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Authors: Scotty Cade

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BOOK: Final Encore
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friends I have in Nashvile, and I’d do anything for


“I’m thriled to hear that, Bily. How about adding

one more to your short list of friends?”

“I’m sure I can squeeze in one more,” Bily said

with a smile. “Who do you have in mind?”

“That’d be me,” Ian said with a grin.

“Jean and Jules have spoken very highly of you,

and any friend of theirs is a friend of mine.”

Bily and Ian talked wel into the night. Jean came

and went, just to make sure her boys were getting along

okay. Each time she stopped by their table, they turned

al their attention to her, and she loved it.

“Now what have I done in this world to have two

such handsome men swooning over me?” she said.

“Just lucky, I guess,” Ian and Bily said

simultaneously, as they looked at each other and then at

Jean. They al had hearty laughs.

Ian told Bily about his responsibilities at Capitol

Records, and how he and Jean had met some eight

years ago. Of course Ian didn’t go into any real detail

but hit the highlights, and in return Bily shared about his

responsibilities at the ranch. Bily talked about his family

back in New Orleans a bit. But when it came time for

Ian to do the same, he quickly brought the subject back

to Bily.

“So, Jean tels me that for the next month, you’l

be opening for Jed. How do you feel about that?”

“Excited and scared at the same time, if that’s

possible,” Bily said.

“Of course it is,” Ian replied, “but you’l get used

to it. You’re a natural.”


“If you don’t mind, I’l try to get a few of my

coleagues out to take a look at your show, and we’l

see where that leads us.”

Bily about slipped out of his chair. “Of course it’s

al right, you kidding me?”

“No promises, but I’l do the best I can.”

“I don’t know how I can ever thank you,” Bily


“We’l come up with something.”

BILLY and Ian continued to talk about the ranch and

the music business and everything in between until Jean

came over one last time.

“It’s closing time, boys.”

Both of them looked at their watches in

amazement, and neither could believe it was so late.

“Where did the time go?” Ian said, shaking his


“Not sure, man, but it sure flew by.”

Both men stood up and offered to help Jean close

the bar, and as usual, she refused. She positioned

herself between them and walked them to the door with

a hand on each of their arms.

“I’l walk Ian to his car and be right back,” Bily


“Okay, honey, see you in a minute.”

Bily walked Ian to his SUV and thanked him for

taking the time to stop and catch his show.

“Now this is some ride,” Bily said as he admired

Ian’s black Cadilac Escalade.

“This old thing?” Ian smiled.

“It’s a thousand times nicer than my old pickup.”

Ian was just about to say how much he’d enjoyed

the night when he remembered. “Damn, I was due at a

recording session five hours ago, and I totaly forgot

about it.”

“Oh man, I am so sorry.”

“What are you sorry about? You didn’t hold me

hostage. I enjoyed every minute of your show and our

time together. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have forgotten

about the session. No worries,” Ian said. “I’m sure they

tried to reach me, but it was so loud in there, I couldn’t

have heard my phone ring. I’l check my voice mail on

the way home. Either way, it won’t be a problem when

I tel them I’ve found their next big star.”

“Wow, I like the sound of that,” Bily said.

“I’l bet you do,” Ian chuckled. “So where were


“Wel, let’s see, you were teling me how much

you enjoyed the show and were about to ask for my

telephone number.”

“Now was I?” Ian said.

“Yep, I remember distinctly.”

“You know, you’re right; I remember now.

Besides, I may need to get in touch with you to set up a

Capitol meeting or something.”

“A Capitol meeting, huh,” Bily laughed.

“Or something,” Ian said while he was reaching

into his truck to grab a note pad from his attaché case.

Ian handed the note pad to Bily, who wrote

down his number and handed it back to Ian. He gave

Bily a card in return. “In case you need me for


Bily stuck out his hand, and Ian took it. They

held each other’s gaze for what seemed like eternity,

neither one wanting to let go. Reluctantly, they released

their hold, and Bily said, “Drive safely, and hopefuly

I’l see you again very soon.” Ian drove home feeling

giddy and lighthearted for the first time in he didn’t

know how long.

Chapter 5

BILLY watched Ian drive away and headed back inside

to get the scoop on Ian from Jean and Jules and see if

they’d had anything to do with the events of the

evening. When he walked in the front door, the place

was empty and the band was gone, the bartenders were

busy restocking the bar, and he heard Kitty Wels on

the jukebox singing “I Can’t Help Wondering.” He saw

movement out of the corner of his eye and turned

toward the dance floor, spotting Jean and Jules, arms

wrapped around each other, dancing the last dance of

the night. He turned around so as to not interrupt the

tender moment, but Jean saw him and motioned him

over to the bar and pointed to a stool. When the song

was over, Jules and Jean walked over and sat next to


“Quite a night,” Jules said.

“Okay, spil the beans, you two,” Bily insisted.

“What beans?” Jean said with a guilty look.

“You know what beans. Ian Dilon, Capitol

Records. How much did you guys have to do with what

took place tonight?”

“Wel,” Jean said, “I simply caled a friend of mine

and asked him to stop by and see a new performer,

who’s also a friend. That’s what he does for a living, for

God’s sake.”

“But why didn’t you tel me?”

“I didn’t want to make you nervous and I wasn’t

sure tonight was the night. It al just worked out.”

“Al I can say is thank you,” Bily said, and he

gave them both hugs. “So now that we have that out of

the way, tel me about Ian.”

“What do you want to know?” Jules asked.


Jean looked at Jules and said, “Let me see.”

She told Bily about the night Ian had come into

the saloon and how she’d given him a job as a

bartender and bouncer, and how he had shown an

interest and had a knack for knowing which performers

had real potential; how he had worked his way up to

selecting and hiring new talent, and finaly, how she’d

introduced him to Josh Randal and ultimately how he’d

gotten the job at Capitol.

“Do you guys ever stop doing good deeds?” Bily


“Oh, Bily,” Jean said, “we just put one and one

together and we usualy get two.”

Jules finaly got a word in edgewise. “So what

else do you want to know?”

“For starters,” Bily said, “does he have a


“Oh my,” Jean said. “You know I don’t tel tales

out of church, but just between us, no.” Bily couldn’t

help smiling.

“It’s a good thing, because he just might turn me

into a home wrecker.” Jules shook his head, and they

al laughed.

“You’ve done so much for me, what can I do for

you?” Bily asked.

“For starters,” Jules said, “you can get things

started at the ranch tomorrow. I’m taking my little lady

home and we’re sleeping in.”

“My pleasure,” said Bily, “but if I’m going to

open up shop tomorrow, I’d better get going. I have a

ful day tomorrow myself.” They exchanged hugs, and

Bily headed for the door.

When Bily reached his truck, he noticed a note

on his windshield. He grabbed the paper and got in his

truck. The note said, “My business card only has my

work number on it, so here’s my cel and home, if you

need me for anything,” signed with a big “I.” Bily folded

the note and put it in his walet. As he puled out of the

parking lot, he didn’t see the look of disgust on the face

of the man lurking in the shadows.

Bily smiled al the way home as he relived the

entire night. It was almost four a.m., and he knew he

wouldn’t get any sleep, but he couldn’t wait to get to his

bunk so he could lie there and think about Ian. When he

reached the bunkhouse, al was quiet. The first shift

usualy woke about five o’clock and it was four twenty-

five, so he thought he would start the coffee for the guys

before he lay down for an hour or so. Then he took a

quick shower before he crawled into his bunk and

waited for sunrise.

As the sun crept up over the horizon, Bily

watched the daylight seep into the bunkhouse. He’d

pretended to be asleep when the first shift crew had

started moving around, as he wasn’t ready to talk to

anyone. He’d spent the hour and a half thinking about

the possibilities in both his professional and his personal

life and wasn’t ready to let go of the fantasy just yet.

When the other men finaly headed out, Bily got up and

prepared for his day. By the time he reached the

stables, the hands were already preparing the horses for

the day’s ride. After making sure al the horses were

ready, he took the golf cart over to the mess hal to pick

up the box lunches for the tours. When he returned, the

guides took the box lunches they would need and

placed them in the saddle bags and then took a break

while they waited for the riders to arrive.

The day flew by, and before Bily knew it al the

horses had returned and were unsaddled and put out to

pasture for an hour or so. While the horses were

enjoying a wel-deserved break and snack, Bily helped

put the tack away and then hopped up on the fence to

watch the horses. Glancing at his watch and noticing it

was four o’clock, he reached for his walet and took

out the note from Ian, dialing the first number.

After two rings Bily heard, “Ian Dilon.”

IAN’S day had passed in a blur. When he’d puled into

his garage the night before, his heart had stil been as

light as a feather, and he’d realized that since he’d left

the saloon, he had been humming “The Love of a Man.”

After a fast shower, he’d lain in bed, teling himself that

Bily had just taken him by surprise and he would get

this under control, al the while wondering if Bily was

home yet and tucked into bed thinking about him.

Work started with a breakfast meeting with his

boss to tel him about Bily that lasted until almost noon.

He had just enough time for a quick bite before heading

to the rescheduled recording session he’d missed the

night before. By four o’clock he was in his SUV and

heading home when his cel phone rang. He looked at

his caler ID and smiled. It was Bily. He opened the

phone and said, “Ian Dilon.”

“Ian, it’s Bily Eagan.”

“Hey, Bily, how are you?”

“Fine, thanks. How was your night?”

“What was left of it by the time I got home was

okay. I slept like a rock. How about you?”

“No sleep for me,” Bily said. “By the time I got

back to the ranch, I was afraid to go to sleep, figured I

might not wake up on time, so I just stayed up. Ian, I

know this is a long shot, but do you have plans for


“I don’t think so. I’m driving, but hang on a

minute while I pul over and check my schedule,” Ian

said. He crossed two lanes of traffic and puled over to

a stop in the emergency lane. He brought up his

BOOK: Final Encore
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