Great One

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Chapter Seven

My first year with Lorelei was hectic. Between releasing my debut album, My Feelings. Doing press tours, and a mini tour, I never really remembered slowing down. Zahara helped a lot, between keeping Lorelei a secret, and making sure she is taken care of when I was busy, I didn’t know what I’d do without her. After Lorelei’s birth, it was hard for me to see Geo, Laila, or even my family, I was so busy and so were they. We facetimed, and talked on the phone, they wanted to know what was happening with Lorelei practically every day.

Now she’s three years old, I’m starting to work on my Third Album. She is attempting to talk more, even if it’s just word barf, and she walks around like she owns the place. She reminded me of Braum in every way, his laugh, his eyes, his stubbornness, she was like a replica of him, which Laila said was my curse for not telling him about her before she was born. He still doesn’t know, Laila says it went to NYC with Demetra, that was our dream school. I was going to go to Julliard, and he was going to go to NYC, we were supposed to get an apartment our Sophomore year, everything was planned, now everything is different, and he still doesn’t know about Lorelei. It hurts me every day, keeping her a secret, especially when she’s his carbon copy, but now after all this time I don’t know if he’ll ever forgive me from keeping her from him.

“Mama! Mama” I hear Lorelei shout from the living room. She suddenly appears, barreling into the room in one of Calum’s old shirt. I scoop her in my arms, sitting her on my lap.

“Hi baby,” I say, tickling her stomach. She burst into a fit of giggles, and then May Lorelei’s babysitter burst into the room.

“Sorry Deya,” she gushes.

“It’s all good, I never mind,” I say, peppering Lorelei’s face with kissing before handing her over to May. “I’m nearly finished for the day; do you want me to call you an uber?”

“Oh no, my boyfriend is picking me up tonight thank you though,” she says, before leaving with Lorelei. I return to many pages of approved and unapproved songs. I now had to rewrite 3 out of the 9 songs on my album, and I could feel the stress crawling under my skin. My first Debut did wonderful, Zahara said my fanbase wasn’t big enough to do a full world tour, but she had high hopes for my second album, but the loom Sophomore Slump curse is hovering over my head, it was every musician’s worse nightmare. “Calum and Alec are here,” I hear May shout from the hallway, and then they’re walking into the room.

“There she is, the girl who never answers her phone!” Calum says.

“I’m sorry, is there something wrong?” I ask.

“We did have dinner plans, if you forgot,” Alec says, crossing his arms. Alec was a wonderful addition to my life. A close friend of Calum’s from college, he is now a very high paid home decorator who also owns a dive bar on the east side. He helped design my home when I first moved in and helped with every aspect of designing my life.

“I already told May she was free for the night, I’m sorry guys,” I say, packing everything.

“She wins 2 Grammy’s and forgets the little guys,” Alec mutters.

“Stop,” I say crossing my arms. “That is not fair, you know who my boss is!” I say.

“And even she has nights off,” Calum says

“It’s fine, we can order pizza I can never turn down a night with my little Lorelei,” Alec says, before turning and leaving the room.

“Have you thought about it?” Calum asks, crossing his arms. “We all think it’s a good idea, 1-week back home is what every artist needs, when they’re having writers block,”

“I do not have writers block,” I say, crossing my arms and he just snorts.

“You miss your family, and I’m sure they miss you, plus they haven’t seen Lorelei in months” he adds.

“Stop guilt tripping me! I already know,” I say.

“Come on, Zahara even offered to take a week off and Alec is dying to see where you’re from,” Calum says.

“That’s a bit unsettling,” I say, earning a laugh. “One week won’t kill me,” I mutter, and it wasn’t like I couldn’t take my work with me. We leave the room, walking into the living room where Alec sits with Lorelei singing along with Frozen 2.

“We’re going to Massachusetts” Calum shouts happily.

“Seriously?!” Alec says happily, shooting out of his place. “Great! I have to make calls,” he says, leaving the room.

“Great,” I say.

++

It wasn’t my first time since moving away going back to my hometown. I returned for a night while on tour and only saw my parents, and I visited for a weekend one time during Fashion week a year ago. It wasn’t like Lorelei was a complete secret to my family, or Braum’s family. But something about walking around with people who knew me in high school felt weird, plus no one in the entire world knew about Lorelei. A few blogs here and there have theorized, a few pictures of her in my arms surfaced, but have all been brushed away as family friend, or sibling.

“Alright workaholics,” Alec announces, while we’re on the plane. He walks down the aisle. “This is going to be a fun week, it’s not every day we all get work off at the same time, so that means no working,”

“That’s impossible!” Zahara says.

“You know we have deadlines Alec,” I say, he rolls his eyes.

“Well you can work before we go to bed, but during the day you’re mine!” he says. “I’m talking about sightseeing, movie dates, the whole shebang!”

“I’m all yours,” I say, he falls in his seat stretching back. When we land, it feels like three years ago again for some reason. I’m pregnant, and I’m scared, and I’m going on a private plane for the first time, and Braum isn’t by my side. He still isn’t, but I wasn’t that scared not anymore.

“There she is!” I hear my mom shout, as we walk through the airport. I set Lorelei on the floor and she dashes towards her grandparents, getting scooped in their arms. My dad scoops me in his arms, squeezing me tightly.

“I missed you,” he whispers.

“I missed you too,” I say, pulling away, he squeezes my hand.

“I miss you baby so much!” my mom pulling me in a tight hug with Lorelei. “Are you guys hungry? I cooked a big meal!”

“Starving!” Alec says.

“The Clifford’s will be joining us, when they heard Lorelei was coming, they couldn’t help but invite themselves over,” My mom says.

“That’s cool,” I say.

“We should probably check into our hotel, but we can meet you back at your parents’ house,” Zahara says.

“Sounds like a plan,” I say. When we make it back to my house, Lorelei is ripping through it like a newborn puppy. The house has a lot of new pictures of me, at my award shows, or some I’ve taken with Lorelei. My first Grammy for, Your Song, sits in the living room right above the fireplace.

“Where is my baby!” I hear a shout from the front door, and then Geo appears in the living room doorway running towards Lorelei.

“GG!” she shouts.

“My little Lory!” he says, spinning her around.

“Hi best friend,” I turn back to the doorway, and Laila stands I immediately tackle her to the ground.

“Hi best friend!” I say.

“I missed you so much, I hate school,” she whines. We pull away. “It would be great if you were there,”

“Same over here,”

“Hey mamas” Geo says, walking up beside me and hugging me. “Thanks for joining us commoners,”

“Stop,” I nudge him.

“A whole week! That must be a new record huh?”

“It was Calum and Alec’s idea, they think it’ll help me get inspired,” I say.

“Well we’re glad to drum up some inspiration,”

The Clifford’s, Zahara, Calum, and Alec all arrive at the same time. The Clifford’s with dessert and gifts for Lorelei, and the trio dressed like we were attending a gala.

“We’ve missed you so much around here Deya,” Mrs. Clifford says. “No one helps me with my garden the way you do,”

“I miss it too, everything has been so crazy busy,” I say.

“How is pre-school for little Lorelei?” she asks.

“She actually got accepted into Kindergarten 4, at this private school in the hills,” I say.

“Fancy! Sounds exciting,” Mrs. Clifford says.

“And expensive,” Mr. Clifford adds.

“Money isn’t a problem,” I say, with a smile.

“So, what is your plan for the week?” my dad says, cutting the entire conversation short. “I know they re-opened Turners, the drive-in theater,”

“That sounds cute!” Alec says. “I want to do everything, a whole tour, everything,”

“You sound like a tourist,” Zahara says.

“And a fan,” Laila says.

“Anyone would die to see little Adeya’s life before fame, she’s such a closed book,” Alex says.

“I am not!” I say.

“Oh please-”

“Abraham is home,” Mr. Clifford cuts Alec off, and suddenly all the air in the room is sucked up.

“Robert,” Mrs. Clifford says.

“She should know, she still hasn’t told him,” Mr. Clifford says.

“We said we wouldn’t bring it up at dinner,” Mrs. Clifford says.

“She’s three years old, don’t you think it’s time to tell her about her Father?” Mr. Clifford says.

“Robert,” my dad says this time, I push out of my seat.

“I’m sorry,” I say, before quickly leaving the room. I walk out to my backyard, followed by Geo and Laila.

“That bastard,” Geo says.

“No G, he’s right,” I say, wiping the forming tears. “I feel like such a bitch,” I say, Laila pulls me into a hug.

“You’re not, you were hurting people are allowed to hurt,”

“The Clifford’s left,” my mom says coming to the back door. “Allison apologizes for her husband,”

“He’s right,” I say, wiping my eyes. “She’s turning 4 in December and he doesn’t even know she exist, I’ve been really selfish,”

“So, what are you going to do?” My mom asks.

“I’m going to tell him, but not yet…. But I promise this time I’m not leaving here without telling him,” I say.

“We should call it a night,” Geo says.

“Tomorrow we’re going to the fair! Doesn’t that sound fun,” Laila says squeezing me.

“I’m sorry guys,” I say.

“Why are you apologizing,”

“I’ve been so selfish, keeping this away from Braum and making you guys lie is probably the worst thing someone could do,” I say.

“You didn’t make us do anything sweetie,” my mom says. “We wanted to do this, because we want what is best for you, and Lorelei,”

“Abraham broke your heart,” Laila says. “If would probably do the same,”

“Everything is going to be okay honey, believe me,” my mom says.

++

The next morning, Lorelei was acting like a kid after Halloween she was nearly bouncing off the walls. She heard Carnival, and nearly exploded with excitement. I had to escape for minute, talking a walk around the neighborhood, taking a breath and going over everything that happened last night. I knew that forcing the Clifford’s to keep probably the biggest secret away from their son, was probably a really hard thing for them. I felt bad every time I saw them, and I could see their need for their son to meet his daughter. She was great, she was literally the light of my life, but I didn’t want him to hate me. I’d be changing his entire life with a few words, I felt like a hurricane crashing through peoples lives.

“Adeya?” I freeze in my place, my legs feeling numb. I turn around and I’m greeted with the face that I dream about every night and see in my daughter’s face.

“Braum,” I say.

“Shit, you look great,” he says, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Thank you,” I say.

“Congratulations on everything! Demetra loves your music,” he says, and my stomach twist.

“I’m glad! Thank you,” They’re all about you.

“How long will you be here? My parents would love to see you, they’re like your biggest fans,” he says.

“I actually saw them last night, when I got here, I’ll be here until Sunday,” I say.

“Oh that’s, cool,” He says, before rubbing the back of his neck. “It was good to see you Deya,”

“It was good seeing you Braum,” I say, he begins jogging pass me and I watch him until he disappears. I can hear the birds again when he’s gone, and feel my fingertips, and I hear my heart beating in my ears. I’m quick to return home Zahara, Alec, and Calum there with fresh faces and packed bags.

“Ready for the Carnival!” Zahara says, when I walk into the kitchen.

“I ran into Braum,” I say, everyone’s head spins to look at me, except Lorelei who continues to run around the room. “He was jogging, and we were polite,”

“Did you?” Alec says, before gesturing to Lorelei.

“Not yet, I want her to be there,” I say.

“How are you feeling?” Zahara asks, nudging me.

“Like I’m 17 and heart broken,” I admit, before rolling back my shoulders. “Let’s get to the carnival,” I say.

“Carnival!” Lorelei squeals excitedly.

It took us an hour and a half to make it to Magnolia’s Fun Fair Carnival. It was busting at the seams with kids of all ages and stressed looking parents. I kept Lorelei tight at my side, even putting one of those children harnesses on her so she wouldn’t make it very far.

“We haven’t been to the Carnival since Freshman year,” Laila nudges me.

“Oh, the memories of creepy clowns, and women with beards,” I say.

“I want to see all of that!” Alec says, we make our way through the carnival games. Various ball tossing, and strength test.

“Oh my god! It’s Adeya!” I hear someone shout.

“Is this actually happening,” Geo says, we’re quickly swarmed by teen girls with flashing phones, and grabbing hands. I push Lorelei to Geo, edging them along, leaving Alec, Calum and I to make our way through the photos and signed shirts.

“I can’t believe it, it’s actually you,” Bo appears in front of me, with outstretched arms and a warm smile.

“Bo!” I say, pulling him into a hug. “You haven’t changed a bit,” I say.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing compared to you,” he says, pulling away. “You look amazing!” he says.

“Why thank you,” I say.

“How long are you in town? I know this is sudden but I’m having an open microphone at my bar on Thursday and would be phenomenal if you came,” he says.

“You own a bar?” i ask.

“I took over for my pops, he passed a year ago and I didn’t feel right selling it out of the family,” he says.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, I’d love to play at your bar,” I say.

“Actually, her manager will get back to you on that one,” Calum says quickly, wrapping his arms around me. “I’m assuming she has your number, so she’ll get back to you,” Calum pulls me away, back towards our group who waited for us at the entrance of the circus performance.

“So, you’re superstar level huh?” Geo says, holding Lorelei close to him.

“That doesn’t happen often,” I say.

“I saw you talking to Bo,” Laila says.

“He asked if I could perform at his bar,” I say.

“And she said yes,” Calum says.

“Adeya,” Zahara says. “You know all gigs paid or unpaid have to go through me and Jacob,” she says.

“One little song at a bar in my hometown won’t be the end of the world, it’s on Thursday I can call Jacob in the morning,” I say.

“No, work talk!” Alec snaps. “The sun is still up,” he says, before gesturing to the entrance of the tent.

“Sorry,” Both Zahara and I say, before we all enter the show. We find good seats in the middle of the crowd, Lorelei bouncing in my lap as the show starts. It’s 45 minutes of pyrotechnics, and Clowns bouncing around the room. When everything was over Lorelei was passed out in my arms, the adrenaline rush finally finishing.

“So about performing at the bar,” Laila says, as we walk across the parking lot towards our cars. “Do you think it’s a really good idea?”

“I don’t see why not,” I say.

“Well for one Abraham and Demetra will defiantly be there, especially if you’re performing do you think you can handle that?” Laila asks, we make it to the car and Geo helps me buckle Laila into her seat without waking her.

“I can’t keep running away from this, if not for myself, for Lorelei,” I say. “I’m scared but, this was going to happen sooner or later, and I’m ready,”

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