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Authors: Trevion Burns


BOOK: Stereo
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Trevion Burns




Copyright © Trevion Michelle Burns


[email protected]


All rights reserved.  The reproduction, transmission or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without written permission.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales, is entirely coincidental. 


Quote that inspired this story courtesy of John Mayer.





To my beautiful mother




"Adam, you have no heart."  Katie Brand's wide blue eyes sparkled under the sunlight that was splashing through the windows of the rickety bagel shop in Hollywood, California. The expression of horror on her face was directed at the only person in the world who had the power to inspire it. "Seriously, like... You don't have a soul," she finished bluntly.

Adam Brand was barely awake, squinting one hazel eye against the rapidly rising Friday morning sun.  He strained to take in the face of his thirteen year old sister, Katie, the only female in the world who still made him feel alive.  "Jesus, baby, it's barely 7am and you're already busting my balls?  At least buy me a cup of coffee first,” he grumbled sleepily, throwing a pair of Ray Bans over his bloodshot eyes.

Katie stared blankly across the table at Adam before slamming down the magazine that she'd been gripping in her hand.  It landed perfectly in front of him, face up.

Adam took in the issue before him with rumpled lips and eyes, confused, before realization finally dawned on him.  His face was on the cover--as per usual--with the words "Adam's Racist Remarks" slathered across the page in bold letters.  He wordlessly grabbed the magazine and flung it across the room. It landed at the feet of a table full of girls who'd been pretending not to notice him for the last half hour.

"Who gave you that pile of garbage?" he grumbled disdainfully.

Katie jumped from her seat and crossed the room to retrieve the magazine before tossing it back down on the table and reclaiming her seat.  She wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily.  "How could you say these things," she demanded, keeping her voice low since she had also noticed the young girls just a few tables away.  "My favorite teacher in school is a black woman, the first lady of the United States, my best friend
my best friend's mom-- a woman who feeds me and allows me to sleep over at her house-- all black women.  You know that Raquel has been in love with you since she was like, five... she won’t even speak to me after reading the horrible things you said.  She's my
best friend,
Adam.  How could you?"

Adam's head pounded.  Was it just him or was she talking really fast? He took in the sight of her genuinely furious face with his mouth agape.  Never in their lives had Katie ever been this angry at him.  He could see that the potent distress in her eyes was genuine.  She was the last person in his world that he would ever set out to hurt, but somehow he had.

Adam continued to sit wordlessly across the table from her and Katie grew enraged. "You are, like, such an asshole. I can't even deal.”

Without another word she grabbed her bag and left the table completely, her waist length brown hair flying in the air behind her as she went.  She crossed the room with haste, sweeping through the open door of the shop’s only bathroom before slamming it shut.

Adam cursed under his breath. Gazing down at the magazine cover, his lips curled in distain.  After a moment of hesitation he flipped it open to the two-page spread and sighed deeply as he read the very first paragraph, a direct quote from him.


"My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fuckin' David Duke cock. I'm going to start dating separately from my dick."


Adam slammed the magazine shut and gave its cover a challenging gaze. Placing his hand on top of the glossy cover, he proceeded to push the issue away from him until it was hanging off the edge of the table.  It teetered for a moment and then fell to a crumbled heap on the floor.

He could only scarcely recall saying those words.  He'd arrived to the interview following an after party being held by his band, The White Keys, and he'd been far from sober.  Adam’s manager hadn't thought it much of a detriment for a rock star to take an interview while drunk.  Wasn't that expected of him anyway? Adam bent down and snatched up the magazine before heading across the restaurant to the closed door of the bathroom, knocking softly.

"Katie... baby? I'm sorry."  When he didn't receive a response he leaned against the door, placing his hand gingerly against the wood.  "Common, don't be like this.  You're going to draw attention to us."

Suddenly the door swung open--so quickly that Adam tumbled in. He caught his fall by gripping Katie's shoulders and his face grew weary at the sight of her red eyes.

"I'm sorry, baby.”

"You're always sorry.” She threw her arms out at her sides before letting them fall back. "Maybe stop doing things that you have to be sorry for."

His head fell, which only made it spin even more than it already had been.  He grumbled something indiscernible while tugging softly at her shoulders. She resisted for a moment before begrudgingly allowing him to wrap her in a hug, her arms circling his slim waist half-heartedly.

Katie tried not to laugh when he cuddled his big head against her shoulder.  She could almost see his bottom lip poking out.  "I'm sorry for calling you an asshole.  That wasn't cool."

Adam's cell phone vibrated to life and they separated so he could pull it from his pocket.  The name on the phone’s display caused them to look up at each other with wide eyes.

It was Janelle Jones, Adam's publicist.  She had likely just received the magazine herself.

"I'd rather listen to you call me an asshole for the rest of the day than deal with Janelle. Pray for me baby." 




"As always, Adam, your penis has managed to fuck up my day before it's even begun."

"Inappropriate Janelle. So inappropriate.  I'm uncomfortable."  Adam motioned to himself with wide eyes. He sat at the head of a long office table, swinging slow circles in the desk chair he’d been held prisoner in since he’d arrived.  The tenth story meeting room’s wall to wall windows made it feel bright and airy, but Adam had never felt farther from bright and airy in his life.

Janelle stomped across the huge meeting room and placed her hand on the back of the spinning chair. Her auburn A-line bob fell into her furious blue eyes as the weight of the chair pulled her petite body in a small circle.  She dug her Louis Vuitton’s deep into the concrete floor until the chair finally came to a halt. She could have killed Adam just to get that arrogant smirk off of his lips.

He wasn't a bad looking guy.  With jet black hair, slightly long facial features and even longer body that measured in at a towering 6'2", she’d even go so far to say he was exactly her type.  Too bad he was such an

"This isn't a joke, Adam."

Adam finally sobered up, leaning his elbows on the gleaming desk.  "Look… I did the interview right after that huge after party at the Hard Rock. I was beyond
  I hardly even remember saying those things."

" 'Hardly even remember' implies that you do have some memory of saying this which means that you weren't
drunk.  We both know you're not stupid.  You were trying to be funny and cute, neither of which you actually are, and you put your foot in your mouth.  What you said was extremely racist and I need you to understand the severity of the situation."

"They were just words."

"Your fans are sensitive to the things you say and do."

"My fans understand me better than anyone I know!  If anyone in the world is going to get that I was just joking in that interview, it's them."

"Were you joking though?"  Janelle set a perfectly manicured hand on the desk and shot a look of death at him.  "Were you really?"

Adam's eyes narrowed.

Janelle scoffed. "Fifteen percent of The White Key's fan base is made up of African-American women.  Did you hear that? Let me say it again--fifteen percent. Wake up!"

Adam was speechless.

"If you don't clean up this mess you've made you will lose, at the very least, 15% of your fan base.  That's not even including the non-black people you may have offended with your ridiculous remarks. It's almost career suicide.  My phone hasn't stopped ringing all morning.  People are
about this, people are outraged and it's not going to go away.  That endorsement you guys had set up with MTV?  Gone.  That Pepsi commercial you were set to shoot tomorrow? CANCELED INDEFINITELY.  And that's just in the last hour.  God only knows what’s next.  We have lost millions and millions of dollars on ‘just words’, Adam,
words! You have to fix this and you have to fix it right now."

"All right, all right, just... tell me... tell me what to do."  He swallowed heavily.  Maybe this time he'd really screwed up.

Janelle began shuffling through some files.  "I've spent the better part of the morning in meetings and the office has managed to come to a general agreement about what you have to do.  There is only one way to fix a racial slur and that’s to show that you're not racist."


Janelle ignored him.  "I'm going to set you up for a photo op with an up and coming black model that I know. She's a lovely, beautiful young girl. You're going to be seen around town with her for the next couple of weeks, make sure you get photographed smiling, having fun and enjoying her company.  By the end of it you'll have done everything but stamp the words 'I love black people' to your forehead and hopefully this will all just... disappear."

"I'm not doing that."

"Jesus, Adam, I'm not asking you to fuck her!"

He winced.

"I'm asking you to take some time out of your busy schedule of screwing underage blondes and drinking yourself stupid to fix what you have so gigantically broken here."

"I don't do photo ops.  It's a farce.  It's not who I am."  He motioned to his heart.  "Besides… I think you're really underestimating the youth of today.  They would see right through something like this."

Janelle began furiously chewing her bottom lip.  “Damn it. You're right.  It can't be just a couple of random photos. No one would ever believe that.  It could come off as insincere and that would only turn the public against you even more…"  She squinted shrewdly into the distance, massaging her chin.  "It has to be something more believable."

Adam was suddenly regretting having spoken up at all.  He could see the wheels spinning in Janelle’s head and knew this wasn't going anyplace good.

She snapped a finger.  “It won’t be just a quick date night. It’ll be a relationship.”

Adam raised an eyebrow at her.  Clearly the woman had lost her mind.

Janelle was almost manic, eyes wide and hands splayed as her heels clicked slowly towards the open windows of the office. “Yes, yes… We’ll find a black girl and you’ll date her for a while. No one will ever be able to call you racist then.”

racist.”  Adam was officially fed up.  “And I’m not doing this.”

Janelle was already on her cell phone, barking to her assistant. “Get me on the line with the women’s division at Wilhelmina Models immediately.”

Adam jumped from his chair. “Stop,” he said, stalking over to Janelle and physically removing the phone from her ear. “Stop!” he demanded once more.

After wrestling around with him for an inordinate amount of time, Janelle finally pulled back when she felt herself getting sweaty.  She’d be damned if she ruined her Chanel suit for Adam Brand.

Once she’d visibly calmed down, Adam held out a finger, holding her ringing phone high in the air behind him.  “I’ll do it okay? But only on my own terms.”

She rolled her eyes. “Of course, and what exactly would your terms be oh-wise-one?”  She made one more swipe for her phone and growled when he pulled it out of her reach in the nick of time.

Adam shrugged his shoulders under his black leather jacket, suddenly feeling hot. "I'll find my own girl."

Janelle snickered. “So you can come back here with some cookie cutter mix of Halle Berry and Paula Patton? NO.  That won’t be provocative enough.”

Adam was at a loss for words, sputtering.  Janelle knew him better than he thought.

BOOK: Stereo
12.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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