Lucy Kilgore #6
The first two songs go well. I usually banter with the audience, but my nerves are congregating in my throat and threaten to choke me, which is not a very fun feeling, let me tell you. And, Cal sits there. He’s leaning against the table now, studying me. Now I understand why they say a fly under a microscope. That’s exactly how I feel. I am thinking so hard about being myself that I’m afraid that I look like I’m on drugs, self-consciously moving, wondering if I look too much like Lucy and not at all like Lacey.
Without thinking I start the third song, when one of the regulars shouts out: “Did you have too much caffeine today, Lacey? You’re racing through the songs. Don’t you love us anymore?”
I smile and stop strumming. Help me, help me, help me. “Course I still love you,” I drawl. “Which is why I’m playing this song.”
And then I freeze as I realize that it’s the song I used to sing when Cal would be driving us around. My head jerks up at about the same time as his does. He sits up straight, his blue eyes alert, his mouth slightly open. Quickly I look away. How did I think I’d get away with this? I sing this song the same way I sang it then, all of the passion and strength. It’s like telling him I still love him. The words reverberate in my head as I sing them “you really had a hold on me . . .a flame that never dies.”
The regulars love this song. Some get up and dance in the small space that’s not really a dance floor. I spare a glance at Cal again. He’s smiling, that sweet smile that used to melt me. I look away. I can’t focus on him.
As soon as the song ends, my panic blossoms. “Excuse me for just a moment. I think a frog found my throat,” I say and then run from the stage.
From the corner of my eye I see that Cal is standing. Maybe he’s going to try to follow me.
Doug watches me run by into his office. He follows me in and closes the door.
“What the hell?” he asks. That’s about as much emotion as I’ve ever seen him produce.
I roll my eyes. “That means it’s over. I can’t be Lacey Cantrell anymore.”
“Sure you can.”
“I could as long as no one knew.”
“You don’t count.”
“You know what I mean. You’re different.”
“Just keep piling it on, sweetheart,” he says. “Can I meddle?”
“No,” I say automatically and then glance at him. “How?”
“Finish out the set. Don’t look at him.”
I shake my head. “He’s a magnet.”
“Then sing to him.”
“I can’t do that either.”
Doug throws up his hands. “I give up. What do you want to do?”
“About five tequila shots?”
“You’d be flat with two.”
There’s a hard rap on the door. Doug opens it and Cal is standing there, big, burly and taking up so much room and it feels like a lot of it is still in my heart. Doug stands in front of him.
“What can I do for you?” he asks.
“I want to talk to Lucy.”
“No Lucy here.”
“Then Lacey. Let me talk to Lacey,” Cal says. His aquamarine eyes never leave me.
Doug glances back and I shrug, but I move behind Doug’s desk so that there’s plenty of space between me and Cal. The last thing I want to do is go all space rocket and launch myself at him, which is exactly what my body is itching to do, that and lick his throat. Damn, but I really want to lick his throat.