Chapter 4. Recycled Advice
Well, we were in a lot of shit. We arrived at the hotel and we were extraordinarily late for the flight to Quebec. It was 6AM. Felicia was waiting for us in the hall our rooms were located in. While the boys looked significantly relaxed, I felt like I was doing the walk of shame. Christ, I was exhausted.
"Go get your things and be in the car in 5 minutes." She hissed at the boys. "You're grown ups. Stop acting like children."
"And you..." she turned to me. I swallowed.
"Leave her out of it, Fel." Joe said. "I basically forced her to go out."
"Yeah," Nick said, exhausted. "It was our fault."
"Come with me." Felicia snapped at me and we walked into my room.
As soon as we walked in, her entire expression changed. She looked... happy? I furrowed my eyebrows.
"Good job." Felicia said, smiling at me. "You saw that out there? He's already defending you. This is exactly what you're supposed to be doing."
"So.. you're not mad?" I clarified, just in case.
"Not at all. Don will be thrilled to hear about this." She pulled out a BlackBerry just like mine. "Get your stuff. Let's go." And with that, she walked out.
No more than an hour later, we were already at the airport. I stood by Felicia at all times while she made sure the jets were good to fly. Most of the crew had already left on a commercial flight an hour ago, and two jets were to transport the brothers and the musicians in one, and the executive crew in another. The latter is where we travel.
"Hey," Joe came up to Felicia and I. "If you don't need this one, maybe she can ride with us?"
Felicia glared at me. "Sure, I don't want to see her for the rest of the day anyway."
"Don't take it personal. She's just mad." Joe smiled. "Shall we?"
We boarded the jet and it was quite different from the crew jet. It was gigantic, for one. It was actually decorated like a house on the inside. Very 70s, by the way.
Joe gave me a small, quick tour as we all settled in. The first area had 8 large seats across from each other in each lane separated by a table in the middle. Behind the seats were two big couches. Further back there was a bedroom for each one of them with a curtain for a door. The lights were dim, and as soon as the plane took off the boys headed to their bedrooms. They looked like they could barely keep their eyes open.
We walked to Joe's room and sat on his bed. The last thing I remember is sleepily talking about his favorite breakfast food.
I opened my eyes and I was comfortably covered by the bed's blankets. Joe was nowhere to be seen. I blushed in embarrassment. Did he tuck me in? I stood up and found my shoes perfectly placed beside the bed. He took those off too. I smiled to myself.
After making his bed, I was seated at the front. The hostess came up to me.
"Do you want to see the breakfast menu, ma'am?" She politely asked.
"Just coffee, please. Thank you." She nodded and took off.
She came back a few moments later with a cup of coffee just as Nick came out of the back.
"Hey, Charlie." He said before asking the hostess for coffee as well.
"Hi." I replied.
He sat across from me, giving me a funny look.
"What?" I asked.
"You're all for safety, huh?" His eyes traveled to my fastened seatbelt.
"Oh," I smiled knowingly. "I guess so. I'm not used to being able to walk around on airplanes without the flight attendant on my ass about remaining seated with your seatbelt on at all times."
Nick chuckled. "So, you okay?"
I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, then remembered about Felicia scolding me in front of them. I nodded. "I am."
"Fel is a sweetheart once you get to know her. She's just really passionate about all this, knowing the rollercoaster we've been through for the past couple of years." He smiled slightly. "I'm sorry if we got you in any trouble."
"Don't apologize," I shook my head. "I had a good time."
Earn their trust, Charlie.
"So..." I started. "How are things with Priyanka?" I asked reluctantly, my cheeks going red with embarrassment.
Nick sighed. "They're okay, I suppose."
Turns out he wasn't as open as Joe. I accepted his answer.
"I know it must be stressing," I started, unsure of what to say next. "I'm no celebrity and my mom gets mad at me because I'm not calling her as often." Nick looked confused. "For people outside of the business, understanding touring can change things for a bit can be hard to accept. I can't do much, but if you ever need to talk, I'm all ears."
My silly comparison made us both chuckle. As we were, Joe came out from the back.
"Is Kevin still asleep?!" He asked as he sat down next to me.
"It appears so."
"Crazy how you get more sleep on tour than you do being a dad." Joe joked.
"Where did you sleep?" I asked.
"Why do you think I'm awake?" Nick rolled his eyes at Joe.
Joe yawned and stretched, ignoring Nick. "I can't wait till we head back home tomorrow."
"Yeah, I miss the fuck out of Pri." Nick replied.
"How about you, Charlie? Is there anyone waiting for you for you on your two days off?" Joe asked, smirking at me.
"Probably her mom." Nick gave me a look that made us both smile simultaneously.
"Yeah, my mom and my best friend." I laughed.
"Where do you live?" Joe asked again.
"LA. But my mom lives in Naples. She's flying out to see me. I'm excited." I couldn't help but shake my shoulders a little in excitement.
We had breakfast a little before landing after Kevin joined us. As soon as we landed, the boys hopped into the car to move along with that day's schedule. I joined Felicia in making sure everything was set for that night's show. Felicia gave me the task to prepare their dressing rooms at the venue before they arrived at 5PM.
The day went by pretty quickly as I made sure to gather every item on the list and work with the crew on having it placed where it belonged. Felicia and I communicated through texting as she accompanied the boys on their preparation for the upcoming VMAs.
I absent-mindedly singing along to some lyrics while I organized the flowers on their dressing room when I was felt something pinch my side. I screamed and turned around to find Joe with an amused look on his face.
"Woah, I was not expecting that."
"What?" I said as I pressed my hand to my chest to calm myself down.
"You can sing." He stated.
"Well, you're not the only star around here." I jokingly flipped my hair over my shoulder, making sure it brushed him in the face.
"So, how was your day?" He sat down in a chair as he typed away on his phone.
I made a face at the question. That was really nice of him to ask. "Good, actually. It went by really fast. There's always too many things going on around here so it's easy to get distracted."
I looked at the time. "Joe! We have to go. Meet and greet time." He looked as startled as I was. I grabbed my things and we basically speed walked over there.
Kevin and Nick were already there and the fans were about to come in so we got there just in time. I went out to talk to the HostVIP worker as I always did, but that day I was getting more looks than usual. I felt intimidated by the fans on the line who seemed to be whispering about me.
When the M&G started, I went up to Felicia to ask what the hell was going on when I was finally fed up with the constant looks.
"The paps snapped pictures of you with the boys when you got out of the plane. They don't know who you are so it caused some fuzz. Get over it." She explained as she seemed busy with something on her iPad.
My eyes went wide in surprise. I blushed immediately and shot a look at the boys. I found Joe's eyes on mine. "Do the boys now?" I asked, panicking.
She sighed, annoyed. "Yes, Charlie. They know. They just don't care."
"But what about their girls?" I asked again, mortified.
She finally ripped her eyes away from the iPad to shoot me a glare. "Does that look like your problem? It's not what you're here for." Again, there was a hidden message in her words. "But if it makes you feel better, they probably don't care either."
After the boys were done with M&G, they had a very tight schedule to make sure they were ready to come out on time. They were faster than that, of course. So when they were ready, they usually had a drink before coming out. No ice to avoid the contraction of vocal cords, Nick explained.
I was sitting on the floor right outside the dressing room, reading about everything that was posted about me on social media. They got a lot of information about me pretty damn fast. I went from mystery girl to their personal assistant. Gosh, some of these girls could be straight up assholes. There were a lot of comments about them being jealous yadda yadda, but there were also a lot of fans going to town with everything they could pick about me. Logically, some questions came up as to why I was on the plane with them instead of flying with the crew.
Well, if you must know, because I have to earn their trust and I have one months to do that so they start spilling their beans out for me to sell it to the media.
I thought about Don and any trace of happiness I had on my face left with the thought. God, almost a month in. These boys have been nothing but absolutely nice to me. They're genuinely good humans, which didn't make this any easier. But if I didn't do this I could kiss any possibility of making it in the industry goodbye. I sighed audibly to ease the hotness I felt in my chest and put my face in my hands.
Someone clearing their throat snapped me out of my thoughts and I jumped a little before looking up. Shit! Joe was leaning against the doorframe with his ridiculous blue suit looking down at me. He had a concerned look in his face.
"Jesus! You've got a personal vendetta against me today," I said as I composed myself, in order to lighten up the mood.
He didn't answer, and just continued to look at me instead. I started getting a little worried I had said anything out loud.
"How long have you been standing there?" I asked.
He took a sip from his drink, and shrugged. "What's wrong?"
I nodded, giving him a smile. "All good, just tired."
He rolled his eyes and sat down on the floor beside me. "Charlie, I've seen you doze off during the shows millions of times but you never look as you do right now."
I smirked. "You should really be focusing on being a good singer on stage instead of me dozing off, which I do not, by the way."
"Very nice of you." He nudged my shoulder slightly and chuckled. "I'm serious though. What is it? Is it about today's pictures?"
I shook my head. "Although that was a little mortifying, it's not that. I just miss my mom, that's all." Well, I wasn't lying.
"I know it sucks." Joe nodded. "Good news is you can see her tomorrow." He gave me a hopeful smile, which I returned. "If it ever gets to overbearing, which it does at some point, you can always fly her in, you know."
I laughed at the idea. "Felicia would kill me."
Joe rolled his eyes. "You've got to stop worrying about her so much. Just let me know, I'll fly her in. Really."
"Just remember about all the reasons why you decided to be here," he said. "Grip onto them." He smiled at me knowingly.
I laughed. "You've got to come up with your own advice."
We were laughing when both of our earpieces said something at the same time.
Show time in 5.
"Show time?" He asked before standing up and offering his hand to me.
"Show time." I answered, taking it to stand up as well.
Just as they were ready to come out, before getting into position, Joe tugged at my arm. I got closer to him to be able to hear him.
"We've all agreed we like you a lot. You're a breath of normality in this world of schedules and routines. So, don't quit on us."
He ran towards platform, and I just stood there for a minute, holding my chest at the mix of feelings that spiked inside of me.
I genuinely felt like the worst person alive.