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.”“You’re right—I’d forgotten all about that.We never released it because I was the only one who liked it.The guys gave me so much grief about it.But it was one of the first songs I wrote, and it still means a lot to me.So I’m glad you liked it.Even if it wasn’t spontaneous.” He rolled his eyes.“Oh well, at least I know there’s two of us on the planet who like it.Which tells me something else about you.”“And what would that be?”“We have a history together.We both like the same music.”“That would be an understatement,” Hannah laughed.“Confessions of a former groupie and all that.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and darted her eyes away from his.He leaned back and smiled at her.In fact, he realized he couldn’t stop looking at her.What is it? Why is this girl getting under my skin? I don’t even know her.She’s kinda cute.and the gawking is long gone, thank God.But just look at her—she’s relaxed like she’s been here a thousand times before.What’s that about? And why did Mom invite her over here tonight anyway? That’s so not Mom.He watched her squirm under his gaze.She looked away, stretching her arms over her head, yawning.“What time is it anyway? I can’t keep my eyes open.”Jason peeked at the clock over the counter.It’s only 2:30.The night’s still young!” He stood up.“And don’t you even think about pulling that sleepy stuff.You promised another game if I lost.” He headed back to the pool table.“You owe me a game.”“No way.I’m beat.If you’ll recall, I put in a full day at work before your Mom kidnapped me.”“Oh yeah, poor baby.And here’s where I’m supposed to get all sympathetic and understanding, right? Forget it.Look, I’ll get us something to drink and make some popcorn.Mom keeps the kitchen down here stocked.What do you want—a Coke? Dr.Pepper?”He could tell she was exhausted but he couldn’t help it.He didn’t want the night to end.He watched her tortured yawn and felt a twinge of guilt for keeping her up, but it passed.Hannah burrowed into the sofa, dropping her head back against the cushions.“How come none of those fan magazines ever told what a cruel person you are?”“Because I’m not.I’m just stubborn.Now what’ll it be?” He moved back toward the sofa, standing beside her.He noticed her long lashes fanning the top of her cheeks as her eyelids drooped then closed.She was just so.natural.That’s it.That’s what makes her so different.She’s natural.Not forced.Nothing striking or stunning.Just fresh and natural.And extremely appealing.“Hannah, don’t you fall asleep.”Nothing.“Don’t you even think about falling asleep.”Nothing.“HANNAH!”“What?!” She jumped with a start.“Don’t do that! Jason, you scared me to death!”He grabbed her hands, pulling her to her feet.“You’ve gotta wake up, woman! You see, I’m just a poor, poor boy who needs a little company here.Can you hep’ me out, ma’am? Won’t you hep dis po’ boy?” He batted his eyelashes at her, plastering a silly grin across his face as he backed up, pulling her along to the bar.“Pweeze keep wittle Jason comp’ny, pweeze?”“Now, that’s pitiful.Just pitiful.Don’t tell me that actually works on some of your fans?”He deposited her on a bar stool then stepped behind the counter.“Sorry.State secrets.I could tell you but—”“—you’d have to shoot me.Right.That’s okay.I don’t really want to know.”“So? What’s your poison?”“Coke straight up with a side of popcorn.And back off.I’m a witch when I’m tired.Just ask my little brother.”“You have a brother? Come to think of it, we’ve talked about me all night.” He handed her a tall glass of iced Coke.“Typical.Because, of course, it’s all about me.” He dropped his head in mocked shame.“I’m so sorry.Tell me about your family, Hannah.What’s your brother’s name?”“Greg.He’s a linebacker for FSU.”“Get outta here! Your brother plays for FSU? He must be good.”“Yeah, he’s great.He drove me nuts when we were kids.But then I gave him a lot of grief too.”“Any other brothers or sisters?”“Nope, just Greg.And then there’s my mom and dad.They still live in Dallas where I grew up.Dad has his own business, an internet company.Mom’s in real estate.Loves it.Then there’s Sassy, our Maltese.She’s getting up there in doggy years, but she’s still part of the family.I had her up here at my apartment for a while, but I’m gone so much with work, it wasn’t fair to her.I took her back home to my parents at Thanksgiving.”“Yikes! I just remembered Baby! I’ll be right back,” he yelled flying up the stairs.In a few moments, he was back.“You won’t believe this—she’s all curled up, sleeping on top of the comforter, right between Mom and Dad.I can’t believe it!”“I take it your folks like dogs, huh?”“Yeah, but I’ve never known Mom to let one sleep on her bed.Must be that Christmas spirit she always gets.Which would explain the extra place setting at the table tonight.”She blushed.He loved it.“Okay, now where were we? Oh, you’ve told me about your family, but what about you? What are you majoring in?”“Journalism.I like to write.Mostly freelance.I’ve had several pieces published already, but—”“What kind of pieces? What do you write?”“You name it.Mainly human interest stories.I’ve done some interviews for the paper.I did a piece on the history of McMurphy’s that was—”“You mean the coffee shop over by the campus?”“Yeah, that’s the one.It’s been around for almost a hundred years and has a fascinating list of people who’ve worked there while they were in school.Quite a history—two United States senators, a Supreme Court judge, and five NBA players.That was a blast to write—and what exactly are you grinning at?”“You.Did you know your whole face lights up when you talk about your writing? It’s like a hundred watt bulb just clicked on inside you.You really love it, don’t you?”“Yeah, I guess I do.It’s a tough business to break into, but I love it.Sometimes there are so many different things floating around in my head I want to write about or research that it almost feels like I’m going to explode.My fingers can’t fly fast enough across the keyboard.I’ll get absolutely lost in what I’m writing and realize that hours have flown by and I didn’t even know it.”“That’s exactly how I feel when I’m writing music.” Jason rounded the bar and pulled up a stool beside her.“Sometimes I forget to eat or sleep or anything until I finish a song—”“—and when you do, it’s like you’ve given birth to your own child, right?”“Well, yeah, but then I’ve never experienced childbirth so it’s a little hard to say.”“Jason!” she laughed.“I haven’t either, thank you very much.But you know what I mean.”“Well, for what it’s worth, I think that’s totally cool that you have such a passion for what you do.Stay with it.Don’t ever give up.Make a living doing the thing you love to do most? It’s the only way.”She watched him take another shot.“And that, my dear lady, is how you win at pool.Ha! You’re mine.ALL WEEK!”Hannah’s jaw dropped.“That is so unfair! You cheated.”“What? I beg your pardon.I do not cheat.Not at pool.Not at anything.”“You did too! You distracted me with all these questions.That’s not fair.I demand a rematch.”“Too late.Besides, I’m exhausted.It’s now 3:35 in the morning.I can’t believe how inconsiderate you are.You come into our home, you eat our food, then you have the audacity to keep me up all night after my long drive up here.On Christmas, no less [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]