Beat of the Heart


Page 65






Before the cop glanced at them, he asked, "You do realize you were doing ninety-five miles an hour in a seventy zone?"

"Yes sir, and I do apologize for that. I normally obey the speeding laws, but you see, my friend has a very important appointment he needs to get to. Unfortunately, to appease him, I felt it necessary to break the law," Rhys replied, oozing the charm and respectfulness he'd been raised with.

One glance at Rhys's license, and the cop exclaimed, "Holy shit!"

"Excuse me officer?"

Leaning in the open window, the cop, whose badge read Carlisle, eyed Rhys. "Are you the Rhys McGowan, the guitarist for Runaway Train?"

Silently, I mouthed "FUCK YEAH!" and did a mental fist pump in my seat as I saw a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. I never shamelessly used my fame, but I sure as hell was going to do it today.

A million dollar grin spread across Rhys's cheeks. "Why yes, I am." Jerking his thumb at me, he replied, "And there's AJ Resendiz."

"Holy shit!" Officer Carlisle exclaimed again. His head shook back and forth so fast I thought he might lose his hat. "Dude, you guys are like my most favorite band in the world! I snuck in to Eastman's once to see you guys play."

"Really? That's awesome. We always love meeting die-hard fans, so let me shake your hand." Rhys stuck his hand through the window.

As Officer Carlisle pumped Rhys's hand up and down, he exclaimed, "Oh man, no one at the station is going to believe this!"

"You mean we're not on your dash cam?" I questioned.

He shook his head. "Nah, I've got an older cruiser, and we're still working on installing them throughout the department." He scratched the stubble on his chin. "Maybe I can have you sign something?"

The wheels in my head started spinning in overdrive. I practically leapt over into Rhys lap, so I could get closer to Officer Carlisle. "Yeah, I didn't need those balls," Rhys groaned.

"Listen man, I take full responsibility for the speeding, and I'll be happy to pay whatever ticket we need to-hell, I'll even pay double-it's just I need to get out of here ASAP!" As Officer Carlisle stared at me skeptically, I exhaled a noisy breath of frustration. "Here's the deal. I've got exactly…" I glanced at the dash and cursed under my breath. "I've got five minutes to get to the doctor's office, or I'm in deep shit."

"Dude, I'm sorry. I didn't know you're sick."

"No, it's not me. It's just if I don't get there on time my…" Shit, I didn't know exactly what to call Mia. Girlfriend? Ex-flame? Baby Mama? I cleared my throat. "It's like this. If I'm not there for the gender ultrasound for my baby, I may never have a chance to be a part of its life because its mother will emotionally cut me out of her life and then maybe even cut my balls off."

Officer Carlisle shook his head. "Dude, that's some tough shit." He shifted on his feet momentarily before nodded. "Follow me," he instructed.

As he started back to his cruiser, I glanced over at Rhys. "Think we're about to get a police escort?"

"Hell to the yeah!" he exclaimed with a grin.

Flashing blue lights commenced followed by the wail of the police siren . Officer Carlisle pulled out first and then Rhys eased out behind him, turning on his flashers. While we started making our way down the interstate, I quickly texted Mia back to let her know I was on the way. When she didn't respond, I got a little nauseated.

"Oh fuck," Rhys groaned.

Glancing up from my phone, my heart plummeted at the sight of bumper to bumper traffic. "You have got to be shitting me!"

We came to a full stop behind Officer Carlisle's cruiser. He stepped out and then came back to the car. "Sorry man. I just heard on the radio that an eighteen wheeler jackknifed about a mile up the road."

"Damn. Damn. DAMN!" I cried. This time I beat my head, instead of my hands, against the dash.

"Stop it, AJ," Rhys demanded.

I shook my now aching head miserably and fought the urge to hang my head out the window and scream at the top of my lungs. "I'm utterly fucked, dude."

"I'm sure if you explain it to Mia, she'll-"

I snorted. "No man, you don't get it. Not only is she pregnant and a hormonal hurricane, but every single guy she's been with has let her down. It's not just about being the exception to that rule. If I screw this up, she could totally give up on me and choose that douche of an ex fiancé of hers." With shaking hands, I grabbed my phone and prepared to make the call I really, really didn't want to. But even if I dreaded calling Mia, I refused to just not show up. An excuse was better than being stood up.

"Listen, maybe you won't be too late. I mean, we're only about a half a mile down the road."

My head snapped up. "It's only that far?"

"Yeah, it's right off the road in the same medical building as my dentist. Why?"

Without a reply, I fumbled with the door handle. My shaky hands made it almost impossible to open it. Finally, it flew open, and I fell out onto the pavement. Glancing over my shoulder, I cried, "If I can't get a ride home with Mia, I'll call you, okay?"

Rhys's chocolate brown eyes widened to the size of his shiny Porsche hubcaps. "You're seriously going to run the next half mile?"

"Totally."

He shook his head slowly back and forth. "Be careful."

"Gotcha." I slammed the car door, and then started sprinting down the side of the road. I mean, the issue wasn't being in shape. After all, I usually tried to do a few miles on the treadmill at every tour stop. It was just I never quite pushed my body as hard as I was pushing it right now. The line of cars still hadn't moved when I streaked into the parking lot of the medical building. I screeched to a stop to board the elevator. Thankfully from Mia's texts I knew what floor and what suite number I needed to go to.

After the elevator dinged on the third floor, I burst through the third office door on the right, skidding to a stop on the waxed hardwood floors just inside the entrance. I lunged over to the receptionist who stood frozen with a phone's receiver in her hand. "M-Must find M-Mia," I gasped as my lungs screamed in agony. Desperate to catch my breath, I doubled over at the waist, pressing my hands against my thighs.







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