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Chapter 22

“As you know, the second and third place winners will receive a one time twenty thousand dollar scholarship to attend Berkeley College of the Performing Arts.” Dean Robinson turned to me with a big smile. “Amber, it is my absolute pleasure to award you with a fully paid four year scholarship to attend my college. Congratulations and welcome to BCPA. I look forward to having you as a student.” He handed the large sign to me. When my hands touched it, the tears broke free and rolled freely down my cheeks. I thanked him and waved at the audience, blowing kisses at Mama and Brock.


My baby won! I knew she would! I streamed her performance for the family back in Louisiana and from the sound of it, they were celebrating as loudly as the crowd around me. The happy tears were streaking down my face and I was about to bust with pride. I was no longer worried about paying for her future because it was all taken care of. She was going to one of the top performing arts institutions in the country and was already promised a lucrative career with Olympus Records.

A part of me couldn’t help but curse her sperm donor. Emil was missing out on all this but more than that, he was robbing Amber of a loving father. He probably wouldn’t even call her or be able to pull away from his homewrecker of a wife long enough to even think about our daughter. As much as I hated myself for ever falling for his tricks, I couldn’t hate him because I got the best part of him…Amber. She was worth the heartache and heartbreak.

My mind wandered from my broken marriage to another man I can’t help but think about, probably more than I should. Stephen. It was nice, after so long alone, to have someone like him seem genuinely interested in me. It was just a bonus that he was also very handsome. His sparkling brown eyes and relaxed smile made it easy to be around him.

S: So how did our girl do?


S: Fantastic! I knew she would!

A: I’m so proud of her!

S: She’s amazing, just like her mom 😉

A: No she does amazing all on her own

S: Congrats to Amber & careful coming home

A: Thx call you later?

S: Of course!

So, I might have a very small crush on this man. He was the exact opposite of Emil but I was still afraid to open up. Emil was very convincing and I did not want to make the same mistake with Stephen. I had a lot of thinking to do.


“Amber baby!” Mama shouted, well rather shrieked from the kitchen. I ran at top speed, expecting a blood bath only to find her standing against the counter.

“Mama! What is it? Are you all right?” My eyes were checking every inch of her for injuries but there didn’t seem to be any.

“Baby you’re going to be on live television!” she beamed, jumping up and down like a kid in a candy store. My eyes bugged right out of my head. What did she just say?!

“What do you mean, Mama?

“I mean, mon petite ange, that was one of the producers from WKLA. They want to book you on the show!” What?!

Mon Dieu, Maman!” I could hardly breathe. “Wh-when do they want me?” I was shaking like a leaf but instead of being scared to death, I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

“They would like you to come in next Saturday for the morning show with Blain McGregor. You will be there with the other two winners but he wants you to perform.”

“Well that’s not really fair to Connor and Aurora. They worked just as hard as I did and are phenomenal singers.” I didn’t think I could perform with them there on the same show. I’d feel like I was rubbing it in that I won and they didn’t. Then I got an idea. I was friends with both of them and we’d exchanged numbers as we would all be attending BCPA in the coming fall. Mama stood by the counter, a quizzical look on her face. Holding up a finger, I put my phone on speaker.

“Hello?” Connor answered first. When I told him my idea he went crazy over it. Then we called Aurora who also loved it. We were going to sing a trio together but they insisted I take a solo since I was the first place winner. I couldn’t argue my way out of it so I agreed. We were going to get together via Zoom and practice. We chose a jazz piece made famous by the Manhattan Transfer called Tuxedo Junction. We could really put our own flavor to the song and I was sure we would bring the house down singing a capella. Yeah. We were that good!

Mama called the producer back and he loved the trio idea and confessed to being a huge Manhattan Transfer fan so that made it even better! He still wanted me to perform my solo from the competition. Since he agreed to allow Connor and Aurora to get as much attention and recognition as I would be getting, I agreed with the condition he allow Ryder to play it live. After getting everything I asked for, we hung up. Mama and I looked at each other, then jumped up and down squealing like newborn piglets. She hugged me so tight spouting her praises in French.

Mama went off to call JuJu while I called Brock.

“Hey baby girl! How did you know I was thinking about your sexy self?” I smiled and giggled. He always made me feel so good.

“Hey sugar,” I purred. I knew he loved when I called him that. “You busy?”

“Hell no! I’m always free for you, sexy. Want to come over? I might have a surprise or two in mind for you.” I could hear the heat in his voice as it dropped low and husky. Dang it. He knew how to get my blood pumping in want for him.

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