Standing in the background, he watched her answer the reporter's questions. Never in his wildest dreams or imagination did he expect Nikki to win first place in the 2012 Gospel Greats singing contest. The same contest from 4 years ago. Now, at 23, she was the number one choice among the original 2,500 contestants. What a feat. He was so proud of her.
Question after question was directed at her. Every major news outlet, 2, 5, 7, 9, CNN, and Fox along with the Times, Trib, and Journal surrounded her outside the downtown hotel. Everyone had a question for this 'Cinderella' story and everyone wanted to know about the glass slipper.
“Ms. Taylor,” asked one reporter, “What was going through your mind while you were singing “The Wind Beneath my Wings?”
She took a deep breath, “Well, that is one of my favorite songs, and I've sung it so many times before. My main thought was, 'Lord, what if I do win? What will I do next?”
“Ms. Taylor, who has inspired you the most?” asked the Trib's entertainment reporter.
“My mom, my granny and of course, Jesus. Also, my fiancee's wonderful support and encouragement through this entire process.'
“What are your goals and aspirations for the future.?” shouted one journalist from the back.
“Right now, I want to take a few days off, to unwind. This is exciting, but a little overwhelming. I will spend a few days with family and then begin a brief tour already planned.
As the reporters and crowd dispersed, John looked at his future bride-to-be. She was gorgeous, caramel complexion, dark brown hair with highlights. Besides that, he loved her so much. But, a nagging thought remained. Would her new found fame would change how she felt.?
“I am not exactly in her league – at least anymore.” he surmised.
As the press began to scatter, John breathed a sign of relief, “I'm glad they didn’t ask what her boyfriend did for a living.” He still felt slight embarrassed about his occupation, as a believer, he knew that was a tactic of the enemy.
“Hi, Honey, I am ready to go,” as she quickly stepped toward John, followed by a security guard and her sister, serving as Nikki's personal assistant..
“Ok, let's go.' I am so proud of you”, giving her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“Wow, it was so exciting up there. I'm still shaking” as she got into the front seat of John's 2001 Ford. “Bye guys”, as she waved to her sister and Mr. Security.
“Let's go eat. Also, do you want to go to Corporate prayer tomorrow?' John asked, as we drove off. We don't have anything scheduled. The other engagements begin next week. Right?
“Well, I don't know about tomorrow,” with hesitancy. “The meeting with the record company is tomorrow. They want to talk about the CD.”
“Where is the meeting? What time.”
“Downtown, at 2:00p. But, after that, I have to start planning wardrobe, my schedule,..plus, you don't get off work until 6pm. She said hurriedly, checking her lipstick in the mirror.
Driving slowly, John said , “Right, but I could meet you at church, like we used to .”,
“Next week will be better,” she interrupted him. “Plus, everyone will know that I won, so people will be stopping and asking questions. I'd prefer to skip tomorrow. I can meet you later. Can you come by around 8:00p. We can go to the new Italian restaurant on Sycamore street, off the expressway.
'Ok, sounds good.” said John, with a slight tone of disappointment. “We'll have other times for prayer. I know your schedule will get very busy, so we'll just have to plan things out.”
As they arrived at the Hamburger Palace, a regular stop of theirs, a small crowd had gathered outside the restaurant.
Hey Nikki,” the crowd yelled. “Congratulations , we're so proud of you.”
“You made us proud, girl. John, take good care of her, okay.”
Before the waitress came over , John looked at Nikki and said, “this is just the beginning of great things for you.” He reached acoss and took her hand.
She smiled and said “I know”. But, in her heart she knew her life was changing, evolving.
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