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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
After drawing in a deep breath, I started sprinting back to the hotel, but more importantly back to Allison. Now I knew I was ready. I was ready for all that would come with loving Allison. I sure as hell didn’t deserve her, but I wanted—no I had—to make her mine. As for Jake, well, he’d just have to accept that fact. After all, he was just her brother, not her father.
No, I wasn’t going to f**k up my life any longer. I needed Allison in my life, and I was going to prove to her that I could love. She had faith in me, and I would die trying to prove her right.
After crying myself to sleep, I woke up to Jake and Abby returning from the doctor. The diagnosis was food poisoning, which was terrible considering they had eaten with Jake’s family the night before. Even after getting fluids, they were still a little weak and collapsed into a deep sleep. After Jax and Jules woke up again, I moved their Pack ‘N Play into my room to let Jake and Abby get some more rest before their rehearsal at two.
Playing with the twins was a welcome relief to get my mind off Rhys. I truly felt like I was at a breaking point with his emotional whiplash. With the way things were at the moment, I couldn’t imagine making it through the rest of the tour. Although I would hate to let Jake and Abby down, I didn’t see how I could stay on as their nanny. I just wanted to go home. I didn’t give a shit about the internship. I just cared about my crumbling sanity that had been wrecked by Rhys. The man that I had loved for seven years and the man I’d spent time with in Savannah was not the man I saw now. He didn’t want to change, and I had to accept that.
At one¸ Jake and Abby reluctantly pulled themselves from their bed, so we could all head to the arena for rehearsal. We took the tour bus since the twins were in tow. Abby never liked for them to be far from her, so we didn’t stay back at the hotel until show time.
After we arrived at the arena, Abby and I worked to get the twins to sleep in one of the empty dressing rooms. But unfortunately, they were fussy and didn’t want to lie down. They were enjoying their time with Abby too much to sleep.
Finally, they started to calm a little when Abby took them both in her arms and began rocking them in the antique rocking chair they carried with them on tour. With their eyes beginning to droop, Abby glanced at the clock. “Shit, it’s almost time for me to be out there. Can you go tell Jake it’s just going to be a little while longer?”
“I can put them down for you,” I said.
She shook her head. “No, they want me, so I want to do it.”
I nodded. “Okay, I’ll go tell him.”
When I got out to the stage, Runaway Train was just finishing up, and it was time for Jake and Abby to run through their duets with Jacob’s Ladder playing the musical accompaniment.
At the sight of me, Jake’s brow lined with worry. “Where’s Abby?”
“The twins are taking a little longer to go down for their nap today, so she said to give her just a few minutes more.”
Groaning, Gabe stopped twirling one of his drumsticks between his fingers. “Can’t she let you put them down? You’re the nanny after all.”
Jake whirled around and pinned Gabe with a hard stare. “The most important thing in Abby’s life is being a mother. She worked hard to get those babies, so if she wants to delay rehearsal by thirty minutes so she can be a mom, then she’ll f**king do it.”
“Okay, okay,” Gabe mumbled.
Motioning me with his hand, Jake said, “Help us out a minute, Allie-Bean.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Well, the f**king suits at the label want me and Abby to do an emo duet. Apparently, we sing too many happy love songs. Abby picked one out, and I’ve got to learn it. I have no clue about the song because I don’t listen to emo love songs.”
I giggled. “No, I don’t imagine you do.”
“While we’re waiting on Abby, could you play the piano and sing her part?”
“Sure, I guess so. What’s the song?”
My heart clenched so tight I found it hard to breathe. Out of all the songs in the world, why would Jake have to pick that one? The very one I had listened to on repeat last night as I cried myself to sleep. For me, that song represented everything that was mine and Rhys’s screwed-up relationship. Anytime it came on the radio, it was agony hearing it. I couldn’t even imagine singing it. I didn’t know if I could.
As Jake thrust the sheet of music in front of me, my shaking hands could barely grasp it. “Jake, I don’t know if this is a good idea.”
“You sing and play the piano, don’t you?” When I nodded, he added, “Then I don’t know why it would be a bad idea.”
Staring at the sheet music, I could barely make out the chords. “I should go back and check on Abby and the twins. I’m sure Eli could do it with you.”
Eli snorted. “Oh yeah, it’d be a dream come true to duet with Jake.”
Jake shook his head. “That’s so not happening.” Taking me by the shoulders, Jake led me over to the piano and urged me down onto the bench. “Come on, Allie-Bean. Help your big brother out.”
A resigned and painful sigh rushed from my lips. Even though I wanted to run away, I was stuck in this nightmare. At the sound of a voice behind me, my eyes snapped shut in pain.
“Uh, how much longer until our rehearsal?” Rhys asked.
“It’s gonna be awhile. Abby’s putting the twins down for a nap. But I’m going to make the most of the time by working on that f**king duet the label wants us to do.”