Chapter 4

Tyler sat on a tall stool behind an electronic keyboard as he tried to pay attention to what Hannah was saying as she stood next to him, holding sheets to scores in her hand. "So, around here, we should probably slow the tempo just a little bit…"They were in one of the school's individual practice rooms, mildly sound-proofed with the padding on the walls. Tyler couldn't help but pull a minor grimace at the quality, suddenly wishing he was in one of the practice rooms at Aria instead. At least they had a real piano; sure Tyler could have opted to use the school's old baby-grand, but that instrument was in dire need of some retuning.

"And then I had sex with the band's drum player!"

Tyler's attention was brought back to the room with Hannah's comment, "Wait, what?" He asked, blinking a couple times at Hannah, trying to recall what she had been talking about when his mind had been wandering.

Hannah laughed through her nose, "God, Tyler, where are you?"

Tyler sighed and gave an apologetic wave of his hand, "Sorry, sorry. I'm here. So what did you want us to do for this?" he asked, determined to stay on track this time.

Hannah rolled her eyes, "You be careful, or I'll take a pair of scissors to your hair and we'll get to see just how good Arys' stylist is."

"Hey, woah. Scissors are not for playing with." Tyler joked, glad that Hannah was seemingly over, or had finally accepted, the fact that he led a double life.

"Sure they are," Hannah grinned, "and speaking of Arys, isn't he supposed to be dating Olivia What's-Her-Face?"

"Olivia Woods," Tyler corrected, "And technically, yes. But to let you in on a secret to show how much I trust you, it's really just a PR move by our people."

Hannah laughed again, "You sure that's a wise move? I might be that creepy fan that takes secret pictures of you and posts it all over the internet. I could expose you whole operation here! Maybe you should give me an autograph to sell to the highest bidder online to shut me up," she suggested in a serious tone, but her twinkling eyes gave her away.

Tyler scoffed, "I'm just going to pretend that didn't happen. So what were you saying we should do with this song?"

It was a good thing that Annabelle hadn't tried the high school Tyler had enrolled into when she'd left those couple of years ago, because it would have been a waste of her time. According to Kevin, Tyler had only stuck around for a couple of months before transferring out. The reasons why, however, were a little sketchy. Annabelle sighed heavily and cradled her chin in her hand; if Kevin and Tyler had been best friends, how come Kevin had no idea why Tyler had left? What was with all the secrets, Tyler?

"Is something wrong with the sandwich?"

Annabelle looked up abruptly, suddenly remembering she was in the middle of lunch with Justin. She peeled her hand from her face and sat up straight in her seat, "Oh, no. Sorry, I was just zoning out for a moment. Besides, Joey makes the best sandwiches." Annabelle pinched her leg under the table; why was she spacing out when she was in such great company? Justin had taken time out of his busy schedule to drop by to pick her up for lunch before she had to report in for work and here she was with her mind off thinking about some other male. 'What a slut,' she almost muttered out loud to herself, but managed to contain it to her thoughts. "So, how are things at work?" she asked, in the most interested voice she could muster without sounding fake.

Isobel's shrill voice cut through the hum of kitchen clatter, "Can't you do anything right, Anna?"

To be honest, Anna had no idea what she'd done wrong. It was most likely that Isobel was having one of those days where everything and everyone, in her mind, was wrong and was just being bitchy for no reason. Usually, Anna would nod and wait for it to be over, but what with the confusion she'd been experiencing lately with Tyler, her own emotions weren't in the best of shape. "What have I done wrong this time, Isobel?" she asked in an irritated tone.

Isobel was clearly not used to having her subordinates talk back, and she raised an eyebrow, "Excuse me?"

Annabelle ground her teeth; how exactly was Isobel making it sound like Annabelle was acting inappropriately, when she herself was the one yelling for no apparent reason. "You heard what I said."

"Are you asking to be fired?" Isobel threatened.

Annabelle narrowed her eyes and clenched her jaw momentarily before untying her apron at the back, and slamming it on the nearest surface, "No, because I quit." Annabelle didn't even let Isobel slide in a word sideways before she was outside. "Ulgh, that felt soo good." She said out loud to herself and sucked in a deep breath of fresh air, only to be reminded of the rent that was due at the end of the month, credit card bills to pay, and there was this thing called food?

Finally realizing what she did, Annabelle groaned and bent her knees until they were almost touching the ground, and threw her arms around her head, wishing she could disappear. This was the reason she shouldn't make rash decisions. Still in a half-squat, she released her face from the cage that was her arms and stared upwards at the sky, taking in another long breath with a smile. Sure, it was a rash decision, but so had been leaving home to go to culinary school halfway across the world without telling anyone. Annabelle pushed herself up into an upright position again. Hadn't she always wanted to own her own bakery? Maybe this was the time to do it. The sky suddenly seemed to look a lot bluer than it did half a minute ago as Annabelle headed back towards her apartment

Annabelle hadn't noticed the figure waiting outside her door as she fiddled with her keys, trying to sort through all the keychains.

"Heads-up, Anna, or you're going to walk into something soon enough."

The shock of hearing her brother's voice nearly made Annabelle trip over her own feet. A huge grin spread across her face, "Chris!" she exclaimed as she practically jumped on her older brother, still running on the endorphins from her career epiphany ten minutes ago.

"Let's try not to break my back, please?" Chris joked as his back hit against the door with a light thud.

Anna couldn't help but continue grinning, "You are here at the best of times!" She frowned suddenly, as she finally got her door open, "Why didn't you call me before coming?"

"Can't a brother give his little sister a surprise visit?" Chris reached out to rustle Annabelle's hair, much to her annoyance.

"Uh, yeah, but somehow, I feel like your 'surprise visits' always include a heckling message from Dad about why I'm not working in 'the family company'." Annabelle used air quotes with her fingers to emphasize the her mocking tone.

Chris chuckled, "Well, if you already know the speech, I suppose I could forgo it this time. Just don't tell dad."

Anna snorted, "The next time I talk to him, he'll just deliver it again anyway. You can tell him you gave me the speech and I said no again. Besides, if I were working under his stupid label, how will I start my own business?"

Chris narrowed his eyes, "Wait, come again? You're starting a business? Why haven't I ever heard you mention it before?"

"Probably because I decided this, like, ten minutes ago," Annabelle admitted.

Chris didn't even bother asking, "You always were the spontaneous type. I'm not sure you know the definition of baby steps."

Annabelle shrugged, "Well, I tried working at a restaurant. And it worked until I remembered how crazy my boss was. So I'm going to be my own boss." She grabbed an amber tinted bottle from the fridge, popped open the lid with the bottle opener magnet on the freezer door and slid it across the counter at Chris, and then grabbed another beer for herself before closing the door.

"You do realize that your father is going to flip when he finds out, right?"

Annabelle shrugged as she took a swig from her bottle and wandered to her couch, "Why does he have to find out?"

"How exactly are you going to procure the funds without asking the company?" Chris asked logically as he sat down next to his sister, swinging his legs up to rest on her lap.

"I've got some money saved up. And I've got a stellar credit rating, so I'll just go talk to the banks." Annabelle paused and looked innocently at her brother, "And if all else fails, that's what big brothers are for!"

Chris could only roll his eyes and tickle her waist with his foot in response.

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A/N: Short chapter, but at least I updated! I was actually ahead on my exam study schedule, so I took a couple hours just to write. I don't even have to feel bad about procrastinating! Hooray for effective study schedules. =) Hope you guys enjoyed it, and as usual, drop me a review and tell me what you thought of the chapter!

StripehChekaz: Welcome to my other story! I'm glad you like it. =) I will work harder to update faster!