“That sounds fantastic. Hmm, that would be a good thing for all teachers. Have you been painting?”
“Actually, that’s what I was doing when you called. Remember the moon rising over the mountains we saw when I visited?”
“Oh, yes. It was incredible. But I don’t remember us taking a picture of that scene.”
“I took one in my mind.”
“Please take a picture and email it when you finish. I’d love to see it.”
“I plan to complete it tonight or tomorrow. So you’ll see it before the weekend is over.”
“I spoke with Devin a little while ago. He mentioned you have a new friend.”
Janae groaned. “We met a few weeks ago and went out a couple of times. Devin happened to be here the first time he visited.”
“Devin seems to think the guy isn’t who he says he is. Is that true?”
“No, Mom. His name is Terrence. Devin’s just being his normal overprotective self.”
“Well, you have a good head on your shoulders. If it develops into anything serious, I’m sure we’ll hear about it. Don’t mind your brothers. If Devin and Erik find wives like Justin has, they won’t have time to be in your business. Do you think it may become serious?”
“I don’t know, Mom. He’s really nice and fun to be around, but I’m not sure things will work out.”
“Sounds like you like him a lot.”
“I’m trying not to, but I can’t help it. It’s complicated.”
“What kind of job does he have?”
“Um, I’d rather not say right now, but I promise he has a good one and it’s nothing illegal.”
She chuckled softly. “Is this part of the complication?”
“Well, I won’t pry for now. If you need to talk, I’ll be here.”
“Thanks, Mom. I love you.”
“I love you, too. Go back and finish your painting, and keep me posted. You’re still coming to visit sometime in the summer?”
“Yes. I’ll let you know soon. I’m going to visit Justin and Pam, too. I know Teresa is getting big, and I don’t want her to forget her auntie.”
“I’ll talk to you later.”
“All right. Tell Daddy I love him.”
Janae hung up the phone and dropped her head in her hands. “What am I going to do?” She’d been asking herself that question all day—especially since coming to the realization that she had fallen in love with Terrence—and still didn’t have an answer.
* * *
“Let’s go over this last song and call it a day,” Terrence said to the band. They’d been rehearsing for over two hours.
“Which one do you want to do?” Malik asked.
“I think we’ll do ‘It’s Only You,’” he answered, rising from the keyboards and grabbing a microphone at the stage’s center.
The band clapped. He performed the duet with the female background singer Lorena Daniels.
“Saang, Lorena,” Gerald Myers, the male background singer, crooned. “That means I can go sit down.”
The music to the soulful, sexy ballad began, and Terrence and Lorena sang as if they had been lovers for a lifetime. By the end of the song, the band members stared at him in awe. As the last note faded, whistles and clapping sounded throughout the auditorium. Terrence noticed that even the employees had stopped to listen.
“What?” he asked when Lorena continued to stare. “I think we sounded great.”
She shook her head. “It’s not like you don’t always sound great, Monte. But, today...today there was something different.” Lorena held out her arms. “See, you gave me chills. I could feel the passion clear down to my soul.”
“Damn, Monte,” guitarist Carl said, patting Terrence’s shoulder. “I think we should close with that one. There’re gonna be a lot of babies made this weekend.” He chuckled.
“No lie,” Lisa said. “You’re making me miss my boyfriend even more than usual.”
“Well, I guess that means we’re finished,” Terrence said.
As everyone started the teardown, Terrence walked over to the side of the stage and picked up a bottle of water. He drained its contents without stopping.
Donovan slowly approached from the rear.
“What did you think, D?”
“Everything went perfectly. It’ll be a great show.” He gestured for Terrence to follow him. Once they were out of hearing range, Donovan told him, “They’re right, you know.”
“What do you mean?”
“You always sing with passion, but today you were off the charts. Why do you think that is?”