Chapter Thirty

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She pulled Brett's hat low on her forehead and adjusted her sunglasses as she kept her head down. It was almost midnight on the evening of her thirtieth birthday and she hadn't expected to spend that night in the arms of a film crew plastering make-up onto her face and insisting she remove the black cowboy hat from her head. She hadn't even checked in when a camera crew ambushed her at the airport and drew attention to her in a place where she wanted to be completely invisible. The constant phone calls connecting with her phone was a continuous reminder of the life she had left behind- the life she could never go back to. But with each step she took towards the boarding lounge was one more that made her want to turn back.

She reached for the hat once again making sure it was still on top of her head and continued walking to the lounge. She couldn't bare the thought of losing it- it was the only thing she had left from the life she had to leave behind. She was at a small airport- only a twenty-minute drive from Oak View- and she was thankful that the number of passengers on her flight was so low. Her cheeks were tear stained and her eyes red and puffy despite a make-up artist doing her best to make Leigh look presentable for the cameras. An older couple were seated to her right in the waiting lounge and took no notice of the camera crew who were hovering outside. The small conversation they made to each other assuming that the cameras were filming for an advertisement on TV amused her but only for a second.

The five hour flight to Los Angeles flew by quicker than Leigh had hoped for and as the other passengers lined up down the aisle to exit the plane she remained seated. Leigh knew exactly what was waiting for her as soon as she stepped out of the plane and she wasn't sure she could face it. She wished it could have been her choice to stay in the plane a little longer but, as usual, it was of her mother's doing and she knew just that from the little note a stewardess handed her as they were coming in for landing. Leanne had told her to wait until the last of the passengers were out of the plane before making her entrance, as to not 'cause a scene'. But Leigh was sure that wasn't what her mother meant. She'd become good at deciphering her mother's cryptic code and what she truly meant. For example, if her mother said that the rating of 'Life With The Danvers' were failing it often meant that one episode didn't do as well as the others. And when she was a child Leanne used to tell her that her singing voice was decent but not anything special, when in fact, she knew it was better than her own but could never admit the fact.

There was so much Leigh wanted to say to her mother- there was so much that needed to be said but now that Leanne held something over her and the people she loved, she had to be careful. Leigh couldn't just go running her mouth and saying the things that were constantly running through her mind because of the video. Maggie had been the mother to Leigh that she never had and that was why she would do anything to protect her dignity. She understood that Maggie wasn't ready to talk about her relationship with her sons and Leigh couldn't put her in that situation without preparation but that didn't mean she couldn't hear Maggie's voice in her mind telling her how stupid she had been. She could hear Mrs Donne telling her that she was a grown woman and she shouldn't have kept a secret about her relationships from her children. She would have said that Leigh should have spoken to her, confronted her about the video and then they could have figured it out together.

But it wasn't in her nature to do so. She would rather protect the people she loved in the only way she knew how. She wasn't made for life on a farm and no matter how much she wanted that to be, she knew reality would come knocking at her door sooner or later and right then, reality came to her in the form of Leanne's assistant Hugo who was the first to greet her after stepping out of the plane.

"Miss Danvers," he said in a polite voice. "It's good to have you home." She could tell his greeting was forced as the words coming from his mouth didn't match the apologetic look in his eye. Leigh had always liked Hugo, he was young, charismatic and simply wanted to be surrounded by life in Hollywood. But unfortunately for him, his ticket to the business came in the form of her mother.

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