Chapter Seventeen

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Funny, Emily thought. There had been nothing in her horoscope about all forces conspiring to make her lose her mind. There, though, on the front page of Wally Hood Goes Hollywood, was the most obnoxious banner she had ever seen.

Exclusive Interview: Wally Hood Sits Down With Cory Sampson

"Have you read this already?" She looked up at Shelby, who sat across from her in Emily's living room.

Shelby nodded. "I wasn't sure if I should mention it to you." Her voice sounded meek and apologetic.

"Don't worry," Emily mumbled. "I'm sure I would have found out about it the next time I looked at my phone, from pretty much everyone else I've known since kindergarten."

She reached for the touchpad on her laptop, but Shelby put out her hand to stop her. "I'm not sure you want to read this."

"Why?" she asked. "I've been reading about his life and what everyone seems to think is my life for a couple of months. Why stop now?" She brushed Shelby's hand aside and clicked through to the article.

"I'm going to get more water," Shelby said, her hands fiddling with her necklace and then fluttering down to her lap. She stood up headed for the kitchen.

Once the page loaded, Emily scanned the text immediately below the article's headline.

His heart bruised and battered from two failed relationships, chart-topper Cory Sampson sits down with us to talk about life, love, his upcoming album release, and his North American tour.

"His heart is bruised and battered?" Emily called out. "Seriously?"

"You're not going to like the rest of it," Shelby warned her from the kitchen. "One more chance to stop, since I really think in this case, ignorance is bliss."

Emily ignored her and continued reading.

Cory Sampson sits in the living room of his Hollywood Hills home, his black-and-white Shih Tzu, Buster, fast asleep on the sofa beside him. With its black leather sectional and chaise lounge, gleaming tables made of glass and slate, framed photos of family and friends, and walls conspicuously absent of the platinum and gold records his band is famous for, the room is not what you'd expect for a rock 'n' roller's bachelor pad. It suits him, though, because Sampson himself is not what you'd expect for a Hollywood A-lister who's found his love life a regular fixture of entertainment news headlines.

Friendly, laid-back, and quieter than you'd think, he invited Wally Hood Goes Hollywood into his home and agreed to answer a few burning questions we've had about his dating life and upcoming album release.

Q: We've been hearing rumors in the media lately that you're a brokenhearted man. Do you miss Emily Watts?

A: I do miss her. She's a great person, and she's someone I'd love to still have in my life.

Q: What went wrong?

A: I... [Sampson pauses for a moment, folding his hands. He looks out the window in thought. Crosses his legs. Uncrosses them again.] I panicked a little, I'll admit. I hadn't felt as close to anyone as I had to her in a long time, and I experienced that moment of terror. Do you know what I'm talking about? When you realize you're falling in love with someone, but that part of your heart you've wanted complete control of takes over.

Q: You're in love with her?

A: I was falling in love with her. If we were together right now, I'm sure I'd say yes, I'm in love with her.

Q: Have you told her that?

A: [Shakes head.] No. I haven't had the chance. I've tried texting her to see if she'd be willing to talk to me.

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