Monday, June 12, 2006
EXCERPT: Misty Blue
By Dyanne Davis
Mia heart stopped. A tiny shiver began at her toes and traveled upward. Damien, she whispered. She reluctantly accompanied Keefe and Ashleigh to the nightclub and had not really been paying attention when the emcee called his name. Nothing could have prepared her for seeing the man she loved living out his dream. And to think she’d almost missed it.
She turned to look at her brother and Ashleigh. You knew he’d be here, didn’t you, Keefe? For an answer her brother kissed her forehead and held his hand out to Ashleigh, leaving Mia to deal with Damien on her on. He was right to do that. It was about time. A surge of pride filled her as she listened to Damien singing.
“I told you he was good,” she murmured as her brother and Ashleigh walked away. Though she spoke to them, her eyes remained fastened on the stage. On Damien.
As the background music played on, Damien began crossing the stage toward her, his eyes never leaving her face. She held her breath. It had been so long, and his face was unreadable. He was giving no indication that he was happy to see her.
Then it happened. On the stage he stopped directly in front of her and smiled, first a tiny little smile that could have been missed. Then the smile took over his entire face until he was grinning broadly. His eyes closed briefly and when they opened, the look he gave her was the same as the one he’d given her the first time she’d seen him and had fallen in love with him just from the look in his eyes.
As it had been the first time, the look mesmerized her, embraced her, and filled her with things she’d felt for only one man in her entire life-him. Her love was for him. Passion, lust and love tumbled through Mia and again her breath caught in her throat.
Right in front of her, suddenly Damien stopped singing and simply stared at her. Soon the entire audience was looking in her direction, no doubt wondering why the entertainer had stopped singing even though the music continued to play.
“Mia,” Damien whispered, for the first time admitting to himself that he’d been afraid she wouldn’t come. He’d almost called a dozen times to ask her, but hadn’t. He’d been determined not to give in to his feelings for her. Yet he had hoped that she would be there to witness his success. And now she was. And all he wanted in the world was to climb
down off that stage, take her in his arms and kiss her, and never let her out of his sight.
As he continued to stare at her, wanting to tell her those things, it finally registered that he wasn’t singing. He smiled again at Mia and waited for an answering smile before he resumed singing and turned to walk toward the other end of the stage.
This was it his moment in the sun. He glanced into the crowd of smiling faces, listened to the women screaming his name. Though it was just as he’d always imagined, the truth of the situation hit him as he sang two more numbers.
None of the attention meant what he’d thought it would. As much as he’d dreamed of a singing career, he wanted something else more. He wanted Mia in his arms. Now, not when the show was over. Now. He smiled at the audience, hoping they would forgive him for what he was about to do. If they didn’t well so be it.
Damien walked back toward Mia, hardly able to continue singing over the sudden lump constricting his vocal cords.
Mia’s attention was riveted on Damien. She didn’t want to miss a note. As he sang, her heart soared with love for him. Conflicted, she both wanted the show to go on forever and also to end-so that she could throw herself into his arms, beg him to forgive her, and assure him that she would trust him forever.
When Damien turned and smiled at her again, her heart fluttered erratically and a sudden, intense heat speared her and pooled in her belly. She wanted nothing more than to be in Damien’s arms. She needed to warn him not to come any closer but it was too late. He was coming closer and closer, and she was doing everything in her power to remain seated. She didn’t want to ruin Damien’s opening but God how she wanted to kiss him. He must have had the same thought because a moment before she could whisper, “No,” he walked off the stage and stood directly in front of her. In his eyes she saw a question.
“Mia, I love you.” Damien said hoarsely. “Can we try again?”
Her eyes shifted automatically to the door her brother had exited through and Damien shifted his body to block her view.
“I don’t want Keefe, Mia, I want you.”
Her heart soared. She didn’t need Keefe’s opinion on this one. She’d been given a second chance at loving Damien and she was darn well going to take it.
She flung herself into Damien’s arms. “I love you,” she murmured into his ear. “Can you ever forgive me?”
He pulled back a little to look at her. “I will if you’ll answer my question. You didn’t say,” he smiled. “Can we start over?” He held her tighter, not wanting to let her go.
“Yes, yes, and yes!” she answered and gave him her entire heart in that moment, without hesitation, without reservation. His lips claimed hers and as the kiss deepened, loud clapping exploded, bringing both of them back to planet Earth. Damien smiled down at her.
“Come on,” he urged, taking her hand and pulling her onstage with him. His arm firmly around her, he whispered directions to the band.
He began singing a ballad with music so sweet that each note wrapped around Mia like a warm hug. Then she heard the words, “Mia, I love you.” In that instant she realized he’d written the song for her and about her. She was holding back tears as he sang to her as if no one else in the world existed. When he was done, he pulled her to the center of the stage.
“This is Mia,” Damien said by way of introduction. “Isn’t she beautiful?” Everyone clapped and Damien grinned. “I guess you can all tell that I’m in love with her.” Again, the audience went wild.
As much as she wanted to be in Damien’ arms, Mia wasn’t keen about doing it with an audience. She gave his hand a squeeze and started to walk away, a little afraid that he wouldn’t let her off the stage.
He followed, kissed her one last time, and released her to return to his singing. She couldn’t believe it. She’d almost ruined things, but somehow it had all turned out fine. She smiled as she listened to Damien’s deep sultry voice belting out song after song. He’d made it.
“Hi, honey, mind if we join you?”
“Introduce yourself to the girl. She doesn’t know us.”
Startled, Mia pulled herself together enough to smile at the woman and man who’d just approached her table. She knew instantly who they were. Damien’s parents.
“Sure,’ she answered. She stuck her hand out. “I’m Mia,” she said and immediately felt like an idiot. There was not one person in the club that didn’t know her name.
“Yes, we know that, Mia,” the man answered. “My name’s Charles. Charles Terrell. Most everyone calls me Chuck. I’m Damien’s old man and this is Kathy, Damien’s old lady.”
“Damien’s mother,” Kathy corrected.
“So you’re the little piece of,”
“That wasn’t what I was going to say. So, Mia, you’re the little piece of fluff that’s been driving Damien crazy all these months? I’d sure like to know what you’ve got. My son’s nose is wide open. And honestly, you don’t look at all like what I expected.”
Mia felt the smile slipping from her face. Instant compassion for Damien flooded her. For months he’d put up with crap from her brother who until recently had despised him and had done everything in his power to keep her away from him, and at the same time he must have been taking crap at home.
“I beg your pardon,” Mia said. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t listen to Chuck. He’s just trying to start trouble. He’s only playing with you. Don’t take him seriously.”
Mia studied them both as she listened to the lilting notes of Damien’s song, praying that he would be at her side soon to deal with his parents. She smiled at Kathy but didn’t answer.
“Damien told me that you thought you were better than him.”Charles continued his attack.
“I never said that, and I never thought it,’ Mia defended. “There were other things going on in my life that had nothing to do with Damien.”
“Yeah, we heard. While you were stringing our son along, you were engaged. We know all of that.”
Mia’s head snapped toward Charles and she wondered why she was being attacked. This man was almost an exact replica of the man she loved, broad shoulders, beautiful chestnut complexion, a mouth full of white teeth and a killer smile. He didn’t, however, have Damien’s deep sexy voice, though his own wasn’t bad. And he definitely didn’t inspire love in her the way his son did. No, on the contrary, what she was feeling for the older man was distaste. There was something slimy about him. While his mouth spoke of her hurting Damien, he’d used his eyes to undress her. She’d felt it as surely as if he’d used his hands and she was disgusted.
“Leave her alone, Chuck.”
“I’m just saying I don’t see what all the fuss is about. She’s just a little slip of a thing. I don’t see how she got the boy all twisted up like she did. I want to know her secret. What’s the harm in asking her that?”
“It’s none of your business.”
Mia turned grateful eyes to Kathy before scanning the stage for Damien, praying he would hurry. The show was over but there were still three or four women hanging around him, wanting his autograph, and he was obliging.
“Damien,” she whispered, knowing he couldn’t possibly hear her. But at that instant he turned and caught her eye and his eyes widened in alarm. She could tell he was rushing through the next autograph.
Then he literally jumped from the stage and came toward her. A sigh of relief escaped Mia. This was one time she was grateful to be rescued. She stood and so did Kathy and Charles.
“Hey, you came. I didn’t see you,” Damien said to his parents.
“No, I suppose you didn’t. Not when you kept looking over this way, at this little girl here.”
Again Mia felt dirty. There wasn’t anything wrong with the man’s words, not even with the way he’d said them. But her skin was crawling all the same.
Damien’s arm slid around her and she could almost swear that he was trying to push her behind him. Damien answered his father’s unasked question. “I didn’t know Mia was going to be here.”
“Then how did she rate a special seat right here in the front while your mother and I were stuck in some funky little corner? And by the way, hot shot, we had to pay to get in.” Charles was poking Damien in the chest with his finger as he punctuated each word. Kathy was biting her lip and Damien looked extremely uncomfortable. Mia was embarrassed for him. She could understand family humiliation. It was her specialty. Her mother had given her a lifetime’s worth. Suddenly she noticed something she should have noticed before. Charles was feeling no pain. It was obvious he’d had more than a few drinks.
“How come she rates and we don’t? We’ve been the ones supporting you. She had her ass off somewhere doing God knows what, with whoever. But we know it wasn’t you. So why did you reserve a front row seat for her and not us?”
Now it was definitely not her imagination. Damien was positioning his body in front of hers. He was trying to protect her. Instead of feeling the intense annoyance and aversion for his father she had felt a moment before, Mia felt a surge of love for Damien.
“I’ll pay for your admission and your drinks. Just tell me what you spent.”
The emotion in Damien’s voice was pure exasperation. Mia was extremely familiar with that tone.
“Fifty dollars, admission and drinks.” Kathy looked at her son and smiled weakly.
Mia watched as Damien’s hand went to his pocket.
“How the hell would you know? Did you pay for anything?” Charles interrupted. “It was a hundred.”
Observing this family situation from behind Damien, Mia saw Damien tighten his jaw. She also saw as he counted out the money and handed it to his father that he didn’t have anything left in his wallet.
“Now that you have your money, can I please give the two of you a proper introduction? Mia, my parents, my mother, Kathy Morrison, and my father, Charles Terrell.” He continued before anyone else got the chance to speak, “No, they’re not divorced. They were never married. Sorry, Pop, I just thought I’d beat you to it.”
He kissed his mother’s cheek and Mia watched the woman’s eyes as they became veiled. Damien had never spoken a lot about his parents, just that he’d moved back home with his mother. His father, he hadn’t mentioned.
“I told her to call me Chuck.”
“You hate it when anyone calls you Chuck.” For a moment Damien stared at his father in disbelief, then recovered. “Come on, everyone, let’s sit down,” Damien said.
“I still want to know how she rates a front row table,” Charles said as he crumpled Damien’s money and put it in his pocket.
“Ashleigh asked me to reserve a table. I did.”
“You’re banging them both?”
Damien leaned over and whispered to his father and when he pulled away, the man looked Mia over, a slight sneer on his face.
“I’m sorry, Mia. It seems my son thinks I’ve offended you. Perhaps I was wrong in my assessment of you. Maybe you didn’t think you were too good for Damien.”
He turned from Mia to glare at his son. “Maybe it’s my son who’s gotten weak since he moved back home with his mama.” A huge scowl
replaced the sneer. “Man, this woman’s got you whipped. I warned you about that.” He then turned his glare on Kathy. “So you finally got your way. You managed to turn my son into a freaking mama’s boy. Well, if I have any say about it and you know I always have,” he laughed crudely, “I’m going to see to it that he changes back.”
Charles laughed at Mia. “Enjoy this while you can because I’m going to go find my son’s balls. And when I do, I’m going to give them back to him and he’s going to start acting like a man again, no more pulling some woman on the stage and singing to her, telling the whole damn audience that he’s in love with her.” He glared at Damien. “Do you think I ever did that with your mother? Hell, no!”
Mia watched as Kathy winced noticeably, as though she’d been hit.
“I don’t. I agree with Mia,” Damien said, interrupting her, turning to look at her, pleading with his eyes. “I don’t think now’s the time for this.”
“Makes me no never mind,” Charles retorted. “I’m outta here.”
“Chuck,” Kathy stood. “How am I supposed to get home?”
The look he gave her turned what before had been only dislike into something worse for Mia.
“Don’t worry, Kathy, I’ll take you home,” Mia volunteered, ignoring the fact that her brother Keefe had brought her and she was herself without a ride home. Still, Damien’s father needed someone to wipe that look off his face and Damien’s mother needed an ally.
“Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll take you home.” Damien kissed his Mother’s cheek and pulled Mia into his arms. “I’m so sorry. My pops had a few drinks. Will you please wait for me? I have another show.”
“I’ll wait.” Mia smiled at his look of doubt. “I don’t have a ride home either.” She watched as he grinned, then retook the stage.
She sat down, barely glancing at Kathy. “Would you like something to eat,” she asked, changing her mind about asking the woman if she could buy her a drink. She didn’t think she wanted to talk to anyone else tonight who’d been drinking.
“Thanks, Mia, but I’m fine.”
Mia looked up and found Kathy studying her, a strange look on her face. “Is something wrong?” she asked, praying she was not opening herself up to attack by another of Damien’s parents.
“I love my son,” Kathy began, “but I’m wondering why you’re with him. I can understand why you broke it off but to do it again,” She asked. “He’s going to hurt you, Mia. He can’t help it. He’s just like his father.”
Like father like son. Like mother like daughter. Mia had more in common with Damien than she’d ever realized. It was in that moment that her heart broke for him and it was also in that moment that she determined that she would mend both their hearts, attend their hurts. Damien was nothing like his father and she was nothing like her mother.
“Kathy, don’t worry. Damien is not Charles. He loves me.”
“He’s my son, but he’s a dog just like his father. He couldn’t be true to you if you paid him.”
“But he has been.”
“That’s because he didn’t have you. You confused him. He didn’t know how to react.”
“Why are you saying this?” Mia asked, puzzled.
“Because I don’t want you to get hurt.” Kathy’s eyes wandered toward the door. “I’m not doing this to be mean.”
“You don’t believe Damien loves me?”
“He does for now, until he gets what he wants, then.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I think his love will fade and you’ll be all alone and heartsick. With luck maybe you’ll have one thing to remember him by. A baby, a blessing and a curse.”
Mia took Kathy’s hand. “It’s not going to happen, not to us.
Damien loves me and I love him. You have no idea of the obstacles we’ve overcome to get here.”
Mia watched as Kathy laughed softly. She was getting a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach and wished that the woman would just stop talking. But by the intense look on her face, Mia knew that wasn’t likely to happen.
“I know him a hell of a lot better than you and I’ve known him for a whole lot longer. I birthed him. When he gets what he wants, I promise you he will throw you to the side. The two of them are just alike. They’re two peas in a pod. That might be a cliché, but it’s true,” She nodded again toward the door.
“That’s Damien in twenty more years. Look at me and you’ll see yourself in twenty years if you stay with him.”
Mia stared at Kathy, then shook her head and looked toward the stage. Kathy was wrong. Ignore her, she ordered her mind. Her future with Damien would be whatever they made it.
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