I Was Born for This
When Rowan reveals he has a girlfriend, maybe.
The girlfriend who’s stayed a secret for the past two years.
‘You’ve got that look on your face,’ says Rowan, midway through the journey. He’s sitting opposite me in the car, like he had been on the way to the WCMAs, and for a moment I feel like we’re back there, before I remember we’re already five thousand miles away.
‘What look?’ I say.
‘The constipated look. The sweaty palms look.’
I rub my forehead. ‘Someone’s going to break into our apartment and kill me.’
Rowan sighs and pats me on the knee. ‘Come on, Jimjam, don’t think stuff like that.’
‘We could hire a full-time bodyguard?’ says Lister, who is sitting next to me sipping from a Starbucks cup.
Somehow the idea of having a huge suited person loitering in our apartment 24/7 makes me feel even worse.
Cecily glances up at me from her phone. ‘Why don’t you just focus on the important stuff this week, huh, babe? We’ve got the final show on Thursday and then the contract signing on Friday.’
‘Do you think if we hired a full-time bodyguard they’d do the hoovering for us?’ asks Lister.
Rowan turns his head slowly towards Lister. ‘If you can name me one occasion that you have ever hoovered our apartment, I will give you five hundred quid right now.’
Lister opens his mouth, then freezes, then closes it again, and we all laugh at him, and for a few moments I stop thinking about being murdered.
Cecily only tells us that we have an interview with Rolling Stone today when the car pulls up at a fancy hotel and Lister asks, ‘Why the fuck are we here?’
None of us are particularly surprised. We’re used to just being told where to go and what to do.
‘It’s the Bliss thing,’ she says with a sigh. ‘I’ve promised Rolling Stone an interview with you so they don’t run the Bliss story.’
I shoot a glance at Rowan. He looks a little sick.
We sprawl ourselves around one of the hotel’s conference rooms and a few hair and make-up people arrive to make us look less dead. This thankfully includes Alex, who is one of my favourite hair and make-up people because he treats me like I’m a real human being and not one of those posters you pull out of a magazine.
He gives me a pat on the shoulder after he finishes doing my hair.
‘You looked tired today, Jimmy.’
I chuckle. ‘Sorry.’
‘You getting enough sleep?’
‘What counts as enough sleep?’
‘I dunno … six-to-eight hours a night?’
I just laugh at him.
Across the room, Rowan is reading the copy of our new record contract that Cecily’s just given him. He’s frowning deeply, which is not a good sign.
‘It’s different,’ says Cecily, while standing at the sink, handing Lister another cup of water. I think the water is just making Lister, who has passed drunkenness and has entered a full-on middle-of-the-day hangover, feel worse.
‘Different,’ says Rowan, raising his eyebrows. ‘It’s, like, ten times more work than we normally do. They want us to do a two-year-long world tour? Two full years? Why didn’t you mention that earlier?’
‘We don’t have to talk about this now,’ says Cecily, holding up her phone and tapping on it.
‘We’ve only got three days left before we sign, though,’ says Rowan. He points at a page. ‘I just … this is a lot more than we normally do, publicity-wise. More interviews, more appearances, more collabs. I don’t know whether we’re even gonna be able to deal with all this.’
‘Babe, don’t worry about it. We’ll talk about it after today.’
Lister leans over the sink and dry-heaves, then drools a bit.
‘If you throw up,’ says Cecily, ‘I will actually smack you.’
‘Can’t we just go home?’ Lister mumbles.
‘No,’ she says.
‘Jimmy, turn your head to the left a bit? That’s it.’
The camera flashes. Pretty sure I blinked.
Our stylists are magic. They transformed the three of us from greasy and sleep-deprived lads into pop icons in under an hour. The bags under Rowan’s eyes have disappeared entirely. Lister looks positively healthy. I barely recognise myself in the mirror.
And we’re wearing outrageously beautiful designer clothes. That always makes me feel like magic.
The camera flashes again. I wonder what the time is. Not even sure whether it’s the morning or afternoon.
‘Jimmy, just look at the camera, now. That’s it.’
It’s a good thing everyone likes the ‘dead behind the eyes’ look.
‘Rowan, can we get you in the middle now?’
Rowan stands next to me. He’s been scarily quiet since he started flicking through the contract. Normally he’d be the one trying to cheer us up when we’re all tired, making sarcastic comments or messing around, distracting us when we were trying to pull serious expressions.
But he’s too lost in thought today. We all are, a bit.
‘Rowan, can you just put your arms round Jimmy and Lister, for me?’
He does, and the camera flashes.
‘Hold on, just pause for a sec, please.’ The woman directing the shoot calls at the photographer to pause. ‘Lister, you all right? You need to break for a minute?’
Rowan and I turn to Lister.