Really Fake

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Chapter 1 - The beginning


"It's not real, Della. It's just for the time being."
My manager sighed as he raked his hands through his hair meanwhile, I wanted to rip it out.

The time being? Who even said that?

He had to have lost his marbles.

I had to have heard him wrong.

"I don't know, marriage seems kinda real to me. And with that dick wad?"

"Della! See this is exactly why this needs to happen. Country music's sweetheart? Remember?"
Ron sighed again as he rubbed his forehead.

How could I possibly forget?

With the hottest 90s Country powerhouse couple as parents, what else was I destined to be?

They had been married for like, ever and for some reason only wanted to have one kid. So I had no one to pass off the golden child title to.

That reminded me.

"Where the heck are my parents? They will flip when you pitch this to them."
I laughed.

There was no way my mom and dad had caught wind of this sham. They knew how I felt about him and even though he and my dad had grown close when he opened up for my dad on his last tour, that didn't mean he wanted that sleazeball marrying me.

Hell would freeze over before I married that. . . Thing.

He probably had every sexually transmitted disease known to man, probably seen every pair of boobs within a hundred-mile radius of Nashville and I'd bet any amount of money he didn't even know that I existed. Mainly because I hadn't been blessed in the boob department, but that was beside the point.

"Your parents are outside enjoying the show, where you should be."

I rolled my eyes.

We were at a country music festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama and it was hotter than balls outside.

Hard pass.

Besides, I'd seen Jameson Cole put on a show more times than I could count. And even though I couldn't stand the ground that he walked on even I could admit, he was good. Far better than I was but I chalked that up to him actually liking his job. He chose it for himself, meanwhile, it was forced upon me.

I'd always considered myself a behind-the-scenes person. But once people realized that I could sing at a very young age, there were certain expectations.

I stood up to leave just as my favorite person and number one fan walked through the door.

"Papa! Thank The Lord. Please tell this man that I'm in no way shape or form marrying-"

He nodded. My mama's daddy had been my favorite person since I could remember. But the look on his face was making me rethink that.

"Papa. I can not."

"You can. It'll be good for you. And before you ask, your parents know."
He smiled and I shook my head. It had to be some sick joke.

"What is this? I'm 25 and it's the 21st century, I'm more than capable of finding my own husband. I don't need help and I definitely don't need an arranged marriage."

As if he'd been holding onto them and just waiting for those words to cross my lips, Ron slung a pile of gossip magazines across the table, and they landed right in front of me.

I looked away. I'd already seen them a thousand times, memorized the headlines and I had a solid reason for each.

People saw me and instantly took advantage. And there always seemed to be a camera around.

Della Austin comes unglued on paps as she exits rehearsal.

Unglued was a little extreme. I flipped them off and told them where they could shove their cameras when they almost knocked my pregnant best friend over because they don't know what personal space is.

Della Austin was seen making out on the rooftop with a married MLB player.

I was hardly making out. He grabbed my face and smushed his nasty mouth against mine while his wife watched on. It was creepy as hell plus he had beer breathe. Ew.

The dating disaster known as Della Austin is back at it with another miss.

It was a picture of me slapping a guy that I made the mistake of getting close to. I thought he was after more than just his 15 minutes of fame but, once again. I was wrong.

The list went on but, every single title was explainable. But the problem was, no one wanted to listen.

"I've already-"
I started but my papa stopped me.

He put his rough hand over mine and squeezed.

"Sweetheart, it's not forever. It'll help you both. Hey, maybe you'll get some good songs out of it."
He smiled and I laughed dryly.

Songwriting was my thing. Sure I sang and put on shows for crowds but something about it never felt right. But sitting down with other songwriters and even sometimes alone and letting words flow out of me? There was just nothing else like it.

I said as I picked at the strings hanging off of my cut-offs. If I'd learned one thing from this life it was that there were people hired to literally steer your life in the right direction, even if you wanted to control the wheel. That was irrelevant.

I sighed and slouched back in the chair as I racked my brain to come up with anything that could help me. Then it dawned on me, there was no way Jameson wanted this either. He was a massive star and he wouldn't want something as serious as marriage hovering over him while he was sowing his wild oats. Yeah, that was it. We could team up differently to get out of this. I could handle him long enough if that was the outcome.

I stood up and walked to the door, on a mission.

"Where you off to pumpkin?"
My papa asked and I could practically hear Don struggling to hold his breath as he mentally pictured the next stupid headline.

"To watch my fiancé, where else?"

I said the words with as much coldness as possible.

That room was hell, and it had officially frozen over.
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