No Naked Ads -> Here!
No Naked Ads -> Here! $urlZ
Beautiful distraction, p.24
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Beautiful Distraction, p.24

           J. C. Reed
 

  I would have loved to meet Clara. I think we would have bonded. And it’s thanks to her that Kellan’s life is where he wants it to be.

  He’s different now compared to the first time we met. The arrogance is almost gone. Left behind is a caring, down-to-earth, and committed man. He says that’s who he was before he became famous. I don’t know if that’s true. All I know is that I love him and I don’t miss K. Taylor one bit.

  Today marks the day we first met in front of Club 69. I might have only known him for two short years, but he and Mandy are the people I trust the most. He’s closer to me than anyone’s ever been.

  More than my parents. Even more than my best friends.

  If someone had told me Kellan would change my life for the better, I would have laughed. In so many ways, I changed too.

  As it turned out, there was never a question of whether I wanted to quit my old life. Things would have turned out the way they have anyway:

  The moment the lines were back on and I switched on my phone, I received a nice voicemail from my boss from Hell, in which TB declared me fired for switching off my phone. Apparently, by being caught in a storm, I was violating one of the clauses in my work contract, which stipulated that I was to be available to her at all times.

  My parents didn’t even notice I was away. They were too busy with their own lives and work at the orchestra, so they didn’t even pretend to miss me when I told them about moving to Montana.

  During their one-week vacation, Mandy had invited Josh to come to NYC and stay with us in our tiny apartment, as if it wasn’t already too crowded. Apparently, it sort of clicked between them and they were dating. So, moving back there wasn’t even an option. I mean, no one wants to be the third wheel, right?

  Last but not least, after the hurricane alert, my landlord panicked and decided to double our rent, in spite of the fact that a pipe had burst during our vacation. So I paid my share, thanked TB for the work experience, sent my parents an email to inform them of my new address, then tied up all loose ends, packed my bags, and moved to Montana.

  That’s where I’ve now been for almost two years. Kellan’s family and friends have become my home.

  So, no, I don’t regret the change. As it turns out, trust your heart because she knows better.

  Kellan was the right decision, the right choice.

  I love my new life.

  While I still love to help Kellan with the farm every once in a while, he does have people who do most of the work. I’ve become a freelance journalist and earn good money. (You hear that, TB? You can shove that job up your tiny ass.)

  I haven’t been to NYC in a long time, and at first, I thought I would miss it, but I don’t. I don’t miss it at all. I had been so engrossed with my work that I forgot how to breathe, to live in the moment, to not take people around me for granted. Stripped bare of all the things that come with working for someone like TB, I recognize how stressful my life had been. It makes me wonder how much pressure Kellan was under when he was on tour. I have no doubt that sooner or later, he would have turned into an addict like Rock, or suicidal like Casper.

  As to Kellan’s previous life, his music company spun a sensational story that he was fired. Apparently something about him being hard to work with.

  The lie annoys me to no end, but Kellan says it’s okay.

  Just as expected, the news that K. Taylor was no longer the lead singer of Mile High resulted in a mass panic among the female population. Rumors started to circulate that he had checked into rehab like Rock, that he had OD’ed, that he had disappeared from the surface of the earth—all not true, obviously.

  Kellan didn’t seem the least bothered about all the wild speculation. Maybe it was all pretense, or maybe he really didn’t give a damn. He says his previous life is nothing but a past chapter in a long book.

  He’s probably right.

  After five months, the rumors began to die down, and the tabloids moved on. The next big headline made its way to the front pages, and Kellan was forgotten.

  Mile High hasn’t achieved the same success. It’s not because of the new lead singer—the replacement is almost as good as Kellan, but only almost. With the mask on, they even look a bit alike, and people have been claiming that the story of K. Taylor’s dropout was nothing but a propaganda spin to get media coverage.

  As it happens, Mile High has slowly been disappearing off the radar, maybe because the new lead singer doesn’t quite have K. Taylor’s allure.

  To me, they don’t look alike.

  I would recognize Kellan’s broad shoulders and magnetic green eyes anywhere.

  It’s a new band—a bunch of eighteen-year-olds from Mississippi—that has taken the world by storm. Including Mandy.

  Talk about so not being loyal to her old band. She even had the nerve to ask me to go see them live, which, of course, I declined politely.

  It’s one of those little secrets I’ll take with me to the grave because I’d never think of saying something to Kellan that might hurt him.

  The only thing I regret is not having accepted his marriage proposal that night when I heard him sing for the first time. Back then, I convinced myself that it was just a joke, even though it had felt very real.

  He hasn’t mentioned it again, and I’m not going to raise the subject.

  I guess he’s forgotten. I guess, too, that at that time I wasn’t ready.

  But I am now. More so because I’m expecting.

  Only, I have no idea how Kellan will react.

  The thought of telling him makes me a little sick.

  I still haven’t told Mandy about it because she can never keep her mouth shut, and I’m afraid she’ll drop not-so-subtle hints to Kellan at every opportunity. Part of me wants to pick up the phone and call her, while another part of me refrains from doing so. I’ve been torn about it every single time we talk on the phone, and that’s almost daily.

  Music is still a huge part of Kellan’s life. It’s inside him, in his blood. It’s his way to express his soul, much like a writer lives for pouring their heart out through words. He often lets me sit in a corner, out of his vision, listening to his beautiful, smoky voice when he’s composing one of his songs, which he usually goes on to play at Sharon’s bar on a Saturday night whenever he feels like it.

  ***

  It’s early evening, and Kellan’s not back yet. I’m sitting on the couch in the living room, cradling my laptop on my lap, a mug of coffee on the side table, when I hear the door open. I look up from my notes to Sniper trotting toward me.

  “Good boy, Sniper.” My hand reaches out to pat him, when I notice there’s something in his mouth. He lets it drop to my feet. I pick up the small piece of paper and laugh. “I hope you didn’t dig this up from some grave.”

  The dog wags his tail in response.

  I unfold the paper and realize it’s a handwritten note that reads:

  Take Brenna and come to the barn.

  I put my laptop aside and rise from my sitting position quickly. Even though Kellan can be pretty monosyllabic at times, his note makes me worried. It’s probably about one of his horses, and he needs me. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s asking for my help.

  Sniper follows me outside.

  The ride to the barn only takes me a few minutes. Brenna might be the quietest horse, but she’s a real cannon. Thanks to all the riding lessons I’ve had with Kellan (not all have involved a horse), I’m not afraid of riding her. The only thing I still refuse to learn to ride is a bull, even though it’s a tradition among the Boyd brothers. It took me a whole week to convince Kellan to give it up for the time being out of fear that he might break his neck.

  As I’m nearing the barn, I can make out the horses in the meadows, but there is no sign of Kellan.

  I dismount Brenna and bind her to a post.

  “Kellan?” I call out and cock my head to listen.

  There’s no reply, which can only mean Kellan is either busy with a horse inside the barn and c
an’t hear me, or he’s writing a new song and has his headphones on.

  I heave a little sigh and stroll through the open doors of the barn, freezing in place.

  The entire ceiling is covered in red, heart-shaped balloons. The walls have been painted off-white. LED light curtains bathe the entire place in a beautiful glow.

  Pink confetti and rose petals litter the spread-out rug.

  On the right side, tables and chairs have been set up, as though we’re having a party. On the far end, people have gathered, among which I spy Mandy, my parents, Josh, and Kellan’s brother Ryder. Even Cash is here, which must be a sure sign that someone has died because the guy’s either glued to one of his clubs’ décor or the back of a bull.

  I stare, unsure what’s going on, when my gaze catches Kellan’s. He’s dressed in a tailored suit that manages to emphasize his broad shoulders and narrow hips. And is that a haircut? Compared to his usual jeans and shirt and tousled hair, he looks so different I’m not sure this is the same person I’m dating.

  People begin to follow his line of vision, and within seconds, everyone’s staring at me.

  What the heck?

  Someone takes my hand. It’s the neighbor’s kid—a chubby five-year-old girl in a beautiful dress.

  “What’s going on?” I mumble.

  The kid tugs at my hand, leading me through the crowd to Kellan.

  He’s standing on a makeshift platform, cradling a microphone in his hand. Behind him, Ryder and Cash arrange their guitar and bass.

  Cash nods at me encouragingly, and Mandy smiles. I think I’m pretty good at reading faces, so I know something’s going on, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what this is all about.

  Why’s everyone here?

  Was I so involved in my work that I forgot about a birthday party?

  I shoot Kellan a questioning look. He nods at his brothers, and they start playing.

  His beautiful green eyes pierce me a moment before he starts to sing, his voice raw and gritty and breathtaking.

  She chipped my car

  No words she said

  Left me behind with a scar

  As she drove miles away

  In a Ford as old as my pop

  So I called Ryder, who’s a cop

  Who are you,

  My check torn in two

  My heart in a strange place

  Don’t know your name

  Wish I could see you one more time

  To tell you that I’ll make you mine

  To teach you how to make love on the floor

  Make you plead and scream for more

  City girl,

  I’m only a cowboy

  I know this will drive you insane

  But when I say I want you to stay

  I mean it for real and for life

  Oh baby,

  When you hear this song

  Better listen

  It’s the song you don’t wanna miss

  Beautiful, sexy, hot and kind

  Just a few words that come to mind

  When I look at you

  All I wanna do

  Happy, joyful, excited, and mad in love

  Pound, pulse, shudder, throbbing

  Just a few words that come to mind

  When I look at you

  All I wanna do

  Oh baby,

  When you hear this song

  Better listen

  It’s the song you don’t wanna miss

  When I look at you

  All I wanna do

  He kneels before me, grinning, and the music stops—in the middle of the refrain. The silence is heavy and thick, as though everyone’s forgotten to breathe. I stare at Kellan, whose right hand is reaching for mine, while his left hand is still holding up the mic.

  His magnetic eyes are on me, and I can tell he is shaking.

  I feel faint.

  The sudden silence is too much. Earthshattering.

  My heart is slamming hard against my chest, and I realize tears have gathered in my eyes. I’m shaking too.

  I know what he is about to do, but I can’t grasp the meaning of it.

  My dream is so close, I can almost taste it, and yet it feels so far out of reach, it might as well be just that—

  Only a dream.

  “Ava, I love you,” Kellan says into the mic, his deep voice steady, beautiful, penetrating every layer of my soul. “That day you damaged my car, that’s the night I first wanted you. When I asked you to stay, I thought that would be all I’d ever want. I thought what I felt for you would pass. But I was wrong. I want you more than ever. I want you with me, by my side. I want to wake up next to you every morning for the rest of my life. I asked our families to be here so they can witness the most important day of my life. It’s the day I want to tell you that I belong to you, and you would make me the happiest man alive if you became mine.”

  Pausing, he reaches inside his pocket to retrieve a black velvet box and opens it.

  My heart throbs. Metaphorically drops. If I looked down, I’m sure I would find it at my feet. The ring is so beautiful it takes my breath away. I look up from the sparkling diamond to his eyes. They’re shimmering with emotion. Fear. Happiness. Anticipation.

  This is his moment, our moment.

  “Ava.” His voice is slightly choked now. “Will you marry me?”

  I’m happy and overwhelmed. I clasp my hand in front of my mouth. My heart screams yes, but I’m having trouble pushing that sound out of my lungs. I just nod before I finally croak out, “God, yes. Yes. Yes.”

  I keep repeating it. He’s all that matters in my life.

  He is my life.

  Kellan rises to his feet and slides the ring on my finger. His arms wrap around my waist, and then he kisses me. His lips are sweet and warm, and feel like home. I don’t know what to say.

  I’m touched.

  I’m emotional.

  People are cheering. Congratulations are raining down on us, but I’m too lost in Kellan’s eyes to hear them. I want to stay in his arms forever.

  I won’t ever let him go.

  Before I know it, he steps back and flashes me a grin. The music starts again.

  City girl,

  I’m only a cowboy

  I know this will drive you insane

  But when I say I want you to stay

  I mean it for real and for life

  City girl,

  I’m only a cowboy

  I know this will drive you insane

  But when I say I want to marry you

  I mean it for real and for life

  When I say I’ll marry you

  I mean it for real and for life

  When the song finishes, he receives a loud ovation, and the hugging begins—first Mandy, then my parents, then Kellan’s brothers, who are huge and strong like Kellan, and from up close scare the crap out of me.

  Seriously, I hope they won’t smother me.

  The party begins. Food and drinks are being served. We chat. We tell stories. We laugh. But Kellan’s eyes never let me go.

  It’s only later, when the engagement party’s over, and everyone is gone, and there’s only us in the barn, that I sit on Kellan’s lap.

  I cannot help but keep staring at my ring.

  It’s such a big rock.

  “Are you sure?” he asks, catching me staring at my ring again. “And you’re not saying yes just because everyone was here, and there was a lot of pressure on you?”

  “I think that’s why you called everyone for emotional support. Your ego couldn’t take another ‘no.’” I kiss his lips, my mouth lingering on his, breathing him in, indulging in his taste and scent. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for the past eighteen months. You sure took your time.”

  His brows shoot up. “Well, I had to make sure you wouldn’t refuse me. I worked hard to change your mind.”

  “I never had to change my mind, Kellan,” I whisper. “I already knew I wanted to be with you the moment I saw you. I jus
t thought you were too good to be true. That you couldn’t possibly be serious about us.”

  He frowns. “Why would you think that?”

  I shrug. “You’re still famous, Kellan. You have the looks and the talent, and could go back to the rock star life any time. You could have any woman in this world, and yet you chose me.”

  “I did, probably because I only like one type, and that’s you.” His voice is soft, his tone meaningful. “I love you, Ava.”

  “I love you, too.” I smile at him, then look into his eyes, and think of how our future will soon change. My voice is slightly choked. “Kellan, will you still marry me if I tell you that I’m pregnant?”

  His eyes widen, though I can’t tell whether it’s with shock or horror. “You’re pregnant?”

  I nod. I’m so happy, and yet I don’t know whether I should feel this way.

  What if he breaks up with me? He said he’d never commit to someone with kids.

  Instead of anger or confusion, I find his lips breaking into a smile. His eyes shimmer with joy.

  “All the more reason to get married then.” His smile turns into a grin. He’s about to say something to try and annoy me. “Except…”

  “Except?”

  “How far are you along?”

  I know what he’s doing. He’s being a jerk for the sake of it.

  “Five weeks, and yes, to answer any doubts you might have, it’s your child.” I laugh. “I can’t believe you were about to ask me that. You’re so insatiable, I barely have the energy to walk around the house, let alone fuck someone else.”

  “Sorry.” He lets out a laugh. “Old habits die hard. I just needed you to acknowledge that last part. I’ve been dying to hear it. How come you didn’t tell me sooner?”

  “We never talked about kids,” I say slowly.

  “I wanted to broach the marriage subject first,” Kellan says. “I know how I feel about kids. They’re all going to be trouble, particularly if they carry the Boyd blood.” His fingers trail down my neck gently. “You’ll have your hands full. I cannot wait to start a family with you. I wish you had told me earlier.”

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment