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Chapter 4

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Chloe's phone vibrated loudly on the nightstand next to the bed. Whoever it was, she wasn't answering. She stuffed her pillow over her head and rolled over, ignoring it.

Eventually the vibrating stopped. Then started again.

With a groan, she reached her hand out blindly to find it. Her fingers connected with the device and she looked bleary-eyed at the caller ID.

She cursed him. Not okay, Josh. Not okay. She put it to her ear. "What?" she whisper-hissed. "You know you're not allowed to call my phone. If my father found out he'd kill me, especially at..." The numbers on her alarm clock blared at her. "Freaking four in the morning."

"You're twenty-six!" Josh all but shouted.

Chloe squeezed her eyes shut, balancing the phone carefully on her ear so she didn't have to hold her arm up. "Josh," she said slowly, "I just turned eighteen. We discussed this."

Josh either didn't hear her superior tone or didn't care. "No! You're twenty-six on Musetunes!"

Chloe shot up into a sitting position so fast, her phone clattered to the floor. She fumbled with it as she bent to pick it up. Her torso extended awkwardly so she could grab at the phone. She sat back up on the bed. "What?"

"Your new song boosted you. It's a hit," Josh said excitedly. "Creator, I'm so happy for you, Chlo!"

Chloe scrubbed at her face. "How is this possible? No one's ever jumped a hundred numbers before."

"Who cares?" Josh replied. "I'm sure you're going to start getting calls for music videos, gigs, and an album. People might want to sign you. You can go public."

All the building excitement in her soured.

"Oh Creator." Chloe put a hand to her mouth. "I can't do it."

"Are you kidding? This is big! It's your chance to be respected in Sarias."

"If I go anywhere near the public world my Dad will have a cow. You know how he is."

Josh scoffed. "He'll be happy for you. What if you become big? He's got to be proud."

Chloe felt crushed. Here she was at the point where she could almost taste her dreams and she had to pull back. "No Josh. I can't tell anyone. I'll have to pull my number from the website so no one can contact me. They can't know."

"...are you sure this is what you want?"

"Yes."

Josh exhaled a depressed sound. "Okay."

"Please don't tell anyone, Josh. Please."

"Don't you trust me?"

"Josh."

"Okay, okay. I won't."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

Angry footsteps charged down the hallway. "I have to go." She cut off his reply and shoved the phone with shaky arms under her pillow just as her door burst open. The lights came on in the room and brightness burned her eyes momentarily.

Her father stomped into the room. His midnight-black hair arranged perfectly. Even his plaid pajama pants fit pristinely against his figure. "Who are you talking to?" His nostrils flared.

Chloe folded her shaking arms innocently into her lap and faked a yawn. "What? It's four in the morning." She rubbed the heel of her hand over her eye. "I wasn't talking to anyone."

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