“JULIANNE, I swear by all you hold holy, if you don’t hold your arms up through the end of the phrase, I will tear your hair out!” Sam snarled softly, baring his teeth at the girl until she nodded.
He had three more days with this show—just three—and then he had a well-deserved sabbatical. Three months with nothing to do but nap and eat, possibly travel. Have Ma and Pop out to the city for a long weekend. No pouty dancers, no bitchy directors, no issues with injuries or costumes or lighting.
Just him and the world.
“No, Jim. Not like that. On three. Do you understand? This is not brain surgery. You’ve been performing it right for eight weeks. Why stop now?”
“Sam? I’m sorry to interrupt.” The director’s second assistant, Flavio, knew him well, knew he hated to be thrown off. “You have a call. Family emergency.”
“Yeah? Okay. Work through the next few bars, people. I’ll be right back.”
Family emergency? Shit. Had to be one of the guys he liked, to know he never turned his cell on at work.
He stalked to the phone in the office and grabbed it up. “Hello?”
“Samuel?” His mother. She sounded…. Well, she was crying, which never happened. “I need you to come home, sweetie.”
“Okay, Ma. What happened?” He grabbed his iPhone, started searching. Flights. Car.
“Pop…. He’s…. He…. Oh God, Samuel. He died this morning.”
The world stopped, going gray around the edges. “No.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I—there was no time to get everyone here. It just happened so fast….” She gulped.
“What happened?” His pop? Gone? The man was the center of the world to his mom and all of their widely varied kids. He found a flight into El Paso leaving in two hours and booked it, then started texting people.
“Doc thinks it was a stroke. A really big one. He never even felt it.” Sam heard someone murmuring in the background, the voice a low rumble. His baby brother, Ben, he’d bet. “Oh God. Your sisters are already wailing and gnashing, Sam.”
“I’ll be there by early morning. My flight gets in at midnight. I’ll take care of it.”
“I know you will, sweetie. I’m so sorry. That I had to call like this, I mean.”
“Don’t be. I’ll be there soon. I love you, yeah?” No matter what other weirdness, there was always that.
“I love you, Samuel. I’ll see you soon.”
That was his mom. Solid, steady, even when she was hysterical. Now it was just her.
Well, her, him, and his twelve sisters and five brothers.
He headed for his satchel, then hit the door, not even bothering to say good-bye in person. He flagged down a cab. He had to get home, grab clothes, then get to the airport.
His mom needed him.