Chasing Elliott

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Chapter 20

COOPER HEARST
Ludic (adj.)
full of fun and high spirits.


I stared at Elliott in awe as she laughed, her blonde wavy hair bouncing over her shoulders while her head shook in amusement. I had just finished singing I Want It That Way and she seemed to be having the time of her life. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't.

"You're something else," Elliott laughed as she sipped on her drink and looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes.

"I'd love to hear that voice of yours better," I said with a wink as I leaned forward with my elbows resting on the table. "Why don't you get up there and sing a solo?"

"She's too chicken shit," a soft feminine voice said from behind Elliott. I looked over her shoulder as she turned around and watched Benjamin and Kingsley approach the table. "She'd never get up there by herself."

"Wanna bet?" Elliott challenged as she folded her arms over her chest and even though I couldn't see her face, I knew her eyes were narrowed and those creases were distinct on her forehead.

"Then let's go, bunny," Kingsley said as she grabbed Elliott's hand and tried to pull her off the stool but she wouldn't budge. Benjamin and I laughed which caused her to snap her head in my direction and narrow her eyes on me.

"I'm signing us up for a song," Benjamin informed me as he walked past toward the sign up sheet where a small line had formed.

"Me too," Kingsley chirped as she skipped after him before Elliott could argue.

"Don't be so nervous," I teased as I reached a hand over the table to squeeze her arm softly. "You're going to kill it."



"Run, baby, run, don't ever look back. They'll tear us apart if you give them the chance. Don't sell your heart. Don't say we're not meant to be. Run, baby, run. Forever we'll be, you and me."

Benjamin and I finished our song with a hearty laugh as we slapped each other on the back. I looked out in the crowd and saw Kingsley and Elliott both beaming widely and I couldn't help but grin. Her smile was infectious.

I walked over to the table and wrapped my arms around Elliott's waist, burying my head in her neck as she chuckled softly while I kissed along her shoulder. Tilting my head back, I saw her eyes light up as she quickly pressed her lips to mine before maneuvering out of my grip to follow Kingsley who had taken off toward the stage.

"I'm surprised you got Elli to do this," Benjamin said as he took Kingsley's seat. I laughed as I shook my head and took a sip of my drink before reaching for some of Elliott's leftover fries.

"I'm not," I responded with a shrug. "She's more secure with herself than she lets on. She just needs someone to help her see it."

Suddenly, the lights dimmed as two spotlights hit the girls standing up on stage. Kingsley was dressed up in a jean skirt and a tight tank but Elliott still out-shined her. As the music started, some guys near the front started to whistle which caused both Benjamin and I to roll our eyes.

"Well since we've been done I've been trying to un-fall apart and I've been thinking that some neon lights would be a real good start." Kingsley sang as she bounced around the stage in beat with the music.

She had a little bit of a deeper, raspy voice but I could tell Benjamin was completely mesmerized by her. I smiled softly as I watched his face beam with pride and admiration before I turned my attention back to the stage once I heard multiple voices start to sing.

"I can buy my own drinks, I can pay my own tab. At the end of the night when they cut on all the lights I can call my own cab. I can drop my own change in the jukebox, I can dance all by myself. 'Til I can stop thinkin' 'bout drinkin' 'bout him, I don't need nobody else. Yeah, I can buy my own drinks."

Benjamin and I watched in awe as the girls interacted on stage with each other, dancing up against one another and twirling around. Kingsley sang the main parts with Elliott adding to it but she didn't sing anything on her own. Her voice sounded light and from what little I heard, it sounded like she had some pipes on her.

Once they were done, the audience erupted into a loud applause, Benjamin and I hollering over the crowd. As the girls approached, I noticed a soft pink to Elliott's cheeks as I stood up and she walked into my arms, wrapping them firmly around my waist.

I kissed the top of her head before letting her go as I sat in the chair and yanked her hand for her to sit down on my lap. Elliott laughed and shook her head but humored me anyway. I had one arm resting on her thigh while the other was looped around her waist and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

After a few people went, Benjamin dragged Kingsley up for a duet and they sang Meant To Be by Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha. Elliott was waving her hands in the air and swaying in my lap as she sang along quietly which made my smile widen. I pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder which caused her to turn around and look at me with a soft smile and there was something in her eyes that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

After they came sauntering back to the table, I heard my name get called and Elliott climbed off my lap.

"Don't think you're getting out of this," I whispered in her ear.

I bit my lip to suppress my smile as I took in her exasperated, alarmed look but the twinkle in her eye gave her away. As I made my way up on stage, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. I may be the kind of guy who's actions speak louder than words and I know how to compliment people but talking about my feelings was another thing completely.

The lights dimmed and I sighed as I reached behind me for the guitar. Propping myself in front of the microphone stand, I slung the strap of the guitar over my shoulders before situating it in my hands. I glanced out at the crowd and saw Elliott's shocked expression as a small smile tugged at her lips. Nodding over at the guy to my left who was in charge of the music, the spotlight beamed down on me as I strummed the first note on the guitar.

"El, baby, care to come up here and join me?"

I saw her stiffen slightly before Kingsley walked over and grabbed her hands to yank her to her feet. Elliott tried to resist but Kingsley pushed her back, forcing her up towards me. I smiled as she approached and held out a hand to help her up. She wrapped her arms around my waist and I dipped my head down for a kiss.

One of the bartenders came walking over with another microphone stand and set it in front of Elliott. I glanced over at the DJ and nodded once more, chuckling softly as I saw Elliott's eyes widen.

"Just sing along," I whispered in her ear. "You got this."

I started strumming the guitar quickly as the lyrics appeared on the screen. Keeping perfect beat with the music, my fingers picked at the strings with ease as I spared her one last glance before singing.

"I know he hurt you, made you scared to love, too scared to love. He didn't deserve you 'cause you're precious heart is a precious heart. He didn't know what he had and I thank God, oh, oh, oh, and it's gonna take just a little time but you're gonna see that I was born to love you."

I turned to look at Elliott and saw her standing there with a wide smile on her face as she grabbed the microphone out of the stand and faced me.

"What if I fall," she sang out as she sauntered closer to me.

"I won't let you fall," I sang back.

"What if I cry?"

"I'll never make you cry."

"And if I get scared," Elliott sang effortlessly as she now stood in front of me bouncing on the balls of her feet in beat with the music which made me smile as I continued.

"I'll hold you tighter. When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter," I sang into the microphone as Elliott walked behind me, causing me to turn my head to look at her.

"What if I fall?"

"I won't let you fall."

"What if I cry?"

"I promise I'll never make you cry."

"And if I get scared," she finished as she whipped her hair and shook her hips with one hand above her head.

"I'll hold you tighter. When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter," I sang out as I adjusted the guitar and looked back over at Elliott.

"I wanna believe that you got me baby," she sang as she looked at me with a serious expression, standing right in front of me so we were both singing into the microphone that rested on my mic stand.

"I swear I do from now until the next life," I assured her with a wink that caused a small smile to cross her lips before she continued.

"I wanna love, wanna give you all my heart," she belted out, holding onto the last note which caused the crowd to erupt loudly as they cheered her on. "What if I fall?"

Once the song ended, Elliott walked over and wrapped her arms around my neck as she giggled, ignoring the guitar that was pressed tightly between us. Everyone was on their feet as they clapped loudly and I saw Kingsley standing on her chair a couple tables back with Benjamin standing in front of her.

Elliott pulled back and beamed up at me and I couldn't contain myself as I bent down and crashed my lips to hers. All the people around us seemed to disappear and it was just us in that moment. I cupped her face in my hands as I kissed her passionately and eventually I felt her smiling against my lips before I pulled back and rested my forehead against hers.

"Looks like they want more," I whispered in her ear as she looked out at the crowd with a blush creeping up on her cheeks. "Think you can give them what they want?"
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