Quinn Rafferty walked off the quiet elevator and into the madness and barely calmed hysteria of the country's headquarters for Rock World, the latest best-selling music magazine. Shaking back her shoulder length auburn hair, she marched through the melee and into Dillon Mackenzie's office, dropping her article onto the large wooden desk in front of her.
"Finished, have you?" Dillon asked, not bothering to look up from the laptop screen.
"Of course I've finished," she fumed. "You give me the worst material to work with."
"You're the only one on our team that could possibly turn the latest teenybopper boy band from bland to hot, Quinn. You know that. Besides, I have something new for you. Something better."
"It had damn well be better than this last band you had me cover. I don't think I can handle anymore screaming twelve year-olds." Quinn shook her head, cringing as she remembered the many concerts she had to sit through surrounded by squealing tweens. She wasn't sure she could ever face her nine year old niece anymore without cringing.
"Oh, it is," Dillon assured her. Having finished his email, Dillon closed the laptop and folded his hands neatly on the desk in front of him. "You're familiar with the band Personalized Defeat?"
"Of course. I don't think there's anyone working here who isn't a fan."
"And you've heard that they're going on tour."
"Of course. They're opening for DemiOne." DemiOne was the newest band to hit the charts, with their single "Going for Broke" racing up to claim the top spot.
"Well you're going to be touring with Personalized Defeat. They're giving us a one of a kind opportunity to follow them around and get exclusive interviews. You'll be doing individual articles on each of the band members and then a final group interview that will be the cover story for October's issue."
Quinn plopped down on the chair in shock. A cover story? With the way Dillon ran the magazine would have to have been working for him for years to warrant a cover story. She hadn't even been there six months yet. "Seriously?"
"Seriously." Dillon laughed at Quinn's shocked face. "You'll be going out on tour with them at the end of this month, so clear your calendar. I'm going to want those individual articles as soon as you can get them. We'll have one in each magazine starting in May. Then the big story will be in October and you will be the newest 'It' reporter."
"Wow. Thank you. Thank you so much! This is incredible."
"You've earned it, Q. I've given you the grunt work for too long and you're one of the best guys I've got here. Don't let me down."
"I won't, don't worry!"
"Wait, run this by us again. We're letting a reporter on the bus with us? For three months? As in he's going to be bunking with us and writing down everything we say for the next three months?"
Derek Middleton smiled cautiously as he addressed the band. "Yes."
"Why on Earth would we let some scumbag reporter on our bus with us for three months?" Ryder Sloane, lead singer and guitarist, demanded of their manager.
"It'll be good press, good publicity. Besides, this guy is a good reporter; I've read all the articles I could find written by this guy. Dillon's a good friend of mine. He assured me this guy is genuine."
"Oh good, a genuine reporter." Gavin Reid, drummer extraordinaire, scoffed. "Like those two words actually go together."
"I trust Dillon and that means you guys should trust me. Have I ever steered you guys wrong?"
"It's early yet," Nick Holden, the bassist, said, eyeing Derek suspiciously.
"Look. All I'm asking is that you guys try it out for a month or two. If you guys really can't stand the guy by then, I'm sure we can have it arranged for him to head back to wherever he came from."
"I'm still not happy with the situation," Tyler Madison, the other guitarist and singer, said, "even if it can be reversed."
"None of us are, bro," Ryder said, punching him lightly in the arm. "Guess we just have to deal with it, seeing as we had no fucking say in the matter."
Ryder watched Derek as he moved about the small greenroom they were waiting in. Personalized Defeat was making their television debut on one of the many late-night talk shows and they were waiting as the host talked to some starlet about her latest movie. Just sitting in this greenroom had Ryder on edge. He'd never wanted the limelight; he'd only wanted to make his music heard. But apparently television cameras and the flashbulbs of paparazzi were what came with getting his music heard.
And now he was supposed to live the next three months with some strange guy, who was probably in his fifties and balding and had never heard of his band until his boss made him cover the story. He'd probably make them all listen to Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra and tell them all what was wrong with kids these days.
It was enough to make Ryder want to pull his hair out already.
Quinn lay on her bed in her newly purchased New York City apartment, clothes strewn about the room, as she listened to her mother talk.
"I'm just saying, Quinn, touring with four boys is not the best way to get ahead in your work."
"But that's what you don't understand, Mom. This is my big break. Personalized Defeat is going to be huge. I know it, Dillon knows it, and the entire country knows it. And I get the chance to have their first major interview. I'm writing their first cover story. This is what I've waited my entire life for."
"I still don't see why you didn't stay with the New York Times. That was real, respectable journalism – even if you were working in the entertainment section."
Quinn sighed and got off the bed to pace the small bedroom. She cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder as she took more clothes out of her closet and brought them to the bed. "Mom, I'm not having this discussion with you again. I love what I'm doing. I wasn't happy with the other stories I was writing. This is what I want to do. I wish you would be happy for me."
"Oh Quinn, I am happy you're doing what you want. I just wish you would've done something better with your degree. Writing about musicians isn't good journalism."
"Says you," Quinn snapped.
"Watch that tone young lady. You may be twenty-five but I am still your mother and you will respect me."
"Look, Mom, I have to go. I'm leaving in a few days to meet the band and get on the road and I have to finish packing and get a hold of Samantha to watch Marley," she told her mother, desperate to get off the phone. Marley, Quinn's cat, weaved between her legs for attention.
"Fine." Over the phone, Marlena huffed in annoyance. "Just avoid the issue like you always do. I just wanted to let you know your father and I will be in France until the end of October, unless something comes up."
"Okay, Mom. Have fun. Give Dad my best."
"You be safe. Don't let those boys annoy you."
"I never let boys annoy me. I love you, Mom."
"And your father and I love you."
Quinn hung up the phone and put it back on the nightstand. She turned to Marley, who had decided to hop onto her bed and was currently looking at her curiously, and sighed, scratching him between his ears. "My mother drives me crazy sometimes."
Marley meowed in agreement. "At least you didn't have to live with her for twenty years."
Flipping her music back on, she went back to packing the better part of her apartment into two exceptionally large suitcases.
By that Friday, Quinn was standing in the baggage claim of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, waiting for her ride that would take her to the arena to meet Personalized Defeat before they started their first show of the tour. Her scheduled ride to the arena was already fifteen minutes late, and this was even after her plane was thirty minutes late getting into Austin.
Stealing another glance at her watch, she pulled out her cell phone to call the car company again. After being assure that her ride was on the way, she went to the nearest chairs to sit and try not to go crazy. Airports were never her favorite places to be.
Ten minutes later, her ride finally found her through the crowds and they were finally on the road to the arena. Quinn spent most of the ride not looking at the road, since the driver was swerving around any car he could to get her to the arena before the show started.
When she finally reached the arena and managed to find Derek Middleton, Personalized Defeat was already on stage. Derek led her around backstage, giving her a very in-depth tour through the band's set. He took her to the bus and – with some help – managed to get her bags on the bus.
Forty-five minutes later, Ryder led the rest of the band offstage. Through the crowds of people milling around backstage, either working or just standing and watching, he managed to spot Derek and the redhead standing with him. Her back was facing Ryder and he was given an excellent view of a very exceptional butt, shown off very nicely in a pair of dark jeans.
"Oh there you are!" Derek boomed, gesturing Ryder and the boys over to him. "There's someone I want you to meet."
The redhead turned around and smiled. "Hi," she said, extending her hand. "I'm Quinn Rafferty."
Ryder stared at the girl standing in front of him. "You're Quinn?"
"Yeah," she said slowly, letting her hand fall back down at her side. "I'm the reporter that's –"
"That's living with us for the next three months or so. Yeah we know." Ryder gave her a wide smile. "Well this is going to be an interesting tour."
So this is my the new story.
Sorry this chapter kind of sucks, but I needed to introduce the idea of the story and the main characters.
I've gotten some requests for a sequel to Old Thoughts and New Dreams and I want to say that right now, I'm not planning on a sequel.
And if there was a sequel, I probably wouldn't make it about Riley and Jonathan, but about Isabella and.. someone.