She could not wait to see him. It had been two long months since she had seen her husband, and she couldn’t wait to feel his arms around her and the feel of his lips on hers. She was deep in a book when all hell broke loose. She suddenly felt herself falling, spiraling out of control. Next, there was a deafening noise. “Lord, please let us all be okay! Please!” she screamed before everything went black.
Applause and screams exploded in Grantland Steele’s ears. Another fantastic sold-out show had just ended. At thirty-five, he was sitting on top of the world. He was on a whirlwind tour, just had his tenth number one hit, and his sophomore album just went platinum a few weeks ago. He squinted under the glare of the lights at the sea of fans screaming and chanting his name, eager for an encore. Grantland walked to the side of the stage, gulped half a bottle of water, and then hurried back out to give them what they wanted, ignoring the horrible feeling that something was wrong. The atmosphere had been clinging to him all day like a thick fog, and he couldn’t shake it. Two more songs and he would call it a night.
He rushed the stage and started “She Drove Me To Drink”, a rollicking number about a woman who would literally drive her lover to the bar every night so they could party. The fans were going wild. Blinded by the camera flashes, Grantland leaned forward, fingers outstretched; each hand touched erupted in either a scream or an enormous smile.
Once the flashes of light cleared, he stared out over the crowd and smiled. He had the best fans ever. They were dancing in the aisles and singing along. Following that, he slowed it down with his first number one hit, “Someone To Catch My Teardrops.’ As he took his place in the center of the stage, a hush fell across the room. Once he started the first notes, the crowd went wild all over again. Hoots and hollers erupted, and within seconds, cell phone flashlights and plastic cups of beer were being held in the air.
” I am the friend who always listens.
I’m the one who’s kind-hearted and true.
They would never dream of calling me lonely.
What would they say if they knew?” he purred.
People were swaying all over the arena. Down in front of the stage and across the rows of chairs. The edge of the stage had flowers, stuffed animals, and other gifts scattered across it. He took the microphone off the stand and walked near the border one last time, touching as many hands as he could. Once again, he returned to the microphone stand.
“ I need someone to catch my teardrops.
Someone to call me their own.
Someone to love me like nobody’s loved me.”
“ I need someone to catch my teardrops.
Someone who feels like home, ” he sang, the last notes fading in the air. He stood for a second with his eyes shut, absorbing all the love emanating towards him. Sending up a silent prayer of thanks, he opened his eyes to the crowd.
“It’s been a party with you guys tonight! Thank you so much for coming! We love you! We’ll see ya next time. God bless!” he shouted into the mic amidst the roar of applause. Then he hurried off the stage.
Once he walked offstage, his personal assistant, Matt ‘Big Man’ Boyer, was at his side. He was six foot two with short, brown hair and chocolate brown eyes fans swooned over. Grantland had to chuckle at the thought of having fans swoon over him; average height and robustly round with short, blonde hair and light green eyes. He wasn’t your typical package in a country singer. He didn’t have the standard southern accent either, being from the Midwest. Not that he didn’t appreciate the attention of his fans, but that was as far as it went.
“Hey, man, I’ve got to talk to you,” Matt said, walking with him back to his dressing room.
“What? Did Wake Up Salt Lake cancel on us tomorrow?” Grantland shook his head and frowned at the thought. They had a full day of radio and tv interviews tomorrow and the last thing they needed was a scheduling conflict.
“Good. Can you just call me early tomorrow with the details? In case you’ve forgotten, Chesney is flying in tonight, so...” Grantland said with a wiggle of his eyebrows. “I want to get back to the hotel.”
“Um, Grantland, you need to sit down,” Matt said, leading him to the nearest chair.
“What’s going on?” he asked, concern overcoming his face.
“There’s been an accident.”
Grantland’s stomach twisted. “What kind of accident?” he asked, rushing the words.
Matt’s gaze slowly traveled upwards, locking with Grantland’s. "About an hour ago, Chesney’s plane went down.” He swallowed. “There were no survivors.”
Grantland’s world went black at that moment. He felt like he had been sucker-punched. All the air left his lungs, and he could barely breathe. He dropped his head in his hands, and the tears started streaming, sobs wracking his body.
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