Ace (Band of Brothers #1)

By: Lyra Parish

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.

I grabbed the double stacks of papers, along with my unsorted ones, and walked back to the joint office that Jules and I had shared since the first day I started. I knew she was on maternity leave, but I had to talk to her about this because she didn't give me any warning before she nominated me for such a huge task.

She picked up on the first ring.

"Don't be pissed at me, El." Jules was smiling. I could hear it in her voice.

"I want to be so pissed at you… but I can't. Seriously, what the hell are you thinking? This is going to be a disaster. I'm going to royally fuck this whole project over and you'll be as responsible for my mess-ups as me. You could have had Sara or Penny go on tour and do a great job. They'd actually enjoyed it. They're extroverts. They love music. I'm like Grumpy Cat. You know this more than anyone else."

"And that's why I chose you. I want the job done right without bias, without the reporter trying to get into the pants of the lead singer or guitarist. Penny and Sara could sleep an interview out of any band we cover, but that's not what this is about. You know music. You fucking play guitar. And not only that, Band of Brothers are different from any other band, and I know the Hathways can be bastards. We all know this. But you're going to have to shake it off. Ace has never been interviewed by anyone. If you can pull this off, Jack will be kissing your feet—hell, better than that, he'll be kissing your ass."

"That's a horrible visual you created. Thanks."

"Listen. It's obvious you hate me right now, but at the end of the tour you're going to thank me. I know it. This job was meant for you. You've got a photographer’s eye. You're a talented writer. You went to school for English and music. This is your dream. Get over your nerves and you'll be unstoppable. Got it? And maybe you'll learn something. That's the plus of all of this. Maybe you'll even be inspired to play in front of people."

"You're such a mom. Everyone already thinks I'm going to fail at this. And being a musician for the public is not in my blood. I'm so doomed."

"You've got the most badass bitch on the block in your corner. I'm rooting for you. Call me if you need anything. Though I'm on bed rest, all I'm doing is Netflix binging and eating everything I can. I think I may have died and gone to heaven. Now go get ’em tiger. You've got some ass to kick. Don't forget the guitar."

After I spoke with her, I felt better. Her enthusiasm and passion for music and the industry was contagious—almost. I had to find my fire and use it for the summer tour or Band of Brothers would chew me up and spit me out.

For the rest of the day I read the notes she had made about the band. I tried to memorize different things about them and I even listened to their CD and studied their music. I hated almost all their songs. Maybe it was because I was raised on oldies: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and the list goes on and on and on. I could quite possibly be the only 24-year-old who loves classics with so much fervor. My father was to blame for my love of music and playing guitar.

There was speculation of Ace dating someone, but apparently it was a rumor. I could only imagine how many women he had been with, considering his looks—strong jawline, piercing blue eyes, and a perfect smile was enough to make any woman melt. All the brothers had those qualities. Jesus.

For a second, I thought about my love life and how it was nonexistent. Sure, I had been on dates, but nothing too serious since moving to Los Angeles. Too many people were ready to put out and I didn't want them to put in, if you know what I mean. I didn't want a random relationship. It needed to be meaningful or it was a waste of my time. Who has time for one-night stands? The answer was clear: rock stars.

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