A week after the new year, the children returned to classes. Emmitt was excited to go to preschool for the first time. Danae’s attitude was slightly more reserved. Emm was her baby, the last of the “Murphy Munchkins,” and her feelings were mixed.
She stood in the doorway watching her boys sleep just another minute before she woke Eamon. Emmitt had a bath the evening before and even went to bed early all by himself. If only Eamon was that simple, she thought with a smile. Emmitt was already awake, well-rested and ready to get up.
“Mama,” he said quietly with a huge smile. “Good morning!”
“Oh, my baby boy,” she sighed. “Good morning sweetheart.” She knelt down to hug him, and he ran to her from the bottom bunk. “Let me wake Eamon, and I’ll get you some breakfast. Sound good?”
“Yeah!” he said happily.
Elyse had gotten up with the help of her brand new alarm clock, for which she had begged her parents, and Andy was up and making coffee in the kitchen. Emmitt ran from behind her and squealed with excitement, Danae right behind him. “Good morning, beautiful,” Andy greeted her.
She walked to him and kissed him. “Good morning, my handsome prince. Thank you for starting the coffee. What’s for breakfast this morning? Shall I make pancakes?”
Emmitt squealed and giggled. “Yes please!”
Danae busied herself making batter while Andy kept the kids on schedule for school. She would drive them that morning since it was Emmitt’s first day. It wasn’t because he was scared or didn’t want to go. Seeing him off to classes was more for her. She didn’t anticipate it would be without emotion, either.
At 8:30, the kids and Danae piled into her SUV and they drove to the school. In a way, she was ready for them to go back, but at the same time, she would miss Emmitt and all the fun they had together playing and learning. It was a big moment for both of them.
Danae parked out in front of the school and Elyse blew a kiss as she ran for the door, eager to greet her friends. Eamon lagged behind a bit, curious to see what would happen with Emmitt. Danae walked him to the front door, his little hand in hers.
“I’m so excited, Mama!” he chirped, Eamon a few steps ahead of them. “I can’t wait!”
Danae knelt down at the bottom of the steps, turned him toward her and looked into his eyes. “You’re going to make all kinds of new friends, and learn a bunch of good stuff here.” She rubbed noses with him. “Lysie and Eamon will come home with you on the school bus, okay?”
“Yes, Mama,” he nodded. “I’mma miss you.”
Danae blinked back tears. “Oh, I’m going to miss you, too, baby boy.”
She stood and waved as Emmitt walked toward the door, Eamon waiting for him just inside. “Bye Mama!” he waved as she watched him disappear.
The significance of the morning’s events finally hit her and she walked to a bench near the front door, unable to contain the tears any longer, and she cried.
“You were gone a while,” Andy commented when she returned home. “Was everything okay, my sweet?”
She breathed a heavy sigh. “Yes, I was just not ready to let him go. They all grew up so fast. If I blink, tomorrow they’ll be teenagers. Where did it go, Andy?”
“Aww, baby,” he said and hugged her. “It’s an inevitable fact of life. Kids grow up, we grow older.” A smile of mischief crossed his face. “We do, however, have the house all to ourselves until after three. Hows about you and me take advantage of the sitch?”
She shook her head, laughing. “You wouldn’t be my Andy if you didn’t suggest it, babe. But I think it’s a great idea.”
The crowd chanted her name as she stood nervously backstage. The emcee stood front and center, mic in hand. “She’s the hottest name in music. Let’s give an Isla Paradiso welcome to Nae!”
Hearing her intro, she walked on rubbery legs to the stage. Andy was seated at the piano, ready to play, and he smiled at her when she approached him. A wink and a blown kiss was all she needed, and she seated herself in front of Andy’s piano. He began to play a hit made famous by Danae’s great grandmother, and she settled down, ready to sing.
The first note that left her lips started the crowd cheering and cameras flashing. No longer nervous, she settled into the song and belted out the notes perfectly…
“Nae?” Andy whispered quietly into her ear as she sang in her sleep. “Nae, baby.”
“Huh?” She stirred and looked at him, sleep heavy in her eyes. “What?”
Andy chuckled. “You must have been having a good dream, honey. You were singing.”
“Yeah,” she stretched and rubbed her eyes. “I dreamed I was on stage at this huge venue, playing to a packed house. You were on the piano behind me, and I was singing Nana Destiny’s big hit.”
That old guilty feeling snuck up on Andy and bit him. “See? I shouldn’t have encouraged you to quit singing.”
“Babe, it was just a dream.” She snuggled back into his arms. “Don’t read anything into it.”
“But I still feel guilty for letting you quit. I was so selfish—”
She looked him in the eyes. “Shh. You weren’t selfish at all. Look at my face and tell me I have one regret about staying home to raise our kids.”
“I know, but it kills me when I think of what you could have been, honey. That’s all.” He kissed her nose and pulled her close.
“I would never trade what could have been for what I have. Ever. Andy, I love you so much. I just want to be your wife and mama to those three babies.”
“Oh honey, I just crazy love you when you say that.” He snuggled her and kissed her. “How much longer until the bus comes, love?”
“About half an hour. I can’t wait to hear how his first day of school was. I’m glad you were home today. I would have cried all morning without this beautiful distraction.” She kissed him one last time. “I do have to get dressed, however. I think the bus driver would protest me retrieving the kids in the buff.”
Andy belly laughed. “I think the kids would protest that!”
Danae snorted. “That, too.”
Danae and Andy both waited out by the gate for the bus to arrive, and when it did Elyse was the first off. She ran to Andy and wrapped her arms around his waist. Eamon had Emmitt by the hand, and the two boys walked from the bus together until Emm saw Danae.
“Mama!” he squealed and ran to her. She kneeled down and opened her arms, wrapped him up and covered his face in kisses. And then she saw Eamon looking at both of them from behind the palm tree, hurt that neither of them had attention for him.
She gave Emmitt a kiss on the cheek and Andy took his hand, the three of them walked to the house together. Eamon stood staring at Danae, tears in his eyes. “Come here, sweetheart,” she called to him, her arms opened and ready.
Eamon shook his head. “I’m okay, Mama.”
“I’m not,” she replied. “I need some baby boy lovin’.” She motioned him to her and he finally approached her. She wrapped him in her embrace and covered him in kisses. “Ooh, Eamon, you are my special boy, you know that?”
He sniffled and wiped a tear from his cheek. “I am?”
“Of course!” she chirped. “You’re my first son. You have had my heart since I first saw your beautiful eyes. They’re just like mine, you know.”
“Yep! See?” She opened her eyes wide and looked at him, making a funny face. “Yours are just like mine. Not everyone can say they have purple eyes.” She wiggled her fingers, threatening a tickle, and Eamon erupted in a fit of giggles. Andy was standing on the front porch, watching them.
“You didn’t even have to touch him!” he laughed. “I’ll remember that.”
Danae looked at the black-haired, violet-eyed little boy in her arms and kissed his cheek. “I love you, Eamon Travis Murphy. Please never forget how much. Okay, sweetheart?”
“Yeah, Mama.” She released him from her grasp, and as he ran toward the house, she swatted his bottom gently. He turned around and smiled at her.
Andy walked to where she still kneeled and sat beside her. “Baby, you are the best mama to those kids. What happened out here?”
“Eamon saw me giving all the attention to Emm, and Elyse was wrapped around your waist and had your attention. He felt left out.”
He nodded. “It’s a good reminder to me, too, not to dedicate so much time to Lysie. I do have two sons that you so graciously gave me.”
Danae chuckled. “Well, you helped.”
He looked at her and raised his eyebrow. “Yeah I did,” he laughed. “I can help again later, too, if you catch my drift.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re insatiable, my Andy.”
“Yeah, well, you made me this way, my sweet.” They walked back into the house hand in hand. Trixie was sitting at the table with Elyse helping her with a difficult math problem.
“Don’t you have a date tonight, Trix?” Danae asked.
“Oh, no. Aaron had to cancel at the last minute,” she replied. She fiddled with the necklace he had given her for Snowflake Day and smiled. “It’s okay.”
“We have playoffs coming up, Trix. He’s under a lot of pressure.” Andy placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “He really didn’t want to cancel.”
“Do you mind if I ask you a question about Aaron?” Trixie turned to Andy.
“Not at all. Shoot.”
“Has he said anything about me? I’m so insecure after what happened.”
Andy sat down with her, took her hands and looked her in the eyes. “Trixie, you don’t have to worry about Aaron. That man adores you. I’ve never seen him like this, and I’ve known him for a long time. You’re good.”
“Hey Trix, I have an idea,” Danae suggested. “He’s working late at the stadium. Why don’t you pack a dinner and go to him? I bet he’d appreciate it, and you’ll still get to see him.”
Andy nodded. “Fantastic idea, my sweet. I know he loves that Spanish place by the resort. Go grab a couple of meals and surprise him. He never eats dinner when he’s alone.”
Trixie’s smiled brightened. “You don’t need me tonight?”
Danae shook her head. “No. Go on and be with Aaron. Their homework is almost done, and I just need to get dinner on the table. Have fun.” She hugged her friend and smiled as Trixie left the house, giddy.
The sun was down over the western horizon, and the kids were in bed, though she doubted that Elyse or Eamon were asleep. Trixie was still not home from the stadium. Andy walked to the patio, two glasses of wine in his hand, and sat down beside Danae.
“For you, my sweet.” She took the glass from his hand and just held it for a moment. The stars floated in the early evening sky and they caught her gaze. “Is something wrong, Danae?”
She took a sip of wine and shook her head. “No, babe. I was just remembering my dream. It was so real. The stars reminded me of the flashing lights in the crowd. I couldn’t believe so many people were there just to see me.”
He reached for her hand. “You’re extremely talented, baby. Why wouldn’t people flock to your concert?”
“Because no one knows my name. I’m a literal nobody in the music industry. I’m known simply because I’m a Jones and a Murphy. I did nothing to earn that fame except that I was born into the right family and married the right guy. I’ve earned none of it.”
“Sometimes, I’m glad you’re not known. Most times, I feel guilty.” Andy kissed her fingers.
Danae shrugged. “Sometimes, I feel the itch and I want to sing again. And then something happens like today with Eamon, and I remember why I gave it up in the first place. I love those babies with everything I have, and I love you even more.”
“Do you remember what I told you that night we were walking home from Darcey’s after Noel was born?”
“Which part, babe?”
“I told you that if you wanted a career, I want that for you. And if you wanted to stay home and raise our family, I want that for you. I still believe that, honey. Whatever you want to do, I want it for you.”
Danae snuggled up to Andy in his lounge chair and kissed him. “Just when I don’t think I can love you more, you go and say something sweet, and you sweep me off my feet all over again.”
“It’s my specialty, my love.” He motioned for her to get up, and he stood up behind her. “Let’s go make some beautiful music together, baby.”
A new coffeehouse opened on one of the minor islands in the county, and the talk around the town was that it would be THE place for live music. The newspaper reviewed it favorably, and the article reported that the owners were looking for fresh talent. Andy read the article with great interest.
He dialed the phone number listed in the paper and waited for an answer. In the background, the noise of a bustling store echoed as a hard-working barista picked up his call.
“Java Joe’s, how can I help you?”
“I have a quick question,” Andy said, not identifying himself. “What is the audition process for live music? I am a singer, and I’m curious.”
“The owner is here every day after four, and he’s available for auditions.”
“Do I need an appointment, or can I just walk in?” Andy asked, ready to take notes.
“Thank you. I’ll be in soon,” Andy said and ended the call. His smile was ear to ear as he walked to the media room to set up the upcoming press conference. Aaron was setting up his spot with a bottle of water and his notes and caught Andy deep in thought.
“A penny for your thoughts, Murph. You look preoccupied.”
“That new coffeehouse on the small island. They’re doing auditions, and I thought I’d arrange one for Nae. She’s been feeling the itch.”
“Don’t you think you should ask her first?”
“Well, yeah, of course I would. But she’s been having dreams about it. She gets that starry look in her eyes. I know she misses it. And now that Emm is in school full time, she has the time. Though you’re taking our nanny away from us.”
Aaron laughed. “Sorry, not sorry about Trix. She surprised me last night with dinner. She actually had some good input for me on the plays, and we worked pretty well together. I have it bad with her, Murph. I’m sunk.”
“I’m happy for you,” Andy said and patted his friend on the back. “You deserve it.”
He had about an hour before the press conference was due to air, and he walked quickly to his office to grab his notes. The newspaper was still on his desk, and he folded it into his briefcase.
Danae was in the kitchen preparing veggies for dinner when Andy opened the front door. “I’m home, baby,” he called into the house.
“In here!” she called back. He dropped his briefcase into his office, but not before taking the newspaper from it. He tucked it under his arm and walked into the kitchen, the paper opened to the review of the coffeehouse. “What’s this?”
“There’s a new coffeehouse on the small island. They’re looking for talent for their live music venue. I, um, thought maybe you might be interested.”
She wiped her hands on a towel and took the paper from him. “What kind of talent?”
“I think bands mostly. But I’m sure they’d love a singer/songwriter with the voice of a legend.”
She poured a glass of wine for him and shook her head. “Oh, I don’t know. It’s a big commitment. Who will care for the kids during a gig? What happens if they actually want me? I have never done my original stuff before. I rode Nana Destiny’s coattails in the Shores.”
“Baby, if you really want to sing again, this is your shot. Here, you can do as much or as little as you want. You are in control.” He sat at the island on a stool and fingered the paper. “You know I’ll support you no matter what you want to do.”
“I know, and I love you for it. I have been wanting to try my hand in it again. Away from the city, maybe it would be better, you know?” Her mind raced, trying to remember where her guitar was, where her music journals were packed.
“I thought maybe now that the kids are a little older, you might want the chance. Think about it, my sweet. Maybe the kids would even want to see their mama sing? Who knows.”
“Dang it Andy, now I’m excited about this! When can I audition?”
“The owner is there after four every day.” He watched as her smile faded.
“I can’t be there after four. The kids need me in the afternoon.”
“What about Trixie? Can’t she take the kids while you audition, baby?”
“I don’t know how much longer we’re going to have her living here, Andy. If things work out with Aaron, she will move in with him, sooner than later.”
“She isn’t gone yet. Nae, take this chance. What do you have to lose?”
“Maybe you’re right. I’ll look for my guitar, and my notebooks are in storage, I think. I’ll go there tomorrow and rifle through the boxes.” An uneasy smile settled on her lips. “I’m really going to do this!”
He smiled sweetly at her. “That’s my girl.”
The next day after the school bus left with all three children aboard, Danae drove to the storage unit to look through the boxes of stuff for which they simply had no room at the house. The books were packed in with her college memories, songs she had written during her lonely, pre-Andy days. She closed up the box and left the building, a renewed sense of purpose building within her.
“Trix, I’m home,” she called as she walked through the back door. Trixie was watching television, her work done for the morning.
“Did you find what you needed, Nae?”
“I did. Hey, could you cover me this afternoon? I have an errand to run around three, I might be gone for an hour or ninety minutes. Andy wants me to do something on the small island.”
Trixie’s curiosity was piqued. “What do you have in mind?”
“Don’t tell the kids yet, but I’m going to audition at the new coffeehouse. I’ve been getting the itch to sing again, now that Emmitt is in school. Andy is encouraging me.”
“Oh, Nae!” Trixie squealed. “That would be fantastic!”
Danae smiled. “This time, I’m going to sing my own stuff. I don’t want a free ride with my Nana’s music. If I stay relatively unknown except locally, I’ll still be living my dream. Both of them.”
Trixie hugged Danae tightly. “I’m so excited for you!”
The day felt like it was moving in slow motion for Danae as she picked through her notebooks, trying to remember the tunes that went with the lyrics. For the audition, she thought to herself, maybe one Destiny Hill song wouldn’t hurt. Those she knew by heart, and she knew exactly which one she would sing.
At three o’clock, when the bus was getting ready to arrive at the house, Danae pulled out of the driveway headed for the dock. From there, she would ride the water taxi to the small island and then walk to the coffee shop. Though she was sure of her skills, her self-confidence was next to nil, and she wished Andy had come with her for moral support. But he was busy with a home game and couldn’t make it.
She opened the door to the shop and the aroma of roasting coffee tantalized her nose. Considering the hour, the place was dead, save for a few people working on their laptops. Danae figured it was the football game that was affecting business. The owner of the shop stood behind the counter helping the barista with something. He recognized her immediately, but not because of talent. He knew she was Danae Jones, daughter of football legend Travis Jones.
“Miss Jones,” he greeted her. “Such an honor to have you in our shop today. What can I get for you?”
Danae blushed fiercely. “I am actually here for an audition. I’d like to sing for you, if I may. And you may call me Danae.”
“Hmm,” he contemplated. “Well, let’s see what you’ve got.”
She had a prop microphone she used to practice, and though she felt stupid, just having it in her hand was more natural than having nothing at all. She cleared her throat and sang the first verse of Nana Destiny’s biggest hit, and she did it acapella. Her pitch was flawless and she knew in her heart she was doing her nana proud.
When she had finished the chorus, she bowed her head and lowered the mic to her side. The owner stood, leaned against the coffee bar, thunderstruck.
“That’s a pretty impressive set of pipes you have there, Miss Danae,” the owner said. “My name is Christopher.” He led her to a table where they sat. “Your voice is hauntingly like Destiny Hill’s, Miss Danae. I really don’t have room for a singer with no band, but I want to sign you anyway.”
“My husband can play keyboard, and I usually sing with my guitar. But I didn’t want to lug it on the water taxi. It will be different when Andy can pilot our boat. I’m not a natural sailor,” she said, turning a warm tone of pink.
Christopher nodded. “We can supply some instruments, like a drum set or keyboards. If your husband wants to accompany you on stage, that’s fine. But an acoustic set would be classic coffeehouse music.” He stood to shake her hand and gave her his business card. “Give me a call tomorrow, and I’ll schedule your first show. The weekends are already pretty booked, but maybe we could start you on a Sunday afternoon? If you bring in some business, we’ll look at a better time slot.”
Danae was shaking with excitement, her hands trembled as she reached for Christopher’s card. “I will call you tomorrow for certain. Thank you so much for the opportunity.” On wobbly legs, she walked to the door and stopped just outside of the shop. I did it! She thought excitedly.
She ran to the dock to wait for the next taxi, wanting so badly to call Andy. But she wanted to see his face when she told him. It was all because of him. His encouragement, his love, his nudging. And she was so thankful for him.
Trixie had the kids fed and homework done by the time Danae finally walked through the back door. Andy was watching the game day results on the big screen, and as soon as she entered the house, he sensed something good.
“There’s my songbird,” he said happily. He got up from the couch and walked to her, the grin on her face gave her away. “So? How did it go?”
“I’m supposed to call the owner tomorrow,” she said, trying to build the suspense. “I’m looking at a possible Sunday show. Maybe even this week!”
He hugged her tightly and lifted her from the ground. “Oh baby, I’m SO proud of you!” He spun her around once and kissed her tenderly. Into her ear, he whispered, “I knew you could do it!”
When he put her down, she clung to him, needing his embrace. “Sunday is an away game, isn’t it?”
She felt him sigh. “It is, my sweet. But don’t you worry! I’m going to see your show, even if it isn’t the first one. Season is almost over, and with our record, we have home-field advantage for the championship. Traveling is almost done, honey.”
“I’m not sure I want to do this until you can be there for me. I need you in that audience the first time. I wouldn’t even mind if you played keyboard for me. It’s allowed.”
Andy cringed. “Baby, you know I’m not made for music. I mean, I can play, but I’m not that good at it.”
“I know,” she replied. “You don’t have to. It was just a suggestion. Besides, Christopher said the acoustic guitar and vocals are just what he needs for that ‘classic coffeehouse’ sound, whatever that means.”
“You’re going to sing your own stuff?”
Danae nodded. “I’m going to try, if I can remember how to play the songs I wrote all those years ago. Some of them are sappy love songs, but most of them are about being lonely. I wrote all of them before I met you.”
“Lonely, love songs. That sounds like coffeehouse music to me. Oh, honey, you’re going to be wonderful! I can’t wait to see you on stage again.”
“It will feel weird to stand in front of people and sing again. But I think it will feel awesome, too. I’m very excited!”
“I am so proud of you, Nae. I crazy love you.”
“Always and forever I love you.”
“This is Collins,” Christopher answered his cell.
“Christopher?” Danae asked timidly, thinking she had misdialed the number.
“Yes, who is this?”
“Danae Murphy… I mean Jones. We spoke yesterday about a show, and you wanted me to touch base today.”
“Oh yes, Miss Danae!” His voice was peppy as he recalled their conversation. “So, this Sunday we have an opening for a two-hour set. If you are interested, it’s yours.”
She cringed. “That sounds fantastic, but—”
“There is always a but.” He sounded annoyed.
Danae was instantly sorry. “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. It’s just that my husband will be out of town this weekend, and I would really like for him to be there.”
“You’re rather new at this to be making demands, are you not, Miss Jones?” Christopher asked.
“I suppose I am. If your kind offer still stands, I’d be honored to play on Sunday, Andy or no Andy.”
Christopher was silent on the other end of the phone. “Andy… is your husband Andy Murphy?”
She swallowed hard. This could either backfire or be an advantage. “Yes…”
“You should have said so! I’m a huge Sharks fan. When we first met, I never made the connection. I just remembered your maiden name was Jones.”
Danae breathed a huge sigh of relief. “You see, this singing thing was his idea, his encouragement. When we were first married, I had a career in singing that I gave up to raise our family. We lived in Starlight Shores then. He’s always felt guilty for taking me from it, no matter how much I reassured him. It’s really important to me that he’s there for me.”
Danae… Nae… He knew it sounded familiar. “Your stage name was Nae, right?”
“How did you know? I don’t recall telling you that.” She was amazed.
“I remember hearing about you. The name stuck out because Nae is so unusual. I should have connected the dots when you sang a Destiny Hill piece yesterday. You, my dear, are a living legend.”
She blushed red hot. “I’m not sure I’d say legend, Christopher. My nana was, and my daddy was. I’m nowhere near what they were, with all due respect.”
“Well, let’s see what you can do at a gig. When you have a crowd overflowing onto the sidewalk, I’ll decide how legendary you truly are.”
“I appreciate the kind compliments. I’ll see you on Sunday?” Danae sighed.
“The following Sunday, Miss Jones. For Andy.” Christopher said. “Four to six. Your show will be well advertised.”
“I just have one favor to ask, Christopher, if you please. I rode my nana’s reputation in Starlight Shores. If I make it here, I want it to be with my own stuff, my own merit.”
“Got it. I will leave it all up to your name recognition. Your reach was larger than you perceived it, Nae. I expect great things from you.”
Danae thanked him and hung up the phone.
It was a long afternoon waiting for Andy to come from work. The kids were itching to get into the pool with him since it was a warmer day, and if he agreed she knew he’d be occupied with the three of them until dinnertime. Preparing it was a distraction, albeit a poor one.
At his normal time, Andy opened the front door, his hand full of mail. “Baby, I’m home!” he called into the house as he set his briefcase in his office. He walked to the kitchen and set the mail down, loosened his tie and sat. “Long damned day.”
“You have no idea,” she sighed.
“Daddy!” Elyse called from her bedroom, already in her bathing suit. “Would you take us swimming? Please?”
“Oh, sweet pea, not right now,” he called back to her. “I need to just relax for a few minutes.” A disappointed whine came followed by tears. “It’s not going to work today, Lysie. Daddy’s tired.”
“Fine!” she screamed and slammed her bedroom door.
“Ooh, she’s getting a little attitude,” Andy said. “If she doesn’t drop that, she won’t go swimming until summer. I’m in no mood for that today.” He buried his face in his hands and sighed. “The away game is in the Shores this weekend. I am dreading it.”
Danae grabbed a wine glass and filled it. Gently, she set it down in front of him. “We’ll get started early on the silliness. I have some news, too.”
“I hope your news is better than mine, baby. I could use a lift.”
“I have my first show scheduled.” She smiled at him. “It turns out, the owner is a big Sharks fan, and he scheduled me for the Sunday after this one coming. He called me a living legend.”
“Really? He must have figured out who you are.”
“Well, he knew I’m a Jones, despite the red hair. And then when I mentioned that I had been a singer in Starlight Shores, that was when he remembered me and my stage name. I hardly deserve the legendary status, babe.”
“You’re going to have a great show, honey. I’m so proud of you.” She sat beside him with her own glass of wine. “We should go to celebrate tonight. I could use a dinner at Kirby’s. Just you and me, what do you say, baby?”
“I’m all over it, Andy. Let’s go get ready. Trixie is home.” She stood and walked to the bedroom, Andy on her heels.
A week of practicing songs and getting the music perfect and Danae was ready for her show at the coffeehouse. She planned to do her own original songs and maybe do one Destiny Hill song toward the end of her set. Andy thought all her tunes were fantastic and couldn’t wait to hear them performed.
Her guitar was in its case and Andy packed it into the boat. He hitched the trailer to Danae’s SUV, and they were almost ready to go. Trixie was home with the kids, and Aaron would sit with her.
“You’re going to have a great show, Nae,” she said. “Tell me all about it when you get home! Break a leg!”
“Thanks, Trix,” Danae replied.
They arrived at the coffeehouse and other than the barista, the building was empty. Danae looked at Andy, a worried expression on her face. “I hope it gets busier in here, or it’s going to be a long two hours, babe.”
“I’m sure you’re going to draw a crowd, honey. There’s no way you couldn’t.” He kissed her forehead tenderly.
“You must be Nae?” the barista approached Danae. “Chris wanted to be here, but he had a problem at home. I’m supposed to tell you the lights and power are on the side of the stage behind the curtain.”
“Thanks,” Danae replied. She walked to the stage and took her guitar from its case. She flipped the power and tested the mic. When she was satisfied everything was working, she approached the mic and introduced herself to Andy, who was the only person in the audience.
Danae sang, strummed her guitar and poured her heart and soul into her first song, a ballad about love gone wrong.
Andy wondered quietly if it was about Dave, but in truth, it didn’t matter. The song was brilliant and he loved it.
For her next song, she sat on a stool and sang acapella. This one was another ballad, a beautifully written melodic song.
It was obviously touching a memory as she sang it, her voice cracked with emotion as the words left her mouth. Andy stood and cheered for her, wishing the rest of Isla Paradiso could hear her. And they could if only they would stop by the shop.
An hour into the set, and Andy remained the only person in the coffeehouse, and he felt terrible for her. And she was such a good sport, singing just for him and pouring everything she had into the performance. She picked up her guitar and sang a faster song. She belted out the notes and sounded perfect.
At the end of the two hours, with Andy sitting at a table alone, she quietly walked to the curtain, flipped the switches and gathered her guitar. He saw emotion rising up in her, and he knew she would need him.
Danae stepped off the stage and the tears welled in her eyes. He walked over to her, her face buried into her hands, and she wept.
“This was a disaster,” she cried as he held her.
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry. But you were fabulous.”
“The show was the worst thing ever. I’m done singing.”
“Whatever you want to do, baby. You know you’re always more than enough for me, exactly how you are.” He kissed her, took her hand and they sat together on the loveseat.
“I’m going to get an espresso. Would you like a coffee, honey?” She only nodded her head.
When he returned with their drinks, he set them down on the coffee table and sat beside her. “I just want to go back to being your wife and our babies’ mama, Andy. I’m done with the fantasy. This is proof that I never had it on my own. Any recognition I ever had, it was from Nana, and that’s it.”
“You know that isn’t true, Danae. You sang everything perfectly. Your pitch, your tone, the inflection of your voice. Honey, it was beautiful. You are so talented. But if you’re truly done, I understand.”
“I want to go home,” she sighed. They stood, and he embraced her once again.
“I want you to know, Nae, that you are beautiful, you are enough for all of us just as you are, and you are still all mine.” He kissed her forehead, wrapped his arm around her and escorted her from the coffeehouse. “Let’s go home, my love.”
“Hello?” Danae answered her cell as she and Andy sat by the pool and watched the kids as they swam.
“Nae, it’s Christopher. How was your show?”
“It was a trainwreck,” she said, trying to hide her disappointment. “Andy was the only one in the audience for the whole show. I won’t be coming back.”
He took a few moments to gather his thoughts. “I advertised your show. I don’t understand.”
“Oh, it’s okay, Christopher. I had my last hurrah, and I’m satisfied I made the right decision all those years ago. I’ll always be a wife and mother first. But I thank you for the opportunity to try my dream one last time.”
“I can’t entice you to come back and give it another chance, Nae?”
“Oh, no, I’m good, but thank you.”
“If you change your mind, Nae, you know where I am.” Christopher hated to see her show fail, especially when he knew she had great talent.
“Thank you again,” Danae said quietly and ended the call.
“You ended it, huh?” Andy whispered to her. He snuggled her close and kissed her. “Remember, whatever you want, I want it for you, too.”
“Yeah…” her voice trailed off. In a way, she was happy there was no more wondering what could have been. No more wondering if she had made the correct decision. No more wondering if she could still make a comeback. The question had been answered, once and for all.
Up Next: Chapter Thirty-One, Generation Five
Singing #3 and Singing #4 by Kiddo at Kiddo’s Dreams
Warm Hugs and Don’t Let Me Down by Sea at Sims Modeli
Best Friends Forever by Clover at Sims3Lover
Are You Sick Kiddo? By Spladoum at Mod The Sims
Comfort Poses, Don’t Die Daddy!, Emotions, First Day of School, Lost – Children, Meeting at the Bar, Meeting At The Park, and That’s My Girl by Bee at Poses By Bee
Coffee Bean Hipster’s Loft set from the Sims 3 store
Kiddo’s Concert Stage from Kiddo’s Dreams
Grand Piano and Microphone accessory by Severinka
Kitchen clutter and stage props from Around The Sims 3
Drums and stage props from D&M Creations
Guitar accessory by Modern Lover (Comes with Guitar Pose Pack)
Coffee Cup by spacesims at The Sims Resource
Danae’s hair by PeggyZone #66
As usual, if I have missed something, or you have a question about a specific item featured in the screenshots, just ask! I’ll do my best to provide you with a link.