“I remember you. I still worked at the Stumble In, when you started there. I loved you songs back then, so I was really happy to hear you’re doing so well now, you deserve it.” She felt more and more comfortable in his presence. “Where is the gig?”
“The House of Blues.” Josh couldn’t hide the grin when all the color drained from April’s face. That had been the same expression he’d had on his face, when they’d been told that they’d perform on a TV show. “Relax, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. Once you step onto the stage all the anxiety goes away.”
“Are you serious? You really want me to open up for you?” April said once she’d found her voice again.
“Of course I do. I’ve always liked your voice, but yesterday was the first time that I saw you again and you deserve that shot.”
“I don’t know if I can do it.” Singing in front of the crowd the day before had been okay. She was used to that. But the House of Blues? That was freaking terrifying. Still, Josh knew a lot more about this, so she’d have to trust him. This was probably a once in a lifetime chance.
“You’ll be fine. I saw you on stage yesterday and you lit up the whole place. You moved the audience and you’ll do the same at the House of Blues. I know it.”
“Okay, then I’ll do it!”
Two weeks later Josh invited her to his place, so that they could talk about the songs. But first they went food-shopping together. He wanted to cook for her while she played the songs for him. They’d need to eat something, so he could use this opportunity to cook himself.
“What else do we need?” April looked up at him from the shopping cart. She thought that they already had everything, but she couldn’t be sure. Before he could answer, though April heard her name being called. When she turned around she was shocked, but pleasantly surprised at the same time.
“Abby!” she said and threw her arms around the woman. She hadn’t seen her in weeks. Well, Abby probably still thought that April was in Pittsburgh. Her husband, Patrick was standing next to her. “Abby, Patrick, this is Josh.” She didn’t want to exclude him from the conversation. And they wouldn’t be able to ask her all the questions they wanted to ask right there and then. “We’re working together.”
Abby examined her face, then slowly smiled. “It’s good to see you. I thought you were in Pittsburgh.”
“I… I wasn’t. I just didn’t want anybody looking for me,” April said with a sigh. “And you have to promise me you won’t tell Jonathan or Patrick that you saw me here, okay?”
That was just the thing Abby wanted to do, but the pleading look in April’s eyes made her nod her agreement. “Okay. But please, stay in touch with me then. I’ve been worried sick.”
“I will.” April hugged her again. God, she’d missed Abby so bad, that she nearly started crying at the supermarket. They needed to get going before this really happened, so she said goodbye to Abby and Patrick for now and went on with her shopping. Josh didn’t ask her any questions. He already knew who they were and what they’d been talking about.
They avoided talking about this and instead concentrated on music when they got to Josh’s apartment. He moved the armchair in front of the door, so April could settle down in it with her guitar and be close to him, so that the music was loud enough for him to hear. And the armchair was a lot more comfortable than one of the other chairs.
Josh listened to the four songs she played for him, all the while concentrating on preparing the lasagna. They were really good, but needed a few small changes. He’d do that with her. The fifth song she played, however, was perfect. It moved him. So much that he wanted to hug her and comfort her after hearing it.
“April?” he said to make her lift her head and look at him. He knew who this song was about, he didn’t even have to ask. The look on her face told him everything he needed to know. “I’ll have to clear this with the band, but I’d love to perform this song with you at the end of the show. That is, if it’s alright with you.”
“Seriously?” She looked a bit taken aback. “Do you think we can do this in two weeks time?”
“Of course we can. I’ll call the boys straight away, so we can show them the song tomorrow. Then we can think about how to do it.” The song was already wonderful, but with a whole band playing it, it would be even more powerful. Josh couldn’t wait to start working on this.
“Hey Patrick, what’s up?” Jonathan answered the phone call. He’d just returned home from working out, when he got a call from Sharpie.
“You got a minute?” Patrick sounded stressed.
“Yeah, sure.” This couldn’t be good. Jonathan put down his bag and sat down on the sofa. He kicked off his boots and leaned back, closing his eyes. He wasn’t really sure whether he wanted to hear what Patrick had to say or not.
“We saw April today.”
“What?” This must be some kind of joke.
“At the supermarket. With some guy named Josh.”
What? Jonathan had the sudden urge to throw his phone against the wall. All these weeks she’d been right under his nose. In Chicago. He knew that she hadn’t been in Pittsburgh, but that she had been here all this time…
“Abby promised her to not breathe a word to you, but I didn’t. Are you alright, Jonny?”
“Peachy,” he mumbled and leaned back on the sofa again. Deep breaths. He needed to calm down. The woman had left him alone, but he couldn’t and wouldn’t forget her. Even if she was with another man. The only thing he wanted was a proper explanation from her. She’d said that she didn’t want to get hurt. And then she’d ended the call. Ever since then he’d wondered what she meant by that.
Now that he knew that she was in fact in Chicago, his chances of finding her were a lot higher. He would team up with Patrick again and look for her. When he found her and she told him, face to face, that she didn’t have feelings for him and didn’t want to see him, he’d leave her alone. It would be hard, but he only wanted her to be happy.