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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
“That’s awfully f**king noble of you. Are you going to bludgeon me in my sleep?”
“Rhys!” Allison shrieked, while Eli only chuckled.
“No, man, we’re all good.” Glancing from me to Allison, he gave her a warm smile. “It’s not like you stole my woman or something because she was never mine to begin with. She was always yours.”
Tears pooled in Allison’s eyes, and she rushed past me to throw her arms around Eli’s neck. I had to fight the caveman urge to go over and yank her away, but I knew this was just part of her kind, compassionate side. “I’m so sorry, Eli. I never meant for you to get put in the middle of all this. You’ve always been such a good friend to me. I don’t want to lose that,” she said.
“Don’t be sorry, and of course, I’ll always be your friend. I’m just glad you’re going to be happy now,” Eli replied. After Allison pulled away, Eli then gave me a pointed look. “She is going to be happy, right?”
I nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, she is.”
“Good. Because I don’t want to have to kick your ass for hurting her.”
“You won’t have to, I swear.”
“What about Jake?” Eli asked.
When I opened my mouth to tell him I was planning on telling Jake immediately, Allison shook her head. “He doesn’t need to know quite yet.”
“He doesn’t?” both Eli and I said in unison.
Allison cocked her head at me. “After the last few months of hell, call me crazy, but I’d like to have a little while of happiness with you without things being crazy with Jake.”
“She makes a good point,” Eli mused.
“Whatever,” I grumbled. Before I could argue with her that it probably was a horrible idea not to tell Jake, the man in question came barreling through the door, knocking Eli out of the way.
“There you are. I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Are you okay, Allie-Bean?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” Allison replied.
Jake narrowed his eyes at Eli before pulling Allison into his arms. “Are you sure you’re not just saying that because he’s here?” Jake questioned in a low voice.
“I’m positive. I just had a little meltdown, okay?”
When Jake pulled away, he gave her a skeptical look. “Look, if taking care of the twins is too hard on top of your internship, we’ll hire someone else. I don’t want you to be unhappy.”
Although I felt like a sappy chick, I couldn’t help it when my heart warmed at Jake’s suggestion. As much as I cared about Allison, I was glad that she had a big brother who loved her so much. I hoped that intense love also meant that Jake would take the news of us being together a little easier. I mean, he did claim that he didn’t want her to be unhappy, right? Deep down, I knew I was grasping at f**king straws on that one.
“No, no, it’s fine. I love taking care of the twins,” Allison protested.
“I’m just having a really hormonal, PMS day, okay?”
All three of us males groaned in unison at the mention of the dreaded PMS. “And singing that song just made me think of Mitchell,” Allison added.
It was completely wrong of me, but I couldn’t help being a little impressed by how well she was able to lie so convincingly on her feet. Jake seemed to buy the story. He gave Eli a sheepish look. “Sorry for busting your chops, man.”
Eli shrugged. “It’s all good. But you might want to start chilling the f**k out when it comes to who Allison is dating.”
“Is that right?” Jake challenged, jerking his chin up defiantly.
“If you don’t, you’re going to have a stroke before it’s time for Jules to date.”
Jake winced. “Don’t even say the words ‘Jules’ and ‘date” in the same sentence.” He rubbed his chest. “My heart can’t bear the thought of some douche trying to take advantage of my baby girl.”
A roadie appeared in the doorway. “Excuse me, Jake, but Abby’s onstage and ready to rehearse.”
Jake nodded his head in acknowledgement. “I’ll be right there.”
When the roadie left us all alone again, Jake eyed Allison. “You’ll be all right?”
Allison smiled. “I’ll be fine. I better go relieve Mia and Lily of twin duty.”
Jake and Eli then headed out the door, leaving Allison and me alone again. “Walk with me?” she suggested. I nodded and then followed her down the hall to the Runaway Train dressing room. Allison eased open the door. The darkened room was quiet. Jax and Jules were snoozing away in their portable Pack ‘N Play. Mia sat on the couch across from them, feeding Gaby a bottle. At the sight of us, she rose off the couch. “I better go make sure Bella isn’t wreaking havoc down the hall…or I should say that AJ and Bella aren’t wreaking havoc,” she said with a smile.
Allison giggled. “Thanks for watching them for me.”
Mia glanced between the two of us and then winked. “No problem.”
Once she was gone, I slid my arm around Allison’s waist, and we stood there together, staring down at the sleeping babies. At Allison’s sigh of contentment, I whispered in her ear, “I’m so glad you don’t have to leave them.”
She bobbed her head in agreement. Then she glanced up at me and smiled. “But I’m also glad I don’t have to leave you,” she replied, which caused my heart to thrum wildly in my chest.