"Well hello to you too Kara. I'm fine, thanks for asking. Now, what's going on?" Kara chuckled at her friend; she always could make her laugh when she needed it most. "Oh Jen, everything is a mess." Kara waved at Jack as she passed through heading up the stairs to her room.
"What happened, I thought you and Richie were getting along well."
Kara sighed, "we were, we are, I don't know now. I think I really screwed up last night."
Jen listened as Kara told her all that had gone on in the few days she had been in LA. "Kara, I'm confused. So far from everything you've told me, it sounds like things are going well. I can't believe you've been in his house and slept with him, two of my fantasies, but that aside, it all sounds good to me."
Kara took a breath, "I'm not done yet."
"Okay, well, what else is there?" Jen waited, hearing Kara inhale.
"I sang and played the piano at his house."
Jen waited for more, when Kara didn't continue she asked, "and?"
Kara looked at the phone, "and what, I sang in front of him. It was awful. Then he wanted to sing with me."
Jen nearly dropped her phone, "what?!"
Kara nodded her head, not that Jen could see, but she did it anyway, "you heard me, we sang together. I swear every other note that came out of my mouth was off."
Jen couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Wait, wait, wait, let me get this right, you and Richie sang together and you said it was awful. Is there something the matter with you?"
Kara shook her head, "no, why would you say that?"
It was Jen's turn to sigh, "you really don't get it do you? I have tried and tried to get you to believe that you are better than good Kara. What did Richie tell you?"
"He said I was amazing, that I had a gift."
Jen had figured as much. "I knew it. If you won't believe me at least believe him. He’s been around long enough to know when someone is good or not, and I can't believe he would say you were amazing if he didn't believe it himself."
Kara sat on her bed, "I heard myself though Jen. I heard the sour notes. I know I'm not that good."
Jen pulled the phone from her ear and looked at it, wishing Kara was standing right in front of her so she could shake some sense into her. She put the phone back to her ear, "listen to me dammit, you are good, better than good. Richie is right; you have an amazing gift. How many times have I told you that? You have to stop believing what that bastard told you. He wouldn't have known talent if it had come up and bit him on the ass." She paused, "have you talked to Richie about any of this?"
Kara was quiet, "no. He knew something was bothering me but I wanted to talk to you first."
Jen softened her tone, "are you going to see him tonight? You shouldn't wait too long to talk to him. He could possibly be the one person who could help you realize your dream."
Kara sighed, "but Jen, it's not my dream anymore. I have the kids that I teach to think about."
Jen didn't believe her, "Kar, it's always been your dream. Since we met in school music was always what you wanted to do. You can't let what Greg said and did keep you from pursuing your dream. Music is in your blood sweetie. You need to pursue it and you need to talk to Richie."
It was getting late and Kara needed to help Jack and Lucy get ready for the party later. "Jen, I have to go. Thanks for being there and listening. I don't know what I would do without you."
Jen sighed, "if you don't talk to Richie, I will find a way to contact him and talk to him myself Kara, I mean it. Happy New Year and call me when you get back."
They hung up and Kara flopped back on the bed, was Jen right, am I really that good? Do I really have what it takes?
After Richie dropped Kara off, he had gone to see Ava but she was still sick. Richie headed home, trying to figure out what to do about Kara. She had gotten to him, connected with him in a way no other woman ever had, not even Heather. He called the one person he knew he could talk to about this. "Hey man." Richie smiled for the first time that day.
"Hey bro, how's it going?"
"I met someone man."
Jon was surprised, "where, when, what does she look like, come on, I need the details man."
Richie laughed and filled him in. "I met her at church with mom on Christmas Eve, but I think you may know her."
"How would I know her, I don't go to church." Jon was more than a little surprised at his friend.
Richie laughed, "I know that man, but she teaches music at Jake's school. Matter of fact, he's in her class."
Jon thought for a minute, trying to remember Jake's teachers, "you're seeing Ms. D'Angelo?"
Richie nodded his head, "yep, that would be her."
Jon shook his head, remembering what she looked like, "she's so not your type."
Richie laughed, "I know, I know, but I think my tastes have changed. She talented too man. She can sing like nobody's business."
Jon got a little suspicious, "really, are you sure she's not after something man."
Richie sighed; why did Jon always have to be like this? "No man, she's not after anything. She doesn't even think she's any good. You should hear her though. She has a gift man."
"If she has such a gift, why is she teaching school, why isn't she making records?"
Richie ran his hand through his hair, "that's just it. She started making a CD, but I think the guy she was with belittled her all the time and she believed him. Something was bothering her last night but she won't talk to me about it. I know she's good though man, you need to hear her." Jon started to say something but Richie interrupted him, "there is something coming up at school that she told me about, are you going to it?"
Jon flipped opened his calendar, "when is it and what is it?"
Richie explained about the event that Kara had talked about, "wait, here it is, it's while we're on a two-week break so I guess we're going."
"Okay man, I know it's like a month and a half away, but believe me, she'll blow your socks off."
Jon laughed, "if you say so. Now how are you going to get her to talk to you?"
Richie sighed, "I don't know. I'm going to see her later, her brother is having a party. I'll try to come up with something."
Jon could sense his friend's distress, "just be your charming self, you know the ladies can't resist you."
Richie laughed, "asshole. I'm hanging up now."
Jon laughed, "happy new year man, see you at the end of the week."
Richie went to get dressed, he was going to a party.