A dream come true. Ellie dreams of becoming a sing and she desperatel wants to go to the Glastonbury Festival where her favorite singer will be playing. But with an overprotective Dad and important exams to take, it seems that Ellie’s dreams will have to remain just that, dreams. But one day she sees a competition in a music magazine…
CHAPTER ONE: It’s All a Dream
Dreams. Ambitions. Everyone has them.
Some people dream of scoring a penalty in the World Cup Final. Others want to travel around the world… Ellie Stevenson dreams of being a singer.
Ellie is a normal seventeen-year-old girl. She lives in a quiet village in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. She goes to school, has a part-time job in her Dad’s shop and enjoys spending time with her best friends, Cassie and Skye.
This is the story of Ellie and how dreams, sometimes, do come true.
‘Pencils down, please!’
I quickly try to finish writing one last sentence but Miss Jones sees me. ‘Ellie Stevenson! The exam is over!’
‘Please, Miss… another thirty seconds… five?’
‘Humph!’ she says and takes my paper.
There’s nothing I can do now. I hate biology! I want to be a singer. I wanted to study music at A level.
‘You can’t study music!’ said Dad when I told him at the start of sixth form, in September last year.
‘If you want a good career you need to study science.’
‘He’s right. The sciences are important, Ellie,’ agreed Skye. ‘I’m going to study chemistry, biology, physics and maths.’
Boring! Why don’t you study French like me?’ suggested Cassie, my other best friend. ‘Mr Lake, the French teacher, is gorgeous!’
I never told anyone about my dream after that.
Now here I am trying not to fall asleep as Miss Jones finishes collecting the answer papers after the biology exam.
I start to yawn. I stayed up studying all night. I’m really tired. I close my eyes. I only want to rest for a minute. But soon I’m not in the exam room…
I’m on stage in front of thousands of fans. My fans! They are shouting my name… I start to play the guitar and they all cheer… they sing the words to my latest hit…
‘Ellie! Ellie!’ Miss Jones’s angry voice wakes me up.
‘It’s time to go home!’ she says, shaking her head.
I’m the only person left in the room. Everyone else has already gone.
I was dreaming… again.
I feel stupid as I pick up my bag and walk towards the exit.
Outside, it’s raining. It’s spring but the sky is grey and miserable. It seems like it will rain forever and I haven’t got an umbrella.
‘Ellie! Ellie! Wait for me!’ I turn around and see Skye running towards me. The only thing I can see is her wild black curly hair. The rest of her is hidden behind a pile of library books.
Skye is one of my best friends but she is the last person you want to see after an exam. You know the type… when Skye gets a B, she’s disappointed!
‘That was soooo difficult!’ She starts to ask me what I answered for question four when my mobile rings. It’s Cassie.
‘Hi, Cassie!’ I say, glad of the interruption.
‘Can you come to my Dad’s stables?’ she asks. She doesn’t say ‘hello, how are you?’ Typical Cassie.
‘I have to work in my Dad’s shop this evening. I have to start at 4.30 and it’s already 4.’
‘Don’t worry about that! I’ve got something much more important to talk to you about. Meet me at the stables in five minutes. And bring Skye with you.’
‘But…’ I start to say, but she has already hung up.
When we get to the stables, Cassie is busy riding one of the horses. She looks elegant in her riding clothes. Her make-up and nails, as usual, are perfect. She finishes one final lap and then climbs down from her handsome black horse.
‘Good. You’re here! Now… I’ve got a surprise for you both… you know my Dad asked me what I wanted for a present after studying hard for the exams at the end of the first year?’
Skye starts to laugh. Cassie has never studied for an exam in her life! Everyone knows that. Everyone except Cassie’s Dad!
‘Well… here it is… what do you think?’ She gives us each a piece of paper with a smile.
Tickets? There is silence as we read. Glastonbury Festival? No! It can’t be! I read it again, just to be sure.
‘Glastonbury! I can’t believe it! I’ve always wanted to go to Glastonbury!’
‘Tickets for Glastonbury are really expensive!’ says Skye. ‘I can’t afford tickets for Glastonbury.’
‘Don’t worry about that. They’re a present from me… well, from my Dad. He’s got to go away on a business trip. He’s going to see some new horses in Saudi Arabia. I think he feels guilty, leaving me for a month.’
For a moment she looks sad. Her Dad is always going away and leaving her at home with the housekeeper.
Suddenly, I have a horrible thought… Dad. He’ll never let me go. The Glastonbury Festival lasts three days. My Dad worries if I go out for more than three hours.
‘What’s wrong, Ellie?’ asks Cassie. ‘Aren’t you happy? I thought you loved music!’
‘I do!’ I say quickly. ‘I do! And of course I want to go! It’s just that…’
I feel stupid. I’m seventeen years old but I sound like a baby. ‘I just don’t know how I’m going to persuade my Dad to let me go.’
‘That’s a shame, Ellie…’ says Cassie. ‘You see… on MTV this afternoon they said that another group is going to perform too. But if you don’t want to see Murphy play live…’
‘Murphy?’ I ask, my voice shaking. My heart starts to beat loudly.
‘That’s what I said… Murphy. The sexiest, most gorgeous man alive. But if you don’t want to upset your Dad…’ she tries to take the ticket back.
‘No!’ I shout, quickly pulling the ticket away from her. ‘I’ll be there!’
‘Cook him a nice dinner,’ suggests Cassie.
‘Work extra hours in the shop,’ suggests Skye.
The shop! I suddenly remember and quickly look at my watch: 4.35.
‘What is it?’ asks Cassie.
‘The shop!’ I say running towards the door. ‘I’m late for work!’
I can hear Cassie and Skye laughing as I run out of the stables and into the cold rain. But I don’t care and soon I am laughing too.
I’m going to see Murphy!
‘Have you told your Dad about Glastonbury yet?’ asks Cassie, a few weeks later.
We are walking Skye’s pet dogs through the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. I love living here. We let the dogs off their lead. They run and start to play in the fields. I feel that nothing could spoil this perfect moment.
But then Cassie reminded me that I haven’t told Dad about the festival.
‘It’s difficult to find the right moment,’ I try to explain. Cassie looks at me and I know she doesn’t believe me. ‘Honestly… the shop’s always busy and then he was angry with me for failing that biology exam.’
We put down our blanket. Cassie lies down and starts to read a fashion magazine. Skye takes a chemistry book from her rucksack and starts to study.
I lie down too. I thought that Cassie was happy with my explanation. But soon she asks, ‘Why don’t you speak to Liz?’
‘She’s always trying to make you happy. If you ask her, she’ll definitely say yes. Then,’ she smiles, ‘your Dad can’t say no!’
She lies back happily in the sun. But it doesn’t seem right. I like Liz. I don’t want to cause an argument between her and Dad.
When we say goodbye, Cassie says, ‘Promise me you’ll tell him.’
‘I will,’ I say.
‘Tonight,’ I answer, but I don’t sound very sure.
When I get back the shop is quiet. Dad is singing his favourite Elvis song and I realised that this is the perfect moment.
‘Hello, love,’ he says with a smile. He is busy stacking shelves but he stops to kiss me on the cheek. ‘How was your day?’
‘Fine.’ I say but I don’t look at him. I feel guilty already. ‘Dad?’
For a moment I don’t speak. Dad hates lies.
But then I think of Murphy…
‘You know the final exams are in June? You know, those big exams at the end of the first year of the sixth form?’
‘Yes, of course I do. So…?’
‘Well, Cassie has suggested that we have a party after the exams. The last weekend in June. At her place. You know, to celebrate. Cassie’s Dad says that it’s OK for me and Skye to sleep there afterwards. We can help clean up after the party…’
What else can I think of to say? How can I continue?
‘…Then we can spend the next day planning what to study in the summer holidays… make a study plan… for all of us… That way we’ll all be really prepared for the next school year! Then we’ll spend another night there, and then I’ll come back…’
I can’t think of anything else to say! Dad looks at me in a strange way. Surely he knows I’m lying!
‘A party? So you’re sure you’re going to pass next time?’
‘Of course she’s going to pass! And she’ll deserve a party afterwards!’ It’s Liz, coming out of the storeroom with a large box. She has curly red hair, bright pink lipstick and even brighter earrings. She wears so many bracelets that they jingle when she walks.
‘I’m still not sure,’ says Dad. ‘Who’s going to this party? Apart from you, Skye and Cassie?’
‘Oh, just the boys and girls in the class. We’ll probably have a barbeque in the garden, then listen to music and dance. It’s going to be so good to relax after all that studying!’
‘She’s right, Bill.’ Liz smiles at Dad and he starts smiling too.
‘No problem, Ellie!’ he says. ‘But I hope you’re going to study hard for the exams!’
I jump up and hug him. ‘Thanks, Dad!’ I kiss him on both cheeks. ‘Just make sure you pass the next biology exam!’
With studying and preparing for Glastonbury, the next month passed quickly. Skye learnt how to build a tent, I bought my train ticket and Cassie bought ten different tops for our weekend. Everything was perfect.
That is, until early one Friday evening in May.
I was in the storeroom, putting away boxes after a delivery, when I heard Dad say a name I know well.
‘Hello, Steve! I haven’t seen you for a long time,’ says Dad.
Steve? STEVE! It’s Cassie’s Dad! What’s he doing here? He never comes into the shop!
I quickly start to climb down the ladder. But in my hurry I miss the last step and fall onto a pile of boxes.
My ankle hurts but there’s no time to think about that now! I run as fast as I can into the shop. My Dad continues talking to Steve.
‘It’s nice of you to let the class have a party at your place, Steve,’ says Dad.
Steve looks confused. ‘Sorry? What party? When?’
I watch them in silence. I don’t even breathe.
‘After the exams. The last weekend in June, I think,’ continues Dad. ‘And then you’re going to have three teenage girls in the house for a couple of days – almost as bad as the party!’
My heart starts to beat faster and faster as I wait for Steve to answer. Please don’t tell him! Please!
‘Oh, now I know what weekend you’re talking about, Bill,’ says Steve. ‘But there’s no party that weekend. That’s when the girls are going to Glastonbury.’
No! No! No!
‘Glastonbury?’ says Dad. His face starting to turn red. ‘You mean the rock concert?’
‘Yes… anyway, I must go, Bill. Come and have a drink with me at the golf club sometime.’
But Dad doesn’t answer him. Slowly, he looks at me. His eyes are big and angry. And even his bald head has become purple!
And at that moment, I knew that my dream of seeing Murphy was over.
‘But I’m seventeen years old, Dad! I’m not a baby anymore!’
‘I don’t care! You’re living in my house. That means you do what I tell you to do! There will be no rock concerts.’
‘It’s an arts festival. Not a rock concert.’
‘I don’t care what it is! You’re not going! You lied to me, Ellie!’ He turns to Liz. ‘A party. A day with her friends making a study plan. I was so stupid to believe all of that!’
‘I’m sure you went to concerts when you were my age!’
‘That was different. Things were different then,’ says Dad.
‘Can’t you talk to him?’ I ask Liz, but she shakes her head.
‘I’m sorry, Ellie.’ She tries to put her arm around me, but I don’t let her.
‘Leave me alone!’ I shout pushing her arm away. ‘I’ll never forgive you both for this! NEVER!’
I run up the stairs and throw myself onto my bed. It’s not fair.
Everyone else’s parents let them go to concerts. Why can’t mine?
I pick up my mobile phone and try to phone Cassie, but I have no credit left. I throw my phone onto the bed just as Liz knocks on my door.
‘Ellie, dinner’s ready.’
‘I’m not hungry.’
‘You’ve got to eat, Ellie.’
‘Leave me alone! I don’t want anything!’ I shout. How can I eat ever again? Seeing Murphy was going to be the best day of my life.
But half an hour later she is back. This time she comes in before I can stop her. I close my eyes, hoping she’ll think I’m asleep.
‘I made you a sandwich.’ She sits on my bed and touches my arm gently. ‘I brought you a magazine too. There’s an article on that singer you like… Murphy isn’t it?’
‘I don’t want your stupid magazine. I was going to see Murphy live at Glastonbury, not that you can understand!’
I pick up the magazine and throw it across the room. It hits the photo of her and Dad’s wedding. It falls to the floor and breaks. Liz gets up and slowly starts to pick up the pieces of broken glass.
I tell myself that it’s their fault. I’m angry because Dad won’t let me go to Glastonbury… because he thinks I’m seven not seventeen. But I still feel horrible as I watch Liz leave my room. She looks sad and there are tears in her eyes.
When she has gone, I pick up the magazine. On the cover there is a photo of Murphy.
The thought of missing Glastonbury makes my stomach hurt. But I still look through the magazine.
When I get to the article on Murphy more tears fill my eyes. But then I read something that makes me stop crying…
Do you want to meet Murphy?
Would you like to go to Glastonbury, tour backstage and meet the star himself?
We are going to make one lucky reader’s dream come true. If you can sing, then we want to hear from you! To enter, just send us a tape of you singing your favourite Murphy song to MUSIC NOW!
Send us your entries by 10 May.
10 May! Oh no! That’s Monday! Today’s Friday! If I want to enter I must send my entry tomorrow morning.
Suddenly, my anger disappears. I feel excited. I know that thousands of people will enter the competition. And I don’t have a lot of time to prepare. But could I be the one? Dreams come true for some people sometimes, don’t they?
First I have to decide which song to sing. I pick up my MP3 player and finally choose a romantic song. I listen to it twice, but I know that it’s the right one.
I close my eyes and listen to the words.
I forget about Dad and the sadness in Liz’s eyes when she picked up the broken photo. I forget about school and the homework I still haven’t done.
I take a deep breath and press ‘record’ on my CD player. I pick up the microphone and start to sing, and when I stop five minutes later I know that I can’t do any better.
All I have to do now is wait.
The next morning I woke up early. When I went into the kitchen Liz was cooking breakfast. Dad was reading the newspaper. Normally, he says ‘good morning’ and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Today, he didn’t even look at me when I sat down at the table.
‘I heard you singing last night,’ says Liz. She puts a plate of bacon and eggs in front of me and smiles.
‘Humph!’ says Dad, closing his paper and getting up from the table.
Liz watches him leave the room and then sits down next to me. ‘Well…?’ she asks, starting to eat her bacon sandwich, ‘Did you finish it?’
‘Finish what?’ I ask.
‘The tape of course! For the competition!’ she smiles. ‘Give it to me and I’ll post it when I go to the supermarket.’
Just then Dad comes back into the kitchen. Liz stops talking and we both look up at the same time. For a moment I worry that he heard everything. Liz looks worried too. But then he picks up his glasses and says, ‘Hurry up and eat your breakfast, Ellie. The windows need cleaning and then I want you to clean the shelves.’
‘No problem, Dad,’ I say with a smile.
‘Humph!’ he says again as he leaves the room.
‘Thanks, Liz,’ I whisper, giving her a hug when Dad has gone. ‘And I’m really sorry about breaking the photo.’
‘Don’t worry about it. Just remember me when you’re rich and famous. You’re going to win, Ellie. I know you are!’
I wanted to believe it too. It seemed impossible. But all day and for days afterwards I couldn’t think of anything else. Just thinking about meeting Murphy made my heart beat fast and my cheeks go red! It also made Dad’s bad temper easier to live with too.
Because I wasn’t allowed out, the only time I saw Cassie and Skye was at school. They were really sorry that I couldn’t go to Glastonbury. Cassie had a big argument with her Dad and Skye said she didn’t want to go to the festival without me, but I said they had to go.
Then the first day of the exams arrived and for a week I didn’t have time to think about the competition. Biology was still difficult, but at least it seemed like I was going to pass.
But then the exams were over and my thoughts returned to the competition.
The magazine said that they were going to contact the winner by 22 June. The night of 21 June I couldn’t sleep. Will they send a letter to the winner? Or will they telephone? Why was I thinking about it anyway? It was impossible that I, plain Ellie Stevenson, was going to win. But that didn’t stop the butterflies in my stomach as I watched the sun rise the next morning.
The postman usually delivers our post at about 10 o’clock. He stops for a cup of coffee with Liz, but it was already 10.30. Just when I started to imagine the worst, I saw him approaching on his bicycle. But he didn’t stop. He always stops! But today he drove by with only a wave and a friendly smile. When he stopped next door, I went outside.
‘Hello, Ellie,’ he says. ‘Are you OK? You look worried. Exam results don’t arrive until August!’
‘I know… I’m fine… it’s just… is there any post for us this morning? We always get something. Bills usually, Dad says, but… anyway…’ I stop for breath and try to smile.
‘Sorry…’ he shakes his head. ‘Nothing for number thirty-two today! Are you waiting for something important?’
‘Can you check, please,’ I insist. But his bag is almost empty and I can see there is nothing there for me.
Maybe they will phone instead. Yes! That’s it! While I’m out here, the phone is ringing and Dad can’t answer it because he is busy. I run back into the shop. But there are no customers. The shop is empty and the phone isn’t ringing. Dad is doing a crossword and Liz is painting her nails.
‘Has anyone phoned, Dad?’ I ask, out of breath.
‘No,’ he says.
I look at the clock. 10.55. There’s still time.
I wait and wait. Lunchtime passes but still there’s no news. I watch the clock and the minutes go by so slowly, but still the telephone doesn’t ring.
And then it is 5 o’clock and I know that my dream is over. I didn’t win. I feel stupid for believing, even for a second, that I could win.
‘Ellie! Ellie!’ Dad’s voice makes me look up.
‘What is wrong with you today? All you’ve done is look at the clock and be miserable. Peter isn’t feeling very well. I need you to deliver the evening newspapers.’
I don’t like delivering newspapers, but I pick up the bag and walk out of the door.
My dream is over, broken like the picture of Dad’s wedding. I want to be alone.
When I get back it is late. I wanted to talk to Liz but she has already left for her Italian class. I can’t talk to Dad. He didn’t even know about the competition. And anyway, he’s asleep in front of the television, the unfinished crossword on his knee.
I suddenly feel very tired so I go upstairs to bed. I don’t go into the kitchen, so I don’t see the note on the door of the fridge.
There’s a folded piece of paper on the bed, but I don’t even open it. I am so tired and unhappy that I throw it angrily into a corner and get into bed. I go to sleep crying.
‘Ellie!’ Liz shouts, knocking loudly on my bedroom door. ‘Wake up! You’re going to be late!’
I pull the bed covers over my head. What does she want? It’s only six o’clock. Last night I decided that I was going to stay in bed all day today. There’s no school and I don’t have to work in the shop.
I don’t have anything to do all day.
Not like Cassie and Skye, who will be at the train station, waiting for their train by now, excited about Glastonbury, the bands they are going to see and the fun they are going to have.
Maybe Dad was right: becoming a singer was just a dream.
I pull the bed covers over my head more, and I’m about to go back to sleep when Liz knocks on my door again, louder this time.
‘Ellie! You’ll miss your train if you’re not careful!’
‘Mmm? What train?’
‘You need to pack your bag and you must eat a good breakfast. It’s a long way to Glastonbury…’
Glastonbury! I throw the bed covers off me and get quickly out of bed. ‘What do you mean? What train? What about Glastonbury?’
‘Didn’t you read my notes?’ she asks when I open my bedroom door. ‘Oh, Ellie, we’re so proud of you!’ she gives me a big hug.
‘Will you please tell me what’s going on?’
‘You won! I told you! I said you were going to win!’
Slowly, I start to understand what she is saying and my legs begin to shake.
‘Just after you went out with the papers there was a phone call from Music Now’s editor. Your Dad answered the phone. He was shocked at first, of course. He didn’t know about the competition. But when he heard that they chose you, that you were the best…’ she takes a deep breath. ‘You’re going to Glastonbury! You won Ellie! You won!’
For a moment I just stand in silence. I’m dreaming. This can’t be true.
I won…? I won! I WON!!!
And then we are both laughing and hugging.
When we finally stop, Dad is standing in front of me. He isn’t smiling. He looks very serious and for a terrible moment I don’t think he’ll let me go.
‘What did they say, Dad?’
‘You have to get the 8.02 train to London. You’ll meet the journalist who is going with you. His name’s Mike Peters. And then you’ll get the train to Glastonbury together. I’m still not happy about you going to London on your own.’
‘I’ll be fine.’
‘What about this journalist? I don’t know who he is. He could be a serial killer!’
‘Oh? Bill,’ laughs Liz, giving him a hug. ‘Ellie’s a big girl now.
And I’m sure she’ll phone to let us know she’s OK, won’t you Ellie?’
‘Of course I will!’
‘See, there’s nothing to worry about.’
‘Humph!’ says Dad, but this time he says it with a small smile.
‘Now, hurry up. You need to have a shower and pack your rucksack… I’ll make breakfast. Don’t just stand there, Bill. Find the camera. Ellie will want to take lots of photos…’
I can’t wait to tell Cassie and Skye but I don’t have time to do that now. I don’t want to miss the train. And I still have to get ready.
What shall I wear? My hands are shaking as I pull out tops and jeans from my wardrobe. Nothing seems right. Not for meeting Murphy, meeting Murphy!
I still can’t believe it, an hour later, when we are standing on the platform at the train station, waiting for the train to arrive.
‘And you packed something warm, didn’t you?’ asks Dad.
‘Yes, Dad…’ I’m so excited, even his worrying can’t stop me smiling.
‘And you’ll phone as soon as you get there?’ he continues, as the train slows to a stop in front of us.
When I look at Dad again there are tears in his eyes but he looks very proud. I give him a quick hug.
‘Thanks, Dad,’ I whisper in his ear. Then I get on the train.
My adventure is just beginning.
When I get off the train two hours later, Mike is waiting for me. He is wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. He doesn’t look like a journalist, he looks more like a student, and at first I feel very nervous. But then he smiles and shakes my hand.
‘Hi, you must be Ellie!’ he says.
‘Hello,’ I try to sound mature and confident, but I can feel my cheeks starting to turn red.
‘Come on. Our train will be leaving in ten minutes.’ We walk to platform four in silence where our train is waiting.
‘Here we are,’ says Mike. He gives our tickets to a smart ticket collector. ‘Welcome on board, Sir’, he turns to me and smiles, ‘Miss.’
We are travelling first class! We sit down in our big, comfortable seats.
‘You’ll need this,’ says Mike and he passes me a press badge. For a while I just look at it. It says, ‘Ellie Stevenson, Music Now!’ Maybe I am still asleep. In a minute, Liz will come in and wake me up.
‘Ellie, we’re going to be really busy. I have interviews to do and photos to take for the magazine. With that pass, you can go everywhere. Even backstage. Sometimes I might have to leave you alone. Is that OK?’
OK? Is he joking? Me… backstage! This is amazing!
‘Our interview with Murphy is at 6 this evening. Murphy hates people who are late so we must get there on time.’
He gives me a copy of the questions we will ask and for the rest of the journey we talk about music.
As we get closer to our destination, the train gets very full. Most of the passengers talk excitedly about the festival. The atmosphere is amazing and we haven’t arrived yet!
When we get off the bus that takes us from Castle Cary Station to the site, it’s raining. But I don’t care and nobody else seems to either.
This is going to be the best weekend of my life.
For a moment I just stand and look around, seeing things that I have only read about before now: the sea of tents in the distance, the huge pyramid stage where Murphy will play later on, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere…
‘I need to take some photos before our interview with Murphy,’ says Mike, interrupting my thoughts. ‘Have a look around. This is my mobile number if you need me,’ he gives me a piece of paper. ‘Have a good time!’ and with a wave he disappears into the crowd.
After phoning Dad I decide to phone Cassie and Skye. They still don’t know that I’m here.
‘Cassie?’ I say when she eventually answers the phone.
‘Yes…’ The line is very bad.
‘It’s me, Ellie! Guess where I am!’
‘It’s Ellie! I’m here at Glastonbury!’ I shout back. ‘I’m at the pyramid stage. Where are you?’ But then I see her, so I walk over to my two friends.
Skye sees me first. ‘Ellie!’ she shouts and throws her arms around me. Then Cassie screams, a big smile on her face. ‘What are you doing here?’ She gives me a hug and I quickly tell them about the competition.
‘Wait a minute,’ Cassie says, her mouth open in disbelief. You’re going to meet Murphy. The Murphy?’
I smile and nod.
‘When? Where? Tell me Ellie! This is amazing!’ She starts to jump up and down and hug Skye excitedly. ‘We’re going to meet Murphy! I need to get changed. Which top shall I wear? The pink one or the green one? And my hair!’ She takes a mirror out of her bag and looks at her reflection carefully.
‘Cassie, I’m sorry…’ I try to explain but my mobile starts to ring. It’s Mike.
‘Ellie, I’ve got the chance to interview Chris Martin from Coldplay. But he’s only available at 6 pm.’
‘That’s when we’re interviewing Murphy.’
‘I know. Will you be OK to do the interview by yourself? You have the questions and your backstage pass, don’t you? I’ll let them know that you’ll be alone, OK?’
Before I can ask anything else, the line goes dead. I quickly try to phone Mike back, but his phone is engaged. What do I do now? I want to meet Murphy more than anything but can I really go there by myself?
‘What do you think Ellie?’ asks Cassie. I almost forgot that Cassie and Skye were there. ‘I was asking Skye which earrings go best with my green top…’ says Cassie.
‘Cassie…’ I try to interrupt but she is so excited that she doesn’t hear me. She obviously thinks that they’re coming with me. But they can’t. I only have one backstage pass.
‘These, or my silver ones,’ she holds a different earring up against each ear. ‘Skye, you need to get changed too. You can’t meet Murphy looking like that!’
‘Cassie, will you shut up and listen to me for a minute!’ I shout so loudly that she instantly looks at me. ‘I’m really sorry, but you can’t come.’
Her smile disappears. But then she laughs, ‘You’re joking, right?’ But the look on my face tells her that I’m not. ‘What do you mean, we can’t come? We’re your best friends, of course we can come with you!’
‘I’m really sorry.’
Suddenly, her eyes fill with anger. She doesn’t look pretty anymore.
‘That’s OK, Ellie, we understand,’ says Skye quietly. She looks disappointed too but she gives me a small smile to show that she isn’t angry.
‘No, it’s not!’ shouts Cassie. ‘Don’t you remember who got you a ticket back in March?’
‘Cassie, please don’t be like that!’ I say. ‘You know I’d love you to come too…’
‘Well then! Either we come with you and meet Murphy, or…’ she holds her hands up in the air. ‘Or our friendship is over!’
‘I’m sorry.’ I look at Cassie and then at Skye. I tell myself that she will understand later. That she can’t be angry forever… but I know Cassie.
‘Come on, Skye.’ Cassie takes Skye’s arm and they walk away.
I feel awful. They’re my best friends, but I can’t miss an opportunity like this.
I look at my watch. It’s already 5.30. I have half an hour before the interview. But when it gets to quarter to, I still haven’t found where I need to be. Mike said that we were to interview Murphy in his van, but there are so many and they all look the same.
Feeling desperate, I try to phone Mike again, but his mobile is switched off.
I quickly look at my watch… 6.15. I remember what Mike said: ‘Murphy hates people who are late.’
Why did I have that stupid argument with Cassie? Why didn’t I phone her after the interview?
Just when I thought I was never going to find where I needed to be I see one of Murphy’s musicians coming out of one of the vans.
I start to run but then a big strong arm stops me.
You can’t come back here,’ a loud voice says. I look up at the tallest man I have ever seen. He is dressed in black from head to toe. A label on his chest, says ‘Security’.
‘It’s OK…’ I say, trying to catch my breath. ‘I’m here to interview Murphy… For Music Now! Magazine.’
‘Murphy isn’t giving any more interviews, today,’ he says.
‘But… I’ve got my pass… Look!’ I hold it up to show him. He checks my name against a list he has.
‘You’re late. Your interview was at six.’
‘… it when people are late. I know,’ I interrupt. ‘But please, you have to let me see him.’ But it’s no good. He crosses his arms across his huge chest and stares down at me and I know he won’t change his mind.
What am I going to do now? How can I tell Mike that I missed interviewing Murphy because I was arguing with my best friend?
I stand there for a moment and my eyes start to fill with tears. I don’t want the security guard to see me cry so I turn to walk away.
Just when I think things can’t get any worse I see Mike coming towards me.
Before I can explain what has happened, he says, ‘I’ve just spoken to another journalist. Kriss, the singer Murphy was going to sing a duet with, hasn’t arrived. He’s really angry and has refused to give any interviews. People are saying that he might not even sing tonight, he’s so angry.’
‘So, that means no one… I mean, no one at all has interviewed him today?’
‘Exactly,’ says Mike.
‘Phew! That’s a relief!’ I say quietly.
I’m relieved that it wasn’t my fault, but I really wanted to meet Murphy. I have lied to my Dad, and my best friends will probably never speak to me again. For what? Nothing!
‘Come on, let’s go and enjoy the festival,’ says Mike, trying to sound cheerful. But I feel awful.
‘Is it OK if I stay here for a while?’ I ask, and try to smile. ‘I’d really like to see the next band,’ I lie. The truth is that I want to be alone. This was going to be the best weekend of my life. Now it is the worst.
‘If you’re sure,’ says Mike. ‘I’ll be at the Other Stage if you want me.’ He disappears into the crowd. Everyone looks relaxed and happy and I feel like I’m the only one who is miserable.
After a while I decide to go and find Cassie and Skye. I’ll apologise, and hopefully, Cassie will forgive me.
But just as I am about to leave, the door to one of the vans opens and familiar music fills the air. The security man bends his head low and steps out into the rain. He sees me watching.
‘I told you there were no interviews. You’re wasting your time waiting here.’
‘That music?’ I ask. I’m wrong. I must be. ‘The music that’s playing inside that van.’
‘Murphy loves it,’ says the security guard.
‘What is it?… I mean, do you know who it is?’
‘Some girl who won a competition. The magazine sent it to him and he really likes it.’
So, it is true! Suddenly I don’t feel sad anymore. I feel excited and happy and proud all at the same time! I step closer to the van but the security guard stops me.
‘You can’t go in there, Miss,’ he says.
‘You don’t understand,’ I say. ‘That’s me… that’s my song!’