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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Music of the Soul (Page 34)     
    Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley
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    My dad answered on the third ring. “Hey, it’s Jake.”

    “Hey son, how are you doing? Abby still doing okay after her surgery?”

    “Uh, yeah, I’m fine…she’s fine.” I swallowed the knot of emotions forming in my throat. “Actually, Dad, we’re not okay.”

    “Did you have a fight?”

    “It’s a little more serious than a fight.”

    “Whatever it is, I know it’s worth working out. Abby’s a wonderful, caring woman, and she loves you very much.”

    “I know.”

    “Then, what is the problem?”

    “I need…I need to talk to you about some pretty heavy shit that happened in the past. With you and me.” There was a pause on the line. “Are you still there?”

    “I’m here.” Dad sighed. “I’ve been hoping you would want to talk to me for a long, long time.”

    “I doubt you’ll be thinking that in a minute.”

    “I’m serious, Jake.”

    “Fine. Here it is. I’ve hurt Abby because I’m not ready to be a father, and it’s all because of you.”

    Dad sucked in a harsh breath that hissed over the line. “No beating around the bush, huh?”

    “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to talk about this—I never have. But having kids and being a father is about to ruin my marriage.”

    “I wish I could be there with you right now, son.”

    Before I could stop myself, I blurted, “Wanna hop a plane or drive and meet me in Birmingham?”

    “If you want me there, I will.”

    My brows shot up into my hairline. “You’re serious?”

    “Of course I am.”

    “But why would you do that for me?”

    “Because you’re my son. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.”

    It took a moment for his words to set in. I knew from the tone of his voice that he was serious. It was just hard to imagine after all the years that have passed and all the shit between us, he really did love me. It was a lot to process with everything else that had happened today, and I felt myself shutting down. “It’s okay. We can talk when I get back.”

    “I know I made a lot of mistakes when I divorced your mother—I said and did things that I know hurt you. I wish I could take them back, but I can’t. The worst thing in the world would be to know that I hurt you so deep you wouldn’t become a father. At the end of the day, you aren’t me and you aren’t Susan. You’re just yourself, your own person.”

    “So I won’t feel tied down and cheat like you did?” I questioned softly.

    Dad was silent for a moment. “Is that what is bothering you?”

    “Maybe.”

    “Oh Jake, what’s going on in that head of yours?”

    “A lot of bullshit, I guess.”

    With a nervous chuckle, Dad said, “I would like to think it’s just bullshit, but I know you too well. All I can say is we’re our own people and make our own decisions—good and bad. If I were to speculate long term about you, I don’t see you cheating.”

    “And how can you guess that?”

    “Because you know what a good thing you have. Before Abby, you were with enough women to know what is real and what is good. Deep down, you know you don’t need to go anywhere else to find the greatest love of your life—the woman who completes you, challenges you, and makes you get up in the morning.”

    Like a pansy, tears stung my eyes at his summation. He was right—I could never find another woman who meant as much to me as Abby did. After all, she is my world.

    The biggest question that was going through my head was on the tip of my tongue, and I knew I needed to ask it. Even if the answer was one I didn’t really want to hear. Finally, I drew in a deep breath and croaked, “Do you think I’ll be a good father?”

    “I know you’ll try as best you can. When you fall short, and trust me, you will, you’ll beat yourself up. No one is a perfect father—some are better than others and some make less mistakes, but no one is perfect. You live and you learn.”

    “I hope you’re right.”

    “All you can do is try your best, son. Regardless of how you see yourself, you have so much love to give to a child. I know that, and Abby knows that as well.”

    The shuddering of the bus’s wheels slowing down alerted me that we were getting off the interstate and heading into downtown Birmingham. “Listen Dad, I gotta go for now. I really appreciate you talking to me.”

    “I’m here for you anytime, Jake.”

    “Thanks.” I hesitated at the next words, hating myself for how hard they were to say. “I…I love you.”

    “I love you, too.”

    After I hung up, I sat in silence just staring at my phone. I didn’t know if I should try to text or call Abby. Part of me knew that what I had to say needed to be said in person. Because of Lucy’s birth, we were heading straight into a show, rather than having our usual rehearsal times. I wasn’t going to have a moment before going out on stage to talk to Abby unless I cornered her in the dressing room.

    Any thoughts I had of getting to her on the bus was shot to hell when I saw her brothers walking her into the arena. I sighed and went to get a shower. When I was finished, Bella was bouncing around the kitchen waiting for me to come out.

    “Guess you had a good nap, huh?”

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