CHAPTER 1: "Another Try" by Josh Turner

MOVIE: 'Country Strong'

PAIRING: Chiles and Beau

NOTE: This takes place directly after the film. A lot of one-shots into their lives in the future.

DISCLAIMER: I own NOTHING. Country Strong and the characters in this story belong to someone else. I simply just love thinking up ideas and writing them all down.


Beau strummed the last chord on the guitar while still looking into her eyes.

She was smiling wide at him and was leaning over to him, her lips close to his.

He was about to push himself into her when the sound of clapping disrupted his thinking. That's when he remembered. They were at a bar. Performing.

Beau cleared his throat and leaned into his microphone. "Thank you. Thank you very much. Glad to know y'all enjoyed that number. Ain't Miss Stanton here quite the songwriter?" he asked as he motioned over to Chiles.

The crowd gave a loud cheer.

Chiles' cheeks turned slightly red as she lifted her hand in recognition to the audience. "Thank ya much," she said softly into the microphone. She turned and shook her head slightly at Beau.

He grinned at her. He knew she didn't like compliments that weren't related to her looks. She had been given recognition of her physical beauty all her life and people had lacked to notice the intellectual gift she carried. He too had failed to notice it until they started touring together.

In the few weeks they had worked together, Beau Hutton had gotten a glimpse of the true Chiles Stanton. He saw the passion, love, devotion, and gift she held for music. He constantly heard the voices of Jessi Colter and Brenda Lee from Chiles' iPod when she thought no one was paying attention. Once, when she had left her iPod unattended for one of her many interviews, he had scrolled through it out of curiosity. He had been amazed by all the artists listed. So much outlaw country, southern rock, folk, Americana, and bluegrass songs. More than 7,000 songs were on it, only 1,000 of which were Pop or Country Pop. Beau had plugged in her iPod into his laptop to see what the number of plays were for the songs. It was no joke; Chiles Stanton surely knew and breathed country music.

Beau wasn't sure if that was the action that caused him to start falling for her, but he didn't care. Whatever it was that made him open his eyes to the incredible woman before his eyes, he was grateful.

Beau took his eyes from her and went back into the crowd. "We're gon' take a small break everybody. We'll be back in ten."

There were some moans from the crowd, but they went back to their drinks.

Beau turned to Chiles. "Want a beer?"

She nodded. "Sure."

They headed over to the bar and ordered their drinks.

As the bartender got their drinks ready, Beau turned his attention to Chiles once again.

She returned his stare and gave him another one of her shy, small smiles. "How ya been, Beau?"

He gave a shrug. "Alright, I guess. Nothing to complain about." Lie, a voice in his head said. Beau couldn't argue with the self-accusation. Yes, he loved the crowd and being able to play his music still, but ever since Kelly's funeral, things hadn't felt in place. He was pretty sure what it was.

Chiles turned over to the people in the bar. "They sure seem to love you. Won them right over in less than 3 weeks." She turned back to him, a proud glint in her eyes.

He didn't say a thing. His smile sort of faded as he stared deeply into her eyes. The memories they had shared those three weeks of touring came bringing up some feelings.

"So, how you been? Heard you landed a record deal with RCA," he said just as the bartender came with their drinks.

He saw this caught Chiles off-guard. Beau was sure she didn't think he would be keeping up with what happened to her.

"How-how did you know-?"

He shrugged, not giving her an answer.

She looked down, a little embarrassed. "Uh...I, uh turned it down."

Beau felt his eyes popping out of his sockets. "You what?"

She cleared her throat. "It just didn't sit right with me. My manager thought I was crazy."

Something clicked in Beau's head. "Oh, yeah. I heard James retired and that someone else stepped in his shoes."

Chiles nodded. "Yeah, this sleezeball named Samuel McCullers." She shivered and made a face. "He kept wantin' to change me. Kept puttin' me in these real sleezy dresses and real heavy makeup. Wanted to turn me more into a model than an artist. The songs he and the producers kept pitching to me were too..." she shook her head in a frustrated motion.

Beau frowned. "Too what? Pop? I thought that's the kinda music you wanted?" He knew that deep down, Chiles did not at all want to be a Pop Star. She was more than that. Had too much potential but she did not want to see it, for whatever reason.

Chiles shook her head. "These songs went beyond Pop-more than Taylor Swift Country Pop. There was no meaning in the lyrics-it was as if some kid had written them. There were no acoustic instruments being used, all electrical. Repetitive and boring. There was no...soul." Her eyes locked on his and she fell silent.

There was something behind those deep brown eyes of hers that was going on. She had a look on her that said she was reliving something. He didn't know what it was, but he was sure he had a good idea: the times they performed together. The beauty in the song they had written together had become one of his proudest achievements. And performing with her brought out the best in his music.

She gave a small smirk. "Think I gotta blame you for that. Durin' the tour I was more selective with the songs I sang cuz I wanted to prove to you I was a true artist."

Beau shook his head. "Ya didn't need to prove me anything."

A snicker came out of her. "You know I did." She took a sip of her beer. "Thought me to be the perfect Country Barbie Doll."

He held back laughter. It was ironic how things turned out. Before he had detested her and when he found out they were going to be touring together, he all but almost killed himself. Now...

"I was mistaken," he slurred and had a nice drink of his beer.

From the corner of his eye, he saw her grinning.

"Hey once y'all stopped with your drinking and flirting, you think you can get back on the stage?" asked a guy who had come next to them.

"Yeah," Beau answered. He turned to Chiles. "I wrap up at midnight. Stick around til then?"

Just as Chiles nodded, the guy interrupted. "Wait, wait, wait. You sayin' Mini-Patsy Cline here isn't gonna play with you? What kinda horse-shit is that?"

"Oh, I'm just here to visit, I'm not-" Chiles began to answer.

"Ya wanna get on stage there with me?" Beau asked as he took a step towards her. He would love nothing more than to sing with her again. To feel that connection again with her.

Chiles' eyes went back to Beau and a sincere smile appeared. "Only if you want me to, Beau."

He gave her a flirtatious smile. "I'd love you to."

She took a step towards him. "OK."

"Alright alright. Enough with the eye-fucking. Just get on up there, will ya?" The guy turned his back and headed to his friends.

Beau finished his beer. "Ya ready?"

Chiles nodded. "Yeah. What are we gonna sing, though?"

Beau lead the way back to the stage. "What d'ya have in mind? Friends in Low Places? Words I Couldn't Say? Chances Are? A Little Bit Stronger?" He got to his seat and got his guitar.

She took her seat next to him. "Chicken Fried?"

Beau laughed. "Zac Brown it is." He began to strum his guitar.


AN: Please leave feedback. I don't know when I'll return back to this. I have a couple of ideas floating around, but not sure when I'll get back to writing another chapter.