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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
I guess he sensed my sadness at his reaction because he kissed my cheek tenderly. “We’ll have to wait and see, Angel.”
Satisfied with his answer, I smiled at him. “I’ll hold you to it.”
With a wink, he said, “Sounds like a plan.”
Two courses of mouthwatering food later, AJ stood up and took the microphone. “Oh Jesus,” Jake muttered.
“As you know, it’s customary for the best man to make a speech at the wedding reception. Since some of you won’t be with us tomorrow, I felt it was best to give my speech now, so no one missed out.” AJ flashed a wide grin. “When I was twelve years old, a family moved next door to us. While I went over to be friendly and introduce myself, I really just wanted to get a better view of the hot chick.” He glanced out into the audience. “Sorry, Andrea, but it’s the truth.”
“Oh please,” she muttered, while burying her head in her hands.
“Anyway, while on my chick-seeking mission, I found out that there was a kid my age who would be visiting every other weekend. I was pretty stoked at that news ‘cause at the time, I thought if I made nice with the dude, then I would be around more to see his step-sister.”
“You’re such an ass,” Jake muttered with a grin.
“So, the first weekend Jake came out of the boonies to visit his dad, I went over to meet him. I had no idea that day I was meeting my new best friend. I mean, it certainly wasn’t too memorable. We sat around eating junk food and playing video games. No, it was the next day that our fates were sealed when Jake brought out his guitar. While he wanted to sing and play some hokey Johnny Cash shit his grandfather had taught him, I quickly took him downstairs to the basement where my drums were. I guess you could say it was then and there our true and unfailing bromance began.”
As everyone laughed, AJ turned to me and winked. “Over the years of watching Jake the Lady Killer in action, I knew it was going to take a special girl to snag his heart and make him toe the line. One who was feisty and sassy, sweet and kind, beautiful and sexy, and his creative and musical equal. And then one day, this woman…” he pointed at me. “This gorgeous woman right here literally fell into his bed and didn’t take his bullshit. Ever.”
I groaned but smiled in spite of myself. “Thanks for bringing that up in front of everybody.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied. As he cocked his head at me, a mischievous twinkle entered his dark eyes. “You know at first, I kinda hoped that maybe this beautiful little firecracker and myself might be meant to Tango into the sunset together. But no, it was clear almost from the very beginning that she was meant for only Jake. I’m just honored to call her a friend and musical collaborator. But best of all, tomorrow I will get to call her my best friend’s wife.”
“Oh, AJ,” I murmured, as my hand came to my throat.
“His ball and chain for now until the day he dies,” he added with a grin.
I laughed and shook my head at him as he picked up his champagne flute. “So, I ask you to raise a glass to the couple of the evening, the man and woman of the hour, and along with me, wish them all the blessings, joy, and happiness that life can bring.” He thrust his drink into the air. “To Jake and Abby.”
“To Jake and Abby,” the crowd recited, as they lifted their glasses.
Jake clinked my glass with his before dipping his head to kiss me. “Here’s to us, Angel,” he murmured, against my lips.
“To us,” I replied breathlessly. I brought the crystal flute to my lips and took a sip while Jake downed his in one gulp. “Now who needs to pace himself?” I teasingly asked.
“What do you say we dance?”
I couldn’t help laughing. “Seriously? You hate to dance.”
“With anyone else, yes. But with you, I’d love to.”
“If you’re sure…”
“Okay, then.” I slipped my hand into his and let him pull me out of my chair. We made our way in front of the main table where a wooden floor had been erected for dancing. Across from us, a band had been tuning up. Jake gave a nod to the lead singer—a tall, lanky guy with shaggy dark hair.
“Okay, everyone, I have a special request from the groom-to-be. It’s an oldie…actually one we weren’t even familiar with, but since Jake wants us to play it, then by God we’re doing it.” Glancing over his shoulder, he then counted off.
Instantly, I recognized the song. It was one Jake had on his iPod under a playlist called My Angel. It was from the 90s, if you considered that an oldie, and it was called How Do You Talk to an Angel?
Jake smiled down at me. “Good choice?”
“I thought you’d like it.”
Tomorrow my brothers would be reuniting with Micah to do the singing at the ceremony and the reception. Tonight had been up to Jake. “So, I don’t think I ever asked who the band is?”
“It’s Brayden’s cousin, Cade’s.” A sheepish look entered Jake’s face. “Remember the second night you were on the bus with us when the guys and I were supposed to go hear a band play, but I got wasted, puked on you, and passed out?”
I quirked my brows at him. “How could I ever forget?”
Jake laughed. “Yeah, thought you would. Of course, I kinda hoped you would also remember that was the night I truly came clean with you, and that I wanted a chance to win you over.”