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|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
“You do?” both Paul and Lily asked.
“With all due respect, Mr. Gregson, I know I just met Lily and don’t really know her, but I do know that there’s really nothing you could say or do that would keep me from wanting to date your daughter.”
To my utter shock, Paul gave me a beaming smile. “I’m glad to hear that.” He drew Lily to him. “I think you’ve made a wise choice in accepting this boy. He’s certainly passed my test.”
My eyes widened as his comment. “Really?”
He nodded. “I’ll even talk her mother into extending her curfew a little.”
“Wow, thank you, sir.”
“Just don’t disappoint me.”
“I won’t. I promise.”
Lily gave me a shy smile. “Thank you, Brayden.”
“Why don’t you come up to the house and meet the rest of the family?”
Jerking my thumb over my shoulder, I replied, “I appreciate the offer, but I really better be getting back.”
“Well, at least let my oldest daughter, who is a nurse, take a look at you. I don’t like the look of your pupils.”
“Oh, um, okay.”
Paul nodded. “You can call your parents from the house. Let them know where you are.” With a wink, he added, “Maybe we can get Lily to go ahead and make us some pie.”
I laughed. “I would like that a lot.”
He started on up the hillside, leaving Lily and I to walk together. Feeling a slight ego boost from my encounter with her dad, I held out my hand for Lily to take. She smiled and quickly slipped hers in mine. We then started walking hand in hand up the hillside.
Turning left and right, I surveyed my appearance in the bathroom mirror. Even though I was only going to be in a frat house tonight, I had dressed up a little. It was Brayden’s and my first official date, and I wanted to look really nice for him. After going through my entire closet, I’d decided on a pink and purple floral, baby-doll dress. The material flowed when I turned, and with its spaghetti straps and low cut back, I felt sexy. I’d spent extra time putting waves into my long, blonde hair, and I was also wearing way more makeup than I did to school.
To say I wasn’t as nervous about tonight as I had been about starting my new school last week would be a lie. The last time I’d been the “new girl” had been in sixth grade when we moved from Slidell, Louisiana to Birmingham. At my high school in Birmingham, I’d been a cheerleader and found myself on the Homecoming Court. I had no idea how I would be accepted here in Roswell. My mom always said I was a natural born pleaser—someone who wanted everyone to like me. I guess that was true. But as much as I always wanted to please people, I also wanted them to be happy. My disposition often resulted in good-natured teasing from my sisters who loved to mock the people who praised me for my sunshine disposition and big heart. “Lily is just so lovely, isn’t she?” they would say with a teasing lilt in their voice.
But as soon as my shaky legs took me through the front door, Brayden had swooped in to meet me and make me feel at ease. “You okay?” he asked, as we started down the hallway.
“Oh, I’m fine. Never better,” I lied. When Brayden cut his eyes over at me, I wrinkled my nose. “Yeah, I’m petrified.”
He smiled. “It’s going to be okay, I promise. We’ll stop by the counselor’s office to pick up your schedule. The secretary is a friend of my mom’s, so I can get her to put you in the classes with me. Then you won’t have to worry about not knowing anyone or getting lost.”
My brows shot up in surprise. “You would do that for me?”
“Of course I would. I’ve lived here all my life, so I don’t know what it’s like to be the new kid. I just know how much it sucked being the ‘injured kid’.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it so much.”
“It’s good for my popularity, too. Getting to be seen around with the prettiest girl in school.”
My cheeks warmed a little at his compliment. “I’m glad it works for both of us then.”
He laughed. “Come on, Lily. Let’s show Roswell High their newest star.”
Fortunately, Brayden’s group of guys and girls welcomed me with open arms, and I was really enjoying school. Through his former football connections, he had even managed to score me a late tryout for the cheerleading squad. I’d secured my spot yesterday with what the coach had called a “flawless routine”. While some of the girls hadn’t been very welcoming, most of them became fast friends, making my transition even easier.
Although I’d barely known Brayden a week, I found myself already falling for him hard. I’d had a few boyfriends over the years, but I’d never had a relationship that lasted over a few weeks. Surprisingly enough I could see myself being with Brayden for the long haul. I’d never met a guy who was as sweet and caring as he was handsome. When I’d randomly in conversation expressed how much I loved kids and wanted to be a teacher one day, he’d even managed to get me the hookup for an afterschool program job at the school where his mother taught. Even though I would only be working two days a week, I loved every minute being with the kids.
After spritzing some perfume on my neck and wrists, I headed out of the bathroom. I found my thirteen-year-old sister, Kylie, lounging on the bed, reading my latest issue of YM magazine. “Hey Kyles, I know we’re still getting used to the house, but this is my room. Your room is across the hall.”