jaw clenched harshly. He turned and walked away from me into the crowd, leaving me alone with my thoughts. My eyes began to water at the final comprehension of what I’d just done. I blinked and a single tear came cascading down my cheek. I wiped it away just as I looked back up toward the stage, Casey’s face held an expression of concern but I smiled at him just as I signaled to the bassist to begin his new entrance. Perfect timing, I thought absently.
I was no longer interested in seeing the rest of the set nor willing to endure Circumvent’s. I didn’t want to wait for the guy, Jason, from the bar either. I wanted out of there. I was humiliated and shunned and an idiot. Self-inflicted bad decisions seemed to be at the top of my list that day. I shoved my way through the crowd and finally broke free at the back. I went left into the bar just as someone grabbed the back of my shirt. I tried to ignore it but the person insisted I turn around so I did, ready to give them a few choice words but discovered the guy from the bar standing in front of me.
“I told you to stick around,” he said in a friendly tone.
“I know but I’ve gotta’ jet. Something’s come up,” I said vaguely.
“No, you’re staying,” he said, ignoring me and offering his arm. I opened my mouth to tell him to screw off but he gave me a look that shut me up. “Trust me, January. You are not going to want to miss this.”
“Fine,” I said, a little peeved. I took his arm and we worked our way to the edge of the crowd as The Belle Jar’s set came to an end. The crowd went berserk. “Told you,” I said to Jason.
“You’re right. They were different and talented.”
“But I want to see Circumvent now. I want to confirm what you’ve said.”
“Why?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows in suspicion.
Jason’s eyes lit up when he noticed someone behind me. “Ah, there you are,” he said, physically turning me around to meet whomever he was talking to. My stomach dropped when I saw whom he meant for me to meet. The scout from Seven. The asshole I kissed (But he kissed me back!) and left me in the middle of a crowd. “January, this is Tom. Tom this is the girl I was telling you about.”
Tom’s eyes grew sarcastic, his mouth tilted to one side. “You move fast, little girl.”
My mouth dropped open in shock. “Excuse me?”
“Nothing,” he said, a soft snort escaping. “Are you seriously wasting my time with this, Jason?”
“I’m not wasting your time, Tom.”
Circumvent began playing just as I was about to bring my fist into Tom’s mouth but Jason stopped my hand from shooting forward. He dragged me closer to the stage. “Do you know Tom?” He asked in disbelief.
“No, I don’t.”
“Then why – You know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know.”
We listened to one song by Circumvent before Jason dragged me back toward Tom. We stood there, Tom and I, seething toward each other. I’d offended this guy somehow. Since the kiss was burned into my mind, I couldn’t put my finger on why he was so pissed. I started the whole thing but he kissed me back. Trust me, he kissed me back, hard and without reserve.
“You’re right,” Jason said, bringing me out of my hateful thoughts.
“What?” Tom and I said in unison.
“January. She was right. Circumvent was mediocre, at best.”
“So what?” Tom said shrugging. “We were here to see The Belle Jar, I told you that.” This surprised me and my eyes widened briefly.
“I know but January offered me an honest opinion about Circumvent that bewildered me. She knows what she’s talking about, maybe as much as you do, Tom.”
“Sure she did. She’s just a talented, talented girl, isn’t she?”
“That’s it!” I said, ready to throw that punch.
“Jeez!” Jason exclaimed, dragging my body against his to prevent Tom the beating I wanted to throw his way. “What happened between you two? Do you know her?” Jason asked Tom, ignoring my earlier answer.
“Then what the hell is up with you guys? You claim you don’t know one another but you’re at each other’s throats. What? Did he hit on you, January, and you turned him down?”
We both turned beat red, my throat and face heating to that unnatural red, giving me away.
“Ah,” Jason said, jumping to the wrong conclusion. I wasn’t going to correct him, his scenario put me in a better light and shunned this guy, Tom, but what surprised me was Tom didn’t correct Jason, just stared at me harshly. “Dude, January, if Thomas Eriksson hits on you, you let him down easy. He’s got a broken heart the size of Montana.”
Tom shifted uncomfortably in his place. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”
“It’s obvious, dumb ass. In New York you’re one person, you jump at the chance to move to Austin, you change everything about yourself here. You’ve been screwed over. Bad, from what I can see.”
I stood there, watching both of them exchange a conversation I can tell I wasn’t meant to hear. Jason, realizing this, shook his head and turned toward me.
“Listen, January, Tom is a talent scout for Seven Seas. Ever heard of them?”
“I’m not a complete idiot,” I answered.
“The jury’s still out on that,” Tom said under his breath.
“I’m Tom’s boss,” Jason said quickly, hedging my reaction. “Though, now I’m not so sure anymore.” Tom shrugged as if it meant nothing to him, this dream job, making Jason sigh. “Anyway, I’d like to offer you a position at Seven.”
“What?” Tom and I said together. We turned to each other in disgust, pissed that we picked the same word.
“Seriously?” I continued on. I couldn’t believe it.
“Seriously. You’d have to move to New York though. Can you swing that?”
“Of course. I’m free as a bird.” Tom snorted but I ignored it.
“Good, it’s gopher work for right now but eventually, with some grooming, you can start scouting with a veteran eventually.”
“Oh my God, thank you, Jason,” I said hugging him. Jason was genuinely surprised and I felt a little embarrassed, my neck turning beet red again.
“It’s cool. I want you at this address,” he said, handing me a business card, “in two weeks. It doesn’t pay shit but neither does scouting, just ask Tom here.” He smiled but the smile fell when we looked on Tom. “Uh, anyway, it’s worth it. You’ve got an in with the execs and if you play your cards right you can make some pretty decent cheese in time. Plus, it’s a cool gig for musicians like yourself.”
“So awesome. Thank you, Jason. I’m stoked.”
I shook Jason’s hand excitedly and told him I’d see him in New York in two weeks. I didn’t even acknowledge Tom, turned and headed straight back into the crowd.
My grandma Betty just so happened to live in Jersey which worked out perfectly for me because I would’ve had to bust my ass to get to New York in such a short amount of time with the measly savings I had. It felt like fate. I mean, yeah, it’d be a long train ride but, hell, free rent? Who could say no to that?
New York City, here I come.
Visit Fisher at her website. www.fisheramelie.com