Heather stood in the shadows, looking out at the clear sky and full moon. She wanted to blend into the darkness. She couldn’t bring herself to turn and face Frank. It was impossible to melt away.
“Excuse me, Miss, but are you all right?”
The voice, much deeper with a pure southern accent edged with a soft, masculine ring to it, wasn’t Frank’s.
“Miss, are you okay?”
She turned and gazed into a pair of concerned chocolate-brown eyes. “Yes,” she replied in a trembling small voice.
Frank walked out onto the balcony toward her. The three of them stood in the moonlight, looking at each other, not knowing whether to speak. Finally, the stranger broke the deafening silence.
“Frank, I was looking for you. My drummer, Jordan, can’t make it tonight, which leaves me at a great loss. When I saw you dancing, I was hoping you’d be able to fill in for him. But I can see you have other plans, so I’ll try to find someone else. It was nice seeing you again.” The man turned to leave.
“Wait a minute.” Frank turned away from Heather. “You want me to sit in with your band?” The surprise in his voice expressed visible waves of shock flowing through his body.
“Yeah. If I didn’t think you could handle it, I wouldn’t have asked ya.”
“How soon do you need me?”
“In about half an hour. You’ll do it?”
“You bet! Just give me a few minutes here, and I’ll be right there.”
“Okay. And Frank, thanks.” With appreciation showing in his eyes, the man left Heather and Frank on the balcony.
He lightly touched her shoulder, and she whirled toward him, tears threatening to fall down her cheeks. “Frank, don’t.”
As she stood with her back against the railing, the moonlight showed the sorrow and pain on his face. He reminded her of a little boy who’d done something very wrong but didn’t realize it until it was too late.
“Heather, please listen. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking when I…well, you know.” With renewed humiliation, he looked away.
In an attempt to ease his embarrassment as well as her own, she walked over to him. “There was a time in my life when I fell deeply and totally in love. The love was never returned. At least…not the way I wanted and needed it then. Anyway, after the relationship had gone on for two years, I found out he was married.” Heather turned away. She just couldn’t bear for him to see the shame and grief ripping at her heart once again. “I made a promise to never let a man get that close again…physically or emotionally.”