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|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
Before I could respond with some smart remark, a screech came over the microphone. I turned my attention away from Mitch and put it back where it belonged on Brayden. My heart stopped and then restarted at the sight of him. With his guitar strapped over his shoulder and with the stage lights coming down on him, he had been transformed. He looked every bit the rocker.
A tall, blond-headed guy with a major ego stood in front of the microphone. “Thanks for coming out to the party. We’re the Benders. I’m Tom. That’s Raul on bass, and Grayson on drums.” His lips curled into a smirk at the pleasurable female shrieking. “So, how the fuck are you tonight?”
The crowd roared in response to the question. Tom nodded in approval. “I hope you all came to rock tonight. First up, we’ve got a special guest who is going to be playing and singing lead on two songs. Let us know what you think, and we may give the sad little fuck a place in the band.”
My gaze went from Tom to Brayden. His face flushed at Tom’s words, but he managed to wave to the crowd. When Tom motioned Brayden to the microphone, he didn’t hesitate. Instead, he strode confidently up there. “Hey guys, I’m Brayden. Hope you like what I have to play and sing tonight. I thought we’d start off with some Green Day and When I Come Around.”
The applause around me was somewhat more subdued than when Tom was up. Cupping my hands around my mouth, I screamed his name. As he adjusted his guitar and pick, he grinned at me. “Two, three, four,” he said. Then he strummed the opening chords of the song. The loud amps blared the music as the drummer came in.
“I heard you crying loud all the way across town…” Brayden sang into the microphone. Like being hit by a lightning bolt, I immediately fell in love with his voice. Even though the song didn’t call for it, his voice had a deep and soulful quality. I couldn’t believe that until the last six months of his life he hadn’t been singing, least of all playing the guitar. He had such a natural talent for both.
When it came time for the guitar solo, Brayden totally nailed it. The audience screamed their approval, which caused Brayden to grin. The song came to a close, and he took a bow. “Thank you,” he said breathlessly into the microphone.
I clapped until my hands were blood red and stung from my efforts. Gripping the microphone, Brayden said, “To change things up a little bit, I wanted to do one of my favorite songs from Bush—Glycerine.”
Brayden pinched his eyes shut and strummed the opening chords of the song. He looked so sexy when he was deep in concentration, focusing on the music and the lyrics. I thought he was handsome walking around school in jeans and a T-shirt. The muscles he’d developed from playing football were not really hidden behind his shirts, but tonight they seem larger than life. But it seemed amplified by a thousand with the glow of the lights on him, his fingers working magic over the strings of the guitar, and his heart and soul being poured out as he expressed the lyrics.
He finished his performance to another round of applause and cheering. He ducked his head, but I could see the grin that spread across his cheeks. “Thank you again. You guys have been great,” he said.
Tom slid over to stand beside Brayden. “So what do you guys think? Should we give the fucker a chance?” Tom asked, to which the crowd roared their approval. I yelled until my throat burned. Tom grinned and turned to Brayden. “I guess you’re in.”
Brayden’s face broke into a beaming smile. “Thanks. I appreciate it.” He then turned to the crowd and held up his hand. “Thanks to you guys, too.”
As Brayden started to leave the stage, Tom grabbed him by the arm. “Where ya going, man? We still got a show to play.”
A red flush crept along Brayden’s cheeks. “Oh, yeah, sure, I’ll stay.” He then eased to the side to let Tom take back the lead singer role. I didn’t know if Brayden was prepared to play with them or not, but when they started up the next song, he fell right in.
“Wanna dance?” Mitch asked.
Since it was a fast-paced song, I didn’t think it could hurt. “Sure. But if you try to molest me once, I’m going to knee you in the balls.”
Mitch threw back his head and laughed. “I’ll be a good boy. I promise.”
True to his word, Mitch didn’t try to grind on me or do anything disrespectful. After two fast songs, it changed to a slow one. We just stood there staring at each other in the middle of the dance floor. “I can still be a good boy even though the song is slow.”
Reluctantly, I nodded. “Okay.” Tentatively, I reached out to wrap my arms around his neck. He pulled me close against him.
“So you think you’re going to like it here in Roswell?”
“Yeah, I think I am. I mean, everyone’s been so nice, it’s hard not to like it.”
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve lived here all my life.”
“You’re really not missing anything. Moving basically sucks.”
“But then you get a chance to meet new and interesting people. Especially guys.”
I laughed. “I guess so.”
When I glanced over Mitch’s shoulder, I noticed Brayden glaring at the two of us. Feeling uneasy about what I was doing, I tried to pull away. “Where are you going?”
“This isn’t right. I shouldn’t be dancing with you.”
Mitch tugged me back to him. “You’re not dating Brayden, so there’s no reason why you can’t dance with me.”