Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer. This story however, is mine, and all similarities to real persons are just that, similarities. Please feel free to review or not, I just love reading and writing. Hope you enjoy this journey with me!
This is a spanking new version of Chapter One, made pretty thanks to torisurfergirl and StoryPainter at Project Team Beta. Any mistakes after their edits and suggestions are mine.
This is Celebrity Insider and I'm your host, Eva Hart. In our top news tonight, Seattle-based band Red Zone, has canceled the rest of their sold-out tour indefinitely. This comes on the heels of last Friday night's show at the Staples Center being cut short only nine songs into the band's set list, with front man, Anthony Masen, proclaiming his voice 'just isn't working out tonight'. He has since disappeared after the humiliating end to that show.
Aro Goldberg of Volturi, Red Zone's management company, stated in a press conference this morning from his Los Angeles office that Masen was on an extended leave of absence for rest and rehabilitation from exhaustion and vocal stress.
However, industry insiders say that Masen had become increasingly angry with Volturi's efforts to continue overextending a tour that has gone on for nine months with no breaks for the band. It has been repeatedly heard, through sources and gossip mongers, that those arguments between Masen and Goldberg could be heard throughout Volturi's offices with Masen stating that he 'would quit' if the company wouldn't 'back off' on Red Zone's promotion and touring schedule.
Red Zone is scheduled to return to the studio once again to begin recording their fourth album, tentatively titled 'Into the Fire', this coming December, but Masen's disappearance and the subsequent cancellation of the current tour may delay those efforts.
Attempts to reach band members Emmett McCarty and Jasper Whitlock for comment have been unsuccessful.
In other news…
"I want him found, and I want him found now. He's acting like an insolent child. I want him in my office by December first, or Red Zone's contracts will be canceled."
Aro's assistant flinched at the violent tone of his voice as he belittled the private investigator he'd hired to find the missing rock star, Anthony Masen. Thankfully this time, there was no throwing of chairs or knocking over of lamps.
"I don't care how much money you spend, or how much of Volturi's resources you exhaust. If you have to call out the fucking LAPD, FBI, CIA, NSA or any other acronym bullshit law enforcement agency, I want him back! NOW!"
Aro tried, but failed repeatedly at slamming the office phone down into its cradle on his desk until he finally ripped the offending thing off his desk and threw it at the wall, smashing it into a mess of expensive technology on the floor.
"JANE!" Aro yelled.
Jane tried to stop the shaking in her knees as she moved closer to Mr. Goldberg's expansive desk.
"Yes, Mr. Goldberg?" she answered timidly.
With her notepad in hand, Jane McAllister was ready to implement any instruction her employer demanded of her.
Aro attempted to right his comb over, trying to cover his glistening bald spot and fix what little hair he had left, and then straightened his tie in an attempt to calm himself.
"Jane, I want you to contact Alec. Tell him to contact the remaining members of RedZone and tell them that if they can't get Masen here in three weeks, by the first of December, I'm canceling their current contract and reinstating a new one with a new front man of my choosing."
Jane nodded her head and took down notes, her glasses slowly slipping down her nose.
Growling through his teeth, Aro seethed, "And remind them about the clause regarding their current music catalog. I'm sure they would do anything to keep it from becoming Volturi's upon cancellation."
Aro gave a curt nod to Jane, a silent signal that she was to leave him and get to work right away. Silently pulling the door heavy oak behind her and returning to the glass and chrome desk in the sparsely decorated outer office, Jane dropped to the seat of her ergonomic office chair to keep her knees from knocking together and started scanning through the ancient address box he insisted she keep (he hated modern technology). Jane located the number for Alec Daughtry, Aro's right-hand man, and relayed the message to him.
Alec knew by the tone of Jane McAllister's voice in the message she left that Aro was past exasperated with his precious pet, Anthony Masen.
Along a dusty four lane highway in Central California, a lone man, with nothing but a military-style duffle bag and guitar slung over his shoulder, made his way past fields being harvested at the end of their growing season. The peach and pear trees were bare, having already been cleared by local farmworkers, however there were still fields upon fields of trees still full with shiny red apples and vines drooping with heavy bunches of grapes to be finished. The yellow haze of dust ominously covering the clouds in the air signaled the beginning of the almond harvest and could be seen throughout the San Joaquin Valley as the giant shaker machines moved from field to field clearing the trees, releasing dust into the air.
He'd been wandering up and down the Southern California highways since October, avoiding the larger cities as much as he could. He had finally had enough of the fast-paced lifestyle he'd been leading for five years. He'd buzzed the formerly carefully-coiffed artificial blond out of his hair and let his natural brown and copper grow out messy and unkempt on the top. He'd tossed the contacts that tinted his eyes an unnatural blue somewhere outside of Barstow weeks ago. The orange fake tan he'd been forced to endure every week eventually scrubbed away to reveal a natural glow of fresh pink skin under the Tang-orange color. All that was left of the old him were the permanent reminders of his tattoos up and down his arms.
Though he was now only a three hour drive north of the bright lights and big city that was Los Angeles and the life he left behind, here he was in another world altogether. The people he'd encountered along the way had been friendly, kind, and smiling. They didn't expect him to entertain them like a trained monkey. They didn't lay false worship at his feet, or become sycophantic just to try to get ahead. All that had been expected from him was a little hard work in return for the kindness of a stranger's helping hand. He'd unloaded freight, worked a fish market, and walked miles upon miles of endless highway.
Finally, he decided it was time to rest. He stuck out his thumb as he continued north up Highway 58, hoping, but knowing, deep-down that no one would stop to pick up a stranger.
He was twenty miles outside of Bakersfield, twilight setting in as the hour grew later. A blue pick-up truck blew past him, heading towards the off-ramp to a truck stop he had seen advertised some miles behind him. It came to a sudden stop on the shoulder, a cloud of dirt, rocks and weeds flying up from behind its massive tires. Its driver threw the truck in reverse, backing towards him, while hugging the edge of the highway.
Pulling up next to him, the driver rolled down the window on the rusted-out behemoth and called out to the stranger.
"Hey, where you headed?"
The man nudged his chin forward. "Bakersfield's that way, right? Looks like a good place to stop for the night."
Sizing up the man before him, the driver decided he looked safe enough to pick up, even though he'd been taught by his father, a retired Sherriff's Deputy, to never pick up hitchhikers.
Deciding to trust his gut, the driver leaned over the center console, opened the squeeking passenger-side door and yelled for the man to hop in.
The driver extended a work roughened hand across the center console in introduction.
"The name's Jake. Jake Black."
The stranger extended a hesitant hand to shake Jake's.
"I'm An- Edward. Edward Cullen."
Having still gone by "Anthony" the last few weeks, the name he hadn't used in years sounded strange, yet comforting, to his own ears; finally, he could be who he really was.
Jake threw the car back into drive, pulling off the shoulder and back onto the highway. Eying Edward up and down, and noticing his bag and dusty guitar, Jake decided to take a chance.
"So, Edward, you looking for work?"
Thanks so much for reading! Chapter Two is now off for beta and after those edits/changes are made, it will replace what is currently posted. In the meantime, I am also currently working on Chapter Four, so make sure to favorite/follow to get updates when it's posted!