Home > Midnight Blue(2)

Midnight Blue(2)
Author: L.J. Shen

Everything in the woman’s office screamed excess. Her desk, white and sleek; the seats made of alabaster leather; and the bronze chandelier dripping down between us like liquid gold. The Hollywood Sign poured from her floor-to-ceiling window in all its promising, beautiful, broken promises glory. So close you could see the dirt clinging to the white letters. Her workplace was the size of a ballroom. There wasn’t a drop of color or personality in this office, and not by accident.

Jenna Holden. Powerhouse agent to the biggest Hollywood stars. Owner of JHE Group. She didn’t have time to get personal. Least of all with the likes of me.

“You’re not looking for a PA?” The forced smile on my face crumbled. I needed this job like Mark Wahlberg needed to show his real junk in Boogie Nights . Really, really bad. Case in point: I was living with my brother, his wife, and kid, and as much as they loved me, I’m sure they loved not having to share their one-bedroom apartment with a twenty-one-year-old avant-garde slob slightly more. My only source of transportation was my bicycle, which in L.A. was the equivalent of getting from A to Z on a dead turtle’s back.

“I’m looking for…something .” Jenna tipped her chin down, bowing a thinly plucked eyebrow. “And it does involve some assisting.”

My patience was hanging by a thread, ready to jump ship. I was hungry, thirsty, and desperate for the job. Any job . Summer had kicked my ass, and all the blue-collar positions had been filled by acne-ridden teenagers. This was the third time I’d come into JHE for this vague job this month. First, I’d gone through the HR girl who’d left me waiting for forty minutes because her pedicure appointment ran late. Then, Jenna’s personal assistant had grilled me like I was fresh back from an ISIS training camp. Finally, I’d met with the mega agent herself, and now she was telling me I’d been misled this whole time?

“Tell me, Indigo, how carefully did you read the job description?” She sat back in her chair and laced her fingers together. She wore a crisp, buttoned shirt tucked into black velvet pants, and a smug smile. Her champagne-blonde hair was pulled into a painful looking bun, and my skull burned just from looking at the way her skin pulled around her hairline.

“Careful enough to repeat it by heart.”

“Is that so? In that case, please do.”

My nostrils flared. I decided to humor her one last time before collecting my bag and remainder of self-esteem and walking away.

“PA needed: resilient, responsible, patient, and thick-skinned. Non-drinker, NO DRUGS , with a flair for arts and life. If you’re twirling on the sidelines of mainstream, have great attention for detail, and don’t mind long hours and endless nights, we’re looking for you. *NDA needed, criminal record will be checked.”

I pushed a copy of my job application, tapping it with my finger. “This is me. Sans the twirling part. I’m prone to migraines. Now, can you tell me why I’m here?”

“What I’m looking for is a savior. A nanny. A friend. You’re the closest thing to perfect I’ve found, but frankly, this whole thing is going to be a lot like an organ transplant. We won’t know if you’re a match until we put you two together.”

I blinked, studying her like she was a mythological creature. If this was a joke, I’d officially lost my sense of humor.

She stood up and began to pace, her arms folded behind her back. “I have a client. No, not a client. The client. One of the hottest names in the industry this decade. He got himself into hot water recently and now he needs a big bucket of ice to cool his name off. Drugs, women, ego the size of China—you name it, he’s suffering from it. Your job is not to book flights and make coffee. He’s got an arsenal of people doing that for him. But you will be there when he goes on tour. You’ll cater to his emotional needs. You’ll make sure he doesn’t snort cocaine backstage, or stay out late, or miss a show. You’ll be there to grab his hand and pull him away when he gets into an argument with a journalist or a paparazzo. Your job, in short, is to keep him healthy and alive for three months. Think you’re up for the challenge?”

Her words were so sincere and sharp, they sank into my skin like teeth.

A savior. A nanny. A friend.

“That’s…a lot of responsibility. Sounds like that someone is in big trouble.”

“Trouble is his middle name, a part of his charm, and the reason why I have a Xanax tab in my purse at all times.” She cracked a bitter smile.


“If he’s in no shape to go on tour, why is he doing it?”

“He was supposed to leave six months ago and canceled for personal reasons. If he cancels again, he’ll have to pay thirty million dollars to the production companies. The insurance will never pay up, considering the cause of termination was him swimming in enough cocaine to bake a five-tier wedding cake.”

I tapped my toes against the shiny floor some more, gnawing at my lower lip. Jenna stopped moving around. She was now standing in front of me, her thin, golden Prada belt twinkling like a sad eclipse.

“Three months on the road. Private jet. Best hotels in the world. If you’ve somehow managed to hang onto the leftovers of your innocence in this city and want to keep it, I’d advise against taking the job. But if you have a thick skin and a taste for adventure, know this—this job will change your bank account, your path, and your life.”

She sounded serious. Concerned. Every word had a weight and it sat heavy on my chest. “You’ll sign a non-disclosure agreement. You’ll take what you see to your grave. And you’ll get paid mad bank.”

Mad bank? Who talked like that? L.A. showbiz people. That’s who.

“Mad bank?” I asked.

“A hundred thousand dollars for every month of your employment.”




Three beats had passed before I sucked in air, remembering I needed to breathe.

Somewhere in the distance, I heard office folk snort-laughing next to the vending machine. A printer spitting out papers. A spoon clinking in a mug. My gnawing intensified, as it did when my nerves got the best of me, and the metallic taste of blood spread inside my mouth.

Three hundred thousand dollars.

Three months.

All my financial problems—gone.

“Who is he?” I looked up, my voice cracking like an egg. Did it matter? Not really. At this point, he could be Lucifer himself, and I’d still accompany him on a lengthy tour in hell. Natasha and Craig’s bills were piling up. Ziggy needed tubes in his ears—every winter my nephew cried and screamed himself to sleep. We had to tie socks around his little fists to keep him from clawing at his ears until they bled. We couldn’t even afford a new bed for him, and his chubby legs constantly got stuck between the bars of his cradle. This offer was a no-brainer. The only issue would be parting ways with my family, but even that came with a big chunk of relief. My brother wasn’t the best person to hang out with right now.

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