“Thank you very much!” Hunter said, slipping on his shoes. “Excuse me while I get in good with the woman who mends my pants.”
Piper had her hair up in a messy bun and a worn-out Boone Williams T-shirt on under her unzipped pink sweatshirt. He loved that whether she was glam or grunge, the style seemed to suit her.
“You wanted to show me what you added to the song?” she asked, snapping him out of his stupor.
His faced warmed with embarrassment. How long had he been standing there staring at her? “Yeah, let’s go back here.”
He hated that things had to be so awkward between them. One of Piper’s best qualities was her way of making everyone feel comfortable. What he wouldn’t give to go back in time a few days. Before he messed everything up by trying to rush to the altar.
They passed the empty bunks on their way to the back. Sawyer set his guitar on the floor and pushed the video game controllers aside so Piper had somewhere to sit.
“I’ll admit I was surprised you wanted me to look at this.”
“Why? I wrote it for our son.”
“It’s just so soon after…” The fact that she’d even be standing in the same room with him seemed like a big deal given what had happened.
“After we broke up?” she asked.
He was shocked at how detached she sounded. Not that he expected her to get all emotional being around him, but he did imagine she’d feel something. “Well, yeah.”
“We’re having a baby. Whether we’re together or not, I want to be able to talk to you about him.”
Sawyer tried backpedaling. “I’m glad. I just thought you’d need some time.”
She cocked her head to the side. “More time than you?”
“No. I wasn’t saying that.” He wasn’t gaining any ground with her this way.
“Maybe it’s too early for both of us to talk about the breakup,” Piper suggested. “Let’s focus on the song. What did you think?”
Much safer territory. “I think you were really paying attention when we talked about selling the song’s message in the verses and using the chorus to add that unforgettable punch.”
She smiled down at her lap. Piper had every right to be proud of how far her songwriting had come.
“I didn’t think you needed to change anything. I thought maybe I could add a bridge before going into the final verse.”
He picked up his guitar and started strumming. “Did you have a melody in mind?”
Piper sang the first verse, giving him chills. He had her sing it again, and this time he tried to play along based on what he had heard. They spent the next hour going back and forth and jotting down the notes that worked best.
Piper had written a beautiful song about fear and hope, about how much she needed their son to know that unexpected didn’t mean unwanted. It was a special song for a special baby.
Piper’s phone rang. The pizza was here. “I have to go. I need to give a little speech thanking everyone for their hard work.” She stood up and tucked a loose piece of hair behind her ear. “Thank you for helping me put this together. I love the way it sounds with the guitar, and I think the bridge is perfect.”
“I love it, too.”
Her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip. “I’m glad you love it,” she said.
That word was clearly a trigger he hadn’t meant to pull. He should probably get used to sticking his foot in his mouth around her.
She left. Sawyer stayed behind, picking up his guitar and working on the song a bit longer. Piper would be a wonderful mother. He had no worries about that.
It was crazy that he had been so afraid she would be like Gretchen. Neither one of them was like his mother. They both wanted to put the baby first. They both wanted to love without fear. Only Piper had been braver than he had. She’d been willing to take the risk, to trust, to believe that what she felt for him and their unborn baby was love.
Sawyer added one more verse to the song. This one, if Piper kept it, would have to be sung by him. When he finished, he went outside to see if there was any pizza left.
He started walking toward the group of pop-up tents on the other side of Bus City. It wasn’t unusual for band and crew members to gather outside. Sometimes people skateboarded or played some hacky sack. Occasionally, the dancers created dance circles. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for people to be whooping it up.