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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
“What do you mean it won’t? We haven’t even tried,” he protested.
My eyes snapped shut in pain. With the walls of my carefully constructed façade starting to crumble, I figured I had no reason to continue harboring my horrible secret. “I have to tell you something, Jake.”
“What is it?”
“I’ve been lying to you,” I choked out.
His dark brows furrowed in confusion. “About what?”
I slowly turned to face him as my heartbeat began to race out-of-control. “I stopped taking my birth control a few months ago right after I was cleared from my surgery.”
Jake stared at me in disbelief. “What?”
“I wanted a baby, and I knew it was going to be harder to conceive. You said after I came out of surgery, that when the doctor cleared me, we would try. So I thought…I thought if it took us a long time to get pregnant, then you really would be ready then. Then at the same time, the waiting and the wondering if I could was too much to bear.”
The color drained slowly out of Jake’s face. “You promised. You swore to me on our honeymoon that you would never do anything so horrible as to go behind my back.”
Tears pooled in my eyes before streaking down my cheeks. “I know. But things changed with my surgery—”
“Not enough to make you lie to me.”
“I’m sorry, Jake. I’m so, so sorry.”
He shook his head. “I can’t believe it.”
“You don’t understand what the last nine months have been like for me. I wanted to believe everything would be all right, but I couldn’t. And then I couldn’t talk to you about it because I knew how you really felt about having a baby.”
“So you’re trying to make this my fault?” he shouted, which caused a few nurses to turn their heads in our direction.
“No, I just want you to try to understand why I did what I did. I want you to see that even though I wasn’t thinking straight, there was a reason.”
“A reason for you to deceive me?”
“Please, Jake,” I begged.
He stared at me before shaking his head again. “It’s like I don’t even know who you are anymore.”
When AJ appeared before us in the hallway, Jake pointed a finger at him. “Take Abby home. I can’t be around her right now.”
Sobs overcame me as I watched Jake stalk down the hallway to the elevators. AJ’s comforting arms came around me. “Shh, it’s going to be all right.”
Something deep within me wondered how it ever could be. After all these months of deception, I had somehow known that Jake would react the way he had. Even though I knew his anger and his hurt would cause him to walk away, I hadn’t changed my mind or come clean. And now, I had to live with the consequences.
The scenery became an emerald blur, as I stared out the window of the bus. It was kinda ironic, as the last few hours, after I’d stormed away from Abby at the hospital, had been a painful blur as well. Well, painful didn’t quite cut it. In the moment, it had been f**king agony hearing her admit to stopping her birth control, and now hours later, the ache still hurt so bad it was hard to breathe.
I hadn’t gone home or even to our apartment in the city. Instead, I had just walked around downtown Atlanta—gone to Centennial Park, watched the kids playing in the water fountain. A few people recognized me and asked for autographs, but for the most part, I was isolated and alone in my torment. I’d finally headed back when it was almost time for the bus to pull out.
Abby had stood beside our bus with Angel on her leash. Her eyes were puffy and swollen from crying. “Jake, please, talk to me,” she began, but I kept walking right past her. Instead, I did what I did best, which was basically shut people out and be an ass**le. I had climbed onto AJ and Mia’s bus without a word to her.
At the sight of me, Mia raised her eyebrows to AJ, but neither one of them said anything. I eased down at the table where Bella was eating a snack and coloring. “Want some?” she asked, pushing the plate of animal crackers my way.
“No thanks, sweetheart.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw AJ and Mia having a quiet, but heated discussion. She threw her hands up before stalking over to me. “I think you’re lost.”
She narrowed her dark eyes at me. “I said, I think you’re lost. This isn’t your usual bus. You remember, the one you and your wife ride on.”
I glanced over at AJ who shook his head like he wasn’t about to get into it with Mia by taking my side. “Please Mia, I need some time, okay?”
She huffed out a frustrated breath that ended almost in a growl. “What I would say to you right now if it wasn’t for her,” she said, pointing to Bella. She then stalked away from me over to the kitchen, and for the next hour, she ignored me. But I didn’t really mind as long as she wasn’t yelling at me. I focused my energy on staring out the window and trying to process what in the hell had happened to my life.
When I felt a tug on the pants leg of my jeans, I glanced down to see Bella staring up at me. She had abandoned her place on the couch with AJ where they had been watching movies. “Hey sweetheart,” I said. I bent over to pick her up and ease her down on my lap. Her jet-black eyes surmised me before she cocked her head at me.
“Why u sad?” she asked.
Great, I didn’t even begin to imagine how I was going to explain this one. “Do you think I’m sad?”