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Meghan March - (The Dirty Billi 03) Dirty Together -(ang)

Dodano: 10 miesiące temu
R E K L A M A

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Dodano: 10 miesiące temu
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Meghan March - (The Dirty Billi 03) Dirty Together -(ang).pdf

Julka_15 Dozwolone od lat 18-stu w języku angielskim
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Gość • 59 dni temu

Witam. Czy będzie trzecia część po polsku?

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C opy rig ht © 2 015 b y M eg han M arc h L LC A ll r ig hts r e se rv ed . E dit o r: P am B ere hulk e, B ulle tp ro of E dit in g w ww.b ulle tp ro ofe d it in g .c o m C over d esig n: @ B y H ang L e w ww.b yhang le .c o m P ho to : @ S ara E ir e w w ww.s a ra eir e w .c o m F orm attin g b y C ham pag ne F orm ats w ww.c ham pag nefo rm ats .c o m N o p art o f th is b ook m ay b e r e pro duced o r tr a nsm it te d in a ny f o rm o r b y a ny m eans, e le ctr o nic o r m echanic al, in clu d in g p ho to co py in g , r e co rd in g , o r b y a ny in fo rm atio n s to ra g e a nd r e tr ie v al s y ste m w it h o ut th e w rit te n p erm is sio n o f th e a uth o r, e x cept f o r th e u se o f b rie f q uo ta tio ns in a r e v ie w . T his b ook is a w ork o f f ic tio n. N am es, c hara cte rs , p la ces, a nd in cid ents a re e it h er p ro ducts o f th e a uth o r’s im ag in atio n o r a re u se d f ic tit io usly . A ny r e se m bla nce to a ctu al p ers o ns, l iv in g o r d ead , e v ents , o r l o cale s is e ntir e ly c o in cid enta l. T he a uth o r a ck no w le d ges th e t r a d em ark ed s ta tu s a nd tr a d em ark o w ners o f v ario us p ro ducts r e fe re nced in th is w ork o f f ic tio n, w hic h h av e b een u se d w it h o ut p erm is sio n. T he p ub lic atio n/u se o f th ese tr a d em ark s is n o t a uth o riz ed , a sso cia te d w it h , o r s p o nso re d b y th e tr a d em ark o w ners . V is it m y w eb sit e a t www.m eg hanm arc h.c o m .

Tab le o f C on te n ts TIT LE P A G E CO PY RIG HT ABO UT T HIS B O OK ACK NO W LED G M EN T S CH APT ER O NE CH APT ER T W O CH APT ER T HREE CH APT ER F O UR CH APT ER F IV E CH APT ER S IX CH APT ER S E V EN CH APT ER E IG HT CH APT ER N IN E CH APT ER T EN CH APT ER E LEV EN CH APT ER T W ELV E CH APT ER T HIR T EEN CH APT ER F O URT EEN CH APT ER F IF T EEN CH APT ER S IX T EEN CH APT ER S E V EN T EEN CH APT ER E IG HTEEN CH APT ER N IN ET EEN CH APT ER T W EN T Y CH APT ER T W EN T Y-O NE CH APT ER T W EN T Y-T W O CH APT ER T W EN T Y-T HREE CH APT ER T W EN T Y-F O UR EPIL O G UE ALSO B Y M EG HAN M ARCH AUT HOR'S N O TE ABO UT T HE A UT HOR

ABO UT T H IS B O OK M y w ife . I l o ve s a y in g th o se w ord s. She’s m in e, a n d i f s h e th in ks I ’ m g oin g to l e t h er r u n w ith o ut tr a ck in g h er d o w n a n d b rin g in g h er b ack to w here s h e b elo ng s— with m e— th en s h e’s a b o ut to b e i n tr o duced to a n ew r e ality . Becau se I ’ ll f ig ht d ir ty to g iv e h er th e h ap pily -e v er-a fte r s h e d ese rv es. D ir ty T o geth er i s th e f in al b o ok i n T he D ir ty B illio nair e T rilo gy a n d s h o uld b e r e ad f o llo w in g Dir ty B illio nair e a n d Dir ty P le a su re s .

I t ta k es a f a b ulo us te am to c o ax a s p ark o f a n i d ea a lo ng th e tw is ty a n d c ra zy p ath to b eco m in g a f in is h ed n o vel, a n d I ’ m l u ck y to h av e a n a m azin g o ne. Specia l th an ks g o o ut to : Ang ela S m ith o f G re y G ho st A uth o r S erv ic es, L LC , m y a m azin g P A a n d b est f r ie n d. I t’ s b een a w ild r id e, b ut th is i s o nly th e b eg in nin g . I ’ m s o p ro ud o f y o u a n d b le sse d to h av e y o u i n m y l if e . Ang ela M arsh all S m ith a n d P am B ere h ulk e, e d ito rs e x tr a o rd in air e , f o r o nce a g ain h elp in g m e d eliv er th e b est s to ry I ’ m c ap ab le o f w riti n g . Chasity J e n kin s-P atr ic k , k ic k -a ss p ublic is t, f o r ta lk in g m e o ff m ore th an o ne l e d g e a n d a lw ay s p ush in g m e i n th e r ig ht d ir e cti o n. Nata sh a G en ti le , f o r b ein g a f a b ulo us b eta r e ad er. L ove y o ur m essa g es, l a d y! Sara E ir e w f o r s h o oti n g a f a b c o ver p ic , a n d B y H an g L e f o r th e a b so lu te ly g org eo us c o ver d esig n. The M eg han M arc h R unaw ay R ead ers F aceb o ok g ro up, f o r b ein g th e m ost f a b ulo us c o lle cti o n o f l a d ie s I ’ v e h ad th e p le asu re o f ( v ir tu ally ) m eeti n g . H ope to h ug y o u a ll a t e v en ts s o on! All th e b o ok b lo ggers w ho ta k e th e ti m e to r e ad a n d r e v ie w th is a n d a n y o f m y o th er b o oks. Y our t i m e a n d d ed ic ati o n a re tr u ly a p pre cia te d . My r e ad ers— I’ m i n fin ite ly g ra te fu l th at y o u’v e p ic k ed u p th is b o ok. W ith o ut y o u, I w ould n’t b e l iv in g m y d re am .

I w ait m y tu rn a t th e s in g le b lin kin g r e d l ig ht i n G old H av en , K en tu ck y, a n d tu rn l e ft b efo re p ullin g i n to th e g as s ta ti o n. T his i s th e f ir st p la ce I e v er p um ped g as i n m y l if e . I t w as a l o t c h eap er th en to o. M y P onti a c i s n ’t a w ho le l o t n ic er th an th e 1 988 F ie ro I d ro ve b ack th en , b ut i n th is to w n, i t d o esn ’t s ta n d o ut, a n d th at’ s e x actl y w hat I n eed . I tu g o n a tr u ck er h at a n d s lip o n s u ng la sse s b efo re o pen in g t h e d o or a n d c lim bin g o ut. The o ld p um ps I e x pecte d , th e o nes w here th e n um bers c lic k o ver a s y o u f ill u p, h av e b een r e p la ced w ith n ew er m odels . Even b ette r. I t l o w ers th e c h an ce th at s o m eo ne w ill r e co gniz e m e i f I c an a v o id a ll h um an i n te ra cti o n. I s w ip e m y c ard , g et m y g as, a n d tw is t th e g as c ap b ack o n. W hen I g et b ack to N ash ville , I ’ m f in ally g oin g to l o ok i n to r e p la cin g th is c ar. I r a re ly s p lu rg e o n a n yth in g . Even th o ug h I w on a “ m illio n-d o lla r r e co rd in g c o ntr a ct” o n Countr y D re a m s , th e a m ount I s a w w as l a u g hab le . A lb um s? T hey ’r e e x pen siv e a s h ell to p ro duce. A nd a s f a r a s th e p ay I g et p er s h o w w hen I ’ m o n to ur, a fte r a ll th e e x pen se s a re c o vere d ? I t’ s a ls o n o th in g to w rite h o m e a b o ut. B ut a s m y s h are o f th e ti c k et s a le s g oes u p a n d I b uild m y f a n b ase , th at w ill e v en tu ally c h an g e. But f o r n o w , I ’ m s a v in g e v ery p en ny I c an a n d g etti n g b y o n th e b are m in im um b ecau se I d o n’t k no w w hen th e b o tto m w ill f a ll o ut. Not m uch h as c h an g ed a b o ut th at s in ce I m arrie d b illio nair e C re ig hto n K ara s. T ho ug hts o f m y h usb an d s p ir a l th ro ug h m e, f o llo w ed b y e q ual j a b s o f g uilt a n d r e g re t. I c an ’t b elie v e I d id i t a g ain . T his m orn in g I j u st u p a n d w alk ed o ut. I d o n’t k no w w hat I w as th in kin g b ey o nd . . . i f I d id n’t g et o ut o f th at p en th o use a t th at v ery m om en t, I f e lt l ik e s o m eth in g i n sid e m e w as g oin g to b re ak . I h ad to g et o ut o f th at c ity . I k no w I ’ m a c o w ard a n d a n i d io t. N o o ne h as to te ll m e th at b ecau se I ’ v e a lr e ad y c alle d m yse lf e v ery n am e i n th e b o ok. I te ar th e r e ceip t o ff a n d tu ck i t i n to m y c o at p o ck et b efo re s lip pin g b ack i n to m y c ar. I tu rn th e k ey. Clic k. I tr y i t a g ain . Clu nk. Shit. I s ig h, r e le asin g a h ug e b re ath , a n d d ro p m y f o re h ead a g ain st th e s te erin g w heel. This i s k a rm a, I ’m p re tty s u re . T his i s w hat h appen s t o w om en w ho l e a ve t h eir h usb ands— not o nce,

but t w ic e— with out a n a ctu al e xp la natio n. Cra p . A s m uch a s I w an t to i n dulg e i n a p ity p arty , n o w i s n ’t r e ally th e ti m e. I g ath er m yse lf , h au l m y p urse o ver m y s h o uld er, a n d p ush th e c ar d o or o pen a g ain . T his p la ce use d to p ro vid e f u ll- s e rv ic e f ill- u ps, b ut th ey d is c o nti n ued th o se a b o ut th e ti m e I w as l e arn in g to d riv e —no t th at I w ould h av e p aid th e e x tr a tw o c en ts a g allo n f o r th e l u xury . I c h eck m y tr u ck er h at to m ak e c erta in i t’ s s e cu re b efo re c ro ssin g th e s m all l o t a n d tu rn in g th e co rn er to th e s id e o f th e b uild in g w here th e g ara g e b ay s a re . B oth o verh ead d o ors a re c lo se d , pro bab ly d ue to th e h o w lin g w in d, s o I p ull o pen th e c lo udy g la ss d o or a n d s te p i n sid e th e w aiti n g ro om . Cre ed en ce C le arw ate r R ev iv al i s j a m min g s o l o ud y o u’d th in k y o u w ere s ta n din g r ig ht n ex t to th e sta g e a t W oodsto ck . T he c h eap w ood-p an ele d w alls I r e m em ber f r o m b efo re h av e b een r e p la ced w ith meta l d ia m ond p la ti n g a n d s p if fy b lu e p ain t th at m atc h es th e o uts id e o f th e b uild in g . T he g as s ta ti o n has d efin ite ly g otte n a m ak eo ver s in ce th e l a st ti m e I w as i n to w n. I d in g th e b ell, b ut i t c an ’t b e h eard o ver th e r in g in g g uita r r if fs . I d on’t l is te n t o e n ough C CR . B ut th e f a ct th at I c o uld u se a c o uple m ore u pbeat s o ng s ta k es s e co nd pla ce to th e f a ct th at I n eed to h av e a v eh ic le th at w ork s, a n d th ere a re n o e m plo yees i n s ig ht h ere . I decid e to ta k e m atte rs i n to m y o w n h an ds a n d s n eak b eh in d th e c o unte r to th e d o orw ay th at l e ad s to th e g ara g e. In sid e, th e s m ell o f o il, e x hau st, a n d r u bber f ills th e a ir . N ot u nple asa n t, b ut v ery re a l . I t’ s d ark er i n here , s o I p ull m y s u ng la sse s o ff a n d b ala n ce th em o n th e b ill o f m y h at. My a tte n ti o n s n ag s o n th e m an b en t o ver, tu rn in g a w re n ch u nder th e h o od o f a c la ssic M usta n g . He’s w earin g c o vera lls ti e d a ro und h is w ais t, a n d a b la ck th erm al s h ir t s tr e tc h es a cro ss h is b ro ad sh o uld ers. “H ey. C an I a sk y o u a q uesti o n?” M y v o ic e l o se s th e b attl e a g ain st th e v o lu m e o f th e m usic . “ H ey !” I y ell. S ti ll n o r e sp o nse . I s c an th e r o om , l o cate th e s te re o , a n d m arc h o ver to i t. I s la p m y h an d o n th e p o w er b utto n, a n d th e m usic c u ts o ff m id -ly ric . The m an j e rk s u p a n d tu rn s to l o ok to w ard th e n o w s ile n t s te re o . “ W hat th e h ell? ” h e b ark s, h is ey es c atc h in g o n m e a n d s ta rin g i n te n tl y . “ W ho th e h ell d o y o u— ” “S orry . Y ou c o uld n’t h ear m e o ver th e m usic .” I tu rn to f a ce h im f u lly , ta k in g a f e w s te p s c lo se r. I open m y m outh to a p o lo giz e a g ain , b ut r e co gniti o n s e ts i n . “ L ogan B ra n tl e y ?” His n arro w ed e y es w id en . “ H olly W ic k m an . H av en ’t s e en y o u i n a c o on’s a g e.” H e p ulls a r a g fr o m th e b ack p o ck et o f th e c o vera lls a n d w ip es h is h an ds. H e l o oks l ik e h e’s a b o ut to h o ld o ne o ut fo r m e to s h ak e, b ut l o oks d o w n a t i t a n d f r o w ns. “H old o n a s e c.” H e tu rn s o n h is h eel a n d s tr id es to th e s in k i n th e c o rn er. The s c en t o f c itr u s c u ts th ro ug h th e o il a n d e x hau st, a n d I r e aliz e h e’s s c ru bbin g h is h an ds c le an befo re h e o ffe rs m e o ne. I ’ m n o t s u re w heth er I ’ m e m barra sse d o r f la tte re d . A fte r a ll, L ogan B ra n tl e y was th e p re m ie r b ad b o y o f a ll b ad b o ys, a n d I ’ v e c ru sh ed o n h im s in ce I w as o ld e n o ug h to c ru sh o n bo ys. He n ev er l o oked m y w ay, th o ug h. Old er th an m e b y a f e w y ears, h e c ru is e d a ro und i n h is v in ta g e C am aro l ik e a b ad ass, a lw ay s w ith a d if fe re n t g ir l i n th e f r o nt s e at. I w as b en eath h is n o ti c e, a n d th en h e l it o ut o f to w n a s s o on a s th ey han ded h im a d ip lo m a. I h ad n o i d ea h e w as b ack , a n d I c an ’t h elp b ut w onder h o w th e y ears h av e tr e ate d h im . He f in is h es w ash in g a n d c o m es b ack to m e, th e s c en t o f o ra n g e c lin g in g to h im . “O f a ll th e g in j o in ts . . . W hat th e h ell a re y o u d o in g i n m y g ara g e, H olly W ix ?” H e th ro w s m y sta g e n am e i n th is ti m e, a n d th e h eat o f e m barra ssm en t c re ep s u p m y n eck .

I l ic k m y l ip s, r o ug h f r o m th e h eat o f m y c ar b la sti n g o n th em d urin g th e b lu r o f a d riv e f r o m Nash ville . I tu rn ed m y r a d io u p n early a s l o ud a s i t w ould g o a n d s ta rte d b elti n g o ut th e l y ric s to e v ery co untr y o ld ie I c o uld f in d. A nyth in g to d is tr a ct m e f r o m th o ug hts o f C re ig hto n, a n d h o w h e m ig ht hav e r e acte d w hen h e f o und th e n o te . T he v o ic e i n m y h ead th at s o unds l ik e M am a s a y s h e’s j u st g oin g to w rite m e o ff th is ti m e. “H olly ?” L ogan d ra g s m e b ack to th e p re se n t. “S orry . I , u m , m y c ar w on’t s ta rt. I w as g etti n g g as, a n d th en I g ot b ack i n a n d tu rn ed th e k ey, a n d ju st n o th in g . W ell, a clic k , b ut th en n o th in g .” I s n ap m y m outh s h ut w hen h e g rin s, b ecau se I th in k h e’s la u g hin g a t th e f a ct th at I ’ m b ab blin g l ik e a n i d io t. “A clic k . B ad s ta rte r th en , p ro bab ly .” H e c ra n es h is h ead to w ard th e o verh ead d o ors. T ry in g to s e e my c ar, m ay be? “ W hat k in d o f h o t r id e y o u g ot th ese d ay s? I c o uld s e e y o u i n a L ex us. Y ou a lw ay s were c la ssie r th an th e o th er g ir ls a ro und h ere .” My e y eb ro w s s h o ot u p. “ M e? C la ssy ?” I w ore h an d-m e-d o w ns f r o m th e l a d ie s a t c h urc h w ho h ad d au g hte rs a f e w y ears o ld er th an m e unti l I w as s ix te en a n d m oved u p to s h o ppin g a t th e u ltr a -d is c o unt s to re s. M ay be h e’s r e fe rrin g to th e fa ct th at I k ep t m y b o obs a n d b utt c o vere d , u nlik e s o m e o f th e g ir ls w ho s c o re d th at r id e i n h is Fir e b ir d . What’ s h e g oin g to th in k w hen h e g ets a l o ok a t m y P onti a c? I ’ m g oin g to b lo w h is L ex us th eo ry rig ht o ut o f th e w ate r. I ’ m s ti ll th e s a m e H olly I w as b efo re ; th e f r in g e a n d g litte r o f N ash ville h av en ’t ch an g ed m e y et. N or h av e th e c o uple o f w eek s o f b ein g ti e d to C re ig hto n’s b illio ns. Logan ’s e y es f ix o n m in e a g ain . “ Y eah , y o u. Y ou’v e a lw ay s b een a c la ss a ct. A lth o ug h th ese d ay s, I’ m p ro bab ly w ro ng a b o ut th e L ex us. I b et y o u’r e r o llin ’ i n a B en tl e y.” H is r e fe re n ce to C re ig hto n’s money i s i m po ssib le to m is s, a s i s th e s lo w , m easu rin g l o ok h e g iv es m e. “ Y eah , I c o uld s e e a B en tl e y su iti n g y o u j u st f in e.” I’ m n o t s u re w hy h e’s s o i m pre sse d . I ’ m w earin g w ash ed -o ut s k in ny j e an s, a h eath er-b lu e th ig h- le n g th s w eats h ir t, a s h o rt b la ck l e ath er j a ck et, c o w bo y b o ots , a n d m y tr u ck er h at. N ot e x actl y r u nw ay co utu re h ere . “N o B en tl e y. N o L ex us.” A lth o ug h C re ig hto n h as a c h au ffe u r-d riv en B en tl e y, i t’ s n o t m in e. S o I mig ht a s w ell b urst L ogan ’s b ubble q uic k ly . He s h ru g s. “ A ll- r ig hty th en . L et’ s g o s e e w hat w e’r e w ork in g w ith .” I f o llo w h im o ut, a lm ost s la m min g i n to h is b ack w hen h e s to ps s h o rt i n f r o nt o f th e P onti a c. “P le ase , w om an , te ll m e th at a in ’t y o ur r id e.” I p ull m y s h o uld ers b ack a n d b ra zen i t o ut. “ S orry i t’ s n o t u p to y o ur s ta n dard s.” He j e rk s h is h ead to th e s id e to g et a l o ok a t m e. “ It a in ’t u p to yo ur s ta n dard s— th at’ s th e p ro ble m .” I s h ru g . “ T he h ig h l if e i s n ’t a lw ay s a s g la m oro us a s y o u’d th in k.” He m utte rs s o m eth in g u nder h is b re ath , a n d I d o n’t c atc h a ll o f i t. W hat I d o c atc h s o unds l ik e so rry e xcu se f o r a h usb and . “K ey s? ” H e h o ld s o ut a h an d, a n d I d ro p th em i n to i t. He h as to a d ju st th e s e at w ay b ack b efo re h e c an s q ueeze i n to th e c ar. W hen h e s lid es th e k ey i n th e ig niti o n a n d tu rn s i t, th ere ’s n o th in g . N ot e v en a c lic k o r a c lu nk. “U m , th ere w as a c lu nk to o. A fte r th e c lic k .” “Y ep . S ta rte r o r th e s o le n o id ’s s h o t. I c an o rd er o ne, b ut I w on’t b e a b le to g et th e p art u nti l Monday a t th e e arlie st. M ay be T uesd ay.” Consid erin g i t w as g oin g o n f iv e o ’c lo ck o n S atu rd ay, I w asn ’t s u rp ris e d b y th is . “O kay. I r e ally a p pre cia te i t.” He c lim bs b ack o ut o f th e c ar. “ H ap py to h elp o ut th e h o m eto w n g ir l w ho m ad e g ood. I ’ ll g et Jo hnny f r o m th e g as s ta ti o n to h elp m e p ush i t i n to th e g ara g e.”

“T han k y o u. S erio usly . T hat’ s o ne l e ss th in g to w orry a b o ut th en .” Excep t f o r h ow t h e h ell I ’m goin g t o g et t o G ra n’s , I a d d m en ta lly . I’ m e x hau ste d f r o m th e l o ng d ay, b ut I p o p th e tr u nk a n yw ay a n d h au l o ut m y b ag . I r o und th e c ar to th e p asse n g er s id e d o or a n d c o lle ct m y p urse . H ookin g th e s tr a p o ver m y s h o uld er, I s h ut th e d o or an d s ta rt a ro und th e h o od. Logan th ro w s a h an d o ut i n a “ sto p” g estu re . “ W hat th e h ell a re y o u d o in g ?” My e y es c u t to h is . “ G oin g to G ra n ’s h o use .” “O n f o ot? ” “It’ s n o t th at f a r.” “It’ s c o ld a s s h it, a n d i t’ s a t l e ast th re e m ile s i f i t’ s a s te p . Y ou a in ’t w alk in g .” I b ris tl e a t h is p ro no uncem en t. Lord a bove, s a ve m e f r o m a lp ha m ale s . “I’ m n o t s u re w hen y o u d ecid ed i t w as c o ol to m ak e d ecis io ns f o r m e, b ut I ’ m j u st g oin g to d o whate v er th e h ell I w an t, th an ks.” “H olly , d o n’t b e r id ic u lo us.” My te m per f la re s h o t a n d f ie rc e. A ll th o ug hts o f p re v io us e m barra ssm en t a re s h o ved r ig ht o ut th e win do w . “D o y o u n o t r e co gniz e th e s ig ns o f a w om an a b o ut to b re ak ? B ecau se I ’ m h an g in g o n b y a th re ad here , a n d th e l a st g oddam n th in g I n eed i s a n o th er m an te llin g m e w hat I c an o r c an ’t d o .” M y v o ic e has c lim bed a n o cta v e a n d a h alf b y th e ti m e I f in is h s n ap pin g th e w ord s o ut. “W ho a. H oney. C alm — ” “D on’t e v en . . .” He h o ld s u p tw o h an ds i n f r o nt o f h im , a s i f w ard in g o ff th e s h e-b east ta k in g s h ap e b efo re h im . “I’ ll g iv e y o u a r id e. I f y o u w an t.” H e h asti ly ta ck s o n th at l a st b it, a n d I c an f e el m y a n g er d ra in in g aw ay a s I a g re e. “O kay. T han k y o u.” Logan tu g s m y b ag f r o m m y h an d, a n d I d o n’t f ig ht h im . I ’ m w hip ped . D og ti r e d . W orn o ut. I j u st wan t to g et to G ra n ’s s o I c an f a ce-p la n t o n w hat I h o pe to G od a re c le an s h eets , a n d h ib ern ate f o r a fe w d ay s. We p ull o ut o f th e s e rv ic e s ta ti o n i n L ogan ’s b ig b la ck j a ck ed -u p C hev y tr u ck . T he s e ats a re d ark gra y l e ath er, a n d i t s m ells n ew . I s c an th e i n te rio r, l o okin g f o r a d an g lin g p in e tr e e a ir f r e sh en er la b ele d N ew -C ar S m ell, b ut I d o n’t s e e o ne. T he e le ctr o nic s a re s o f a n cy th at I th in k i t m ust b e n ew . Appare n tl y L ogan B ra n tl e y i s th e o ne l iv in g l a rg e th ese d ay s. He f lip s o n th e r a d io — to a c o untr y s ta ti o n, o f c o urse — an d h ead s o ut o f “ d o w nto w n” to w ard m y gra n ’s . I d o th e m en ta l q uo te -y f in g ers a ro und “ d o w nto w n” b ecau se i t’ s o ne b lin kin g r e d l ig ht a n d fo ur c o rn ers. G iv en th at th e p eo ple o f G old H av en , K en tu ck y, a re n ’t a ll th at c re ati v e, th ey j u st r e fe r to do w nto w n a s th e F our C orn ers. T here ’s th e b eau ty s h o p c o rn er, th e p harm acy /p o st o ffic e c o rn er, th e pub c o rn er, a n d th e s e rv ic e s ta ti o n c o rn er. T hat’ s th e s u m to ta l o f th e F our C orn ers. The r a d io D J’s v o ic e c atc h es m y a tte n ti o n w hen h e s a y s m y n am e. M y l a te st s in g le c o m es o n. I sh o uld b e g id dy o ver th e f a ct th at I ’ m g etti n g a ir p la y, b ut a ll I c an m an ag e r ig ht n o w i s a s lig ht s m ile . I d id n’t c o m e h o m e to b e H olly W ix . Logan l o oks a t m e a s i f h e’s e x pecti n g m e to s a y s o m eth in g , s o I m um ble th e f ir st th in g th at co m es to m e. “ G uess y o u k no w y o u’v e m ad e i t w hen y o u h ear y o urse lf o n y o ur h o m eto w n r a d io sta ti o n.” Logan s h ak es h is h ead . “ T hat’ s s a te llite . L ocal s ta ti o n p la y s y o u a ll th e d am n ti m e. D on’t p la y much e ls e .” “O h.” T he w ord c o m es o ut s h ak y. He’s l o okin g o ut th e w in dsh ie ld w hen h e s a y s, “ I a lw ay s k new y o u’d m ak e s o m eth in g o f y o urse lf .

Gla d y o u to ok y o ur s h o t w hen y o u h ad th e c h an ce.” H e g la n ces s id elo ng a t m e b efo re a d din g , “ E ven if i t d id p ut y o u o ut o f m y r e ach .” I’ m s o b lo w n a w ay b y th e s u rre al s itu ati o n I f in d m yse lf i n — back i n G old H av en , r id in g i n L ogan Bra n tl e y ’s tr u ck — th at I c an ’t e v en f u m ble f o r a r e sp o nse . Appare n tl y L ogan d o esn ’t m in d, b ecau se h e c o nti n ues. “ S o, w hat th e h ell a re y o u d o in g h ere , lo okin g l ik e y o u b een r o de h ard a n d p ut u p w et? ” I c h o ke o ut a l a u g h a n d r a is e a n e y eb ro w . “ A nd h ere I th o ug ht y o u s a id I l o oked g ood.” He s m ile s, g la n cin g to w ard m e a g ain a n d th en b ack a t th e r o ad . “ O h, y o u d o , b ut y o u l o ok ti r e d , str u ng o ut— an d y o u’r e s h o rt a h usb an d.” I b all u p m y l e ft h an d a n d c o ver th e r o ck w ith m y r ig ht p alm . H ere i n K en tu ck y, i t s e em s e v en more o bsc en ely l a rg e. “I j u st n eed ed a b re ak ,” I s a y. “ I n eed ed to s te p a w ay f o r a l ittl e w hile a n d s o rt s o m e s tu ff o ut. B y myse lf .” Logan f lip s o n th e b lin ker a n d tu rn s r ig ht i n to G ra n ’s g ra v el d riv e b efo re s lo w in g th e tr u ck to a sto p c lo se to th e h o use a n d s h if ti n g i n to P ark . H e tu rn s to w ard m e i n h is s e at. “I w ould ’v e th o ug ht th is w as th e l a st p la ce y o u’d c o m e r u nnin g to .” A m illio n m em orie s a w ait m e i n sid e th is h o use — an d w hate v er m ess M am a l e ft b eh in d a fte r s h e bro ke i n a n d h elp ed h erse lf to s o m e o f G ra n ’s m ost p riz ed p o sse ssio ns. I ta k e a b re ath , m y s h o uld ers r is in g , a n d th en l e t i t o ut s lo w ly , s tr a ig hte n in g . “ I g uess w hen y o u decid e to m ak e a r u n f o r i t, th e m ost n atu ra l p la ce i n th e w orld to r u n i s b ack to y o ur r o ots . I ’ v e o nly been g one n in e m onth s, b ut s o m uch h as c h an g ed . I w an te d a b ig ger l if e , a n d b o y, d id I e v er g et i t.” I d o n’t e v en th in k b efo re I s p eak , th e tr u th o f m y f e elin g s s p illin g o ut o f m e. “B ut i t’ s g otte n s o b ig , i t’ s l ik e I d o n’t k no w w ho I a m a n ym ore . I th o ug ht i f I c am e b ack h ere , may be th at w ould g iv e m e th e a n sw ers I c an ’t s e em to f in d a n yw here e ls e .” “Y ou m ad e a r u n f o r i t? ” I’ m n o t s u rp ris e d th at’ s th e p art h e p ic k s u p o n. “ It’ s a l o ng s to ry .” Hopin g to l e av e i t a t th at, I r e ach f o r th e h an dle a n d p ush th e d o or o pen b efo re j u m pin g d o w n to th e g ro und. Pra ctic a lly n eed a d am n s te p la dder f o r t h at t h in g . I h o is t m y p urse u p o ne m ore ti m e a n d m eet L ogan a t th e f r o nt o f th e tr u ck w here h e’s h o ld in g m y bag . H e f o llo w s m e u p th e f r o nt s te p s to G ra n ’s p urp le p o rc h . She p ic k ed th at c o lo r th e s u m mer b efo re s h e p asse d b ecau se s h e w as b an kin g o n i t p is sin g o ff h er cro tc h ety o ld n eig hbo r. S he w as r ig ht. G ra n w as alw ays r ig ht. I g uess th e r e al r e aso n I c am e b ack i s becau se I ’ m h o pin g I c an f in d h er g uid an ce a n d w is d o m h ere , e v en i f s h e’s n o t. I u nlo ck th e d ead b o lt a n d p ush th e f r o nt d o or o pen . D ust m ote s f lo at i n th e a ir . I g uess g etti n g pic k ed u p a n d to sse d i n j a il g ot i n th e w ay o f M am a d o in g s o m e c le an in g . Logan d ro ps m y b ag j u st i n sid e th e f r o nt d o or. H e ta k es a s te p b ack , a n d I s lip i n sid e. “T han ks. F or th e r id e a n d f o r th e h elp w ith th e c ar. Y ou c an l e av e a m essa g e o n G ra n ’s m ach in e when i t’ s r e ad y. I ’ ll b e c h eck in g i t.” “A in ’t n o tr o uble .” H e’s s ta n din g w ith h is th um bs h o oked i n to th e w ais tb an d o f h is c o vera lls , a n d I hav e n o i d ea w hat h e’s w aiti n g f o r. I s ta rt to p ush th e d o or c lo se d , b ut L ogan s a y s, “ B e r e ad y a t e ig ht.” “W ha— what? ” “Y ou h eard m e.” “B ut I . . . W hat? ” “Y ou c am e b ack to f in d y o ur r o ots , H olly . I ’ m g onna r e in tr o duce y a.”

I to ld m yse lf I w asn ’t g oin g to g o a s I c ra w le d u nder th e c le an s h eets o f m y o ld b ed a n d d id n’t s e t a n a la rm . I to ld m yse lf I w asn ’t g oin g to g o w hile I i g no re d th e h ig h-p itc h ed c h im e o f th e d o orb ell a t s e v en f o rty -fiv e. I to ld m yse lf I w asn ’t g oin g to g o w hile I c o vere d m y h ead w ith a p illo w to m uffle t h e p o undin g c o m in g f r o m th e d o or. I to ld m yse lf I w asn ’t g oin g to . . . u nti l L ogan B ra n tl e y w as s ta n din g i n th e d o orw ay o f m y o ld b ed ro om . Stu nned , I s h o t u p i n b ed . “ W hat th e h ell? H ow ’d y o u g et i n h ere ?” “T old y o u I w as c o m in g a t e ig ht. F ig ure d y o u w ould n’t b e r e ad y, s o I c am e e arly . N ow g et y o ur a ss o ut o f b ed . W e g ot p la ces to g o to nig ht.” “W hat p art o f m e i g no rin g y o u f o r th e l a st f if te en m in ute s h asn ’t c lu ed y o u i n to th e f a ct th at I ’ m n o t g oin g ?” He s tr o lls i n to m y r o om a s i f h e’s r ig ht a t h o m e a n d l e an s a g ain st th e l ila c-p rin te d w allp ap er. “ Y ou c am e h ere f o r a r e aso n. I r e co gniz e s o m eo ne l o okin g to h id e a w ay a n d l ic k h er w ounds, b ut th at d o n’t h elp m uch . T ru st m e. I k no w .” I p ush th e c o vers d o w n, th an kfu l I o pte d to s le ep i n m y s w eats h ir t a n d s o m e l e g gin g s. “ Y ou’r e r e ally g oin g to d ra g m e o ut o f h ere ?” “K ic k in g a n d s c re am in g , i f I h av e to . G iv en th at a n y p ic tu re o f y o u i s g oin g to e n d u p o nlin e s o m ew here , y o u m ig ht w an t to f ix y o ur m ak eu p.” My j a w d ro ps, a n d I b lin k a t h is b la ta n t h o nesty . “ Je su s, i t’ d b e a w onder i f y o u h ad a g ir lf r ie n d. Y ou’v e g ot z ero ta ct.” His l ip s q uir k i n to a l o psid ed s m ile . “ M ay be I ’ v e g ot m ore th an o ne. T act i s n ’t e x actl y w hat th e l a d ie s a re l o okin g f o r th ese d ay s, W ix .” “W hate v er. G et o ut o f m y r o om .” I j e rk m y h ead to w ard th e d o or, i n c ase h e i s n ’t g etti n g th e m essa g e l o ud a n d c le ar. Logan l a u g hs, a n d I c an ’t h elp b ut a p pre cia te th at th e m an g re w u p r e al n ic e. H e c h an g ed o ut o f h is s h o p c lo th es i n to w orn j e an s a n d a c le an th erm al H en le y, th is ti m e i n a d eep f o re st g re en . F ro m th e w ay i t s tr e tc h es a cro ss h is c h est, I c an te ll th e m an i s b uilt. I m ig ht b e a m arrie d w om an , b ut I ’ d b e d o in g th e s is te rh o od a d is se rv ic e i f I d id n’t ta k e a m in ute t o a p pre cia te th e f in e s p ecim en i n f r o nt o f m e f r o m a n a cad em ic s ta n dpo in t. I m ak e a s h o oin g g estu re w ith m y h an ds, a n d h e f in ally tu rn s a n d w alk s o ut . . . a n d I ’ m o blig ate d to a p pre cia te th e b ack v ie w a s w ell.

Shak in g m y h ead , I s w in g m y l e g s o ver th e e d g e o f th e b ed a n d r e ach i n to m y b ag . I p ull o ut a p air of j e an s a n d a l o ng is h b la ck s w eate r. I s e arc h u nti l i t b eco m es c le ar th at I d id n’t p ack a n y s o ck s. At le a st I r e m em bere d t o b rin g u nderw ea r . T hat r e m in ds m e o f b ein g b ack sta g e w ith C re ig hto n a n d h im fr e ak in g o ut w hen h e th o ug ht I d id n’t h av e a n y, a n d th at I ’ d h av e to d o m y s h o w i n a d re ss w ith o ut pan ti e s. Why i s i t w e s e em ed to f in d o ur r h yth m i n th e m id st o f th e c ra zin ess th at’ s to urin g , b ut a s s o on a s we s te p f o ot b ack i n h is w orld , I n early h av e a n erv o us b re ak do w n? W hat d o es th at s a y f o r o ur fu tu re ? I p ush a w ay th e i n sis te n t q uesti o n. I ’ v e g ot ti m e to f ig ure th is o ut. I j u st n eed to g et r ig ht w ith myse lf b efo re I c an s ta rt tr y in g to f ig ure o ut th e r e st. S o i n ste ad , I h ead f o r th e b ed ro om b ure au a n d sc o re s o m e s o ck s a lo ng sid e th e o th er o dds a n d e n ds I l e ft a n d n ev er c am e b ack f o r. I’ v e b een m ean in g to c o m e b ack a n d c le an th e h o use o ut a n d s e ll i t, b ut s o m eth in g a lw ay s s to ps me— an d n o t j u st th e g en era l l a ck o f ti m e i n m y s c h ed ule . W hen I w ro te a c h eck f o r th e p ro perty ta x es a c o uple o f m onth s a g o, I to ld m yse lf i t w as ti m e. But I h av en ’t b een a b le to p ull th e tr ig ger. E ven n o w , I ’ m n o t q uite r e ad y to l e t g o. W hic h i s i r o nic becau se i n s o m an y w ay s, I c o uld n’t w ait to s h ak e th e d ust f r o m th is to w n o ff m y b o ots . A nd o nce Gra n w as g one . . . c o m in g b ack w as to o o verw helm in g . A nd y et, l ik e I s a id to L ogan , i t w as th e o nly pla ce I th o ug ht to r u n. L if e i s f u nny th at w ay. I, b ein g th e K en tu ck y g ir l th at I a m , r e call a l in e f r o m th e m ovie Days o f T hunder . T om C ru is e ’s nem esis , R ow dy B urn s— th e g uy w ho b eco m es h is f r ie n d a fte r th ey s m ash th eir r e n ta l c ars a ll u p o n th e w ay to d in ner— sa y s s o m eth in g a b o ut h o w a s a k id h e f a rm ed s o h e c o uld r a ce, b ut l a te r h e w as ju st r a cin g s o h e c o uld g et b ack a n d l iv e o n th e f a rm . A t l e ast I th in k i t w en t s o m eth in g l ik e th at. It m ay n o t b e s o m e c la ssy , i c o nic m ovie q uo te , b ut i t a lw ay s s tu ck w ith m e. J u st o ne m ore w ay o f sa y in g th e g ra ss i s a lw ay s g re en er o n th e o th er s id e. I ’ m n o t i n th e s a m e p o siti o n a s R ow dy B urn s, becau se I d o n’t h av e s o m e b urn in g d esir e to c o m e b ack to G old H av en p erm an en tl y , b ut I c an ’t h elp but w onder i f , s o m ed ay i n th e f u tu re , I ’ ll b e s in g in g a n d to urin g m y a ss o ff to s a v e e n o ug h to q uit. It’ s u nfa th o m ab le . I f r e eze i n th e a ct o f p ullin g a s o ck o n. Did I j u st i m agin e m y f u tu re w ith out C re ig hto n i n i t? Becau se i f C re ig hto n i s p art o f m y f u tu re , m oney s u re ly i s n ’t a n o bje ct, r ig ht? And th en c o m es th e b ig ger q uesti o ns: i f C re ig hto n i s p art o f m y f u tu re , w ill I s ti ll b e to urin g a n d sin g in g te n y ears f r o m n o w ? E ven i f th is d o es w ork b etw een u s, a t w hat p o in t i s h e g oin g to th in k th e co untr y m usic g ig — while c u te — is g etti n g o ld ? Sto p b orro w in g t r o uble , H olly . I m ak e a c o nsc io us d ecis io n to b ury th e q uesti o ns a g ain f o r to nig ht. I’ m n o t r e ad y to a n sw er th em y et. M ay be h av in g L ogan s h o w u p a t m y d o orste p w as s o m e k in d o f se re n dip ity i n th e f o rm o f a w elc o m e d is tr a cti o n. Str ip pin g o ut o f m y l e g gin g s, I p ull o n th e j e an s a n d tr a d e th e s w eats h ir t f o r th e s w eate r, a n d l o ok at m y r e fle cti o n i n a m ir ro r th at s a w m e th ro ug h th e a w kw ard ness o f m y te en y ears. I t’ s e asy to cata lo g a ll th e w ay s I l o ok d if fe re n t n o w . My h air i s l o ng er a n d s h in ie r— co urte sy o f u sin g th e p ro ducts m y s ty lis t r e co m men ded a n d n o t Suav e. M y e n ti r e b o dy i s s lim mer— th an ks to th e r e str ic ti v e d ie t a n d c alo rie c o unti n g . B ut w ould y o u belie v e th at m y b o obs a re p erk ie r? N o, I d id n’t s e ll m y s o ul to th e d ev il; I d is c o vere d th e m ir a cle o f push -u p b ra s a n d w as a ctu ally f itte d f o r o ne i n m y s iz e. M y f a ce, to g o a lo ng w ith m y s lim mer b o dy, is n arro w er, m y c h eek bo nes s h arp er, a n d m y e y eb ro w s h av e b een p ro fe ssio nally s h ap ed . B ut b ey o nd th at, I ’ m s ti ll th e e x act s a m e g ir l I w as w hen I l e ft. Is t h at g ir l e ver g oin g t o b e e n ough f o r C re ig hto n? “S to p i t,” I s c o ld m y r e fle cti o n. “ Ju st s to p.” “H urry u p, H olly !” L ogan y ells u p th e s ta ir s, i n te rru pti n g m e.

“H old y o ur h o rse s, y o u b re ak in g -a n d-e n te rin g f o ol,” I y ell b ack . I g ra b m y m ak eu p b ag a n d u se th e c o nceale r to c o ver th e c ir c le s u nder m y e y es, a n d th en a d d a sw ip e o f b ro nzer o ver m y c h eek s a n d a n o th er c o at o f m asc ara a n d l ip g lo ss. T hat’ ll h av e to b e g ood en o ug h. Logan ’s i d ea o f r e in tr o ducin g m e to m y r o ots s ta rts w ith f o od a t M r. B urg er, th e o nly f a st- fo od j o in t in to w n s in ce M cD onald ’s w on’t b o th er s e tti n g u p a f r a n ch is e h ere . I t’ s s u rp ris in g ly q uie t f o r a Satu rd ay n ig ht, b ut th at s u its m e j u st f in e. We o rd er a n d s lip i n to a b ack b o oth to w ait f o r th e s e rv er to b rin g o ut o ur f o od. T he j o ke a ro und to w n i s th at M r. B urg er’s i s s o s lo w b ecau se th ey h av e to g o k ill th e c o w f ir st. It’ s tw en ty m in ute s b efo re tw o l o ad ed c h eese b urg ers, s e aso ned f r ie s, a n d c h o co la te m ilk sh ak es a re sitti n g i n f r o nt o f u s. I h av en ’t c o nsu m ed th is m an y c alo rie s i n o ne s itti n g . . . p ro bab ly s in ce th e l a st ti m e I a te h ere . T his m eal i s m ile s a w ay f r o m th e d ecad en t s te ak th at C re ig hto n o rd ere d i n o ur h o te l ro om . The f o od i s am azin g. T he c o m pan y i s n ’t h alf b ad e ith er. I d o n’t h av e m uch to s a y, b ut L ogan f ills th e s ile n ce, e v en th o ug h I g et th e f e elin g h e’s n o t no rm ally th is c h atty o f a g uy. H e te lls m e a b o ut c o m in g b ack to to w n a fte r l e av in g th e M arin es. H e won’t s a y e x actl y w hat i t i s h e did i n th e M arin es, s o I s u sp ect i t w as s o m eth in g i n te re sti n g . He c am e b ack to to w n j u st d ay s a fte r I l e ft f o r N ash ville , a n d k new h e c o uld n’t b e i d le , s o h e ap plie d f o r a j o b a t th e g ara g e h e w ork ed a t a ll th ro ug h h ig h s c h o ol. A ppare n tl y h e s p en t a l o t o f h is do w n ti m e i n th e s e rv ic e r e sto rin g c la ssic c ars, s o C huck , th e p rio r o w ner, h ir e d h im b ack o n th e s p o t. “W hen C huck to ld m e h e p la n ned to r e ti r e a b o ut th re e m onth s l a te r, I k new th at I c o uld n’t l e t h im se ll i t to s o m eo ne e ls e . C om in g b ack to th at d am n g ara g e w as th e b est h o m eco m in g I h ad . H e w asn ’t su rp ris e d a t a ll th at I d id n’t w an t h im to s e ll i t to a n yo ne e ls e , a n d w as c o ol e n o ug h to h elp m e b uy i t fr o m h im . I ’ v e a lm ost g ot h im p aid o ff, s o th e b an k l o an f o r th e r e n o vati o ns w as a l e ap o f f a ith . I t’ s tu rn in g o ut j u st f in e, th o ug h.” I’ m a m azed th at i n s ix m onth s h e’s m an ag ed to b uy th e p la ce, r e n o vate th e w ho le th in g , a n d tu rn Chuck ’s o ld g ara g e i n to a s o ug ht- a fte r p la ce f o r c la ssic c ar r e sto ra ti o n a n d r e p air s. T o s a y I ’ m im pre sse d w ould b e a n u ndersta te m en t. I t a p pears th at I ’ m n o t th e o nly o ne w ho ’s c ap ab le o f g oin g afte r a d re am . I’ m a ls o s lig htl y s tu nned th at w e g et o ut o f M r. B urg er w ith o ut b ein g b o th ere d . I g uess I ’ m n o t su ch a b ig d eal, e v en i n m y o w n to w n. A ppare n tl y o nly M ir a n da L am bert i s f a m ous i n a s m all to w n. Act I I o f O pera ti o n R ein tr o duce-H olly -to -H er-R oots ta k es u s r ig ht b ack to th e p la ce i t a ll s ta rte d — Bre w s a n d B alls . I s h o uld h av e f ig ure d , s in ce i t’ s r e ally th e o nly p la ce f o r p eo ple to g o f o r en te rta in m en t i n G old H av en . The r e cep ti o n I g et th ere i s m uch d if fe re n t th an a t M r. B urg er. Y ou’d th in k I ’ m th e r e tu rn in g h ero who h as b een a w ay f o r y ears a n d y ears, w hic h c le arly , I ’ m n o t. “H ot d am n, l o ok w hat th e c at d ra g ged i n ,” B en ny y ells o ver th e p erc u ssio n o f b alls h itti n g th e l a n e an d s tr ik in g p in s. H e s h uffle s o ver a s f a st a s h is c an e c an h o ld h im , a n d y an ks m e i n to a h ug . “H ey, B en . H ow y a b een ?” I t’ s th e s a m e w ay m y g ra n g re ete d h im f o r y ears, a n d i t r u bbed o ff o n me l o ng a g o. He p ulls b ack , l o w ers th e o ld w ooden c an e b ack to th e f lo or to s te ad y h im se lf , a n d ti lts h is h ead to one s id e. “ I th in k I ’ m m ore i n te re ste d i n h o w yo u’v e b een , M rs. B illio nair e C ountr y S ta r.”

Heat b urn s i n m y c h eek s. I d o n’t w an t to ta lk a b o ut th e m e th at e x is ts o uts id e th is to w n. T hat’ s n o t why I ’ m h ere . “I’ m f in e. J u st ta k in g s o m e ti m e o ff.” He o pen s h is m outh to a sk s o m eth in g e ls e , b ut s h uts i t j u st a s q uic k . I g la n ce s id ew ay s a t L ogan , an d h e’s g iv in g B en ny a h ard l o ok. S hie ld in g m e f r o m q uesti o ns? “H ow a b o ut s o m e s h o es a n d a l a n e, B en ?” L ogan a sk s. The o ld er m an n o ds e n th usia sti c ally . “ O f c o urse . A nyth in g f o r m y g ir l h ere . E xcep t, th ere ’s a catc h .” “B en — ” L ogan s ta rts , b ut I i n te rru pt. I k no w e x actl y w hat B en ny’s g oin g to th ro w o ut a s th e c atc h . “I’ ll s in g o ne s o ng . B ut n o t o ne o f m in e.” “D one. G o b o w l a f e w g am es, a n d I ’ ll m eet y o u i n th e b ar l a te r.” We b o w l tw o g am es, a n d th e e asy c am ara d erie I f e el w ith L ogan s u rp ris e s m e. I t’ s n o t th e heig hte n ed a n ti c ip ati o n I s e em to h av e e v ery m om en t I s p en d a ro und C re ig hto n, b ut i t’ s a ls o a l o t l e ss str e ssfu l. It’ s j u st . . . e asy . It’ s a ls o i m po ssib le n o t to c o m pare th e m en , o ne r o ug h a ro und th e e d g es a n d th e o th er s m ooth a n d cu ltu re d . B oth d an g ero us i n th eir o w n w ay. I k no w h o w to b eh av e a ro und a g uy l ik e L ogan , a n d n o t j u st b ecau se I ’ v e s p en t a l o t o f ti m e w ith Boone o n to ur. L ogan ’s u pbrin g in g w asn ’t a ll th at d if fe re n t f r o m m in e. I c an th ro w s a ss a t h im a n d giv e a s g ood a s I g et, a ll w ith o ut f e elin g a w kw ard o r tr a sh y. I g iv e a s g ood a s I g et w ith C re ig hto n to o, b ut w hen I ’ m i n h is w orld , I l a ck c o nfid en ce b ecau se I’ m to ta lly o ut o f m y e le m en t. O n to ur, th in g s w ere b ette r, b ut th at w as h im p la y in g i n m y w orld . Wasn ’t th ere s o m e o ld s a y in g a b o ut a b ir d a n d a f is h f a llin g i n l o ve? A re w e j u st to o d if fe re n t? My th o ug hts a re d is tr a cti n g e n o ug h to m ak e m e th ro w a g utte r b all. Dam n . T here g oes m y th re e- hundre d g am e, w hic h I ’ m p erfe ctl y c ap ab le o f b o w lin g , th an k y o u v ery m uch . A nd th at’ s j u st a n o th er sk ill a b illio nair e ’s w if e p ro bab ly s h o uld n’t h av e o n h er r é su m é. I e x cel a t b o w lin g , d eep -fr y in g p ic k le s, a n d s in g in g s o ng s a b o ut p ic k up tr u ck s a n d b ro ken h earts . I hate f e elin g l ik e th is , s o i n ad eq uate , a n d I h ate th at I ’ m th e o ne d ig gin g th e s lic es i n d eep er. H ow c an I ev er tr u ly b e g ood e n o ug h f o r C re ig hto n i f I n ev er b elie v e i t m yse lf ? A nnik a’s w ord s j a b a t m e a g ain an d a g ain . Logan th ro w s a s tr ik e, th an kfu lly d is tr a cti n g m e y et a g ain . H e c an a ls o b o w l a th re e h undre d . I watc h ed h im o n p le n ty o f d ate s w hen I w ork ed h ere i n s c h o ol. J u st a n o th er d if fe re n ce b etw een th e tw o men . B re w s a n d B alls i s th e k in d o f p la ce a g uy l ik e L ogan b rin g s a d ate . I tr y to p ic tu re C re ig hto n here a n d f in d i t u tte rly i m po ssib le . But I w as s o d ete rm in ed to s h ak e th is p la ce o ff a n d n ev er c o m e b ack , s o w hat d o es i t m atte r i f I can ’t p ic tu re C re ig hto n h ere ? I w an te d a b ig ger l if e , a n d I g ot i t. W hen a m I g oin g to g et th e g uts to liv e i t i n ste ad o f j u st f lo at a lo ng a n d l e t th e ti d e p ull m e i n a n d o ut? I g ra b m y b all, l in e u p . . . a n d th ro w a n o th er o ne i n to th e g utte r. T urn in g a w ay f r o m th e l a n e, I dro p i n to th e m old ed b lu e p la sti c c h air a n d r e st m y h ead i n to m y h an ds. “H olly , w hat th e h ell? ” L ogan a sk s. “I c an ’t d o th is . I n eed to s to p th in kin g . I d o n’t w an t to th in k a n y m ore to nig ht, a n d th is i s n ’t work in g .” Logan s e ts h is b all b ack i n to th e b all r e tu rn a n d l o w ers h im se lf i n to th e s e at b esid e m e. U nderly in g th e w oodsy s c en t o f h is a fte rsh av e o r d eo do ra n t i s th at c o m bin ati o n f r o m th e g ara g e— oil, e x hau st, ru bber, a n d c itr u s. It’ s n o t u nple asa n t. I t’ s re a l . But i t’ s n o t C re ig hto n.

“W hat c an I d o ? H ow d o w e g et y o u to s to p th in kin g ?” h e a sk s. I c an o nly th in k o f o ne s o lu ti o n. “ L et’ s g et d ru nk.” Logan s h ak es h is h ead . “ I’ m d riv in g .” “T hen I’ll g et d ru nk.” He d o esn ’t s p eak f o r th e s p ace o f a b re ath . F in ally , h e l e an s h is e lb o w s o n h is k nees a n d l o oks sid elo ng a t m e. “ Y ou s u re ?” “A bso -fu ck in g -lu te ly .” I m ay n o t k no w th e a n sw er to a n y o th er q uesti o n I n eed to a n sw er, b ut th is one, I h av e h an dle d . L ik e a b o ss. With a s h ak e o f h is h ead , h e s a y s, “ P ic k y o ur p o is o n th en . A nd m ay be g et th at s o ng i n f o r B en befo re y o u’r e to o l it to b e a b le to s in g i t.” “I th in k to nig ht i s a te q uila k in d o f n ig ht. A nd I c an never b e to o l it to s in g .” I s c ru nch m y b ro w . “ I do n’t th in k. I g uess w e’ll s e e.” “F uck , I k no w th is i s a b ad i d ea.” B ut g o a lo ng w ith i t, h e d o es. Sho ts a re l in ed u p o n th e b ar, a n d I f o rg o th e s a lt a n d th e l im e, o pti n g i n ste ad to ta k e m y s h o ts str a ig ht a n d c h ase th em w ith b eer. T his d ecis io n i s p ro bab ly o ne I ’ ll r e g re t l a te r. A lm ost c erta in ly . B ut I’ m a lr e ad y f e elin g th e b uzz a n d f o rg etti n g to c are . Ben ny i s a lr e ad y c u in g u p a s o ng w hen I g ra b th e m ic ro pho ne f r o m th e s ta n d. I d o n’t e v en c are what i t i s . I j u st w an t to g et o nsta g e, e v en i f i t’ s a ti n y s ta g e i n a P odunk b o w lin g a lle y, b ecau se th is i s one p la ce I f e el c o m ple te ly c o nfid en t. I ’ m g oin g to s in g m y h eart o ut to nig ht. T hese p eo ple m ay h av e co m e to b o w l a n d d rin k, b ut th ey ’r e a b o ut to g et o ne h ell o f a s h o w . The m usic th at c o m es f r o m th e s p eak ers m ak es m e l a u g h, a r e al, h o nest- to -G od b elly l a u g h. Som eth in g I h av en ’t d o ne i n l o ng er th an I c an r e m em ber. S om eh o w B en ny a lw ay s k no w s w here m y head ’s a t. H e’s c ra n ked u p M ir a n da L am bert’ s “ F am ous i n a S m all T ow n.” I b elt o ut th e l y ric s a n d f in d m y h ap py p la ce. Ben ny p la y s s o ng a fte r s o ng , a n d th e te q uila k eep s f lo w in g . I d o n’t c o unt th e s o ng s o r th e s h o ts , o r th e n um ber o f p eo ple g ath erin g i n th e s m all b ar o f th e b o w lin g a lle y. I d o n’t k eep tr a ck o f a n y o f i t. I do n’t n o ti c e th e w his p ers o f th e c ro w d, th e f la sh in g c am era s, o r l a te r, th e p eo ple s te p pin g a sid e to l e t so m eo ne p ass. My e y es a re c lo se d a n d te ars a re w ellin g i n th em a s I s in g th e l a st l in es to S ara E van s’s “ B orn to Fly .” I t’ s th e s o ng th at s ta rte d i t a ll o n th is v ery s ta g e. A l ittl e o verw helm ed , I s lid e th e m ic ro pho ne back i n to th e s ta n d a n d l e an o ver, h an ds o n m y th ig hs, tr y in g to r e el m yse lf b ack i n . “A no th er s h o t, H olly ?” s o m eo ne c alls . I h o ld m y a rm o ut, m ak in g a th um bs-u p s ig n. A nd th at’ s w hen I h ear a f a m ilia r d eep v o ic e s a y, “ I th in k y o u’v e h ad e n o ug h, m y d ear.”

Y ou k no w w hat p la y s h av o c w ith a m an ’s e g o? H av in g a w if e w ho h as w alk ed o ut o n h im tw ic e. L uck ily , m y e g o i s b ig e n o ug h to h an dle i t. B ut th ese d ete cti v e m is sio ns to f in d o ut w here m y w if e h as r u n o ff to a re g etti n g a l ittl e o ld . Lis te n in g to h er s in g , h o w ev er, w ill n ev er g et o ld . I s ta n d a t th e b ack o f th e c ro w d i n th e k ara o ke b ar o f th e b o w lin g a lle y a n d g et m y f ir st l o ok a t H olly o n th e s ta g e w here s h e f o und th e c o ura g e to c h ase h er d re am . She’s f u ck in g m ag nif ic en t, a n d I ’ m f a r f r o m th e o nly p erso n i n th e c ro w d to th in k s o . T hese p eo ple , w ho s h e p ro bab ly c la im s a s her p eo ple , a re i n a w e o f h er ta le n t. W hic h th ey s h o uld b e. When th e l a st n o te f a d es a w ay, I m ove th ro ug h th e c ro w d, m ak in g m y w ay to th e s ta g e. I h av e n o i d ea w hat I ’ m g oin g to s a y, b ut I d o n’t th in k i t r e ally m atte rs. M y b ein g h ere s h o uld s e n d a m essa g e a ll o f i ts o w n. “A no th er s h o t, H olly ?” s o m eo ne y ells o ver th e n o w c h eerin g c ro w d, b ut H olly i s b en t o ver a t th e w ais t, tr y in g to c atc h h er b re ath — so m eth in g I ’ v e n ev er s e en h er d o o nsta g e. I t a p pears m y w if e h as h ad p le n ty o f s h o ts to nig ht. Consc io us o f a ll th e c am era s f la sh in g , I m ak e a n e x ecu ti v e d ecis io n a n d s te p u p to th e s ta g e. “ I t h in k y o u’v e h ad e n o ug h, m y d ear.” Her h ead j e rk s u p a n d s h e m eets m y e y es. “ T hat’ s n o t y o ur c all,” s h e s a y s, h er w ord s s lu rrin g . “It i s to nig ht. W e’r e l e av in g .” “I’ m n o t g oin g b ack to N ew Y ork . N ot n o w .” I s ti f fe n a t h er a d am an t s ta te m en t. “ I th in k w e s h o uld s a v e th at d is c u ssio n f o r w hen y o u’r e s o ber.” “F in e. B ut I ’ m n o t d o ne.” She g ra b s th e m ic ro pho ne f r o m th e s ta n d a n d c alls o ut, “ H ow a b o ut o ne m ore ?” The c ro w d r o ars. “L et’ s ta k e i t b ack to s o m e c la ssic R eb a!” H olly y ells . “ I’ v e g ot a c ra v in g f o r a l ittl e s o m eth in g ‘ F an cy.’ ” The c ro w d r o ars a g ain , th is ti m e to a d eafe n in g v o lu m e. T he m usic s ta rts to p la y, a n d I ’ m p re tty s u re I ’ v e h eard th e s o ng , b ut I ’ v e n ev er r e ally l is te n ed to th e l y ric s b efo re . B ut w hen H olly s in g s t h em , th ey s in k i n to m e o ne l in e a t a ti m e. Every th in g s h e’s s a id a b o ut h er m oth er a n d r u nnin g o ff w ith m en w ho h av e e n o ug h m oney to ta k e c are o f h er f o r a l ittl e w hile c o m es f ilte rin g b ack i n to m y b ra in . T his s o ng i s a m essa g e to m e, a n d I t h in k I ’ m h earin g i t l o ud a n d c le ar.

What I d o n’t k no w i s h o w th e h ell I ’ m g oin g to g et th ro ug h to h er th at s h e i s n ’t j u st s o m e k in d o f orn am en t i n m y l if e . S he is m y l if e . Holly i s n ’t a w om an w ho w ill b e s w ay ed b y w ord s. I k no w th at n o w . S he n eed s m e to s h o w h er. And g uess w hat? T hat I c an f u ck in g d o . Her c le ar, s tu nnin g v o ic e c arrie s th e l a st n o te f o r w hat s e em s l ik e f o re v er, a n d th e b ar th unders with a p pla u se a n d c h eerin g . T his ti m e I d o n’t w ait. I s te p c lo se r, s w in g h er u p i n to m y a rm s, a n d j u m p do w n o ff th e s ta g e. “W hat a re y o u— ?” “I’ m ta k in g y o u h o m e.” “I’ m n o t g oin g — ” “T o yo ur h o m e, H olly .” “O h.” Her a rm s tw in e a ro und m y n eck , a n d s h e h o ld s o n ti g ht w hile I m an eu ver u s th ro ug h th e c ro w d an d o ut o f th e b ar, i n to th e l o bby o f th e b o w lin g a lle y. I f e el a ta p o n m y s h o uld er a n d g la n ce b ack . It’ s a g uy. A b ig g uy. “S he’s d o ne f o r to nig ht,” I te ll h im . “ Y ou c an g et h er a u to gra p h a n o th er ti m e, m an .” “If I w an te d h er a u to gra p h, I w ould ’v e g otte n i t w hen I p ic k ed h er u p to nig ht.” Every th in g i n m e s ti lls . “L ogan , i t’ s o kay — ” H olly s ta rts . I d o n’t e v en w ait f o r h er to f in is h h er s e n te n ce. I tu rn a n d w alk f o r th e d o ors. As s o on a s s h e s a id h is n am e, a s e eth in g p o sse ssiv en ess s h re d ded m y b ette r j u dg m en t. I h av e to get o ut o f h ere b efo re I p ut h er d o w n a n d ta k e th is g uy o n i n a w ay th at h e’ll u ndersta n d— with m y fis ts , u nti l o ne o r b o th o f u s a re b le ed in g . I ’ m h o pin g , i f h e h as a n y s e n se , h e’ll s ta y i n sid e. But I h ear th e h eav y b o ote d f o ots te p s b eh in d m e a s I c arry H olly o uts id e to m y r e n ta l. “Y ou a in ’t j u st c o m in g i n h ere a n d c arry in g h er o ut w ith o ut m e h earin g f r o m H olly ’s l ip s th at s h e wan ts to g o w ith y o u.” I l e ft th e c ar u nlo ck ed , f ig urin g th at n o o ne w as g oin g to s te al i t. I g ra b th e d o or h an dle a n d r ip i t open b efo re d ep o siti n g H olly i n sid e a n d s la m min g i t s h ut. She y ells s o m eth in g , b ut I s lid e m y h an d i n to m y p o ck et a n d h it th e L ock b utto n b efo re s h e c an open i t. I n h er d ru nken s ta te , i t’ ll ta k e h er a f e w m om en ts to f ig ure o ut h o w to u nlo ck th e f u ck in g th in g . Thank y o u, C adilla c . I tu rn a n d f a ce Logan . “ A ppare n tl y I ’ m a t a d is a d van ta g e, b ecau se y o u k no w w ho I a m , b ut I ’ m pre tty s u re H olly h as n ev er m en ti o ned a n yo ne n am ed L ogan .” He c ro sse s h is b ulk y a rm s o ver h is c h est. H e m ig ht h av e th ir ty p o unds o n m e, b ut I ’ m u se d to sp arrin g w ith C an no n. A nd th ere ’s th e a d ded f a cto r o f m e b ein g r ile d th e f u ck u p a n d d efe n din g m y cla im to my w om an . I ’ m n o t a fr a id to b le ed to m ak e a p o in t. “I a in ’t tr y in ’ to g et b etw een a h usb an d a n d w if e — ” h e s ta rts . “T hen tu rn a ro und a n d h ead b ack i n sid e.” He c o nti n ues a s i f I d id n’t s p eak . “ B ut I a ls o d o n’t b elie v e i n l e tti n g a w om an I b ro ug ht s o m ew here le av e w ith a n o th er m an .” I f le x m y h an ds a n d c u rl th em i n to f is ts . “ W ell, y o u s u re a s f u ck a re n ’t l e av in g w ith h er to nig ht. S o yo u’r e g oin g to h av e to p ut th at b elie f o n i c e.” E ven i n th e d im ly l it p ark in g l o t, I c an s e e th e m usc le ti c k in g i n h is j a w . “ If y o u’r e l o okin g to s ta k e a c la im o n a w om an , I s u g gest y o u p ic k o ne w ho ’s av aila b le .” He s m ir k s. “ T he o nly r e aso n y o u h ad a s h o t a t h er i s b ecau se I did n’t s ta k e a c la im .” “T hen y o u m is se d y o ur s h o t. T he n ex t ti m e w e’r e i n to w n, I ’ ll b uy y o u a b eer to th an k y o u. R ig ht

no w , I ’ d l ik e to g et m y wife h o m e b efo re s h e p ukes i n m y r e n ta l c ar.” I s a y th e w ord wife w ith unden ia b le e m phasis a n d s a ti s fa cti o n. “S eem s to m e a m an w ith a w if e l ik e th at s h o uld l e arn h o w to k eep a h o ld o n h er a l ittl e b ette r.” The w ord s a re n ’t th at f a r o ff f r o m w hat B oone s a id w hen h e r ip ped m e a n ew a ssh o le s e v era l ho urs a g o i n N ash ville . “Yo u b ette r n ot k eep d oin g s h it t h at s e n ds h er r u nnin g, o r y o u’re g onna f u ckin ’ l o se h er f o r g ood,” was B oone’s r e d neck w is d o m . He m ad e h is p o in t w hen h e e y ed th e s h o tg un h an g in g a b o ve th e f r o nt d o or, a n d w hen h e d eliv ere d his f in al w arn in g . “That g ir l i s o ne o f t h e g ood o nes. D on’t m ake h er c ry, o r I ’ll b e f o rc ed t o s te p i n and t a ke a ctio n. I c o nsid er h er f a m ily .” My e x pla n ati o ns p la cate d h im e n o ug h f o r h im to te ll m e e x actl y w here s h e w en t. B ack to th e s m all to w n s h e c am e f r o m i s a b o ut th e l a st p la ce I w ould h av e th o ug ht to l o ok, s o I o w e T hra sh er. B ut I do n’t o w e th is a ssh o le a n yth in g . Logan n arro w s h is e y es o n m e. “ T his c o nversa ti o n a in ’t d o ne.” H e j e rk s h is h ead to w ard th e c ar do or. “ B ut i t c an w ait.” I l o ok a t th e c ar a s w ell, a n d s e e H olly p asse d o ut a g ain st th e w in do w . Shit. “Y ou k no w h o w to g et to h er g ra n ’s p la ce?” h e a sk s, c le arly d ed ucin g th e p ro ble m I ’ m f a cin g a s so on a s I d o . It’ s w ith a n no yan ce I a d m it th at I d o n’t h av e a c lu e. H e’s i n th e m id dle o f g iv in g m e d ir e cti o ns when H olly r o use s a n d k no ck s o n th e w in do w . Fuck. I r e co gniz e th at l o ok. I u nlo ck th e d o or a n d p ull i t o pen j u st i n ti m e f o r H olly to l e an h er head o ut a n d p uke o n th e g ra v el. I s te p a ro und th e d o or a n d g ath er h er h air i n to a m essy p o nyta il beh in d h er h ead . A c ar d o or o pen s a n d s h uts n earb y, b ut I ’ m n o t p ay in g a tte n ti o n to a n yth in g b ut Holly . Logan r e ap pears, c ro uch in g j u st o ut o f r a n g e o f th e v o m it a s h e h o ld s a b o ttl e o f w ate r to h er l ip s. Giv en th e c av em an te n den cie s th at s p rin g to l if e e v ery ti m e I ’ m a ro und H olly , I s h o uld b e p is se d to s e e a n o th er m an h elp in g ta k e c are o f h er, b ut I ’ m n o t. I ’ m g ra te fu l b ecau se ta k in g c are o f h er i s th e only th in g th at m atte rs r ig ht n o w , n o t th e p is sin g c o nte st I w as e n g ag in g i n . I t’ s a m azin g h o w s im ple th in g s b eco m e w hen p rio riti e s a re h ig hlig hte d s o b rillia n tl y . When s h e’s f in is h ed d rin kin g a n d p ukin g a n d d rin kin g a g ain , I s m ooth H olly ’s h air a w ay f r o m her f a ce a n d tu ck i t b eh in d h er s h o uld er. S he s its b ack i n th e s e at o f th e C ad illa c a n d l o oks f r o m m e to Logan . “I’ m c o nfu se d . A nd d ru nk.” H er g aze s w in g s b ack to m e. “ H ow th e h ell a re y o u h ere ? W hy?” “I th in k th at c o nversa ti o n i s b est s a v ed f o r w hen y o u’ll a ctu ally r e m em ber w hat I s a y.” “G ood. I d o n’t k no w w hat to s a y y et . . .” H er w ord s tr a il o ff a s h er e y es s lid e s h ut. Fuck . I s n ap m y a tte n ti o n to L ogan . “ W hat th e f u ck d id y o u d o to h er? I ’ v e n ev er s e en h er l ik e th is .” “S he w as tr y in g to f o rg et a b o ut y o u.” His w ord s a re l ik e a j a b to m y g ut. I e x hale s h arp ly , p hysic ally f e elin g th e e ffe cts o f th e v erb al su ck er p unch . “W ell, th at i s n ’t f u ck in g h ap pen in g b ecau se I ’ m n o t g oin g a n yw here .” “Y our c h o ic e, m an , b ut i f a w om an a sk s m e f o r s p ace, I te n d to g iv e i t to h er i f th e a lte rn ati v e i s push in g h er a w ay b y r e fu sin g to g iv e h er w hat s h e n eed s.” “W hat i s i t w ith r e d neck s a n d th eir f u ck in g n eed to d is p en se b ack w oods w is d o m to day ?” “I’ d r e se n t th at i f y o u h ad n’t j u st a ck no w le d g ed th at th ey ’r e w is e w ord s.” I d id n’t m ean to i m ply th at, b ut th is L ogan g uy i s a p pare n tl y s m arte r th an h e l o oks. Holly s lu m ps s id ew ay s, o n th e v erg e o f f a llin g o ut o f th e s e at, a n d w e b o th r e ach o ut a h an d to

ste ad y h er. H e s n atc h es h is b ack w hen I s h o ot h im a s h arp l o ok. C are fu lly , I s it H olly u prig ht i n th e se at a n d c lo se th e d o or. O nce s h e’s s itu ate d , I tu rn to h im . That th o ug ht a b o ut m y i n ner c av em an c alm in g d o w n? T ota l b ulls h it. I n eed to m ak e s o m eth in g cle ar to h im b efo re I d riv e o ut o f h ere . A nd c o nsid erin g H olly n eed s to b e i n b ed f iv e m in ute s a g o, I’ ll m ak e i t c le ar w ith o ut w asti n g a n y ti m e. “Y ou s e e th at r in g o n h er f in g er? T hat m ean s s h e’s n o t f a ir g am e, u nle ss th at’ s th e k in d o f g uy y o u are .” Logan ’s h ead j e rk s b ack , a n d h is e y es n arro w . “ I a in ’t l o okin ’ to p o ach . I r e sp ect th at y o u to ok vo w s, b ut I a ls o k no w th at y o u d o n’t h av e a g ood tr a ck r e co rd o f k eep in g ’ e m .” Rag e b o ils th ro ug h m e, a n d I f ig ht th e u rg e to p la n t m y f is t i n h is f a ce. A ge-o ld i n sti n ct h as m e ste p pin g to w ard h im u nti l a n o ld m an c o m es s h ufflin g th ro ug h th e p ark in g l o t a n d i n se rts h is c an e betw een u s. “A ll r ig ht n o w , b o ys. T im e to g et ’ e m o ut a n d m easu re , o r g et o n h o m e.” “I th in k I ’ ll ta k e th e l a tte r,” I s a y. I’ m p re tty s u re I h ear L ogan m um ble s o m eth in g a b o ut m e l o sin g i n a d ic k -m easu rin g c o nte st, b ut th e o ld m an i s a lr e ad y s p eak in g a g ain a n d h o ld in g u p a p urse I r e co gniz e a s H olly ’s . “Y ou k no w w here h er g ra n ’s h o use i s ? ” th e o ld m an a sk s m e. “M ostl y .” L ogan ’s i n str u cti o ns w ere c u t o ff m id w ay th ro ug h. The o ld m an n o ds. “ Y ou j u st n eed to ta k e a r ig ht, g o a h alf m ile , a n d i t’ s th e f ir st h o use o n th e l e ft afte r th e p o w er l in es. I f y o u h it th e r a ilr o ad tr a ck s, y o u’v e g one to o f a r.” His d ecid ed ly c o untr y d ir e cti o ns a re e asy e n o ug h. H e h o ld s th e p urse u p h ig her. “ T his i s h ers.” “T han k y o u,” I s a y, r e ach in g o ut to g ra b i t, b ut th e o ld m an j e rk s i t b ack b efo re I c an . “Y ou ta k e c are o f th at g ir l, o r I ’ ll h av e y o ur b alls i n a s lin g .” Je su s f u ck in g C hris t. I d o n’t e v en k no w w hat th at m ean s, b ut i t’ s th e th ir d th re at I ’ v e r e ceiv ed to day. Snatc h in g th e p urse o ut o f h is h an d, I n o d. “ D uly n o te d .” I tu rn f o r th e c ar, b ut L ogan i s n ’t q uite do ne y et. “H er b ed ro om i s th e o ne a t th e to p o f th e s ta ir s. Y ou c an ’t m is s i t.” H is w ord s a re ti n g ed w ith tr iu m ph, a n d o nce a g ain I w an t to p ut h im o n h is a ss i n th is g ra v el p ark in g l o t. “I d o n’t w an t to k no w w hy y o u f u ck in g k no w th at.” M y v o ic e c o m es o ut r o ug h a n d d eep , a n d I alm ost d o n’t r e co gniz e i t. Logan s m ir k s a n d tu ck s o ne th um b i n to th e p o ck et o f h is j e an s. “ C alm d o w n, r ic h b o y. I t a in ’t l ik e I p o pped h er c h erry .” Why h e’s c h o osin g to b ait m e n o w , I d o n’t k no w , a n d I d o n’t f u ck in g c are . I a ls o d o n’t w an t to dra g m y l a w yer o ut to B um fu ck , E gypt, to b ail m e o ut o f j a il, e v en i f th e c h arg es a re j u sti f ia b le ho m ic id e. S o I ta k e th e h ig h r o ad ; I th re ate n h im . “Y ou d o k no w I c an a ffo rd to m ak e y o u d is a p pear, r ig ht? ” I r o und th e c ar a n d r e ach f o r th e driv er’s s id e h an dle , p au sin g i n a n ti c ip ati o n o f h is r e sp o nse . Logan l e an s a g ain st a b la ck tr u ck p ark ed n ex t to th e C ad illa c, a n d I ’ d b et m y j e t i t’ s h is . “ O ut h ere , a m an d o es h is o w n k illin ’ a n d b ury in ’. I k no w m ile s o f m in e s h aft w here y o u’d n ev er b e f o und,” h e dra w ls . I s tr a ig hte n a n d ta k e h is m easu re . “ I g et th at y o u’r e a c o ck y s o n o f a b itc h , b ut w hat’ s y o ur a n g le here ?” He m eets m y g aze w ith o ut h esita ti o n. “ I d id n’t l ik e th e w ay H olly l o oked w hen s h e r o lle d i n to to w n, a n d y o u’r e th e m ost l ik ely c au se .” I i m ag in e h er l o okin g ti r e d a n d s tr e sse d to th e m ax , th e w ay s h e d id b efo re e v ery th in g w en t to s h it la st n ig ht a t th e M oM A e v en t, a n d I w an t to g et h er b ack to h er g ra n dm oth er’s h o use to ta k e c are o f

her p ro perly . L ast n ig ht l e ft a l o t to b e d esir e d o n b o th o ur p arts , b ut I ’ m h ere to f ix w hate v er b ro ke betw een u s. I k eep m y w ord s s te ad y, e v en a s m y te m per f la re s h o tte r. “ I d o n’t s e e h o w th at’ s a n y o f y o ur busin ess.” Logan s h if ts h is s h o uld ers b ack , a n d h is h an ds ti g hte n i n to f is ts a t h is s id es. “ I’ m m ak in g i t m y busin ess.” I g la n ce a t H olly , p asse d o ut i n th e p asse n g er s e at, b efo re l o okin g b ack to L ogan . “ I d o n’t h av e ti m e f o r th is r ig ht n o w , b ut i f y o u’v e s ti ll g ot a d eath w is h i n th e m orn in g , y o u k no w w here I ’ ll b e.” He s h o ves o ff th e tr u ck a n d s te p s to w ard m e, a n d th is ti m e i t’ s m y h an ds b allin g i n to f is ts . “ S om e of u s h av e to w ork i n th e m orn in g . L ik e m e, o n y o ur w if e ’s p ie ce-o f-s h it c ar th at b ro ke d o w n th e se co nd s h e p ulle d i n to to w n.” I c u rse u nder m y b re ath . “ D on’t b o th er f ix in g i t. I ’ ll b uy h er s o m eth in g w hen w e g et h o m e.” I do n’t k no w w hat s h e w as d riv in g , b ut I ’ m g uessin g i t w asn ’t th e M ase ra ti I ’ d p ic k f o r h er. “Y ou s u re s h e’s l e av in g w ith y o u?” L ogan s a y s s m ug ly . “A bso -fu ck in g -lu te ly .” I w on’t a llo w f o r a n y a lte ra ti v e o utc o m e. “T hat’ s th e s a m e a n sw er y o ur w if e g av e w hen I a sk ed h er i f s h e w an te d to g et d ru nk to nig ht.” I g rit m y te eth a s I y an k th e d o or o pen . L ogan i s s ti ll l e an in g a g ain st h is tr u ck a s I p ull o ut o f th e park in g l o t o f th e b o w lin g a lle y, g ra v el f ly in g . I s w ear h is s m ug s m ile g ro w s b ig ger, a n d I h o pe th e sto nes c h ip ped th e p ain t o f h is tr u ck . F uck er. We m ak e i t to H olly ’s g ra n ’s f r o nt p o rc h b efo re s h e s ta rts p ukin g a g ain , a n d I k no w i t’ s g oin g to be a l o ng n ig ht. And to m orro w ? T om orro w , H olly a n d I n eed to h av e o ur o w n c o m e-to -J e su s ta lk .