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Authors: Portia MacIntosh

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BOOK: Starstruck
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‘Say
no more. See you in the morning and try not to be late, yeah?’

Cheeky
bitch. Then again, I am always late.

Chapter Five: The Indecent Proposal

 

It’s
good to be home. I’m so glad I escaped the teeny orgy as I much prefer my own
bed and I don’t get on that well with kids. The kettle goes on and so does my
laptop because, as soon as I get some caffeine in my system, I’m going to make
a start transcribing tonight’s interview. I’m very much a night person which is
proving really inconvenient because people expect me to get up on a morning.

Slipping
off my shoes and abandoning my gig outfit in the middle of my living room, I
wander around in my underwear until I eventually find my dressing gown which,
for some reason, is plonked on top of the cooker. It doesn’t really matter
because my cooker is super clean – not because I am a domestic goddess but
because I never ever use it. Living in the city centre, there is a restaurant
or a take-away everywhere you look - who needs to know how to cook these days?

My
butt finally hits the sofa at 2am. I know I’ve got to be up in seven hours
(five if I want to wash my hair, which I probably should because I have
post-gig frizz going on) so maybe I won’t be typing up the interview tonight
after all.

I’m
just about to shut down when a message from Luke Fox pops up on Skype. Just
seeing his name makes me go all weird and, at twenty-five years of age, I still
feel like a lovesick schoolgirl whenever I see him.

Luke
is, you’ve guessed it, in a band and I have had a crush on him pretty much
since the day we met. Unfortunately he is a bit of a tart, so despite our
flirty banter I have mostly just stood back and watch him sleep with anything
female that crossed his path.

It
was Luke’s band, Two For The Road, that I used to tour with in my teens and now
they’re a proper signed band in the middle of their first headlining UK tour –
this is the band that I’ll be doing a few tour dates with later this week. I’m
making out like it’s a magazine feature - and it will be going in the mag - but
to be honest, I have been on every tour with these guys since they started out,
I’m not about to stop now they’ve hit the big time. It’s amazing how things
have changed. I used to sleep in the back of their van, now they’re being driven
around in a huge tour bus.

Touring
can really take its toll on your body. I’ve developed tinnitus from all the
loud music (it turns out your ears need protection too, something I learned a
little too late), tendon damage from a particularly high pair of heels I wore
for too many days in a row and a slightly irritable bowel for reasons I don’t
quite understand, and while I’ve managed to protect myself from the cocktail of
sexually transmitted diseases that I know several of my band friends have
dipped their straws into, my priority has always been to protect my heart – no,
I’m not talking about exercising on a regular basis and taking aspirin, I’m
talking about not getting too involved with the boys. With Luke, this is a
struggle.

It
would be the biggest understatement of the century to say that I had a slight
crush on him - I am crazy for him. I haven’t wanted to be anybody’s girlfriend
since Ricky Martin shook his bon bon in 1999 (I was 12, I didn’t know any
better), but I could quite easily believe in monogamy for this man – something
which troubles me, because I’m not a commitment kind of girl and he certainly
isn’t a commitment kind of boy.

He’s
tall without being lanky, his dark hair is effortlessly perfect with his fringe
falling over his gorgeous brown eyes and he always seems to smells so nice,
even when he’s all sweaty after a show – see what I mean, I sound like a
fifteen-year-old girl. The bottom line is that he is gorgeous, but I’m not the
only one who thinks so. He has an even bigger female following since hitting
the big-time and I can’t compete with semi-naked, drunk chicks that operate as
a team.

 

Luke:
Nicole?

 

As
the message pops up on my screen the butterflies in my stomach start fluttering
like crazy, it’s ridiculous. When we see each other at gigs we get on so well
and we flirt constantly but that’s just the way he is. He definitely doesn’t
know about my little obsession with him. It would be stupid of me to interpret
his flirting as real feelings because he’s such a ladies’ man and a total
charmer. He’s the kind of guy your mother would warn you about and your father
would want to kill – actually, he could probably charm your mum too.

After
what feels like several minutes of panicky excitement I manage to compose
myself enough to type a reply. He tells me that he is currently sat in a hotel
room, all alone and bored out of his mind. After we get past the
hello-how-are-you stuff things start to get interesting.

 

Luke:
No party tonight. This is not what I signed up for.

Nicole:
Well I’ll be with you in a few days, and I’ll make sure we have a messy one.

Luke:
Looking forward to it. Are you seeing anyone at the moment?

 

Am
I seeing anyone at the moment? That’s a laugh. The truth is that it’s been
years since I had an actual boyfriend. It’s not that I’m lacking male
attention, far from it, but my type happens to be musicians.

When
you’re on the road all relationships are short, even friendships. You take
“relationships” where you can find them and they require about as much
commitment as a pet rock. Having a guy ask you to be his girlfriend in the “real
world” is the equivalent of a band boy actually remembering your surname. But
that’s the way I like it. The sad truth is that I’d rather have two nights with
a rockstar than two years with your average bloke.

The
fact that Luke is even enquiring about my love life is enough to make my heart
race.

 

Nicole:
Nope. Are you?

Luke:
No, I’m single too.

 

I
knew that. Luke totally subscribes to the musician way of life and a girlfriend
would only cramp his style. Before I have chance to worry about what to say in
response, Luke sends me another message.

 

Luke:
Can I ask you something?

Nicole:
Sure.

 

I’m
trying to sound cool and like I’m not really bothered. This is so high school,
I cannot believe that I am still playing these games.

 

Luke: You know that I fancy you, don’t you?

 

If I’m being honest, I’m waiting for the
punch line.

My first guess is that it isn’t Luke at all.
It could be Eddie, the TFTR front-man, messing with me, or maybe it
is
Luke but he’s drunk. Then again, if he’s drunk how come his typing is so
accurate? And Eddie being sober, or alone, at this time of night after a gig is
about as probable as me using my cooker for something other than storage.

 

Nicole: You fancy everyone haha!

Luke: No, I really fancy you.

 

If this isn’t a joke then I am gobsmacked.
I’ll have to reply with something or he’ll think he’s scared me away. Not only
is this guy my crush but he’s a proper celebrity these days. He might not be a
super-star like Dylan, and TFTR aren’t as big as Plastic Rap yet, but he’s big enough
to have an album in the impressive end of the Top 40 at the moment.

 

     Nicole: Is this really you?

 

     Better to ask than to make a total tit
of myself and have the rest of the band tease me about it for the rest of time.

 

     Luke: Of course it’s me. You don’t
believe me?

     Nicole: Are you drunk?

     Luke: Yes, but that’s not why I’m
telling you. I can’t get you out of my head, especially when I’m alone on the
bus ;).

 

He’s taking a bit of a risk with our
friendship here but he is a musician. He oozes confidence and probably thinks every
girl in the world finds him attractive – then again, they probably do. Luke can
easily get away with hitting on his female friends and using tacky emoticons in
his messages.

 

Luke: Am I making things awkward? I’m sorry.

Nicole: You’re not making thinks awkward,
don’t worry.

Luke: We flirt all the time, why do you seem
so surprised?

Nicole: Again, because you flirt with
everyone!

Luke: Wait until I see you, we’ll talk in
person and then you’ll know that I mean what I say.

 

     I agree before changing the subject from
Luke’s declaration of lust and we carry on chatting for a while. Before I know
it it’s nearly 4am, which means I should definitely be in my bed by now. I
don’t want to go, but I don’t want to be late for work again either. I am both
relieved and devastated when Luke says that he had better get some sleep, so we
finish the conversation by saying that we’ll see each other on tour in a couple
of days.

Finally climbing in my bed, I rest my head on
the pillow and try to get some much needed sleep. My conversation with Luke is
replaying in my head and I can’t help but wonder how things are going to play
out when I see him.

I’m
so
going to be late for work in the
morning.

Chapter Six: The Fan-bang

 

Despite
the exciting events last night, not only am I at work on time but I am also the
first one to arrive.

I
am in a fantastic mood today and my work is reaping the benefits. In fact, I am
so busy flying through the e-mails that I don’t even hear Jake arrive. I’m
surprised I couldn’t smell the coffee as he was coming up in the lift.

He
makes me jump by dropping a copy of the Daily Scoop newspaper on the desk in
front of me. Plastic Rap are on the cover accompanied by the headline, “We’re
having a fan-bang”. Not only am I amazed by the speed these tabloids operate at,
but I’d give anything to have been the person who came up with that pun.

‘Oh
my God...’

‘I
take it you left before this went on?’ Jake enquires.

‘I
did. Minutes before actually.’

‘You’re
probably too old for them,’ he jokes.

‘Oi,
you! Sam gave me his number if you must know.’

‘For
what exactly? In case he needs a babysitter?’

Jake
is so funny. He’s not really that into the kind of music we write about but he
is so good at his job and he keeps us all in stitches while we’re working.

I
take a long, unladylike swig of my coffee and grab the paper to have a proper
read.

It
doesn’t say who their source is but they must have been at the hotel last night
because they saw exactly what I saw. I can’t believe this has made the front
page.

I
read the article out loud as Emily and Vicky arrive together.

‘Plastic
Rap, the squeaky clean teen sensation, are proving to be just as artificial as
their name. There has never been any scandal in the press about band members
Sam, Carl, Mike, John and Simon, all aged between twenty and twenty-two...
until now that is.’ Looking up to make sure that I have Emily and Vicky’s
attention, I carry on reading. ‘At a gig in Leeds last night, the band members
sent one of their people out into the crowd to bring them back a couple of fans
each. Our spy estimated the age of the fans to be “about fifteen or sixteen”.
The band, who market themselves as being teen-friendly, should know better - these
girls probably had school in the morning.’

I’ve
read enough. I wonder who leaked the story to the press - it certainly wasn’t
me, I was far too preoccupied last night, but I don’t remember seeing anyone
else in the room. It must have been one of the fans, maybe one of them realised
how wrong it was and decided to tell the press, well good for her – whoever she
was - and she didn’t even give her name so she’s clearly not just after the
fame. Poor Em has a concerned look on her face, I didn’t realise she was so
appalled by the story when I told her about it last night.

‘Nicole,
I’m going to go pick the new camera up. I’ve had a message to say that it’s
ready,’ Jake informs me, before turning to Vicky and asking her if she wants to
go with him - it is for her after all. Vicky jumps out of her chair and heads
to the door. She doesn’t even say goodbye to us, the girl is
that
rude. I’m
just glad to get her out of the way so that I can talk to Emily properly about
the headlines and about Luke.

‘I
saw that paper on the way to work this morning, I thought maybe you’d tipped
them off,’ she says as soon as we’re alone.

‘Come
on, Emily. You know me better than that. As if I’d give trash like The Scoop
my
story. Anyway, forget that, I have something far more interesting to tell you.’

I
tell her everything about my conversation with Luke. She already knows how much
I fancy him, but she doesn’t seem that pleased for me.

BOOK: Starstruck
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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