Waiting in line
“No freaking way!” Your best friend gasps.
You turn around, following her gaze and your heart stops. Benjamin Brock—Alec’s twin brother—coming in your direction.
“Can I get a picture?” Your friend rushes toward him.
Ben hesitates with a quick glance at the VIP entrance, then pulls his hands from his pockets. “Sure.”
You’re clearly delaying his arrival—you know for a fact his brothers and his parents are already inside, waiting for him. But Ben is too polite to show you any resentment. He patiently holds your best friend close for the picture as you struggle to find the camera inside your backpack.
Why does it have to disappear now? Your hands are shaking with embarrassment when you finally point the lens at them.
But, once again, Ben doesn’t show any annoyance. He just smiles at you. And you’re so in awe that all you can do is smile back.
It takes you another second to realize he’s actually smiling at the camera.
Click! You finally remember to take the picture, your cheeks burning as Ben’s smile stretches across his face, his two adorable dimples peeking out from the corners of his mouth.
Holy guacamole! Your heart picks up speed. If Alec smiles at me like this at the Meet & Greet, I'm gonna pass out. No joke.
“Thank you so much!” Your friend lets go of Ben and quickly grabs the camera from your hand. “Let me take yours too.”
You switch positions with her without saying a word. You’re too busy noticing the gold-green of Ben’s eyes… How much taller he looks in person than in photos…
Ben silently holds out one arm as if waiting for permission to touch you.
Can a human be any cuter? You wrap your arms around his waist, and he hugs you back—warm and tight, just like you’ve always imagined.
“Say cheese,” shouts your best friend.
You smile at the camera, enjoying the musky scent of Ben’s cologne. Gosh, his girlfriend is so lucky...
“You’re one of Alec’s brothers, right?” someone asks the second Ben breaks apart from you.
How can she not know who he is? You turn around to face the girl.
Only then you realize…
Why is everyone so quiet? You stare at the people in the queue. Benjamin Brock is standing right here! Why aren’t you all freaking out?
“Huh, yeah.” Ben seems surprised not to be recognized as well. This is the VIP line to Alec’s concert after all! He probably doesn’t expect everyone to like him as much as they do his brother, but any Alec Brock fan would at least know who Benjamin is.
“Nice to meet you.” The girl offers him a handshake. “I’m Madison.”
Ben takes her hand. “Benjamin.”
“We’re all Public Relation students.” Madison nods at the line. “We’re here to shadow some of your brother’s crew members and learn more about the music industry.”
Wait, what? You lock eyes with your best friend. And realization hits you both at the same time. We’re in the wrong line!
You’ve been queuing here for the past half-hour, thinking this entrance was for VIP ticket holders when in fact—
“That’s really cool.” Ben smiles at the girl, then turns to the door as if ready to leave. “Have a great field trip!”
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” PR Girl moves fast, pulling out a pen and a pad from thin air.
“Sure,” Ben says.
But you can see the annoyance on his face this time. He obviously doesn’t have the same patience with the press as he does with Alec’s fans.
“Awesome!” PR Girl flicks her hair over her shoulder, not at all sorry for being an inconvenience.
Your best friend touches your arm, a frown on her face. We can’t leave him now!
I know. You step protectively toward Ben. You two should be searching for the VIP queue right now—this wrong-line mistake has probably just cost you the chance to get to the barricade, and the more you wait, the further you’ll be from Alec during the show. But how can you leave Ben alone with this girl? She doesn’t even appreciate the effort he’s making to stay out here talking to her!
“So are you the older brother or the twin?”
Your friend snickers.
“He’s Alec’s identical twin.” You’re not trying to be rude but you have to let her know just how stupid her question was.
PR Girl shoots you a cold glare, but it’s her own fault. If she’s going to interview him, she should have at least taken the time to do some research!
If she’d read any article about him, she would know that “Ben was the second twin—Alec is twelve minutes older than him. And that’s the reason their initials are A and B, by the way! Their parents had gotten so used to calling them Baby A and Baby B during pregnancy that they couldn’t think of any names that didn’t start with these letters.”
Everyone’s staring at you now. Including Ben—with a warm, amused smile on his face.
Oh no, did I just say all that out loud? Your whole face burns.
“So…” PR Girl searches her notes. “You’re a professional musician too, right?”
“He’s an amazing violinist!” your best friend blurts—probably so you won’t feel embarrassed alone. “He and Alec have been playing since they were three years old!”
“Thank you for answering,” the girl says sharply, glaring at your friend. “But tell me, Benjamin…” She makes a point of looking only at him. “When did you and your brother decide to separate your brands? If you’re both talented musicians, why don’t you give us the pleasure of watching you play together?”
“Well…” Ben looks at you for help, but you keep quiet this time. Both you and your friend have always wanted to hear the answer to this question. “We have very different tastes, that’s all,” he says with a shrug. “Alec started with classical piano—that’s why we played together as kids. But then he picked up the drums, discovered new music genres I wasn’t interested in…”
His answer makes a lot of sense to you. Alec has said multiple times in interviews that Ben was his “second half” in life but James was the one who got him musically. He even refers to James as his “musical soulmate.”
“Is it true that, when Alec started playing drums, your parents built him a studio in your backyard just to get rid of the noise?” your friend asks with a laugh.
“Yeah.” Ben grins at her. “God bless them for that!”
“I could listen to him drumming all day long!” you dream out loud.
“Believe me,” Ben scoffs, “when it’s in the room right next to yours, you would rather he was playing the guitar.”
Both you and your friend laugh.
“So, Benjamin…” PR Girl tries to catch his attention.
But your friend interrupts with another question, “Is it true you’re always the first one Alec shows his songs to?”
“It used to be.” Ben’s smile softens. “When he started writing, I was the only one who took him seriously, so he didn’t have much choice.” He chuckles. “Now he usually co-writes with James… And he has Linda—I’m sure she’s the first to hear them now.”
“But he values your opinion a lot,” you add confidently. “He said so in an interview.”
“I guess, yeah.” Ben nods. “He always asks what I think before sending something to the label.”
“How cute!” Your friend sighs. “It’s so nice to see how close you guys are. It makes me wish I had a twin too!”
“That’s why I don’t understand why you two don’t play together!” PR Girl jumps in again. “It could be extremely beneficial for your brand!”
Ben’s expression darkens as he turns to her. “I’m not gonna use my brother to get famous, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”
“No, not at all!” She blushes tomato red. “I’m just saying that…from a PR perspective…”
That is what she’s suggesting! She’s telling Ben to his face that he should use Alec’s fame to cheat his way to success!
“Ben likes classical music,” your friend snaps, “Alec plays pop-rock. What’s so hard to understand?”
“Never mind…” The girl shakes her head.
“We’re ready for you!” A crew member peeks out from behind the door. “Is everybody here?”
“Yes!” says the woman at the head of the line as the students cluster around her.
“Welcome aboard, then!” The crew member holds the door open. “Oh, Ben! What are you doing out here?”
“I was just coming in.” He strides toward her.
“I guess that’s our cue.” Your best friend glances at you.
“Yep.” You nod at her, then sprint toward the two men guarding the door. “Do you have any idea where the VIP entrance is?” You show them your ticket. “It says there’ll be an exclusive entry but they don’t specify where it’s located!”
The security guards stare at each other but it’s the crew member holding the door who answers your question, “It’s on the opposite side of the arena, honey. Turn left over there and walk all the way around gate twenty-eight!”
“Thank you,” says your best friend. “Let’s run! We’ve already wasted so much time.”
“Wait, you’re not with the students?” Ben points, confused.
“We wish,” your friend replies.
“We got in the wrong line,” you explain. “I only realized this wasn’t the VIP entrance when that girl started…” Your voice trails off as you notice her smirk.
She takes one glance at you and your friend, her head high with self-importance, then swaggers through the door.
“This is not fair,” Ben mumbles to himself. “Can I add two names to the guest list?” he asks the crew member.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Ben.” She looks between him and you, understanding his master plan.
You’re in so much shock all you can do is stare back.
“Please,” he begs. “We’ll just do the backstage tour with the rest of the group.” He points at the few PR students who haven’t yet made into the venue.
Your heart is slamming in your chest now. Is this really happening? You look at your best friend. Is Ben really trying to get us backstage?
“Please, Liz,” he insists. “I never ask you anything…”
“All right.” She sighs. “But you’re one hundred percent responsible for them!” She points at him. “They both have VIP, right?”
You nod, showing her your tickets.
“Have fun babysitting them until Meet & Greet!” she says to Ben, handing you the same wristband she’s been giving the students. “Can I just have your names, please?”
Your friend answers for both of you as the crew member writes on her clipboard.
“Let’s go?” Ben flashes his dimpled smile at you.
This can’t be real. I must have died and gone to heaven.
“Yes!” Your best friend links her arm through yours, walking you both into the venue.