Chapter Six

Whoo! The crowd began cheering even before the song had ended. Steve grinned out at the audience. Everything had gone just as expected. He scanned the crowd, quickly spotting Jen in the front row, beaming back at him. He felt a sudden heady rush, and he knew it wasn't the usual excitement he got from performing.

After cleaning up, the band members coaxed Steve and Jen into going out to a restaurant. "We got some hopefully good news," Matt said, with a slight sparkle in his eye. Steve tried prodding more information out, but all he got in reply were silent grins.

The band's van had broken down last week and was still in the repair shop, so the band had to split up into two separate cars. Matt and Bryan had gotten there first, and when Steve, Jen, and Jason arrived, they found the other two—well, Matt mostly—in discussion with a suave forty-something year old man.

"Here they are!" Matt announced as the group reached the table. The man turned to shake hands with Steve and Jason, and then his eyes fell on Jen. "Jennifer Carmichael?" She nodded. "It's a pleasure to meet you. You're connected to the band?"

"No, I—"

"Jen has been working with Steve here on some of the songs, including 'She Doesn't Know,' that last song we did tonight," Matt cut in. Jen shot Steve a confused, angry look. Steve shrugged and turned to Matt.

"What's going on? Who is this guy?" The man caught part of the conversation.

"Oh, did Matt not tell you? I'm Chris Johnson, of Geffen Records." He pulled out some business cards and handed them out. Steve stared at the glossy card, stunned into silence. "I've heard some good stuff about you, and Matt told me you'd be performing tonight. I was over in the city doing some business and figured I'd drop by and hear you guys. And," he added, "I liked it." The band looked at each other with eager smiles.

"I'll talk to my boss about you guys. Hopefully I'll be able to fly you in to Cali and sign you!" He shook hands again, and regarded Jen for a moment. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Carmichael," he said, an almost crafty look on his face. And he left.

"Okay, do you want to tell me what that was all about?" Jen turned to Steve.

"To be honest, I don't know either. Matt, why didn't you tell me?" Steve demanded.

"Come on, let's talk in private." He led Steve over to the bathroom. "Jen is our ticket to getting a record deal," he began.

"What? But you can't—"

"Listen to me. First of all, you freak when you know someone important is in the audience. Remember what happened last year? And I know you don't want to use her, but look at it this way. Didn't you see how the agent was figuring how she'd play into all of this? She's famous. He connects her name to us, we become the hottest new band. And, of course, you get into her ranks. Works perfectly."

"Matt, you could have at least told me—"

"If I did, you would have dropped Jen off at your place, and the agent wouldn't see us the way he did."

"But you heard him! He liked our music!"

Matt scoffed. "Steve, man, you have always been the genuine guy, the one that truly believes that talent and hard work is going to get you to the top. And I respect that. But it doesn't always work that way. Big breaks don't come to those who wait patiently. You might think that what I did today is wrong, but years later, when we're picking up a plaque for a platinum record, you'll thank me." He turned and headed back to the table.

Steve let out an angry sigh and followed him, hoping Jen wouldn't be mad.

So, so sorry about not updating sooner! I had started a different chapter 6 before, but I didn't like it, andsince Iactually have time now,I wrote this today. What do you think?

And a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!