Beatirix shuddered as a cold wind whipped across the stage, and she clasped her hat tightly to her head. Stage fright had her firmly in its clutches, but an outdoor performance only increased her anxiety. What was she thinking? Singing in the shower was one thing; this was totally different. She imagined the sea of faces before her and felt her heart beating even faster. Her breath caught in her throat at the thought of him in the audience. What would he think? Would he think her a fool, an artist, or a lunatic?

As the audience murmurs rose at the unexpected delay, she cleared her throat, signaled to the band, and began crooning "They can't take that away from me." A hush fell over the crowd as he voice rose in pitch and volume, the band--in rare form--performed with apparently increasing zeal. Was it possible that they knew too? No matter, she couldn't think of that now. She was lost in the words, the melody, the feel of her heart breaking before the crowd...

When it was over, the audience remained silent for almost a full minute before bursting into applause. Bea's face reddened, but she only nodded once before gesturing to the band. Her fellow musicians bowed, but she only had eyes for one audience member. She felt her entire body relax as she watched him smile and clap with the rest of the crowd.

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ganymeder (joined about 10 years ago)
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Author Catherine Russell shares her life with her high school sweetheart, their son, and two ferocious puppies in the Wilds of Ohio while writing short stories, editing her novel, and learning more about the craft every day. Her work has been published in Flash Me magazine, Metro Fiction, Beyond Centauri, and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume One‘ and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume Two‘ anthologies.

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