“How’s your ice cream, Angie?”
“Really good! Thank you for bringing me, Grandpa. Are you enjoying your summer?”
“Well, Angie-girl I am surely enjoying my time with you and that’s a fact. What grade are you in now? Sixth?”
“No, Silly! I’m starting high school this fall!”
“No kidding! You’re growing up before my eyes.”
Nathan took a swig of his soda and wiped his mustache. Suddenly Angie froze and stared slack-jawed across the restaurant.
“What are you lookin’ at honey?”
“Oh my gosh! That’s Jared Hicks right over there! I can’t believe it!” She squealed and bounced in her seat like a toddler on a sugar high.
“And who is Jared Hicks?”
“He’s the drummer in my favorite band, Deviant Misfit. He’s so hot!”
“Well, why don’t you go over there and introduce yourself? Ask him for his autograph.”
“Are you crazy? You don’t just, like go over and introduce yourself to Jared Hicks! Plus, he’s surrounded. They’re probably like his body guards and stuff.” She stared dreamily at the leather-clad rock star as her ice cream melted in the bowl. “Oh my gosh, he’s looking at us. Grandpa, he’s watching us!” She pulled a mirror out of her purse and moistened her chapped lips. “What if he comes over here? I think I’ll just die!”
At that moment Nathan and Jared the Rock Star locked eyes. Something stirred within Nathan’s spirit. Why did it feel like he knew the man?
Jared slowly rose from his chair and approached their table. Ignoring the stares from the other patrons, he leaned over and placed his hand on Nathan’s back.
“Excuse me, Sir. Are you Nathan Cross?”
“Sure am! Do we know each other?”
“Sort of. My dad was a friend of yours- Delbert Hicks? Do you remember him?”
“Delbert Hicks…You’re Delbert’s son?”
“The one and only!” Jared smiled and bowed.
“Well, I’ll be! It’s nice to meet you, boy! This here is my granddaughter, Angie. She’s a big fan of yours.”
Angie blushed and pulled out her cell phone. “Um, would you mind if I took a picture of you? My friends are never going to believe you came to our table!”
“I don’t mind on one condition.” Jared held up his index finger. “You let me join you.”
Nathan gestured to the empty chair next to him. “Have a seat.”
Jared took his jacket off and draped it over the chair. Folding his long legs under the table, he slouched back in his seat. “Angie, would you like to be in the photo too?”
Angie dropped her phone and coughed. “Um yeah, that would be great. Grandpa, would you take a picture of us?”
Nathan snapped the photo and returned the phone to his beaming granddaughter. “So how is your father these days? I haven’t seen him in thirty years or more.”
Jared frowned. “Sir, Dad died two years ago.”
“Ah, that’s too bad. He was a good man. I’m sorry to hear.”
“Thanks, I agree. Taught me everything I know about music.” said Jared.
“I’m not surprised. He was a fine bass player. Those were good times.” Nathan nodded and stared into his empty glass.
“That’s sort of what I came to talk to you about. I wanted to thank you.”
Nathan furrowed his brows. “Thank me? For what?”
“Before I graced the world with my presence Dad was pretty depressed. He was in his basement one morning, cleaning his gun when he heard this music coming from outside. He followed it all the way to your house. He must have stood on your porch listening to you play for an hour before anyone noticed him.”
“I remember that! My wife went to trim her rose bushes and there he was on the front step. Scared her to death!” He cackled at the memory.
“Did you know that Dad was planning on killing himself that morning, before the two of you met?”
“That a fact? Well the Lord sure has impeccable timing, doesn’t he?” Nathan stroked his chin. “Your father joined our band the next day.”
“When it became clear that I was destined to be a musician he became my manager. If you hadn’t been playing the trombone that morning Dad would have shot himself. I never would have been born.”
“And my granddaughter would have been deprived of her favorite rock star.” He winked as Angie sighed and twirled her hair.
Jared raised an invisible glass. “Here’s to fame!”
“Cheers!” said Nathan.
The two men laughed.
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