Michelle almost choked on her drink when Ashton winked at her from two tables over. That jerk. He knew exactly how he was affecting her, and that wasn’t fair. She fought her attraction to Ashton. She had a sinking feeling she wouldn’t be able fight him too much longer.
After Reggie finished his set, Casey, Mason, and Kimball hopped on the stage to perform an animated rendition to “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, complete with air guitars and mussed up hair. They got the whole crowd involved on the last verse, encouraging everyone to sing along.
Next Ashton and Brock belted out a passionate version of “America” from Neil Diamond’s movie The Jazz Singer about a Jewish rabbi who turns rock star. They were terrible, but the crowd loved it when the guys had them sing along crying out, “today” in time with the chorus.
Victor surprised Michelle with his bravery by singing alone, but laughed at his song choice, “Brown-Eyed Girl” by the legendary Van Morrison. Michelle smiled and clapped along, but when he got back to their table, she closed her eyes and asked, “Victor, what color are my eyes?”
“Uh…” Victor stuttered.
“Jade!” Ashton called out, and Michelle’s eyes flew open to look across at him. She hadn’t been close enough to him in the past week for him to remember that, had she? Apparently, she had.
“Are they green?” Victor asked, gently pulling her chin back toward him. He grinned and relaxed his shoulders. “They look more hazel in this light. I guess that’s why I thought they were brown.”
Hazel? Brown? Green? Such bland descriptions of what Victor guessed was her eye color, even though he was by her side more often than not. Maybe that’s why he didn’t know her eye color. He was always by her side instead of looking her in the eye.
Jade. Deep, sparkling, intense green. Memorable. Ashton remembered her eyes. Her stomach fluttered.
“I’m going to use the restroom and stop at the bar on the way back,” Victor said. “Do you want me to grab you another Coke while I’m over there?”
“No, but I’d love a glass of ice water.” Michelle smiled up at him.
“Will do,” he said, leaning down to kiss her cheek.
As Victor walked away, Michelle’s attention was drawn back to the stage where Andy and Reggie were preparing to sing a country ballad.
Just as the opening notes of “I Can Love You Like That” by John Michael Montgomery came through the speakers, Michelle was startled to have Ashton by her side. He lifted her hand from where it rested on her knee.
“Dance with me,” Ashton spoke softly, pulling her gently from her chair.
As if in a trance, Michelle allowed herself to be led down the three steps onto the dancefloor and felt herself pulled into Ashton’s arms.
He held her close, too close. And yet not close enough. Neither of them spoke as they swayed side to side and in a slow circle, gazing into one another’s eyes.
She listened to every word of the song as if Ashton were singing them directly to her, even though he didn’t lip-sync or sing along. Until the song came to one phrase stuck in the middle of a sentence and Ashton spoke the words in perfect time with the song, “give me a chance.”