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Chapter Thirteen

"What is Britney's last name?"

I had given the officer the note. He glanced over the top of it at me. I grabbed Ben's fist; he had been attempting to stuff the entire thing in his mouth. He grunted and smacked the front of his diaper. Since he had so much plastic ass sack covering his lower half, I'm sure his baby nuts didn't feel a thing.

"Her last name?" I repeated. "I dunno."

The officer's mouth twitched. Wahlberg was straddling one of my chairs, observing the cop's mannerisms closely. I tried not to roll my eyes.

"What does she look like?"

"She was wearing a Starbucks smock."

Wahlberg laughed. Brian just looked at Ben in sympathy. The officer didn't write down my description.

"I meant, physically. Not..."

"Wardrobe-ly?" I filled in. Wahlberg mouthed the word. The cop took a sip of his coffee. "Sure."

I thought back. It wasn't like I had memorized every feature. There were only two important things that I remembered. Large rack and smooth--

"She was blonde," I said. I bit my lip. "Tall. Not as tall as me, but still...leggy. I don't remember anything else."

"Any birthmarks or tattoos?"

"N--wait! She had a butterfly on her left ass cheek."

"Nice," Wahlberg said.

"It might be stretched out now though," I said.

"I hate to ask, but...why?" Bri asked.

"Don't women's asses get bigger when they're pregnant?"

"I like big butts and I cannot lie..." Donny sang.

"Nick, you're an idiot," Bri said.

"FOO!" Bentley giggled.

"Again, he calls me a fool!" I cried.

"She worked at the Starbucks in Nashville right by Music Row?" the officer asked, ignoring my whine.

"That I know for sure; yup."

"Okay," the officer flipped his Steno pad closed. "We'll see what we can find out."

"What happens after you do find her?" I asked.

The officer reached out and rubbed Ben's fuzzy head.

"Then it's up to the two of you."


It was three o'clock in the morning.

Bang, bang,bang,bang.

I groaned.

"Brian," Leighanne whispered.


"Bri!! Dude open up!" Nick's voice was muffled.

"Brian, Nick's banging on the door."

I rolled over and pulled the pillow over my face.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzt.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzt.

"Brian." Leighanne's voice was low.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz zt.

"For the love of Carter." I threw my blankets away and got up.

"If he doesn't need anything, can you grab me a yogurt on your way back?" Leighanne called after me.

I don't think she heard me grumble unmentionables under my breath as I waddled to the door of the bus. I could literally feel that my hair was on end. Sleep crumbs clogged my eyes. I whipped the door open.

Nick was standing there with Bentley. Bentley had a trail of oozy snot coming out of his nose. "He's leaking," Nick said, his voice panicky. "He was coughing." He shoved Bentley into my arms. "Fix it."

I blinked.

"FIX IT!" Nick wailed.

"Are you kidding me?" I asked, "You woke me up because he's got a snotty nose?" I pushed Bentley back to Nick. "Dude, wipe it with a Kleenex."

"But he's coughin'," Nick explained.

I reached out and felt Ben's forehead. I woke up a little bit. "Oh Lord he's sick."

"SICK?" Nick's voice climbed a couple octaves.

"Go back to your bus and lay him down. Wipe off those boogies and I'll be there in a minute. Let me give Leighanne her yogurt and grab the thermometer."

Nick nodded and scurried away quickly.

I turned back to the bus and snagged a yogurt out of the fridge before going to give it to Leighanne. She was sitting up. "What's the matter?" she asked.

"Ben's running a temp," I answered. I smiled as I tossed the yogurt to her. "He's panicking."

She raised an eyebrow. "Why are you smiling then?"

"He gives a shit."

"I know Carters are supposed to be hot, Benny, but this is ridiculous," Nick was whispering, "Don't take it so far, buddy. You'll have plenty of time to be hot later, when you're grown up. I promise... yes I do..." He wasn't aware I was there. I cleared my throat. Nick jumped about 12 gazillion miles and whipped around to look at me. He cleared his throat back. "I was just... talking... to.. to calm him.. down." He cleared his throat again.

I shrugged. Inside I was doing a hula dance. Maybe Nick would get the hang of this after all.