"I have another proposition for you," she admitted.

John looked at her and shook his head.

"Really," she added.

"Go on."

"Seeing that my manager has vanished, I need a replacement."

"I don't know how to manage a country singer. Just look at my booming career."

She laughed again. Brad signaled for John as the band was getting ready for their second set.

"I gotta get back," he said.

She leaned over the table, her shirt dipping into her drink, and kissed him. She whispered into his ear, "I believe in you, John."

He smiled and nothing but gratitude and pleasure was written on his face. When he got to the stage, he adjusted the microphone to meet his mouth and he announced, "This second set is for the beautiful woman in the front row here. The woman who saved my life tonight."

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Tammy blushed and dropped her face into her hands.

***

After the show, John drove Tammy back down to Sandbridge near the wild life sanctuary. They parked and walked along the dark beach just as before. They listened to the pounding surf as they held hands and moved slowly through the night.

"You know," John said. "I feel pretty good about this."

"I hope so."

"We have a ton of things to do now."

"Like what?"

"Well, for starters, I need for you to maybe get a place in Nashville where you can be available at any time for the record company."

"You think so?"

"And I need to know how you want to handle the firm."

"It's a firm now?"

"More than one person's a firm."

"It is?"

"I think so," he said.

They walked on in silence as they both listened to the easy sound of the waves and the breeze whip through the sea grass up on the dunes. The sky was a black pool salted with a billion stars.

"I'm a little scared," Tammy admitted. "Don't think we needed to come out here this late. Do you know it's after one in the morning?"

"Is it?"

"Feels a little creepy."

"That's what I like about it. It's like we're the only people on earth." John squeezed her hand and then brought it to his lips for a kiss.

"You have a strange way of looking at things," she said. "What about the wild life behind us?"