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|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
A knock came at the door. “Lils?” Brayden asked.
I unlocked the door for him, and he stepped inside. His eyes bulged at the sight of me. “Damn, you look amazing! Just like I thought you would.”
“Thank you,” I mumbled.
“Are you going to be mad at me all night?” he questioned softly.
Turning back to him, I shook my head. “I’m not mad at you. I’m hurt.”
“Just because I said you needed to be presentable?”
“It’s not just that one statement. It’s the way you’ve made me feel since I got here. That I’m not good enough to be with you.”
“Jesus, Lils, that not what I meant at all.” He drew me to him. “I’m sorry if I made you feel that way. You know I love you, and you’re the only woman I want to be with.”
I hoped, rather than believed, him to be sincere. “I love you, too.”
“Good. Now let’s go have some fun.”
When I got into the limo at the house, I was never so glad to see AJ and Rhys in all my life. I slid across the seat to hug them both. Neither one of them had a date with them. I wondered what had happened to AJ’s last girlfriend who I met once or twice. I didn’t ask where Jake was. After our initial run-in at the house, I hadn’t seen much of him.
Being with AJ and Rhys felt like old times, and it helped to ease the tension still hanging in the air between me and Brayden. When we got to the venue, I gasped and tried to hold my excitement in.
Brayden turned to give me an amused smile. “Why are you so fidgety all the sudden?”
“Um, hello, we’re at a party at the Chateau Marmont. This is huge!”
He gave an apathetic shrug. “I’m at these kind of places all the time now.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not,” I replied, as we got out of the car. On the way inside, I had to bite my tongue from squealing at some of the celebrities that walked past me.
When we got in the elevator, Brayden laughed. “You’re freaking out inside, aren’t you?”
I nodded. “Do you know that my students, especially the musical ones, would literally fall over in a heap at some of the singers and musicians I just saw? They might even piss their pants.”
“I don’t have to worry about you doing that, do I?”
I laughed. “No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous.” Grabbing his arm, I said, “Promise you won’t leave me?”
“Not even to go to the bathroom?”
Brayden’s brows rose. “You want to go with me to piss?”
“Maybe. Or at least wait outside the door.”
“Jesus, Lils,” he muttered.
The elevator dinged open, and we stepped out onto the main floor. Wall to wall people packed the room. I shifted uneasily in my heels before gripping Brayden’s arm a little tighter. He led me through the crowd, occasionally stopping to talk to people. Most had no idea who I was, least of all that he had a fiancée. “We’ve got some good PR people hiding that one, don’t we?” he joked.
A middle-aged woman nodded. “Yes, they’ve got to keep the image that you’re all young, single, and available. The image is just as important as the music.”
I gave her a fake smile. I didn’t see what harm it would do for people to know Brayden and I were engaged. Didn’t happy couples sell records as much as single guys? I knew it would be a losing game to push the issue around these people.
We continued working our way through the crowd. I had to fight myself from yawning at some of the boring conversations. I’d already spoken to at least fifty people before one finally said, “And what is it you do?” a balding man with a large gut asked.
“I’m almost finished with my teaching practicum. I should have a class of my own next year.”
“A teacher? What a noble profession.”
He winked at Brayden. “Since it doesn’t pay shit, you better keep your hooks in this one, eh?”
“Yes, I suppose I should,” I replied coolly. Brayden quickly steered us away from the man. “Great people,” I muttered.
“He’s an ass.”
“Yeah, he is, but I’m sure most of the people here would share his sentiments about my lowly tax bracket.”
Brayden ignored my comment. Instead, his attention seemed focused on the tall guy with glasses who I had seen at the house the day before. “Hey, Marcus, I didn’t get a chance to introduce you to my fianceé yesterday.”
Marcus sized me up. “So this is the future little woman?”
“I’m Lily,” I said, extending my hand.
“Nice to meet you. I’ve heard only good things about you.”
“I hope so.”
“Are you having a good time?”
“Oh sure,” I answered quickly.
Marcus laughed. “No need to lie. These parties can be so fucking boring.”
“If you say so.”
“Speaking of boring,” Marcus said before he leaned over and whispered something in Brayden’s ear. At Brayden’s nod, Marcus smiled. “Lovely meeting you Lily.”
“The same to you.”
As Marcus started walking off, Brayden said, “The label has some people they want us to meet.”
“But you promised you wouldn’t leave me,” I protested.