Chapter Eleven

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The gentle strum of the guitar strings against her fingers allowed her to sink deeper and deeper into a fantasy. It was a fantasy that she so badly wanted to be a reality and there was a time she thought it could have been. Leigh's gentle humming of a tune that had been playing in her mind over and over since the day before just had to be released into the atmosphere, as they always said pain makes the best music. She'd always written songs using her emotion but this time was different- the songs she'd written before were those that she wrote to cater to the market but this one, this one was personal. It would never be released into the stream of music that she so desperately wanted to be a part of since she was a young girl but she still felt the burning desire to write the song and perform it.

As she closed her eyes and hummed the melody to herself she could clearly see the lyrics swirling in her mind. She began to string some words together

All the things that I've been through,

He don't know what I had to do.

Brett was her inspiration and that was unlike anything she'd experienced before. The pain he made her feel that afternoon had stuck with her all through the night and well into the next day. She couldn't seem to shake the heartbreaking feeling that weighed in her chest. The wound he'd caused hurt more than she ever thought possible. She'd tried to escape her past and hoped that Oak View could do that for her but she was wrong. The past always seemed to catch up no matter where she found herself and she realised that just a little too late. Leigh thought Oak View was different, everyone treated her like a regular country girl and left her alone but it was a man who she couldn't help but have so much faith in who ruined that for her. She thought, at first he didn't like her very much because she was a new face on the farm and then she thought that it was her celebrity past that he didn't like and that was something she could live with because she could challenge those stereotypes and prove him wrong. But it wasn't either of those things that Brett despised, it was something she had no control over. The past can't be changed despite how much Leigh wished it could and he was wrong to hold that against her. Her drug addiction was in her past and people had to accept that she'd moved past it and didn't do drugs anymore. She'd been sober for almost a decade and when people's opinions remained the way that they were she wondered why she fought so hard to move past her addiction in the first place. It didn't matter that she wasn't addicted to drugs anymore because it was- in the end- people's words that killed more.

So how does he feel when I

Gotta keep in all those lies,

Hide the truth, don't let it out

I can't be myself when he's around.

The words caught in her throat as she sung and she could feel the tears threatening her eyes. She was so wrapped up in her music that she didn't hear Ali enter the room behind her.

"You okay?" She asked after Leigh strummed her final cord. She shook her head and allowed a tear to slide down her cheek. "Oh Leigh...." She rushed over to her roommate. "What happened?"

Leigh told her everything. "...and I just... I know it sounds stupid but I loved that job. It was an escape for me and Brett ruined that. He couldn't see me for anyone other than the person I was when I was eighteen. But I'm nothing like that girl, I mean who is. I'm twenty-nine and I've grown so much since I was a teenager. I knew people would see me as a drug addict, that's what the rest of the world thinks but I thought he would at least get to know me before passing judgement. Jamie, his brother gave me a chance and keeps messaging me to make sure I'm okay but what can I say to him? I'm not okay. Oak View was supposed to be a place for me to start over but now I've realised that I can't do that anywhere because my past will always come knocking at my door."

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