“You and I need to talk,” Evie said immediately as Phil rounded the corner into his office. She had been sitting at his desk for the last ten minutes awaiting his arrival. Though the receptionist at Atlantic Records had been far from eager to let her wait in his office instead of in the lobby, she had thrown around enough names and spoke firmly enough that eventually they had given in and let her enter the corridors of the building.
“I gather that’s why you’re here,” Phil retorted dryly, finally looking up from the paperwork in his arms to the blonde sitting comfortably in one of the chairs across from his own. “This couldn’t wait for the meeting tomorrow?”
“Clearly not, or I would have waited,” Evie replied with sass. She was not going to let him give her attitude when all she wanted to do was talk to the man who currently held her future in his hands. “Fair enough,” Phil said, giving her credit for her matching his attitude.
He made his way into his office, unceremoniously dumping the paperwork into his in tray before collapsing into his chair. It was only 11am, and already his Wednesday was shot to hell. Back to back meetings this morning giving him more paperwork than he had seen in months, followed by an impromptu visit from Evie, and his day would be capped with a conference call between himself, the higher ups, and a management team from Warner Bros. to sort out the finer details between a proposed tour between Linkin Park and Shinedown. It was going to last hours past 5pm with the ludacris demands Warner were making to the tour route.
“Well, what can I do for you?” Phil asked, sitting up straight and giving Evie his full attention.
Evie hesitated for a moment, all plans and rehearsed lines evaporating the second she had her opportunity. She took a deep breath, centering her thoughts and reminded herself on exactly why she was here.
“I have been with this band for the last 5 years. I helped out after work when they were playing to 20 people, and I have been by their side as they have grown and worked up to playing festivals. I have given them thousands of hours of my time for free, wanting nothing in return but their success. I will not go down without a fight,” she said, finally finding the right words to convey her feelings.
Phil was silent for a minute, trying to put her words and the reason behind them together. He was blank for a moment, unsure what would have spurred on this impromptu meeting, but then it finally clicked. His business brain started spinning.
“I may have missed the last two weeks of tour, but I have put in more than enough time to more than make up for that, and there is no way anyone will ever understand Halestorm and their needs more than I do,” Evie finished, putting everything she could in her defense. There was nothing that could scare her out of her position, and that included Troy and his backstabbing plan, or Phil and his mind games. She might have let herself get carried away with thoughts of unimportance, but she had spent every hour of the day previous reminding herself of why she was wrong.
“Who told you about Troy’s plan?” Phil asked.
“No one, I overheard you two talking,” Evie replied.
“And now you are feeling insecure about your position in the crew,” he continued, filling in the few remaining blanks. Regardless of her bravado, Phil could see through the faux confidence and he knew he had hit the nail on the head as her face fell slightly.
“I am not insecure,” she exclaimed, unable to stop her immediate reaction. “I know I am the best thing for Halestorm and I know I can help them continue their rise in the industry.”
“I was there for their last show, Evie. I saw the mistakes, and I know they were not made in the few shows you were absent.”
“Those mistakes were not my fault! Troy screwed up the timing before ‘Dirty Work’, Joe grabbed the wrong guitar for ‘I Get Off’ which I quickly replaced BEFORE Arejay even counted them in, and there weren’t any mistakes in the other shows because clearly I trained Troy too well,” Evie pointed out, ticking off the items on her fingers as she shot holes in Phil’s excuse.
“So you don’t deny he is well suited for the role,” Phil commented, playing devil's advocate again.
“Well, of course he is, we made sure that he was so he could do his job. There is no way he would have lasted this long if he wasn’t good at what he does,” Evie replied, hating that she had to actually give him credit. It was true, though, which is the reason he was still in his role. “But I am sure I can speak on behalf of the others when I say that we don’t want someone that so easily goes behind their backs to try and get a leg up.”
“Isn’t that what you are doing now by coming to me before the meeting tomorrow?”
“There is a huge difference between Troy coming to you to try and get someone me fired, and me coming to you to try and keep my job.”
“But that is ultimately going to get Troy fired, too,” Phil pointed out, once again finding the flaws in Evie’s logic.
“That isn’t up to me, I am just here giving you my side of the story,” Evie replied, finally calming down and not biting at his words. She had to take a deep breath in, mustering all the courage she had. “There is a huge difference between me proving my loyalty, and Troy trying to find my flaws.”
Evie stood from her seat, unable to to fight any longer. She hadn’t expected this to be as difficult as it had been, she had been so sure that Phil would have come to his senses and realised that Troy was just making waves, and was clearly up to no good. She decided to leave him with one final thought.
“Just don’t forget why you chose me to help out Avenged in the first place,” she said, trying to get him to realise that it was the skill she possessed that made her the preferable tech to send. “See you tomorrow.”
And with that, she left Phil’s office, slowly letting go of a huge breath as she walked down the corridor and found her way back to the lobby once more. She continued her journey, slipping out of the building and back into her car. She took a moment, sitting in the driver's seat to let go of all the leftover anxiety, nerves and stress she was carrying from the build up and the duration of the conversation. She had done all she could, it was now up to Phil.
Her drive home was uneventful, the journey itself flying by without Evie even realising. She pulled into the driveway of her apartment without any memory of getting there, her thoughts still firmly on her confrontation with Phil. She had gone over his words a million times, trying to figure out if he was truly on Troy’s side as it seemed. Surely he was just doing his ‘businessman’ thing, not giving anything away and not letting her have the upperhand.
Evie got out of her car, locking it behind her and made her way up the flight of stairs from the garage to her small home. She unlocked her door, entering her place and going straight to the kitchen, dropping her keys on the hall table on her way past. She poured herself a drink, deciding against alcohol thanks to the judgy clock that read 1pm.
Taking her cell out of her back pocket, she held it in her hand, staring at its black screen as if it held all her answers. In a way, it did.
She could call Josh or Lzzy, explain the situation and let their rage save her ass. She knew that either of them would go to bat for her in an instant, and was fairly confident that Joe and Arejay would do the same. She could let them fight her battle knowing that she would win and that Phil would never go against their demands, regardless of the business sense the decision would make.
Another part of her wanted to call Brian, tell him how badly it had gone and to drink away her problems with him telling her that it would all be okay. She wanted to give him the chance to ask her to come back on tour, to come and visit and just be with him as his girlfriend, and she wanted to go. She wanted to bury her life for a while, stop being Evelyn Jane Smith, and just be ‘Brian’s girlfriend’. It went against every feminist bone in her body, and she just wanted to play damsel and have someone else sort out the mess her life had become.
It had only been two days since she had left him at the festival grounds, and she had not anticipated the separation to affect her so immediately. Going from seeing him everyday to knowing he was thousands of miles away was weighing on her more than she would admit to anyone, and no phone call or text message could soothe that pain. Whenever she saw his name pop up on her phone, her felt her heart stutter and a smile appear on her face, regardless of where she was, or what she was doing. Lzzy had teased her relentlessly about it, even going to the extent of singing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song until Evie literally tackled her to the ground and put her hand over her mouth.
Deciding that the judgemental clock could get fucked, Evie poured herself a bourbon, sans coke, and took a sip. She let the burn of the spirit replace her mental anguish and take her mind off the last few hours. She knew it was far from healthy behaviour, but couldn’t find the strength to care. Instead, she brought the bottle with her and made her way to her patio, setting herself up to sit outside, smoke and drink until the self deprecating thoughts stopped.
A small little update to tire you over.
I will hopefully update on Monday :D