Haze - By Andrea Wolfe

Chapter 1


I was standing there in the subway, absolutely transfixed by the individual cars flying by in front of me. They all looked identical, yet none of the people occupying them were the same. Everyone had a different story, a different place they were headed, a different purpose for their actions.

I sometimes found myself zoning out when that rush of sound and air hit me. It wasn't just a nervous response; no, it was more like hypnosis or a drug. The problem was I had missed my train multiple times in the past after getting distracted. Today, that wasn't an option.

Thus far, New York City hadn't been bad to me, but still, I felt as if I barely belonged. Just a few short months ago, I had been at Michigan State University, unsure what my future held. And then, like a magician revealing the hidden coin behind my ear—oh, and I would definitely keep that coin to put toward my student loan debt—this job landed in my lap.

I was working at a record label. It was sort of like a paid internship, one where I'd have flexibility going forward. Honestly, it paid pretty well, but I think the main reason I was there was for the experience. My dad insisted that I take such a job because this wasn't some tiny, hole-in-the-wall independent label—no, this was the big leagues. This was MCI Music Group, one of the biggest labels in the world.

Only problem is I wasn't really into music. I actually recognized a number of the artists and talents on the label from the radio, but I just wasn't that into them. I wasn't like some of my friends from home who cruised Pandora and Spotify all day, looking for whoever the hottest new indie band was and then attending concerts on the weekend. Nope, that wasn't me.

Thankfully, I was going to be more on the financial side of things. I could crunch numbers, and so I guess that's what made me appealing. If they had wanted me to sign new talent—I'm sorry, but picking out the next Justin Bieber was just not my thing—I probably would have turned down the position.

So why was today so special?

I noticed that my train had arrived and I ran inside, pushing through the throbbing maze of people until I found a seat. Every day, I just sat in silence, listening to the loud hum of the train and the quiet chatter of people. Today, for the first time ever, I took notice of all of the headphones in people's ears, the white ear buds that shielded them from the sounds of the real world. They were all lost in music. It seemed like a sign...


I had been here for just under a month, doing sales reports and other bland, mindless tasks at the MCI offices. My boss, Sam, was a decent guy, and he was reasonably nice to me, despite the fact that I just assumed he'd be an asshole because this was NYC, after all. In fact, he was so reasonable—he actually invited me!—that he was allowing me to sit in on today's meeting, a meeting with a guy named Jack Teller.

The only thing I knew about Jack Teller was that he was somewhat of a Renaissance man. Oh, and that he was actually rich and talented, not just a wannabe big shot. That was it. Frankly, I just didn't care that much. I assumed that if I were at this job long enough, eventually I'd develop an appreciation for such things. If this position had been in Hollywood, it would have been a much different situation for me. There had to be some crossover between the two industries, right?

A girl could only hope...

Honestly, it wasn't that I had specific goals in Hollywood, just that I found it more fascinating that the music industry. But I had a job, so I wasn't complaining.

I got to the office early and poured myself a cup of coffee that happened to be freshly brewed. Score! Getting to work early had meant that I had to forego my usual stop for an Americano—but this would suffice just fine. On top of that, it was free.

The meeting was about twenty minutes away, so I sat down at my computer and answered a couple of emails.

Jack Teller.

I kept thinking about his name as I typed, my curiosity suddenly piqued. I started to type it into the search bar, amazed at how many things were popping up before I even