My gaze is torn from his when Aspen shouts, “Karaoke contest.”
“Boys against girls,” Juniper adds.
My heart begins to race and catching my breath becomes difficult. I grasp Beckett’s hands when I feel dizziness hit. I do not enjoy singing on a stage in front of other people. Public speaking is not an issue for me but singing? Singing is not one of my talents. And performing acts I’m not proficient at in public makes me anxious.
Aspen wrenches me away from Beckett and drags me through the bar with my other sisters trailing after us until we reach the bathroom. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t want to sing on stage.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to.”
“But it’s a contest.” Any contest in the family means I have to participate. Those are the rules.
“I’ll go twice,” Juniper volunteers.
“We might have a chance at winning this thing if Lilac doesn’t sing,” Ellery says. “Sorry, Lilac.”
“No need to apologize. I understand my talents do not lie in singing.” Thus, the entire reason I’m panicking.
“I veto. I want Lilac to sing. Come on, Lilac,” Ashlyn pleads with me. “You need to go up there and sing to Beckett.”
Her reasoning is flawed. “Why? Beckett loves me for who I am.”
“What?” she screeches before flinging herself into my arms. “I’m so happy for you.”
I pat her back. “Thank you?”
Aspen drags me away from my baby sister. “It’s agreed. Lilac won’t sing.” She rubs her hands together. “Now, we need to get back out there. We have a karaoke contest to win.”
Beckett is waiting in the hallway outside of the restroom when we exit. He steps forward when he sees me. “Are you okay?”
“Everything is fine.”
“With any other woman, I’d be terrified if she told me everything’s fine.”
“Why? What’s wrong with the word fine?”
He smiles. “Absolutely nothing.” He wraps an arm around me, and we follow my sisters back to the main area of the bar.
“Me first,” Aspen shouts and jumps on the stage before stealing the microphone from Lennon. “You know the song.”
We push a few tables together in front of the stage and settle in to listen to Aspen sing Light My Fire.
“Why does Lyric appear ready to jump on the stage and haul Aspen away?” Beckett asks.
“It’s the song they lost their virginity to,” I explain. Rowan, Cole, and Maverick scowl at me while Beckett laughs. “What’s wrong? Sex is perfectly natural.”
He settles his arm around my shoulders and plays with my hair. “Men prefer not to think of the woman they consider their sister losing her virginity.”
“Oh, I apologize.”
The song finishes and Lyric springs onto the stage. He rips the microphone from Aspen’s hand and drops it on the ground before throwing her over his shoulder and storming off.
“Welp. That’s one way to do a mic drop,” Ashlyn says when all the hooting and hollering calms down.
I look around at the table. We’re now short two people. “How are we going to have a contest when two of the contestants have left?”
Maverick stands. “It doesn’t matter. I’m winning this thing right now.”