Copyright© 2016 by Jay Cantrell
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 125 - Travis Blakely had a comfortable existence. He had a decent job and good friends. He was comfortable with what the future held for him. Then he ran into a girl he remembered from high school. His life got a lot more interesting - and infinitely more complicated
The rest of the weekend went by too quickly.
My mother finally admitted something to me that I had begun to suspect. She had grown tired of being Travis Blakely’s mother and Liz Larimer’s prospective mother-in-law. She was ready to go back to being Mrs. Annabelle Blakely, a person (and a formidable person) in her own right.
Mickey and Bev had announced plans to return to Colorado and my mother decided to go back to Ohio at the same time. I hated to see her go but I understood her reasons. She told me that being stopped for an autograph the first time was exciting. But it had grown tiresome by the 50th time – and it had grown annoying by the 200th time.
So Liz and I packed our parents off on a private plane to return to their respective homes with hugs and kisses all around.
I was putting on my soft sling after my morning workout when the business phone buzzed. I had a multitude of numbers in my contacts so I looked at the screen before I made a decision about answering it.
The call was coming from one of the many online magazines that covered the country music scene and I pushed the button to answer the call.
“Liz Larimer Entertainment, Travis Blakely speaking,” I said in my most professional voice.
“Hello, Mr. Blakely,” a pleasant female voice said. “This is Marti Hastings from ‘Nashville Variety.’”
“Good morning, Ms. Hastings,” I said. “What can I do for you today?”
“Um, this is awkward for me,” she said. “We don’t do a lot of ‘hard news’ stories here. We prefer to focus on style and the artists.”
“And we appreciate it,” I cut in.
The woman chuckled.
“I’m sure you do,” she said.
“So, what’s up?” I asked.
“Uh, there were some provocative comments made this morning that I wanted to give Miss Larimer the chance to reply to,” she said.
“Oh?” I asked.
“Jordan Featherstone was on a radio program this morning and...” she began.
“Who?” I asked. It wasn’t a name I’d heard before.
“Jordan Featherstone,” the woman repeated.
“OK,” I replied. I didn’t have enough hands to Google the name so I waited. “What was said?”
“This is an exact quote,” Marti said. “‘Liz Larimer, Conny Woodson and Melissa Shepherd are yesterday. They’re has-beens and they’ve been has-beens for a long time. Country music is ready for a new sound ... my sound. It’s time for the old ladies to gracefully step aside ... or it’s time for the younger generation to force them aside.’”
I had already started down the stairs to where the three people named were talking in Liz’s office. I stopped.
“Wow,” I said. Liz, Conny and Melissa were a lot of things. The term ‘has-beens’ would not apply. I chuckled at the thought of somebody referring to them in that way. It was ludicrous.
“I know,” Marti said. “Would Liz like to make a comment?”
“I’m almost positive that she will,” I said. “In fact, all three of them are here at this moment. Give me a second.”
I knocked lightly at the office door before barging in.
I was greeted by three smiling faces when I popped my head in. I had the phone to my ear but I lowered it slightly. I left the line open because Liz usually had been known to laugh off stupid comments made by others. I thought the young woman on the other end of the line would be more receptive to a positive story if she got an unvarnished look at Liz Larimer.
“So, it seems somebody named Jordan ... Featherbridge ... um,” I said. I had forgotten the name. “Featherstone. That’s it. Jordan Featherstone went on the radio this morning and made a few unflattering comments about you three.”
“Who?” Melissa asked.
“Jordan Featherstone,” I said. “It might be Featherbridge ... or maybe Stonebridge.”
“No help,” Conny said.
“Is it a guy or a girl?” Liz wondered.
“Don’t know,” I said. ‘Nashville Variety’ is calling looking for a comment.”
“Well, what did he ... or she ... say?” Conny wondered.
“I don’t remember the exact quotes,” I began. “The gist is that you’re has-beens and have been for a while. The fans deserve a new sound ... like Jordan Whoever’s. And the new artists will push you out if you don’t leave on your own.”
I saw the storm clouds brewing and immediately knew I’d made a serious miscalculation. I deftly hit the “Mute” button before the first salvo was fired.
“Fucking ungrateful little shits,” Conny hissed.
“I am so fucking tired of these no-talent wannabes trying to build themselves up by tearing us down,” Melissa added.
“Another piece of shit nobody,” Liz grumbled. “You’d think somebody would pull these idiots aside and tell them that fucking with us isn’t a really good plan for success.”
I had been holding the mute button so hard that I worried I was about to put my thumb through the screen. I closed my eyes and waited for another moment to make sure nothing else was coming out. My mind raced for a statement that would be far different from what I’d just heard.
I put the phone back to my ear.
“Did you get all of that?” I asked. I saw Liz’s face go white so I shook my head firmly as I listened to the negative response from the phone. “Oh, sorry. The security system here affects cell service if you get too close. I need to watch that. How much did you catch?”
“Just that they don’t know who Jordan Featherstone is,” Marti replied.
“Yeah, it’s not a name I’ve heard before and I guess that’s true for them, too,” I said. “Anyway, here is what they said. These are direct quotes, by the way. Conny said, ‘Well, every person is entitled to an opinion.’ Melissa said, ‘Music is designed to evoke an emotional response. Sometimes that response is negative.’ And Liz said, ‘You can’t please everybody no matter how hard you try. The fans will decide who stays and who goes.’”
I heard the sound of a keyboard clattering.
“Did you get that?” I asked, hoping that she had because I had made it up off the top of my head and I doubted I could remember it verbatim.
“Got it,” she said. “And thanks.”
“No problem,” I said. “One more thing we’d like to add.”
“Sure,” the woman replied.
“Uh, is it a male or female?” I inquired. “This Jordan person.”
“It’s Featherstone,” Marti answered. “Jordan Featherstone.”
“Oh, sure,” I replied. “I guess the gender doesn’t matter. I’ll trust you to insert the appropriate pronoun for us.”
“She’s a female,” Marti supplied.
“Thanks,” I said. “So, please add this to the statements you have. I think I’m safe in saying this comes from all three of the women. ‘We hope that someday Miss Featherstone will generate enough attention with her artistry that she doesn’t feel the need to denigrate the established performers that have worked tirelessly to pave the way for her opportunity. Nonetheless, we wish her nothing but a successful future.’”
I glanced to where the trio of stars were sitting and looking at me.
I got a nod from Melissa, a smile from Liz and a thumb pointed upward from Conny.
“Yes, they have agreed to add that to the end of the statements that I’ve already provided,” I said.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Blakely,” Marti said. “And please thank Liz, Melissa and Conny for their response.”
“Thank you for bringing it to our attention,” I told her.
“Yes, I think it’s pretty safe to say that nobody out there is hanging on Jordan Featherstone’s every word,” Marti concluded.
I let out a long breath when I ended the call.
“I am so sorry,” I said. “I figured that this happened to you folks so often that you had a pithy response already planned out. I promise that I will never put any of you in that situation again.”
Liz nodded at me and I exhaled noisily again.
“It dawned on me that you had the phone in your hand but I had already engaged mouth while disengaging brain,” Conny said with a chuckle. “It’s too bad. I’m not sure that I’d really mind having this ... whoever ... hear what I really think.”
“Oh, lookie,” Liz said, taking her gaze away from her idiot spokesman for a moment. “It seems that Jordan Featherstone had a song that made it all the way to Number 87 on the Hot 100 Chart. She fell off in two weeks. What a fucking joke.”
“I guess it’s better to be a ‘has-been’ than a ‘never-was, ‘“ Conny added.
“‘Never-will-be’ if I have anything to do with it,” Melissa chimed in. “We should invite her on a tour and just kick the shit out of her.”
“Face it, the next time we hear anything from this twat it will be because she’s living on a park bench and asking us for spare change,” Liz said, shaking her head.
I stood in the doorway with the bridge of my nose pinched tightly between my fingers. I looked up when the bantering ceased.
“I am going to go sit down and reassess my career choice,” I said. “Holy shit, that could have been a complete fiasco. What in the fuck was I thinking?”
“You were thinking that you had three veteran performers that should know better than to shout out the first thing that comes to their brain,” Conny said. “I know what you were trying to do. You were trying to show the woman on the phone who we really are.”
“And if he hadn’t thought pretty fucking quick, he would have,” Melissa added, laughing. “But, yeah, we all know better than to say that out loud unless we’re positive nobody else is going to hear it.”
“I should never have put you in that position,” I insisted.
“It’s over and done with and we’ve all learned something,” Liz said. I figured she’d save my ass-chewing for a more private moment.
“I’ve learned that you better watch out for Travis,” Melissa intoned. “Those lies rolled pretty easily off that silver tongue. That’s for damn sure.”
“I’m not worried about Travis lying to me,” Liz said, winking at me (to let me know that she wasn’t going to skin me alive).
“I have no need to lie to Liz or either of you,” I told the group. “But the media would lie to you or about you if it served their purposes so I’ll lie to them in a heartbeat.”
“He rebounded pretty quickly,” Conny said. “And that thing at the end ... he took what we really thought and put it out there in a way that doesn’t make us sound like bitches. That was pretty cool.”
“Those were the replies I thought of as soon as I heard what the ... girl ... had said,” I told them. “I honestly figured that you’d ... laugh this off as the ravings from the lunatic fringe. I never, for a moment, thought that something this ... person ... said would piss you off. I like all three of you and it didn’t even piss me off. In my head I saw the three of you chuckling and coming up with what I told her. I just wanted the woman to see how ... normal ... you guys really are. Now it occurs to me that it is normal for people to be offended by comments like those.”
“All’s well that ends well,” Conny said.
“Yep,” Melissa added with a grin.
“Now get lost,” Liz said, smiling at me. “We’ve got to plot ways to hide Jordan Featherbed’s body.”
“Featherstone!” Melissa and Conny corrected in unison with the requisite laughter following.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that “Nashville Variety” had a wide and diverse readership.
It was less than an hour after I’d pulled my head from the lion’s mouth when the first text arrived.
It was from Regina Hart and it simply said “Who?”
I looked at it for a moment before replying that Who was on first. It was the first thing that popped into my brain.
I got a series of emojis indicating that she found the reply humorous. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a texted conversation or just a brief chat. I quickly decided upon the latter because a new series of texts hit my phone.
“That’s going to leave a mark,” Lucas wrote.
I sent him back a series of question marks.
“I know that last part was all you,” Ben sent me.
I had barely managed to repeat the answer I’d sent to Lucas when the phone buzzed with a call. It was a Nashville exchange but I didn’t recognize it. I sent it to voicemail. Then a call from the New York area code arrived. It went to voicemail, too.
Then the phone just started to buzz with texts and emails and phone calls. I just watched as it vibrated its way across the outdoor table toward the edge. I had planned to let it drop to the ground and then kick it into the pool.
The phone had almost met its demise when Jill’s hand stopped it.
“What the fuck, Jill?” I asked.
“The radio show got a lot of play in some areas,” she said, sitting down across from me and turning my phone off. “Thus, the reply got even greater play because ... well, you know why.”
“I don’t know why!” I countered.
Jill fooled for a moment with her tablet and then turned it around to face me. The site was the news section of one of the major search engines.
“Girl Squad’s response: Who?” the headline read on the top story of the entertainment tab.
The site had picked up the link to the website and other entertainment sites had used the information as part of their stories.
“She heard what they really said, didn’t she?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Jill replied. “If she did, she didn’t use it. The story said it was the ‘typical classy response’ from ‘a trio of atypically classy ladies.’ The story was really positive. It just noted that their first response ... and yours ... was ‘Who?’”
“Fuck,” I muttered with a heavy sigh. “Well, it’s accurate on that front. None of us knew who in the fuck this chick is!”