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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
A stormy mix of emotions flickered in Jake’s eyes. “You can think what you want to, but I know what I’m saying about screwing you. I’m glad I got to break you in because you were meant for f**king. The way you cried out my name and came so hard on my tongue when I went down on you…Mmm…baby that was hot.”
“Stop it,” I protested feebly as tears of frustration and hurt streamed down my cheeks.
“Now don’t cry, Angel. It was an honor to be your first. And I promise I’ll remember you as one of the best f**ks I’ve ever had—the innocent little angel who let the Big Bad Wolf inside her tight-as-hell walls.”
The frayed strands of my emotions snapped in two, and before I could stop myself, I brought my palm hard against his cheek, causing a loud crack to reverberate throughout the room. Any hurt within me gave way to white hot anger. “You unimaginable ass**le! Don’t you ever talk to me like that again! I know your mother is dying, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to spit and trample upon everything we are. You better wake up fast and realize what you’re saying. You need to get it through your thick skull that I wasn’t just a piece of ass—that I was everything you ever dreamed of, but you f**ked it all up because you had to push me away when you needed me most!”
With that, I turned away and sprinted out of the room. As I raced out the front door, AJ called my name, but I ignored him. Not even thinking of where I was going or how I would get there, I ran headlong off the porch and into the blinding downpour.
I got halfway down the gravel drive before I heard Jake’s voice cutting through the rain. “Abby! Please wait!”
Whirling around, I jabbed a finger at him. “Leave me alone now, Jake. I may have made a promise to Susan to try and give you second chances when you screw up, but you’re testing my sanity right now… ”
My voice trailed off as Jake sank to his knees in the mud. His chest rose and fell with harsh sobs as he buried his face in the hem of my dress. “I’m sorry. Oh Christ, Angel, I’m so, so sorry.”
Unblinking and unmoving, I stared at him in shock. I didn’t know what to say or do. He had hurt me so deeply that part of me wanted to kick him off of me. “Jake, I—”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he repeated, clutching the backs of my knees. “I didn’t mean any of it—I swear to God I didn’t. I made AJ promise not to call you or get you to come because I couldn’t bear the thought of you seeing me like this.” He shook his head forlornly. “When you showed up, I thought I would die, and I couldn’t think of anything but driving you away. So I said and did all that shit just to hurt you, so you’d run away. You’re right when you called me an unimaginable ass**le.”
When I gasped, he stared up at me, tears shimmering in his eyes. “But the moment you slapped me, it was like I saw everything so clearly again. I couldn’t imagine not having you in my life, and I hated myself for doing that to you.”
“Oh Jake,” I murmured.
“And I swear to God that I do love you—I’ve never loved any girl like I have loved you. You are the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. It’s just…I don’t know what to do with all this,” he smacked his hands against his drenched chest. “I barely know how to be with someone when I’m whole. How the hell am I supposed to be with you when I’m so f**king broken?”
Any anger I still harbored for him melted in an instant. I ran my fingers through the wet strands of his hair. “Baby, that’s what love is. Standing by someone in the good times and the bad.”
“You deserve better than what I’ve got to give you. I should’ve walked away from you a long time ago rather than being selfish and trying to keep you with me.”
I shook my head. “You couldn’t have kept me away. I love you too much. That’s why I’m here now.”
His face contorted into a mask of agony. “She’s going to leave me. Please say you’ll stay—even though I don’t deserve you.”
“I’m not going to leave you.” I eased down onto the ground to wrap my arms around him. “I’m going to be here for you every step of the way. Just lean on me,” I whispered in his ear. He began sobbing again, clutching me tight against him. “It’s okay, baby,” I murmured, running my hands over his back.
The rain continued beating down on us as Jake wept uncontrollably. When he finally started coming back to himself, he sighed raggedly. “I’m sorry, Angel.”
I eased out of his embrace to stare into his eyes. “No more apologies, okay?”
He nodded before rising to his feet. Offering me his hand, he pulled me up. Wrapping his arm around my shoulder, he drew me to him as we started the walk back to the house. When we got inside, I was once again overwhelmed by all the friends and family filling the rooms. Jake ushered me inside his bedroom. AJ had brought my bag inside, so I quickly changed my drenched clothes while Jake did as well.
I was drying my hair when Jake appeared behind me in the bathroom. “Come with me to see Mama.” I quickly shut off the hairdryer and followed him across the hall. A hospital bed now sat in the room where Susan’s massive four-poster bed had once been. Her frail form seemed dwarfed in the bed. Her sister, Sally, and some of her nieces sat on the couch in the corner while her father perched in a chair. They acknowledged my presence with sad smiles.