Emale 3 A Fighter

Beau couldn't stop scratching the back of his neck and decided that to tear the designer tag off his grey mercerized cotton dress shirt would resolve at least one minor problem he was facing. The major one had been looming like a cloud around the apartment the past two days. He did not want to bring it up again, but her response had been completely and increasingly unsatisfactory as the silence pressed on.

He thought if she had only said "not interested" then life would go back to its simple cycle, where man loved woman and woman loved man and everything would work out fine. It annoyed him to find himself caught up in the antithesis of country song anthems. The happily ever after thoughts did not mix well in his bluegrass blood.

What her response to the McGrawHill reps was, "I'd think about it."

And before he could attempt to discuss it, she repeated it to him, "I'd think about it later, Beau. I just want to have some fun for once. It could wait a day or two for the negotiating and explaining! "

The itch on his neck manifested itself in more ways than one, and it couldn't be ignored any longer in the most inconvenient time.

"Beau will you stop scratching! You're making marks on yourself," She said while anxiously looking out the window of a black Ford Explorer transporting them to the Hollywood Charity event.

"Why? You scared they'll see us as the red necks we really are?" he replied, loosening his tie in hopes of lessening the irritation around his neck, even though he knew the irritation was more mental.

She glared at him. "Are you going to act like one and be difficult?" She was extremely nervous. Since news had already broken out about her splitting with her manager James, she felt vulnerable with no publicist to help guide or explain her actions.

"I'm finding nothing is easy at all when it comes to relationships, especially when we've made some important decisions, and it can change in a heartbeat," he explained.

Her face softened, and fear set in. "What has changed Beau? You have a change of heart about us? "

She moved closer and searched in his eyes while feeling the smooth contours of his clean-shaven face, bravely telling him, "You can't just move on like you do when there's things out there we just can't control."

"Chiles, baby, people wonder how things get out of control. They can't figure out, it's the many things they just don't shut out. Why couldn't you have just said 'no' to McGrawHill?"

"Is that what this is all about? " she asked. "Beau, I've already built something out there. And a record company noticed that. Believe me, I thought I was done, but apparently, someone in the industry believes in me. Don't you think I should look a little into it. I know that could change the circumstance, but I know for certain it hasn't change the way I feel about you. We're together now. And it's because Kelly told me to never be afraid to fall in love, and that's why I'm here with you. I took the good advice from a person who has been through it all."

"Chiles," he pleaded. "Listen to me. People don't come out of that industry, without a dent. Just like Kelly. Her problem was never about being afraid to fall in love. In fact, I believe she easily fell for things that hurt her in the end. You're so pure at heart, and that's the one thing they'll stain, until you can't trust in it anymore. You are more than a superstar to me, and I don't want to lose how bright you've shined on my world. It had been dark for so long, and the day you came back, you did brighten things up."

Their lips met. It fit so right. Yet there was a storm raging inside them. He had to let what he felt deep down inside him out, but it had stirred something inside. The winds of change had certainly paid them a visit, and greatness lingered just behind the threshold of an unopened chamber of her heart.

"You make me feel so safe, Beau. I have to tell you, it's hard, but I think it'll get easier whenever I see how much your eyes say you need me." She reassured him.

"Can you ask the driver for a pen and paper? I think we just made a song-writer's moment."

She always could rely on Beau to lighten the moment.

All through the night, he observed how Chiles became the designated novelty that evening tossed around in a sea of intrigued reporters and other celebrities. She was a natural in the limelight, and her big bright smile never went unnoticed. Her eyes always searched for him and when she'd find him, it was as if time had paused for the both of them.

Layla Clapton came over to their table, grabbed Chiles and headed for the overflowing dancefloor as the DJ played an 80's re-mix. They danced to a montage that started out with Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and Beau was struck by the lyrics of such a silly, girly song. It resonated in his head the whole night and even on the ride home. He couldn't deny as much as he wanted to, that the song spoke volumes for women who had extraordinary talent and beauty, and especially to him. He couldn't get over the fact that he was going to commit this great injustice if he didn't allow Chiles to see just how far she could go. He didn't want to look back and see that he had hid her from the rest of the world.

After dinner the next evening, Beau handed Chiles her cell phone.

"Call the McGrawHill people and hear them out."

"What? What's the meaning? What about all the things you said? Beau, you're driving me crazy!"

"I know. I know. I just want it to be right for us. I don't ever want your children to say I was the man who kept you from being this great somebody and …."

She wrapped her arms around his waist, and teased him, "Are they our children?"

He avoided eye contact. He walked right into that one. "You know what I mean. Now come on, pick up the phone. "

"No. Not until you tell me what changed your mind, again?" she asked gesturing him to sit back down by the dining table.

"Just watching you last night with all those stars was an experience. I heard a song playing and it got me thinking. The song will last, even when the artist has stopped singing."

He chuckled and bashfully admitted, " I did some surfing on the internet today, and looked up some of the famous country singers who kept it together, and Martina McBride was on the top of the list of making everything in her life work—like marriage, raising kids, and doing a bunch of charities. It is possible to stay grounded. But steer clear from that Evans lady. She's been through many lawsuits that all have to do with her nasty divorce, and Reba, she's one tough cookie, I think maybe a little too tough for your delicate nature."

She reached for his hands and held them tight, "You are amazing! You know that? Looking out for me."

Her tone became a little stern, "I appreciate your concern, but I've made a decision. I'm staying putt. I'm the happiest I've ever been."

He pulled her up to stand, and reeled her in to sit on his lap. "You'll be sick of me by the end of this week, I guarantee it."

He left it alone, knowing it would eat at her for the next few days. He returned home one evening and found the dinner table set, with candlelight and a nice small meal prepared.

"What's the occasion?" he asked as she put the last items on the table.

"Well, I finally did what you asked me. I answered the record company's call and listened to what they had to say. Right off the bat, Martina wants me to open for her, and they want me to head into the studios for some recordings!" she squealed out in delight.

"Martina? It must be a sign," Beau responded, watching her face light up.

" I told them I had some songs in mind, and they are up to hearing it," she added.

"When did you have time to come up with lyrics?" Beau asked.

"It's been in my head for a while now. I've been inspired to write about some things going on with me, us." She gave him a playful smile.

Beau laughed, then asked with a note of seriousness, "So when did they need you?"

She looked uneasily at him and answered, "I was thinking you could come along with me, back to Nashville."

"Alright! Just for a visit," Beau acquiesced.

"No Beau, I mean to be together back home. I can't do this without you."

The look in her eyes was so convincing, he muttered, "Just when I was getting used to the fine weather out here, and the people ain't so bad either. Even the crazy ones. I guess I'll have to tender my resignation, but I would like to see one patient make it out of rehab if that's alright by you? Before we pack up."

"Sure, darling. Thank you for this. It means so much that you're going it all the way with me." Chiles shyly spoke over her plate.

"You need to promise me one thing, Chiles, baby," Beau started.

"Anything, Beau."

"You need to promise me that no matter how tough things get, you'll fight for the things you believe in. Promise me you'll fight for us even when you start to lose reason to.."

"I won't ever…" she began, but he wanted to make it perfectly clear.

"There will be men, rich, famous, handsome businessmen who'll want to make private deals with you. Never do business that way. No negotiations are set without the two of us together."

"I like that, Beau. And promise you'll fight for me, like I'm something worth fighting for."

"What makes you think you're not?" he asked, taking her hand, placing it against his lips, while he waited for her to speak. She was having trouble trying to find the words to describe how she felt about herself.

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