A/N: I know, no update last week…I suck! I had to go away unexpectedly for work and I didn't have any time to write. I apologize and I hope this update makes up for it. It will answer some of those burning questions that I keep getting :)

See you all next Sunday.

Like I Do

"It was Tricia." Leslie didn't need a response from her best friend; the look that appeared on his face told her everything she needed to know. "Is that why she left?"

Leslie was trying to make sense of the situation. She never would have imagined that her best friend would ever give up his child. Kelly could be rough around the edges, but she would never believe him to be capable of something like that. He hid it well, but Leslie knew Kelly was a family man at heart.

Kelly appeared to be contemplating his options; Leslie assumed he was probably trying to figure of the best way out of explaining himself. Before another question could escape her lips he had turned his back to her and began walking towards the stairs.

"Where are you going?" she called after him.

Kelly continued to ignore her as he walked into his bedroom slamming the door behind him. It didn't work; a few short second later Leslie entered the room. She found Kelly lying face down on his bed, a pillow covering his head.

"We're going to talk about this Kelly," Leslie said leaving no room for him to argue with her.

Leslie could hear a muffled groan come from beneath the pillow, but other than the faint noise Kelly showed no other sign of life. Leslie walked further into the room, sitting down on the edge of the bed and placing a hand in between his shoulder blades.

"You can tell me anything," she was concerned about her best friend. She had never seen him shut down like this. They told each other everything; at least she had thought they told each other everything.

Kelly groaned again as he got up, moving to the top of the bed so his back was leaning against the headboard. He raised his knees, resting his elbows on them and pinched the bridge of his nose. He sighed as he realized Leslie was going to hound him until he told her what she wanted to know.

"You can't just let this go?" Leslie could hear the defeat in his voice. Her heart broke for her best friend. She could see the internal struggle he was dealing with. All she wanted was to be able to help him, but unless he talked to her she wasn't sure how to help him.

Leslie stayed silent, she took the opportunity to study Kelly's demeanor. He didn't look like the strong, confident man she knew him to be. He looked broken, like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. She knew he wasn't the type that would ever ask for help, but she refused to watch him drown.

At the same time, she couldn't help but notice the guilt coming through in his eyes. Leslie never thought Kelly would be capable of walking away from his child, but now she found herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her best friend. And that made her feel guilty, because she wanted to believe in the man she knew he was. He was making that really difficult for her to do with all of the secrets he was hiding.

As much as Leslie was questioning everything she knew about her best friend, she felt a boiling anger towards his ex-girlfriend. No matter which way she looked at, she was convinced Tricia's little girl was Kelly's daughter. There wasn't anything Leslie could think of that would justify her keeping Kelly from knowing his little girl.

"How could she…" Leslie started but was cut off.

"Stop," Kelly interrupted in a low but demanding voice. "She didn't do anything wrong."

"You can't be serious!" Leslie felt an irrational anger towards both Kelly and Tricia. She couldn't understand the power this girl held over him, nor could she understand why Kelly would continuously defend her. "She has a…"

"Shay! Stop!" Kelly pounded a fist into his pillow, letting out his current frustration. "She didn't know."

"What do you mean she didn't know?" Leslie asked in disbelief.

Kelly sighed, there was only one person he ever discussed this and now he was gone. "When she left for Boston she didn't know she was…."

Leslie didn't miss how Kelly trailed off right before saying she was pregnant. She bit her lip in an effort to keep her thoughts to herself. It didn't appear that Kelly was done talking yet, and Leslie was scared if she said the wrong thing he would get mad and shut her out again. Instead, she stayed quiet, letting him gather himself before he was able to continue.

"She didn't find out until sometime in October…she tried to tell me," Leslie watched as Kelly agonizingly allowed his head to drop into his hands.

"What do you mean she tried?" Leslie didn't think trying was giving it much of an effort. She believed if Tricia was having a child she should have done everything in her power to at least let Kelly know.

"I was angry she left…I wouldn't return her phone calls even though she said it was important," he revealed. "She came home sometime in October. When she went to my apartment she found Andy instead of me. He didn't believe her…and he told her as much."

"Why would Andy do that?" Leslie asked trying to make sense of the situation. She couldn't understand why his best friend would hide something as big as that from him.

Kelly sighed rubbing his hands over his face. "I told before Shay, Andy didn't approve of our relationship. He knew if she was pregnant, I would have moved to Boston without hesitation. He thought she was trying to trap me."

Leslie shifted so that she was sitting next to him on the bed. She placed an arm behind his back, rubbing gently. Kelly turned his head, offering her a small smile. Leslie knew that was his way of thanking her for the small amount of comfort she could offer while he relived a difficult memory.

"How'd you find out?" she asked.

"Andy met Heather…" Kelly said as if that explained everything. When he noticed Shay staring at him with raised eyebrows he expanded his answer. "For the first time since he was a kid, he cared about someone other than himself. He realized it didn't matter if he believed her or not. It only mattered if I did."

"That's why you went to see her," A knowing look came across Leslie's face as she listened to what her best friend was telling her. "…because Andy told you."

Kelly nodded in confirmation. "I was too late though,"

"What do you mean?" She didn't understand what Kelly meant when he said he was too late. It was pretty clear to her that Tricia had the baby. Even if they hated each other, Kelly could have fought her for visitation. Surely, he wouldn't give up his child so easily.

"When I told you I saw her at café in Boston…that wasn't exactly the truth." That statement grabbed Leslie's attention more than anything else he had said. She couldn't understand why Kelly would lie about seeing her when he was in Boston. "I went to her apartment, but she wasn't there. She was at the hospital…she'd had a miscarriage. I tried to see her, but her friends…I was the last person she wanted to see," Kelly croaked. "Honestly, I don't blame her."

Leslie watched as he got up from the bed, walking over to his dresser where the discarded bib lay. He grabbed the bib, holding it tightly in his hands. "I didn't just lose my baby that day…I lost Tricia too."

"Kelly, she had…" Leslie couldn't believe that for five years Tricia allowed him to believe his daughter was dead. She couldn't comprehend how cruel someone had to be to allow another person to live with this kind of pain.

"Shay…I told you what you wanted to know. Now, I never want to talk about it again."

"But Kelly…" Leslie tried her hardest to get him to listen to her.

"Shut the door on your way out." He interrupted before walking into his bathroom and slamming the door behind him.

Leslie heard the shower turn on a few minutes later. She debated waiting for him to come out of the bathroom so they could continue their conversation, but she decided against it. She knew Kelly well enough to know that he had discussed the subject as much as he was going to. If she wanted any more answers, there was only one other person she could talk to.


"Clayton," Tricia greeted as a tall man wearing jeans, a t-shirt with a leather jacket, and cowboy boots walked towards her. She rose from her seat in the waiting area, giving him a kiss on the cheek before they walked past the receptionist desk down a narrow hallway.

"I heard you were here. You here to see Wyatt?" he asked.

"Well I know you didn't think I was here to see you," She responded as she bumped his shoulder with hers. "He said he'd be in town this week."

"Yeah…he likes to stop by every once in a while, make sure we're all doin' our jobs," he joked with a smile.

"Speaking of Wyatt, you still keep that Gibson in your office?" Tricia knew without a doubt that Clayton kept the precious musical instrument in his office. It was his pride and joy, he showed it off to anyone and everyone who would listen.

"No shit," he drawled as he led her into his office. "That's what you're doin' here?"

She shrugged as they both stepped further into his office. Tricia handed Clayton a sheet of paper that he began to quickly look over as he tuned the guitar. When he looked up to ask her a question, he noticed her scanning the picture frames lining the walls of his office. He could easily point out the one she was paying particular attention to.

"He's comin' to town ya know." Clayton motioned towards the picture that held her intent gaze.

"I know, he's got a show out in Bloomington next week…he called," she revealed.

"Really?" Clayton was surprised that not only would he call her but that Tricia would actually answer the phone, especially after everything he'd heard in the past few weeks.

"He wanted to apologize for hiring Eric," she explained, knowing exactly what he was thinking.

"You forgive him?" Tricia bit her lower lip, a nervous habit of hers, and shrugged a shoulder. "You were always too nice. Why'd he hire him anyway? After everything Eric's been saying about you, doesn't make sense."

"I don't' think he really wanted to, he didn't have much of a choice though…" Tricia saw the questions brewing in Claytons eyes. "Bo fell off the wagon again. Luke couldn't keep him on the tour."

"Ahhh,"

"How'd you hear about me and Eric anyway?" she questioned. She wasn't shocked that he knew, on the contrary she expected he would have heard something. It was a small community; everyone knew everything about everyone else. She was merely curious how he came about the information.

"You two weren't exactly alone..." he reminded her as he led her down the hallway to Wyatt's office. "Joe and Bobby told everyone the truth despite the bullshit Eric's been trying to sell."

"I heard all about that," she told him. She didn't want Clayton to feel the need to give her the run down. "Apparently I'll never sell another song without him."

"What crap…" Clayton scoffed. "Everyone knows you singlehandedly wrote any song you guys ever sold. Anyone with a guitar and an once of talent can string together a melody."

"Are you two going to stand out there and gossip all day or are you going to come in here?" a voice from within the office called out to them.

"Hey Wyatt," Tricia greeted him with a hug.

If you wanted to sell or produce a song in Country music Wyatt was the man to see. He was the force behind some of the biggest names in Country music. Tricia had met Wyatt several years ago. During college she spent her summers in Nashville working for him. She did everything from studio work and producing, but her biggest job with him was writing music. She lost count of the number of songs she wrote that graced the Country Billboard charts.

Wyatt took Tricia under his wing; he was the best mentor she ever could have asked for. And when she decided it was time to leave that life, he helped her get set up with CAA Sports when she told him that she wanted to leave to become a sports agent. She felt like she would be forever in his debt for everything he did for her.

They continued with their idle chit-chat for several minutes before Wyatt decided it was time to get down to business.

"Alright…what'd you got for me?" he asked as he led both of them from the chairs in front of his desk to the couch across the room.

"It's different," Tricia warned him with a nervous smile.

"Different can be good…" he answered. "Let's hear it."

Clayton set the sheet of paper Tricia had given him before on the coffee table in front of them before he started to strum the cords on his guitar. It took him a minute to find the melody, but as soon as he did Tricia began to sing softly.

When you wake up wantin' me

And you can't go back to sleep

Change your mind

When you're weak and all alone

And you're reaching for the phone

Change your mind

Keep on going 'till you're gone

Even when you think it's wrong

When you look back in regret

The moment that you left

Change your mind

Baby don't come back this time

Don't wanna have to say goodbye, all over again

So if you think there's still a chance to make it right

And I'm the only one you want tonight

Change your mind

Change your mind

In the early morning haze

When my kiss is all you crave

Let it go

Cause I don't want to do that dance

The push and pull, the second change

I already know, yeah I know

You'll just promise me forever

And then you'll take it back, just like that

Saying you can't live without me

Then you'll…

Change your mind

So baby don't come back this time

Don't wanna have to say goodbye, all over again

So if you think there's still a chance to make it right

Change your mind

Cause I don't want to have to say goodbye, all over again

So if you think there's still a chance to make it right

And I'm the only one…the one you want tonight

Change your mind

Change your mind

Change your mind

Tricia took a deep breath as she finished the last lyric, before looking up to gage Wyatt's reaction. "What'd ya think?"

Wyatt stayed quite for a minute. He appeared to be contemplating his next words very carefully. It was a reaction that although he'd never given to her, Tricia had seen before. It generally meant he didn't like what he had just heard.

"You don't like it?" Tricia stated.

"I didn't say that," Wyatt replied looking up at her. He studied her for a moment, still contemplating how to respond before settling on his words. "I do like it…and I can sell it,"

"But?" Tricia interjected.

"Tricia," he sighed leaning forward in his chair. "One of the best things about your music is that underneath the pain and the heartbreak, there's always been love and optimism. This song…it doesn't have that. It's almost like you've given up."

"Maybe I have," she told him sadly.

"I certainly hope that's not the truth."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"You are far too young to be so jaded." Wyatt never had children, but he'd always hoped if he did they would be like Tricia. He'd seen the broken girl she was the first time she had been in Nashville. He respected the woman she was able to become and he wanted nothing but the best for her. "You always believed in your happily ever after. I always hoped you coming back here meant you weren't willing to give that up yet. I still hope that."

"Regardless, I'll put it on the market." He assured her. "I'll let you know when someone bites, but I'm sure it won't be long before it gets picked up. People are always chomping at the bit for your stuff."

"Thank you," Tricia said as she gathered her things and stood up getting ready to leave. "Are you still gonna be in town tomorrow? The annual Chicago Fireman's Auction's tomorrow night, I have to be my brother's date…but I'm sure I could get you a ticket," she offered.

"Thanks doll, but I'm on the red eye tonight." He said with a smile. "I'll be back in a couple weeks for Luke's tour…he send you those tickets?"

"He did," she confirmed.

"Good, I'll see you then." Tricia agreed before giving him a hug and leaving the office.

I do not own the song that was used in this chapter. It is a song from the show Nashville on ABC, which if you can't tell is another obsession of mine and gave me inspiration for my character Tricia. If you liked the lyrics you should look up the song on iTunes it's call "Change Your Mind" it's sung by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio. Until next time…