“Hey, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s my job to watch over you. Wouldn’t you do the same for me? I’m just asking questions to make sure you’ve thought through everything.”
“I’m sorry. Seeing my father dredges up all of these emotions. It’s like I have an exposed nerve where he’s concerned. And I feel super sensitive even when I discuss him. It’s so strange really.”
“What is your gut telling you? How do you feel about it right down in your soul?”
“Happy I guess. I don’t know. It’s a mixed bag of emotions. He seemed really happy to see me. That made me feel like I was ten feet tall.” She scoffed. “You don’t know how long I’ve prayed for some resolution to this situation. I know it’ll never be perfect, but maybe God is answering a prayer of mine. Having daddy show up like this is almost a miracle.”
Hmm. A miracle. That’s what worried Luke. He didn’t know Roderick Lucas at all. He’d left Savannah when they were kids. But he knew of his absenteeism in Morgan’s life. He knew that the woman he loved had scars due to his actions. And he knew that if this man came back into Morgan’s life only to hurt her, he would have a few choice words for him.
Luke drove into the House of Blues parking lot and navigated his car toward the employee section. It made him grin to see a little paper sign with his name on it attached to a post by an available parking spot. It might be an insignificant detail to some, but for him, it felt like the first step on a journey of the soul.
“Now that’s cool,” Morgan said, patting Luke on the shoulder. She pulled out her cell phone and took a picture. “Don’t forget me when you become the next big singing sensation.”
“As if I could ever forget you,” Luke said in a low voice, as he leaned in and placed a kiss on Morgan’s lips. Her lips tasted sugary like cinnamon. But way sweeter. She kissed him back, tenderly moving her lips against his in the sweetest of kisses.
As the kiss ended Luke rained kisses down on her cheeks, nose and forehead. He could go on like this forever if he didn’t have a show to do in a little bit.
“I’m not trying to rain on your parade about your father. I hope it didn’t come across like that. If you’re happy, then I’m over the moon.”
“I know you’re just looking out for me,” Morgan said. “And I appreciate your honesty.”
“I’m glad you realize that. I only want the best for you.” He glanced at his watch. “We better head inside. It’s almost time.”
Luke got out on the driver’s side and went over to Morgan’s side and opened the door for her. He took her hand and continued to hold it as they walked toward the venue. They entered through the back door employee entrance and made their way to the dressing rooms. Again, Luke found himself blown away when the manager walked him toward a dressing room with his name on it.
Morgan grabbed his arm and let out a high-pitched squeal. “Oh, this is great. Go stand by the door so I can take a picture.”
Luke followed Morgan’s instructions and posed as she took a round of pictures. They hung out in his dressing room for a half hour or so, talking about everything under the sun. Morgan’s presence calmed most of Luke’s pre-show jitters.
“I’m about to go on, so why don’t you head to your seat. I got you a table right up front.”
“I’m so excited, Luke. We should have invited a group of our friends. Callie and Jax. Olivia and Hunter. Hope would have loved a night out without the baby.”
“Next time. I promise. I guess I’m selfish for just wanting you here tonight,” Luke said in a low voice as he lowered his head to place a searing kiss on her lips.
“You’re the most unselfish person I’ve ever known,” she said, her brown eyes swirling with a wealth of emotion.
He cupped her face between his hands, his thumb caressing her cheek. “When it comes to you, Morgan, I’m always going to be a little selfish. Because all I want is for it to be the two of us…together. And I honestly can’t imagine ever not feeling that way.”
As Morgan headed toward the seating area, Luke took a few moments in his dressing room to center himself for his performance. No matter what was going on in his life, Luke always held tightly to his faith. He could ask God for anything. Counsel. Protection. Love. And not all of his prayers were answered the way he wanted them to be, but he knew God was listening.
Lord, I’m not going to pray for me to perform well tonight. That’s on me at this point. I want my singing to serve a purpose. I want people to hear my voice and feel uplifted. I want to connect with the energy of the crowd and give them something to make them feel better. About life. About themselves. If I can reach people through my voice, that will truly be a blessing.
Luke waited in the wings with his guitar to be announced. As he heard his name being called, the thunder of the crowd let Luke know he was performing to a packed house. As the pre-show for the main act Luke knew he wasn’t the main draw, but the felt thankful to receive such a hearty welcome in his hometown.
He had no trouble spotting Morgan. She waved to him from her seat. He shook his head when he saw that she had company. Callie, Jax, Olivia, Hunter, Charlotte and Case were seated at her table. They all began grinning and calling out his name. Morgan shrugged her shoulders and sent him a sheepish look.
Even though he’d planned on it just being Morgan here tonight, it was a wonderful surprise to have family and friends in the room. The energy in the venue was electric as he performed five songs. No one yelled or clapped louder than Morgan and her entourage. When he walked off stage he felt like a high soaring eagle. He’d had the crowd in the palm of his hand and they’d shown him in no uncertain terms that they loved his music.
Singing fed a part of his soul that nothing else could. And it was as much a part of him as his limbs. God had blessed him with a talent he could no longer take for granted. Or ignore. For so long he’d stuffed it down into this black hole, only pulling it out when he felt the urgent need to perform. Now he knew once and for all that he needed to reach out and grab ahold of his dream. He had asked Morgan to have courage regarding their relationship. Now, he too needed to step up and claim the life he wanted.
“The heart isn’t always a reliable organ. As the saying goes, the heart wants what it wants. Who are we to stand in its way?”
Miss Hattie Alexander