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Disclaimer:I don't own these characters,I am simply borrowing them from ABC
and The Bedford Falls company to tell this story.The songs "Enjoy the Ride"
by Brett James and "You Won't Ever Be Lonely" are copyrighted to their
respective writers,Artists and record labels.

Edited by Chris Franklin

Rating: PG-13

Summary:The 7th in a new on going series,exploring the life of Once and
Again's wonderful characters of Jessie Sammler and Katie Singer. In this
edition Katie enters Jessie in a contest that could land her a major
recording deal. That is if she's not blow out of the water by a surprise
last minute entry.
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Once And Again: Jessie and Katie Part 7 - Centerstage
by The Vert Man (TheVertMan@softhome.net)

"Jessie phone call" Lily said from the door of the attic, "it's Katie."

"Ok thanks" Jessie said taking the phone from Lily and walking back up the
stairs.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god" Katie said excitedly from the other end of
the phone, "guess what, guess what."

"What, what is it tell me" Jessie said getting excited herself.

"They're having a contest tonight at Club Nash" Katie practically screamed,
"and the winner gets a shot at a recording contract."

"Your kidding?" Jessie asked almost about to jump out of her skin.

"And I entered you" Katie said as reality hit Jessie.

"you did what?" Jessie asked in astonishment.

"Yeh I entered you" Katie said excitedly again, "I just know you're gonna
win."

"I can't believe you did that Katie Singer" Jessie said feeling her blood
beginning to boil.

"OH lighten up Jess" Katie said, "I'll be over in a few minutes to pick you
up, bye."

"Katie....Katie," Jessie repeated, "I'm gonna kick your ass."

Jessie threw the phone down on the bed and waited, getting more pissed by the
minute, for Katie to arrive. Katie did arrive a few minutes later as Jessie
was still dressed in her robe and now laid out on the bed.

"What are doing, why aren't you ready?" Katie asked Jessie as she walked up
the stairs, "we gotta be there in like an hour."

"Cause I'm not going," Jessie said rolling over.

"Oh come on Jessie," Katie said crawling up on the bed and falling across
Jessie, "come on Billie, I'm sorry for not telling you about entering your
name. I love to hear you sing and I know if they hear you, they'll love you
too. So come on, please."

"You know I can't refuse you," Jessie said trying to stay mad a little
longer.

"Yeh, I know," Katie said, "and that's because you love me."

"Yeh, I guess," Jessie said smiling, "I don't know why though."

"Oh yeah you do," Katie replied rolling off to Jessie's side and whispering
in her ear, "cause I make your pussy wet."

"Katie Singer...." Jessie said looking at Katie with a shocked look on her
face.

"and I truly love you," Katie said, kissing Jessie. Melting Jessie's anger
from earlier completely away now.

"I love you too" Jessie said smiling at Katie, who hurried her to get ready.
While Jessie got dressed, Katie sat on the bed and looked on watching
intently. Looking back, Jessie smiled and wiggled her ass a little at Katie
before slipping on her jeans followed by her top and soon they were off.
Little did Jessie know, that Rick, Lily, Grace and Zoe had been filled in on
the whole situation by Katie and also planned to be there.

"You can do this, you can, you're so talented" Katie told Jessie on the way
to the club with Rick and Lily.

"Jess you're an amazing singer you can do this" Grace said as Jessie looked
at her and smiled nervously.

Zoe leaned forward from the backseat and put her arms around Jessie's
shoulders, hugging her and said, "I'll love you know matter what you do."

"Thanks Zoe," Jessie said smiling at her step sister, "I hope you guys are
right."

"Ok time to rock and roll," Jessie said trying to sound confident as they
rolled into the driveway of Club Nash. With Zoe attached to one arm and
Katie attached to the other, they made their way inside before Jessie and
Katie were ushered to the back to prepare.

They were led into a room and some goofy looking guy with an Aussie accent
stepped up to the front and began to talk.

"Hello everyone, my name is Brian Fate" The guy said from the front of the
room, "tonight is a competition. You will all have a chance to perform
before our panel of judges and at the end they and they alone with make a
decision on who will be invited back to Nashville to cut a demo."

That comment had the whole room buzzing and as Jessie thought, the stakes
where just raised considerably.

"This demo, which will be heard by my boss and the President of New Hit
Records Nashville, Byron Collidade" Brian said continuing on, "will also be
circulated around Music Row to the other companies if we should decide to
pass on you. So in closing, I do have one piece of advice I'll give you:
This label is looking for fresh faces and a new style, so be your self and
have fun."

Everyone turned around as Brian left the room and looked at each other,
realizing this may be their one and only chance of really making it in music.
Ever. Jessie though had to face the fact that this was not something she
wanted as bad as the other's in this room.

"So what song you gonna do?" The guy with a cowboy hat asked sitting in front
of Jessie and Katie.

"I dunno," Jessie admitted truthfully, "I guess something Country and
Western."

"Can I offer you a piece of advice and please don't take this the wrong way,"
the Guy said, "if you really wanna make it in Nashville, don't ever refer to
it as Country and Western, it's just Country these days."

Jessie feeling a little embarrassed, thanked the guy for the advice, as he
mentioned he was gonna do a song by Brett James called 'Enjoy The Ride'. Who
ever that is, Jessie thought.

"Ok I got your song right here" Katie said arriving back after disappearing
for a few minutes into the crowd and then handing Jessie a piece of paper
with lyrics on it. Jessie started reading the lyrics to herself and got a
sneaking suspicion that Katie had handpicked this song.

"Who's Andy Griggs?" Jessie asked Katie, "and why can't I just do a song I
already know."

"Cause you have to do a country song and you know this one," Katie said
pointing to the paper, "look at the title."

"You Won't Ever Be Lonely" Jessie read aloud, "oh yeah I remember this one."

"Ok everyone we're about to begin" A stage hand said from the door of the
room. "The first five come with me."

"Don't worry we're 21st of 30 so you gotta a while to wait" Katie said as
they looked at the song again and Jessie smiled.

"You won't ever be lonely" Jessie and Katie started singing together. They
sung the song through several times, even doing a duet with the guy in front
of them, whose name was Travis Cole Dark.

"Well looks like it's my time to rock the house" Travis said as they called
his name, "would you guys mind coming out and watching me? It'd sure be nice
to have someone rooting for me at least a little."

"Well if I can't win I hope you do" Jessie said as her and Katie walked
out the door behind Travis. Not realizing their was a male and female
competetion.

"We'll be your first groupies," Katie cracked trying to keep Travis from
being to nervous, as he obviously was.

"Travis C. Dark," The Stage Manager bellowed, "is there a Travis C. Dark
here."

"That's me partner," Travis said smiling back one last time at Jessie and
Katie and walking towards the stage. Katie and Jessie walked to the end of
the stage and Jessie got her first look at the packed house. The house MC
announced Travis to a smattering of cheers, as Katie and Jessie got an idea.
As Travis walked on stage they ran down front and started jumping up and
down in front a crowd and screaming Travis's name.

"Travis, we love you," Jessie screamed.

"Travis you're so sexy," Katie screamed next as both started to giggle and
acting like they where fighting to get closer to the stage. All of this
action was creating a stir, not that Travis would need it for long. The
first riff of his guitar brought everyone to attention, then the real party
began.

"Well, young Mr. Simmons he was a one of a kind. He had Tom Cruise's looks
and Ivan Bosky's mind." Travis started as the crowd started to rock along.
Jessie and Katie started dancing along with the music as Travis went on, "He
made his first million by the time he was 23. He had a long black Mercedes
and a cellular phone. Two Labrador Retrievers and a beautiful home."

"Sing it Travis, you sexy thing," Jessie screamed out again.

"They sat up on a hill so everyone could see" Travis sang on, "He had
everything a man could in want in life. But poor Mr. Simmons had to live
with Mr. Simmons' wife."

By now the house was truly rocking as Travis sailed into the first chorus,
"and it don't matter where your goin'. If you don't like who's ridin' by your
side. It don't matter where your goin'. If you don't Enjoy The Ride."

The girls in the front row behind Jessie and Katie where really getting into
the song now,and as Katie observed really getting jealous of the attention
Katie and Jessie got from Travis. He winked at them at least once and then as
he finished and the place went nuts, he tossed them his Cowboy hat on his way
off stage. Jessie and Katie then started fighting over Travis' hat and that
made the girls even more envious it appeared.

"Whatta rush," Travis said as he ran up and hugged Katie and Jessie both
backstage, "thank you so much guys."

"You got this wrapped up." Jessie said, "they loved you."

"I hope you're right" Travis said wiping his head of with a bandana, "but I
heard you sing and I'm betting you'll win the female competion"

Jessie blushed a deep red as Travis smiled at her, still wearing his hat at
the time,"Oh there's a Male and Feamle winners....cool." Jessie said relaxing
a little,knowing she didn't have to compete against Travis.

"Jessie Sammler" The Stage Manager said, and Jessie's heart almost stopped
on the spot, "your next, let's go."

Katie looked around nervously at everyone for a moment and then decided to
go for it as Jessie got to the top of the steps leading to the stage. She
grabbed Jessie's arm and spun her around. "I love you so much," she said
as quietly as she could, before kissing her softly. The few people who
bothered to pay attention started a chorus of ooooohhhhhhs and aaaaaaahhhhhs.
Jessie took one last look at Katie and tossing her the hat and mouthed, "I
love you too."

The music started to play and the beat started almost vibrating through
Jessie's body as she took the microphone and walked on stage. Butterflies
the size of cannon balls bouncing around in her stomach. She spotted Rick
and Lily and the gang about halfway back and smiled before starting to sing.

"Life may not always go your way; and every once in a while you might have a
bad day. But I promise you now; You Won't Ever Be Lonely" Jessie sang as
the song began and she spotted Katie in the front row, with Travis standing
beside her, "The sky turns dark and everything goes wrong. Run to me I'll
leave the light on. And I promise you now; You Won't Ever Be Lonely."

The complete nervousness she had felt earlier had vanished without a trace
and Jessie was having the time of her life. Suddenly she realized she wanted
this and wanted it bad and she was gonna do everything she possibly could in
the next 2 and half minutes to make it happen and win this contest.

"For as long as I live there will always be a place; you belong here beside
me heart and soul, baby you only; and I promise you now; You Won't Ever Be
Lonely." Jessie sang with all her heart, looking at Katie and Travis slow
dancing like a couple of dorks. But catching Katie eyes once or twice and
making sure she knew this song was for her.

"It's still gonna snow and it's still gonna rain. The winds gonna blow on a
cold winter's day. And I promise you now; You Won't Ever Be Lonely." Jessie
sang with more heart and as much passion as she could. Travis and Katie had
given up on the dancing and were now cheering her on as they moved to the
thumping beat of the song, "You're safe from the world; wrapped in my arms.
And I'll never let go; baby here's where it starts. And I promise you now;
You Won't Ever Be Lonely."

Jessie's eyes met Katie's and Katie thought she would faint from the amount
of emotion she felt in Jessie eyes as she sang that last verse. "Here's a
shoulder you can cry on. And a love you can rely on," she heard Jessie sing
to finish the 2nd and last verse before going into the repeat chorus and
watching as Jessie poured every single ounce of energy she had left in her
body into it.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, You Won't Ever Be Lonely" Jessie sang as she finished
and pointed at Katie. Just as the house erupted with a thunderous round of
applause and the chant of 'Jessie, Jessie' broke out in the back and spread
like a wildfire.

Jessie ran off stage after taking several bows and was met by Rick and Lily
at the back of the stage. Jumping into Rick's arms, she had never felt this
much adrenaline at one time. Lily was next with a big hug, which Jessie had
to admit was nice to have her there. Then Grace and Zoe of course. Travis
and Katie arrived after that with Travis grabbing Jessie in a bear hug as
Rick got ready to jump him before Katie explained.

"That was awesome" Jessie said feeling the adrenaline wearing off a little,
"I've never had that much fun in my life."

"You where awesome" Katie said getting ready to plant a big one on Jessie
before realizing where she was. Jessie took her hat back as she introduced
Travis to the crowd, "this is Travis guys, he's the one that rocked the house
before me."

"Howdy" Travis said sounding every bit the cowboy part, although now sans
the hat.

"Well you look like a real life cowboy" Rick said sizing him up for whatever
reason.

"Well truth be told sir, I'm not really a cowboy. I just play one in this
story." Travis said.

"What story?" Rick asked before he was cut off by the stage manager.

"Sarah R. Grasser, Grasser....." The Stage Manager said to the shock of
Grace, Jessie, and Katie, who looked around to see if it was really who they
thought, "are you here?"

"I'm here, I'm Here" Sarah hollered as she came running through the crowd
with her coat still on, not noticing anyone until she ran into Grace and
looked at her like she had seen a ghost.

"Manning what are you doing here?" Sarah asked.

"Jessie's in the contest and I guess you are too, huh?" Grace answered and
asked in the same breath.

"Yeh and don't go anywhere, ok," Sarah said taking Grace's hand briefly
before heading up the stairs.

"Sarah, wait Sarah," A girl screamed as she ran up to the stairs and handed
Sarah something and then quickly kissing her, said, "good luck!"

"Thanks Shell," Sarah said and looked down at Grace for a second before
being dragged off to the stage by the manager, "don't let your tits bounce
to much." Shell screamed to Sarah, drawing a round of strange looks.
"What? like it's not good advice" She said looking around at everyone and
walking back down the stairs.

Grace stood there and watched as Shell kissed Sarah. She felt herself grow
jealous and tried to figure out some other reason as to why she was feeling
like this. Other than the obvious she thought and that couldn't be true.
No matter what had happened at Sarah's place the other night, she refused
to let that thought take hold.

"I didn't even know Sarah could sing," Katie said looking as confused as
everyone else.

"Well she ain't no Reba, but the girls got some pipes," Shell inserted into
the conversation.

The music started once again and immediately Grace recognized the beat. It
was "I've Gotta Find You". Sarah started the song and Grace turned to walk
out to the edge of the stage and watch Sarah sing. She reached the end, but
Sarah didn't see her right off as she was playing to the crowd and having a
good time.

"Such a beautiful song, huh?" Shell said coming in behind Grace, "makes me
horny."

"What?" Grace asked in an exaggerated manner while looking back at Shell.

"Me and my ex used to fuck to this song," Shell said moving her hips to the
song as Sarah sang.

"Why would you tell me that?" Grace asked now facing Shell.

"Just thought it was interesting." She responded, dancing to the tune and
badly, Grace thought, closing her eyes as people began to watch not to
mention the ones who where laughing. Grace moved away and crossed to the
other end of the stage, where mid way across Sarah caught Grace's eye and
smiled briefly. Grace froze and watched the remainder of the performance
from where she was.

"Why'd you run off for" Shell said finding Grace again, "I thought we where
gonna dance."

"Uh, no thanks," Grace said aloud over the music.

"She gets you wet huh?" Shell asked looking up on the stage at Sarah.

"What?" Grace asked in the same manner as earlier, "NO!"

"It's ok honey, I don't mind" Shell said looking at Grace and trying to
judge her reaction.

"No, she does not," Grace responded,"look I gotta go."

Grace walked away to no avail as Shell followed close behind her as Sarah
finished her song and came off stage. Shell surged past Grace and grabbed
Sarah in a bear hug when she came off the stage.

"You where so good," Shell told Sarah, "unreal girl."

"Thank you," Sarah said as Shell moved aside and Grace and Sarah made eye
contact.

"I loved that song and you did it so well," Grace said to Sarah, "you gotta a
great voice."

"Yeh, she sure does," Shell said from behind Sarah hugging her again, "you
fuckin' rock and your titties didn't bounce once."

"Sarah," Lily said from a few feet away, "you were great."

"Thank you so much." Sarah said smiling brightly at Lily.

"SARAH!" Zoe screamed as she raced towards her and jumped up hugging her
excitedly, "I love your voice."

"Thanks Zo," Sarah said as Zoe backed away and smiled, then thinking fast
asking "hey when we gonna do that painting thing?"

"Tommorrow, ok," Zoe asked excitedly as Lily agreed and they walked back to
the room, where Jessie and Katie where waiting with Travis.

"Shell, go see if they're ready to announce the winners?" Sarah said as
Shell raced off, "know I didn't win, but I want to know anyway."

"Your girlfriend's nice" Grace said as Sarah moved next to her,"a little
strange but nice."

"Who Shell?" Sarah asked appearing to be in shock, "that's my cousin."

"Really?" Grace asked confused,"but what about that kiss?"

"For good luck, it's a stupid family thing." Sarah explained.

With that information Grace felt a huge cloud lift from her body and suddenly
with Sarah there she felt a million times better. A smile began to spread
across her face and she couldn't stop it. What is going on with me she
thought. Sarah smiled back and for the next few moments, Grace and Sarah
were the only two people on earth; it seemed to the both of them.

"So you are coming over tomorrow?" Grace asked after a few seconds.

"Only if your gonna be there," Sarah said with a serious look and moving
close to Grace then breaking into a huge grin before saying, "and after me
and Zo are done, we can run a hot bubble bath and.....you know, till we're
blue in the face."

"Sarah!" Grace said trying to stifle a giggle and smacking her arm playfully,
"you are such a perv."

"And you love it I can tell" Sarah said touching her forehead to Grace's.

"I do not" Grace said smiling and giggling along with Sarah. The stage
area was considerably less hectic as Sarah and Grace stood their only inches
apart. Grace noticed just that and then looking back at Sarah, she could
see a different look in her eyes. One that matched the one she had seen just
the other night at the door. A second later, Sarah moved her head slightly
and tentatively as Grace thought to herself about what was about to happen.

"She's gonna kiss me.....oh shit" Grace thought as her heart pounded like a
drum. For the life of her she couldn't bring herself to move an inch, not
that she really wanted to. As she closed her eyes, suddenly she felt Sarah's
lips touch the end of her nose and kiss it gently and heard her whisper,
"Remember I'm a tease."

Grace's eyes sprang open as she looked at Sarah,who grinned and spun around
and walked slowly away, smiling the whole way.

"Sarah Grasser," Grace said chasing after her as Sarah screamed and took off
running.

"Ladies and Gentlemen I have the winners right here" Brian Fate said as Sarah
ran into the room, soon followed by Grace, "Shall we all move out to the
stage area for the official announcement?"

Grace grabbed Sarah's arm and shot her an evil grin as Sarah kept smiling
and gloating. They walked along with rest of the other's back to the stage.

"Come up with me" Sarah said pleading with Grace, "please I can't find Shell.
Please Grace."

Grace reluctantly agreed and they joined the other's on stage, Katie and
Jessie took their place right next to Grace and Sarah with Travis still
sticking with them.

"Ladies and Gentlemen we have had an incredible night" Brian Fate said
through his Aussie accent, "and the judges have decided the winners from the
Male category and Female category. So here we go."

"OH MY GOD!" Katie said excitedly.

"Please god let me win this," Jessie heard Travis say as he touched her
shoulder and mouthed "Good luck."

"First the winner of the Female Category and the chance to record a demo for
New Hit Records Nashville." Brian said as he opened the envelope and look
backed in Jessie and Sarah's direction, "is......"

To Be Continued...
_ _ _

Preview of Chapter 8: The winners are revealed...

    

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