Part 2 in Thurmount Holiday; Part 1 is here. They are mostly standalone “flashes” for the daily prompt.
“People think Blake was the only one the record company wanted, but they wanted Will, too. Will’s got a way of taking any song and making it his. That’s not to mention the obvious fact that the guy is a helluva songwriter.” Nate Lawson, the owner of Lawson’s Diner and the director of Thurmount’s non-denominational choir, said.
“I ain’t never heard that. It was always Blake getting the offer and leaving,” Darryl Hollister, the owner and bartender of Thirsty’s, said as he placed a bottle of Devil’s Backbone Kilt Flasher in front of Nate.
Neither of them saw me. Will and Jasper would be out any minute to finish setting up so I wouldn’t go unnoticed.
“Will came and talked to me about it since I used to have dealings in Nashville,” Nate said.
I slumped into the booth adjacent to the bar, my hair wrangling with branches from the artificial wreath hanging on the post. I yanked on the strands and almost pulled the wreath from the wall.
“Sounds like Will missed a helluvan opportunity.”
“Maybe, maybe not. He’s making the kind of music he wants.”
I felt as if my reality had shifted. Will could have gone and made it big in Nashville. He would have, too. He wasn’t hugely ambitious like Blake; he was just super talented and made Blake look like a talentless pretty boy. Will went and made himself a music martyr. For what? For me?
I drummed the thumb and forefinger of my right hand on the wooden booth table as I sat there trying to figure out if I was angry or upset or admiring. Admiring. That’s why he was my best friend. He was the most decent guy I knew. He wasn’t going to leave me and Jasper behind. Damn him for being such a good guy.
Will entered the bar and sat on the edge of the stage, his guitar strap over his shoulder, and began playing “There’s No Place like Home for the Holidays.” He looked up at me and grinned, his crystalline blue eyes crinkling at the corners. He sang softly and then jerked his head for me to join him.
What’s there to be bashful about? I sing with him all the time. I picked up my rhythm guitar and harmonized. Will made things easy, mostly.
If I had been smart back in high school when I was in the marching band watching the football players, I would have fallen for the wide receiver rather than the quarterback.
When we sang the last note, Will grinned at me. “One day you’ll tell me how you can think about something else and sing at the same time.”
“How do you know I do that?”
“Your facial expressions don’t match the song, but you’re singing the right words. I’m not sure if it’s a talent or just weird,” he said.
“Ha! Let’s go with just weird.”
His face went serious and my stomach dropped thinking that he was going to say something I didn’t want to hear. Why couldn’t I fall for Will? Life would have been so much easier.
“Kayla, I. . .”
“Would you just look at the time?” I said glancing at my phone. “Folks’ll be here in twenty minutes. We’ve got to finish getting ready.”
He watched me for what felt like a full minute, although I’m sure it was much less before he nodded and started checking the sound.
I knew how he felt even if he never said. More than anything I was afraid of what would happen to us if he said something, or worse, if what Jasper had said about Will buying a ring last week were true. If Will bought a ring for me, for Christmas, I didn’t know how The Thurmount Trio could go on or if Will and I could stay best friends. As much as I loved him as a friend, I couldn’t marry him. Not when I was pretty disgusted with myself over the fact that I would probably never love anyone but Blake Hunter. And even though I knew it made me stupid to love a guy who treated me like Blake had, I couldn’t seem to change stupid to save my soul.