Chapter 1: Derek
I sat on an uncomfortable stool impatiently tapping the music stand in front of me with the pencil in my hand. We’d been locked in the studio for almost a week and I was exhausted. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating just a little. But not much. Hometown had been in the studio for upwards of eighteen hours a day for the last six days.
I needed sleep.
I needed Daddy.
Gina, our other vocalist, was arguing with the producer over something related to mixing the last song we’d recorded… for the fifth time. Harrison was sprawled out on the couch, his bass guitar clutched to his chest. Neil was sitting on the floor, his back against the couch, a long leg stretched out in front of him, his head resting on a bent knee, and a hand placed gently on Harrison’s shoulder.
Seeing Harrison and Neil being openly affectionate was long overdue. They had danced around telling anyone they were dating for months. Even after I’d come out to the entire world, they had still kept their relationship quiet for almost six more months. Even though the entire band had known, without really knowing, they’d refused to tell anyone for an infuriatingly long time. I’d been both relieved and incredibly happy for my best friend and our fiddle player when they had finally come out to us. But their little touches and stolen kisses when they thought no one was looking made me miss Colt that much more.
After a week of mornings that started before sunrise, and nights that ended after Colt was already in bed, I was officially spent. We were all teetering on the verge of collapse. I needed time to decompress.
I needed to see my boyfriend.
“Good news!” my assistant, Madeline, announced from the doorway, causing everyone to jump. “There’s a snowstorm barreling toward Nashville. Effective immediately, recording has been put on hold so we can all get home.”
A chorus of cheers erupted throughout the room as we began to pack up our stuff. I grabbed my guitar and put it in the case amidst the clattering of guitars, drums, violins, and other random instruments being moved about.
“Thank you,” I said as she came over to me grinning like the cat who got the canary.
“Thank Mother Nature. I’m just the messenger. Though your Daddy may have been texting me for the last hour wondering why you were all still here when Nashville is shutting down.”
I laughed as I snapped the latches of my guitar case shut. “I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t made his way here already.”
“I think he was about ready to by the time I let him know I’d already called a car for you. He was getting kinda growly. You’ve earned this time off, get out of here before the roads close and you’re stuck in Nashville instead of at home with your man.”
I bent down and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks, Maddie. I’ll talk with you later.” I called a quick goodbye over my shoulder to those remaining in the room and practically ran out of the studio.
Looking around, I was shocked to see how white everything was. Snow covered everything in a heavy blanket. Even the roads weren’t recognizable except for a few tire tracks. Aside from a row of large black SUVs lining, what I knew to be the large semi-circular driveway of the recording studio, everything was white. I scanned the row until I found the SUV with a piece of paper in the window with my name on it and hurried over, trying to pull my coat more tightly around me.
“Mr. Edwards,” the driver jumped slightly as I pulled the back door open and shoved my guitar in before climbing in and slamming the door. “I would have opened the door for you if I had seen you.”
I smiled. “I’m perfectly capable of opening and closing doors for myself. And there’s no point in both of us being covered in snow and freezing cold. Can you get me to Kingfield?” I asked. If Nashville already looked like this and the storm hadn’t fully arrived, I didn’t want to know what was going to happen in a few hours. Kingfield was a small area, the odds of plows having been through were slim to none.
The man nodded. “Yes, sir. The roads are slow going, but we’re getting out before the worst of it hits. In a few hours it will be a very different story. The news is saying it’s going to be a doozy.”
I sighed and leaned back into the seat. “Well, take your time, no point in rushing. I’d rather make it home late than end up in a ditch.”
“You and me both,” he agreed as he eased onto the road.
My phone pinged in my pocket and I fished it out to check the text.
Ty: Hey how’s it going?
Me: Hey, just left the studio. Nashville’s getting a massive snowstorm tonight.
Ty: Snowed in for Valentine’s Day?
Me: Valentine’s Day?
Ty: Tomorrow… Did you forget?
Me: Fuck! I’ve been stuck in the studio for the last week! I totally forgot!
Ty: That sucks. Colt won’t care, he’ll just be happy you’re home.
Me: I need to let him know I’m on my way. Have a good one.
Ty: Stay safe! Later.
I sighed and smacked my head against the back of the seat. How did I forget Valentine’s Day? Easy. I’d been burning the candle at both ends. I’d slept in the studio two of the six days we’d been recording. I’d had no more than four or five hours of sleep a night since the day we’d started. No wonder Colt was getting growly.
I stretched my back and moved to sit up straighter in my seat when I felt my thick briefs hug my balls a little tighter. A year ago, I’d had a hard time imagining giving up my skimpy briefs for thick training pants. Now here I sat leaving Nashville, and my life as one of country music’s biggest stars, to spend a few days snowed in at home with my boyfriend—my Daddy—while wearing a pair of training pants with airplanes on them.
Being Daddy’s boy helped me relax and gave me the ability to deal with the more insane, crazy, and hectic parts of my life—Nashville, paparazzi, touring, and fans. Without the ability to regress from time-to-time, I would’ve burnt out before my career had truly taken off. There was something freeing in giving up control to Daddy, even for short amounts of time, that made the chaos melt away. It didn’t hurt that Colt was unable to turn his Daddy side completely off. He tended to make more decisions than not and was able to read my moods better than I was most days.
Thinking back over the last week, I knew why I was feeling so depleted. Working insane hours had me going home, collapsing into bed, and starting over a few hours later. I’d not even pulled my crayons out of the drawer in the coffee table since the night before we’d started recording. I was overdue for some little time, but as I started yawning I knew it wasn’t going to happen that night.
I opened the messaging app on my phone.
Me: Heading home.
Daddy: Good. Is your driver being safe?
Me: Yes. Very. We’re taking it slow. On the highway, but snow is coming down hard. It’s going to be a while.
Daddy: Just be safe. Love you.
Me: Love you too.
Tears pricked at my eyes and I had to blink them back. I needed to be home, not stuck on the highway in a snowstorm. I wouldn’t have cared if we were in our house, in a hotel, or stuck on a tour bus. Wherever I was, as long as Colt was there, I felt like I was home.