First Time Lucky(80)

By: Chance Carter






Chapter 36

Shane

Two years later...

I rechecked my watch, tapping my foot. Around me, people chatted and laughed under the New York Theatre’s opulent chandeliers, which glittered brilliantly and filled the lobby with warm light. I stared up at the one above me for a while, trying to distract myself from my impatience.

Someone tackled me so hard I nearly dropped the bouquet of roses in my hand.

“Oof!” I huffed.

Jake laughed, squeezing me in a tight hug. “Sorry I’m late,” he said. “I got lost on the subway. You’d think I would have that kind of thing figured out by now.”

I laughed and clapped him on the back. “You would think. Good to see you, man.”

“How long’s it been now?” he asked, releasing me. “I barely know what day of the week it is these days.”

“About a year, I guess. Since the wedding. Which is just enough time for me to forgive you for that horribly embarrassing best man speech.”

Jake cackled with delight, tossing back his scruffy ginger head.

“I thought you spent the last month in Singapore?” I asked, poking his cheek. “Why are you still as pale as your mom’s fine china?”

His smile flattened, and he narrowed his eyes in mock contempt. “I’m sure I can find more speech-worthy occasions.”

“Stick to web design. It works for you.”

“It does suit me, doesn’t it?” he replied. “Even my parents are happy for me. I’m heading back to Sitka Valley next to visit them, and they’re acting like it’s a visit from the queen or something.”

A tinge of pride colored Jake’s cheeks. I was glad to see him so happy. Not long after Dallas and Randall and I skipped town for New York, Jake threw himself into everything code. He soon founded a web design company, and it took off. He spent the last year working remotely from around the world, chasing his dreams on every continent.

The lights flashed.

“We better go in,” I said.

“Let’s.” He looked up at the chandelier as we passed beneath it with a dreamy smile. “I still can’t believe it. Broadway, man. Broadway.”

“I know.”

We took our seats and chatted idly as we waited for the curtain to rise. Once it did, however, my attention was fixed. I spent the next two hours entranced, utterly mesmerized. I was the first on my feet when the cast did their bows. Then I grabbed Jake and pushed through the crowd back to the lobby and toward the stage doors.

Backstage was a cacophony of laughter, yelling, and the constant popping of champagne bottles. The show had only just ended, but the after party was already in full swing. Then again, the production had a lot to celebrate. The run had been lauded by critics and audiences alike.

I found Dallas laughing with the stage manager and presented her with the bouquet.

“You were amazing, princess.”

She took the flowers and performed a flourishing bow. “Thank you very much.” She turned to Jake. “I’m glad you could make it. It’s terrific to see you.”

“You too!” Jake replied. “After a performance like that, I can’t wait to see what you do next. Have you got anything lined up?”

Dallas’s face flushed and she looked at us, pert lips slipping up into a smile.

“I don’t, actually,” she admitted. “Though that’s probably a good thing.”

I wound an arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head, hungry for any form of contact.

“Why’s that?” Jake asked.

Dallas spun to look up at me, which was confusing since Jake was the one asking her questions. Her eyes sparkled like rays of sunlight skittering over the crests of ocean waves.

“Because I’m pregnant.”

I let out a strangled cry of excitement and lifted her into my arms, spinning wildly. She laughed. I laughed. Jake wisely got out of the way. Roses flew everywhere.

Words couldn’t describe the perfection of that moment. Up until then, I didn’t think I could get any happier. Surely I had reached the limit, and extending that limit was impossible.

How many times was I going to let myself be surprised by the fact that, when it came to Dallas and me, impossible was just a word?

Call it fate, call it destiny, call it the luck of the Irish if you will. Whatever the case, the time for dreaming had passed. Now was the time when we got to live.