“That’s bull. This girl is changing you, man. She’s turning you into someone I don’t even know anymore. You used to be fun. Now all you seem to care about is how what you do or say is going to impact your social media following.”

Sawyer felt like his friend had punched him in the gut. He didn’t care about those things, but he knew Piper did. He was going along with things because he wanted her to be happy. He didn’t want her stressed out when she was carrying their baby.

“She’s not changing me. I am still the same guy.”

“You’re not. Heath tells you and Piper what to do and you do it. I bet he’s the one who told you to marry her because she’s pregnant. You’re turning into a robot, just like her.”

Hunter had no idea how hard Sawyer had been working to stand his ground. It was impossible to explain how difficult it was to manage all the things on his plate lately. If Hunter really was his best friend, he would try to be a bit more understanding.

“Sorry to interrupt.” Piper stood in the doorway. Sawyer hadn’t realized they had left the door open.

“You’re back,” he said, hoping she hadn’t heard anything.

“When you have a minute, could you come to my dressing room?”

“Yeah, sure.” There was something off. Sawyer had that sinking feeling she had heard part of his conversation with Hunter.

“I can leave. You probably have to tell him something I’m not allowed to know,” Hunter grumbled, getting to his feet.

“No, don’t. You clearly have a lot to say and I know Sawyer could really use a friend right now.”

Hunter had no comeback. She had most definitely heard what he’d said.

* * *

INSIDE HER DRESSING ROOM, Piper allowed herself to feel. Warm, wet tears ran down her face. She was no robot. She had feelings, and they could be hurt.

Piper quickly dried her face when there was knock at the door. “Come in,” she said, turning her back to the door and rummaging through her clothes.

“Sorry it took me so long,” Sawyer said.

Piper wiped her nose with the back of her hand. “No worries.”

“I heard there was some drama at the signing. Some lady attacked you?”

“It wasn’t that dramatic.” She wondered who had told him. “Someone just wanted me to pass on a message to you.”

“To me?”

Piper turned around, hoping he wouldn’t be able to tell she’d been crying. “She said you’ll regret marrying me, especially if you only marry me because I’m pregnant.”

“Seriously? Someone said that to you?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t already heard,” she said. Not only did some fan think she was wrong for him, but so did his best friend. She was doomed.

Sawyer took a step in her direction. His proximity made her want to fall into his arms, but she knew she couldn’t.

“Hunter didn’t know what he was saying,” he said.

“It’s fine.” She moved away from him and toward the bathroom. “I’m having a bit of a bad day. I need to change so I can get to sound check.”

Sawyer let her go and was gone when she came out. She should probably get used to that.

* * *

BY SIX O’CLOCK, Piper regretted agreeing to go on with the meet and greet. Today had started with so much promise and had turned into complete disaster, and she hadn’t even taken the stage yet.

Security was doubled due to the incident at Thornberry’s. Her father had a security guard in every corner of the greenroom. Even with the extra protection, Piper was on edge.

“We came all the way from Memphis to see the show tonight. We are your biggest fans in the whole world.”

The two young women were doing their best to turn Piper’s day around. They wore handmade shirts with all their favorite Piper Starling song titles written on them. One of them had a tattoo of a line from her first song to make it on the country top 100 list.

“I am so happy you guys are here,” Piper said. “I hope y’all enjoy the show tonight and never stop being the amazing women you are.”

Piper posed for a couple of pictures and signed their tour books. Sawyer stepped in for some, as well.

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