When It's Real
I scowl. “No.”
I end up going to bed early again.
* * *
When I wake up, it’s morning. I walk over to the floor-to-ceiling windows and flip the switch that turns the glass from opaque to see-through. Outside there are birds chirping and I see a couple of people running on the beach. One of these days I’m going back to that private island Jim booked after the Ford tour. I could leave the house there without a security detail.
I shove away from the windows. Big D isn’t scheduled to arrive until noon, because that’s normally about the time I roll out of bed. It’s been two weeks since I’ve had anyone in this place except me, the housekeeper and my bodyguards.
I kind of miss that asshole Luke. He wasn’t that bad. After all, maybe if I was in his shoes, I’d be doing the same thing...trying to leverage my friend’s success into something more for me.
I’ve never had to do that. I didn’t have to play a thousand gigs on the road before getting some A/R guy to notice me. Mom sent a phone video to her friend, who shared it with a friend, and I was signed to a label at thirteen. My first album was released with a huge marketing push before I turned fifteen. I churned out three more successful albums before I hit my current block.
I wasn’t ever in Luke’s position—or, hell, Vaughn’s—where I had to cozy up to someone in exchange for money.
Gotta admit, my attitude toward Vaughn when we met was kinda shitty. In my defense, I wasn’t exactly open-minded going into that meeting, because I’d already had one made-for-the-media relationship and that was a complete disaster. Only a star-fucker would agree to this nonsense, especially when she already has a boyfriend.
But Vaughn hadn’t come off as stuck-up or fame-obsessed in any way. She was hot, but she wore almost no makeup. She didn’t dress up, and she’d argued hard that she didn’t want a new look. She had a confidence about her appearance that my last fake girlfriend never had.
And she didn’t try to impress me. There were no hair flips, lip bites or eye flutters in my direction. The picture she drew is good, but it looks like it was drawn by someone who thought I was an April Showers—ego-driven and assholic.
Yeah, Vaughn definitely wasn’t impressed with me at the meeting. And while I hate admitting this, her attitude bothers me. I mean, I don’t expect everyone I meet to like me. It’s just that she was so...openly hostile.
I pick up my phone and download the Twitter app. I want to see what she said in reply. Only...crap. I can’t log in without a username and password.
I don’t want to, but I end up calling Jim.
“Have you seen the news?” he crows when he answers.
Our world’s a little sick when what I fave on Twitter is considered news. A mass killing in Africa doesn’t get as many eyeballs as me liking some random girl’s art. “I need to log in to my Twitter account.”
“Why? Are you unhappy with how it’s going? Claudia and I talked this morning. Everyone’s excited. You’re getting the best press you’ve had in months. Hold on, I’ll read some to you.”
I can hear street noise. “Are you texting and driving?”
“Yes. How do you think I get anything done in this town?”
“Forget it. I’ll look it up myself.”
I hang up before he can kill himself trying to read the gossip column headlines.
I hit the most famous celeb site I know and immediately see a smarmy picture of me side-eying a camera.
Oakley Ford’s Tweet Makes a Fan’s Dream Come True!
Ford fangirls take notice!
Last night global superstar Oakley Ford set his saplings on fire when he favorited a fan’s drawing of him. According to the girl’s Twitter account, seventeen-year-old Vaughn just broke up with a longtime boyfriend and she’s been consoling herself by playing Ford’s self-titled release on repeat.
Ford’s been notoriously quiet on Twitter except for the occasional shout-out to a fellow artist, so this activity was definitely out of character! We weren’t the only ones who noticed. Fans jumped all over his fave by Retweeting the picture. The artist’s own account grew from 89 followers to 8000. Her account exploded after Oakley Ford Tweeted her back.
Is this a new romance for Oakley? He hasn’t been linked to anyone—for more than a night—since April Showers. Gossip Central caught up with April outside Nice Guy in LA. April appeared blindsided by the news that Oakley is finally moving on, telling us, “You know more about Oakley’s life than I do.” Ford’s people haven’t commented.
The fan interaction has spurred #Fordfangoals to trend on Twitter. It’s been two years since we’ve had any new Oakley Ford music. Maybe Vaughn will serve as new inspiration!
Christ. I follow the link to the Twitter page to read about my so-called interaction with Vaughn.
Verified @VeryVaughn Thanks for sketching my left side. It’s my best.
I scroll through what seems like a thousand Tweets before I get to her response.
Vaughn Bennett @OakleyFord Haha! U don’t have a bad side.
Verified @VeryVaughn Do you have a red pencil? I’m blushing.
Excuse me while I vomit. I’m blushing? What a lame-ass response. I’m Oakley Ford. I don’t blush. What do I have to be embarrassed about?
@jelly_bean1984 @ OakleyFord Please Oak I luv u. Please fave my tweet!!!!!
@cassandra.vega.5 @ OakleyFord ur soooooo bbbbeeutiful. I
u so much! Ur my bae!
@OakleyFord_stanNo1 @ OakleyFord Love you Oakley. Can’t wait for another album.
This is frickin’ impossible. I tap on Vaughn’s stream and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s so much easier to read.
Vaughn Bennett @OakleyFord I don’t believe u blush. But I do have a red pencil.
She Tweeted another picture of just a cheek and some lightly shaded red on the upper curve. Nice. Even though it’s not an accurate representation, I can’t deny her talent.
I swipe past dozens of people replying to her, and find mine.
Verified @VeryVaughn So you’re taking requests. I’d like to see a self-portrait.
Vaughn Bennett @OakleyFord Like this?
I eagerly scroll. Shit, did she send me a—it’s a sketch of her phone.
Verified @VeryVaughn Modern and sleek. I like it.