Chapter One - Ellie
Ellie: Hi, honey! I hope you’re having a great day! I made this super-cute Pinterest board last night. Wouldn’t the twins’ room look adorable like this?
“Stop doing that, Ellie.” Ming is glaring at me like I just strangled a puppy.
“What? I made a new Pinterest board last night. I just wanted to share.”
“Share,” Ming says, shaking her head. “That’s a good one, Ellie. Anyway, that Brutus guy is here. The pilot just radioed and said he’s not pleasant, so be ready.”
That’s it. I’m quitting.
I’m not kidding. There is not enough money in the world to persuade me to put up with Brutus one more time. I’ve been talking to this guy for three months trying to get him to agree to an interview with Shawna and Greg on the Humpday Hottie segment of Daily E! and every single time the rock star has been an asshole to the nth degree. He was not at all thrilled about the Humpday thing. But he was only available on Wednesdays and he says he never tapes shows, only sings live. What does he want me to do? Reinvent the days of the week? Everyone knows Wednesdays are hump days. He should be thrilled we’re calling him a ‘hottie’.
“I can read your mind, you know,” Ming says from behind me. She’s my best friend in the whole wide world.
I’m looking out the window of my fishbowl office that opens up into the airplane hangar where the big shots come in. Any second now the plane will taxi in and he’ll get out and my personal hell will begin. Why did he agree to the interview if he didn’t want to come? We sent our best jet to pick him up in Santa Fe and fly him here. I’ve got the green room all ready for him—all those stupid riders he requires as part of his contract. Who needs an organic cheese tray at nine in the morning? The toothbrush I can see. That’s a good rider. And I’m not worried about the M&M’s with all the brown ones picked out. I have bags and bags of single-colored M&M’s stashed away down here. I can deal with any of the hundreds of silly M&M requests a celebrity can throw at me. But the hand-made Icelandic wool socks? When is he going to take his shoes off during this show? That bastard better take them home, too. If I find those Icelandic socks left behind after I had to personally arrange for a pair to be overnighted here—
“Just ignore him, Ellie.”
But I can’t ignore him. It’s my job to pay meticulous attention to his every whim. So I ignore Ming instead. I can see a reflection of her face in the glass. She’s scowling at me.
I work for Stonewall Entertainment. I’m a celebrity consultant, which sounds fancy when you’re an intern, which I was when I took this job. But seven years later it’s nothing more than a fancy name for babysitter. My job is to handle the celebrities as they come in for appearances on any one of our two dozen online networks we run from the Stonewall Campus in the Denver Tech Center.
Today is my lucky day because Brutus is coming. His first interview in five years and it’s with us. I arranged it. I wooed him and soothed him and promised to make his day perfect. Every album he’s released in the past ten years has gone platinum and Stonewall Senior told me to ‘make it happen.’
And because making it happen is my MO, he’s here. But Brutus is a pompous ass.
“Ellie?” Ming asks sharply to make me pay attention to her.
“Don’t let him get to you. He’s just another somebody. Humor him.”
I look over my shoulder and roll my eyes. “I do humor him. It’s my job to humor him. I even have the golf cart ready to take us to the main building. The covered one, like he asked for.” Even though it’s eighty-one degrees already and it’s only seven AM and the covered one has no air conditioning.
Just imagining how much sweat will collect inside my bra on the drive over is almost enough for me to walk out and give no notice.
“I’m definitely quitting today,” I tell Ming.
“Nooo, Ell-lllie,” she says, sing-songing my name in that get-down-off-the-ledge voice. “You’re not. Because Adeline is coming tomorrow, remember?”
I sigh. I didn’t. Well, I mean, I knew, of course. I have the whole schedule in my head. But Brutus…
Most of the celebrities are regulars. Every once in a while we get a new person, but not very often. And Adeline is my favorite singer in the whole wide world. She just put out a new song last week and she’s going to sing it tomorrow on Throwback Thursday.
I can’t quit until after that, I guess. I owe her the courtesy of a professional goodbye.
“Fine.” I give in. The jet makes its way towards the hangar entrance. I smooth the wrinkles out of my pink A-line skirt and then wish I hadn’t worn something so girly today. My kimono blouse is white and flirty. Very ruffle-y. People never take me seriously when I wear ruffles. And there are no buttons in the front, it’s just a wrap-around.