"What do you play?"
"Guitar. We play at the Sundowner. A friend of mine, Brad Carrey, owns it. He sings and plays keyboard for us."
"I go in there a lot. Nice place. I bet I've heard you play before."
"Brad told me he saw you in there one time with Michael," John said. "And one time with someone else."
"Probably. You guys write your own stuff or is it mainly covers?"
The food was hot. John had his Pepsi almost gone in no time. "Me and Brad are struggling songwriters. And I am emphasizing the word struggling. We send out demos of our songs when we think we have a good one on our hands."
"Any luck yet?"
"Some. One of ours is on hold with a record company in New York. Other than that, nothing. The band does mainly covers. You really can't get anywhere around here playing your own material. The tourists won't like it."
Tammy cut up her Italian looking dinner and started making it disappear. "Tell me about it," she mumbled. "I always loved playing in front of the crowds, but hated the songs I had to do to be able to be there."
"I know. There's a ton of great songwriters and musicians in our area. They just can't really be heard. To make what living there is you have to cover what's on radio," John said.
They sat in silence for a few minutes while they let each other eat. John caught the tail end of a conversation going on behind him. A man was filling a woman's ear with what sounded like financial information. Stocks, bonds, sell high and buy low and all that. The kind of dull conversation that would have him nodding off in no time at all.
"She tried to change me," John said.
"Change you? The music?"
"She wanted a family and I wanted a tour bus and hit songs."
She looked at him. He figured she was trying to see him as a star up on a stage somewhere, singing his hit songs. The image must not have been too appealing because she started to smile. "What?"
"You lead a pretty cool life."
"Me? You do. You're the beautiful young woman with the record deal in Nashville," he said. He couldn't believe he had admitted that she was beautiful. It slipped out.
"No, you. By day you fight crime on the streets of Virginia Beach and by night you wow the locals and tourists with your musical talent. You have the life." She laughed, covering her open mouth with her napkin.