Once Upon a Magazine
"You asked to see me, boss?" I say as I peek my head through the white door of my boss' office.
My boss, Ariana, smiles when she sees me and shows me with her hand to come closer. I slip through the small gap where the door were opened and enter her grandeur office. She nods towards the chair in front of her desk and I rather unpleasantly sit.
I have a weird hunch about this whole circus.
I've worked for Manhattan Elite magazine since I graduated from Yale two years ago, and I have never been called to the Godzilla's office. Yes, Godzilla office. Because she's all nice and shiny on the outside, but when you get to know Ariana, you realize what kind of a huge bitch she really is. Actually, let me rephrase that. She is a giant green monster with sharp teeth and red hair.
I lean against the soft material of the chair and let my hands fold in my lap. I nervously bite my lower lip as I wait for Ariana to proceed. I stare at the picture that's standing on the far end of the desk, of a little blonde girl with a shiny tiara on top of her head and I smile slightly because she reminds me of my neice, Zora, so much.
Then I'm interrupted by a pretended cough and I look up, a big wave of blush reddens my cheeks as I stare at my boss with an apologetic expression. Ariana leans against her own chair and I notice the giant ring on her finger. I make a small mission to tell Victoria as soon as I see her. God, she loves this kind of gossip.
"You already know why you're here." Ariana says. She claps her hands together and lets them dangle in her lap. I stare at her, confused, before she speaks up again. "Liam did wilt you into your new job, right?"
I slowly shake my head. Ariana sighs and stands up. She walks over to the big wall covered window that overlooks New York, and presses her left hand against the glass. She's quiet for a second and I'm too scared to articulate any sounds.
Then she speaks up. "I decided to promote you." She says simply, and I can't help but to gape at her words. I try to find meaning, try to find what made her choose me out of the whole building and I'm thinking, there's got to be a mistake.
Another Miley Stewart has to be working here, only Ariana didn't realize I'm not that girl.
"You are going to be given a new flat, a new car and a new wardrobe." She turns slightly and skims past my skinny jeans and a t-shirt.
What? I work for a magazine, I don't have to look like I walked out of one.
I nod when she still keeps quiet. That seems to trigger her to continue. "Of course, there's a catch." She says, turning towards the window again. She puts her right hand beside her left one. I supres a giggle as I watch her stand by the window, impressed clearly by whatever she sees.
"What's the catch?" I ask softly. I wipe my sweaty palms against my jeans.
"You're going to be an undercover interviewer." Ariana says it lightly, like it is a job that doesn't comprehend much work when in reality, being an undercover interviewer is what is called the gold job here in Manhattan Elite magazine building. You earn so much money you could use it as a drying tool instead of a towel. I take a deep breath.
Ariana Grande wants me, Miley Stewart, a writer of the usual music corner to be her new undercover interviewer.
I feel my blood escape my cellars as I try to lean against the chair as hard as I can. I don't need to freak Ariana out by fainting on the floor right now.
But then I realize what she means by a catch. Being an undercover interviewer is a great opportunity, wished by a lot of people working in this building, but the only bad side of this job is the fact that you move a lot and you never stay in the same town for too long.
It means I will have to move out of my apartment that I share with Victoria. It means I will have to leave the life I've lived so far and live another one.
Every job, new life.
I stand up abruptly, ready to protest and say I can't leave my friend alone. Not right now anyway. But Ariana silences me by putting her hand up in the air. I sulk back into my chair and keep quiet.
"I know about your situation with Mrs. Justice." Ariana says. "If I do recall correctly, she worked here for a year and a half before she'd gotten herself pregnant, true or false?"
I nod slightly. "True." I whisper, I can't let my friend leave on the street because of some job. A hell of a great job, but still, my friend needs me now, more than ever and I can't shoo her to the curb.
Ariana turns around and walks back to her desk and leans against her office chair. She points at me. "You're my jewelry, . Do you know what that means?" She doesn't wait for me to respond. "It means you're something precious to me and I need to make sure you understand how much you're needed in here. Understand?"
"Good. Now that we declared that, I have some other information." She opens a file on her MacBook and turns so I can see. There is a big picture of Nick Grey, the memeber of Grey Brothers, a new found band that everybody's crazy for. I let my eyes roam around the picture before I look up and find Ariana looking at me.
"This is your mission." She says, pointing to the screen. I blink.
"I have to find some dirt on Grey Brothers?"
Ariana shakes her head. "You have to charm Nick Grey." I watch her for a few moments, trying to process all the information I've gotten in the last fifteen minutes. When I come up with nothing, just more problems on my back, I look at Ariana again, hopelessly. "You know," She says, "make him like you, trust you. Get inside his life, then find something worth publishing."
I gulp. "What's in it for me," I say, "except for this job, of course."
Ariana nods like she was expecting this question. "I will make sure you and Mrs. Justice live wealthy for the rest of your life."
I bite my lip again, a habit I inherited from my father. I run my fingers through my hair.
"Are you in or out. I need to know now." Ariana presses. "I will understand if you can't. You're old job is still yours."
I know how much I struggle to pay the rent for a pregnant 23 year old and me. I am the only one who works, Victoria is on maternity leave and one paycheck is maybe enough for the two of us, but with a baby on it's way we'll be short a lot.
We probably won't be able to buy a crib, let alone all the other stuff a baby needs.
This is an opportunity of a life time. The baby could have everything he or she needs. I smile slightly as I imagine a baby Victoria running around a big backyard in it's diapers. I sigh.
Victoria and I grew up together in North Carolina. We met in middle school, when one of the boys sprayed my locker red and she helped me clean it. Since then we have been inherent.
So that's why I stand up, smile and say, "I'll do it.".
Ariana smiles encouragingly, nodding her head as if I made the right choice. I smile as I walk out of the office and I'm still smiling as I exit the elevator and enter my own office.
The front door slam behind my back as I shrug off my red coat. I hang it in the hallway closet and then lean my head back, groaning. "Vic?" I call. I hear soft footsteps and when I turn around I find my pregnant best friend, with her bulging stomach, standing near me with a huge smile stretched across her face.
I sigh, knowing I'll rip off that smile.
"How was work, Miles?" She asks, putting her hands on her belly protectingly. I let a small smile turn up my lips at the sight. That baby will have a one heck of a mother.
"I got a promotion today." I say and I watch as Victoria's expression changes. She gapes at me, then puts her hands over her mouth and squeals really loudly.
"Oh my God, I knew you could do it! Where did she put you? Oh my Gosh, did you get a full page or did the bitch give you only a half? " So many questions, I sigh. She looks so happy for me and I feel like such a backstabber for agreeing on this.
"Look," I start, but I'm interrupted by Victoria as she jumps on me, enclosing her skinny arms around my frame. I hug her back, and her stomach presses against mine.
"Victoria." I push her away gently, just enough for her to understand she needs to step away. I sigh. There are really no words to say to your best friend that you're technically becoming a part of a brothel.
"You seem worried." She says, biting her lower lip. "Did something happen?"
I nod slowly. Something did happen. "My new job is a great one, but –"
"Just spit it out." She urges, her eyes glistening with worry.
"I am an undercover interviewer." I blur out and then cover my mouth with my hand.
She stares at me for a few seconds, and I cross my fingers behind my back. The apartment is so quiet I hear my grandma's clock that sits in the kitchen. Then suddenly Victoria is laughing, so hard I have to hold her shoulders to stop her from falling to the ground.
She's doubling over, holding her stomach. "With who?" She asks, once she calms down. I sigh.
"Nick Grey." I say, pushing few strands of my hair away. Victora's eyes bulge out of their walls.
"Fuck. Really?" She asks. I nod. "Wait he lives in LA, right?"
I knew this part is coming up. "I...Yeah, my plane leaves tonight." I say, rubbing my temple now. I feel like shit again, and I mentally curse myself for thinking she'd be happy. I'm going to break her heart all over again.
But then she smiles encouragingly, and presses her hands flat on my back and pushes me down the hall with her trotting behind me. I obidiently walk realizing I might as well be cooperative with a pregnant woman.
We enter my bedroom and Victoria pushes me on the bed and I sit and look at her.
She turns to me and raises an eyebrow. "Why are you looking at me like I'm about to grow two heads?" She jokes.
I smile. "I guess I thought there'd be tears, and a lot more explaining to do." I say.
Victoria opens my closet and pulls out deftly a big suitcase, and my smile gets bigger as I remember the time when I dragged the same suitcase up the stairs that lead to our apartment, cursing loudly at the fact that we had to choose a building with no elevator.
"Oh, you have tons of explaining to do but I thought you might as well do it as you pack." She says, opening my suitcase next to me. I stand up abruptly and help her get the zipper.
Then I tell her everything.
"Take care, and call." Victoria fixes the scarf that is hanging flatly around my neck. She smoothes it out. "I mean that. Call me in the middle of the night if you have to." She gives me a stern look.
I nod. "I promise."
"Don't forget to wash your clothes apart. Red with red, green with green. You don't want—" She starts, but then I interrupt her by pushing a finger against her lips.
"Yeah, Vic, I don't want that to happen again." I say, laughing and referring to an incident that happened a couple of months ago when Victoria left me alone for a few weeks to go on a business trip. Let's just say I'll never wear that dress again.
Victoria kisses my finger and I smile. I let my arm fall down and suddenly we're enveloped in a total curse of silence. She bites her lip and I see tears gathering in her eyes. She is a pregnant woman after all. I let my arms slip around her small bulging form. "I thought we agreed this was a happy thing, not something to cry over."
She sniffs in my shoulder. "I know, I'm just so sad." She whispers and I let out a loud chuckle.
"It's the hormones, sweets." I whisper soothingly in her ear and rub her back.
Then I pull away and squeeze her shoulders. "Listen to me." I say trying to alleviate saying goodbye. Even if it's for a small amount of time. "Your appointment is on the seventeenth this month. You will tell Avan to get his scrabby ass and take you. You don't have to do this alone. If you feel different, or if you're in pain you will go sooner. You will have to take care of yourself for a while, but I promise I will come back as soon as I can." I say making sure she understands every word I spoke. Then I pull her back in a hug and kiss the skin where her shirt fell from her shoulders.
Victoria pulls away and wipes her tears. I hear the taxi pulling out front. "Bye." I whisper.
"Hey Miles," She puts her hand on my shoulder and I look at her. "Don't fall in love with the guy." She says.
I roll my eyes. "Trust me; I won't."
She winks and moves aside as I walk through the open door, my suitcase trotting behind me as I pull it along. I walk and keep my head high because I know I can't entrenche with turning back.
The drive is quiet. I look outside as we pass grassland after grassland. I try to remember everything I see, because I know I'll need it when I miss home. I rub my hands together and only then do I realize I'm shaking. I lean against my seat and close my eyes.
Just calm down. I say to myself. Everything will be okay.
Sooner than later I'm waiting in the line to board the plane. I hold my ticket in my hand so tight my hand is becoming blue. Then suddenly I'm pushed into a seat next to a window and we're flying up and soon I'm looking at clouds trying to remember my high school days and the time when our chemistry teacher told us of what are clouds made of. When I don't succeed I let my eyes wonder at the front of the plane and I notice a familiar dark puddle of hair.
I sigh. I should've known Ariana would do something like this. Huge bitch, like I said.
But then as I stare into her gorgeous dark hair I realize this could play in my favor. I let a small smile show on my face, but then I turn it in an abhorrent frown. I raise my arm up.
"May I help you, Miss?" A stewardess comes up with a cart. I huff.
"I feel sick sitting next to a window. All this clouds and height." I say looking at the stewardess right in the eyes. She seems annoyed for a second but then, I have to give her credits for that, smiles like she won a lottery.
"I'm sorry, Miss, but you should've thought about that when you were paying for your ticket." She says nicely and I want to strangle her. Like, doesn't she see how hard I'm trying?
I fake a big smile. "Look, I'm really afraid of heights." I say, begging her with my eyes. "Is there anywhere else I can sit, please?"
I see her eyes wonder around the room and she sighs. "There's an open seat up front."
I stand up, "I'll take it." I push this guys legs away as I try not to lose my balance. The stewardess is looking at me but I could care less. When I finally step into one of those hallways between rows of seats I let a breath of relief out.
Maybe this all will be over a lot of sooner and I'll be back to Victoria before I know it.
I hear the stewardess huff behind me and I roll my eyes. I bet the staff is much more nicer in lower class. I stiff my purse in my hand as I walk towards the only other open seat; the one next to Demi.
When I sit down I realize she's sleeping. Her head rests on a small pillow with a cinderella written on it and there's quiet blasting of music coming from her iPod that's safely tucked in her sweater pocket. I sigh, I guess at least I'll get some sleep before I have to test my acting skills.
About half an hour later I feel stirring beside me. I lower the book I've been reading so far and let my eyes wonder to the girl next to me. She rubs her eyes and yawns.
I shake off these thoughts. This is just like all of my artists I've promoted in Manhattan Elite magazine. She's a job, I remind myself.
"Hi." I say quietly, putting on my innocent face on. She peers up at me then pulls out the headphones out of her ears. I smile.
"Did you say something?" She asks, sitting up.
I put the book on my lap. "I just wanted to say hi. You know, since we're gonna be stuck on this plane for a while."
She smiles. "I'm Demi." She says, even thought I figure she knows I recognized her.
I reach out my hand and she gladly takes it. I laugh. "Miley Stewart." I say.
Demi giggles. "Well, Miley Stewart, what awaits for you in LA?" She asks and she sounds genuinely interested. My heart squezes of guilt but I push it aside.
"Actually," I start, smiling, "I'm going for a vacation."
She pushes her pink blanket away and I notice she's wearing pajamas. I laugh loudly. Demi looks at me strangely for a second and I put my hand on my mouth. "I'm so sorry!" I let out a strangled cry. "God, I didn't mean to laugh at you it's just...I thought you'd be much more of a diva and not this laid back." This makes her laugh her too.
"Oh, you haven't met Joe. God now that's a diva." She leans closer to me and says. I chuckle as a picture of Joe Gray appears in my mind.
"Oh, don't talk to me about divas. I live with my pregnant best friend."
"Ouch." She says, laughing. I fix my blanket so it covers my right hand. A sudden chill runs along my body.
Demi throws her blanket at me.
"What?" I turn to her, holding the blanket in my hand.
She points to the blanket with her chin. "Take it." She says then turns to the window. I stare at the pink blanket in my hand and realize how nice this really is.
She's a superstar sitting next to a laic and she's offering me her blanket even thought she only met me a few minutes ago. That's something I'd be surprised to get out of my mother who knew me from the moment I poked out of her vagina, not from a total stranger. I feel a strange affection towards this dark haired girl.
She's quiet after that. I lean my head against the soft pillow Victoria packed in my bag and raise my book. I let my mind enter into the role of Chris as I read how he –
"You're a fan of love stories I see." Demi comments as she lets her head rest on her fist. She looks over the cover of the book I'm holding. "The Pact, I approve." She says, smiling.
I return the smile, then close off the book. "What's your favorite book?" I honestly wonder.
She seems to think for a second, but the answer is so unexpected I'm taken back. "Delirium."
"How come?" I wonder leniencly.
Her eyes glossen. "Because of the ending." She says simply. "It makes me wish to have that one person in my life I could irrevocably love."
I let her words carry me. It sounds so beautiful coming out of her mouth and I'm taken back by the honesty I can detect in her voice.
Then her faces shifts and a plastic expression is created. "But I can't have everything, right?"
I stare into my lap. "Right." I whisper.
A few minutes later she elbows me. I turn my head so I can look at her. "We should go out sometimes." She says, then her eyes get starry. "Even better, you could come with me tonight."
I stare at her. "What's tonight?" I ask, kind of scared.
She smiles encouragingly. "Oh, just this dinner thing with my family." My breath gets stuck in my throat. Her family. "And some friends." She adds, biting her lip.
I gawk at her. "What friends, exactly?" I ask, crossing my arms over my chest. She laughs.
"Don't worry, Miley. It's just gonna be the Gray family and us." She smiles. I let a smile turn my lips up too.
Gray family. I pretend to think about it. "Sure." I say. Demi's smile brightens my day.
"Oh thank God!" She guffaws. "I owe you big time!"
I shake my head slightly. "No, it would be an honor, actually." I smile.
Demi reaches over and touches my hand. It's an intimate gesture but I can't help but to really, really like it. "I think we're gonna be great friends!" She says, laughing.
All I manage to do is nod. I stay quiet for the rest of the flight, pretending to sleep. But it's this nagging feeling I have in the pit of my stomach that I can't shake off. As I sit with my head leaned back on a pillow and pretend to sleep, I think of every childhood memory I preserved through years but I can't find the moment I became such a good liar.
Anyway, plan A is accomplished; now all I have to do is make a worldwide superstar fall in love with me.
Not impossible at all.
A/N: Hi. Okay, so I'm really looking forward to writing this, so I'd like to hear your opinions? And besides, who ever answers my question in a review (you can still review even if you don't have an account!) will be mentioned in the next chapter in any way you want! Like, you write an answer to my question and write in which way you want to be mentioned in the story. You can be Nick's manager or whoever you'd like to be (except love interest of course :) Even though I think everybody wants to be that!).
The Question: Favorite show?
How's everybody's spending May 1st? I'm gonna lay in my bed the whole day and read! You?
Thanks for reading,
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the named characters, it all belongs to rightful people. All I own is the plot and characters' personality.