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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
Mia remained silent for some time, twisting the napkin in her lap while chewing on her bottom lip. “Next Thursday is the early gender sonogram. I would love for you to be there.”
“Wow, we’ll know what it is already?”
My mind began furiously fast-forwarding a week. “Let’s see. We have a show in Philly on Wednesday night.” Mia’s brows rose skeptically as if she already suspected I was going to flake out on her. “But I’m already supposed to be back here on Friday, so I can leave for Mexico. But I can come back a day early.”
Mia’s eyes widened. “You’re leaving the country?”
“Yeah, I’m going to my cousin’s quinceañera. Well, all my family is going actually. She’s also my goddaughter so I wouldn’t dream of missing it. Jake and Abby are coming with me to scope out some places for their wedding.”
“I see,” she murmured.
A thought entered my mind, and I didn’t stop to question it, I just acted on it. Reaching out, I grabbed her hand in mine. “Come with me to Mexico.”
“AJ, be serious.”
“I’m absolutely fucking serious. The more I think about it, the more perfect it is. My parents are going to be there, so I can introduce you to everyone—let them know I’m going to be a father. And then we can spend time getting to know each other.”
“I can’t just up and leave for a strange country in less than a week.”
“Can’t or won’t?” I squeezed her hand in mine. “Come on, lighten up and be a little spontaneous. It’ll be good practice for life on the road.”
“And why the hell not? I’m sure you’ve got to have vacation time stored up. You’re not too far along to fly.” At her surprised expression, I smiled. “Between Cris, and Lily, I know just enough about pregnancy and babies to be dangerous.”
The corners of Mia’s lips turned up, and I could tell she was fighting not to laugh. “Okay, fine, you get to the ultrasound and that will prove you want to be a part of the baby’s life. Then, I’ll come to Mexico with you.”
Finally, I was getting somewhere with Miss Stubborn. While that fact alone made me stoked as hell, I was also pumped that in just one week, I was going to find out if I was going to be the father of a son or daughter. Finding out Mia was pregnant was intense enough, but just the thought of knowing what it would be, was even more amazing.
With a smile, I replied, “Okay then. It’s a deal.”
I was in the Seventh ring of Hell, heading for the very fiery center. Just to be on the safe side, I had tried making my escape from Philly on Wednesday night after our show when a fucking snowstorm blew through and closed the airport for twelve hours. When flights were finally up and running, I was left with a thirty minute window to get from Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta to Mia’s doctors in North Fulton.
Bottom line: I was basically fucked.
Rhys had flown in with me since he had left his car at the airport. As I cut my eyes over at him, I shook my head. “Dude, this is a fucking Porsche. Quit driving it like a grandma.”
Rhys’s knuckles were white on the steering wheel. “Jesus, I’m doing ninety. Excuse me for wanting to live to see tomorrow.”
“Yeah, that’s all well and good, but if I’m late, I’m totally fucked with Mia. She will do the emotional equivalent of cutting my balls off and roasting them over an open flame if I miss this. That or have her Sicilian family literally do me in.”
Rhys chuckled. “Listen man, you gotta calm down. Take a few cleansing breaths or some shit. I’m doing the best I can with the traffic.”
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to take his advice to calm down. Nervous energy hummed through my body. I couldn’t stop my legs from bouncing up and down in the cramped confines of the two seat convertible. I had my hands moving too as I smacked out a steady beat of our newest song Convicted on my jean clad thighs. As I stared down at the faded, holey pair of jeans, I grimaced. “Shit, I should have worn something nicer.”
Motioning to the ratty jeans and my faded button down Polo shirt, I replied, “I look like a second rate hood rat, not an expectant father.”
“Daaaamn,” Rhys replied.
“What?” I demanded.
He cut his gaze over from whipping in and out of lanes to pin me with a wicked smile. “Mia has got you completely and totally spinning.”
“She does not.”
“Oh hell yes, she does.”
“This isn’t just about Mia.” When he continued scoffing at me, I shook my head. “This is bigger than the both of us now. I’ve got a kid on the way, and I gotta be the best damn father in the whole fucking world.”
Rhys took one hand off the wheel to pat me reassuringly on the shoulder. “You’re going to be an amazing father. I have no doubt about that.”
“You really think so?”
“I know so.” He turned to me and grinned. “But you may wanna start working on your language.”
I grimaced. “Sh-I mean, shoot. I really do swear like a sailor.”
With a laugh, Rhys replied, “You’re probably okay. I mean, considering Bray is his dad and he’s surrounded by us, look all the f-bombs Jude grew up with, and he’s just fine.”
“Yeah, that was Jude, but how quickly you forget that after da-da and ma-ma, Melody managed to say shit and damn.”