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    The next day, I began packing up a messenger bag with anything I might need in Nashville and on tour. I was in my closet picking out what clothes I'd be taking when Layla walked in the bedroom and poked her head into the closet.


    "So, I guess the awkward situation with Libby is done, right?"


    "Not quite, but getting there. Oh, do you want to come out with me? I gotta get a couple pairs of maternity jeans for tour. I can barely button my loosest normal ones now. No way are they going to last through the whole tour."


    "Sure, when do you want to go?"


    "Soon, just let me finish packing the rest of the clothes I'm taking."


    I pulled several pairs of stretchy yoga pants, long and short maxi skirts and some of my looser fitting t-shirts. As soon as I'd folded everything into my bag, I walked back into my closet and pulled one of my best friend's sweatshirts that I'd had since I moved back home, off its hanger and slid it over my head. For the time being, I had decided to hide my pregnancy as long as I could.


    "Ok, Layla, I'm all set. Let's go grab those jeans."


    I slid into my favorite knee high boots and grabbed my wallet as we walked out the door and climbed into my Mustang. Once we were at the local mall, we strolled into Old Navy where I picked out 3 pairs of jeans that would fit me until the end of the pregnancy. I also picked up several plain colored tanks and tees to better fit my expanding belly and a couple different colors of belted, open front sweaters.


    Once we got back, I cut off the tags, folded them into my bag, moved it into the entryway and sat down on the couch while I waited for Hunter to get back from an interview he was doing in downtown New Orleans. I must have drifted off to sleep curled up on the couch, cause the next thing I remember was opening my eyes to see him, perched in front of me on the couch, smiling down at me holding my hand.


    I pulled myself into a sitting position against the side of the couch so I was facing him, rubbed my eyes awake and said,


    "Hey. You ready to go?" He just stared at me until finally,


    "Oh, yeah. Are you?"


    "Yes, didn't mean to fall asleep. I hope you weren't waiting too long."


    "Don't worry about it. I didn't want to wake you, being so cute when you're sleeping."


    "Oh, really? Anyway, let's go."


    I slid my shoes on, grabbed my purse and stood up while Hunter reached for my bag. We locked up the apartment and climbed into his Rover. And with that we were on our way back to Nashville.


    By the next morning, we were driving through the streets of downtown Nashville. As we drove past my favorite music store hotspot, I saw the perfect guitar in the window.


    "Wait, Hunter! We have to stop here."


    "What? What for, Ry?"


    "Cause I want the guitar in that window."


    He pulled over in the first parking spot, I got out and strolled down the music store. As I walked in the door, the little bell rang to announce a new customer was entering.


    "Ryleigh Edwards? Is that you?"


    "Alex Johnson? You're still working here?"


    "Yeah, but I haven't seen you in town in quite a while."


    "I know, I didn't want to leave but circumstances required it. And I got to see my family back home in Louisiana, so, everything worked out."


    "Did it have something to do with that best friend of yours?"


    "You mean Hunter? It might have but nothing that was his fault. Anyway, the reason I came in here, can I see that guitar you have hanging in the window?"


    "Absolutely," He pulled it down and handed it to me, "so, when did you get back in town?"


    "Just getting back now. Hunter and I were driving through downtown when I saw this beautiful instrument." I began strumming, "How much?"


    "It's only $50. Its' previous owner wanted me to pawn it for him. He said he didn't want much for it, just to make sure it went to someone who would truly appreciate it. And I'm sure that you're that person."


    I paid and thanked him and walked out with the guitar in its' case. I carried it back over to the car, set it in the back seat and climbed into the front next to Hunter. We continued to ride out to his apartment in the outskirts of the city in silence.

Chapter End Notes:

Hope everyone has a safe and healthy Christmas season! And stay home if you can, we can beat this virus, but only if we work together by staying apart!!

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