Hillary could never write a whole song about heartbreak without crying several times. This song was no exception - or maybe, maybe it was, because in the short hour it had taken her to write the lyrics, she had not stopped crying once.
"I'm done thinking we can work it out"
Even as Hillary hummed the lyrics to herself she broke down on that line. She was admitting to giving up on the relationship she'd had with Charles but it wasn't really the truth. She was willing herself to stop pining over him, to let go, to move on, to be able to look at him without feeling an aching pain in her chest.
Herself and Charles had been broken up 6 months to this very day and even though she was writing about being "stronger", really, she'd never felt so weak and lost and broken. She was curled up in bed with her laptop, writing the most heartbreaking song she'd ever been compelled to write.
"I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay"
The previous night she'd gone out on a date with this guy Chris. He was a drummer she'd seen on the round. He was charming, funny, attractive and a complete southern gentleman - just the guy she'd always planned on falling in love with. But that's what was making this day a millon times worse than it was already destined to be. Even though she had found her 'ideal man,' she still couldn't stop thinking about Charles and how, if she were to ever marry any other man - even the best man she could find. That guy would still be second best. She knew and had known for some time now that Charles was her soulmate - if there was such a thing as soulmates and that she couldn't hope to be happier with anybody else. Her date with Chris had brought that harsh reality home and it was particularily difficult for her to deal with it on this day - of all days, the 27th of April, 2005 - 6 whole months since the end of her love affair with her bandmate which had spanned almost 3 years.
"Charles, Hillary, can I talk to you in the boardroom for a moment?," the record label head had asked while the band were at the label HQ in Nashville.
"Mr Davis, Dave's here too" Hillary had replied sweetly
"I'm sorry Dave but if you don't mind, I'd like a word with these two alone?"
"Mr Davis, we're gonna end up tellin him whatever it is anyways so if it's all the same to you, Hllary and I would like him to come along."
Mr Davis shrugged at Charles, as if to say "well it's your funeral." the room seemed daunting with only four of the seats at the long table occupied. Hillary felt a sudden wave of fear once she sat down and reached for Charles' hand under the table, which he clasped tightly. Dave sat next to them silently.
"We don't usually have to intervene with our acts' personal lives. But in this instance, Charles, Hillary, there is a lot of concern over your romantic relationship which we have recently become aware of. The label took a vote this morning and due to Lady Antebellum's position as our best selling band - we regret to tell you that this label cannot support your romantic relationship due to the risks it poses to the label's revenue"
Hillary's hand became limp in Charles'. Their relationship was stronger than ever and she had envisaged them getting married in the next year or two. Nobody said anything. Mr Davis stood up to leave.
"Mr Davis" Charles said with a cracked voice before clearing his throat, "you can't really expect us to break up. We've been together almost three years. I don't think you need to worry about your revenue"
"This could cost our label a lot of damage Charles. Have you thought about how the sales would be affected were more of your fans to get whiff of this? Have you thought about how a break up could damage Lady A's reputation? If not for the label, if not for yourselves, consider what I've said very seriously for the sake of your bandmate. Dave has no part to play in this but you could cost him his career whether you want to admitt it to yourselves or not." abruptly, Mr Davis walked out of the room and left the three of them there alone. Hillary, who would normally cry over the slightest of things was too stunned to shed even a solitary tear.
"I don't want this either Hills. I don't. You have to believe me. But Mr Davis was right at least about one thing. None of this is on Dave. And now with the record label after opening up this whole can of worms - there's this huge pressure on us. Things can't be the same anymore. Even in the last week we've fought more than we have ever done. I don't want us to end on a sour note. We owe more to eachother than that."
Hillary couldn't process his words fast enough to respond so she let him leave. She lay on her sofa for hours after Charles had left, motionless, dumb-struck. "I can't make you love me if you don't. I can't make your heart feel something that it won't." Bonnie Raitt came on the radio and it was then that the floodgates well and truly broke down. Feeling alone and unloved for the first time in 3 years, Hillary cried herself to sleep.
It had been a tough 6 months but the label gave them some time off and somehow they still managed to turn up at concerts and sing love songs to eachother every night. For a few months Hillary had become so used to it that she'd felt hardened somehow, unfeeling, like she could go her whole life without loving again, like she'd given up on love entirely and that singing of it was nothing to her anymore.