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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Music of the Heart (Page 22)     
    Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley
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    “Fine,” he muttered.

    Realizing he wasn’t in the mood to talk, I eased around in my seat and looked out the windshield. While the guys were loud and boisterous on the way back, Jake didn’t say a word. Once the SUV came to a stop in front of the bus, he hopped out and pounded up the front steps.

    “What bug is up his ass, I wonder?” Rhys questioned before getting out.

    The boys had all filed out of the SUV when Frank touched my shoulder. I turned back to him in surprise. “Abby, I know Jake, and from the way he was acting, I’m worried that something bad has happened with his family. He doesn’t open up easily, but if you can, please try to find out what’s going on with him.”

    “But you saw he wouldn’t say two words to me earlier.”

    “I know. But please, keep trying.”

    “Fine, I’ll try.” I got out of the SUV and headed onto the bus. While the other guys were lounging around in the living area, Jake was noticeably absent. I craned my neck around to see if he had slipped into the bathroom.

    “Where’s Jake?” I asked as the bus driver started up the engine.

    “He got his iPod and hit the bed.”

    A glance at the clock on the microwave showed it was only eight. I couldn’t imagine a guy like Jake going to bed so early. I decided I better change the subject. “Speaking of, where will I be sleeping tonight?”

    “It’s my night for the bed, but I’ll totally give it to you,” Rhys offered.

    “No, no, I don’t want any special treatment. I’m serious about the bet and experiencing all aspects of life on the road. I’ve slept in a roost before, and I can do it again.”

    AJ grinned. “Let me guess though. You’d prefer a bottom bunk.”

    I nodded. “Yeah, I like to be close to the ground. A couple of years back I was on the top bunk when we got in a bad hail storm. The bus skidded on the slick roads, and I fell out.”

    “Then the first bottom bunk is yours, Abby,” Brayden said with a smile.

    “Thank you.”

    He motioned to the couch. “We were just about to watch a movie if you’d like to join us.”

    “Nothing NC-17 I hope?” I teased.

    Brayden laughed. “No, maybe a little R-rated Will Ferrell comedy. Would that be okay?”

    “If it’s Ricky Bobby, you got a deal.”

    “Great minds think alike.”

    “Just let me get changed.” As I walked back to the bedroom, I paused outside of Jake’s roost. “Jake?” I tentatively asked. When he didn’t respond, I kept on going. Even though I pushed my luggage and guitar case against the door, I tore off my dress at record speed. I then threw on my ratty Jacob’s Ladder’s t-shirt and my yoga pants from earlier. I slid my hair into a ponytail and then headed back out.

    The opening of the movie was already playing when I eased down beside Brayden on the couch. Even though we’d probably all seen the movie a million times, we were laughing hysterically. I had to admit that it was fun hanging out with the guys sans Jake. His absence seemed to take the pressure off, and AJ and Rhys behaved like brothers, rather than potential lovers.

    After they started Step-Brothers, the exhaustion of the day, coupled with the lull of the bus, caused me to get drowsy. My eyes grew heavier and heavier until I finally nodded off. When I woke up, the movie was ending, and my head was on Brayden’s shoulder. I jerked away from him. “Oh, I’m so, so sorry!”

    He smiled. “It’s okay. You were tired.” He glanced over at the other guys. “We should probably get our asses in bed. Tomorrow is another long day of traveling before the next show.”

    Once we all took turns using the bathroom, we settled into our roosts. I glanced down at my phone and fielded a few texts from the boys. Thankfully, my parents were at a conference with packed events, so the boys had yet to break the news to them until a few hours before about my mishap. Because it was so late, I didn’t get a wrath-filled phone call like I normally would have.

    Instead, it was a barrage of heated texts from my dad that if he hadn’t been a minister would have equated to “What the hell do you think you’re doing on a bus with a bunch of horny rockers?” My mom, who was always the peacemaker, was included in the messages and tried reasoning with my father, which was pretty hilarious considering they were in the same room.

    Finally, I went for the jugular by telling him as a minister, he shouldn’t be so judgmental. After a lengthy pause, he finally responded with You’re right, Abigail. We know you have a good head on your shoulders. Just make sure you let your conscience and your moral compass guide you.

    I fought the urge to roll my eyes at the epic guilt trip laid at my feet. Instead, I quickly typed back, Of course I will. I’ll see you guys in a week.

    My parents were flying in to see my first performance with the boys. I was supposed to have had this week as preparation, but now I would be heading right off the bus and to my first show. I gulped down the rising bile in my throat at the thought.

    After telling them goodnight, I laid my phone down and settled in the cramped quarters. Just as I closed my eyes, a long groan came from close to my head. It took me about two seconds to decipher that I was way too close to Jake for comfort. Each and every time I started to doze off, Jake would make a noise, and I would be wide awake again.

    I fluffed my pillow for what felt like the millionth time and tried ignoring the sounds coming from Jake’s bunk. Heat flooded my face when the whimpers and groans escalated. Jeez, it sounds like something off a  p**n o! With my brothers, I had a pretty good mind what he was doing, and it infuriated me, especially after what had happened earlier with Billie Jean.

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