Chapter Eight

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He watched through the side mirror of his truck as Leigh made her way up the dirt track towards the busy road. He'd heard the exact words his mother had said and despite his desire to ignore them the better man within him knew otherwise. Sliding his car into reverse he swerved around so that his truck was facing in her direction and pulled up beside her. He was heading into town anyway so why not give her a ride, he thought. Besides if he didn't his mother would surely give him hell when he returned later in the evening and that wasn't something he ever wanted. Brett didn't want to get to know Leigh because if he did he feared he may start to like her. Jamie had only words of praise and kindness when it came to speaking about her and he didn't want that to be true. He'd seen so many stories about her online and most were unkind. He read each one beginning to end and couldn't help but feel that she had it coming. One story that stuck out in his mind was one that he'd read not too long ago and the picture of Leigh front and centre told him exactly what kind of person she used to be and very well still could be. She was snorting a line of cocaine. It could have been the first but it also could have been the fifteenth or even the hundredth in her lifetime and there was no telling whether she was still the same woman now as she was in the picture. A picture never tells a full story but it comes damn close and Brett wasn't prepared to have the police knocking at his door after a customer finds a suspicious white substance in the public bathroom of Donne Farm.

As his car slowed beside her he knew there was no turning back. The thing he swore against he was about to do and he just hoped she could prove his brother's expectations about her false. But if she didn't, he was afraid the seller he had contacted on the shady side of town would come knocking at his door ready to collect what Brett owed.

He glanced down at the glove compartment scared that somehow Leigh would know what was in there. The small plastic bag containing the illegal substance was hidden underneath the car manual but he still feared that she would suspect it. He was going to use it against her, to drive her away from the farm for good and it was then that he realised the reason why he was offering her a ride home. Somewhere deep inside he wanted her to change his mind despite what he was telling himself. He didn't want to be the man he was becoming but didn't really seem to have much of a choice. There was no way he would be proved wrong- they were all the same...

"Leigh," he called out through the rolled down window. She turned. "Get in. I'll give you a ride."

Leigh shook her head. "That's okay, really. I like the evening air. It gives me time to think."

"Please. My Mom insisted."

Without putting up a fight Leigh reached for the door handle and pulled. The door didn't open. "Do you mind?" She let out a small chuckle that only lasted a second.

"Right," he stated and clicked the button unlocking the doors.

Leigh slid in beside him and fastened her seatbelt. It was only a fifteen minute journey into town and Brett could already feel the nerves kicking in. It was a small mistake- not unlocking the doors- but it was one that seemed to melt his cold heart just because of her laugh. She hadn't been rude- like the papers always described her as- and she hadn't made him feel like an idiot and for Brett that was a new kind of interaction, especially with a celebrity.

His previous girlfriend was the daughter of a motor sport team owner and that made her a celebrity. She was on the cover of every racing magazine there was and Brett thought he'd hit the jackpot when she approached him at an amateur race when he was twenty-two. She was the reason he almost made it big in the world of racing and now, almost five years later Brett still refused to speak her name. She couldn't understand the need for a man to stick by his family and that was why their relationship was doomed from the start. She was rich and had a successful father whereas Brett's family were just scraping by when his father went into hospital and that meant that Brett had to put his dreams on hold. He had to focus on the upkeep of his family farm rather than attend dinner parties every night with his girlfriend who by that time was his fiancee. She then stopped asking him to attend all together. They'd see each other on the occasion and as time went on Brett was lucky if he saw her once a week. Their relationship ended with Brett waiting patiently at the alter on what was supposed to be their wedding day and her never showing up.

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