“Thank you for bringing me to New York, Daddy!” I squeal. I can’t remember another time in my entire life that I’ve been this excited, except for maybe when my Uncle Derrick and Aunt Tina took me and my cousin Asa to Disney World. I close my eyes for a second and think about it really hard. Disney World in the summer was hot, my clothes were sticky and smelly, the lines were long, and Asa kept pulling my hair. I had a good time, but I was only six, so what did I really know about fun? I open my eyes and look around at the bright lights, the tall buildings, and all the billboards. Everything’s so shiny and pretty.
“You’re welcome, Princess. You earned a night out on the town.”
I’m not bragging, but I have the best daddy in the whole world, and right now, without even looking up at him, I know he’s smiling. He always says when I’m happy, he’s happy, and right now, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
I love this place so much! I lift my arms away from my body and look up at the sky, only I can’t see the stars and the moon like I can back home in Falls Creek. All I see here are lights that glitter in the darkness. I shut my eyes and spin around and around on my toes until I almost fall. Daddy grabs my shoulders to help me keep my balance.
“Be careful, Princess. I can’t have you getting hurt tonight.” He drops down to one knee and pulls me in close. I wrap my arms around his neck and squeeze him tight before opening my eyes and kissing him on the cheek.
“Ouch!” I wipe my lips and giggle. “You need to shave, Daddy. Your face almost cut my mouth.” I lean away from him as he rubs his hand against his skin and laughs.
“You’re right, I do need to shave, but I can’t.”
“I know, I know, you can’t shave because your fans like the ‘scruffy face look’.” I repeat what he tells me every time I complain about him needing to shave. What he really means is all the girls like his ‘scruffy face look’. I may only be ten, but I know how grown-up women think, or at least what all my friends’ moms think about my dad. I ignore them because it kind of grosses me out to think about all those women looking at him like that. As for the scruff, it’s okay I guess, as long as he doesn’t cut me with it when I kiss his cheek.
“Yep, that’s right, and we have to keep the fans happy, because without them, the other guys in the band and I won’t have a job.” He pinches my nose gently, and I laugh.
My dad is the lead singer for the rock band Reckless Fury. His best friend, Uncle Kurt, is the drummer, and he’s also the one who had the idea to start the band when they were in high school. They usually only play at places close to home, but Daddy says now that the band has a recording contract, everything is going to change for everybody—including me. I heard Uncle Kurt say that now they were gonna be traveling to big cities far away from home and performing on bigger stages for a lot more people. I’m so happy for my dad and for the other guys because they’ve worked really hard for a long time, but at the same time I’m sad—mostly for me. I’d never tell any of them I wasn’t happy because I don’t want them to feel guilty about leaving me behind, especially Daddy. He’s done so good at taking care of me while working his construction job during the day and playing with the band at night. If they aren’t performing for an audience, they’re practicing or writing new songs. Now he’ll be able to quit his construction job and only have the one job with the band.
Earlier today, they all had a meeting with the record label, Lightning Records, to sign their deal and talk about their first tour. Daddy explained to me that a tour is when they travel in a bus all over the United States playing music in different cities. This makes me even more sad, but I’ll never tell him because I don’t want him to worry about me. I’ll keep it a secret . . . my secret. Plus, I’m not going to think about it right now because I’m so excited to be on the way to see Mary Poppins on Broadway.
“I’m excited for the band, Daddy. You promise to always take me with you?” I ask, hoping he’ll say yes but knowing he won’t only because he can’t.
“Grace Ann, we’ve already talked about this, remember?” He wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me in for a hug. I rest my head on his shoulder and worry about him leaving me behind while he travels all over the place singing with the band. What if he forgets about me? Or what if something bad happens to him, and I never see him again? All these thoughts are making me sad again, and this time I don’t know if I’ll be able to hide it.
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