The beginnings of a singing career in Bridgeport were not as fast-moving as I had hoped.
No matter how many clients I sang stupid songs for, it seemed like it was taking me forever to get anywhere.
One evening after I had completed a job, I decided to change into some casual clothes and see what the “Summer Festival” had to offer. There had never been anything like this in my home town, so I was curious to see what it involved.
Since I had no idea what was going on, I figured I would need someone to show me around. So, for people-skills practice as much as anything else, I introduced myself to the first person I saw, a young woman who looked to be around my age.
She told me her name was Julie Mason, and she had grown up in Bridgeport with her grandparents, since her parents had been too busy working to raise their children.
Julie told me all about her childhood in Bridgeport, how her grandparents had become parental figures to her, and how they had both died within a few months of each other several years before. Now, she lived on her own in her grandparents’ apartment, and her dream was to become a world-renowned surgeon.
In turn, I told her about my own childhood back home in Appaloosa Plains, how I had always found the country too quiet and had chosen to move to the city several months ago to pursue my dream of becoming a vocal legend.
Both of us were impressed by the other’s ambition, and I found Julie to be very sympathetic when it came to the problems I had encountered over my first few months of city living. She was practical and fun-loving with a good sense of humour, and I discovered in her for the first time since I could remember a good friend of my own age.
We ended up staying in the park chatting for most of the night, sharing our past experiences and dreams for the future with each other. At three in the morning we agreed that we should both go home and get some sleep, but promised to meet up again at the festival the next day.
I went to bed that night feeling perfectly happy. I had found a real friend I could talk to for the first time in this lonely city, and my career was going well, though slowly. At that moment I wished for nothing more.
The next morning I was woken again by a call from my boss, telling me I had several new jobs lined up for that day.
Despite the good news this was as far as my career was concerned, it meant that I would have to cancel my plans with Julie. I called her up to tell her the bad news.
“Hey, Julie? It’s Nicole. Listen, I just got a call from my boss and he says I gotta work today. I’m really sorry, do you think we could meet up tomorrow instead?” The next day was Saturday, so I could be sure of not having to go to work.
“Oh, sure thing Nic. Don’t worry, I totally get it! I was planning to go to the gym tomorrow but I’ll do that this morning instead so we can go out together. How’s that sound?”
“Really great, Julie, thanks! I promise I’ll be there tomorrow!” I said my goodbyes and hung up, smiling in spite of the circumstances when I thought of how lucky I was to have such a good friend already.
After I was off the phone to Julie, it was time to get down to business. I realised how much I stank, but I was already running late and didn’t think I could risk a shower.
Instead, I just pulled on my sing-a-gram uniform and left home straight away. I was headed for the city gym, where I was supposed to do a congratulatory dance to boost the morale of some clients who were working out.
I spotted the clients my boss had described as soon as I walked inside – another successful sing-a-gram to add to my growing repertoire.
I spent the entire day running around town doing ridiculous dance routines for various clients, with varying degrees of success. It wasn’t much fun, but I needed the money, and I was also determined to get promoted as soon as possible.
By the time I got home late at night, I was too tired to think straight. I didn’t even make it to my bed – I collapsed on the floor the moment I had closed the door behind me.
In spite of – or perhaps because of – the unfavourable sleeping conditions, I woke up the next morning at eight o’clock – two hours to spare before I had promised to meet Julie at the festival.
I decided to spend the extra time on a much-needed bathroom stop, including the shower I had neglected the day before.
Feeling refreshed, I then tried my hand at cooking myself breakfast, something I had only done a handful of times in my life before.
Everything went well until I got the waffles in the oven. I happened to leave them in a bit too long and, well… let’s say I was lucky I didn’t burn the building down.
Although I was disgusted by the idea of eating what now resembled a plate of charcoal, I was also feeling very hungry by this time and so I forced most of it down, hoping the festival would have something better to offer in the way of lunch.
Luckily for me, it turns out it did. Julie had prepared a picnic lunch which we ate together in the park while chatting together about our lives, hobbies, and a variety of random topics.
After lunch I wanted to explore the festival some more, so Julie made me wait for her while she went to the bathroom ‘real quick’. While I was waiting, I noticed a sparkling blue limousine pulling up at the edge of the park. Looks like a celebrity had come to the festival.
I have to admit I was a little curious, not to mention excited, to see whoever was going to step out of that car. Whoever it was had to be an A-list celebrity for sure. Maybe one day when I had achieved my dream, I would be the one being driven around in a car like that.
We all watched as a young blond man stepped out of the limo and started walking across to the festival grounds. I heard excited whispers break out all around me as the other festival-goers started gossiping among themselves. I didn’t recognise the man, but I could tell even from a distance that he was certainly well-built.
I saw him scan the park, his eyes sweeping over the assembled crowd. Now that he was close enough for me to get a good look at his face, I couldn’t help noticing that it was every bit as gorgeous as his godlike body would suggest.
When he saw how excited everyone was looking, he grinned, and began to voluntarily hand out autographs to everyone in the park, including myself. Not sure if he said “here you go, beautiful” to everyone else, though.
I don’t know what I was thinking at that moment… maybe I just let the excitement of my first celebrity encounter get to me a little too much. Either way, I found myself babbling on to him, breathlessly introducing myself in the same sentence as I asked what his name was. Idiot! He had just given it to me on a slip of paper!
Luckily for me, he just laughed, and introduced himself as Ren Master. I knew I wouldn’t be forgetting that name any time soon.
“So uh, what do you do?” Oh god. Someone please kill me now.
He laughed again, and I melted. “I’m in the music business, baby. Most people would call me a Rock Star.” He was still grinning. He must think I’m such an idiot.
“Oh, uh, that’s really cool! I’m actually a singer myself.” Yeah, sing-a-grams. It counts, right?
“Oh yeah? Maybe you can sing for me some time.” He winked.
… Did I just hear that right?
Before I could ask him to repeat himself, he was speaking again.
“Listen babe, I gotta go. Busy schedule, y’know. Give me your number though, maybe I’ll call you sometime.”
Oh my… is he serious? Without speaking, I tore off a strip of the paper he’d given me and scribbled my number onto it. He took it with a smile.
“See you around, Nicole.”
It might have been just my imagination, but I swore I could feel his eyes on my butt as I walked away. I must have imagined it, though, because when I turned around he was already back at his limo.
I met up with Julie as she came out of the bathroom.
“Was that Ren Master I saw you flirting with? What’s going on?”
I tried my best to laugh it off.
“Don’t be silly Julie, he was just giving out autographs and I took one.” I could feel myself beginning to blush under her disbelieving gaze, so I turned away and fanned my face with my hand. “Is it hot out here all of a sudden, or is it just me?”