**Hello Karmy lovers! This is my first fanfic ever, so please be gentle. Constructive criticism is more than welcome and I would really appreciate some feedback so I'd know whether to continue with the story or not. Thanks! =)

-I do not own any Faking It characters.


CHAPTER ONE

Dirty Little Vices

It was nothing she didn't already know, but it felt damn good to be reminded. They loved her. If cheers were the sole indication of true success, then the roaring crowd in front of her was her empire. They were eating her up like she was going scarce and she loved it. That voice, that smile, those moves—she was the unattainable fantasy for men and women alike. Tonight had been one of her most awaited concerts, selling out on the first day of sales. It piled on the pressure to make this night one they'll never forget. And she did. She gave it all—her heart and soul. She could hear them yelling their "I love yous" and "Marry mes," reaching out on their tiptoes just for the chance to lightly graze a finger. She blew kisses and teased them with her perfect, pearly-white smile. As she walked up to the edge of the stage she held her arms out to her sides, basking in the energy that her fans were emanating. Inhaling it like she does her favorite powered pastime in the dressing room. It was amazing. She felt like she was flying.

Suddenly the lights turned hazy and the faces in the crowd started to blend together. She felt a wave a nauseous flow through her making her body buckle and lean forward. She wasn't flying; she was falling. Falling off the stage in a daze that felt like someone had kicked her legs from under her. Falling off her throne, and hitting rock bottom.

Karma Ashcroft's rise to fame had kicked off like an unstoppable flame. In less than two years she was topping the charts and selling out concerts like she was the messiah of pop music. But like anything that's quick to catch fire, it's quick to burn out. She never thought the pressure of fame would be her breaking point, but then again she never in her life had dreamt that all this would happen so fast. One minute her agent had her giving a live performance for the heads at Hester Records, and the next she was signed, recording, and scheduled as an opening act with only three months until show time. Luckily Karma had spent her whole life writing, composing and preparing for her big shot. So when she was chucked in the lion's den, she was armed and ready.

Only two years later and Karma found herself in a hospital bed with a broken arm and a bruised ego. The media had been spreading the news of her fall literally seconds after it happened. You've got to love social media, she thought. She turned off the TV and chucked the remote onto the couch across the room. She was tired of seeing the replay of her nosedive off stage and into the crowd below. A few fans had gotten injured while breaking her fall, but that's nothing that a few autographed merchandises, and free "meet and greet" tickets hadn't fixed. Not to mention the whole spiel that her agent had given them about how they had saved her life and she was eternally grateful. The thought made her scoff, and she wished she could call her stylist slash best friend, Shane, to bring her purse. She had a little vial in a secret pocket containing just the pick-me-up she needed. A little fix and she'd be up and out of this bed in no time.

As if reading her mind her agent barges into the room, fuming. He wore a blue, fitted suit with his hair perfectly gelled and styled like he had just walked out of a GQ magazine. He was a very handsome man, and looked like a much older version of David Beckham. Always ready for paparazzi, he made sure his look was flawless. Despite his constant attention to himself, though, he wasn't narcissistic. Just a man sure of himself. "Heyyyy Marcus," Karma sing-songed with an apologetic smile on her face.

"That little stunt you pulled"—he was always straight to the point—"has us in such a shit with the record label, and I'm literally holding on to your contract by the skin of my teeth." Karma rolled her eyes at him. "Oh yea, because fainting off the stage was exactly the concert closer I was planning for. Stop overreacting. We'll hold a press conference and say that I was just exhausted from all the rehearsing for the concert. Which was fucking amazing, might I add." Marcus took the seat next to Karma's bed and ran his hands through his perfectly styled hair causing loose strands to fall over his face—things just got serious. "Exhaustion? Are we forgetting that your little 'secret drug addiction' isn't a secret anymore? Dammit, Karma, the label is already looking for an excuses to cut you after those pictures leaked of your wild VIP partying. You know the label has a strict image and a low tolerance policy. This was supposed to be our chance to remind them of the Karma they fell in love with!"

Karma cringed remembering the pictures of her and her gorgeous, model boyfriend Liam Booker all over each other surrounded by drunken friends and a table littered with cocaine and liquor. Not her best cover story. "I'm sorry, Marcus. I fucked up. This fucking concert was just so much, and all the damn rehearsing and the pressure… I needed something to help me through it. I swear it was just one line." She did her best puppy eyes hoping to soften his demeanor. Marcus placed Karma's hand in his and gave it a little squeeze. He's done this many times throughout the years, and it always sends a sense of comfort through her. She was only eighteen when she met Marcus and the professional spark between them was instantaneous. It had been a tough road before her chance at Hester Records, and she'd never seen someone besides her parents fight so hard to help make her dreams come true. He was like a second father to her and was one of the very few people that she trusted whole-heartedly. Though, lately, she's been having a hard time listening to him. Cocaine has a tendency to scream louder than everyone else.

"You know I can tell when you're lying, so I don't understand why you still insist on doing so," he said with a stern expression.

"Okay, so maybe it was two lines." She sighed, removing her hand from his grip. "What are we going to do?" The news was already spreading like wildfire. There's no way this could be swept under the rug.

"I spoke to the label, and they've given us an ultimatum," he responded. Karma leans back against the bed and stares up at the ceiling. How did her life spiral down so fucking fast? "You have to check into rehab," he continues. "You'll do a 90-day program, that if completely successfully…will automatically extend your contract another two years."

"Wait, really?!" Karma shouted. There was always a silver lining.

Marcus gave her a wide smile. "They're not stupid, Ashcroft. They know you're a big hit, and the fans love you. Like you said, last night was a fuck of a show. But there are still rules you need to follow. You're actions don't only affect your life." He got up and started towards the door, cellphone in hand, ready to make the necessary calls. "They already have a facility lined up with a staff they trust to give them honest reports. You'll check-in immediately after you're discharged from the hospital. I'll have Shane pack what you need, and he'll pick you up and drive you there." Before walking out he turns to Karma and waves a scolding finger at her in his best "father" tone, "Don't fuck this up."

Karma hadn't slept a wink that night thinking about what was in store for the next 3 months. It all sounded like great news as it was coming out of Marcus's mouth, until she realized that going to rehab meant she'd have to give up her vice. Jesus, Karma, what the fuck did you think happens in rehab?

She called Liam after Marcus left to let him know what was going on. She always felt safe with him. Like he'd protect her from anything. Unfortunately, she couldn't take him with her, but he'd made her promise to call him everyday, and that he'd come see her when she was allowed visitors. She knew he wouldn't always be available, but she loved that he wanted to try anyway. Liam was just starting out his career, so Karma tried to be a laid back and non-clingy girlfriend. If anyone understood the hustle of making it, it was her.

She'd met Liam about a year and a half ago at a charity event. He was there with his agent, who was also an old friend of Marcus's. His boyish good looks and Texan charm won her over in a matter of minutes. At the end of the night, they exchanged numbers and soon enough they started dating. Karma would take him to events, which was a great way for his face to enter the media, and they'd stay out late at the after parties. They were young, and they wanted to enjoy every minute of it. That's what started the whole dance with the devil. One night a friend of theirs pulled out a little sample and dangled it in between his fingers in their direction. Liam looked at her to gage her reaction. An intoxicated Karma shrugged not wanting to be labeled as the puss musician who was too afraid to party hard. What harm could one hit do, right? Right.

They started off only using at parties—just a small dose to heighten their intoxication levels—but as with all addictions, your tolerance levels go up, and so does your dosage. It started getting worse halfway through her first tour. Karma was drained and missed her boyfriend so damn much while on the road. She would drink herself to sleep, and take a hit in the morning to wake herself up. Marcus noticed the change in her behavior, but chocked it up to exhaustion and a much needed vacation. There was no way that his Karma could be involved in anything dangerous. It wasn't until those horrible pictures circulated the internet that he felt his heart shatter. He hired some major damage control to try and clean up the mess; had her go on record to say that she was just drinking and that the recreational drugs were not hers. Lies. All lies, and he knew it. But now, this fainting-off-the-stage situation is only going to serve as affirmation of what happens behind the scenes. Which is what brings her to her only salvation. Rehab.