“Have you seen Ben?” Cal asked as Maren passed his office door.

She paused, then backed up. “No, why?”

Cal frowned. “It’s not like him to miss work without calling.” He shrugged absentmindedly.

He didn’t realize she’d left until she was no longer in his doorway. Cal leapt from his seat and a pile of papers slid to the floor. He hesitated, then waved a hand at them and jogged out of his office. He’d pick them up later. “Hey! Wait up!” he called to Maren as he caught up to her.

She paused in the hall, giving him a quizzical look. Sunlight from the window gave her lovely brown hair a red glow that looked very good against her snug denim jacket. Hell, she looked good, period. He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat. He couldn’t stop himself from looking…

“What’s up, Cal?” she asked.

He tore his gaze from where it traveled over her hips. “You sounded great this morning during practice,” he said in a rush. He kicked himself internally: if you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was a nervous teen boy with his first crush. Sure he’d been crushing on Maren Thompson for a long, long time, but he was almost thirty and he knew he could be more suave than that…

…and she was giving him a funny look. Had he said something wrong?

“Um, Cal, I wasn’t here this morning…”

Just as he processed her words, two of the tenors walked in and waved at Maren. “I’d better go,” she said with a quick smile and he found himself letting her walk away. What did she mean she wasn’t at the Theatre this morning? The beauty of the songs being played could only have come from her. No one else in this little town had half the talent she did, nor the heart.

Cal scratched his head as he puzzled over the situation. Then the phone rang in his office and he had no more time to consider things other than his managerial duties.

* * *
This is part of an ongoing serial story. You can catch up via the Serials page.

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