Eleven months into the tour and they finally know where she lives, who she is,
when she was born, and how many death threats it will take to unglue her. She can feel the thread sliding from her seams as
she lifts the cell phone from her pocket with one hand, dialing the digits to a familiar number as the other shaking hand
holds the last of the recent, threatening messages.
Fan backlash. He'd warned her and she'd shrugged him off, but it
hurts now and she needs to hear his voice, needs to hear him say that it doesn't matter and that he doesn't think she's half
as horrible as their letters make her out to be.
A month ago, they didn't even know about her. Now, they hate her and
it's all she can do to summon the energy not to hate herself.
His voice brings forth the tears that
she couldn't cry only moments earlier. "Nick?"
"Baby? Sam? Are you okay? What's going on?"
She closes her eyes
so as not to stare at the large, looming "BITCH" written on the back windshield of her car. "I'm...I'm...God, Nick, I'm sorry
to bother you in the middle of the day like this..."
He shakes his head at the men beside him and walks into a corner
to hear her better. "It's fine. Sam? It's fine, baby. Just tell me what's wrong."
"It's...they...dammit, Nick, they
know about me!"
His voice is full of the calm that she long ago lost control of. "Who knows about you, Sammy?"
"Shit." He closes his eyes and runs a hand over his face. "What happened?"
you name it."
"How long has this been going on?"
"A few weeks. Maybe more. But someone got inside the gate,
Nick. Someone got inside the gate, and now they've branded me as a bitch with shoe polish and my nice little Toyota Camry."
"Baby, I'm so sorry..."
"Nick, what happened? What did I do to make them hate me so much?"
He sighs and closes
his eyes against the pain in her voice and the tears he knows are sliding down her cheeks. "Nothing, honey. They're just jealous
because you're the one I go home to."
"But they make it so personal..."
"It's not about you, baby. It's about
me, okay? Trust me, if they knew me, they wouldn't care who I went home to."
She sniffles. "Stop. Don't insult yourself to make me feel better. This isn't
about you, this is about the fans leaving shit on our doorstep."
"I'm sorry, Sam." Despite the apology, his heart soars
at the fact that she won't let him continue down the path of self-deprecating humor. Now that's love. "What are they
"That I'm a bitch, a slut, a whore, a shit, a gold-digger, a...God, so much. Thirteen-year-old girls shouldn't
know words like that."
"Nor should they use them with people they don't know," he mutters quietly. "I'm so sorry, baby.
Just know that they aren't all like that."
"I know. Hell, I am a fan. I should know. I just...I just wish
they could love you without hating me, is all."
"I know, Sam."
She sighs heavily, the product of a deep breath
and too many tears. "And I miss you."
At this, he smiles, because he can finally relate. "Oh, honey, I miss you too.
Trust me, if I could, I'd erase the rest of the world just to be with you right now."
"Take a vacation?" Her voice
is so hopeful that he has to laugh.
"Hell, yes. A bedroom getaway." He pauses. "Believe me, I don't intent to move
from the master bedroom for at least a week after I get back."
"And what of me?"
His grin is contagious. "I
don't want you moving either."
"Like the song?" She says with a small chuckle.
He nods. "Yeah, just like the
song. I'll have all I need in that room."
"Our own little Eden."
"Absolutely. Baby, I'm so sorry about the fans."
sighs. "It's fine." A precious pause, and then... "Well, it's not fine, but it shouldn't matter like it does. I don't usually
let it get to me, just...the car, and the fact that you're not here, and the fact that the damn tour has another month, and..."
be home for Christmas."
Her heart stops. "Home for Christmas?"
He laughs. "Yup. Who knows? We may even have
a white Christmas in Florida this year."
In her mind's eye they are sitting together, surrounded by friends and singing
carols in front of a strong, bright fire. Snow lines the windows as steaming mugs of cocoa blow wisps of smoke towards the
"I love you, Sam."
His voice brings her back to reality momentarily, but she can still smell candy
canes and Christmas. "I love you, too. Thanks for calming me down."
"Anytime. However, I really have to get back to
work. I was kind of in the middle of a meeting when you called..."
She covers her face with her hand in embarrassment.
"God, I'm sorry. Apologize for me, will you? Just tell them I was hysterical, or sick, or something..."
"All of the above?"
"Sure. Shit. I'm sorry, hon."
"Not a problem. I'll call you later tonight, okay?"
She sighs. "Yeah?"
"Remember, you're the one I'm coming home to. Not them."
if they knew you like I do, they'd think you were the most wonderful woman in the world."
She rolls her eyes at him,
but he knows she's smiling. "Good-bye, Nick."