It was worth it enough to watch Miss America embarrass herself in front of Kelly Canter…but karma came back around to bite me in the behind when we all piled in to the little white van and it finally sunk in that ….all across this beautiful country of ours…I was going to have to share a car with little miss Chiles and her big hair.

Luckily, with a little pleading to the other band members, I convinced them to let Beau and I climb into the very back…even though we shared some of the space with our stuff…and we graciously let the other two boys sit in the middle row with Chiles…who'd brought flashcards along for the ride.

Beau and I started talking again- one subject leading to another when our voices got quieter as the conversation became more serious, "You know I don't want to be dead weight, Beau…"

"You're not gonna be," he replied, "Remember…if I'm going to perform in front of sold-out crowds...I need you there, babe." '

My heart warmed a little bit and I nodded. "I can't wait to see you on stage in Dallas," I gushed. "I'm going to be so proud…" I faked a choked up voice.

He nudged me with his arm, "Oh hush…" but he was blushing a light red. I laughed, "But really…" I told him, "It'll be great."

Then, out of the blue, Chiles popped up in her seat, "Oh! I love this song! Turn it up!" she urged the driver, who glanced in the rear view and obliged.

I sighed. She would. It was some new song by the newest teen pop sensation. It made me wonder why Chiles was into country at all. Besides her southern drawl and never ending wardrobe of southern style, she was a Disney teen sensation waiting to happen.

Then I realized Beau was looking at me. "What?" I demanded playfully.

"You're judging face is on…" he told me with a knowing smile. I sighed. Damn my traitorous face! "Sorry…" I softened up. Chiles, truthfully wasn't that bad. I just had a sinking feeling that she wanted her little touring-princess-fairytale to end with a knight in shining armor falling for her little siren's song…which I knew could never be Beau…because he was one of the good ones…but it was just territorialness that came out of no where & I couldn't shake it.

I cuddled into Beau, feeling my eyelids begin to droop. Even when you weren't the driver- long car rides were taxing. I closed my eyes, my head on his shoulder.

I'm not sure how long I was asleep, but I was jerked away when the car veered sharply onto the dusty side of the road after a loud pop. When my wits came about, and everyone and everything had settled I realized what had happened. We'd blown a tire. In the middle of nowhere. The driver was apparently contacting the tour bus up ahead first. I sighed. "We brought beer, right?" I muttered, mostly to myself.

But when Joe held up a little red and white cooler I smiled, "You're my favorite," the doors popped open and everyone exited the vehicle just as the sun was reaching the horizon. Joe popped open the cooler and everyone, save for Chiles, indulged. We were informed that the tour bus would continue on to the destination as we waiting for AAA.

When Joe asked Chiles why she didn't take a beer, she replied, "Oh- I'm watching my figure. None of those empty calories for me…" she giggled, returning to a 'perfect diction' book she'd brought along.

I sighed. I set my beer aside. Damn her.

Beau laughed, "Oh, don't be that way…" he said, nudging me with his beer hand. "You're fine…"

"She started it…" I muttered.

"Am I going to have to put you into time out?" he asked playfully.

I looked at him, trying to remain stone-faced…but his smile was melt-worthy. "I'd say yes…except…" my eyes lingered on all of our companions.

"I'll owe ya one…"