CHAPTER THIRTEEN

“YOU’VE BEEN ON the road now for over a month now—how’s the tour been going?” Kelly asked.

Sawyer was grateful for the easy topic. He began to tell her all about life on the road, but Kelly was busy checking things on her computer. Her eyebrows rose and a huge grin appeared.

“I don’t mean to cut you off,” she said. “But looks like your bride-to-be doesn’t want to be left out of the interview after all. My producer is telling me we’ve got Piper Starling on the phone.”

Sawyer’s stomach knotted. What in the world was she doing?

Kelly flipped her dark hair over her shoulder. “Piper, Sawyer was telling us he’s not too involved in the wedding planning. Is that true?”

“Well, he does leave a lot of things up to me. It’s hard when we’re juggling the demands of a tour at the same time as planning a wedding. But he’s better at making decisions than he’s saying.”

“He told me you were picking the date,” Kelly said. “So when is the big day, Piper?”

There was no way Piper had called to talk about a wedding date. Not after the argument they’d just had. Sawyer scratched the back of his neck.

“Well, I want a summer wedding,” Piper said. Sawyer couldn’t believe she was doing this. “We really want to be married before the baby comes. It’s important to me…to us.”

It was a good thing Kelly was focused on asking Piper questions, because he was speechless. She had drawn a line in the sand. The question was, would he cross it?

The rest of the interview was a blur. Sawyer would not stand by and let Piper back him into a corner. He’d thought she had more respect for him than that. Getting to the venue was the only thing on his mind when he finished with Kelly.

Outside the arena, Piper had eleven buses that carried around the 150-odd people who toured with her. Sawyer and his band had one. Piper’s was in the middle of what she liked to call Bus City.

He waved to her driver to open up the door. He climbed aboard to find Heath and Lana sitting in the front living room section. Piper had to be in the back, hiding.

“She’s resting before we have to head over to the perfume unveiling,” Heath said, standing in Sawyer’s way.

“I need to talk to her.” Sawyer tried to muscle his way through. Heath held his ground.

“It’s been an extremely stressful couple of days. She needs to rest. Let her be,” Heath said.

Sawyer would not give up. She owed him an explanation at the very least. “Piper, I want to talk to you!”

Piper came out of her hiding space. She had changed into comfortable clothes and her hair was down. In her oversize T-shirt, her baby bump was barely noticeable.

“I’m writing a song. I could use your help,” she said, as if she hadn’t told everyone listening to K104 today that they’d be getting married before the baby was born. “Let him through, Dad.”

She turned around and disappeared into the back of the bus. Heath puffed out his chest and fixed the collar on his shirt, which had flipped up in their tussle. He moved aside and motioned for Sawyer to pass.

The living space in the back of Piper’s bus had a sectional couch that included a pullout full-size bed. The bed was open and Piper sat cross-legged in the center of it. With pencil in hand, she was hunched over a notebook.

“Can you explain to me why you would call in to the show and say that after I told you how I felt? If you don’t care how I feel, then I know for a fact that we shouldn’t get married, because caring about each other’s feelings is a nonnegotiable must in a marriage.”

Piper wrote something down, her pencil gliding across the page in haste. “What’s another word that means the same thing as ‘devoted’?” she asked as if he hadn’t said a thing.

Frustrated, Sawyer sat on the bed and snatched the pencil from her hand. This was the emotional shutdown he couldn’t handle from her. “I’m not kidding, Piper. You want me to trust you and then you go and do something like that? Did your dad tell you to do it? Was that the plan all along? I bet you chickened out when you realized you’d have to do it to my face. That’s why you left.”

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