Bonus Scene: Tag & Roxy

Fans asked for a peek at Tag and Roxy’s relationship back in high school. Do you recognize the song he begins to write?

Tag pulled his old pickup to a stop behind another car parked along the side of the dirt road in front of Kolbie Hunter’s house, behind a line of cars on the road already there. It would make it quite the walk up to Kolbie’s house from here.

“Someone must have told people you were going to play tonight,” Roxy commented, grabbing Tag’s guitar as she slid out after him. He’d made her ride in the middle, refusing to let her move the guitar from the passenger side of the truck. Like she had to ride right next to him or it would break his heart.

“Tag!” a voice cried as they made their way up the lawn to the crowd of people around the house. His latest girlfriend, Bri, came hurrying through the mass of people on the lawn toward them. She hopped up into his arms, making Tag catch her with an, “Oomph,” and then a chuckle. 

Roxy tried not to roll her eyes. Yeah, he was so not head over heels for Roxy the way he always claimed. 

“Hey, Roxy.” Bri leaned back enough away from Tag to greet Roxy. Her smile wasn’t 100% genuine but Roxy didn’t fault her. For heaven’s sake, whenever Tag started dating someone new it riled Roxy a little and they were just best friends. Of course Bri would get prickly when Tag showed up somewhere with Roxy always tagging along. Or being dragged along in some cases. 

“I know you have a new song,” Bri said, taking Tag’s hand and pulling him into the crowd. Roxy had to follow. She was still holding his guitar. “Come sing, please”

“Sure.” Tag shrugged. He never needed to be asked twice. Plenty of people echoed Bri’s request as they made their way to the porch. Bri demanded space on a bench there for Tag.

“This one’s for you,” he murmured when he took the guitar from her before sitting down. Bri had taken a seat in front of him, front and center. 

That’s what we claimed about all of them. “Be nice.” She nodded toward Bri, but Tag ignored her, looking down at his guitar. 

Roxy took a seat next to Bri. Sometimes Tag was so oblivious, and Roxy didn’t want to squirm while another girl glared during a song in which Tag serenaded Roxy. Maybe this way, she’d thing he was singing for her.

Once Tag started playing, it was hard not to get lost in his smooth-as-butter voice and the sweet lyrics. She had to concentrate not to lean toward him the way Bri was, really believing the words were for her like he always claimed. 

Why did he have to be so good looking? And charming. Sometimes she could almost believe him. 

She’s got her hand on my knee 

Right next to me

In that middle seat…

Roxy blushed. Luckily it was dark, and Bri was so busy nodding along that she didn’t notice how the words affected Roxy. She’d probably sat just like that in Tag’s truck. Same as Roxy. 

Except Tag was staring straight at Roxy. She was like some kind of good luck charm or nerve breaker or something. That’s all. It was easier for him to perform while looking at her. A safe place. 

That’s what she told herself, but Tag was never self-conscious and he loved singing more than anything. 

Roxy tilted her head toward Bri and widened her eyes. It did not stop Tag from staring at Roxy.

She clapped along enthusiastically with everyone else when Tag finished the song, leaning over to tell Bri how great it was. 

Bri’s eyes shown, and she was bouncing on her toes. “Wasn’t it?“ she said. Roxy absolutely felt bad about Tag singing to her. She gave Tag a thumbs up before disappearing into the crowd and going to find something to drink. She could swear she could feel his gaze on her as she slipped away, but when she turned his arms were around Bri and he was grinning at her.

* * *

Bri was sitting on tag’s lap, strumming some of the chords he had taught her. He searched the crowd on the yard of Kolbie’s house for Roxy, wishing he knew more about what she’d thought about this latest attempt of his to tell her how he felt. The fact that she had practically run away had to say something, didn’t it? When was that girl going to admit that she loved him as much as he loved her? Bri strummed a wrong chord, pulling his attention back to his girlfriend, almost the same way Roxy was always trying to remind him that he had a girlfriend. Maybe his songs would have more meaning if he wasn’t dating someone else when he was trying to tell Roxy that he loved her, but it didn’t seem to matter if he was dating someone or not. She just never heard it.

He finally found Roxy, standing in a group of people with a Coke in her hand, laughing at something a football player had just said. He had to stop himself from physically going to her, from staying near her at every moment. Someday one of these songs was going to make her see it. He was going to show her that his feelings were for real and not just words to some song. He wouldn’t quit until he did because she was his meant-to-be. He wrapped his arms around Bri and took control of the guitar, picking out some notes and humming with a few meant-to-be lyrics in his mind.

There’s a girl.

She’s every piece of memory I have

My meant to be

I’ll never let go.

Not quite right. But maybe this would be the one.

He’d make sure there was no mistaking it this time.

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