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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
When the song ended, I opened my eyes to find Jake staring at me. I must’ve had a pretty serious expression on my face because he winked and then ran his tongue over his lips suggestively. Even though I should’ve been pissed, I couldn’t help laughing. Only Jake would find a way to ruin a potentially romantic moment. I wagged a finger at him, and he threw back his head and laughed.
Next came the part of the show where they brought a fan on stage for Jake to sing to. My eyes widened when an older lady was led up by one of the stagehands. With wide-eyed wonderment, the woman stared up at Jake. When he grinned and winked, she blushed and giggled just like a young teenager as he began his way through “Your Smile.”
After a few more fast songs, the show was over, and the guys were coming off the stage, exhausted and dripping in sweat. I couldn’t help throwing myself at Jake. Wrapping my arms around him, I let him twirl me around. “I guess that means you liked it, huh?” he shouted into my ear over the crowd.
Pulling away, I stared at his grinning face. “Liked it? Are you kidding me? I loved it! You were amazing!”
“Yeah, and I’m sweating like a pig now.”
I snuggled closer to him. “If I get drenched in your sweat, I can probably make a fortune off this dress on Ebay,” I teased.
“Oh, I can think of several more things to do to get me even sweatier.” He waggled his eyebrows.
I pushed out of his arms. “No thank you! I think I’ll pass.”
“You would, Angel.” He glanced over at AJ and Rhys who were already surrounded by a throng of girls. “Give me five minutes to change and then I’m taking you to dinner.”
I glanced down at my dress. “I hope somewhere pretty low-key.”
“I was thinking IHOP or somewhere like that. Nothing too fancy, Angel.”
I laughed. “You sure know how to wine and dine me, don’t you?”
“Whatever,” he mumbled before he disappeared into the dressing room. True to his word, Jake reappeared in less than five minutes wearing faded and holey jeans and a black t-shirt. Of course, he could manage to make a burlap sack look hot and sexy. As we made our way to the exit, he asked, “You mind if Bray joins us?”
“No, of course not.” We eased into the Hummer limo. “AJ and Rhys not coming?”
Jake grimaced. “No, they’re busy.”
Suddenly, I got his meaning. “Oh, I see.” Thinking of them with random girls made me nauseous. “If I weren’t here, would you be busy too?”
Glancing out the window, Jake refused to meet my gaze. “Yeah, probably.”
“I’m sorry if I’m keeping you from something.”
His head whirled around to pin me with his stare. “You’re not keeping me from anything. I’m exactly where I want to be at the moment and with who I want to be.”
“Oh,” I murmured.
“You don’t sound like you believe me.”
“No, it’s just I’m surprised that’s all.”
He arched his brows at me. “That I want to eat pancakes with you over hooking up with some random bimbo?”
I drew in a sharp breath at his summation. “Yeah, pretty much.”
Jake grinned. “Well, believe it, Angel because it’s the truth. You’re all I want or need at the moment.”
Turning my head, I tried to hide the goofy grin that spread across my cheeks. Jake Slater wanted to be with me over groupies. That was a pretty amazing feeling.
Even though I fought hard against it, the next four days moved at warped speed with back-to-back shows. I would have given anything to have stopped the clock, so my time with Abby could have been savored and lasted longer. She was everything I could ever want or need in a girl, and the longer we spent together, the more I realized I hadn’t been shitting Abby when I told her I’d never met someone like her.
I mean, what other girl would just sit around with me, talking all hours of the night about music, life, and family? She was the only girl I had ever been able to drag to an IHOP after a show and then go back to the bus for a jam session. We sang duets to crazy songs like Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn’s Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man and then Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford’s If I Close My Eyes Forever.
When Abby managed to one-up me by learning and singing some of our songs, I swore to her that I would drag her on stage with me at the next show. “Oh hell no!” she had replied.
For her last night on the bus, I’d asked Abby to sleep with me again, but this time we had the bed to ourselves. Nothing happened more than spooning, but I was glad to have her by my side.
But all too soon it was Sunday—the day she had to finally meet back up with the boys. We stopped for a somber breakfast at Cracker Barrel—Abby’s favorite place to eat. She barely ate though. Instead, she pushed her food around while looking between us and tearing up.
With a frustrated grunt, I dropped my fork, and it clattered noisily onto my plate. “Would you stop that? These people are going to think we’ve abducted you or are abusing you or something because of how sad you look.”
She sniffled and swiped her nose with her napkin. “I can’t help it. I’m going to miss you guys.” Although she said “you guys”, she stared pointedly at me.
“We’regonnamissyoutoo,” AJ muttered through a mouthful of pancakes. At her disgusted expression, he poked his lip out. “What can I say? I’m feeling your loss, Angel. I just gotta pack it in because I’m an emotional eater.”