I woke slowly, the hum of the lights mixed almost painfully with the beeping of a machine nearby. I recognized it, a heart monitor, and I realized I must be in the hospital. I groaned deeply. This was not what I needed now, although…I paused as I felt a squeeze on my hand and looked down. Revan looked up at me, and I could tell that he’d spent the night here.
“Theresa, are you awake?” he asked, a soft voice among the machines in the room.
I stared at him, his eyes sagging from lack of sleep, and I smiled softly. “Yes, love, I’m fine.” I sat up and watched the walls and ceiling melt into one another.
“Don’t move. You’ve been out for almost a day. Apparently, you were highly salt deficient.”
I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to stop the spinning around me, but with no luck. “What do you mean, salt deficient? I make sure, as do you, that my diet is well-balanced. I can’t go around fainting on stage. What are…” I paused for a moment, unsure I wanted to hear the response. “What are people saying?”
“They loved it!” The excitement practically beamed off his face, and I couldn’t help but smile. “People were so worried for you, and yet, the chanting going on, calling your name? ‘Trixie, Trixie, Trixie!’ It was exhilarating. I’m sorry you missed it. I’ve got two business cards from agents—”
“Who probably never want to hear my name again.”
“Shush you. They want to hire you exclusively. I believe one of them called your voice enrapturing and seraphic.” My jaw hit the floor.
“You’re joking, even after the fainting?” Revan smiled, his face lighting up the room.
“I had one in my hand a few minutes before you went down, and the other came in about an hour ago.” His hand squeezed mine, which was good because I felt my soul drifting away, and I needed grounding. “Let’s get you home, Trix. You need to recover because I have some not-great news as well.”
Revan’s face darkened, and I could tell that whatever it was hurt him. “Revan, tell me what it is, please.”
He just shook his head and got up, kissing my forehead. “I’ll go get the doctor, wait here, and I’ll be right back.” With that, he walked out and left me worrying.
A few hours later, we were home, and I was curled up on the couch with a large bowl of chicken noodle soup. I had a warm blanket around me, and Revan was fidgeting. I could tell he was trying to phrase how to break the bad news to me, so I put the bowl on the side table to take his hands. “Just say it.”
“Paul died yesterday.”
I was glad that I had put the bowl down because I froze. “No, no, he didn’t.” I shook. Paul was my first friend, someone who took me under their wing and made me feel welcome when I moved to New York two decades ago. A total teddy bear. He couldn’t be.
Revan just nodded. He knew we were close and that we’d drifted apart in the last couple of years because he didn’t approve of me chasing fame. He wanted me to be true to myself and to my talent, not sell out. I pulled the blanket up around my face and broke down. Revan just moved forward and pulled me into his lap, letting me cry. I couldn’t stop. My emotions spilled out, and I regretted every minute since I last saw him. I don’t know how long we sat like that. The soup was cold; I knew that much.
When I had finally cried myself out, and Revan let me go, I moved back and picked up the soup. The first sip had me spitting it out. “There’s no salt.”
Revan looked at me carefully. “You don’t normally put salt in your soup, Theresa.” His voice was careful. I was still emotional, and he knew it. “Here, give me your bowl, and I’ll add salt to it.” He took the bowl and walked away as the visions that assaulted me on stage last night swam through my head again. So much was hitting me at once that a wave of nausea coursed through me. Revan returned with the soup as I hurled all over the floor.
The bowl dropped to the floor as Revan rushed over to me. “Trix! Are you ok?” I nodded and looked up at him.
“Ya, sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” He lifted me back onto the couch and wrapped me up.
“I’ll make you more soup. Just hold on.” Revan hurried back into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with another bowl of chicken noodle soup. I tasted it, and it still felt wrong. I scrunched my face up, and Revan chuckled. “Still wrong?”
“Ya, I’m not sure why, but I need more salt.” Revan got up and brought me the salt shaker. I began shaking it into the bowl. Once I had seasoned it to my taste, Revan took a sip and coughed.
“Oh, dear lord.” I just looked at him oddly. “It tastes like seawater in here. Seawater chicken broth. What’s happened to you, Trix?”
I shook my head, confused. “What do you mean? It tastes normal to me.” He just laughed, and I joined in. It felt good to laugh. For the moment, I forgot about Paul, the visions, and the fainting. I looked at my husband, my partner, my manager. He was trying to help, and I loved him immensely. But as I watched his face, long wavy brown hair, soft blue eyes, and a short, well-kept beard. He looked so much like one of the men in my vision. I couldn’t shake the fact that those men meant something to me, and yet, aside from the one that looked like Revan, I’d never seen them before. Certainly, the other one was foreign to me.
“Trix, I have an idea, but I’m not sure how keen you would be on it.” His voice dropped an octave or so, and I looked up at him. “The agents want you to have another concert soon. I guess they want to hear you again without passing out.” He snickered playfully and nudged me. “I thought maybe you could make it a benefit concert.”
“A benefit concert?” I cocked my head at him.
“Yes, for Paul’s family. You know the costs of funerals are expensive.”
I smiled brightly at him. “That sounds like a perfect idea, Revan!” I beamed, pulled out my phone, and began planning the sets. Revan saw I was engulfed in the work and smiled, letting me work.
A week passed, the evening of the concert arrived, and Revan introduced me to the two agents who wanted to sign me. I was nervous, but they gave me very generous offers. It would definitely be something to think about. Thunder rumbled outside, and I could almost feel the ocean rolling off the island. It wasn’t something I’d ever noticed before, even having lived in New York for the last twenty years.
Revan went up on stage and did his usual bit, introducing me, and I breathed deeply. My salt intake this past week had skyrocketed to where doctors were baffled. I was too. I knew the quantity of salt I had put into my system this last week was unhealthy, even unsafe, but it just tasted normal.
I had found a midnight blue silk dress, one I hadn’t worn in a long time, and slipped in on like it was a second skin. As he introduced me, I felt a wave roll through me. It was slightly disconcerting, but it passed quickly. I stepped up and beamed at the crowd, looking out over the sea of people. I took a deep breath and smiled softly.
“Thank you all for coming. I recently lost someone dear to me. Paul was a mentor, a friend, a colleague. He was a teacher, a confidante, a brother. His family is here, and I wish to honour him in the best way I know how. Paul was a musician, one of the best I ever knew, and I dedicate this entire show to him.” The crowd was silent as I spoke and clapped politely. “All the proceeds will go to the family and to the charity work that was his life.”
The crowd erupted in cheers, and I saw Paul’s mother and brothers in the front row crying with happiness. I began my opening number and let the tears flow. The concert went well. I rode the high the crowd was giving me. Once the show was over and I had said my farewell to Paul’s family, Revan brought me to meet with the two agents again, and we got to talking about potential deals. I wasn’t following the conversation closely, so I was glad for Revan. He knew what would be perfect for me, and by the end, I had a signed and sealed contract with one of the largest record companies on the eastern seaboard.
And yet, something was calling me, something I couldn’t place but couldn’t seem to fight.