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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
He gave me a genuine smile. “I’m glad you like it. It’s always an honor taking one’s tattoo virginity.” While I laughed, Jake gave a contemptuous grunt. “Your turn,” Steve said pleasantly to Jake. As Becs put on a thin layer of ointment and got ready to wrap my foot, Jake sat down in the chair opposite me to get inked.
As the needle entered Jake’s skin, he met my gaze. His dark blue eyes burned with desire, and I felt my cheeks flushing. “Remember everything I said earlier?” My breath hitched as I bobbed my head furiously. “Just as soon as we get home. Every. Single. Thing.”
A shiver of anticipation and need went over me. “What about your chest and my foot?” I dared to ask.
With a sexy grin, he replied, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
I had never wanted a tattoo to be finished more than I did his because I knew I had an amazing night waiting for me.
After a multi-orgasmic, all-night sexathon, Jake and I barely made it to the bus at seven am when the caravan was pulling out for the next tour stop. We immediately headed straight for the bedroom and crashed. The following day we pulled into Louisiana. Between my foot and ankle aching from the tattoo and my side continuing to hurt, I felt like ass through most of the morning’s rehearsal. The instant we were through, I streaked off the stage, desperate for some Advil. I barely gave Jake a fleeting kiss before heading for the bus. Once I had stripped down to my sweatpants and a T-shirt and thrown back some pills, I headed over to AJ and Mia’s bus for some downtime with Bella.
Coloring pictures and watching movies helped to take my mind off the pain. But when dinner rolled around, I was hurting so badly I couldn’t eat. As I swept my full plate into the trash, Mia eyed me. “Are you okay?” I could tell her spidey-nurse senses were tingling.
“Just a little achy from the tat and then there’s this stupid pain in my side.”
“You still have your appendix?”
“Yeah. This is an intense, dull ache. Not like the typical stabbing, shooting pain of an appendix.”
Mia crossed her arms over her chest. “Intense and dull sounds like an oxymoron, but I get what you’re saying.”
“I’ll be okay.”
“You sure about that?”
I sighed. “Look, if it gets too much, I’ll go to the emergency room after the show, okay?”
I couldn’t help smiling at her expression. “You’re so bossy.”
“I’m a board certified nurse. I don’t have the option not to be bossy.” Her lips quirked up in a smile. “Plus, I’m married to AJ. We both know he needs a firm hand.”
I giggled. “Yep, you got that one right.”
Jody, one of our bodyguards, poked his head in the bus. “Abby, it’s time for you to go to the arena to get ready.”
“Hope you feel better.”
“Thanks,” I replied, before heading down the stairs to follow Jody. The Advil I’d taken before I tried to eat dinner kicked-in, and I felt a little better while Marion was doing my hair and makeup. But by the time the show started, the pain was back with a vengeance. As I sang and danced and interacted with the audience, I wanted nothing more than to just lie down.
The show went by in a blur, including when Jake came out for us to do our duets together. When we finished our last song, Jake took the microphone and smiled into the audience. “You guys ready to get rid of us yet?”
The roar of the fans grew even louder to the point where my ears rang with the noise. He turned to me and grinned before leaning back into the microphone. “Maybe the lovely Mrs. Slater and myself could be persuaded to sing just one more song.”
Usually, the first act left the stage during set changes and house music played. Jake and I had talked about doing something to keep the fans engaged between the shows. It was also a way to bridge the musical gap between Jacob’s Ladder, which was country rock, and then Runaway Train, which was pop/rock. Since Jake had learned guitar at his grandfather’s knee to all the classic Johnny Cash songs, he suggested we do a little bit of Johnny and June. I had just enough sassy in me to capture June’s show style, so I was all for it.
After we finished our set of duets, we then sang Jackson together. I usually really got in to the performance, wagging my finger at Jake, playfully shoving him, giving him lip that went along with the lyrics, but tonight, as I handed off my guitar to a roadie, the pain in my side raged so hard I didn’t know if I would be able to perform. During my set with Jacob’s Ladder, it had grown even more intense. I’d even popped four more Advil during our costume change. The last thing I wanted to do was have to go the emergency room in some random city, but at the same time, I knew if it wasn’t better by morning, then I had to go.
When the last chord echoed through the stadium, Jake leaned over and kissed me. “Give it up for my own little spitfire!” I forced a smile to myself as the audience roared and clapped.
“And to my very own Johnny sans all the black clothes,” I said.
The roadies took Eli’s guitar while Gabe came out from behind the drum set. “Show some big love for Jacob’s Ladder!” Jake shouted into the mic.
Sandwiched by my brothers, I clasped both their hands before bowing. I had to grit my teeth when it came time to pick myself up. It took everything within me to smile into the microphone and say, “Goodnight everybody and God Bless!”