The same woman who kicked you painfully in the shin earlier today, and called you obtuse, he reminded himself. It was no good, he couldn’t talk himself out of it.
She came back with a plate laden with food. How had she known exactly what he liked and given him extra portions? She brought him another glass of sweetened tea, with a double slice of lemon—just the way he liked it.
“Did I so something wrong? Something you don’t fancy?”
“No, it’s great! It was very thoughtful of you. Go on and serve yourself. Thanks.”
She glanced over her shoulder as she walked back to the table. She was checking to see if he was watching. He ducked his head to avoid her eyes, but stared after her as soon as she turned around.
She hadn’t known what he liked, but what Pete liked. He wasn’t going to live in Pete’s shadow. The sooner they both realized it, the better things would be. He’d set her straight, he’d talk to her. Deep inside, he knew he wouldn’t. He’d let her dote on him, turn her affection from her dead husband to him, because he was a lonely man, who’d never had a woman look at him like that.
She came back with her plate which was almost as full as his. “I realized I’d not only skipped breakfast, but lunch as well. I’m starving!”
Deacon waited for her to begin eating before he took his first bite. She noticed, but said nothing.
“Is it good?”
“Delicious,” he said, feigning excitement.
It probably was, but to Deacon Stewart, his world had just been set on its ear again, and the food tasted rather like chalk dust. Not until coffee and dessert were served, did he get his sense of taste back.
Dino had gone all out. Guessing that a band would have been difficult to pick for this crowd which ranged in age from eighty to eighteen, he had arranged to borrow the Karaoke machine from the restaurant. They were wheeling it in, getting it all set up.
Three of the girls jumped up first and sang a Rhianna song complete with dancing. They were pretty good, if you liked that kind of music. Another sang Madonna’s Like a Virgin, directing some of the lyrics and gestures at Deacon. He wanted to sink under the table, when Kacy looked at him, raising an eyebrow. He shook his head, telling her it meant absolutely nothing.
A group of boys got up, singing their own version of a song by Justin Timberlake, obviously a parody they had created. Their dancing was laughable, but added some light hearted entertainment and a drew focus from Deacon, especially when one of them approached the girl who’d sung the Madonna song. He gave her a lap dance, practically gyrating his hips in her face. She played along happily, sticking a dollar bill in the top of his loose fitting jeans.
Dino sang an old Elvis song, extremely well, and then an duet with Mrs. Cooper the song from Same Time Next Year. She and her husband paired up for a few old time favorites and then everyone wanted Deacon to sing.
“No, I can’t get up.”
He waved their requests away. He knew it wouldn’t last long, but he’d keep denying it until forced to sing. He did have a nice voice, but he wasn’t used to singing solo. He was great in a chorus or a choir, but he didn’t like the limelight, which was why he had chosen backstage work.
“Perhaps Kacy would join me in a song,” Dino said, holding out his hand to Kacy. “She’s got one of the prettiest voices I’ve heard.”
Blushing hotly, she agreed to sing with him. It looked like a man, and his little girl standing there, so Dino sat on a stool while Kacy stood beside him. They chose a song that was as unexpected as it was lovely, Desert Rose by Sting. Deacon didn’t really focus on it since the microphone was being pressed into his hands.
“You now!” Kacy declared loudly, then muffled the microphone. “I made a bloody fool of myself, it’s your turn.”
Grinning as if she’d bite him for refusing, he accepted the microphone meekly. “Probably break every window in the place, but I’ll try.”
The teenage girls cheered and jumped around bouncing lusciously. Closing his eyes for a moment, he asked for an obscure song, hoping they didn’t have it. Unfortunately for him, it was a very extensive library and they had Still Got the Blues For You by Gary Moore.
It had been a couple years since he had sung in front of anyone, and he was a little rusty, but he still sounded pretty decent. No one said or did anything when he stopped, and for a minute he thought he’d done something wrong, hit a bad note, gotten the lyrics backwards or something. Then Kacy started to clap and the rest joined in. He looked up at her as she took the microphone away. There were tears in her eyes. His hand brushed hers as she took the microphone back to Dino.
“I want to request something,” Dino said to Kacy. “I want to hear you sing that song from Pretty Woman. What was it? The one near the end?”
Pain washed her features. “Dino, I can’t!” she gasped without remembering the microphone. “Please, don’t make me,” she whispered. Anguish filled her elfish features.
“Kacy, please, for an old friend?”
He cued the music and it started. She nearly missed the first beat, but caught up just in time. “It must have been love, but it’s over now….”
©2021 Dellani Oakes