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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
“Coast is clear.”
He rolled his eyes. “Whatever,” he mumbled, although I could see the relief in his eyes.
As we stepped closer to the bed, I couldn’t believe how good Lily looked after just giving birth twelve hours before. Her smile was radiant as she glanced at her beautiful baby, swathed in a pink crocheted blanket I was sure Mia had made. “Brayden will be back any second. He took Jude and Melody to get an ice cream in the cafeteria.”
“And who do we have here?” I asked.
“This is Miss Lucy.”
“Well, that’s Lucy Sky to be exact,” Brayden said from behind us. He grinned as he and the kids came inside.
“Jesus, dude, another Beatles reference?” Jake asked.
Lily laughed. “He got lucky this time because my grandmother was Lucy.”
As I stared down at Lucy in Lily’s arms, I couldn’t fight the overwhelming urge to hold her. Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be good for me, but I couldn’t help myself. “Can I?” I asked Lily.
“Of course,” Lily replied, as she passed Lucy over to me.
The sweet scent of newborn innocence filled my nose as I held Lucy. She continued snoozing as I took in her diminutive features. “She’s absolutely gorgeous,” I murmured.
“She looks just like me when I was a baby,” Melody said.
Jake peered over my shoulder at Lucy. “Yeah, she does.”
Brayden grinned. “She’s got Mel’s dark hair, that’s for sure.”
The door burst open to announce the arrival of AJ and Mia. While AJ held Bella in his arms, Mia had an armful of balloons and flowers. “We couldn’t wait to see the newest member of the Runaway Train family,” AJ said with a grin.
“Thank you, man,” Brayden said, before giving AJ a hug.
Rhys poked his head in the room. “Is this where the party is?”
Brayden laughed. “Sure is. Come on in.”
Rhys sidled up to me to get a look at Lucy. “Wow, you’ve got another stunner on your hands. Better look out for her in sixteen years.”
“Yeah, I think she and Melody will be giving me a lot of grey hairs,” Brayden replied.
AJ nodded. “I hear ya, man. If this baby is a girl, I think I’m going to have to invest in some early hair care prevention.”
“This baby?” Lily and I asked at the same time.
Mia huffed out a frustrated breath before smacking AJ’s arm. “You weren’t supposed to mention the baby today! It’s about Brayden and Lily, not us.”
AJ’s expression turned sheepish. “Sorry. My bad.”
Bella clapped her hands. “I gonna be a big sister!”
Mia glanced around at us. “Fine. Since Mr. Blabbermouth and my daughter can’t keep quiet, yes, I’m three months pregnant.”
A hearty “Congratulations!” went up around the room.
Next to me, Rhys groaned. “Oh God, another baby? What happened to us being a band of rockers? Now we’re a band of dirty diapers and Dora. I mean, seriously guys, we’re going to have to have a separate eighteen wheeler to get around all the crap for your kids.”
“Shut up, jackass,” AJ replied.
As the happy conversation buzzed around me, I didn’t hear any of it. I was too overwhelmed by the news of Mia’s pregnancy coupled with holding new life in my arms. Mia and Lily had what I desperately wanted, and the green-eyed monster of jealousy was rearing its head.
Sensing my jangled emotions, Lucy’s face scrunched up, and she began to cry. “Guess I better give her back now,” I said, before handing her to Lily.
“Shh, sweetheart. It’s okay,” Lily cooed softly, and within a few seconds, Lucy was quiet.
The walls of the room seemed to close in around me, and I fought to breath. I knew I had to get away, or I was going to lose it and start screaming. I bolted for the door when Jake reached out to grab my arm. “Where are you going?”
“Just to the bathroom,” I lied. I forced a smile to my lips before I slipped out of the door. Fighting the tears, I started putting distance between myself and Lily’s room. Somehow I ended up down the hall at the nursery. There were only a few babies inside since most were in the rooms with their mothers. Leaning in, I placed my hand on the glass.
A newborn baby boy slept peacefully wrapped in a tight cocoon of blankets. The name on his bassinet read, West. He had a head full of dark hair, and even in his sleep, his mouth worked on a phantom pacifier.
“Abby?” Jake questioned softly from behind me.
I didn’t turn and look at him. Instead, I kept staring at the sleeping baby. “Did you know that I wanted to be a Labor and Delivery nurse?”
“No, I didn’t.”
With a nod, I replied, “If I had finished my degree, that’s what I had planned on doing. I couldn’t imagine anything more fulfilling than helping to bring life into the world.”
Jake took a tentative step towards me. “Look, I know you’re upset about seeing Lucy and then the news of Mia’s pregnancy.”
A mirthless laugh escaped my lips. “Makes me a horrible person to be jealous, doesn’t it?”
“No, I think it’s only natural for you to feel that way. Kinda like when I see guys and their mothers. We can’t help what we want.”
“No, we can’t.”
“Maybe…maybe we can start trying for a baby.”
Although Jake’s words should have been music to my ears and the answer to a prayer, they instead just brought pain from something I’d been carefully hiding. “It won’t work,” I whispered.