What Goes on TourBy: Claire Boston
To Mum and Dad
for teaching me I can do anything I set my mind to
and to my husband, Luke
for his support and encouragement
I love you
Libby Myles’ heart was doing its best rock concert impression, thudding hard enough against her ribs that she thought it was going to break through.
She was going on television, not to face a firing squad.
Hurrying alongside the keep-up-or-be-left-behind production assistant, Libby figured it amounted to the same thing.
If she messed this up it was the death of her fledgling career. One wrong word, one misinterpreted sentence, and she’d be that sound bite on tomorrow morning’s radio. The one that was played over and over again while the DJs asked each other, “What was she thinking?”
Suddenly the blond-haired assistant stopped and directed her into a room. Libby braked, wobbled on her four-inch heels, and took a couple of quiet, slow breaths to stop herself panting. God, she was unfit.
“This is the Green Room. You can wait here with the other guests and I’ll be back to get you when it’s your turn.” The woman turned and strode away before Libby could ask for introductions. Libby cursed the fact she had missed the earlier rehearsal due to her book signing and snail-like traffic.
Who had her publicist said would be on tonight’s show? An English comedian, Tony someone, and American rock god, Kent Downer.
Stepping into the room, she noticed there wasn’t any green in sight, rather the walls were painted a pale beige reminiscent of a doctor’s waiting room. Two men sat on a retro red couch, turned toward each other, deep in conversation, perhaps mid-forties in age. Manager and comedian, Libby decided as she heard their English accents. No point trying to get a seat there.
The other red couch had a single occupant. Not the kind of person you wanted to meet in a dark alley, late at night.
Kent Downer stared straight at Libby, one hand in his lap, the other over the top of the couch, his long, rangy legs crossed at the ankles. She smiled, but he didn’t respond, staring but not seeing, his attention somewhere far more interesting than these four walls. She took the opportunity to study him. Short, spikey black faux-hawk, pale skin and the thickest black eyeliner she’d ever seen on a man. His clothes were black too. Skinny-leg jeans, plain, fitted T-shirt and a waistcoat that hung unbuttoned at the sides. Stereotypical rock star. She’d never be able to use him in one of her books – she’d have to make him different in some way. Otherwise she’d get the comment from her editor – “Don’t make him a cardboard cut-out.”
Libby moved across the room and sat on the couch next to the rock star. He must have felt her movement, as he blinked and looked at her briefly before returning his gaze to the spot he’d been staring at.
Obviously a charm school dropout.
But then again, a rock star of his reputation wouldn’t be interested in talking to an author. She pushed aside the twinge of self-doubt. It was his loss.
Libby had a moment of regret for insisting her publicist have the night off – and then shook her head. She didn’t need to be babysat.
She poured a glass of water, grabbed a handful of chocolate from the bowl on the glass coffee table and scooted back on the couch to relax.
It didn’t happen. The couch was as comfortable as its color was subtle.
Shoving the chocolate into her mouth, she took her notebook and pen out of her bag and opened to a blank page. She was about to be interviewed in front of a live studio audience and broadcast all over Australia.
Libby’s skin grew clammy and she shook her fingers briefly to release some of the stress.
This was a huge opportunity. Struggling writers didn’t get this kind of thing. Someone must have owed her publicist a favor. Big-time.
Libby knew if the viewers liked what they saw, they’d mention her to friends, maybe go out and buy her books. If enough people bought them, she’d finally be able to give up her day job and write full time. And prove to her parents she could make it as an author.
Right now, though, she’d settle for a decent royalty check. The repairs on her car had used up every last cent of her savings, and if she didn’t get a new temp job when she finished her tour, she’d have to survive on whatever she could harvest from her vegie patch.
There was no way she would ask her parents for help. She couldn’t face the ‘I told you so’ she’d get.
She couldn’t stuff this up.
“Tony, you’re up.” The efficient assistant was back, motioning the comedian toward the door. The two Englishmen rose and followed her out of the room.
Nerves clenched in a death grip in Libby’s stomach. She ignored them, taking some more chocolate, then shifted her weight, lifting her knee so she was sitting sideways on the couch.