One person’s perfect escape is another’s perfect hell.
In this coming-of-age story, teen singing sensation Leighann DaCosta tries to find out who she is without her music career. A career that has been part of her life since before the age of ten. When Leighann’s estranged father enters her life, she is caught up in a tug-of-war between both parents. Does she trust the man who abandoned her as a baby, or a mother who is losing her mind?
When heartthrob Zax Banovic is assigned to tutor Leighann, he provides her with the perfect escape from the madness in her life. Enter Kristin Newman, Zax’s super-hot, sickeningly perfect, tennis-pro girlfriend, who dampens any chance Leighann has with him.
After the unthinkable happens, Leighann’s world is shattered, causing her to shut everyone out. Unable to cope, Leighann accepts help from her frenemy, but will the help she accept come with a hefty price?
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The Song Bird
Perfect Escape featured singing sensation Leighann DaCosta. Leighann has had her full share of D R A M A, with a drug addicted mother and a father she never knew making an appearance in her life. Escape was less about the Banovics and mostly about the DaCosta’s.
In Escape we see how far L’Wren would go to protect her sister when their mother’s drug addiction gets out of hand. In walks their father Stefan, who has been denied access to Leighann since she was a baby. Meanwhile Leighann has been brainwashed by her mother into believing her father is a no good piece of shit. When Leighann goes behind her mother’s back and gives her father a chance she sees that her mother was wrong.
I loved that both Leighann and Stefan tiptoed around each other both fearing that one wrong move would drive them apart. I also loved Leighann and Zax’s relationship in this one, we see a true friendship start to bloom with them. Nothing like a major tragedy to make you realize that the one you want has been in front of you the whole time. Alas, in true Family Portrait fashion it’s too late and the opportunity has passed you by … or has it? Only time would tell. Which brings me to ….
My Favorite Scene
Chapter 20: A Friend In Need.
After school Zax headed to Leighann’s house. He rang the doorbell, but there was no answer. He was determined to wait it out if he had to. It wasn’t like her to miss a day of school let alone three. He saw Savi’s car in the driveway, and after several rings he heard the lock turn in the door.
Leighann stuck her head out, half hiding behind the door. Her hair was a mess, and from what he could see, she looked like she’d been in a food fight.
“LD! Are you okay? Joel and I were concerned about you.” Zax noticed that she looked exhausted, and his heart went out to her.
Leighann looked around outside. “You didn’t bring him, did you?” It was humiliating enough for Zax to see her like that.
“No, he had to work. How are you? Can I come in?”
“I’m fine. No, you can’t,” she replied, still hiding behind the door.
“Do you want to come out for a little bit, then?”
Zax got closer. “LD, what’s going on?” His voice was sincere and soothing.
“You should go.”
“When are you coming back to school?”
Leighann closed the door in his face, which surprised him. He rang the doorbell again, and she opened it, greeting him with only her head once again.
“I’m not leaving until we talk,” he demanded.
“Go home.” Once again she shut the door in his face.
Zax made himself comfortable on the ground with his back to the closed door. He pulled out his phone and his headset and switched on his favorite playlist.
After about an hour a delivery man showed up with Chinese food Zax had ordered.
“You locked out?” the delivery man asked.
“I don’t live here. I’m just waiting for my friend to come out and talk to me,” Zax said casually. “Did I get any fortune cookies?”
“In the bag with the orange soda.”
They heard the lock in the door turn, Zax paid the delivery man, and when he left, Leighann opened the door.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“I got hungry. You want some? It’s good.”
Leighann couldn’t help but smile. It smelled good, and she was hungry.
Zax made it clear that he was prepared to sleep on her doorstep until she came out and talked to him. Leighann quickly brushed her hair and stepped outside. They found a quiet spot on the beach two blocks from her house, where they quietly ate and watched the sun set.
“Joel wanted to come, but he had to work. He really likes you.” Zax finally broke the silence.
“I can’t face him right now,” she said regretfully.
There was a long silence. Zax didn’t want to push, but he felt he had to. “LD, if you don’t tell me what’s going on, I can’t help you.”
“I’m handling it.”
“By missing school?”
After a long silence Leighann finally broke. “It’s my parents. There’s a battle going on between them, and my mom …” She cried, and Zax put his arm around her. “My mom’s crazy. If I didn’t give up on my career …”
“None of this is your fault. You were living her dream, not yours.”
“Yes, but at least she was happy.”
“But you weren’t. You can’t take on the problems of your parents.”
Leighann confided in him about her father and L’Wren’s plan. As she told him, the brick she carried around in her chest slowly disintegrated.
Zax gave her his full attention. As she spoke, he realized that all the drama that the kids at Westwood Academy created in their lives was nothing compared to the actual drama in Leighann’s life.
“Maybe your dad getting full custody of you might not be such a bad idea.”
Leighann began to protest.
“Just hear me out.” Zax faced her head-on. “LD, your mom needs help, and you can’t help her. She needs counseling or rehab or something. I agree your dad should have talked to you first, but I’m sure he had his reasons.”
“I’m scared. I’m so scared that my stomach is in knots. I’m tired of being scared all the time, Zax!”
“You don’t need to be. Things will work out. LD, you’ve come so far, dropping out of school now is not a good idea.”
“I feel like I don’t know my dad, and he wants to take me away from the only person I’ve ever known.”
“When you left your music career behind, you didn’t know what was gonna happen, but you survived. You wanted a change and you got it. If you give your dad a chance and get help for your mom, you’ll survive that too.”
“But my dad’s a stranger.”
“I was a stranger and you trusted me.”
A light breeze blew, causing strands of her hair to cover part of her face, and Zax gently brushed the hair out of her face. Their eyes locked for a moment.
Zax felt a stirring inside. It was as if he had seen Leighann for the first time. “If it doesn’t work out with your dad, you could always come live with us. My parents will take in anybody.” He broke the tension with humor, and they both laughed.
It was dark outside when Zax walked Leighann to her door.
“Don’t tell anyone, okay?” she made him promise. “Not even Joel, especially not Joel.”
He promised to keep her secret only if she promised to get help for her mother. They sealed their promise with a hug.
“Would you have really camped out on my doorstep if I hadn’t come out?”
“We Banovics are very persistent.”
Zax waited until she got inside before driving off.