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Baby Girl 6: I Need to Know
© 2000

The next morning we got on the plane and headed back to the mainland. I flew with the guys to Orlando and then accompanied them to Atlanta to tell Leighanne's parents. We helped make the funeral arrangements. Brian was torn inside. He and Leighanne had been arguing before she left, so he blamed himself for her accident. Her parents sat down with him and had a long talk about it. A few days later, we all sat there at the funeral, wondering about where our lives would lead.

I had wanted not to attend the funeral. I didn't really know Leighanne, but Brian wanted me there. I felt awful. Even though Brian and I had talked at length about why he and Leighanne had broken up. I knew it wasn't because of me, but I still felt bad.

After the funeral, I got the shock of my life.

The family and friends gathered at Leighanne's house to celebrate her life. I stuck close by Brian the guys. We were sitting in the living room discussing all that had happened when Leighanne's mom, Shirley approached Brian.

"Brian," she said.

"Yes, Ms. Tolbert."

"I think you should have this." She placed a ring in Brian's hand. It was a four karat canary yellow diamond.

"Oh, no, I can't."

"Brian, you bought it for her. We shouldn't hang onto it, especially since there's not going to be a wedding."

I looked at Brian and then walked over to AJ. "AJ, what was the real reason why you called me a whore?"

"I told you," he said, sipping his wine.

"No, what was the real reason?" AJ looked down at the ground. "Was it because they were engaged to be married?"

"I thought you knew," he whispered. "All the fans knew."

Tears welled up in my eyes and I ran out of the house. I just started running. I didn't know where I was going; I was in Atlanta. Somehow I wound up at a park. I found a bench and sat down. I stared at the ground, letting the tears fall. It was no wonder Leighanne was upset. Brian was pledging his love and fidelity to her and she feared he was breaking it. The thing I didn't get was why he hadn't told me.

I must have sat there for hours. It began to get dark and still no one had approached me. I wondered if Brian even noticed I was gone. I imagined he did, but he was pretty torn up over everything. He had just broken up with his fiancée and then she'd died.

I was sitting there in the dark when I heard someone calling my name. "Baby Girl." I looked up. It was Brian. "Baby Girl, I've been looking all over for you." He came up and sat down beside me. "Why did you tell anyone you were leaving?"

"I was just returning the favor," I said curtly.

"What favor?"

"Of not telling."

"What are you talking about?"

"Why didn't you tell me you and Leighanne were engaged?"

"I thought you knew."

"Well, apparently everyone thought I knew. I didn't. So what am I to you, Brian? Am I just someone you caught on the rebound?" Brian didn't say anything. Instead, he clasped his hands together and looked at the ground. "Tell me. I need to know."

He looked at me. "No."

"I don't believe you."

"I know you don't."

"B, I don't understand you. You tell me I'm not the reason you broke up with Leighanne, yet you don't tell me that you two were engaged. You obviously loved her deeply if you were thinking of spending the rest of your life with her. I think the way she treated the fans was only an excuse on your part." I got up from the park bench. "Brian, I'm going back to California. I can't take any more of your half-truths."

"But we're going to New York to premiere the video on MTV," Brian protested.

"I'm not going. I'm going home." With that said, I walked off.


Two days later, I was at home in California watching MTV. The Boys were on TRL to premiere the video for "Miracle." All the guys looked okay, except Brian. He looked like he hadn't been sleeping. His hair was a mess and he wasn't his usual hyper self. Even Carson noticed. Carson also noticed that I wasn't with the guys. When he asked where I was, Kevin told him that I was at home. I felt bad for Brian, but I wasn't about to let him back into my life, not after what he hadn't told me.

A week after the video premiered, I received a package in the mail. It was a video and a note.

Baby Girl:

I know you don't wanna hear anything from me, but could you at least watch the enclosed video please? 220/13/415


He had actually signed the letter "Brian." He'd never signed anything Brian. I guess he meant business, so I popped the tape into my VCR. There was all the footage Kevin had been taping in Hawaii. The stuff from Hawaii finished up and then there was Brian.

"Baby Girl, I know you hate me right about now, but hear me out. What you said at the park was true. Everything. The reason I didn't tell you Leighanne and I were engaged was because...well, it was because I feared I would scare you off. You see when I met you in New York that first time; I fell in love with you. Leighanne and I had been having problems long before you came into the picture. I realized a while ago that I wasn't in love with her anymore I was just too afraid to break off the engagement. I finally got up the courage to break it off, but she did it first, four days before the video shoot. Yes, I did cry. Some part of me still cared for her, and still cares for her to this day. But you are so much more than she is. You're not just my lover, Baby Girl; you're my friend. I know things have been moving quite fast for us, and I don't know if that's the way you want this relationship to go, but it just feels natural. I don't think of it as a rebound relationship, even though AJ thinks so. Baby Girl, I apologize for all the grief I may have put you through. Please understand. I love you."

That's where the screen went blank.

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I'll Never Break Your Heart/Fighting AJ/Lil' B-Rok/I Love You Came Too Late/Baby Girl