Chapter 48

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“Thank you! Thank you very much!” Maude gushed, breathless as she waved to the cheering crowd.

The Mood was packed for Maude’s release party and the atmosphere was thick.

Maude had performed  ‘Leaving You Behind’ and ‘Reckless’, and the feeling was exhilarating. Her fear, her anxieties were gone. The only thing that mattered was communicating with the crowd. And as she watched the crowd applaud and cheer energetically, she felt an indescribable sense of empowerment. 

She noticed Matt in the crowd, talking earnestly to a reporter and sighed. She still hadn’t found the right moment to clear the air with Matt.

Maude went back to her piano and started on her last song.

“How many of you have felt that feeling of utmost joy and bewilderment when discovering you’re falling in love?” she asked as she started the introduction.

The crowd screamed its answer.

“Yeah,” Maude agreed. “I know the feeling. How many of you don’t know how to voice that feeling?”

Again the crowd cheered and a female voice rose out from the crowd and said, “Show us how it’s done, girl!”

“I’m going to show you how it’s done,” Maude laughed.

How long have we been friends?

It feels like forever

Will this phase come to an end?

Or become something stronger?

Looking at his niece perform, James felt once more comforted in the choice he’d made seven months ago. He remembered arguing with Alan before signing Maude.

“What more does she have?” Alan had asked. “Why do you want her and not Thomas Bradfield?”

James hadn’t hesitated as he’d answered,

“She’s got soul, Alan. She’ll put the soul in Soulville. Thomas won’t.”

Today as he watched her he knew he’d been right all along.

“Maude’s leaving for her tour in a couple of weeks. Is she ready to leave her newfound family behind?” Alan asked as he came near James.

“Look at her. She’s more than ready. Besides, I’ll be with her,” James answered.

“I’ve got to hand it to you James, you know how to spot a shooting star in the midst of a starlit sky.”

“That’s because I don’t look for dollar bills in that starlit sky.”

Alan just laughed, a slow cynical laugh.

“Your company needs someone like me, or it would be a sinking ship,” he replied. “Is Matt leaving on tour with Maude?”

“I don’t know if he’s made up his mind yet,” James answered. “I feel like he’s waiting for something, but I don’t know what. I know he’s thinking of getting started on his new album. I thought Maude could work with him. They make a great team together.”

“That’s undeniable. The best I’ve seen in a long time,” Alan agreed before walking away. “As soon as she gets off the stage tell her Rita Hems wants her to answer a few questions.”

“I’ll do no such thing,” James answered back.

James shook his head.  If it were up to Alan, Maude wouldn’t get a moment’s rest.

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