First I want to thank my fellow author and Collaborator, GLee68, without her encouragement and 3 am conversations this little piece of work would probably be still stuck in my head. So check out her stuff because it is that good and leave some love:)
I want to thank my alpha beta Closettwilighter1, without her this just might be a jumbled up mess. All the conversations leading up to this means more than you will ever know! Her little fic deserves some love and affection too so make sure you stop by and you can tell her I sent you!
Last but not least, All the wonderful people from FanficAholics Anon, y'all have been truely an inspiration! If you don't know who they are check out my page for the link, stop by and let the almighty creator know you were there :D!
S Meyers owns these beloved characters, I just happen to be addicted to them...
Ugh!… How did I ever allow myself to be talked into this?
Damn Emmett! God! Sometimes he can just be so overbearing, and that's putting it mildly.
Six months prior
I was getting things ready for Emmett to arrive at my apartment. He always seemed to act like a trapped bull getting ready to take down the bull rider before his 8 seconds was up and in my tiny apartment that just wasn't going to fly for the next several days. I had already started on the massive amounts of pies that would be eaten for dessert on Thanksgiving.
Emmett was a starting defensive linebacker for University of Tennessee and this was the last game of the regular season of his senior year playing against the University of Kentucky's Wildcats.
I would probably be the only Kentuckian there to be wearing a Volunteers jersey, but I had to show some support to my favorite cousin. Plus, I supposed it helped that I actually didn't attend UK but went to Transylvania University instead for college so I shouldn't feel too terribly bad.
After going to school here for four years I might as well be a native, though I fought becoming one tooth and nail. It was a losing battle. Let's just say I lost my Northwestern accent and adopted, unwillingly, a mixed southern twang.
Being so far from home, Emmbear had really been my rock. My aunt and uncle have more than gladly taken me under their wing.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
"I'm a-comin' Emm, hold your horses out there!"
"Well geez, BB, I'm freezing my balls off out here."
As I open the door for Emm I can see him in all his hulking glory shivering in just his tee shirt and jeans.
"Goodness gracious Emm, let the whole complex know about it, why don't you? Now get in here before the neighbors call the cops."
Before I know it I am wrapped up in one of Emmett's notorious bear hugs gasping for the little amount of air I can get.
"Sorry Bella, it's just been soooo long since I last saw you." As I try to wiggle away, he's too fast and I can't get out of him rubbing my head, messing my hair up in the process.
"Ugh, do you have to be so annoying Emmett?"
"Bellabee, where would you be without me, huh? You know you looove me."
"Some days, Emmett, I have a hard time remembering why I do."
This is normal for us.
I swear it's more like we are brother and sister than cousins.
As Emm gets settled in, I finish wrapping up the pies and place our order from my favorite pizza place. I make sure to get Emmett his double meat supreme deep dish, while I get my favorite mushroom and spinach.
After our pizzas arrive, we settle in around the coffee table with our drinks and prepare to eat. I sit across from Emmett on the floor so I am not caught in the demolition that occurs when Emmett eats. Sometimes it's truly a mystery that he still manages to get a girl to stick around after they've eaten. Just as I am about to take my first delicious bite, Emm drops a bomb on me.
"So BB, I need to tell you something and you have to promise you won't get mad."
"O-okay you know I can't make any guarantees, but I will try to keep an open mind about it. Emmett, can you please try to contain your mess, I don't want to find a piece of sausage sticking to my butt when I sit on my couch."
"Ok. Well you see, umm, there were these people out on campus one day, and ummm, they were out looking for students to do…a, uh, road trip reality show. I kind of, umm !
"At the end we get these awesome prizes and we get to spend the summer traveling over the U.S. for free!"
"Come again? You did WHAT?"
"Bee, I signed us up for it. Come on, it will be tons of fun, and I really want to do it. I just can't go without my Bellabee. Just think, we will get out there and see the nitty gritty things of this great country. For Free! How can you not want to take this opportunity…"
Sometimes I swear I don't know what's going on in that pea brained head of his.
"Did you get dropped on your head as a baby or something? In what alternate universe do you think I would be remotely interested in doing something like that Emmett? I have to work this summer to start getting ready to pay for grad school. I just can't take off and go tour the country. Who would pay my bills while I am gone?"
Emm cut me off mid rant. "Bella, the show takes care of everything. Everything! Every challenge we earn money and they cover everything while we're out on the road. Come on BB,this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will make for great material for your thesis; you can put your put your money where your mouth is and be able to write one heck of a story after all the adventures we are going to have on the road. You can't get any more real than this."
He succeeded in shutting me up. He made a great argument by addressing all of my concerns. I was left without any more objections. I basically sat stunned with my mouth hanging open.
"Ok Emm. How long do I have to consider this, this thing? When do we have to get back to them?" Once I was able to form a complete thought.
"We don't. We're already signed up and ready to go. We leave out to meet the other four people the end of the second week in May in Memphis. Its right after everyone is done with finals. From there we begin the road trip and its challenges."
So here I am after finishing my last final, packing up my belongings, and preparing to travel around the US in a Winnebago for the next three months with four complete strangers. Once I load everything up in my truck I head south on I-75 to pick Emmett up in Knoxville. From there, we head to Memphis to meet one of our other cast mates Alice Brandon. From what I have been told is we start off with our first challenge, participating in Memphis in May's Annual World BBQ Cooking Contest. I can picture it now, with Emmett on my team I am sure we might, just might make it out of there alive with everything still intact.
I finally make it to Emm's duplex after a grueling drive down I-75; by the time I made it to his road I did not have the patience for the Amish kids. Emmett steps off his stoop and opens my truck door.
"Geez, BB I thought you were never gonna get here."
"Well, Emmett, unlike you, I had a lot of stuff to pack up and put up before I could leave out. Plus, you know, traffic can get kind of bad when all those crazy Amish kids with their horse and buggys get on the road. You know there is no way around them in some spots."
"Sorrry…" This is the man's normal apology and, while I know he will be a smart ass again, in the very near future, I have to take it at face value and just move on or we will never get on the road to Memphis.
"Sooo BB what did you bring for this epic trip?"
"Well geez Emm I certainly am not going to run around naked all the time, and you can keep your comments to yourself. I don't want anyone to think just because we live in this portion on the United States that we are kissing cousins. People already push that stereotype enough. I packed the usual and I brought Andalucía along with the top five of all time."
"I will never understand why you named your guitar after a dog from a Pixies' song. In fact, I don't know why you named it at all. That's kind of strange BB."
"Like you don't think Daisy would take offense to that statement!" As I point over to the Jeep sitting in his driveway, covered up I might add.
His precious Daisy, heaven forbid you mention Daisy. Daisy is his supped up to the max Jeep Wrangler. I swear I need a step ladder to climb in the passenger seat.
"Hey Emm, why don't you bring your guitar and maybe if you're a good boy I'll play with you."
Emmett runs back inside and grabbed his matching Fender T-Bucket 300 CE, while I finish up loading his bags into my truck. The show's coordinators told me once we meet up with everyone in Memphis that they would have my baby brought back safe and sound, if not we would have been taking Daisy to Memphis.
As soon as we are all loaded up I hop in the driver seat because I absolutely refuse to allow Emmett to drive my vehicle. His driving scares me enough as it is. We head off to get onto I-40 headed to Memphis.
"Oh, hey BB, I forgot to tell you, we got a text with our first official mission. We are to meet Alice Brandon at the Black Diamond on Beale St once we get into Memphis. When we get there, she'll know what we are going to have to do."
"Isn't Beale Street famous for where Blues music was born?"
"I think so, why?"
"I guess we will have to scope her out in the middle of a Blues Bar. I always wanted to go hear some real, nitty gritty authentic blues. This should be awesome!"
As I head onto the on ramp, Emmett decided to load up his Zune for some tunes.
"Emmett, you are not serious!"
"On the road again- Just can't wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends…"
"Change that! You know I'll get that stuck in my head. Turn that off…PWEASE!"
As he's sitting there laughing his patooty off, he continues to torture me with Wille Nelson. UGH! If he keeps this up, it's going to be a looooong six hour drive.
"Dang, BB, alright I'll change it. What do you feel like listening to?"
"I don't know. Anything besides that and rap."
He finally settles on some Switchfoot and we head on our merry way down I-40.
Seven hours, six stops and one trip to the Hooters in Nashville, because heaven forbid Emmett not get a chance to try out their hot wings, yeah right that's not the only reason he wanted to go there, we are finally making it into the outskirts of Memphis. Thank jeebus we are missing rush hour traffic because I, for one, do not like being stuck in that mess. TOMTOM is yelling at me to get off at the next exit onto Third Street. From there it guides me to our "Final Destination." When we reach our parking area, we meet up with our camera crew, Tyler and Felix. Once introductions are made, we are outfitted with our microphones and instructed on where to go and just try to forget that the cameras are even there.
The place is packed with all kinds of people here for the Memphis in May festival; I just hope we can find Alice amongst the masses.
As we head down towards the bar, I hear the loudest squeal I have ever heard in my life, and believe me it was loud enough to put a pig to shame. The next thing I know some girl is jumping on me and just about tackles me to the ground. She finally climbs down off of me and has a somewhat sheepish look on her face.
"Sorry….It's so incredibly awesome to finally meet y'all, I'm Alice Brandon."
"Uh, Hi Alice. I guess you already know who I am considering you just about put my cousin here to shame with tackling skills. The big guy is Emmett McCarty."
"Ignore Emmett's nicknames. He rarely ever calls anyone by their real name."
"That's quite alright." Alice says as she gives Emmett a hug, he in turn squeezes her until she's about blue in the face.
As he finally sits her back down on the ground, he asks, "Hey AliCat, how did you know who we were?"
"Easy as pie. They sent me a picture of you both along with the text for what we will be doing tonight."
"And just what are going to be doing tonight, AliCat?"
"Besides trying to take over the world," she giggled with a little snort at the end. "Well to kick this thing off right, we will be appeasing the masses coming into the Black Diamond tonight. One of us is to draw people into the bar, while another helps out at the bar, and last but not least the third person is to play host and introduce all the bands playing tonight. When we are done we will receive a portion of our proceeds to go into our "Quest Fund."
I was a little bit flabbergasted when I heard all of this. Being shy and having no clue on how to mix drinks, I didn't know which I one I wanted to pick. The host job sounded like the best choice for me.
Emmett immediately takes the position of being outside drawing people in. Alice pipes up that she can make the dirtiest Mississippi Mud. I guess that leaves me to the stage.
At this point, I make my way through the crowded bar to the stage and introduce myself to the manager.
"Hi, I'm Bella." I timidly hold out my hand to shake, which thankfully he does.
"Well, 'Hi' to you too Bella. I'm Ben. I guess I'll be instructing you on what all you're going to have to be doing tonight for our acts."
"Who all will be playing tonight?"
"Well, tonight we are in for a real treat with the Eric Hughes Band, Kevin and Bethany Paige and Charlie Wood. These guys will knock your socks off. Each has a forty-five minute set so it should definitely keep the crowd entertained. All you have to do is prepare the crowd for them and a help out while they're setting up."
As Ben pulls me up on stage, I tell him I definitely think I can do that. As we go back stage I meet and get a little acquainted with the groups. I find out that Eric's band won 2007 Battle of the Blues. Kevin and Bethany are super nice and they inform me that they normally perform at Alfred's, but were making a special appearance here tonight because of our show.
Looking like a he's straight out of the classic movie, The Blues Brother's, Charlie's been all over the world and played with some of the greats in the Blues industry, but he claims he would much rather play his heart and soul out here in on Beale St.
After I talk with them for little while, I decide since I have a few moments I would go and try to check up on Emmett to make sure he isn't outside causing too much of a ruckus.
Making my way back through the crowd takes a little bit more time than I thought it would. The distance to the door seems to have doubled in my time talking to the musicians because of the gathering crowd. I finally weasel my way to the door to see Emmett surrounded by a group of big haired southern belles.
"Emmett!" I shout out but I guess either he doesn't hear me or he's ignoring me. So I get a little closer and try shouting again. My efforts are to no avail as he still doesn't answer.
Dang it, my time is running out so I push my way through the big busted bombshells and I reach up to grab onto his earring and shout, "EEEMMMMMEEEEETTTTT!"
"Dang BB! Whatcha do that for, huh?" he says rubbing his ear in pain.
"You weren't answering and I don't have a whole lotta time before the first band goes on and I wanted to see if you were behaving yourself!" I am amazed I say this all in one breathe.
"BB, you know me. I'm always good. Right ladies?" He says this with the most angelical face he has as he wraps his massive arms around four of the southern Barbie's. I wasn't born yesterday and I am so not buying what he's trying to sell.
"Well any hoo it looks like you've certainly done your job for the night, the place is packed. , I had to worm my way through the crowd just to get out here. Do you think you could help a sista out and get me back to the stage so I can get this party started?"
"Sure little BB. I'd be more than happy to be your bodyguard."
With that we make our way back through the crowd with me clinging onto the back of Emm's shirt.
Once we make it back to where the musicians are setting up, Emm lifts me and sets me on my feet on the stage. He makes sure I am sturdy so I don't do a nose dive into the crowd.
"Are you going to be able to watch the show, Emmett, or are you gonna have to stay outside the whole time?"
"Naw. They said I could come in and chill once it gets rolling. I think I may go keep an eye out on AliCat to make sure she's alright. I'm surprised she can reach over the bar."
"You obviously didn't see the shoes she was wearing." If you could call those things shoes, I think. "The heels on those things must be at least five inches high Emm."
"Well, I'm gonna keep an eye on her. Good luck up here. I know you can do it! Just remember to have fun up there, that's what we're here for!"
With that Emmett makes his way up to the bar. I have no doubt that protective Emmbear will be in full force to protect Alice.
As I make my way back stage, Eric's band is almost finished setting up, so I ask them if they need anything in particular before they go on. They wave me off and tell me they have it taken care of and they'll let me know if they need anything.
Moments later the house lights go off and the dim stage lights are turned on. I guess that's my cue to head out there.
I take a deep breath, count to ten, and tell myself, Bella you can do this, just pick a spot and concentrate on it. Don't think about all the people looking at you and…and breathe. Most importantly try to have fun. That's what you're here for. Remember what Emmett just told you, we are here to have fun and it's about time I start doing it.
"Good Evening, Memphis! How are y'all doing tonight?"
The crowd shouts back their response and I continue, "We, here at the Black Diamond, have some special treats in store for y'all tonight! Are you guys ready?" At this point it all sounds like a loud roar in my ears, "Okay then. Without further ado, I give you The Eric Hughes Band!" I clap for the band as eagerly as the crowd.
As they come out, Eric comes up to me and whispers in my ear, "Bella you did great! See ya after the show!"
I make my way back to the stage entrance and watch as Eric and his band belt out some serious blues.
After watching those groups pour their souls out for the crowds, it's time for us to go and head to our hotel for the night. I meet up with Emmett and Alice along with the camera crew back at the club's entrance. Felix informs us that they already provided us a van to take us to the hotel and that tomorrow morning we are to meet up with the others before we go to the competition.
As I climb into bed, I realize this trip could be just what Emmett told me. The adventure of a lifetime.
E/n I would love to know what you thought...