Chapter 5.7: The Fear

Chapter 5.7 The Fear

A/N: I apologize for the delay in getting this one posted. I’ve been having LOADS of difficulties with this part of Jo’s generation and I’ve finally, after five rewrites, a thousand edits, a fair bit of cursing, a bazillion hours in CAS, and even a couple beers, figured this shit out.

Anyway, the song for this chapter is Lily Allen’s The Fear, the meaning of which fits this perfectly. Happy reading—it’s a long one! Think of it as me making up for the delay :X

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I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever, I don’t care about funny

I slammed on my piano keys all at once, creating a discordant cacophony of sound that made my teeth ache. Waiting was awful. Sure, there was the prospect of trying to distract oneself with other tasks, but in the end the fact always remained the same: you were waiting.

I sighed in frustration, going back to pacing the room for what felt like the hundredth time that day. I walked a lot lately—ever since the night that changed everything, actually. I’d walked that night too—walked until the sun began to peek over the horizon. My shins had ached, my heels had been ruined, and still the only reason I’d returned to my dormitory was because I didn’t want anyone seeing the dazed girl wandering blindly about the campus. They would have stopped me and asked questions, which was the last thing I’d needed.

I tapped my fingers restlessly against my thigh, pleading desperately for my phone to finally ring. He promised he’d call and update me today. He promised.

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I tried to change up my path, weaving up one side of my bed and then down, and then across it and back up the other side. I didn’t dare wander over to Hannah’s side. Even though she’d hardly been here since that night, it still felt forbidden—especially now that we were no longer friends. At least, that was the assumption, considering she refused to acknowledge my presence no matter what I did, and that included literally jumping in front of her as soon as she’d entered the room once, and she had just shrugged past me, a stony expression set on her face.

It was her loss anyway, I thought angrily, and then kicked my bed in frustration. What a stupid, uncomfortable, horrible thing anyway!

My phone began to ring. I gasped, lunging toward my dresser to snatch it up and answering it so fast that it’d barely finished its first ring.

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I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they’re trying to find them

“So is it all worked out?” I asked right away. Please say it is. I want that deal more than anything in the world.

“Hello to you too,” my dad said, and I could almost see the bemused smile on his face. I wasn’t in the mood.

“It’s been two weeks,” I reminded him, my voice strained.

I could hear my dad’s heavy sigh over the phone, followed by a long pause. “Look,” he said, his voice grave, “the fact of the matter is this: the contract’s just….bad. They want 100% control over your image, your music, everything. I just…I can’t let you sign something like that.”

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I froze in place, shocked. “But—but I don’t care!” I exclaimed. “I mean, they know what they’re doing. Not me. I don’t care if they have complete control!”

“Seriously? They could make you do anything. I’ve been doing a lot of research and it turns out that Valencia Records doesn’t have the best working relationship with its signees.”

I scoffed, beginning to pace back and forth across my room once more. “That may be, but they also have a reputation for turning out the biggest stars from the past twenty years!”

Dad gave a short, humorless laugh. “Yeah, and at any cost too.”

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And I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous

“Because that’s what it takes!” I yelled. “You don’t understand—I’d do anything for this! Nothing else matters!”

“Jo, stop. Just relax. Plenty of others things matter. What about—”

My dad continued to try and reason with me, but I wasn’t listening anymore. My dream of becoming a star was the one thing that kept me going throughout my childhood, even when everything else was breaking apart. Nothing else did matter.

I tightened my grip on my phone, my teeth clenched.

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I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track, yeah I’m on to a winner

“You don’t fucking get it, do you, Dad?” I hissed, adrenaline coursing through my veins like fire. “I’m an adult now and I don’t need your permission! My name’s GOING to go on that contract and there is nothing that you can do to stop me.”

“WHAT?” I heard my Mom’s voice suddenly snap over the phone, and I realized that it must have been on speaker. Oh ho, I could see it now—the phone sitting between them on the dining room table as they discussed my future together. “How DARE you talk to your father that way,” she continued angrily, “I know I NEVER, EVER raised you to—”

“Candice, stop,” Dad’s voice cut in sharply, but it sounded different now—cold and distant. I felt my anger evaporate just as quickly as it had come on. Goose bumps rose up all along my arms and legs. “You heard her. She’s an adult now and doesn’t need us making suggestions for her.”

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“Dad.…”

“No, you’re right, Jo,” he said with unnerving tranquility. “This is your decision to make—not mine, or your mother’s. If you think that this is the right thing to do, then who are we to stop you?”

“Dad,” I said again, my voice breaking, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—”

“I know,” he interjected. “Good luck. I sincerely hope that this is what will make you happy. Let me know if you ever need anything.” I heard a scuffle then, like a chair being pushed across the floor, and I knew my Dad was walking away.

“James!” I heard my mom call out, distressed, and then the click of a disconnected call.

I felt my phone slide out of my hand. It fell to the carpet with a dull thump that I hardly even noticed.

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I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore

I took in a shuddering breath, closing my eyes.

Now what I had done?

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I didn’t have even a second to contemplate this troubling question though because just as soon as I’d thought it, the bedroom door flew open.

I whipped around to face it, seeing Hannah trying to maneuver a box into the room. She kicked at it in frustration, trying to fit it through the narrow doorway. I found myself just staring, watching as the box inched forward with every kick, until finally it popped through, sitting empty beside her bed. She picked it up and then dropped it unceremoniously beside her dresser.

“What’s that for?” I asked. Hannah said nothing, her face immediately adopting the stony look she seemed to have perfected just for me. She opened the first drawer of her dresser and began removing the various items she stowed inside, tossing them carelessly into the box.

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And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore

I blinked. “Are you…are you moving?” I asked.

More silence.

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“Damn it, Hannah! You could at least answer that question for me!” I snapped. It seemed any little thing set me off nowadays.

Hannah spun around angrily, unable to maintain her stony façade for another second. “Oh wow,” she said bitterly, “perfect, saintly Joanne just cursed.” I stared at her incredulously. Seriously?

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I stood up a little straighter, narrowing my eyes at her. “I believe I asked you a question,” I said stiffly.

“YUP! I am outta here!” she announced in a voice quite unlike her own. Her eyes seemed to be shining more brightly than usual.

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“Hannah….” I said softly, taking a step forward, but she put her hand up angrily, glaring at me.

“Don’t!” she shouted. “Just get OUT please because I swear if I look at your face for one more fuckin’ minute I’m gonna beat the shit out of you!”

“Oh, come on, don’t you think that’s a bit—”

“45 seconds remaining.”

“Hannah!”

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“40 seconds remaining.”

“Oh, my god! Fine! FINE!” I relented, grabbing my phone angrily off of the floor and then storming out. I slammed the door behind me and strode forward in a blind rage, only to walk RIGHT into someone. Of course!

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I bounced back, nearly falling over before the figure caught me by the elbow and steadied me. “Woah. Are…are you okay?”

No, no, that wasn’t….

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I looked up, only to find myself face to face with him. His hair was a bit longer—shaggier, and he looked a bit drawn, but it was, unmistakably, him. A thousand emotions swirled within me like a nauseating storm. How could he still be concerned for my well-being after what I’d done to him?

“Oh, jeez,” I whispered, feeling my eyes beginning to sting.

Oliver looked extremely uncomfortable, taking a half-step backward and looking unsure as to what to do, or say. I glanced at him, pressed my lips together….

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….and then ran away as quickly as I could….

“Wait—Jo!”

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…..DOWN the stairs and OUT the door and then….

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And when you do think it will all become clear?

To where?

I looked around frantically, feeling trapped and hoping against hope that Oliver wasn’t following me. Where, where?

A bus zoomed by the dormitory, kicking up bits of broken leaves and dirt. I stared at it go by, my breath coming in irregularly.

“Of course,” I whispered to myself.

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I hurried over to the bulletin board outside the dormitory, scanning it rapidly for the bus schedule.

I realized it now more than ever—I had somewhere to be.

***

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‘Cause I’m being taken over by The Fear

“I want to sign it.”

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Michael Valencia of Valencia Records leaned back in his leather chair, mild interest lighting up his muddy eyes as he considered me. I must have been quite a sight, hair mussed up from the long bus drive and my eyes red from the long fight my mind had had with itself on the ride over and in the studio atrium while I waited to see Mr. Valencia, but I didn’t care. I needed to do this before I changed my mind—again. This was everything that I had ever wanted in life and besides—accomplishing one’s dreams required sacrifices.

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“Curious,” Mr. Valencia said, still studying me closely. “I thought your father’s lawyers, and your father himself actually, made it quite clear you were not interested in what I had to offer.”

“I’m 19,” I stated confidently, ignoring how the mention of my dad tore me apart all over again. “It doesn’t matter what they said.” I stood up straighter, determined.

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Mr. Valencia looked at me for a long moment…and then his lips slowly turned upward in a triumphant smile. “I knew I liked you,” he stated with a soft laugh.

He leaned over to retrieve a thick document from a folder and then slid it across the desk toward me. I stepped forward, watching as he grabbed a fountain pen from a cup holder on his desk and offered it to me. “Initial wherever you see the ‘x’ Miss Winters, and then sign your full name on the last page, where indicted.”

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I reached out and took the pen, nearly dropping it in the process because I hadn’t realized how heavy it was. I cleared my throat…and then began to thumb through the pages for every little instance of an “x” followed by a thin black line.

X: JW

X: JW

X: JW

X: JW

X: JW

X: JW

My hand trembled as I reached the last page, the sharp tip of the pen hovering over the last line. I took a deep breath. Sacrifices, Joanne.

Joanne Madeline Winters

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I dropped the pen as soon as I’d signed, my heart beating unnaturally hard, though whether it was from exhilaration, or…something else, I couldn’t be sure.

“Perfect,” Mr. Valencia said once I’d finished, taking the contract back from me. He secured it in a drawer behind him, which he locked afterward with a small silver key. “Penelope,” he said, pushing a button on his phone.

Yes, sir?” came a disembodied voice from the machine.

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“Call in Melanie Hampton, will you?”

Right away, sir.”

***

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Life’s about film stars and less about mothers

“Hurry it up, we’ve already wasted away a whole week since you’ve been signed!”

I quickened my pace, hurrying after the regal Melanie Hampton…my new manager.

“I’m sorry,” I felt compelled to say. “It’s just—I had classes. This was the first opening I had to come back here.”

“Yes well, I’ll be working on that. With a proper schedule we should be able to free up a lot more time for you. I’m sure you waste countless hours staring at SimBook and other such trivialities,” she sniffed, reaching up unconsciously to make sure her bun was still secure.

“Is that what you do? As my manager?” I asked, ignoring the jibe.

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“Not exactly,” Melanie stated, suddenly turning sharply to the left. I quickly turned too, nearly slipping on the pristinely waxed floor. “As your manager,” she continued as if I hadn’t nearly broken my ankle, “my job is to promote your career and run all of your business affairs, so I’ll be the one finding and booking events for you, as well as advising you on career decisions regarding publicity and promotions. Basically, it is my job to get you the best work, for the best price.”

She held herself up a bit straighter after finishing her explanation and I could tell that she thought herself highly important. Although, judging from her words, perhaps she really was. I made a mental note to try and stay on Melanie’s good side as much as possible.

“Oh…so you must be very knowledgeable in order to—”

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“Here we are,” she continued, completely ignoring me. “This is the entrance to The Lounge, or ‘break area,’ if you will. Your new staff should be in here right now, unless they want their pay docked,” she finished with a tight smile.

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Melanie opened the door and then grabbed my arm, practically dragging me into the large room. I winced, instantly feeling multiple sets of eyes on me from all directions. The sensation left me feeling burned and exposed.

“Hello everyone!” she announced cheerfully, which threw me off for a second. “I would like you all to meet Jade!”

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“My name is Jo,” I interrupted, startled. “It’s short for Joanne. Joanne Winters.”

I heard a soft sigh from the corner of the room, but before I could look to see who had made it, I was distracted by Melanie, who started laughing.

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“Not anymore,” she stated with a smirk. “Your stage name is Jade, which means that you are now ‘Jade’ if you are to truly become her.”

“Oh.”

It could be worse, I reassured myself. My stage name could be Princess J or Lady Foofah or some other nonsense.

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It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other

“Damn,” a voice sniffed. I turned my head in the direction of the disdain. It belonged to a tanned woman with shorn, electric blue hair. She had startlingly high cheekbones, washboard abs, and overall made me feel like the Pillsbury dough boy. I unconsciously sucked in my stomach, trying to avoid her gaze. “Well, it’s clear that she’ll be spending a lot of time with me,” she said, her lips turned down in a sharp frown.

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“This is Jenna Hayes,” Melanie said warmly, as if she were introducing a really lovely young woman and not someone who had just insulted me. “She’s your new personal trainer and as such will be responsible for developing your exercise and nutrition programs.”

“Nice to meet you….”

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Jenna narrowed her eyes at me. “That remains to be seen.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but closed it as another of my new staff members made his way over to me.

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I froze. This man looked just as, if not more, intimidating than Jenna, albeit for different reasons.

“Ah,” Melanie said, straightening her glasses before she spoke once again. “So, this young man here is Nikolay Anosov. He’ll be your head stylist, which means that he’s in charge of your wardrobe, hair, and overall physical image, as it were.”

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To my surprise, Nikolay smiled, walking over to me and taking my hand in his. “I am pleased to be meeting you, Jade,” he said in a soft accent. He placed a gentle kiss on my hand and then let it go, stepping back to smile at me once more. I blushed hard, certainly not blind to how, well attractive Nikolay was.

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“We have a lot of vork to do, but I am sure you vill not be disappointed,” he continued, his forest green eyes trained on me. “Are you ready?”

“Ready?” I asked uneasily, looking over at Melanie.

“Your first appointment today is with Nikolay. After all, in order to become Jade, you must first look like Jade. Now, let’s go.”

“But wait,” I stammered, glancing at the others chatting on the couch. “You forgot them.”

“Oh, you’ll get to know them lat—”

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“Aw, you hear that, guys?” a man with long, dark dreads tied at the nape of his neck suddenly said in a warm, earthy voice.

“Hmm, yes, it appears we’re for later,” the girl said with a pout, while the man farthest away looked like he was perfectly content being ignored.

“You’re breaking our hearts here, Mel,” the man with dreads continued. He got up then, striding over to us with a large grin on his face. To my surprise, Melanie flushed, looking uncharacteristically embarrassed. “Come on, you two,” he said to the others before turning his attention back to me.

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“Name’s Ryan Fitch,” he said with a soft smile, holding out his hand to me. I shook it, unable to help but smile as well. “I’m the lightning technician,” he continued as soon as he let of my hand. He stood up a bit straighter then, adopting a serious demeanor, and I realized he was imitating Melanie now. “This means that I am in charge of all matters luminous and fluorescent, especially when it comes to your performances or photo shoots.”

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He took a step back then, gesturing at his friend who had reluctantly come over. Even though the man was avoiding my eyes, seeing him up close made my breath catch in my throat. I was beginning to feel uncomfortably warm. How was it possible for so many attractive people to be in one room? “This brooding young man is Gabriel Peters,” Ryan continued in an air quite reminiscent of Melanie. “He’s our audio technologist, which means he’s responsible for dealing with the use of machinery and equipment for the recording, mixing, and creation of sound, including in the studio, and on stage.”

“Hi.…” I said shyly.

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Gabriel glanced at me, causing my heart to beat faster, but he just nodded a bit before looking away again, seeming rather unhappy that Ryan had introduced him in the first place. It took me aback, but I didn’t have the chance to think on it much because the last of them, a young woman, suddenly strode forward, breaking the potentially awkward moment.

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“And I’m Spectra Weiss,” she said with a genuine smile, holding out her hand too. I shook it, pushing my disappointment into my gut. “I’m your photographer, which…doesn’t really need an explanation, does it?”

“No, I suppose not,” I admitted, feeling a little intimidated by Spectra’s er, colorful appearance, even if she did seem nice.

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“Yes, yes and we’re all great friends here,” Melanie cut in impatiently, looking irritated at having been mocked. “Now if you’ll please,” she said, raising her eyebrows at me.

“Thees vill be fun,” Nikolay assured me with a big smile, gesturing for me to follow him and leading me out of the room. “I already haf perfect plan for vat Jade is to be looking like.”

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“What does she look like?” I asked, turning my head toward him in interest.

“You vill soon see.”

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But it doesn’t matter ‘cause I’m packing plastic
And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic

And see I did.

As it turns out, Jade, in all her “perfection” was blonde. Jade had many other unique characteristics as well, but all I could really focus on was the fact that she, or rather I, was really, well, blonde.

“Are you liking it?” Nikolay asked, watching my reaction carefully.

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“Well….” I said slowly…and then trailed off, unable to quite find the right words. I ran a hand through my hair in disbelief, almost surprised when the reflection staring back at me ran a hand through her hair too. I just looked so…different. So…unlike me. Then again I wasn’t me anymore, was I? I was Jade now…whoever she was.

“You’ll get used to it,” Melanie stated simply.

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“I look like….like…” I tried to say, but then failed miserably once more.

“Like candy,” Melanie said with a hint of a smirk. “It matches the theme of your future album and, by that nature, your new single.”

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And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And it’s not my fault, it’s how I’m programmed to function

I couldn’t help it. I turned to Melanie, feeling my first bubble of excitement since I’d thrown everything away and signed that contract in the first place. “My…my new single?” I asked.

“Yes,” she responded with a small smile. “It’s called Sinfully Sweet and it was written by one of our best. You have the perfect voice for it.”

Sinfully Sweet?”

“It’s perfect, I promise,” Melanie said with a sharp nod. “You’re going to be a star, Jade, that we can pretty much guarantee. After all…all of our jobs hang on that fact.”

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I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track, yeah we’re on to a winner

I slowly turned to look at my reflection again, seeing Nikolay and Melanie proudly standing behind me.

They could do anything they wanted to me, honestly. At this point, I didn’t even care. Nothing was as important as those few little words.

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You’re going to be a star.

***

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I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore

Dear Mom and Dad,

Everything with Valencia Records has been going wonderfully. For once, my dreams actually feel like an obtainable reality, and for that, I couldn’t be happier. It hasn’t been easy, but I can honestly say that I feel I’ve made the right decision. Everyone here is so amazing and they all truly want me to succeed.

When do you think it will all become clear?

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I think my manager, Melanie Hampton, is the most determined to see me succeed. She’s very driven and knowledgeable. Sometimes she can be a little intimidating and brash, but it’s only because she knows exactly what it’s going to take for me to be successful and she already has a very specific plan laid out that’s sure to get me there.

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Part of the plan even includes a fitness trainer! Her name is Jenna Hayes. She actually used to be a fairly well-known tennis player, so her routines are pretty intense, but I’m finding that they’re very effective in getting results.

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Still, I’ll admit it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with Jenna’s workouts, especially after long sessions practicing and recording my new single. I’m always so tired after these days that the last thing I think about doing is starting up another workout session, but it’s alright….

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‘Cause I’m being taken over the Fear

….I’ve found ways to ensure that I meet her goals regardless.

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My new stylist is a very artistic man named Nikolay Anosov. He encourages me to go past my comfort zone and I’m so glad he does because his visions truly are just so creative and colorful. Thanks to his genius ideas and my masterful photographer, Spectra Weiss, I’ve been able to produce some very unique and striking images.

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Forget about guns and forget ammunition
‘Cause I’m killing ‘em all on my own little mission

It’s all just so much fun. I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life because I know that if I just stick by these wonderful people, they’ll help all of my dreams come true.

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Don’t think I’ve forgotten about college though! Melanie has mapped out a plan for me so that I can finish my degree in half the time. This, of course, involves me taking full course loads and even taking classes over the summers, so I won’t be able to come home, but it’s the right decision to make, I’m sure.

Now I know you must be very concerned that I might be pushing myself too hard, but I promise I’m not. I always put my health first and do everything in balance.

I miss and love you both so very much and I’m really sorry that I haven’t responded to any of your texts, emails, or calls lately. As you can see I’ve been very busy, but I’m going to try and set aside more time for everyone. Maybe I’ll even be able to visit home some time. Perhaps I can time it for when the baby arrives?

I hope you all are well and again, I’m really, really sorry.

With lots of love,

Joanne

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Now I’m not a saint, but I’m not a sinner

Are you sure you want to delete this message?

Yes        No

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Message deleted.

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And everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner

I fell down onto my knees, the ceramic tiles hard and unforgiving as I retched into the toilet. My hands shook as I tucked my bleached hair out of the way. I had nothing to lose anymore and everything to gain.

Trembling, I pulled myself off the floor, flushing the toilet and then stumbling over to the sink. I grabbed onto the ledges, catching my breath and then turning the faucet on. I splashed cool water onto my face and rinsed out my mouth. The acrid taste of vomit still lingered on my tongue, so I grabbed my toothbrush, applying a liberal amount of toothpaste onto the bristles.

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You’re going to be a star, Jade, that we can pretty much guarantee.

I spat out the used paste, rinsing both my mouth and toothbrush out. My eyes traveled to the mirror, fixed upon the dark shadows underneath them from my perpetual lack of sleep. I took a steadying breath.

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You’re going to be a star.

***

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I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore

The music pulsated through my very core, giving me a slight headache and practically knocking me off balance. Could it possibly be any louder? A drunken girl climbed up onto one of the counters, dancing in delight as a couple of men jeered at her and tried to tempt her to come down. I wrinkled my nose in distaste.

“Why are we here?” I asked Melanie loudly, struggling to make myself heard over the pounding music.

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Melanie quickly looked behind her and then back to me, leaning in close so that I could hear her. “Do you see that man behind me with the red hair?” I nodded, my eyes slowly widening. “You know who is he is, right?”

I nodded again. “Brandon Hart,” I said, hesitant to speak too loudly in case he heard me. The music may have been deafening, but he was still only about five paces away and I probably would have died if this best-selling artist heard me talking about him.

“Now you know your single, Sinfully Sweet?” she asked. I nodded once more. I’d actually just heard it over the radio this morning—a fact that had me genuinely smiling for the first time in months.

“Well,” Melanie continued, “it just knocked Brandon off the number one position on today’s Top 10 Chart!”

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My mouth fell open and for a moment I just stared at Melanie, stunned. “Are you….are you serious!?” I cried. All of those hours spent on recording, photo shoots and a thousand other promotion opportunities—had they all finally paid off?

“YES, so we’re out here celebrating!”

I hopped up and down, wanting to call and tell someone, but who would I call?

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“That’s not all though,” Melanie said sharply, distracting myself from my unsettling realization. “There’s something I need you to do.”

“And what’s that?” I asked uneasily.

“I need you to go flirt with him.”

“Wait, what?”

“I’m not asking. It’s no coincidence that you two are in the same club tonight.”

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And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore

“But—why?” I asked, feeling not only uncomfortable, but also completely confused.

“Why?” Melanie asked incredulously. “WHY? Jade! Do you have any idea how much publicity you’re going to gain if the paparazzi catch you with Brandon Hart of all people?” The bartender distracted her for a moment by handing her a drink she must have ordered, but instead of taking a sip of it herself, she handed it to me. I took it uneasily, feeling more confused than ever.

“That seems kind of…wrong,” I managed to say, taking a tentative sip from the evidently fruity concoction.

“I said flirt, not murder, jeez. Now go!” she snapped, and then, to my horror, whipped me around and literally pushed me toward him.

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I let out a small shout, stumbling over my heels and toppling right into the ridiculously famous Brandon Hart. My drink went tumbling to the ground, the shatter barely heard above the throbbing bass as he reached out to steady me. I looked up, and then perished from sheer mortification when I found that our faces were mere inches apart.

“Oh my god,” I whispered, quickly straightening up and then taking a large step away from him. “I’m so sorry!” I cried, barely stopping myself from calling him ‘Mr. Hart.’

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I expected him to brush me off angrily, but instead he smiled, although he did seem rather surprised. “Don’t be,” he said, his smile only growing as he took in my appearance. I flushed, avoiding his gaze and feeling horribly, horribly wrong. “After all,” he continued, leaning in close to my ear, “it looks like I’m the one who needs to apologize because it seems that I’ve spilled your drink.”

I took a step back again, smiling nervously. “Don’t worry about it. That was my fault,” I insisted. He looked at me, seeming a little taken aback, but then he smiled again, gesturing vaguely at my empty hand.

“Still…let me buy you another one?” he asked.

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When do you think it will all become clear?

“I—” I started to say, and then felt my words strangled as not revulsion or fear or even discomfort passed through me, but guilt. Completely unbidden, flashes of his face ran through my head…flashes of bright blue eyes and hair that shimmered like a thousand canary diamonds when the sun hit it.

My throat tightened. Why him? Why now? God, I had to let that go. I had to let it all go. After all, I wasn’t Jo anymore, I was Jade and I had just released a best-selling single and soon I would be performing all over the world. Soon, I was going to be a star.

I glanced back at Melanie, who was staring at me determinedly, and then glanced back at Brandon, who was looking a little uncomfortable now, and quickly made up my mind. I’d come this far, hadn’t I?

Screenshot-342

“I’d like nothing more,” I said into his ear, and then stepped back, smiling beautifully.

‘Cause I’m being taken over by the Fear

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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27 thoughts on “Chapter 5.7: The Fear”

  1. Ok wow. I think you may have outdone yourself. She’s so…not Jo.

    I feel like we just crested the top of one of those really steep roller-coasters and we’re about to go down and then do a loop-de-loop or something. I know this is going to end so bad. I am afraid of what Joanne Winters is going to be when she finally gets too close to the sun and her fake wings start to melt. I think the crash might be spectacular. Poor thing.

    1. Ahahahaha, thank you. That’s exactly what I was going for and why this chapter was so tricky to write…it’s the transition chapter. Next chapter will be more….Jade, haha, so that one will actually be tricky as well, but I’m looking forward to figuring it all out.

      That’s a really good comparison for what’s occurring here, Hrootbeer! As for that crash, well, no comment yet 😛 Poor thing indeed *shakes head*

  2. Uhhh Jo…I mean “Jade”. I’m not liking the path you’re taking my friend. Being yourself is important 🙂 You are not exactly doing that are you? I hope you realize it sooner than later….I sense troubles a brewing :/

    1. Ughhhhhh, right? It’s so hard sometimes to stay in her character while writing because real me is like “What the crap?! Why would you ever NOT be true to yourself? Be YOU and if a person doesn’t like that well then, that’s okay…not everyone is going to like you.”

      Alas, our dear friend is not on board with this fact. She will do anything it takes to make her dreams come true. Including, it seems, losing herself…although, I don’t think she’s quite realized that is what’s happening yet 😉

      Trouble could be a brewing 😛

      1. Haha I know the feeling! That’s how I feel about my rainbowcy right now. Can’t say the same for my simself legacy since after all its started off with me XD haha and my granddaughter who is heir would do the same thing I would but has more guts.

        I don’t know if I like this trouble you may speak of :p you know how keep us on our toes.

  3. This was such a… sad chapter. Joanne has a one way ticket on the train of losing her identity, and isolation. I’m pretty sure I was inwardly yelling at her when she was being a jerk to her dad.

    As weird as it may sound, during that part, my brain was going through how James was feeling. He wanted to protect his kid from the inevitable path of destruction that she is on, but you could just tell that he reached the point of defeat. Stinking Joanne wouldn’t listen…

    I’m honestly really shocked at how Joanne’s story is playing out. She seemed so sweet in James’s story, so seeing her true self is rather shocking.

    From her “team”, I only really like Ryan and Spectra. I’m on the fence about Gabriel. The rest of them could go suck a waffle…

    I actually rather worried about what is going to happen next… cuz it’s probably going to get a heck of a lot worse before it gets better. If it does get better…

    This kinda reminds me of Scarlett Mason’s story. Hopefully this doesn’t end in fire…

    Moar soon, pleeze? XD

    1. Yes! That’s exactly what I was going for! It really is just all very sad…I think it always is when you see someone slowly losing what makes them, them. Somewhere in there is still the sweet girl that we saw before, but as you can see she’s becoming more and more lost.

      I don’t think that sounds weird at all because my brain did the exact same thing when I wrote that conversation. It was actually a strange feeling because on the one hand my mind was in Joanne’s character and her desperation at achieving her dreams no matter what the cost, while the part of mind was in her Dad’s, and as James, I just felt so frustrated and defeated with her, so that’s what came out on his side.

      I actually laughed out loud at your “the rest of them could go suck a waffle” comment. I totally agree 😉 You’ll see more of each of them, with some characters becoming more important than others and so on…well, you’ll see!

      Hmmm, Scarlett Mason. Jeez, it’s literally been years since I’ve read that legacy, so I had to go back and click through that generation to remind myself. I do see some similarities, but this won’t quite be my segue into the infamous Generation 7, so perhaps no fire 😉

      I hope it will be soon, but no guarantees 😦 These chapters really have been harder for me to write, but I think it’s worth it in the end ^_^

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting!

  4. Wow! You did such a great job with the chapter! Jo doesnt even look like herself, she’s a completely different person blonde! Wow, I hardly even recognized her in the photo. I feel so bad for her family and friends. Was Oliver in the hall because he is helping Hannah or I wonder if he and Hannah will be and item since they are both going through hurt from Jo.
    She really is nothing like herself. Even her personality. You really did an awesome job! I hope you’re proud of yourself for the outcome!

    1. Thank you!! ❤

      I think Jo looks really different too and all I did was change her hair and the outfits she wears. As I was (finally) playing through the rest of college I kept having random "who the crap is in Jo's bed?" moments, only to realize that well, Jo is in Jo's bed. Or should I say Jade!? XD

      Haha, very observant! Oliver was indeed there to help out Hannah with the move, but as for romance I can't quite say at this point. The two really don't like each much, but they have talked more since both being hurt by Jo. It's an experience they share now, so at the very least, they don't hate each other anymore 😛

      The personality change was the trickiest part because I've needed it to appear as a slow transition since the beginning of the generation, which has probably made these chapters more difficult than necessary, lol. My worry now is completely losing her original character, but I suppose that's up to Jo/Jade now, isn't it? 😉

      I am happy with outcome and am currently trying to produce a similar outcome for the next chapter! Thank you again as always for reading and commenting and I'm really glad you enjoyed it! ^_^

  5. Oh my, she dont see that she’s starting to lose herself é_è
    I hope she’ll notice it before it’s too late ^^

    I’m curious, can you tell me please WCIF the pink dress she wear in the club ?
    I think I may have saw it somewhere, but I’m not sure XD

  6. Oh Joanne, you silly girl. LOL. She fell into the biggest trap in the world of show business, which is signing a bad contract. There are better record labels out there, I’d imagine, those who aren’t necessarily perfect, but who do let the artists have more say than this Valencia place, who seems to be all about just turning their artists into Barbie shaped robots. I suppose I can’t say I’m surprised because Joanne has shown herself to be fairly impulsive, always. LOL. I see in her picture on your header though that she does have a microphone and her normal hairstyle/color, so maybe she does find the good record label eventually, I’d hope. Heehee. She should have listened to her papa. XD
    Patience is one thing that people really need in show business, or they’ll end up being turned into Jade. LOL. One thing I can see that Valencia does well, is take advantage of those poor people who are impatient, like Joanne, and tell them ‘they’ll be a star.’ I know Joanne wanted to go into music because she loves to sing, so hopefully she can find that again, because I really think you can have both, you can be famous while still being yourself. No one believes me on that, but yeah, I still have that opinion, despite no one believing me.

    1. Desperation and impulsivity are a rather dangerous combination, aren’t they? 😉

      Definitely should have listened to James. It’s not like he was only speaking from his personal opinion either–he did the damn research, lol, but it appears as though some people need to make mistakes for themselves before they actually learn.

      Valencia Records is a well-established business built off their extensive knowledge of precisely which people are right for their goals. Joanne fit their archetype perfectly, and with their knowledge of her type, they knew exactly how to draw her in….*heavy sigh*

      I also firmly believe that you can be famous while still being yourself, but will this happen for Joanne? Hmmm……

  7. No, no, no, Jo, this isn’t you, you’re not Jade, you’re not the girl who poses in pastel lingerie by a bunch of plastic cupcakes, you’re not some plastic Barbie doll who needs to be blonde and ninety-five pounds and caked in glittery makeup to sell records, you’re the sweet, family loving, career driven girl who is incredibly talented, but is so obsessed with fame and impulsive that she doesn’t realize what a horrible path she’s on. I regret saying that I hope that she gets a record deal last chapter, I do want her to be famous and successful, but not with this label… 😦

    1. This definitely isn’t her at all, but she’s so desperate to be a star that she’s allowing her very essence to be broken apart in order to obtain her dreams. Of course, she doesn’t view it as that yet….and may not for quite some time, which sets her on a horrible path indeed 😦

  8. Oh Jo, no dear, oh Jo…
    You’re Joanne! Not jade! I know you want to be a star, but this isn’t how to go about it.
    Must say, her crew is quite the colorful people XD
    And this brown-haired Gabriel intrigues me
    Gah, I hope Jo can pull herself out of this before she does something she regrets – something worse than what she’s done so far.

    1. This is so not the way to go about it, but she seems to be completely blinded by the allure of stardom T_T

      Haha, her crew is definitely comprised of some interesting characters, some of whom become rather important.

      Lol, does the brown-haired Gabriel intrigue you because you’re now on alert for brown-hair, or is it his silence that earns your intrigue? Either way, as with everyone else you’ve seen, you’ll be seeing more of him.

      LOL: “something worse than what she’s done so far.” Yes, jeez, let’s hope…..o_o;

  9. Dear god I have so many bad feelings about this. Okay, Hannah has every right to be upset and if I were in her shoes, I’d be done with that friendship too. Which sucks because by alienating everyone, Jo has no one to tell her that this isn’t the way to go about it, even if she would listen. Anyway, I’ll have faith she’s going to be okay because, well, this is a legacy and she needs to have some kids right XD

    1. Ahhh yes, your bad feelings are completely appropriate here. Nothing about this feels quite right, even if Joanne keeps telling herself that it does and pushes away anyone who tells her otherwise. It seems as if Joanne will have to learn these lessons the hard way T___T

      And lol, yes, perhaps….there is that 😉 XD

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