“As you all know, Jane is a Cade Switzer superfan.”
I felt my face begin to heat as people looked over at me.
One of my regular customers laughed out loud. “Well, duh! You just have to walk into the shop to know that every third song played in there is one by Cade.”
I shrugged as my face went from warm to flaming flamingo pink. “Just supporting our hometown boy,” I said.
If we were alone, Annie, not to mention anyone else who knew me well, would probably point out that my “support” was driven by the crush I’d had on him since the age of fifteen, but I’d argue. My being infatuated with Cade Switzer would be akin to a mortal falling for a Greek god. Sure, it happened. But chaos inevitably ensued and it never ended well for anyone, and I knew that.
But Annie and I both knew that in spite of how ridiculous and never-gonna-happen my crush was, it still existed. Cade Switzer was a rising superstar of country music. He’d won the title of Best New Artist from both the ACM, the CMA and he’d been nominated for a Grammy. His concerts across the country were selling out, and you could hear at least one of his songs every hour if you had a country music station turned on.
Besides his undeniable talent for writing smart lyrics which celebrated friendship, love lost and found, and heartaches endured, he had a talent for creating beautiful, catchy melodies, with complex guitar riffs that made you want to sing and dance along. He’d been writing music for big Nashville acts since he graduated from high school, but two years ago, on a whim, he’d gone to an open-mic night played one of his own songs and as they say, the rest was history.
But a part of the history that most people didn’t know was that once upon a time, in a small town in southwestern Ohio, there’d been a genuinely nice boy who’d been very kind to an extremely overweight girl with a decent singing voice, and insisted that she, not a skinny girl with less musical talent, had earned the role of Sandra Dee in the high school stage production of Grease.
And for that, I would always be a little bit in love with him. He saw something in me—and made other people see something in me—that no one ever had before.
In the end, the director wanted Cade enough for the role of Danny Zuko that he was willing to give me the female lead. And it was a musical match made in heaven. Had we made a soundtrack, it would have been flawless. However, the reality of having a girl of my proportions trying to dance her way across the stage was another thing entirely. Reviews had been… unkind, to say the least. Cade had apologized for his part in my public embarrassment, and I hadn’t sung in public since, with the occasional exception of the church choir.
I hadn’t actually spoken to Cade in person since our high school graduation. I preferred to adore him from afar. I feared that Nashville and fame had turned him into someone else, and I much preferred to recall him in the perfection of my seventeen-year-old self’s rose-colored memories.