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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
She inched forward, standing toe to toe with me. “Are you saying I don’t have the courage to stay?”
“Yeah, I am.”
AJ held up his hands. “Whoa, what the f**k do you two think you’re doing?”
“What are the terms for me to prove myself to you?” Abby asked.
Without even thinking, I blurted, “One week on the bus.”
Her tough-as-nails resolve wavered a little. “One week?” she squeaked, her voice cracking.
Rhys tried pushing us apart. “Okay, that’s really funny, but you two can stop now,” he argued. When neither of us backed down, he said, “Let me remind you that Abby has a tour she needs to be on, and we have one as well. No one has to prove anything to anyone, okay?”
I tore my gaze from Abby’s to glare at him. “This isn’t anything to you, man. This is between me and Angel.”
“It’s Abby,” she growled.
I arched my brows at her. “So what’s it gonna be, Angel?”
Fury flashed in her blue eyes before she whirled around. She stomped over to Brayden and snatched the phone away from him. “Gabe, there’s been a change of plans.”
“Are you insane?” Gabe sputtered into my ear. His voice had risen an octave since I had taken the phone from Brayden and informed him about the bet. I edged away from the guys to where I was practically back in the bedroom I had fled from not twenty minutes before.
Once I felt I was sufficiently out of earshot, I replied, “No, I’m perfectly sane, thank you very much.”
I was on speaker phone with all the boys again because Eli came at me next. “Look, Abster, we all know when your temper gets the better of you and when you’re doing the spoiled baby girl ‘I’m used to getting my way’ act. But this isn’t one of us you’re fighting with—this is a mega rockstar douchebag! Trust me, you don’t owe Jake Slater a damn thing. You won’t ever see him again after today, so I would advise you to get over this dumbass bet notion and get the hell off the bus! Now!”
“Why Matthew Elijah Renard, don’t tell me you’re cussing at me now? And with some of your infamous exploits with girls on and off tour how is that any different than with Jake? I mean, whatever would Mom and Dad say?” I chided into the phone.
“Don’t get sassy with me, Abigail Elizabeth!” he countered.
I exhaled noisily and leaned back against the wall. “Come on guys. A tour is a tour. This is all a learning experience, so in the end, I think this would be a good opportunity for me.”
Eli groaned. “An opportunity for what? To be degraded, ogled, and potentially seduced into one or more of their STD infested beds?”
Rolling my eyes, I replied, “No, I think it would be good to see the inner-workings of another band. And I think you’re being very unfair and judgmental about the guys.” Okay, so maybe he was right on the mark about all of them but Brayden thinking that way, but I wouldn’t give in and let Eli know that—I would never hear the end of it.
“Abby, you’re a twenty-one-year-old virgin who has no experience with men outside the two relationships you’ve had with youth group leaders who probably never got past first base with you.”
“Ha, I’ll have you know it was second with Paul!” The moment the words left my lips, I cringed. The last thing I needed was my brothers knowing my sexual past…or lack thereof.
“I think my eyes need bleaching with the mental image I just got,” Gabe moaned.
“Whatever,” I grumbled.
Eli snorted into the phone. “Regardless of what you’ve done or not done, since we are guys and have dicks, I think we know a little more about what Runaway Train is thinking about you right now, and all of them, but maybe the married one, wants to screw you!” he snapped.
I gasped at the same time I heard a smack on the other line. “Don’t talk like that in front of her,” Micah admonished. I was glad to finally hear his voice. He was the shyest of boys, the deep thinker, and the one with a tender heart and soul as deep as the ocean. “What about you, Mike?” I asked.
He sighed deeply. “While I share some of the boys’ apprehension, I also try to look at this through a greater scheme of events. You’re a bright light, Abby, and who knows the good you might do with those guys in the short time you have with Runaway Train.”
“Exactly. I mean, Mom and Dad brought us up to give people from all walks of life and circumstances a chance, right?”
Before Micah could reply, Eli laughed manically. “If you think for one minute that Dad is going to be okay with you on a bus with four hard-core rockers, you have lost your freakin’ mind.”
The mention of our father doused my confidence. Oh jeez, what had I done? He was going to kill me. Twenty-one or not, overprotective fathers never seem to fully realize that their daughters were grown adults.
At my silence, Micah said, “Don’t worry, Abby. I’ll talk to him and try to smooth things over. At the end of the day, we all know your true character. We know that you’re capable of doing this and not succumbing to temptation. Right?”
“Well, duh, of course.”
“Then I look forward to seeing you in a week.”
“Me too, Mike.”
He exhaled noisily into the phone. “But don’t think for a minute I won’t be calling in to check on you every day—maybe twice.”