Say You Won't Let Go (Page 3)
The lights go deep blue, and everything is dark. I told Vince and the rest of the band I wanted to sing this one tonight acoustic.
I strum the chords and close my eyes.
“Don’t tell me it’s too late,” I croon.
“I won’t give up that easy.
Don’t call me darlin’ and tell me that you’re leavin’.
Don’t walk away.
Stop pushing me when you know you want to hold on.
It could be so easy for us, baby.
I’ve been here, but you don’t see me.
Don’t let go if you’re not ready for me to walk away.”
I sing the lyrics from deep inside me, trying to convey the true pain in Grace’s heart at the time. I’ve always believed the best songs are what you know. I may not know pain like that, but when my eyes find a pair of green eyes I spent hours staring into last night, I feel exposed. Suddenly, the song about heartbreak and pain morphs into another meaning.
“Don’t let go if you’re not ready for me to walk away.”
Cooper looks at me, and I sing to him. It’s as if no one else is here.
Not the ten thousand other people staring up at me.
No one else exists but us.
This time, the lyrics are about a woman who wants something she probably can’t have. It’s about a life that might never exist for her, but she wants him even if she shouldn’t.
I finish the song, letting the final chord fade as the crowd erupts. My eyes finally move from his, and I do my best to recover. I feel shaken and raw. There is a vulnerability that I’ve never experienced until just now.
I smile, wave, and give a small bow. “Thank y’all so much!” I move around the stage, grabbing hands with fans. I thank everyone again and raise my hand as I stride off stage.
“Holy shit, Emily!” Vince wraps his arms around me and spins me around. “You were amazing tonight! I’ve never seen you like that.”
“That was nuts! I don’t know what came over me.” I laugh as he puts me down.
I’m lying. I know exactly what came over me. It was Cooper.
“Well, whatever it was, do that at every show. I think you should sing that song acoustic from now on. I can’t believe how fucking intense that was.”
Ginny eyes me, and I’m pretty sure she has a guess about what the difference was. She studies me and releases a heavy sigh. “It was a great show, and there were two record producers in the front row. Good night to perform at the top of your game. I’ll be sure your friend makes it through security.” Ginny turns, takes two steps, and then pivots back. “Wait. Before I forget. This was left for you last night. Probably fan mail that somehow made it backstage. Anyway, it has your name on it.” I smile my thanks, tucking the envelope into my guitar case.
I’m on the tour bus, trying to get my stomach to stop flip-flopping. Am I being stupid? After what I felt during that song, I can’t see him. Maybe Ginny was right when she said that I’ll end up some small-town girl after all. If Cooper is the man who will hold me back, I can’t go there. I won’t allow myself to end up like my mama. My heart is racing so fast I’m sure it’s going to fly out of my chest. When the hell did that song become anything about me? Ugh. I’m not answering the door when he comes.
I’ll just ignore it, shut the lights off, and hide.
Trying to calm my nerves, I pace. My eyes catch on the letter that Ginny gave me, which is still tucked inside my guitar case, and I pull it out. It’s surreal getting notes from people gushing over me. I’ve only really been touring for a few months. I don’t know how to take it. It’s an amazing feeling. I tear the flap open and pull out the single sheet of paper before unfolding it. Then, I gasp, dropping the letter to the ground.
What on earth?
I pick it back up with a trembling hand. A collage of pictures of me from various shows and online blogs are arranged haphazardly. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, the words, “You’re my darlin’” are emblazoned in the middle. There are several pictures of Luke and me, and Luke’s eyes have been scratched out. The whole thing is disturbing to say the least. This would be a first for me.
I’m staring at this crazy collage, wondering what in the world is wrong with people. Who would send this to me? Why? I’m a nobody, and really it’s crazy that people have time to do this. This person needs a hobby, that’s for damn sure. I look closer, trying to figure out what concert it was taken at when a knock on the trailer causes me to jump.
“Em?” Cooper’s deep voice filters through the room. “You here?”
I toss the crazy person letter under my lyrics book and chew on my thumbnail.
“Emmy? I see the lights on.”
My mind goes back to the concert and how fast he made my heart race. How him just being there made the song come to life inside me. Maybe this is a mistake, but I worry the bigger one is running away from him.
I stand and move to the door.
“I’m here,” I say with the metal shielding me from his eyes.
Instead of making me want to cower, the sound of his voice causes me to react completely different and irrational. I open the door and rush toward him, wrap my arms around his neck, and press my lips to his. I kiss him like I need it. And I do. I want nothing more than to feel him because it feels like the right thing—the only thing—I should do. I feel safe in Cooper’s arms.
His hands grip my legs, and he hoists me into his arms while I kiss him deeply. My tongue slides against his, and I moan in his mouth.
Cooper walks with me wrapped around him. He holds me to his body, and I feel all the emotion pouring out of him. The moment we shared while I was on stage was just as intense for him as well. He moves to the back bedroom and lays me on the bed. His fingers lace in my hair and he takes control, moving his mouth against mine as he drinks me in, slowing the kiss until his lips are a feather-light brush against mine.
“Hi.” He breathes the word.
“Hi.” My cheeks burn as I realize I assaulted him without even saying a word. “Coop, I don’t know what that was—”
He presses his finger to my lips. “Don’t say anything.”
“But,” I mumble, and he shakes his head.
I want to tell him about the letter and how scared I am, but at the same time, I don’t want some bizarre fan mail, which is probably nothing, to ruin our night together. Cooper is protective. If he knew that I got a letter like that, he’d probably force me to report it. Tonight, I just want him without the crazy that my life is turning into.
“You leave for Houston tomorrow, and I’m going back to Bell Buckle a few days after that. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.”
I wish that were true. Cooper isn’t some guy I found on tour—he’s a friend. We grew up together, and our lives are very intertwined. It’s clear we both are feeling this, and I don’t want this to be the end. I want passionate nights and days spent getting to know each other more. I want whoever sent me the letter to never contact me again.
I’m a damn fool.
Wanting more with Cooper isn’t possible. I’m on tour for another month, and then who knows what after that? As for the letter, I can’t control crazy fans. I can only hope it is a one-time thing.
Cooper’s eyes hold mine. “I’m not askin’ for anything, Em. I’m just sayin’ we should enjoy tonight. Okay?”
I nod, and he removes his hand. “My tour is over soon.” I touch his jaw.
“And you know where I’ll be.”
“You think I should come find you?” I say with a teasing tone.
“I really hope you do.”
“We’ll see.” I shrug, and he laughs so hard it shakes the bed.
Cooper rolls to his side, pulling me with him so we are face to face. “You know that there are girls lining up for a chance with me.”
I raise a brow and snort. “In Bell Buckle?”
“And the area surrounding.”
I smother my laughter and roll my eyes. If I wasn’t from the area, he might’ve sold me, but there’s no line of girls anywhere in Bedford County, Tennessee. On the other hand, if I lived there, I’d be first in the Cooper line.
He’s definitely the most eligible bachelor in a town of a hundred people.
I grin as I touch his face. “Well, lucky for me that you aren’t home to get all the attention of those women. I mean, I feel like I should thank my lucky stars.”
“Oh, you should.”
“Whatever will I do when you leave?” I ask playfully. “How will I get through the nights, wonderin’ if some girl has stolen your heart?”
I’m partially joking, but there’s an element of truth to that. Not because he’s mine or I have any claim, but I wonder if he has someone in line back home. I wouldn’t blame him.
Cooper brushes my hair back off my cheek. “Jealous?”
I shake my head and scoff. “No.”
“Not even a little. I’ve seen your pickins… I’m not worried.”
He grins. “Oh, so you’re sayin’ you’re my best option?”
I sit up quickly and shift to my knees. “Who said I was an option?”