Beat of the Heart

Page 2

"Trouble, bro," Rhys said, as he handed a hat back to the last fan left.

Glancing up at Kylie, I winked, causing her to grin. "Nothing we haven't already done before."

"Yeah, I know." Rhys turned his back to everyone else and eased up beside me, so no one else could hear us. "You're all about the game and the freakin' chase. Once you caught Kylie, she threw you for a loop by not being heart-broken when she went back home for spring semester." Rhys grimaced. "Dude, you got shit-faced for a week."

I shrugged. "So I got a little attached. It doesn't mean it will happen again."

Rhys huffed out a frustrated breath. "Whatever man. Just don't come to my roost drunk and crying over her."

"Whatever," I grumbled. With the last fan exiting the door, Jake began tugging Abby out of the room. I hoped for their sake, Bray had managed to get Melody to sleep so it wouldn't interrupt the rated R plans I imagined Jake had for himself and Abby.

I gave Kylie my best 'you will be screaming my name in an hour' smirk. "Hey stranger."

With a smile, she tossed some of her chestnut brown hair over her shoulder. "Hey yourself."

"Good to see you back."


"How long are you along for the ride?"

She cocked her head, as if surmising whether there was some loaded innuendo in my question. "Just for the week. I'm off for Spring Break."

"Ah, I see." I rubbed the stubble along my chin, trying to decide the best way to approach getting her naked in my bed as soon as possible.

"I'm not seeing anyone now," Kylie said softly.

"Good to know."

She brushed up against me. "I missed you."

"I've missed you, too."

"With your hoard of female admirers, I highly doubt that."

I gave her a reassuring smile. "It's the truth." Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the room was starting to thin out. "What would you say about coming back to my bus tonight, instead of Jake and Bray's?"

"I think I would like that."

Pinning my hands against the wall on either side of her head, I leaned in, my lips inches from hers. "From what I remember you used to like it a lot, especially when I gave you multiple orgasms. All. Night. Long."

A flush tinged her cheeks as I ground my pelvis into hers, eliciting a slight gasp that stroked my ego. "AJ," she murmured, closing her eyes in anticipation. After a quick kiss, that was harder to control than I had originally thought, Kylie groaned in disappointment. I almost did the same thing. Instead, I pushed back off the wall and wrapped an arm around her waist. "Come on, let's take this to the bus."

She bobbed her head and let me lead her out of the room. We started weaving our way through the hustle and bustle of roadies breaking down the show's equipment and loading the trucks. Ahead of us, Frank, our head roadie and father figure, joined up with Jake and Abby. We were only a few feet from Jake's bus when Frank stumbled on the pavement. Jake and Abby stopped, but when he didn't continue walking, Jake reached out for him. But before he could catch him, Frank slumped to the ground.

"Oh shit!" I cried, as I sprinted away from Kylie.

Ashen faced, Frank clutched his chest. "My heart ."

"Somebody get the paramedics!" Jake shouted.

Roadies scrambled around, grabbing for their phones. An ambulance was always on stand-by during a show, and I hoped to God it hadn't left yet.

Instead of kneeling down beside Frank, Abby raced to the bus. The driver saw her coming and hurried to have the door open. She disappeared inside for a minute before running back with the first aid kit. Brayden was right on her heels, obviously sensing something had happened.

When she got back to us, Abby fumbled in the bag before digging a bottle of aspirin out. She then knelt down beside Frank and popped a pill. "Here. Swallow this," she commanded.

As Frank took the pill, the wail of an ambulance's siren pierced the silence. It was only seconds later that it came screeching around the corner. Slamming on its brakes only a few feet away, it stop with the paramedics rushing out of the doors. I backed away so they could get to Frank. That's when I glanced over at Jake. He stood frozen, unblinking and unmoving-pure horror etched on his face. "Jake?" I questioned. But he didn't respond.

After getting an oxygen mask over Frank's face, the paramedics worked on putting in an IV and loading him onto the stretcher. "He's stable, so someone can ride with us," one of them said.

Abby glanced over her shoulder. "Jake, do you want to ride to the hospital with Frank?"

He ignored her question. Instead, he murmured absentmindedly, "You were crumpled on the ground."

Rising to her feet, Abby's blonde brow lined in confusion. "What?"

"Your white dress was stained with blood…Then, she was on the ground at the stables when she had the last seizure." Jake shuddered. "She never got out of bed again after that."

Tears sparkled in Abby's bright blue eyes as she crossed the distance between them to put her hands on Jake's face. "Baby, I'm here. Don't go back there," she crooned softly.

One of the paramedics poked his head out the door. "Okay, we're ready to go."

Abby threw a panicked glance over at me. I knew she wanted to go, but she couldn't bear leaving Jake in the state he was in. "Don't worry. I'll go."

"Thank you," she replied, before wrapping Jake in her arms.

I hopped in the back of the ambulance and slid across the bench. Reaching out, I grabbed Frank's hand, which was already wrapped in IV tubing, in mine. He squeezed it back. The doors closed behind us just as the wailing siren started up. I glanced out of the window to watch Jake and Abby's retreating forms. Kylie threw up her hand, and I felt a pang of remorse that I hadn't even said good-bye. As I waved back to her, it was almost like my dick felt an intense pang of frustration that there would be no getting busy tonight. Glancing down at Frank's ashen face, I felt like a gigantic ass for even thinking about a missed hook-up. The dude was like a father to me and the guys for fuck's sake.

As we started down the road, Frank tugged me closer to him. "This means a bypass," he croaked.

"You don't know that. Could be they just need to put another one of those stent thingies in those old, crusty arteries of yours."

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