|Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Melody of the Heart (Page 36)|
|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
I eased her back from the tree and then sat her on her feet. I pulled her shorts and panties back up. Then I worked on getting myself presentable.
She wrinkled her nose. “Yeah, I need to find a halfway decent bathroom to clean up in.”
We started out of the woods together. After a bathroom pit stop, we were back in business. As we walked through the crowd, I couldn’t help glancing over at Lily from time to time and smiling. When she finally caught on, she asked, “What?”
“Are you really disappointed that I didn’t get down on my knee when I proposed?”
She shrugged. “Maybe a little.”
“It means that much to you?”
“It’s just conventional for the guy to get down on one knee.”
When I stopped walking, Lily turned around. “What’s wrong?”
With a smile, I sank down onto one knee. “Lily Marie Gregson, will you make me the happiest man alive by consenting to be my future wife?”
Lily’s eyes widened. “Yes. Yes of course I do.”
As I rose back up, people around us started clapping. Lily blushed at the attention. “Are you satisfied now?” I asked.
She laughed as she threw her arms around my neck. “Yes, Brayden. I’m very, very happy.”
To everything there is a season, a purpose under heaven-- Ecclesiastes 3:1
Those words would mean a lot to me during the difficult periods of my life. It helped me remember during the times when I thought I could not go on, that it was just a season, and the hopelessness would pass. It was also a reminder to enjoy the moment because happiness is sometimes fleeting.
The summer Brayden and I became engaged was one of the happiest times of my life. I loved being out on the road with the guys, and I was sad to see it end. In the autumn, the guys hard work touring paid off. A promoter who saw them at a show in Anaheim sent their CD to a record executive. Within two weeks, the guys were offered a very lucrative record deal. Their first two singles topped the Billboard charts.
With the back to back success of Until There Was You and Twisted Reality, Runaway Train’s world literally went off the rails. Suddenly, they were everywhere. When I turned on the radio on the way home from class, I would always catch one of their songs. I squealed every single time, especially when Brayden came in to harmonize with Jake. They were sent out on a US tour almost immediately. Gone was the rickety old bus that had so many memories for Brayden and me. Now they traveled in style on the label’s half a million dollar home on wheels. They had handlers now—people you had to get through just to talk to them. It was overwhelming to me, so I couldn’t imagine how the guys were handling it.
And when the season changed to winter, everything in my life changed.
Nothing ever comes without a price, and the bounty to be paid for Runaway Train’s success was the slow demise of Brayden’s and my relationship. I’d never thought I would have to worry about him changing. He had always been so grounded and so humble. He didn’t have an ounce of ego in him like Jake and AJ. He never cared about wealth—he just wanted to be able to make a living from playing music.
But something happened when he signed on the label’s dotted line. It was like he sold his soul. With me doing my student teaching and working part-time at night, I was so busy that I didn’t notice things at first. The fact that my calls and texts went unanswered and unreturned, or he was always putting me off when I asked for their schedule so I could come spend the weekend with him. When I actually did talk to him, he sounded distant and not like the Brayden who used to talk to me for hours on end. Sometimes he slurred his words and said off the wall things. I began to worry that he was drinking too much.
But then we finally reached the end of the road on Valentine’s weekend.
“Hey baby, what are you doing?” Brayden’s voice boomed into my ear.
“Just pulling in the drive.”
“You go to the mailbox yet?”
I laughed. “Since when do you care about me getting the mail?”
“Just check it, Lils.”
“Okay, okay,” I muttered, as I walked over to the mailbox.
“Did you get it?” Brayden questioned, as I flipped through the envelopes.
Cradling the phone on my shoulder, I asked, “Get what exactly?”
My breath hitched. “You sent me a ticket?”
“Yeah, to come out here for Valentine’s Day weekend.”
His thoughtfulness caused my heartbeat to shudder and restart. At the bottom of the pile was a long envelope addressed to me. I couldn’t help squealing.
“I guess that means you got it,” he said, amusement vibrating in his voice.
I tore open the envelope and eyed the plane ticket. “Oh my God, Bray, thank you so, so much!”
“Well, we haven’t spent a Valentine’s Day apart since we’ve been together. I figured we didn’t need to start now. You won’t have a problem getting off that Friday, will you?”
“No, it should be fine.” Pressing the envelope against my chest, I sighed, “I can’t wait to see you.”
“I feel the same way.”
“Don’t plan anything for us to do while I’m there. I just want to spend the entire time with you, preferably in bed.”
Brayden laughed. “As much as I would like to oblige you on that one, I have to attend a party at my label on Saturday night. Wanna be my date?”