Here is my new story!
Elena is a talented musician and she gets signed to the most prestigious record label in the world. Turns out singer/superstar Damon Salvatore is her producer.
Oh yes, they will clash.
Thanks to Jenn aka elvishgrrl for beta-ing like a boss. And for all of you who helped me brainstorm titles and pre-read this to tell me if you liked it, thank you!
"Are you sure I'm ready for this?" I squirm in the passenger seat of my aunt's sedan. We are sitting outside Saltzman Records, having just barely gotten into Nashville today.
"You know we wouldn't be here if you weren't ready for this," my Aunt Jenna says softly and places a comforting hand on my knee.
My Aunt Jenna is amazing. Neither of my parents could get the time off to drive with me down to Nashville for my meeting with Saltzman Records. Not that they aren't excited, because they are ecstatic. They are the reason I love music in the first place.
I fell in love with country music at a young age. My father and mother listened to it, played it, and lived it all my life. I started guitar and piano lessons at the age of five and fell in love with the music as well. As I got older, my love for music expanded into almost ever genre.
It also doesn't hurt that I am one hell of a singer.
I saved my money all through high school and college to record an album. It didn't go platinum, it didn't win any awards, but my songs got played on local radio and caught the attention of Alaric Saltzman, owner of Saltzman Records. The same studio that produces some of the biggest names in country music to date. Every one of his musicians has won a Grammy and various other awards. It could be the biggest break of my life. So I packed up a few things and drove down to Nashville to meet with Alaric himself.
It was a grueling ten-hour drive, but we finally made it. However, now that I am faced with the reality of the situation, my nerves are hitting me hard. I rarely get nervous, not even when I am on stage. It is the most natural place for me to be.
I take a steadying breath and push myself out of the car.
"You can do this," Jenna says, as she rounds the other side of the car to join me.
I say nothing, but simply nod my head and walk to the front doors.
The interior is impressive. The hardwood floors compliment the beige walls. Well, the parts of the wall I can see since they are covered in platinum records, plaques, shelves full of awards, and pictures of all the stars the studio has made. I reluctantly tear my gaze from the walls and approach the front desk.
"Hi, I'm Elena Gilbert. I'm here to see Mr. Saltzman," I say tentatively. The blonde behind the desk gives me a warm smile and tells me that he will be with me momentarily and to have a seat. I flip my long brown hair over my shoulder and turn back to the large lobby.
Feeling too pent up to sit any longer, I stroll around the room, closely examining the plaques and photos on the wall. My eyes catch the framed cover of Rolling Stone and I smile at the familiar issue. I own it and I know exactly where it sits in my room at home in Mystic Falls, Virginia. I remember getting it in the mail and screaming over how good-looking he is. It was right before he stopped making music, which was a sad day for me and the country music community. Actually, it was a sad day for the entire music community.
I gaze up at his picture and admire the sharp angle of his jaw, the way his cocky smirk pulls up the side of his cheek, his sculpted chest that he's proudly baring and his captivating blue eyes.
"Miss Gilbert? Alaric will see you now," the receptionist says and I reluctantly tear my gaze from the man in the photo. I give Jenna a nervous smile before I walk through the door leading to Alaric's office.
His office is warm and comfortable. It looks like a history teacher's office. The walls are lined with bookshelves piled to the brim with books and other random baubles. In the center of the room, Alaric sits behind his modest desk and types away on his MacBook. The door shuts quietly behind me, causing him to look up at me.
"Elena! Welcome!" he says with a large smile. He is a sandy-haired man with very gentle features and warm brown eyes.
"Hi, Mr. Saltzman, thank you so much for this opportunity," I say shyly, totally star-struck by the man in front of me that holds my dreams in his hands.
"Please, call me Alaric, or Ric, even," Alaric says, taking my hand in his and shaking it firmly. "Sit, sit!" he says animatedly, gesturing to a large armchair across from his desk.
"Thank you," I say graciously.
"How was the drive down?" he asks with a broad smile.
"It's a really beautiful drive," I respond.
"Good, good. Well, let's get down to the nitty gritty," he says seriously. My heart starts pounding immediately. This is it - this is my future that hangs in the balance.
"I didn't call you here to just discuss your music and the possibility of signing you. You are something special and I want to sign you. Today," Ric explains.
My world stops. Wait, what?
"You want to sign me?" I ask in complete shock.
"Elena, have you listened to your album?" Ric asks with a smile. "You are amazing and I would be an idiot not to sign you."
"Wow," I breathe.
"Now," he says, reaching into a drawer and sliding a packet across the desk to me, "I have a contract here for you to read over. I want you to record here. I want you to be the new face of Saltzman Records." Alaric explains everything to me carefully, going through every line of the contract and making sure I agree with everything and compromising on the things I am uncomfortable with.
"You are choosing my producer?" I ask when I read one of the last lines of the contract.
"I know your music, Elena, and I have a producer already in mind for you. Now, this is only for the first album, after that you will also have a say in who produces you, but I have a hunch that you will work well together," Ric explains.
"When can I meet them?" I ask timidly.
"Oh!" His eyebrows shoot up comically. "Yes! I totally forgot." He leans over to his intercom and presses a single button. "Dana, send him in."
Not a minute later, the door opens and I turn to see my new producer. When I lay eyes on the man that walks through the door, I almost fall over.
Damon Salvatore is my producer. The Damon Salvatore.
Damon Salvatore, the record holder for most Grammy's, CTM's, ACM's, and all other awards possible for any musician. He is country music. He is music. He is my idol.
Fuck me. He's even more gorgeous in person. I gulp.
"Elena, meet Damon Salvatore. Damon, meet your new artist, Elena Gilbert," Alaric introduces us with an elated flourish.
"Hi," I breathe as I rise from my chair to shake Damon's hand.
But I am stunned into silence when he turns his ice-cold gaze on me. A fierce shudder runs down my spine when I see the utter hatred lurking in their depths.
Damon Salvatore is my producer and he already hates me.
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