Ace (Band of Brothers #1)(5)

By: Lyra Parish

"As you noticed, Jules is out and will be for the next few weeks. She's been put on bed rest indefinitely due to complications with her pregnancy."

I already knew all of that because Jules is my bestie. Although she’s seven years older than me, you’d never notice. When we met it was as if we’d known each other our whole lives. Some people were destined to be friends. As I stared out the window and watched the silky strings of clouds pass behind Jack's head, I tried to think of the band and tour she had been assigned to but nothing came to me; all I could think about was Jules talking about what needed to be done before she left.

"Did you hear me, Elizabeth?"

I swallowed and looked at Jack. His eyes bore straight into me. If they were laser beams, I'd have no head.

"Jules insisted that you follow Band of Brothers and they've already played seven shows so we're behind." The harsh tone in his voice wasn't lost. He was pissed. I was confused. And as I looked around the room, I noticed everyone was relieved they weren't the ones being assigned to that band for the summer. The whole room sighed in happiness, which meant I was fucked.

"I've never toured before," I said.

"You've helped Jules with her articles for the past three years," he said.

"I'm not the right person for this," I protested.

"Then you should work elsewhere."

"Aren't they—"

"The most difficult group of musicians to work with in the industry? Yes. Congratulations on obtaining the new project." Jack slid a huge stack of papers across the table with a sarcastic beaming grin smacked across his face. His smile was reminiscent of the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Unfortunately, Jack was stealing something much more important; my sanity and happiness, or maybe he was stealing my soul. Maybe I was being too dramatic?

"Meet your new assignment," he said, tapping his finger anxiously on the desk, waiting for me to say something else—but I knew when to accept my position. It was something I learned a long time ago.

My mouth dropped open in disbelief as Jack went over the schedule, the different bands, locations, and deadlines that each of us would take. As if nothing had happened, he dismissed everyone to go on with their merry day. I sat in the conference room staring at the huge stack of research Jules had left for me. With a defeated sigh, I turned to look at the schedule. I would fly out tomorrow, to-fucking-morrow and had nothing packed for a month of travel. Apparently my accommodations were already set for Atlanta. The Ray Charles song Georgia on my Mind popped into my head and for a moment I told myself I could do this. I could do this, right?

Jack closed the door hard and I rubbed my hands over my face, hoping this was all a horrible nightmare and I'd wake up in my bed. Nope, it was real.

How would I be able to pull this off successfully? I helped with copy editing. I helped Jules make her words shine and suggested layouts for the spreads. Getting the information for those articles was something I wasn't prepared for. I helped make her pictures and words pretty. I was like the makeup artist who dealt with models all day. The canvas was already perfect.

Some people were born to interview others, but I wasn't. Being a journalist was never my dream. There was a point in my life where I wanted to be a musician, but I crumbled under large crowds of people. So instead of playing for the masses, I've been playing for my cat, quietly singing and strumming my guitar. I wasn't wired to ask questions without getting nervous or embarrassed. I always locked up and looked stupid because I was so easily intimidated. After years of self-discovery, I knew I was meant to be an editor for articles about the music industry. Not any editor, a damn good one.

I slammed my fists on the table out of anger and frustration. The pounding coursed through my body, bringing me back to my drab new reality.

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