he said before he turned and walked back downstairs to help Mama. I sat down on the bed and powered up my phone. It did feel good to be home. After spending that first year on the road with my parents, it was very hard to let them go. I had made sure every few months that they met me at a nearby venue or I’d fly them out to see me. I even went so far as doing the same for my brothers and their wives. I had three older brothers; Alan, James and Michael. My sisters-in-law got a kick out of being backstage at my concerts. Especially the time my opening act was T he Dirt Road Crew . Five hot guys. I’ll amend that – five hot tattooed musicians. T hose girls turned into cougars on the prowl. My brothers were beyond annoyed. Once they started having babies though, it wasn’t as easy for them to pack up and come party with me. So instead I started a trust fund for all seven of my nieces and nephews. Every quarter, the interest I made on certain investments was shifted into their accounts. Besides having college completely covered, it was likely they’d each have enough money to set themselves up after college with a house and car without having to deal with much, if any, bank loans. It was the least I could do. My brothers loved to torment me growing up, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t share the wealth with their spawns. And I knew it drove my oldest brother, Alan, bat shit crazy. He busted his butt every day as the town cop and his kids were getting a jackpot basically handed to them. W hat none of my brothers knew was, I set them up the same account they can access when they turn fifty-five. T hat way they can enjoy retirement a little early if they chose to. Hey, I’m not going to be able to spend it all. And really, from now on there wouldn’t be a whole lot extra going into any of those accounts. So they would just keep earning on their current balance. I looked down at my phone. I had ninety-seven new emails, thirty-six texts, and fourteen voicemails since this morning. I put my elbows to my knees and hung my head. W hy couldn’t I just be left alone? I didn’t even look to see if Colton had left any of those messages. I couldn’t deal with him right now. I’m sure the certified letter he received today sent him into a tailspin. I was his bread and butter, among other things, and I knew he wouldn’t want to lose either. I tossed my phone onto my dresser and sighed. I didn’t want to deal with any of it anymore. I was so tired. T ired of running around all the time. T ired of having to look like a model just to go get groceries, because someone with a camera was likely taking my picture while I shopped for food. T ired of all the lies, the backstabbing, the bribes and the bullshit. “No more,” I whispered into the mirror. I needed to sort through my bags. W hile I didn’t pack everything I owned, I knew I had enough options to get me by until the rest of my things were sent here. My choice for the night was a comfy pair of soft sweatpants and a t-shirt. T he only thing I had to worry about at the moment was helping my folks with the garden work.
Chapter 4 I woke up the next morning feeling rested and refreshed. T he night before, I helped Mama get all caught up with her gardening, ate a giant slice a meatloaf that would send my personal trainer into cardiac arrest, and curled up on the comfy couch with my Dad to watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes. It was awesome. I sat there wondering when I last had such a relaxing night. Sarah and I would try to veg out after shows or while traveling to the next city, but I was still on a moving bus. Never in the comfort of my own home without having to worry about what tomorrow would bring. Last night I was able to fully relax, knowing the next day was a clean slate for me to choose whatever my little heart desired. I was so giddy I didn’t know what to do with myself. “Good morning, Baby Girl,” Mama greeted as I