Chapter one

There was a knock on the door. Adam McFadden made his way to it all the while wondering who was dropping in on the family on a Wednesday evening. Dinner was done and the guys had all scattered to the winds. Guthrie and Ford were upstairs working on Guthrie's science project, Evan was on a movie date, Crane and Brian were up in the high country checking on the stock and wouldn't be back until Thursday afternoon, Daniel was at band practice. The house was unusually quiet and Adam and Hannah had just finished the dishes and were finally enjoying a little quiet time together. Adam found himself a little aggravated at the intruder knocking at the front door, irregardless of who it may be.

When he opened the door to greet the guest, his heart sank a little. The pretty blond standing on the porch could only mean one thing...trouble, with a capital T.

"Tally, hi...I'm surprised to see you." Adam stammered. It was Tally Dean. The girl that had broken Daniel's heart eight months earlier. The young woman had caused a multitude of trouble within the McFadden household back then. Adam was not prepared to deal with anything this girl might have up her sleeve.

"Hi Adam, may I come in?" Tally greeted him.

"Um, I'm sorry, where are my manners? Come in, please." Adam relented, stepping back to allow the young woman entry into his home.

"Thanks Adam. How are you?" Tally asked a little too sweetly.

"Fine, Tally...and yourself?" Adam replied.

"Oh, I'm great! Things have really taken off for High Sierra, as you may have heard!" The young woman replied, a little too arrogantly for Adam's liking.

"Yeah, we've heard. You guys are doing great in Bakersfield as we understand it...Oh, and I also heard the Buddy Hooker tour went well." Adam replied, feeling his jaw tighten a little as he spoke.

He didn't care for this girl, but he had been willing back then to give her the benefit of the doubt. When she had called to beg the family to drag Daniel to the band's last performance at Pony's, he had thought it a good idea.

He had been right...to an extent. Daniel needed to resolve things with her. She didn't need to blow back out of town and out of Daniel's life without some sort of closure. Although the romance had only lasted about two weeks, it had been devastating for Daniel, as he had fallen hard for the girl. Adam figured she had enough maturity in there somewhere to make things right with the boy. She was, after all, older than him.

She had somewhat succeeded in making Daniel feel better, Adam thought to himself, remembering that night and his little brothers' heartwarming performance of his own song that he had written about Tally.

But, the girl hadn't handled herself as gracefully as Adam would have liked. He didn't appreciate her spending the evening hanging on Daniel like she had. Her provocative behavior with him while performing together that one last time Adam could have done without. They had kissed...which Adam would have expected, but that is where the line should have been drawn.

Instead, the girl continued for flirt with and flaunt herself in front of the heartbroken teen the rest of the evening...even inviting him back to her place after the show. Daniel had wisely turned down the invitation, much to his family's relief, but Adam had thought how tasteless it was of Tally to have issued it in the first place. He was more than a little relieved to see the woman leave Murphy's the next day...and he had hoped it was for good.

Daniel was only eighteen at the time of their romance while Tally was twenty three. Brian had actually had a one night stand with the girl prior to hers' and Daniels' relationship and it had caused a rift between Brian and Daniel. A rift that had mended, but Adam knew still, it had been devastating for Daniel.

To be in love with a girl for the first time, only to find out that his own older brother had been intimate with her before he himself had...Adam couldn't even imagine how hard that would be for any man to accept...much less an eighteen year old boy.

But even though Daniel's immediate response had been horrible, in the long run he had handled it with a maturity that was way beyond his age.

So just what in God's name was she doing here now? Adam thought to himself.

Hannah entered the living room just then and Adam caught the worried look she flashed him. All he could do was return her look with a similar one of his own.

"Tally, Hi. What a surprise." Hannah greeted the young woman.

"Hi Hannah! How are you? You look great!" Tally gushed.

"I'm fine thank you. You look great too." Hannah replied hesitantly. She studied Tally up and down. It was pretty clear that the girl was on a high at the moment. She acted like she was on top of the world.

"So, Tally, what brings you back to town?" Adam said, clearing his voice.

"Actually, I came to see Daniel. Is he here?" She asked, eyes all bright with excitement.

"No, no...he's not. He uh...He's at band practice." Adam replied.

"Oh, he's still piddling around with that two bit bunch?" Tally laughed.

"Uh, Tally...They are actually pretty successful around these parts. They've even been playing at Pony's here of late." Hannah offered in a cool tone. Adam knew right then her dander was stirred up.

"Wow, Pony's. Big time!" Tally retorted, her voice full of sarcasm.

"If I recall, your band was playing at Pony's eight months ago. You weren't exactly unimpressed with the place then." Adam retorted, getting pretty irritated himself.

"Yeah, well...onward and upward. The sooner I got outta this one horse town the better off I was, let me tell ya." Tally laughed.

"Look Tally. Like I said, Daniel isn't here. I have no idea when he'll be back. If you'd like to sit down and wait, you are of course welcome, but he could be hours-"

"No thanks." Tally interrupted. "I'll ride into Murphys and catch up with him. Thanks guys. It was nice to see you. Oh...um...tell Brian I said hello, would ya?" Tally flipped her hair and turned for the front door.

"Sure thing." Hannah replied, rolling her eyes at Adam.

As Tally walked out, Adam shut the door behind her and immediately turned to Hannah and said, "God, the nerve of that girl! I cannot for the life of me understand what Brian or Daniel saw in that little-"

"Don't you say it Adam." Hannah broke in. "You be nice. Remember what happened with her last time." Hannah warned her husband.

"Girl, I swear if she messes with that kid again...I don't know. God I hope he tells her where to go as soon as he lays eyes on her." Adam said, exasperation written all over his face.

"That's not exactly Daniel's style. He'll be nice. He probably still has a soft spot for her, too. Eight months isn't exactly an eternity ago." Hannah said, with a doubtful look on her face.

Adam gave his wife a 'here we go again' look as he plopped down on the nearest couch.

"Dammit. Why did she have to show up? Why can't she leave well enough alone!" Adam yelled.

"That's not exactly her style." Hannah offered, sitting down next to him and putting her hand lovingly on his knee. "Look, Adam...there's no sense borrowing trouble. Daniel has a pretty good head on his shoulders. Once again we're gonna have to trust him to make the right decision where Tally's concerned." She sighed.

"Yeah, I know. I just wish we knew what in the world she's doing here." Adam replied. "That relationship is over...by her choice. She's successful now. Why come back here?" He continued.

"I don't know, but I'm sure we're gonna find out soon enough." Hannah said, rolling her eyes.

to be continued...