Friday, June 19, 2020

Chapter 2

The gust of the icy air of the door opening, and a brash crowd making a ruckus while they noisily entered, brought both Katie and Scotty partially back to the present. Katie looked up at Scotty with tears of admiration in her eyes. He knew exactly what she was thinking and where she was revisiting. Scott surveyed her tiny frail body. Fear took away his happy moment when the reality of her dying of starvation hit him like a brick wall. Katie leaned in and whispered in his ear.  
“You’ll always be my hero, Scotty,” Katie said, resting her head on his bicep.  
“I’m just glad that I knew where your favorite places to hang out were,” Scotty said looking at Katie with facetiousness. She looked up, giving him that familiar look of guilt and remorse.   
“Scotty, don’t let go.” 
“My Katie-bear, I won’t let go, not now, not ever.” He pulled her in for a hug. Katie took in a wake up sigh, bringing her back to the present moment at the Cheapside. She put her arms around his waist holding him tight as if she were dangling two hundred and seventy feet above the river again. If they were fighting, no matter how bitter the battle, the moment he said those specific words, the fight was over, and she was crying in his arms. 
“Geez, Katie-bear, can you ever go a day without the water works?” Scotty said, jesting her. Everyone at the table shook their head no and broke out into a hearty belly laugh. Becca shook her head, hating when he did that, still wishing for Nick Thomas to be able to bring the sunshine back into Katie’s heart, instead of the clouds of mourning that Scotty’s presence held there. 
“I don’t know Scotty, can you ever go a single day without dropping that little guilt trip on her with that worn-out line?” Both Scotty and Katie popped their heads up and shot an angry stare at Becca. Katie jumped to his defense as always. 
“You know, Becca, he was there every minute for me before and after that. He carried me and kept me alive. He physically got me out of bed in the mornings. He even had to bathe me at times. He made me go out on ride-along’s some days, just so I could see how bad other people had it; among other reasons,” she mumbled that last part. Katie looked back up at him with her loving smile. “Now, what kind of woman would I have been to have deserted you, when you needed me? He was the only force keeping me alive for months. I can’t live without him any more than he can without me.” Becca’s shoulders dropped at that revelation of Scotty’s devotion to her.  
“I didn’t know that. I’m sorry Scotty.” Scotty leaned back and he put his hands clasped behind his head, staring down Becca.   
“You haven’t given me any credit for loving her. You have only seen me as the beast I was that bad year. When she came home to me after the women’s convention, we had long talks, didn’t we hon’?” Katie shared the revelations she learned about God from Nick, but let Scotty believe that she learned them at the women’s mini-retreat. “I was determined that night we spoke about what you learned at that women’s church thing that I was going to become a man you could be proud to stand next to.” Katie grabbed Scotty’s hand holding it in both of her hands.  
“I’ve always been proud to stand next to you, and I always will,” she said. He dropped his head, not feeling worthy of that last comment. She turned to look at Becca. “He’s a great man, Becca, give him credit for who he is now. He’s worked so hard,” she said, eyeing Becca down. She turned to look up at him, when a loud group of men began to make noise during some kind of drinking game. Katie looked up and around the dining area toward the noise.  
Scotty watched as she surveyed the dining area, knowing full well who it was that she did and did not want to see, the one person  in her heart she wanted to believe still existed, but had chose to convince herself was never real in the first place. After surveying the room, Katie looked up at Scotty with that deer in the headlights look. He stared down at her and nodded his head. 
She turned to look up at her wonderful trooper, and he recognized that look of fear and tension plaguing his Katie-bear. Scotty leaned in and gave Katie those heart-warming words that she loved to hear, and he assured her that nothing could happen while she was under his watchful and protective eyes.  
“I got you covered, Katie-bear. If he’s here and says one thing, I’ll throw his butt in jail, hopefully on a felony charge, especially if he takes a swing at me. I kinda hope he does, that jackass.” She breathed in a breath of his comfort. 
“I love you, Scotty. Thank you.”
She gave him a half smile with a twinge of sadness and fear in her expression. Katie feared nothing more than a face-to-face confrontation with Nick Thomas, the superstar, knowing that if she could catch a glimpse of that Nicolas Paul in his eyes, she’d be toast again. Moreover, she feared most of all that Nicolas Paul was never really in there and she had fallen prey to another double-minded phony man. 
She knew that if that were to happen that night, she would not be able to hide her feelings of hurt and anguish from her Scotty. If ever was a time when they could be in the same town, this could have been one of those nights. She was unaware of the concert, and this being her traditional birthday celebration, it had occurred to her that this could be a repeat encounter on her birthday again, with another man who stole and broke her heart. 
Two years and too many tears had fallen since that night. Katie had locked her scarred broken heart up even more in its cement bunker, when that sweet man with whom she fell in love, Nicolas Paul became lost in the drunken cad obnoxious and mean superstar, Nick Thomas.   For as long as Scotty was in her life, she knew that he this man would be kept safely away from her wounded tortured heart, that she was sure was irreparably damaged, at this point.  He was her private security force, not only from any dangerous stalking predator, but for her heart, also, from Nick Thomas. 
“Hey, let’s talk about something wonderful, instead of Nick Thomas and my weight, like my yellow Victorian,” she said, anxious to change both subjects.   
“Do you have a date on that, yet? Matthew asked. 
“Jay says that the closing could finally happen maybe next month. Jay got all that bureaucratic red tape finally cleared. Scotty and I are going down together, right?”  
“Yep, as soon as you let me know, I’ll put in for the time off; I have plenty of vacation time saved. We’ll have fun down there, won’t we?” Scotty said.  
“I hate that you are moving so far away,” Becca said. “We can’t keep an eye on you,” she added.  
“You don’t need to, besides, this is not a permanent residence. Jay’s moving the foundation down to Music City where the money is. You can’t blame him for that. It’s just a place to go to when I have to work at the foundation. I still can’t believe that Jay just happened to be driving by it, way out in the country like that, and he spotted it. It’s absolutely perfect for me, don’t you think, Scotty?” She looked up at him with that excited grin. 
“Babe, it had you written all over it. It’s just what you described for your perfect house, tucked away from anyone else on that dirt road, except that salesman who is never home.” 
“Yeah, it is that, isn’t it? Thank the Lord for salesmen on the road!” She rested her head in her palms with her elbows propped up on the table. “I can’t wait to take a paint brush to those walls.” 
“That’s as long as you let Scotty take down the wallpaper, dearie,” Matthew said with facetious sarcasm.
“Ha ha, we’ve already decided that, Matthew. Scotty wouldn’t even let me look or study the wallpaper.” Scotty nodded. 
“I wonder how many coats of paint the walls will get before you decide which color scheme you like,” Becca said, and the rest of the table laughed. 
Before she could defend herself, an extremely large group of very loud patrons started laughing and whooping it up, clanging beer bottles together. It was evident that they were playing some drinking games. 
“Stupid country singers and their congregants, worshiping them.” Scotty said scoffing them.  
“Stupid dumb drunks.” There were a couple of minutes of awkward silence as it was evident who was on everyone’s mind as the four of them peered into the crowds and listened for that familiar voice. Matthew hated that Katie was hurt by this man, like she was by his twin brother all those years ago, and in the same fashion, but there was something different about Nicolas Paul, the man he met two years prior.  He couldn't understand why Nick Thomas would become so antagonistic with the woman he claimed to have fallen deeply in love with, or why he would be so angered at her book which gave in the most exquisite detail the beauty of two hearts finding each other and causing hope to live, again. 
“Katie once he realizes what he's done and comes back to his senses, like the prodigal son in Luke 15, the glass floor on the bottom of his boat is going to shatter, and his country star cruise ship will sink to the depths of the sea,” Matthew said smiling at Katie.  
“Now, that was an excellent metaphor, darling! I’m so proud of you. It’s only taken eighteen years of me teaching them to you and saying them for you to finally learn how to do it.”    
“Thank you dearie, I’ve been practicing.” 
“I learned Boyle’s Law quicker than that, about him making up that law about gas and its inverse pressure equaling each other,” she said chuckling. 
 “What the heck are you talking about?” Scotty asked. 
“He didn’t make up the law, he discovered it. It was also discovered by Edme Mariotte in 1676, so it could be called Mariotte’s Law also. It concerns the relationship of compressed and expanded gas at a constant temperature. It states, that the pressure of a given quantity of gas varies inversely with its volume.” The entire table broke out in a rolling laughter. “What’s so funny?” Matthew asked.  
“You haven’t lost it, Matthew, and you can still proudly call yourself master geek!” Katie cackled. Dylan returned with two drinks on a tray. He put little white napkins on the table and placed the drinks in front of Scotty and Katie. Katie grabbed her drink, and Scotty took her hand to stop her.  
“Not until you eat first.” He took the drink away from her and put it on the other side of him frustrating Katie who knew she could not win this one. 
“Hurry that dinner plate, Dylan. I want at my Cool Italian.” Katie reached for it, but Scott pushed her away and held the glass over the edge of the table.  
“And, now you know how I’ve been suffering,” Scotty said raising his eyebrows making Katie feel guilty, again. Katie shook her head and clicked her tongue, disgusted and guilty at how much he kept reminding her how much she does not do for him.
She turned to Becca. “I'm going to the ladies’ room, you wanna come, Becca?”  
Matthew and Scotty both slid out of their bench seats and took a quick glance around, hoping they would not spot Nick Thomas among the crowd. They eyed each other, knowing exactly what each was thinking. Matthew knew that the only man this strong trooper feared was Nicolas Paul Thomas. Matthew gave Scott a look of comfort and Scott gave him a half-smile back. They both sat at the same time and then watched their women as they headed for the ladies’ room. 
While Katie and Becca were heading to the ladies’ room, Katie looked toward the front of the pub.  
“Uh oh, I think I see his twit groupie girlfriend over there," Katie said.  
“Whose?” Becca asked.  Katie turned her body toward Becca and put her  hands on her hips. 
“Now, who do you think? Duh, I thought I saw the little twerp over there,” she said, pointing toward the front. “You know the one with the Facebook page.” 
Becca lifted her chin toward the direction Katie pointed. There was a small alcove filled with several young girls with drinks in their hands, laughing and giggling pointing their fingers at different people in the bar. 
“Where there is a stench, a skunk is not far behind," Katie said with a short laugh.  
“Which is which?” Becca asked with a chuckle. 
“Nick Thomas is the skunk, leaving his stench sprayed out all around, stinking up groupies and some other poor innocent girls that fall for his crap,” Katie said.  
“Well, I don't see him. Let's just go to the ladies room, and then we can find another place to celebrate your birthday."  
“Becca, where are we going to go at this late hour? Besides, this is MY birthday. This is my town. Nick Thomas and his big fat beer belly that is catching up to his fat head, can find another bar to stink up," Katie said rather loudly. 
As Becca and Katie walked past the bar, a short dark spiked-hair young man, looked over and spied Katie as she slammed Nick Thomas. He shook his head, and slid off the bar stool with a definite destination to report what he heard.
Eighteen months prior to this Valentine’s night, and six months after Nick Thomas met his one true love, his inspired album, Love’s Muses, began its trek to the top in record time. Unfortunately, the absence of his Teach left a tremendous void in his life, setting him up for an automatic downfall with the drug Hollywood nipping at his toes. He tried to fill the void with anything he could, mostly with his touring and career, but, this wasn't like the break up with Brittany, his focus was not on his career as much as it was on the void in his life, the hole in his heart left there by finding and then losing his one true life.  Eventually he began to numb the pain with alcohol and a very active party life. 
His sudden superstar status promulgated more and more ego building factors, such as, crowds screaming and cheering his name consistently, and continuous adulation and idol worship. With all that worship of the mere man, the navigational panel of his life flipped 180 degrees, and he became lost in a world in which he was unprepared, mentally and spiritually.  He became so busy promoting his name and his craft that he not only believed in his own press, but started worshiping it, also. 
Nick’s big break toward country music star legendary status came when  invited as a mid-line opener for one of country music’s leading ladies, who like Nick, rose to the top in record time. Her rise was from less talent, than it was whose coat tails she clung to, which turned her into an opening act in a world tour, practically over-night.   A rumored tryst with this engaged country music superstar, a few months into the tour, brought Nick’s hope of world-wide fame to an abrupt and crashing end.  Nick Thomas made the extra effort on his social media to put an end to the rumor, with little to no help from a trouble-making jealous Chelsea Bennett.  Although, Chelsea Bennett was attracted to Nick and would rather be his other half of a power couple in Music City, Chelsea’s fiancé,  Colton Riley, was steadfastly established as one of the biggest names in the industry. He had already obtained legendary status by the age of forty. Chelsea was Colton’s fountain of youth, while Colton was Chelsea’s ticket to the country music hall of fame. 
Colton and Nick had become good friends during the tour, and that was part of the reason for his huge success and active party life. Colton had a hearty social life and included Nick in all of his wild-spirited parties; that was until he noticed the attraction of Chelsea to Nick. He was going to nip it in the bud, and he turned on Nick like a rabid dog, not only as the source of the rumor, but as the one who  soon arranged to have Nick kicked off his now disheartened fiancé’s tour, but to the serious detriment to Nick's good name.  
Some people suggested that Chelsea, two years Nick’s junior, was his anonymous Princess Cindy, spoken of in the Love’s Muses liner notes.  Although, Nick denied it, Chelsea, on the other hand, was less than defensive when people asked if she was Princess Cindy. She refused to set the record straight, denying her alleged status as Nick’s anonymous jolt-giver, but instead, she was allusive and insinuated that there was something going on between the two. 
Nick assumed that Chelsea’s implication of something between them had sent Katie right into the arms of Scotty, with security now trumping what shiver-full love she could have had left for him. Chelsea’s refusal to cooperate with Nick, setting the record straight, put an irreparable rift between them. Colton’s treachery only aggrandized the rift that much more.
The rumor of the scandal did serious damage to Nick’s spotless reputation, and his knack for turning out number one hits in record time painstakingly withered. His first four releases, Cindy’s Magic, Brotherly Love, Her Knight in Shining Armor, and The Jolt-giver’s Touch all went to number one in record time of their release. When choosing the next two releases after those four number one hits, he chose to go with the market analysis done by the suits. They had put pressure on him to fall in line with the current trend in the industry and what the market research had told them was selling the most with the fans. Those last two releases, “Drivin’ up the Tab,” and  City Lights,” not only received less than stellar reviews, they never earned the privilege of climbing up the ladder of success in the music charts to “hitsville,” as Shawn coined his other legendary status songs.  
Previously, Nick would listen to the wise counsel of his friend and mentor, who had the instinct to know just what Nick’s fans wanted and expected of him. The last two releases were what Shawn deemed, not Nick Thomas songs. Shawn had advised him to go with the title track, but the suits suggested otherwise. With Shawn and Nick’s relationship tenuous at best, Nick chose to follow the executive’s recommendations.
Love’s Muses, which experts had predicted to be a triple platinum album, was now fading into obscurity. His love for the craft began to play second fiddle to his love for the vices that his craft offered to him. Nick’s consolatory attitude of self-induced pride blossomed for him a field of top of the line groupies. All of them clamored to be the lucky one picked on any given night to satisfy his intermittent sexual impulses when the compulsion became just too difficult to ignore, and the consumption of alcohol flowed freely. 
The more time that went by, the more he felt dumped by his Teach, and despair was settling in his heart. Within a year of that wonderful evening with his Teach, Nick no longer just played the jilted lover; he believed that he was the jilted lover.  To Nick, his Teach had abandoned him, Colton turned on him, Chelsea let people think there was something between them, and dumped him from her tour. These turn of events created a deep-routed sense of antitrust in his heart of anybody in Music City, even Shawn at times. 
Nick’s dream come true of superstardom was no dream life as he had imagined. It was not what he had expected, or even hoped for when he dreamed of fame and fortune as one of the three passionate musicians in his family. Life at the top became increasingly lonely for Nick Thomas, from an intimate point of view. He had more worshipers, but he had less friends. There were fewer and fewer people he felt he could turn to and trust when the pressure for him to stay at the top built to dizzying heights. Stifled in a creative slump, he struggled on his fourth album. The pressure of being at the top, striving to stay there, combined with his broken heart from the loss of his Teach, and his incessant partying, created a burdensome guilt. His brain became fogged from all that plagued him, causing him to lose focus and concentration. His talent for his craft appeared stalled. He needed to come up with ten fresh bold new songs, and what little he did have, most of the guys did not like. They were far from the original Nick Thomas songs, the ones that gained him his original popularity and garnered for him that certain respect in the industry. 
He was drowning in the pressure of keeping number one hits playing over the airways, combined with the pressure his record company was putting on him to clean up his act. His management team micro-managed his time schedules and worked in as many appearances as possible, in attempt to keep him in the media in a positive light. His new habit of excessive alcohol consumption, created in him a whole new persona. The sweet personality of Nicolas Paul submerged more and more into his sub-conscience, until he was irretrievable, leaving only Nick Thomas, the obnoxious superstar extraordinaire.    
A new addition in the central midst of Nick’s tribulation in the industry included some derogatory remarks made by the newest viral freshman author with an unfamiliar name. She was fast becoming America’s newest rising sweetheart girl-next-door to his declining counterpart, America’s sweetheart boy-next-door. The attention the press gave to ill feelings of this author, multiplied the number of negative comments publicized from colleagues and people in the industry who he stepped on, while at the top. Nick’s arrogance fabricated to him a warped sense of betrayal by his friend, who continued to defend Nick’s newest arch enemy.  The more pressure he felt he was under, the more negative press he was generating with his drunken stupors and slanderous tirades toward the freshman viral author, for whom he had laid blame for his downward spiral in the public’s eye.  
Nick’s current and constant confrontational relationship with his best friend coincided with his career spiraling downward. Most people were yes-men to Nick, whereas Shawn never was. Nick preferred to feed off the worship of his blinded and loyal groupies, rather than the truth of the ego-humbling advice from his best friend of five years.
Shawn Everett had the foresight, wisdom, instinct and a sixth sense to know which way Nick should take the band. Every time he listened to Shawn, what he touched turned to gold, but if Nick listened to the suits, disaster usually prevailed. When he stopped listening to Shawn, it wasn’t just his songs that started slipping off the charts, but his life began to twist out of control and out of Nick’s hands.  Six months after the well-publicized release of Katie’s book, Shawn’s wife, Cathy Everett, brought home the book when a friend had recommended it to her, right after an unexpected pregnancy had ended in a mournful miscarriage for Shawn’s wife of near eighteen years. She had found new hope and inspiration in the book, and she continued to attempt to get her husband to read the author’s inspiration, hoping it would bring a new light and life to their marriage. Cathy was in their kitchen cooking dinner one night when she decided to give it one more shot to get her husband to read this new smash hit book. She had left the book out on the living room coffee table and called out to Shawn, asking again for him to look at the book. 


“Shawn, at least, just read the back cover, you’ll see, it’s very interesting. C’mon, honey, I’ve read it twice. It’s great.” Shawn sat with his feet up on the coffee table, scrolling on his iPhone, hoping again that his wife would drop the subject. “C’mon, please?” She asked calling out from the kitchen. Shawn sat up, put his feet flat on the floor and his phone on the sofa, and reached out for the book, flipping it over to read the backside, with the intent to only satisfy and stifle his wife’s nagging attempts. 
She nearly dropped the burning hot casserole dish coming out of the oven when she heard her husband begin to holler from the living room. She quickly slammed the casserole dish down on the stove and ran out to see what had her husband so out of character, yelling in such a manner. 
“Cath! Cath! Oh my God, I can’t believe this!” He hollered toward the kitchen. Cathy came running around the doorway with dish towel and hand. “You are not going to believe who this is?” He held up the back cover of the book, showing her the picture which she had looked at dozen’s of times. 
“Who, what are you talking about?”
 He pointed to the picture with that over-the-top excitement in his voice. “This, this, this woman is Nick’s teacher. This is her? Holy Shit, I can’t believe it. He told me that her name was Katherine Lynn Petersen, not Katie Lynn Moore.  All this time, that jerk has been ranting and raving about what a pain in the ass she was to him, and all this time, it’s been his jolt-giver, his one true love.” 
“Shawn, are you sure? How can that be?” 
“Well, she looks very different in this picture. She’s much thinner, and she has her hair down. We never saw her full thick hair.  This guy in the picture must have been her Michael, and that’s probably her step-daughter that died. Oh my God, what are we going to do? How can I tell Nick that he’s been slandering and maligning the only woman he’s ever wanted and loved?”
“You just go and tell him. Shawn, if anything it will bring him to his senses and stop this foolishness he’s gotten himself into. You have to tell him.” 
“I have to find the right time, but I’m telling you, Cath,’ Nick is even worse to us than I’ve been letting on to you about. He’s yelling at us all the time when he’s not drunk, and when he is drunk, he’s all over those groupies. That whack job is all over him like flies on fly paper when he’s drunk, and he allows it. Cath, if I didn’t know better, I’d wonder if he’s even slept with her, or gotten involved in that stupid Facebook page, which I’m sure she’s the owner.” 
“Well, then you have to tell him. Find a time when you can be alone with him, when he’s sober.”
“Cath,’ that rarely happens.” 
Shawn sat back down on the couch and began flipping through the pages as Cathy watched. She was satisfied and assured now, that her husband would take a new interest in the book which revolutionized her walk with God, and had turned her back into that devoted woman of God she used to be in their early married days. Shawn did indeed, take a nearly obsessed interest in the book, and like his wife, he read it multiple times. 


With the amount of heartache that Katie had exposed in her gut-wrenching story of her life, Shawn felt less and less sure that telling this new Nick Thomas who the author was to him, was such a good idea. As he watched her in interviews, he had noticed a darkness in her expression and her body as it slowly withered away. Cathy had recognized the waif like appearance. She warned Shawn of her belief that it was a dangerous eating disorder, seemingly consuming her physical body, one missed meal at a time. This only added to his hesitation to reveal Nick’s rival’s identity to the increasingly drunk Nick. They both assumed her condition was from the pressure of the instant fame, and in all likelihood, the rivalry that had become more fierce and antagonistic, as Nick and his groupies became more loose with their maligned slander and affronts. 
Shawn kept trying to get Nick to open his eyes and really see who the author was that Nick described as the thorn in his flesh. Shawn was convinced that the discovery that the author was in fact, his beloved Teach, would drastically turn things around and bring back their friend in Nicolas Paul. Shawn continuously entreated a deaf and dumb Nick to admit his guilt, his part in the mêlée, and call and end to the animosity, which Nick saw as a further act of betrayal from his best friend. 
Shortly after Shawn had made that shocking discovery, he and his wife Cathy had an inadvertent rendezvous with Jay Pennington, Katie’s manager and good friend. At a local restaurant in Nashville, Jay who was on a business trip, had recognized Shawn as Nick Thomas’s keyboardist, and he introduced himself to the couple, letting them know his relationship to Katie.  The three began an intense conversation about how they could conjure up some kind of meeting, or plot to reunite the star-crossed lovers. As time progressed, Shawn, Cathy and Jay began to fear the deterioration of Katie’s health and her shrinking body size. With Katie’s perilous affliction, time was of the essence to end the rift between the two superstar celebrities.    
Katie may have been wasting away, but two years after he met and fell in love with his jolt-giver, the formerly fit and trim, Nick Thomas, was pushing two hundred and fifty pounds from all the partying and indulging in whatever the twenty-nine year old wanted, regardless of whether or not he worked out that week. All of Nick's family were growing more concerned with each passing month with the increase of his drunken stupors, now including blackouts. Shawn and Cathy had become increasingly concerned with Nick’s fall in the ranks of not only the country charts, but his moral fortitude, caused by his partying, which continued to increase his obnoxious behavior. Shawn could never find the right time to spring the news on Nick, and he was never sure if it ever would be a good idea. 
Nick’s pride imprisoned him in a vicious cycle of depravity. The booze elicited his debauchery and malice, turning it into externalized anger, which he transposed onto that author, whose name he loathed hearing. In his sober moments, his guilty conscience fed his self-loathing, which pushed him back to the bottle, and the cycle would continue like this for a little over a year. The river of denial kept the flow of alcohol running swiftly through his veins, numbing any guilt-driven reality in Nick’s self-imposed prison of pride.
The fall out with this obscure author had a friend in Brooke McIntosh, aka, the whack-job, an obsessed and sometimes, delusional groupie, whose early exaggerated reports of Katie’s less than flattering comments were the spark that began the explosive rivalry. His co-conspirator in his malicious intent, was only too thrilled to jump into that role for her beloved Nicky. She was one of the few in which Nick could always turn to, as one always on his side of the fence in the rivalry, as opposed to most of Nick’s older friends.  They saw the malice from Nick for what it was; pure and simple jealousy. He was jealous of her rise, while resenting his fall from grace, promptly pinning all the blame on her negative commentary. Brooke kept his thirst wet with the booze, thus the booze kept her close by his side. The contention between Nick and this freshman author was an ally in Brooke’s battle to conquer new territory in the back of Nick’s tour bus.   
Her “We Hate Katie Lynn Moore” Facebook page with its thousands of LIKES due to her heavy promotion, garnered her new regard from a drunken Nick and some secretive participation in her smear campaign. It also awarded her with an outstanding performance one night, satisfying Nick’s depraved fantasy, involving two naked women in the back of his bus, during one of his semi-blackouts. His new reputation as a playboy party cad now equaled his reputation as a talented and gifted artist.  
Brooke had studied up on the art of pleasing a man, and she was well educated. She had the perfect practice-mate in Tommy Simms, Nick’s drummer, who gladly stood in for Nick while she experimented to find the best techniques. It was a secret liaison, and Tommy knew to keep his gums from flapping, lest he find himself out in the cold with just a pair of drumsticks. Tommy let  her know what worked best and what did not, in turn she had inside information as to every place Nick was at all times.   Her obsessive desire and dedication to her goal of keeping Nick three-sheets to the wind with the spirits earned her those three lovely words every delusional fan dreams of hearing from the object of their obsession.   
Only when he was drunk did Nick not hate himself, or the whack job. Brooke’s delusions denied her the truth of the fact that her relationship with Nick teetered on his consumption of excessive spirits. The more he consumed, the more appealing she became to him.  After his liaison sharing the sheets with Brooke and her best friend Jenna, Nick finally began to awaken to the fact that his drunken stupors were now becoming semi-black-outs. They were also quickly progressing to full blackouts, with him waking up in hotel rooms, or the back room suite of his tour bus with no recollection of how he arrived or with whom. There were some mornings that he even woke up at his parents’ home at times, with his vehicle in the driveway, and he had no memory of driving himself there. 
Brooke could sink him with what they did, and she had a witness to stand with her in destroying his image and career. The fear of Brooke replaced his fear of God. In some twisted reasoning, he thought Brooke could do him more damage than God.  There were two women who were driving Nick to the bottle at every post-concert gathering, Katie Lynn Moore and Brooke McIntosh. The one he loathed with resentment, the other he detested from fear. 
One simple day of hitting the floor on his knees, admitting his guilt, seeking, and receiving forgiveness would break open the prison door of his self-imposed enslavement of this vicious cycle of debasement.  Shawn and Nick’s other long-time band members were finally reaching their limit of how much they were going to tolerate of his spoiled-brat temper tantrums, self-absorption, and excessive consumption of the spirits. Two of Nick’s old friends and band members, Jerry Davis, his lead guitarist, and Mike Hollis, his bass player, were already threatening to quit. Shawn had convinced them to stay, hoping that someday soon, Nick’s teacher would pop back into his life and re-educate his friend in the art of humility. 
The biggest bone of contention between Shawn and Nick was the constant interference from Brook McIntosh. Nick did not pay much attention to Shawn’s warning, which was what got him in trouble whenever he was drunk. He assumed he could handle and hide from Brooke whenever he wanted. The one problem with that was that she knew just when he had enough to drink, and when it was safe to approach him. If she could keep him wet with the spirits, and Nick was drunk enough, he would defend her against the taunts of his friends and her competition for his attention. 
Something big needed to knock some sense into Nick Thomas's big head, and it would take an angry jealous Kentucky State Trooper, a brick wall, and a broken-hearted, anorexic former teacher who would become the key to releasing Nicolas Paul from this incarceration, deep in Nick sub conscience.           

Chapter 3 Down Three Best Friends Up One Whack-Job

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