Tonight was ridiculously slow, so at 9:30, Grant and I switched on the “NO VACANCY” sign and wandered down to Casa de Jesus.
Jesus had the karaoke machine out; as soon as we walked in, he began pestering me to sing. “My customers — they’re still talking about last time, mi’ija,” he said, referring to an impromptu performance I’d given in a moment of weakness last spring.
Grant was intrigued. “You can sing?” he asked, as if it were somehow shocking that a rock star’s daughter might have a passable set of pipes.
Jesus answered for me. “Like an angel.” He grinned at me. “Well, maybe not exactly an angel. Maybe a little more devil than angel. But beautiful.”
I rolled my eyes. I don’t sing in public if I can help it. Jesus thinks I have stage fright. In a way, he’s right: Being onstage terrifies me. But I’m not afraid I’ll sound bad. I’m afraid I won’t. And if word ever got out that Daddy’s little girl was singing pretty good karaoke in some hole-in-the-wall bar, my peaceful sanctuary could very easily turn into a three-ring circus.
Grant must have read my thoughts. “Come on, Sierra,” he said. “There’s nobody here but you and me and a handful of locals who don’t know who your dad is and wouldn’t give a damn if they did. Please let me hear you. Just once.”
Looking into his dark eyes, I caved.
The bar fell silent.
“Take the ribbon from my hair…” I began, and the look on Grant’s face sent a little shiver down the back of my neck. I remembered Dad telling me how a singer can control his audience with the right song at the right moment. I wondered whether I could control Grant with my voice the way Dad had controlled the women at his shows. It was a deliciously wicked thought.
Three songs later, Grant and I walked back to the Tumbleweed.
“Definitely more devil than angel,” he whispered, nuzzling my ear as I unlocked the lobby.
I looked at him for a long moment. I could hear my own heartbeat filling my ears with a deafening, high-pitched whish-whish. I thought of Dad, of his groupies, of the terrible magnificent crazy wild power a few notes could have.
You slut, I thought. How dare you? He trusts you.
“More angel than I’d like,” I said, and I kissed his cheek. “See you tomorrow.”