You know, they surprisingly warn you about jail constantly when you sign to a label. Sometimes they swear against it, threatening your contract if you so much as J walk. While others encourage it. Extra publicity or some crap like that. But right now? I kind of wish I had listened to the first one. Even if it does get me a few extra thousand single sales. As sick and wrong as that sounds. It’s the job.
I stare at lime green painted bars, which are peeling in weird places, while sitting on a metal cot. The smell of metal, sweat and disgustingly enough, urine, are the yet to be made Yankee Candle fragrances that permeate the air, and most likely now my skin. This place makes me feel like I’m an animal; stuck here without the keys to the cage and pawing to get out of my confines. But I deserve it in a way. I told Khalli it was a stupid idea. But God knows I never say no when dared. And the bastard knows it. This is my karma.
“Man, he said he’d be here in twenty minutes. Where the hell he at, yo?” Khalli paces the floor like he’s on trial for murder and the jury is deliberating. He should be used to this by now. This isn’t his first stay at the County Jail Inn.
I further roll my eyes at Khalli’s rapper slang reserved for times excluding this one, and lean my head back against the cinder block walls, trying not to explode. We each got one call to get us out of L.A. county jail and I could only think of one reliable source in this town: Dylan. My bodyguard.
I hear footsteps on the concrete floor approaching us and roll my eyes open to see who it is. And I wish I hadn’t.
The cop who arrested me and Khalli stands there, a cocky ass smile on his fresh-out-of-the-academy face, like he already leaked this to TMZ. I would expect nothing less.
And the guy next to him is Hulk.
Dylan looks down at me through the bars. He basically does that with everyone since he’s six-foot-seven. But as he looks at me, no emotion betrays his thoughts. I hate that about Dylan. He lets you think he’s either pissed at you or…well, pissed at you. There aren’t a lot of options with him.
Cocky cop starts talking. Joy. “Found these two outside of a mall urinating in some potted plants. As you can imagine, they weren’t the most sober at the time.”
Robo cop steals another glance at me, knowing damn well that we hadn’t been wasted, but he probably charged us for public intoxication, too. Again, Dylan says nothing, just looks at the cop and nods. Rent-a-cop walks up to the bars and unlocks the metal gates. They slide open ominously and I look to Khalli who smiles like a fool. His neck chains swing erratically back and forth as he swaggers out of the cell, clapping the cop on the shoulder like an old friend. The idiot. I, on the other hand, op for a less enthusiastic approach. I simply leave the cell with hands buried deep in my baggy jean’s pockets.
“Pissing in a plant this time. Really?” Dylan says in a monotone as he finishes paying my bail.
I give him my signature cocky grin. “Well, Gina said get creative, so we did.” Gina is my agent and has been since day one of my career. I’ve been in this same position about four times because of her. To be honest, I’m starting to judge her angle.
Dylan shakes his head as we exit my latest mistake. “I never liked that woman. Always scheming.”
I can’t blame him. I’d be mad at the person who kept making me bail me out too.
Outside is a torrential down pour of camera flashes. A wave of paparazzi flank me as Dylan makes a path for me to go through to get to the awaiting Escalade out front. Having the car in front instead of in the back must have been Gina’s doing. More pictures for tomorrow’s tabloids is always her motto.
I hold onto the back of Dylan’s shirt like a freaking five-year-old and we soon make it to the car with its blessed tinted windows. At first the attention from the cameras was fun. It was nice having all eyes on me, and having them follow me around felt like I’d finally made it. That lasted about a year and then the effect tapered off to annoyance. Even though I haven’t made it as big as I’d like in the rap world, I still have quite the following, and that means I get this kind of stuff every day. And I do mean every. Single. Day.
I jump into the back and Dylan signals to the driver to get going. We have to head straight for the airport because my plane leaves at eleven p.m. If I want to make the next stop on the tour, we got to go. Like, now.
I lean back in the leather seat and Dylan turns around. His dark brown eyes tell me I’m about to get an ear full.
“This is the fourth arrest this year, Adams.” It’s all he says.
I shrug, not really caring about my track record at the moment. “It’s not that bad if you think about it.”
“It’s only April.”
Dylan shakes his head once again, the disappointment he has in me evident.
I don’t want him to be disappointed in me.
He’s the closest thing I have to a father figure, and upsetting him stings like a bitch. “I’ll try not to screw it up again, Dyl. Promise.” It’s not like when I signed on to all of this almost three years ago that I wanted to be a disgrace in the public eye. I just wanted to spit lyrics at the speed of light and get my voice heard. Little did I know with living your dream there’d also be consequences.
“I know, Adams. I’ve made sure of it.” His ominous words don’t sit well with me. But I don’t care enough to ask him what he means either.
Waking up to a phone ringing at one in the morning isn’t my favorite thing in the world. And it’s usually not a rare occurrence on a farm, sadly. As I sit up in bed the phone stops ringing. Must be Molly got it already.
With eyes wide open, I know I won’t be able to get back to sleep without knowing what the call is about, so I get up and put on my fluffy pink robe, bypass my millions of horse posters, and head downstairs to the kitchen. And in its massive space is my aunt, sitting on the butcher block counter with the wall phone pinned to her ear. She sees me walk in and motions for me to come over.
“Dylan, I’m going to put you on speakerphone,” Molly says as she picks up the conference phone on the counter and hangs up the other receiver. “Okay, now repeat what you just said so Patience can put in her two cents,” My aunt’s slight twang comes out when she says this. It always does when she isn’t the most pleased.
“Hey, Uncle D.”
“Hey, baby girl. How are ya doin’?”
I smile at the use of his endearment for me. He’s been calling me his baby girl since before I can remember. “I’m just fine. But…uh…” I look over to Molly and she looks like she’s about to blow her lid. “I don’t think I can say the same for your sister.”
He chuckles. “I know where she’s coming from. But it’s your opinion I need.”
Well this is new. “Um, why?”
“Oh, here we go.” Molly crosses her arms. Never a good sign.
“I wanted to know if you guys would be willing to have a guest for the summer.”
I look to my aunt, eyebrows raised, wondering why simply housing another person would upset her so much. It’s not like we haven’t had summer guests here before, and this huge house can obviously fit in one more body. “I don’t see the problem in that.” The only thing that could turn my aunt off is the person. Which makes me ask, “So, who is it?”
Dylan pauses, a long silence follows. “Uh, well…does it really matter? I mean the kid just needs some time to – ”
“Cut the crap, Dylan,” Molly snaps back. Wow, this must be bad. She never gets fired up like this normally.
He sighs, finally coming to defeat. “It’s St. Claire Adams.”
I still don’t get it. He enunciated the name like it held significant weight. “Am I supposed to know who that is?”
“He’s the kid I protect. He’s pretty popular, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of him. They’re labeling him the next Eminem.”
Once again my uncle laughs at my lack of pop culture knowledge. “No, sweetie. More like the rapper. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he’s got his head in the clouds and needs to come down. And I can’t think of two better people, and a farm, to do just the job than you and Molly.” I hear yelling in the background and I’m curious as to where he must be.
I once again look to Molly to see her reaction to all of this, and all she does is frown. I still don’t understand why this is a bad thing. If he needs to get back down to earth, there’s nothing better than some hard labor on a horse farm to do the trick. “So why the trepidation?”
“He has a bit of a history with, um, charming the ladies.” I can hear the disappointment in my uncle’s voice and I know why. The man is a geezer at heart and believes women should be treated with love and the utmost respect. I love that about him. It’s something that skipped my generation. “It’s why your aunt isn’t a fan of the plan.”
I laugh because they have to be joking. “You’re worried that he’ll try to ‘get with me’ while he’s here? Are you guys kidding me?” Being raised around mostly adults and horses my whole life, I’ve developed a good judgment. I can smell insincere from a mile away and know the bad ones from the good. Most people think I’m ridiculously naïve and too go lucky, essentially annoying. But in a cynical world, there has to be someone who’s positive. Why not me? I also believe that you should give people the benefit of the doubt. Even with…what was this guy’s name again?
“I just want to keep you safe. The last thing I need is for you to have a teenage boy down the hall from you.” Molly flips a piece of wild auburn hair behind her ear. Most people assume she’s my mom because we have the same build, same eyes, and similar hair. But that’s only because she and Mom were twins.
Seeing the obvious distress in her eyes, I walk over and give her a sideways hug. She’s been overly protective of me since Mom died. I guess she feels that if she lets me down, then she’s letting down her sister as well. “How about this. He can stay here for a few days and then you can decide whether or not you want him here for the summer. Sound okay?” Molly looks like a spooked horse about ready to turn tail, but I know that in the end she’ll cave. She almost always does when it comes to me.
A few stilled moments later, “Well…”
“Oh come on, sis. You know I wouldn’t send him to you if I had even the smallest doubt he’d give you trouble.”
I can tell the moment she accepts.
She throws her hands in the air like she’s the teenager. “Oh, fine Dylan. But I swear, if he so much as looks at her wrong –”
Uncle Dylan sighs. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I face your wrath.”
Well this can’t possibly go wrong, right?
End of Sample