Excerpt from Where or When by Francesca Hawley
© 2016, Francesca Hawley
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks to your generous donations we met our goal tonight. We’ll be able to fund two Honor Flights very soon.”
Everyone cheered. After all, this was the real purpose of the party.
“And now, that moment you’ve all been waiting for. Frank, please draw the name of our lucky winner.”
He reached in the bowl and stirred the tickets thoroughly before finally drawing one. “And my companion for the evening is…” he paused dramatically and looked out into the crowd with a grin. Then he looked down at the ticket and read, “Sharon Beryl. Are you here sweetheart?”
Shar froze while Jess squealed, jumping up and down. Everyone, including Frank thought Jess was the winner.
“Well, come on up.” He waved to her. Jess shook her head and grabbed Shar’s arm, dragging her toward the well-guarded staircase on the far right side of the stage. The guards tried to stop her, but Jess yelled.
“This is Sharon, you twit. Not me.” Jess turned and hugged her. “You won. You won!”
“But, how?” Sharon could barely talk; she was so shocked.
“I bought a lot of tickets and put your name on them. Now go on and have fun.” Then Jess leaned close to whisper, “And tell me if he kisses as good as he looks.”
The guards escorted her up onto the stage and Frank crossed to her.
“Sharon?” he asked softly. She nodded. He took her hand and drew her forward to a padded stool that now sat center stage. She awkwardly climbed up on it and settled her skirt, so she was modestly covered.
“This one’s for you, sweetheart.”
The band began to play and he looked into her eyes to sing, Where or When. One of her favorite classic ballads. She stared into his dark eyes and he smiled at her. Leaning close, he cupped her cheek in his hand as he sang to the howls and catcalls of the audience. She barely noticed them as she felt the warmth of his hand.
His touch zinged through her, strangely familiar. Just as she recognized his scent. He finished the song with a kiss on her cheek, but she got a weird feeling he’d wanted to kiss her lips. She had to be making it up. Wishful thinking again. Still, she got to see the rest of the concert from the best seat in the house.
He sang more standards that she loved, and he surprised her by making her part of the show. He continued to serenade her at times, and every time he winked at her she grinned like a silly love-struck girl. Before long, her cheeks hurt from all the smiling. She looked out into the crowd and found Jess, who waved. She laughed, then turned back to watch Frank.
During a band interlude, he pulled her off the stool and danced with her. When he started to sing again, she would have returned to the stool but he held her close. Normally, she was a total klutz, but in Frank’s arms she moved with grace. Maybe he knew how to lead, or maybe she was just floating on air. Whatever the reason, they moved like they’d been born to dance together. This couldn’t be happening to her. Yet it was. If only for one night, Frank Jasper was hers.