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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Beat of the Heart (Page 96)     
  • Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2)(96) by Katie Ashley
  • Through the faces, I caught sight of Jake and the others standing to the side of the ambulance. Walking as carefully as I could, I made my way over to them. “Hey,” I said lamely.

    Jake snickered. “Dude, you like you’ve just come back from war. I thought it was Mia birthing the kid, not you.”

    “Shut up, douchebag.” I glanced down at Bella before looking back at him. “Seeing her born, holding her in my arms—it’s the most fucking intense thing I’ve ever experienced.” At the f-bomb, I winced. “Great, she’s been here less than ten minutes, and I’ve cussed twice.”

    Abby smiled as she leaned down to kiss the top of Bella’s head. “There are worse things you could do besides cuss in front of her. You’re obviously doing something right because she seems very comfortable.”

    “I guess you’re right.” My attention was drawn over my shoulder where the rattling wheels of Mia’s stretcher came screeching up to the open ambulance door. Although she was pale and sweaty, Mia had never looked more beautiful to me. She gave a smile to the others before she was loaded into the ambulance.

    “See you at the hospital, okay?” Abby called.

    “Okay,” Mia replied.

    “Congrats Big Daddy,” Jake said, before slapping me on the back.

    “Thank you.” I smiled before turning to hand Bella to the EMT. I didn’t trust myself to climb inside with her in my arms. I hopped in and then slid across the bench. The EMT had handed Bella to Mia, and she was cradling her in her arms with tears streaming down her cheeks. When she glanced up at me, she smiled. “Thank you.”

    “For making you have a baby in the back of a limo?”

    She shook her head. “Thank you for giving me everything I hadn’t realized I had ever wanted.”

    I leaned over and kissed her. “I feel the same way.”

    26

    Blinking my eyes, I tried remembering where I was. The antiseptic smell of a hospital assaulted my nose, and for a minute, I thought I was back on the Cardiac Care floor at St. Joe’s. But if I was on a shift, what the hell was I doing in bed? When I shifted slightly, a wave of pure exhaustion rippled through my body along with an ache between my legs so strong it felt like a Buick had driven straight through it.

    And then it hit me. I’d given birth to my Bella. A replay of the night’s evens came crashing over me. Oh God, I’d given birth in the back of a limousine outside of a Grammys after party. What could be more bizarre? I could only imagine by now the story and pictures had been leaked, sending the media into a frenzy.

    My ears perked up at the sound of singing. Turning my head on my pillow, I followed the sound to where AJ sat in a rocker with Isabella in his arms. I remembered that once we’d gotten to the hospital, they had taken her from me. After weighing and measuring her, she’d been given back to feed. Once she finished and left my arms again, exhaustion had set in, and I’d fallen asleep.

    Now that I’d woken from my mini-coma, I saw that Bella had been cleaned up, dressed in a onesie, and outfitted with a tiny cap with an enormous pink bow on her head. As he rocked back and forth, AJ softly sang to her in Spanish. With wide-eyes, she stared up at him, occasionally flailing her tiny hands or flicking out her tongue. The expression of pure love and wonderment on AJ’s face as he stared down at his daughter caused my heart to still and then restart.

    When I caught AJ’s gaze, he smiled at me before glancing back down at Isabella. “Looks like Mommy is finally awake.”

    “Have I been out long?” I questioned, as I tried pushing myself up in the bed.

    “About three hours.”

    My brows popped up in surprise. “Really?”

    He nodded. “You needed it though.”

    “I guess so.” With a groan, I wiped my eyes. “I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.”

    “I would imagine so. You just gave birth, for Christ’s sake.”

    “In the back of a limo, no less.”

    Instead of making a jab at our situation, he gave me a sincere smile. “Even though it wasn’t here in the hospital like we would have wanted, it was still the most amazing experience of my life.”

    Tears pooled in my eyes from his words and the depth of emotion with which he said them. “It was, wasn’t it?”

    He nodded as he took Bella’s fist in his fingers. “You know, I thought I loved her before, but now that she’s here, it’s incredible.”

    Sniffling, I reached for a tissue on the bedside table. “I love you for loving her so much, AJ. But most of all, I love you for being the man that you are.”

    “I love you too, amorcito mio.”

    I wanted to kiss him—to wrap my arms around him and not let go—but I was too tired. I couldn’t stifle my yawn. AJ smiled. “You just rest, amorcito mio. I’ve got Bella all taken care of. Well, until she needs some boob time again.”

    “Whatever,” I murmured, with a grin.

    When AJ started humming to Bella again, I giggled. “You know, you’re setting me up for failure singing to her like that. What will we do when you’re out on the road, and she’s stuck with tone deaf me?”

    AJ grinned. “Maybe I can go to the studio and lay down some tracks for you to play when I’m gone.”

    “That sounds like a good idea.” I motioned to the bassinet. “You should lay her down for a little while. I know you have to be tired, too.”

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