Читать онлайн "Just Play" автора Hart Taylor - RuLit - Страница 10


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She shivered and motioned toward the corner of the lobby with a sign above a pub opening labeled ‘MacCools.’ “C’mon, let’s get in there. I swear this place really is haunted.”

Without thinking, he put a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Shrugging out of his grasp, she pulled back. “You don’t need to touch me,” she said with a mixture of light humor and stern warning. “There’s no call for that.”

Clumsily, he stopped moving, not liking how she seemed repelled by him.

Emotion glistened in her eyes as she turned back. “It’s silly, but I’ve always felt bad for her.” She stopped walking. “The lady that was waiting for her soldier…she loved him so much that she went crazy, literally so crazy that she ended her life.” She shook her head.

His mouth went dry. Inexplicably, he wanted to take her into his arms and comfort her.

Her eyes fluttered, and she waved a hand in the air and continued moving through the opening. “Sorry, let me show you where I’ll be playing.”

They walked in toward a row of stools lined up against a counter with classic Irish décor all over the walls.

Sam didn’t know what to make of Tiffany or the hotel, but the pub had a distinctly different feeling than the hotel lobby. Not creepy at all.

A tall man, probably in his mid-twenties, wearing a rock and roll shirt with a goatee was rubbing down the counter. His grin widened when he saw Tiffany. Dropping the cloth, he hopped over the front and let out a low rumble. “Tiiffaanny!” He took her into his arms and twirled her around.

Even though Sam had no right to feel jealous, he couldn’t deny that he didn’t like this guy whirling her in a circle, and probably more than anything, he really didn’t like the way Tiffany giggled like a little girl. “Stop, Jared. Stop!” She got louder as he went faster.

After putting her down, he kept her close and rested his hands on her shoulders, completely ignoring Sam. Sam was glad to notice he was quite a bit taller than this guy. Even most quarterbacks couldn’t beat his six foot four, and he’d always liked that. Yeah, he knew it was a stupid thing to be cocky about, but whatever gave him an advantage at the moment was okay with him. Lately, he didn’t feel like he had a whole lot of advantages.

The guy named Jared grinned at her like a stupid junior high boy. “I heard about Brett,” he said, and his smile faltered as he rubbed his lips together in distaste.

At the mention of her ex, Tiffany’s face sobered. Tugging back, she removed Jared’s arms and rolled her eyes. “I don’t want to talk about Brett. Let’s see the stage.”

Jared got intense. “Hey, I respect the fact you want to wait until marriage. All of us did. We told Brett he was a complete fool.”

Tiffany stilled. Then her eyes hardened. “Let’s see the stage.”

Sam could tell that Jared felt caught. His cheeks flushed red, and then he shook his head. “Okay.” Finally Jared flashed a look to Sam. He gave him one of those looks that told Sam he recognized him, but he didn’t know from where yet. “Hey.”

Sam followed them to the other side of the room where there was a little stage. He knew it was unreasonable, but he was pretty sure he hated this dude. “Hey.”

Jared gestured to the stage. “We’re going to add some more stage floor, so you’ll have more room for some guitarists and stuff—”

“I don’t have anyone else.”

Jared paused, frowning. “What?”

Tiffany moved over to the microphone and checked out the equipment. “The band was Brett’s. It’s just me.” Tiffany pulled the mic off and flipped a button, doing some tests for volume.

Jared moved closer to her. “We didn’t want a soloist tonight. It’s a weekend. The crowd wants a band.”

Tiffany gave him a confused smile. “Does it matter?”

Jared shoved away, moving back to the counter. “I need to go try to book someone else if you’re solo.”

“Wait,” Tiffany pleaded. “Look, I need this money, okay. I promise I’ll keep the crowd.”

Jared turned back, letting out a sigh. “Boss man would be mad. I wish I could, but the last soloist I had in here tanked—hard.”

Sam watched Tiffany pick up a strand of hair and twirl it in quick, nervous swirls. The swirling looked painful to him. “Dang it,” she said quietly and looked at the floor.

Sam couldn’t believe that he wanted to solve this problem for her. This was a girl he’d only met yesterday, but he did. More importantly, he could solve it. For a second, he wondered about the fact that he didn’t feel any of the nervousness or angst that he’d felt lately in regards to going out of his comfort zone. All he felt right now was the need to help her. “Uh, Jared,” he called out.

Jared paused mid-texting. “Yeah?” He looked annoyed, like Sam was interrupting him.

“Do you have an extra guitar or keyboard here?”

“What are you doing?” Tiffany asked.

Jared hesitated then put his phone away. “Yeah,” he said, moving to the back. “We do have an extra guitar back here, and I can call and have the hotel staff pull in a piano for us.” He frowned and looked back. “Do you play?”

Sam stared into Tiffany’s questioning blue eyes and smiled. “A little.”

The truth was that if Sam hadn’t been able go to the University of Miami on a football scholarship, he would have gone to Julliard on a music scholarship. He loved to sing, and he was good at it. However, what he really loved was to play the piano, guitar, and violin. His mother, before she’d passed when he was twelve, had told him once that his talent in life was to flood the earth with music. In the end though, he’d chosen football as his profession. He tried not to dwell on the choice. When he did, he wondered if his mother would have been disappointed by it. Granted, he was rusty. These days, he mostly just tinkered with the piano now and then, but he was still better than average.

Jared brought him a guitar, and Sam turned to Tiffany. “Go get yours, and let’s see what we know together.”

Complete doubt filled her face. “Really?”

Putting the strap over his shoulder, he grinned. “Hey, I might not be Brett, but I think I can handle one gig.”

Shaking her head back and forth, she let out a scoff. “All right.” She headed back to the truck to get her guitar.

He sat up on the stage next to the microphone, which he turned off. Softly, he went into a Bon Jovi song he knew by heart. He was a third of the way into the song and singing the lyrics softly when he heard her guitar match him and her voice join his.

Looking up, she met his eyes and grinned. She looked caught up in the moment and there was wonder on her face.

What she didn’t know was that the emotions he could easily read all over her face were the same ones he was experiencing in his heart.

He hadn’t jammed with anyone since he’d played with friends back in high school. Truth be told, he hardly thought about playing anymore since most of his life had been so focused on football. For a brief moment, he wondered why he hadn’t grabbed his guitar or sat at his piano during the recent and loneliest period of his life.

It felt good. It felt a lot better than the therapy he’d been forking over a grand per an hour for. Warmth filled his chest. He’d needed this more than he’d realized.

The song ended, and they both simply stared at one another with matching stupid grins on their faces. He shook his head and pulled the guitar off. “You’re good.”

Amazement swept into her eyes. “I’m good?” She let out a light laugh. “Sam Dumont seriously knows how to play Bon Jovi?” She sounded mystified. “Wait.” She put her hand on his guitar. “What else can you play?”

The heat rose onto his cheeks. He could feel it. “I don’t know much country, but I can kind of adjust to whatever song you’re playing. I had some friends in high school, and we messed around a lot.”

Reaching forward, she tugged out some sheet music. “Can you read music?”



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