Turn Over:A Secret Baby Sports Romance(3)By: Violet Paige
“That’s not what she claims. She accosted me this morning outside of my home. It was a surprise, especially to my wife.”
If McCade wanted me to feel sorry for him, he didn’t know what it was like living with paparazzi. I couldn’t buy gas without reporters asking for a statement. No sympathy here.
“So,” Coach intervened. “She claims you got her pregnant.”
“Keep still,” my stylist ordered for the third time.
“I’m trying to send out an update,” I explained. It was hard to concentrate on hair, makeup, and social media obligations at the same time when I was in a contorted position.
“Don’t you have a PR person for that?” Helena twisted my hair above my ears.
I grimaced. I wasn’t going to the hospital benefit looking like Princess Leia. “I do, but I try to upload my own pictures when I can. Fans can tell the difference. This is more authentic.”
She clipped my blond locks into place. “I guess that’s why they call you America’s Sweetheart, because you’re just so darn sweet.” She pinched my cheek in a teasing gesture.
“If I hear that one more time…” I rolled my eyes.
“It’s true though. You can do no wrong. Fans love you. The press loves you. I love you.” She smiled at me in the mirror.
“Well, that’s mutual.” I blew her a kiss.
Helena had been with me from my first album cover. The label threw us together, but there was an instant click between us and I hired her on the spot. She traveled with me on tour. She went to all of my press appearances. Some days I had her come to my house before I went out if I knew the paparazzi was going to be snapping pictures of me, which was mostly a guarantee for anything I did.
The sweetheart image wasn’t my idea. The label thought they could sell more music if I was everything that was missing from today’s country superstars. Alexa Wilde, or Lexi, as they started to call me, was born from a list of attributes on a piece of paper and crafted from a manager, tour director, and producer.
When I started I was okay with it. I would do virtually anything to have my songs played on the radio. And if that meant a squeaky clean good-girl image, then I was willing to sign off on that. It didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time.
The crazy thing was that it worked. The label had been right all the way down to the song selections. I sold more albums the first year than any other of its debut artists.
But I was short-sighted. Now I had to watch everything I wore. Everything I said. Everyone I spoke to. It was a nightmare. I couldn’t sing the edgy songs. I couldn’t wear the tight short dresses. They had created the perfect formula and I couldn’t disturb the ingredients. I had to be a role model.
It was like an ironic joke. Me? A role model? What girl would want the life I had before I was famous? If only they knew. But Alexa Wilde was a creation, and no one knew who I used to be. And people seemed okay with that.
I wasn’t sure I was. I hadn’t forgotten where I came from or how my image was born. I wanted the memories erased. The pain. The humiliation. The struggle to rebuild my life. I wanted every trace of the past to disappear. But that wasn’t reality. It was there when I closed my eyes. It was lurking when I fell asleep. I tiptoed through life, scared one day the truth would come spilling out and this dream would be over.
“Lexi, what if we do half up, half down?” Helena asked.
I shrugged, typing away on my phone. “Sure. It’s for the hospital. So whatever is going to make Jake happy.”
“Nothing makes Jake happy, so why even go there?”
“True.” I looked at our reflections in the mirror. “Then do something that will completely piss him off.” I smiled.
Helena laughed. “I don’t want to get fired, but I have something in mind.”
I settled back in the chair while she went to work finishing my hair and makeup for the show tonight.
Jake had set up this charity event for me. It wasn’t often I was in Austin. My Texas tours usually kept me in bigger venues like Dallas and Houston, but this was another opportunity to show how involved I was with children’s fundraising. It was the cornerstone of my platform, and Jake never missed an opportunity to exploit my brand’s generosity.