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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
Once Dr. Miller left, the adrenaline in me depleted. My muscles felt rubbery, and they wouldn’t support my weight. I collapsed back into my seat and buried my head in my hands. I shuddered at the smell of blood of my hands. Abby’s blood.
Oh God, Abby was going into emergency surgery…she might not be able to have children like we planned. It was all too much, and I moaned in agony.
At the feel of Mia’s hand on my back, I tensed. I didn’t want her words of sympathy, nor did I want her comfort. I just wanted to be alone, so that I could somehow muster the strength to enable me to put on a brave face for Abby.
Mia soft voice came close to my ear. “Jake, I’m so, so sorry.”
Twisting my shoulders, I slung her hand off me. “Just leave me alone.”
“Hey man, I know you’re hurting, but the last thing you need to do is to shut down. It isn’t good for you and it isn’t good for Abby,” AJ said.
I jerked my head up to glare him. “Don’t you dare try to tell me what’s good for Abby. I’m her husband. I know better than anyone what she needs. As hard as it’s going to be, I know I have to be strong for her right now because I know the minute she comes out of surgery and hears this news, she’s going to fall apart. She’s wanted a baby with me practically since the moment we met. And now I have to go in there and try to pretend that everything is all right when she may never get what she wanted.”
Mia reached over and took my hand in hers. “I know the prognosis isn’t the best in the world, but the doctor didn’t say Abby couldn’t have children.”
“What do you two know about anything? You weren’t even trying and bam, you got pregnant. Hell, neither of you even wanted kids. There’s nothing Abby wants more than to have a baby, and now that’s going to be a f**king struggle for her.”
AJ narrowed his eyes at me. “Fuck you, man. Just because Bella wasn’t planned, it doesn’t mean we love her any less or that we didn’t want her. Last time I checked, there isn’t some pissing contest about who deserves what.”
I snorted contemptuously. “Obviously because Abby sure as hell deserves a baby more than some whore who got knocked up!”
The moment the words left my lips I instantly regretted them and wished I could take them back. I grimaced when Mia gasped in horror while wounded tears welled in her dark eyes. Before I could say I was sorry, AJ’s fist cracked into my jaw, sending me spiraling backwards. It had been a long time since I’d felt the power of AJ’s right hook, but damn if he still didn’t have it.
But he didn’t stop with just a punch. He popped me in the abdomen, too. Stars flashed before my eyes as Brayden and Rhys scrambled to pull AJ away from me.
“AJ, stop!” Brayden cried.
As I rubbed my aching jaw and clutched my stomach, AJ shoved Brayden off him. His face was blood-red, and his eyes were wild with fury. “He called my wife a whore! He’s lucky I don’t break his f**king neck!”
“Leave him alone, Bray,” I muttered as I pulled myself to my feet. I staggered away from the group, making my way to the elevators. I wasn’t sure where in the hell I was going. I just knew I couldn’t stay here anymore. Even I if I said I was sorry, it was going to take some time to get AJ to cool off. But, I sure as hell felt bad for what I had said to Mia.
I stumbled onto the elevator going down, which I felt made a hell of a lot of sense considering my mood. Digging in my pocket, I pulled out my phone and proceeded to make the call I was dreading. I didn’t know if in their shock, Gabe and Eli had managed to call their parents. Laura, Abby’s mother, answered on the first ring. “Jake, is something wrong? We have some missed calls from Eli.” I tried as best I could to explain what was going on.
As she burst into tears, I cringed. “We’ll be on the next plane out. If we don’t make it before she comes out of surgery, please tell her how much we love her, and we’re trying to get there to be with her.”
After I hung up, I wandered around the lobby. At the sight of the chapel, I dipped inside. St. Augustine’s wasn’t big on religious diversity or having an interfaith chapel. Instead, votive candles flickered on a table underneath a lit cross.
I eased down on one of the back benches. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing here. I hadn’t come here for soul searching or to unburden myself. I just wanted to escape. Heaving a frustrated sigh, I turned and then lay down. I stared up at the ceiling, trying to sort through the emotional shit-storm that raged within me. I don’t know how long I lay there, ignoring the beeps and pings of my phone. Minutes. Hours. An eternity seemed to go by.
My ears perked up at the sound of someone coming in the door. As they hurried past me to the altar, I craned my head back to look at them. It was Mia. When her back was to me, I rose up on the bench, eying her movements. She knelt before the altar and made the sign of the cross. Taking a candle, she bowed her head. “Heavenly Father and Holy Mother, please watch over Abby. Protect her through the surgery and carry her through the recovery. Most of all, bless her and her womb.” A flicker a light came from the wick as the candle burning for Abby caught light. I expected her to turn around then, but instead, she took another candle. “And please comfort and protect Jake.”
Her words had the same effect as AJ punching me, except this time I felt it in my chest, rather than my chin. “I don’t deserve that,” I croaked.