Chapter Seven

“OH MY GOD!” Natalie nearly screeched. “You got us front row! How did you do that?”

“I told you,” Michael replied, “the tickets were a gift.”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever. This is the best night ever. Thank you.” She gave Michael a hug. Natalie wasn’t fooled. Michael must have pulled quite a few strings to get these seats. The depth of his love and generosity was endless. She wiped a stray tear. She loved her brother so much.

The house lights started to dim, and a cheer went up from the audience. The lights on the stage started flashing faster and faster, as Richie played a soulful guitar riff. The crowd cheered louder. Then, Tico’s drums started. The cheering raised to a roar. David’s keys joined the mix, and the crowd was barely controlling themselves. The opening bars of “Something for the Pain” emerged from the instrumental genius that was happening on the stage. Natalie grabbed Michael’s hand. This was her favorite song. Ever. When Jon took the stage, the crowd went ballistic. He looks glorious, Natalie thought, taking in his tight black pants and a slate gray shirt, fitting like a second skin, unbuttoned nearly halfway down his chest. Natalie fanned her face. Oh my God, he’s close enough to touch, and looks good enough to eat.

During the first few songs, the band was on fire, playing to the audience, whipping everyone into a frenzy. Natalie wished the night would never end. She was singing and dancing her heart out. Michael was enjoying himself, too. These guys are good, he thought to himself, and they’re very good for Natalie.

A few songs later, Jon took center stage, flanked by Richie, Tico, and David. Something was up. Jon addressed the audience.

“Folks, we want to thank you all for coming out tonight – we sure do appreciate it.” The crowd cheered. Jon chuckled. “Thanks, really. We’re going to ask you to bear with us for a few minutes. You see, we got something in the mail we want to share with you.” He locked eyes with Natalie’s for a mement, before continuing.

“You know we must get, what, guys, like a zillion pieces of mail every year,” Jon said, looking at his friends, who were nodding. “But last month, we got something that just spoke to us. It was a thank you note. Now, I know you all just want us to sing some more, and we will, but you’re gonna have to listen to my plain old speaking voice for a few more minutes.” Some women in the audience screamed. On stage, the guys just laughed. Jon continued. “We just want to share this with you well, because, it touched us, and we want to touch you.” More screams from the women in the crowd. “Patti, darlin’, bring that card on out here.”

Natalie, stunned, turned to Michael. “What the hell?” Michael just squeezed her hand, and nodded back to the stage.

A spotlight tracked Patti’s progress from the wings to Jon. She handed him a card, and winked to Natalie and Michael. Michael looked at his sister. She was riveted to what was happening on stage. The shocked look on her face made him laugh. He leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Relax, sis. Enjoy the attention.” Natalie paled, and reached behind her for her chair. Michael helped her to it, and sat beside her, holding her hand. Natalie’s grip tightened painfully. With a grimace, Michael pleaded, “You’re breaking my hand!” Natalie relented, but didn’t look away from the stage.

As Jon read her words, the others on stage were all looking at her, smiling. Tears fell from her eyes as she heard her thoughts, her words, come from Jon’s mouth. He read them with all the passion and feeling that she had put into writing them.

When he finished, the arena was silent. Then, from the stage, The Boys started clapping. Soon, the whole place was applauding. Looking around her, Natalie saw a few people surreptitiously wiping tears from their eyes.

Jon came down the stairs at the front of the stage to stand in front of Natalie. “Darlin’,” he said, “come with me, there are some folks up there who want to say hello.” He extended a hand for her to take.


Stephanie said...

I can't wait for the rest of this story. It is so touching. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Tara Leigh said...

Good Lord woman...You're gonna make me cry by the end of this, I can feel it.

Anonymous said...

ok just din my make up and now I'm crying here - very moving.