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|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
Thankfully, the song came to an end. “Thanks everyone. Give us a ten minute break, and we’ll be right back.”
The loud screech of a guitar came from the stage, and when I looked up again, Brayden had torn off his guitar and stormed off the stage. He made his way through the crowd to us. But then he started past me. “Brayden, where are you going?”
“Don’t talk to me right now,” he growled, as he brushed past me.
I didn’t even have time to ask what was wrong before he shoved Mitch hard against the wall. “Fuck you, man!” he shouted. He then stalked out of the room. Without a word to Mitch, I rushed after Brayden.
“Would you please wait!” I called after his hastily retreating form.
Brayden ignored me. He blew through the front door and stomped out onto the porch. I followed close on his heels. “Look, I’m sorry I danced with Mitch. If I had known it would bother you so much, I never, ever would have done it.”
He whirled around and pinned me with a glare. “You can’t possibly understand it. Mitch is never satisfied until he has exactly what I do. It’s been that way since we were kids. He knew how I felt about you, but he wasn’t going to be happy until he had you, too.”
“But I’m not his.”
“It didn’t look that way in there.”
My eyes widened at his accusation. “It was just a slow dance, Brayden. There’s nothing going on between Mitch and me, and there never will be. In case you forgot, I came here to be with you tonight. You and only you.”
He shook his head. “Yeah, and that was a mistake.”
I gasped. “How could you think that?”
The clouds that had filled the sky for most of the day opened up and a driving rain started coming down. Drops slapped angrily against the sidewalk. Brayden glanced off the porch before turning back to me with a forlorn expression. “I’m really sorry, Lily.”
When he started off the porch, I followed right behind him. The rain pelted down on me, stinging my cheeks. I grabbed Brayden’s shirt. “Don’t you dare walk away from me!”
Without looking back at me, Brayden said, “Trust me, it’s for the best. You’re too good for me—too beautiful.”
“That isn’t true.”
“I’ll always have to be fighting some guy for you.”
“Stop it. You don’t know me well enough to be saying that.”
“No, but I know me.”
I skidded to a stop. Glaring at his back, I shouted, “You know what you are? A fucking coward.” My hand flew to my mouth, but it was too late to stop the harsh words or cursing. When Brayden froze, I almost apologized. But then I thought about the emotional whiplash he had put me through, and anger once again boiled within me. “You think that just because your dream of football was taken away that you’ll never be who you once were. In case you missed it back there, you rocked that audition. People were riveted by your performance. But more than any of the strangers in the room, I was riveted. Just hearing you sing and play made me feel things and want things I never had before. But now you’re telling me I can’t have them simply because you’re afraid I don’t want you? Or that you can’t bear the thought of having to vie for my attention with other guys?” I stalked over to him. “Man up, Brayden. Stand up and fight for me right now, and you’ll never have to worry about me and another guy again. You’ll have me.”
He stared at me, unblinking and unmoving, as the rain soaked us to the bone. I knew my words were heavy handed considering we had only known each other a week. But I wanted him to know how much I wanted him—that he was worth wanting. “Fight for me,” I murmured.
Just as I had resolved myself that the boy I was falling in love with was just an illusion, Brayden launched himself at me. His lips crashed against mine as his hands came around my waist. As his warm mouth moved against mine, he jerked my body flush against his. When I moaned at the contact, his tongue darted into my mouth. I shuddered as he ran his tongue against mine. My arms came up to encircle his neck.
In that moment, time seemed to stand still. The world around us melted away. We didn’t acknowledge anyone else around us. I didn’t feel the harsh rain on my skin. Instead, I felt the smooth touch of Brayden’s fingers as they wound their way through the strands of my hair or up my arms.
I don’t know how long we stood there kissing in the rain. When Brayden finally pulled away, I gasped in a breath. He cupped my face in his hands. “I’m sorry I acted so stupid.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s not. I promise you I won’t ever stop fighting for you.”
I smiled up at him. “I’m glad to hear that. I’ll fight for you, too.”
He laughed. “You’re a little scrappy thing to be fighting, aren’t you?”
“I can be pretty tough when I need to be.”
Leaning down, Brayden bestowed another kiss on my lips. This time it was chaste, but I still enjoyed each and every second of it. No one had ever kissed me like Brayden had.
When he pulled away, he brushed his thumb across my cheekbone. “Wanna get something to eat?”
I nodded. “I’m starving.”
As Brayden surveyed our drenched clothes and hair, he exhaled a defeated breath. “I had planned to take you somewhere really nice tonight for our first date, but I’m thinking that’s not going to work right now.”