lipstick on her lips." She faced the makeup table and picked up a tray of lipsticks. "You know, I thought it was such a lovely shade that I was tempted to try it on myself." "Thank God you didn't!" The idea was appalling. "My fingerprints are on the tube. Once they figure you didn't do it, how long will it be before I'm in the cross hairs." She sobbed. "I don't have friends down here. I don't have money for a lawyer. What will I do?"   I put my arm around her. She'd been on the road with the show for nearly thirty-six weeks without a break to go home. As I patted her back, I slid my cell phone from my pocket. "What's your home number?" "You can't call Danny!" She grabbed at the phone, knocking it to the floor. "What's wrong?" I was more surprised than anything else. She obviously missed her husband and child, and I was only going to call them down here to be at her side during a crisis. "Don't get Danny down here. If he starts drinking and running his mouth, he'll only make it worse" I nodded, understanding at last that life with a rock star could sometimes be rocky. "What can I do to help?" "Promise me that if I am accused, you'll take the case and prove me innocent. I'll pay you, somehow." "Don't worry about the money, Bobbe. If you're charged, Tinkie and I will do all we can for you." Her smile was tentative. "God, why couldn't you have been with the show all the time? That stupid bitch made it so much harder than it had to be. I hate her. I'm glad she's dead" And though Bobbe's smile was warm, my heart felt a sudden chill.
Chapter 9 ahlia House was cold and foreboding, as if the weather reflected the condition of my heart. What should have been a week of triumph left the taste of ashes in my mouth. I was good. Damn good, on the stage. I sipped my celebratory Jack Daniel's and listened to the merry tinkle of my ice. Though the fire in the parlor fireplace crackled brightly and I'd turned on every light in the downstairs, nothing could block the fact that I celebrated alone. Hamilton would have carpeted the floor with rose petals for my arrival. Harold would have gently sucked my thumb and ignited the twinkle lights that set my heart aflutter. Scott Hampton would have penned a blues song about my performance as Maggie the Cat. The faces of the men from my past swept before my closed eyelids like an album of dead possibilities. I'd settled on Coleman. I'd let his Dudley Do-Right attitude and unspoken promises lure me into love. I'd checked the answering machine before I made a drink. There was no call from him, no word on Connie. He was as alone as I was and it served him right!   Though it would have been a sacrifice, I would have given up the stage to be with him during his time of strife. Nobody said it better than David Allen Coe. If Coleman's needs were great, I would've lain with him in a field of stone. What he didn't understand was that I had needs, too. Success brought its own share of gnawing anxieties. Either Coleman didn't realize it, or he didn't care. A dream that'd been nurtured, worked toward, and brutally battered, had finally come true for me. I needed someone to share the success. God, I needed his arms around me to anchor me to Dahlia House and Zinnia and Sunflower County, because I felt myself beginning to slip away just like Jitty faded. In my mind, I could clearly see a house on the Pacific bluffs, surf pounding against the rocks, the perfect weather warming my face. Reveler stood in a beautiful barn, unbothered by flies and mosquitoes or humidity. Sweetie sniffed the ground around the small farm, happy to be a California hound. With her ears, she'd be a natural at surfing. It could happen, and the images tantalized me with possibilities. Around me was the home I'd known as a child. My New Year's resolution was to give up the past. At first, I'd viewed my dream to be an actress as the past I was meant to leave