Chapter 20

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 Suddenly a loud cheer erupted from the crowd, who started singing the chorus of the song. Feet thumped, hands clapped. Soon, Maude and Matt were ushered off the stage to loud applause.

"I guess that wasn't too bad for a first time," Matt yelled over the noise.

"It was better than not too bad. Don't you hear the crowd?" Maude yelled back.

"One thing is for sure," Matt said "We've finished your song about Paris. We'll rework on the instruments, but this song is as good as done Maude."

"You mean to tell me that we will present this song to James?" Her very first single! They had finally finished writing her song about Paris, and it was a hundred times better than she had anticipated.

"Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. There's a good rhythm, a playful banter between the female and the male character. This will be a hit."

"Playful banter, characters," Maude repeated, feeling a lot less elated. "Right, it was just playful banter."

Matt was about to say something, but was interrupted by the Delgado family.

Anita jumped into Matt's arms.

"You two were great," she said throwing him a loud kiss.

"Next time you two come I hope I won't have to drag you on stage," Rosa said, shaking her finger at Matt.

"I promise, Rosa," he said kissing her cheek. "We have to go now. I still have to show Maude what she's been missing in France all these years."

"All right, Mateo. Take good care of Maude, she's a keeper," she said, turning to Maude. She wrapped her arms around the young girl and held her tight and whispered, "He needs someone like you in his life."

Maude nodded, unsure of how to respond.

"Let's go, Maude," Matt called her back to reality.

She followed him out if the restaurant reluctantly.

"Do we have to go? This place is great!"

"I know! What did Rosa tell you back there?"

"Nothing. Just to find the best revenge for the trick you played me with the spicy Machaca."

"No way! I hope you won't follow her advice."

"I think I will, Rosa Delgado is full of wisdom."


"Central Park?" Maude asked dubiously. "In winter? Are you sure this is a good idea? Jaz said it was better to go in the summer."

"That's because Jaz refuses to walk anywhere that might endanger her Prada boots."

They were trudging in the snow through the park, and although surrounded by beautiful scenery, Maude was worried her feet would turn into two blocks of ice if they continued to wherever Matt was taking her. Carvin winters were rough, but this was something else entirely. However, Carvin held no similar display of natural, picturesque beauty as Central Park offered.

"This alley is breathtaking," Maude admired a shiver of delight running down her spine.

"It's called the Mall," Matt informed simply. Practical as he was, Matt had walked in this alley countless times and wasn't the kind of person to feel the slightest hint of admiration for what he perceived as nothing but a trail.

"What a horrid name for such a beautiful place!" Maude remarked, shaking her head in disapproval.

 Matt's laugh echoed in the pathway. He might not be awed, but Maude's candor was definitely touching.

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