Chapter 1

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Story Edited By: Kellie Woolf | Published March 21, 2020 

(DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. It's important to remember this is all totally fabricated, embellished, and exaggerated for entertainment purposes.) 

"This thing upon me...howls like a beast. You flower, you feast."

Harry Styles |Woman 

February 14, 2016

"You good?" [Manager] Jeff asked, watching as I climbed down from the backseat. I held the door for a minute, vacillating, drumming my fingertips; but eventually let them slide away. The truck door was heavier than I was used to, so it slammed, echoing in the courtyard and prompting something to run from the hedges.

"You alright?" He repeated. After tonight, I wasn't good, but I needed to be alone.

"Yeah, mate...all good..." Not really, I nearly croaked. But I swallowed the bile-like words, clearing the lump in my throat with a crooked smile.

"Should we come up for a bit?" Glenne (his girlfriend) asked, hand already on the door-handle; tennis bracelet glinting in the blue LEDs that bathed the car floor. "Night cap?"

"No need. I'll be alright." I grinned. "I swear I'm good." She looked skeptical. "See you Tuesday?"

"No, tomorrow." Jeff cocked a brow. "Noon, pal. And get some sleep, alright?"

"Promise." I drawled, blowing kisses and watching them pull away.

The Escalade reared back up the incline of my driveway and vanished. The driver had cursed earlier after picking me up, realizing how steep the climb was before just flooring it. I nearly laughed remembering how much he apologized, thinking he had lost his tip and earned a scathing review. But I cursed just as much whenever I walked it in the mornings.

On my way to the backdoor, I shook my head at the heap of PR packages accumulating on the terrace. It had grown steadily from the moment I processed an official change of address at the post office last week, and was showing no signs of stopping. Over a dozen brands had found me, relentless in their pursuit of my 'endorsement'—whatever the hell that meant. Especially Apple. They sent me stuff nearly every month; prototypes and limited editions and other stupid shit I couldn't name to save my life. None of it registered anymore, since I was inundated regularly from every Fortune 500 that dominated the west coast.

One day last year, Jeff had sat me down and explained that my social media engagement was next-level, so as a result it had become a rare commodity. He went on to say that my Twitter was of particular interest: in a day and age where most people (i.e. fans) had jumped ship and gone over to IG or Facebook, my numbers were simply unheard of. To me, this wasn't impressive. It became an added anxiety, reminding me the entire world was tracking my every move. And it was equally as unsettling to search my name on Twitter at any given moment and see that thousands were discussing me (24/7).

Anytime I mentioned a book I had read in passing, or tweeted lyrics to a song I loved, I apparently made 'waves', and was therefore expected to be more selective about the things I endorsed. Eventually I became so conscientious about what I should and shouldn't post that I barely tweeted at all.

Brands had redoubled their efforts to pin me down since early 2015, my numbers only increasing after March and growing more insane by the day—that is, compared to my four, "equally renowned" counterparts.

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