I climbed into my personal jet and popped my head into the cockpit. “Hey-ya, Hal. Are we ready?”
“Ready when you are, my lady,” he said with a wink. Hal and I go way back. He is the second mortal I told my secret to and is a kind and gentle soul. He’s a top rate pilot that flew for Boeing as a test pilot. When I met Hal, he was slumped over at a bar one night, not long after my return to the mortal realm. Where I normally go to clubs to feed off of the good energies, his was so, loud, for lack of a mortal word, that I had to help him. He had just lost his wife to the mortal disease of cancer and was having a hard time recovering. Like many mortals, he felt safe and at peace in my presence and opened up like a book. We ended up at his house where I held the broken man as we put his soul back together. By morning, a whole man stood before me, and he asked me who or what I was. It was then that I revealed myself to him. He asked me how I was adjusting to life here and I joked with him about transportation being so much slower than my chariot. He perked up at that and told me he had a solution if I had means. A few drachmae later, I had my prototype and my pilot secured.
My airline assistant was closing the door when I turned around and found a seat in one of the high back chairs. I pulled my buckle over my lap while she poured me a drink. “Thank you, sweetie,” I said to the cute little redhead. Rosen had one of those little button noses that you just wanted to boop. She was one of a kind. When I told her who I was, she just looked at me and with an unchanged face and simply said, “I knew something was different about you. It makes sense now.” She is one of my most trusted mortals. Similarly to Hal, I found her in a low place. Not at the bar, but walking down the street. I had just left my office in London and saw her stumbling along the sidewalk. She was a simple one, not a crushed soul, just a sad one. She said I saved her life that night, but I wasn’t sure how.
Hal and Rosen had seen me in more situations than any other mortals combined, and were a part of an even smaller group that knew about Endy. Hal knew if we got a call about Endymion, we had to be there as soon as possible. Rosen had never missed a flight and had all my idiosyncrasies down to a science. I often wondered how I would have managed without them.
Anyways, I opened the briefcase that was in the chair beside me and pulled out my laptop. Off to London to check out some new talent, a singer named Blaze. I rolled my eyes; can they get any more original? Typically, I didn’t do the talent scouting. I had mortals for that, but Imogen told me I “had to come see him”, so here I go. I needed to check in at the office and perform my due diligence with my A-listers in the UK anyway. The one thing I hated about mortal flying is how slow it seems, but I always try to find the bright side of things. I opened the email Imogen sent me on Blaze. At the top of the email was his picture. His eyes stared back at me, and I saw through the hair and black covered lids. A great person was in there and that is who Imogen saw. I trained her to see as much. Real talent. Now, to unlock it.
I kept myself busy on the flight making phone calls, connecting with Imogen, and planning my itinerary. By the time I arrived, my week in the UK was mapped out. Imogen was waiting at the airport with my silver Mercedes when we landed. She greeted me with our typical double-cheeked kiss, then I tossed my briefcase into the back seat and climbed in. Imogen slid into the passenger seat and we took off.
It was a short drive from the airport to the office and before long, we pulled up to the front of my office building, then headed up to my personal office to get ready to meet this new singer. Imogen was chatting the entire time we got ready.
“Just wait until you see Blaze, Sel. He is super hot, an amazing singer, and did I mention hot?” She went on and on about his sound and looks before pausing as she leaned into the mirror to apply her lipstick, forcing her to stop moving her mouth for two seconds.
“Im, I saw his picture. You can cut the bullshit, I know what you see in him.”
She grinned sheepishly at me, then replied, “But he really is hot, too.”
Imogen was another insider. She was simply another mortal I hired to be a talent scout for me, but I saw the way she looked at the prospects. She looked for the person behind the facade. She wanted to unlock that person and let them really shine. That was where I came in. That was what I was good at and why I made her my lead in London.
Two hours later, we drove to the club. Pulling into the club parking lot, I found a spot and put the roof up before we got out. Once inside, we made our way through the crowd to the VIP section so we could get a good view of Blaze.
The cover band finished playing and Blaze entered the stage. His jet black hair shone in the lights, but not in that dirty, greasy way. He sauntered in, emitting enough confidence to get anyone’s attention. He smiled at Imogen and winked at me, then struck a chord on his guitar. Anger stirred in my midsection. I hated cocky arrogance and he seemed to think he was Eros.
The music began and my mood began to change. He was incredible. He and his bandmates were so in-sync, I couldn’t stay mad, or still, for that matter. The notes were on point and he sang from his soul. Most bands at this point are still playing cover songs, but theirs were like nothing I had heard before. Imogen was in the mosh pit, jumping and slinging her head around to the music. I laughed out loud and smiled. Ok, maybe he wasn’t arrogant, just self-assured. I didn’t quite get that icky feeling from his aura I get when they were. Imogen was right: he was good, and Crescent Talent Agency was going to represent him.
After the concert, we took him back to the office to start the paperwork and makeover. “So, Selene,” he said, wagging his eyebrows at me. “How do I get to know you better?” he leaned forward and reached for me.
I grabbed his arm and twisted, flipping him onto the floor. Through clenched teeth, I replied, “Try that again with me or any of my employees, and you will regret it.” I released him and he stood back up and rubbed his arm. “And it’s ma’am. Do not address me in that manner again. Understood?” He nodded his head, fear in his eyes. “Still want to work with me?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He sat up straight in his chair he had just returned to and looked straight ahead. “You are the best, and I want that.”
“Excellent. Do what I say and you will do great. I love your voice and your sound. Your attitude and looks, not so much.” He nodded and my makeover crew entered the room.
Hair, wardrobe, even nails…ugh. I couldn’t begin to tell you how gross these men were nowadays.
While they were working on Blaze (I will forever eye roll on that name), Legal and I were discussing which label suited him best and tweaking the contract to suit him. As the team finished with him, they began to clear out. When we were alone again, he stood up and quietly walked over to the full-length mirror on the wall. I watched him take his new look in and his entire countenance changed. He lit up, and I felt his energy and pride soar. This is why I do this. He turned to look at me with tears in his eyes.
“I…I can’t believe it’s me. I mean, it’s how I envisioned myself, but…thank you.” He walked slowly towards me on the other side of the room.
“Have a seat and let’s discuss that name.” He chuckled wryly and sat on the couch down from me, afraid to come closer. “Come closer. I don’t bite, if you behave.” I giggled and he lightened up. He scooted down a little, but not too much. He rubbed his arm with the memory and I laughed. “So, where does the name Blaze come from?”
He dropped his hand from his arm and answered. “My pops always said I was gonna burn down the house in a blaze of glory. So it was sort of a tribute to him.”
Nodding, I replied, “I can appreciate the sentiment, but let’s find something not quite so cliche, ok?
“Ok, like what?”
“What else reminds you of your pops, if he is who you want to give nod to?”
“Um, wait, I got it.” He got up and rushed over to his guitar case. He knelt down, unzipped it and brought the guitar back to the couch. I watched as the arrogant man I met mere hours ago transformed into the star sitting before me. He played an original piece he wrote for his pops. His voice, soft yet firm, flowed in a way that would make Apollo smile. This was who Imogen saw. This was why I am here. “What’s your pops’ name, Blaze?”
“Phillip, Phillip Kendrick. In fact, I call that song Kendrick.”
I smiled. Blaze was gone and Kendrick was born.