Apart from doing interviews and writing articles, I also write fiction. This story is about the frustrations of a 25-year-old woman who works as a PR assistant for a rock band.
When I woke up I forgot where I was. I did however realize it was dark, warm and it felt like I was in a moving vehicle. And something or someone grabbed my ankle. I shrieked as I was pulled out of the dark, confined space. After I tumbled on the floor I stared up at whoever was responsible for my misery. It was Kurt. Drummer of American rock band Featherstone. He gave me a look that was a mixture of amusement and pity.
“Harlow… darling. Do you know what time it is?” he sweetly asked me.
I hastily pulled my fingers through my unkempt hair in an attempt to look presentable.
“No idea,” I mumbled.
“Do you even know where you are?”
“Then let me enlighten you. It’s half past ten in the morning, I just pulled you out of your tour bus bunk bed and we’ve got an interview with an Austrian music magazine in ten minutes.”
“Fuck!” I exclaimed, realizing I screwed up.
“Language, darling, language!”
“Yes, you are. As our PR lady, you’re supposed to welcome the journalist and photographer and guide them around. You’d better hurry up and get dressed.”
Kurt offered me a hand, but I needed a minute to properly wake up. I watched him walk toward to the front of the bus, to talk to the bus driver.
I was slightly annoyed. No matter how much the 37-year-old New York-native drank, he never seemed to suffer from a hangover. This 25-year-old however, only needed two glasses of red wine to pass out and wake up with a headache.
The door opened and I saw Gabe, our bass player, enter the bus. He took one look at me and shook his head. Kurt was always quite gentle with me, despite joking around. Gabe however could be a bit more serious and less patient.
“My God, Harlow,” he sighed. “You look like a mess. Let’s get you organized.”
“Hmm?” I squinted against the sunlight coming in from the open door and just sat there on the floor of the bus.
Gabe started to rummage around in my suitcase, grabbing a random pair of jeans, a T-shirt, some underwear and my toiletries bag. Before I could protest about this invasion of privacy, he grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet. Without further ado he dumped the clothes and bag in my arms, then firmly pushed me towards the small shower room in the bus.
“You’ve got five minutes, missy!”
The 40-year-old from Minnesota got into the habit of treating me like a toddler very quickly after we met two years ago. Today I was too tired and miserable to go against him, so I just did as I was told and got ready for the day. I hated the small shower room, but it had everything I needed to properly freshen up.
As I hurried out of the bus towards the venue where the band would be performing tonight, I saw Brice, the guitar player and youngest of the band at 28, already talking to a female journalist and a large, burly photographer.
I smiled gratefully at him for taking over from me and then quickly introduced myself to them. Brice nodded politely at us, before excusing himself and going back to the bus. I might have gazed after Brice a bit too long, because the female journalist winked at me.
“Is he your boyfriend?” She asked, her eyes all lit up, in the hope of a juicy story.
“Huh? Brice? Uhm, no. He’s like a brother to me,” I quickly told her with an innocent, yet assuring smile.
Even though I was telling the truth about the guitar player not being my boyfriend, I wasn’t going to admit that I did have a crush on the lanky musician.
As for the brother part, that role was more fitting for Jack, the lead singer. The 30-year-old could act like a playful brat and teased me often. We did have a sibling-type energy going on. I was just wondering where he was, when I felt two sharp fingers digging into my sides, making me yelp and jump up in surprise. As I turned around there he was, grinning at me and then introducing himself to the press.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he graciously told them, while I contemplated putting him into a headlock. That would probably give off a rather unprofessional impression, so I decided against it. I’d get my revenge later.
Within fifteen minutes I got the journalist, the photographer and the members of the band together in the designated interview room; the backstage area of the concert hall. I looked on as the band posed in various ways for the cover of the magazine. They were such professionals, yet managed to also give off a boyish charm, making women all over the globe swoon.
Having been with them in close quarters for quite some time, the admiration wore off and got replaced by a sense of family-energy. Gabe and Kurt often looked after me and made me feel safe and taken care of. Jack and I constantly bickered and goofed around. But with Brice it was different.
When I met him in the record shop almost three years ago, it wasn’t love at first sight or anything. But after he convinced the band to hire me as a PR girl, things started to change. On my part, that is. I had no idea if Brice was actually into me. I was too afraid of being rejected and then losing this job. So I decided to just silently admire him and enjoy his company. Whenever he interacted with fans, especially female ones, I did often feel a pang of jealousy. But I tried to ignore it and just focus on the awesomeness of the job I had.
Not that there weren’t any downsides… The crazy hours and lack of a normal schedule often got the better of me. But then the guys would manage to cheer me up with their funny jokes or a heartfelt conversation. I couldn’t imagine life without them anymore.
The photo shoot was finished and now the band was being interviewed. It was my job to listen carefully and also intervene if they threatened to give away too much info or go into any funny anecdotes, that could potentially harm the band’s image. As Gabe was doing now, telling some wild story about a fan who was an erotic dancer.
“… and then she lifted her shirt and…”
My eyes grew wide and I quickly waved frantically at him, from my position behind the woman. This particular magazine was mainly aimed at a younger audience, and I didn’t want any potentially offensive quotes in the article. Gabe very subtly nodded at me, indicating that he got the hint.
“… to our surprise she was wearing another shirt underneath… so it was all very clean. We do have very decent fans, you know!”
I rolled my eyes at this made-up, lame twist, but was glad his story remained PG-13, which I knew hadn’t been the case in real life. The rest of the interview I watched them like a hawk, but fortunately I didn’t need to intervene a second time. They gracefully answered the journalist’s questions and left a good impression. I was happy.
Normally I wasn’t such a control freak, but when it came to the publicity of Featherstone, I turned into one. I was also the one who managed the social media accounts of the band. The members did have access to it, but they needed to show me what they wanted to upload, before hitting the ‘post’ button.
I knew something was fishy, when all four of them were huddled together, giggling like teenagers.
“What are you guys up to?” I asked, walking closer.
“Nothing, darling, just something we want to post. It’s all nice and clean. Don’t worry,” Kurt assured me. I didn’t believe him.
“Show me!” I demanded. I sounded like a whiny child. I was aware of it. But I was also determined not to let them post weird stuff that could trigger any negative reactions.
I saw Kurt was typing on his smartphone and the others were whispering suggestions to him. As soon as I was close enough to rip the phone out of his hands, he quickly jumped back and held the phone up out of my reach.
“Seriously?” I asked with my hands upon my hips.
“You’re just going to have to trust us, kiddo,” Gabe shrugged.
“You’re not going to post anything without my permission!” I yelled. If anything negative happened related to publicity, their manager Chris would hold me responsible. And he was kind of scary. So I jumped a few times to try and snatch the phone out of Kurt’s hands. He just smirked at me and kept stepping backwards.
“It’s just a few kinky selfies we took in the shower, Harlow. Nothing to worry about!” Jack said, grinning from ear to ear.
“What?!” With an almost ferocious attack, I jumped into Kurt, sending us both onto the couch.
I wasted no time and tried to wrestle the phone out of his hands. Instead of scaring him, I ended up making him laugh even more.
When I almost got hold of the device, I felt two arms encircle my waist and drag me away from the drummer. I just knew it was Jack.
“Let me go!” I yelped, struggling vainly to get out of his grip.
“I’m posting it!” Kurt joyfully announced from his position on the couch.
“Nooo!” I shrieked, dramatically extending my hand towards Kurt in a futile attempt to reach him. In the meantime Jack had started to drag me backwards to the other side of the room.
“Done!” Gabe shouted and I immediately went limp in Jack’s arms. It was too late. The damage had already been done. Jack sniggered and gently dropped me on the floor. I quickly grabbed my own phone to check what they had posted.
“Son of a bitch!” I screamed at them.
It was a perfectly decent, fully-clothed selfie of the band with the caption ‘In a few hours we’ll be hitting the stage in the gorgeous city of Vienna!’
I was going to get my revenge later on.
Click here to read chapter 2.