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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
His comment brought a fleeting smile to her face, but all too soon it was gone. Once we finished eating, Abby called a cab to come pick her up.
“We can take you to the hotel.”
“It’s out of your way. I’ve imposed enough already,” she argued.
With a grin, I replied, “Yeah, but you’re an awfully cute imposition.”
She laughed. “Thanks.”
It was then that I hung back and watched Abby go through her goodbyes with the guys. Rhys went first. He hugged her and whispered something in her ear that made her giggle. When Brayden stepped forward, tears shone in Abby’s eyes. Taking her hands in his, he spoke softly to her to which she bobbed her head in agreement. She leaned up and kissed his cheek before he pulled her into his arms. He rubbed wide circles over her back as she sniffled. When she finally pulled away, Bray kissed Abby’s cheek.
As AJ stepped up to her, Abby couldn’t stop the grin that formed on her lips. In a low and tender voice, he started speaking to her in Spanish. She tilted her head and listened to him, sometimes laughing, sometimes tearing up. When he finished, he wrapped her in his arms and squeezed her tight.
The longer Abby lingered in AJ’s arms the harder I had to fight the jealousy that ricocheted through me. When he finally released her, he kissed both her cheeks. Then Abby turned to me with tears shimmering in her eyes, and I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.
This was it. The moment I’d been dreading for days—the moment I actually had to say goodbye to my Angel. Taking her hand, I walked her away from the bus, so we could have a little privacy. When we’d put enough distance between us and the guys, I turned around. Dark circles formed under Abby’s eyes, and last night I had felt her sobs even though she thought I was asleep.
Rocking back and forth on my heels, I shoved my hands into the back pockets of my faded and holey jeans. “So…”
“So,” Abby repeated lamely.
I cocked my head at her. “It’s kinda stupid saying good-bye because it’s not like we’re not ever going to see or talk to each other again. I’ve got your number, and you’ve got mine.”
“Yes. Regardless of what happens with us, we’ll always be friends.”
“Exactly. It’s not all ending just because you’re getting off the bus. Hell, we’re even song collaborators now.”
She bit down on her lip to keep the tears that pooled in her eyes from escaping. “Sure.”
I took a tentative step toward her. “Angel, what the hell is going on in that head of yours?”
Gazing up at me, Abby gave me a half-hearted smile. “It’s just I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the line you use with all the other girls. ‘Hey babe, it’s not good-bye’. Not to mention your epically loaded statement of ‘I’ve got your number’. Kinda thinking there’s been a string of girls agonizingly staring at their phones just waiting for a call from you that never came.”
My brows creased in anger. “First of all, I’m not giving you some line. When I say I’ll see you again and that I’ll call, I f**king mean it. And second, there may have been a string of girls leaving this bus like you, but I sure as hell didn’t get their numbers.”
“No, Angel, I didn’t.” I brushed the silky, blonde strands of hair away from Abby’s face to tenderly rub my thumb across her cheek. “Whatever it is that’s started between us, I sure as hell don’t want it to end.”
She sucked in a harsh breath. “So you feel it that strongly too?”
I smiled. “Of course I do. It’s like being zapped by a f**king lightning bolt each and every time you’re near me. You make me think things…feel things I never have before.”
“So have you,” she whispered softly. Her palms flattened against my chest. “Jake, I’m sorry for what I said earlier. I don’t know what to do with all I’m feeling, especially since I have no experience with men.”
“And I could argue that we’re in the same boat here on being totally f**king clueless about what to do.”
Bringing her hand up, she covered mine that was cupping her face. “I know people would tell me that because I’m inexperienced with guys, I’m wrong about what I’m feeling for you.” She shook her head. “But I know without a shadow of a doubt the intensity of what I feel for you is real.”
I feathered kisses along her hand and fingers. “Mmm, do you now?”
“I’ve fallen for you, Jake.”
For a brief instant, it felt like she had nailed me in the balls again. Her words hit me that hard. After a few calming breaths, I managed to grin. “Well, that’s good because I’ve fallen head over f**king heels for you, Angel.”
She laughed. “You have such a way with words.”
“What can I say? You bring out the romantic in me.”
The taxi pulled up to the bus, and I winced. My chest caved in at the prospect of her leaving me, and I had to fight to breathe. I felt like a complete and total pu**y. Dammit, when had I become reduced to a codependent dude who needed a woman to survive? But as much as I hated to admit it, the truth was I needed Abby. She was living and breathing peace to my troubled soul—an angel sent straight out of Heaven. Just a look from her could calm me instantly. With everything happening with my mom, I didn’t know how I would make it without her.