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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Melody of the Heart (Page 47)     
  • Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4)(47) by Katie Ashley
  • With a shrug, I replied, “I’m sorry, but with your track record, that’s the way I feel about it.”

    “Yeah, it’s the truth. Every fucking word. If she was standing here before me, I’d say the exact same thing to her.” When I still hadn’t budged, Jake said, “I’ll even call her and apologize myself.”

    I knew then he was really sincere. Jake didn’t get emotional for anyone, least of all a woman, unless he absolutely had to. “Okay, I’ll stay.”

    He nodded. “Besides the band, are we good?”

    “I don’t know, man. I need some time to process all this.”

    Sadness flickered in Jake’s eyes. “I understand. And hey, don’t worry about the shows. We’ll work something out.”

    “Wasn’t worried, but thanks.” Without another word, I turned and went in the bedroom to call Gretchen, so I could get the hell out of there.

    ***

    I arrived in Atlanta around noon. Instead of a driver waiting to meet me, it was my mom and dad. They even parked and came inside the airport, so they could hug and kiss me. Even though I was twenty three and far too old to be fawned over, I let myself truly enjoy it. For one, I’d missed them, and the other reason was I thought of how Lily would never get to put her arms around her father again.

    My mom chattered non-stop on the drive home, asking me questions about the guys and the tour as well as filling me in on how my sisters were. When I was with Lily, she always ensured that I skyped or texted my sisters once a week. They never knew that I needed prompting. Well, I guess they did now since I rarely, if ever, messaged or called them. “Have you seen Lily?” I asked.

    When she glanced over at my father, I knew the reason why she had been talking so much. They had hoped to avoid the subject of Paul’s death and my ex-fiancée as long as possible.

    “They haven’t started having visitation yet, but I think people have been going over to their house.”

    “I want to go the minute we get home.”

    “Can’t you wait and have lunch with us?” Mom asked, her fingers working nervously with the locket around her neck.

    I rolled my eyes. “You’re doing it again.”

    “Doing what?”

    “Trying to keep me from Lily. You never liked the idea of us.”

    My dad met my gaze in the rearview mirror. “We just didn’t want you to ruin your life by getting too serious too soon. You were too young to be thinking about marriage. Honestly, Bray, you have your whole life ahead of you. Why would you want to shackle yourself down?”

    “Why don’t you say what you really mean?”

    Dad’s brows rose. “Excuse me?”

    “You don’t want me to settle down young because that’s what happened to the two of you. Of course, that’s really my fault, isn’t it? I mean, I was the reason you got married.”

    “Brayden!” my mother cried, her hand flying to her throat. I almost felt bad when I saw the tears in her eyes.

    My dad, on the other hand, clenched his jaw. “Just because you’re famous now, I won’t allow you to speak to us this way.”

    “I’m an adult now, Dad. I can say whatever the hell I want to. I’m not that eighteen-year-old kid you threatened to cut off any financial support if I dared to propose to Lily.”

    Releasing one hand off the steering wheel, my dad pinched the bridge of his nose. I knew he was trying to calm down and weigh his words carefully. After all, they enjoyed the money I sent them from time to time too much to risk pissing me off. “Maybe we made some mistakes in the past. But what we did was out of love,” he replied. My mother nodded in agreement.

    “If that’s true, then I don’t want any argument about giving me the car or when I’m coming back. I’m sorry, but I didn’t come home to be with you. I came to be with Lily. And if I can, I’m going to get her back. I’m going to buy her a big fucking diamond this time around, and finally make her my wife.”

    While I’m sure I floored my parents, I was just as surprised by the words that left my lips. Was that what this trip was really about? Getting Lily back? Could just twenty-four hours completely change the person you were the day before? I guess the better question was could I have so easily changed back to my old self in just the span of a day?

    My dad cleared his throat. “Okay, son.”

    I cocked my brows at him. “That’s all you have to say?”

    “We just want you to be happy, honey,” Mom replied.

    “I really hope you mean that.”

    Mom reached back to pat my leg. “We do.” After I gave her a small smile, she turned back in her seat. “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about what happened with your Uncle Sam.” She then began rattling on again like nothing had happened at all. Leaning back against the seat, I closed my eyes and willed the car to get us home faster.

    BRAYDEN

    THE PAST

    As I turned onto the familiar road, an agonizing ache tightened in my chest. If I had closed my eyes, I could have found the way there by heart. The two greatest loves of my life had called this road home—my grandparents and Lily. And I had lost them all.

    Before I reached the familiar driveway, my foot eased up on the accelerator, and I found myself pulling over. Rolling down the window, I stuck my head out and took a long look at what once had been my beacon in the storm.

    More than anything in the world, I wanted to see my Nana shuffling along the front porch, outfitted in one of her house dresses with a green water pitcher in her hand. As she hummed a gospel tune, she would give nourishment to the plants she loved. With a chaw of tobacco in his mouth, Granddad would be sprawled out in a rocker, watching Nana’s every move with lazy, hooded eyes, which were drifting between being alert or slipping into a nap. Of course, the moment he heard Nana squeal, “Brayden Michael, get yourself on up here and give me some sugar!” he’d be out of the rocking chair in a flash.

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