I've thought for a long time about whether or not to post this and as I celebrate the one year anniversary of the book it seems fitting to share. A lot of people have asked me for a sequel and I have never been interested in writing one but I wrote this scene shortly after I finished my first draft of The Low Notes. It was my choice as an author to not include this 'happily ever after' because I didn't feel that Kevin and Nina needed to be wrapped up in a shiny bow. I love the way The Low Notes ended but for those of you who wanted a bit more this is for you.
The following is intended as an epilogue to The Low Notes. If you haven't read the book consider this a neon sign that says SPOILERS!
Round tables all covered in white linen and pale green organza sat evenly throughout the ballroom. Strategically placed candles glowed warm amber and bathed the room with soft light. Nina walked in and scanned the expansive room with her eyes. It was breathtaking. As nearly two hundred and fifty guests started filing in and finding their seats she continued to search the space. She’d been so nervous at the ceremony she hadn't found him in the crowd and after that was the hustle and bustle of picture taking. Her maid of honor duties were pressing but her mind was elsewhere.
She felt a tiny twinge in her heart when she had the fleeting thought that maybe he hadn't come. She remembered just a few nights ago when he waltzed into the hotel bar where she’d been working for only a matter of days. It had been the strangest and most amazing thing to happen. He sat patiently sipping on a drink listening to her sing like it was just another night at The Black Jewel. When her set ended and she returned to him the butterflies in her stomach couldn’t be contained. They had shared a kiss before her shift had ended and her mind was racing wondering what else the evening would bring. What transpired was nothing short of awe inspiring.
Nina’s palms started to sweat and she squeezed the ribbon covered stem of her white rose bouquet tighter as she let herself remember the feel of his hands slipping off her gown in his darkened hotel room. The way he whispered into her ear making it seem like no time had passed sent a chill through her. They let go of it all that night and let themselves enjoy one another in a whole new way. But she worried that despite the plans they made while lying in each others arms with what seemed to be the promise of a new beginning he had bailed on her.
The hall was filling up and she saw so many familiar faces. Todd Dawson and his family sat a few tables from where she was standing. Todd had brought Hannah Bruckheimer as his date and they had cartoon hearts in their eyes for each other. James and Nick were finally out as a couple and looked dashing in their tuxes. Sitting across the dance floor at the table she would eventually be seated at she could see them glancing over the wedding program and chatting with loving grins.
She saw aunts and uncles, out of town family friends, and Blake's three siblings and their dates. She saw everyone whose name she’d helped record in Greta's wedding folder under RSVP-yes. But there was one name that never made the guest list. He never checked a box 'yes' or 'no'. Chicken or beef. But he was her plus one—her date. She had dreamt of the day she could finally call him that. And she honestly never thought the day would come.
Panic was starting to set in and she felt the air in her lungs growing stiff like a block of concrete forming within her. Suddenly, without warning, a familiar hand was resting gently on her forearm from behind and she spun around praying it was him and not a figment of her imagination.
"Hey, beautiful," Kevin said as she met his eyes.
A sigh rushed out of her breaking the concrete blocks in her chest to bits. He was actually in front of her. To say the moment was surreal was an understatement. It had been nearly two years since that first night at The Black Jewel. Two years since their date and the subsequent fallout in room B100. And yet, this was actually happening. He was dressed in a simple black suit with a black vest and tie and a crisp white shirt. Clean shaven, he looked different from the day before and all the days she had known him but he was just as handsome. She reached up effortlessly and touched the smooth skin of his jaw.
In the simplest of moments, an ordinary thing any woman would do to the man she loved, Nina saw the reaction she had been waiting for. No reaction at all. He didn't glance around the room wondering whose eyes might be on them. He didn't tense to her touch, fearful of being caught. Kevin merely smiled.
"Should we sit?" he asked.
She nodded letting her fingers move from his face to his hand at his side. They walked across the room hand in hand to table number nine where Nick and James were waiting along with a few other guests who had already started on their salads.
"Guys, you remember Kevin," Nina said. Then she bit her lip stifling the smile she wanted to beam out at James.
James stood and shook Kevin's hand firmly. "It's really good to see you again."
He watched her with careful eyes. The candlelight from the centerpiece flickering across her cheeks, her delicate collarbone and the satin fabric of her plum colored dress. Her profile was just as stunning as he remembered and her presence was just as intoxicating as it was in his dreams. With his eyes on her she seemed to laugh in slow motion, her slender fingers languidly clapping together in amusement at something her best friend James had said from across the table. And then she turned to him, her gray eyes illuminating in a way they only did when their eyes locked.
Kevin leaned in close to her ear taking care to breathe in the flowery essence of her perfume. "I want to dance with you," he whispered.
Nina pulled back and met his gaze. "I'd love to."
He took her hand and led her to the wooden floor in the middle of the lavish ballroom where other couples were moving to the music. A smile crept onto her face and she held up one finger before stepping gingerly to the DJ on the opposite end of the floor with a giddy hop to her walk. From afar Kevin saw her lean in and say something to the man behind the booth and watched as he nodded. She spun on her heels and started walking slowly back to Kevin just as the song playing ended and a new slow song began. He knew it instantly. The few notes before the first line were all he needed and Nina smirked as she sauntered her way over to him. She was in his arms in time for the first line of the bluesy tune and she slowly put her cheek to his softly singing the lyric in his ear.
"Wish I knew… why I'm so in love with you. No one else in this world will do. Darling, please save your love for me."
Just as she had one August night not so long ago, with a few sweet notes and a voice like an angel she captured his heart. And through it all, the turmoil and the fear, the lust and the pain, the loss and now the rekindling—it was just as it always had been. The hard truth that took him so long to embrace, the feeling that brimmed in his heart from the moment he laid eyes on her. He loved her. Always had and always would.
Thanks to everyone who fell in love with Kevin and Nina just as I did. It warms my heart to know that people want to be sure they ended up together. They certainly did!
The blog tour is still on and I'm over at author Britni Hill's blog and author Jane Wakely's blog today! Come back tomorrow for the true ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY and hear from Kevin and Nina themselves!