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It was a chilled night in Memphis, Tennessee and Rascal Flatts had been there for a while as they set up the stage and did sound checks before the concert. Gary took a deep breath after his practice round.
“You okay, Gary?” Jay DeMarcus asked, after putting his microphone on the stand.
Gary nodded with a big smile. “I’m just ready for tonight.”
Jay chuckled and grabbed a guitar and plucked a few chords while Gary went to grab a bottle of water from a stool behind him. Joe Rooney walked in and picked up his guitar and joined Jay.
“Guys, I think we’re ready,” Jay said. “Let’s grab some dinner.”
“Sounds good to me. I could go for a nice juicy steak,” Joe laughed, patting Gary on his shoulder and following Jay out the door.
Gary spaced out on the drive to a steakhouse cafe and Jay poked his side causing him to jump.
“Thinking about meeting your future wife?” Joe joked.
Gary chuckled and sat forward and playfully hit him on the knee. “We all know I’m always waiting and hoping one day I will. I just hope that when I do, it’ll be a special moment.”
Joe shrugged. “Can’t really place your bets on that, man. The universe has a twisted sense of humor. You could meet her at the steakhouse or at a concert.”
“Might meet her in a bar,” Jay added. “Maybe on the streets of downtown Memphis.”
“There’s a lot of places you could meet your future wife, Gary,” Jay said, unbuckling his seat belt. “Don’t put God on a pedestal.”
Gary nodded. “I would never. I pray every day that He will send the right one for me.”
“Be sure to be specific, Gary,” Jay said. “He might send you a broken woman who’s afraid to love.”
That thought played in Gary’s head over and over as they entered the cafe. Could he love a broken woman who’s afraid to love? Would he be able to show her love without expecting much from her? Only God knew.
“Any one of these lovely ladies in here could be your future wife,” Joe nudged Gary and pointed out different women in the cafe, some sitting with a big group, others with friends.
But there was one in particular who had suddenly caught his attention as he accidentally bumped into her chair making her drop her drink from scaring her.
“I am so sorry,” he said, bending over to grab her cup off of the floor.
“It’s no problem,” her soft unsure voice filled his ears.
Gary’s eyes met her soft honey brown ones. She wore a small smile on her pretty face as he slowly stood straight and placed the cup on the table. The young lady looked away before he could get another word out and his friends were pulling him to their table in the corner.
“Well, that was fun,” Jay stated, winking at Joe to indicate Gary was still looking at her.
“She had a soft voice,” Gary said, still staring in her direction.
As if she could feel his eyes on her, she slowly looked behind her and they locked eyes. Shyness seemed to take over her as she grabbed her hand bag and briskly walked out.
“Awe, you scared her away,” Joe said with a pout. “Don’t you know it’s rude to stare, Gary.”
“Ah, shut up,” Gary said, throwing a napkin at his laughing friend.
“On a serious note, she could have been your future wife,” Jay joked. “And you’ve done gone and scared her off. Good job.”
Jay clapped his hands and laughed at the same time. Gary shook his head and mocked his laughing with a funny facial expression.
“I won’t see her again,” Gary said, sitting back in his chair.
“What would happen if you did?” Jay asked.
Gary shrugged. “Guess it would have to happen in order for me to find out.”
The waiter approached and took their order, after getting an autograph first, of course. It didn’t take long for their food to be brought to them and they finished up quickly so they could return in time for their concert.
Driving up to the concert hall, Rascal Flatts were surprised at how fast the parking lot had filled up since they were gone.
“Maybe we should’ve ordered our food for delivery,” Jay said. “At least we wouldn’t have to sneak in the back entrance.”
“Come on, Jay,” Gary said, opening his door. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”
“Look! It’s Rascal Flatts over there!” a fan screamed, getting the attention of others that were gathered at the front door.
“Hey, hey!” Gary greeted them with high-fives and hugs with an occasional pose for a selfie.
Jay and Joe shook their heads with smiles and joined their friend as they were ushered into the building by security.
A glimpse of a familiar face in the corner of the room caught Gary’s attention. The girl from the cafe. Jay noticed his gaze and followed it.
“I guess fate is on your side, bud,” Jay said, slapping Gary’s shoulder.
Gary chuckled with a huff and kept his eyes on her while they made their way to the back to get ready for a long night of music and fun. The excitement was about to begin!