Chapter 1

As Carole King sang about feeling like a woman, Sara Regency drove home, more excited than nervous to finally be coming home. From her expensive hybrid car, she could look to her right and stare out at the sparkling blue water of the ocean; if she looked to her right, all she could see were trees.

The little town of Liberty, Oregon was isolated, nestled in between trees and the Pacific Ocean. The town was barely a dot on a map and was mostly forgotten by those who left their home, as Sara did when she was sixteen. But this town, her home, had always called her back. Los Angeles and New York City were busy and exciting, but Sara longed for the slow and steady pace, the familiar faces, and the hellos from people she grew up with – not hellos or screams from overzealous fans.

Sara had been discovered at the ripe age of sixteen by a record producer stranded in the town on his way up the East Coast. Sara had been staring in her high school's spring musical and Steve Marshall had been bored and tired of being cooped up at the inn and wandered down to the high school on opening night of the musical, Rent. Steve Marshall was at the next two performances, and at the closing night performance, he was there was a record company executive who heard what Steve heard – a star in the making.

Everyone in the town knew Sara was destined to do more than sing in musicals in town. Sara had been waiting, praying for a chance to break away from the tiny, confining town that was set in its beliefs and morals. When Steve Marshall stepped up to Sara after the final performance, her life had been changed forever. A small town girl who had never left the state of Oregon soon found herself in Los Angeles, making demo tapes in real recording studios to send to the top record executive of all the major labels, a huge difference to the live recordings of her garage band.

Before Sara turned seventeen, her debut album, Melodious raced up the charts to number one and her first single, One Way Out, earned her a Grammy award for song of the year. Sara Regency became the person to watch as her career turned from hot to scorching and her next album sold more copies than the first and won her three more Grammy statues. When she turned nineteen, Sara tried her hand at acting, as was the fashion of many singers then. She took smaller roles first and then leading roles, including a role that garnered her tremendous critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination.

By the time she turned twenty two, Sara had seven Grammies, one Oscar, four CDs, five movies, one memoir and countless awards tied to her name. But one thing left Sara feeling incomplete. Statues and gold records didn't mean anything, not when everything that her career brought her was taken away.

Sara was alone.

Yes, Sara had friends and she had family. But Sara hadn't been able to let a man into her life fully since she left Liberty.

Not since Ryan Cage.

Sara felt a pang in her heart as she thought about Ryan. Quickly, she shook the thought out of her mind. She wouldn't let him ruin her homecoming.

As Sara drove along the coast she could watch the sun rise out of the corner of her eye. She checked out of her hotel in the middle of the night and drove straight through, stopping only at a twenty-four hour diner on the side of the road when she was hungry. She wanted to surprise her parents and younger sister.

It was nearing six when she drove past the big sign welcoming her into Liberty, Oregon. Below the population number read Birthplace of Sara Regency – Sara cringed every time she saw it. Even after six years in the spotlight and paparazzi following her every move, Sara still wasn't used to all of the fame and attention. Red carpets still made her nauseous and interviews still made her nervous.

As she drove down Main Street, few store lights were on and street lights were switching off. She could see the reds and oranges mixing in the sky as the sun rose higher in the blue sky. The moon was still visible in the waning darkness as she turned down the tree lined road that led to her childhood home. Nostalgia washed over her as she drove down the long stretch of road leading to the cabin-like house nestled in trees and secluded from the rest of town. Memories of running around with dogs and games of ultimate hide-and-go-seek with friends in the trees as her mother called them in for lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, of splashing barefoot in the creek that ran behind the house with her older brother and watching fireworks over the trees from her front yard. This was home and in the chaos of the house that lay in front of her were the people who meant the most to her.

She parked her car behind her mother's SUV and quietly closed the door behind her. She didn't have to worry about locking the car doors in her town, especially since no one knew she was here. She located her ancient house key on her key chain and walked up the paved path to the house. The old wooden stairs creaked under her weight and the screen door squeaked as she opened it. She tried the door knob, doubting that she would have to use the key and knowing her family, she was right. Sara let herself in and immediately walked into the chaos of a school morning.

Sara could hear her sister's alarm clock going off but could see her sister, Madison, running around in the kitchen desperately looking for something. Madison's forgetfulness often aggravated Sara in their youth. Sara could smell the aroma of coffee brewing, could hear the click of toenails from the dog on the wood flooring upstairs and could hear the sound of the latest radio star being played loudly in the kitchen. Sara heard the shower running in the bathroom above her and knew that it was her father, Nick, showering and getting ready to leave for work. Her mother, Brianna, would be in the kitchen, most likely in front of the stove, cooking breakfast – pancakes, Sara knew by the smell. Her mother was the only mother she knew that still cooked breakfast for their children every morning. There were few mornings when Sara was left to eat a measly bowl of cereal – not that she was deprived of sugary cereal growing up. Bowls of Lucky Charms were often midnight snacks.

Sara walked into the kitchen, still unnoticed. Madison was sitting on the couch putting on her shoes as Sara walked up behind her mother. "Hi," she said quietly. Brianna jumped as she spun around and grabbed her daughter in a large embrace.

"You're home!" she said excitedly. "Madison, Sara's home. Why didn't you tell us you were coming home?" Brianna demanded.

"I wanted to surprise you guys. And I didn't know if I would be able to get time off. Addison was brutal with publicity for the last movie," Sara said, referencing her publicist and the long publicity tour for her last movie's release that landed her in China and London, among other world-wide locations.

"Well you still should've called. Sit, sit are you hungry?"

"Starved," she said as she was pushed in a chair at the kitchen table. It was when she sat down and a pile of pancakes were placed in front of her that she realized how hungry she was. The omelet she had at the diner seemed like ages ago.

"Hey, since Sara came home and we need time to catch up, can I like, not go to school today?" Madison asked as she dug into her own stack of pancakes.

"Why aren't you going to school today?" Nick asked as he came downstairs and stepped into the kitchen. "Oh, hi Sara," he said casually as he noticed his eldest daughter sitting at her normal spot at the table.

"Oh, hi Dad," Sara said, mimicking her father's monotone voice.

"Get over here and give your old man a hug, squirt," he said, opening his arms to his daughter.

Sara latched onto her father, taking in scent of his cologne, the feel of his clothing, of the smoothness of his freshly shaved chin on her head.

It was in the embrace, in the feeling of home that she knew where she belonged.

Sara knew she was home.

So I just started this...

I'm not really sure how it's going to turn out, but I like how it's starting.

I don't know how often I'll be able to update, so just don't get on my case if it's not every other day or anything. My writer's block comes and goes as it likes and I might end up just not liking it at all and just stopping.

As always, reviews are love.

Please and thank yous.