Changing Beats (Book 1)

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Chapter Twenty

Cortney

It had been two months since Jason had asked me to marry him. I had gone on tour with his band, while working on my doctorate.

I was given a few online courses, due to my circumstances and was finding it easy to keep up with everything, as we travelled from day to day.

I would hang on the bus and study, while the guys did their concerts and meet and greets, then the rest was just hanging with the guys, unless I had a test or a paper due.

Truth be told, I just didn’t like watching other women fawn over my future husband. It was too weird for me. I knew his little quirks and, although I laughed at them, what would these women do if they realized how much weed the man actually smoked?

They didn’t know that he preferred that to drinking. They were also in the dark about the snacking in bed, the “sock bin” for his clean socks, all the same brand and style, so he didn’t have to worry about matching them, or his shower singing.

They didn’t know that he was a normal man. My man. I preferred it though, due to the fact that I didn’t want my mother knowing and interfering in our wedding arrangements. And trust me, had one person heard the news, it would have been everywhere in the Socialite Society.

I still wasn’t sure what my parents would think. I believed that my father would be happy, knowing I was happy. My mother always disapproved of my actions, so she would be my wild card.

In one hand, he was rich, which was what she’d wanted for me, but on the other hand; he was not her idea of high society. Despite the fact, I was marrying this man.

It was why we were here now now, in the Florida Keys, on a beautiful sunny day, without a care in the world.

Almost.

White dress? Check; thanks to Trent...

Something old? My necklace was my grandmother’s...

Something new? The dress, obviously....

Something borrowed? The broach Jason’s mother lent me. That woman was the sweetest and she doted on her son, who loved her back wholeheartedly.

Something Blue? I was told this morning, via text, that he had blue balls, so that was good enough, but to double it, my garter did the trick.

Shaky, cold, clammy feet? Check. Check, and check.

“Breathe,” Asher told me, as he readied to walk me down the aisle, “You’ve seen him after shows, without showering. You’ve even seen “The sock Bin.” If you can make it through that shit you’re good.”

“I’m getting married to a man that I’ve known for less than six months, none of my family is here and I’m being walked down the aisle by the man that told him “it” would be quick,” I quakingly mocked, “Forgive me for freaking out, here.”

“Hey, it got to this point, so he obviously didn’t take my advice seriously.” Asher shrugged with a smile. I was getting used to his genuine smiles. As rare as they still were.

In the past couple months he had become a good friend, like a brother almost.

No one could understand how these men worked and how their individual minds worked, especially when they came together, but spending time with them was amazing. It was easy to grow close and fall into their world. I could see why Bree had loved them all like brothers. That was truly what they were.

“I wouldn’t be here, blondie, if you hadn’t asked me to do this,” His voice took on that sarcastic twinge, “One of the other guys could easily have walked your ass-”

“No.” I cut him off. Out of all of the guys, Asher and I were the closest. I needed a sarcastically rude friend right now and he fit the bill perfectly.

Jason had flown Sophie and Trent out here, along with Gretchen and Ross, to be my moral support. Sophie did my hair and Trent designed my rock star worthy dress (Well before I had even asked him- mind you).

Jason had demanded that no one other than them, Jason’s mother, and the band knew. They had all been sworn to secrecy. No one else, except the officiant, the photographer and a couple of resort attendants knew about this.

I noticed, as we readied to go down onto the beach where everyone was waiting, that Asher was uneasy tonight, tense and a little nervous.

“You okay?” I asked him.

“A wedding,” he shrugged, looking around to make sure no one was around, “I haven’t been to one since I was a kid.”

“You’re thinking about her.” It hit me then. I didn’t say her name. It was still a trigger, but we were working on that.

“Can’t help it,” he shrugged again, looking everywhere but at me, “She would have rocked a white dress and probably would’ve slid some purple into it somewhere.”

He finally glanced at me and noticed my concern, “Hey, today is a fucking kickass day for two of my best friends. It’s not about me. You have no reason to be concerned. I’m good. I’ll be fucking Sophia later tonight.”

“Asher!”

“What?” he shrugged, “Maybe even her and that Tabby chick from the front desk.”

He never smiled, he was just stating the facts.

It killed me that I couldn’t turn things around in that aspect of his life, but we had years ahead of us and, I think, as long as he had the guys, he’d be okay.

***

Four weeks later and we were home.

I was readying myself to start classes in a week and subbing at my former job in the meantime, while Jason was about to go on a European tour with the band.

It was our first Thursday night dinner since returning, and having missed the last dozen, I needed to show my face. Normally I dreaded it, but tonight wasn’t so bad.

I had given my mother a plus-one notice last week and today I spent my afternoon readying myself to tell my parents about my recent elopement.

It was inevitable that they would freak out, but I was okay with that, because I was happy for once in my life and that was what mattered.

“Hello, Darling!” my mother met us at the door. She never met us at the door.

“Hello, Mother.” I accepted her hug, although it felt very odd and out of place. Once she was done with me she moved on to Jason.

“It’s so nice to see you again, Jason,” she hugged him with a warm smile.

“Thank you, Angela. It’s nice to be here,” he smiled in return, placing his arm around me, my mother lit up at the sight of it.

What had gotten into her?

“Mother, where is Ross?” I asked.

“Your father and I gave him the night off with pay,” she smiled warmly, “He works so hard. What can I get you each to drink?”

“I’ll have a whiskey neat,” Jason said as he looked at me with a daring smile.

“I’ll have just an ice water, please.” I smiled.

“Alright. Meet us in the sitting room,” she smiled and went off to presumably fill our orders.

“She’s in a great mood,” Jason muttered as I lead him through to the sitting room, “You going to tell her tonight?”

“Jason, she hasn’t even seen the rock yet,” I muttered back, completely floored that she hadn’t noticed and started screaming that I’d killed her.

“Ice water?” he gave me a worried glance.

“Shhhh,” I shushed him, “Could be stress.”

“Okay,” he said monetarily.

In the past few months he’d slipped a few times, but I had come to the conclusion that he didn’t want children, at least not yet. He wanted us to enjoy one another while we could, a child would just put a damper on our “us” time. Every time he slipped or we lapsed and forgot he would apologise profusely and freak out.

But, yet, it kept happening...

“Angel!” my father called when we made our way into the room. He stood up and came over to give me a kiss.

“I do love the new hair, darling,” he told me, “You’ve always been beautiful, but now you really stand out.”

“Thank you, Daddy.”

As my father and Jason shared introductions I glanced around the room. “Where are Sarah and Bill?”

“Sarah and William had a bit of a lover’s quarrel, so to speak, the two will be here short-” my mother spoke but paused after handing us our drinks. She gaped, mouth wide open as she looked between our hands; she’d noticed.

I stared at Jason, swallowing hard, as I waited for the uproar to begin.

“Charles!” Mother gasped, then started to squeal, “Look! Look-look-look! I won! I won!” She was pointing and jumping up and down in her heels.

When my father registered her words he came to my side grabbed my hand. Whistling low, he examined my ring.

“That’s good taste.” He smiled at it, “It’s a one of a kind.”

A large diamond sat in an onyx, tungsten and white gold engagement ring, finished off with a matching onyx wedding band.

The whole time this was going on Jason was downing his whiskey, but at my father’s words he stopped and smiled.

“I had it made at one of your jewelers.”

“I know.” My father snorted, “I cut the diamond and placed it in the setting.”

“Wha-” I began, but my father’s words cut me off.

“Well, Jason Chandler, I believe a celebration is in order.” My father smiled a deep, satisfying grin, putting his arm around my husband.

“You know what this means, Charles?” My mother’s smile was that of the Cheshire cat’s, “It means I was right! I won!”

“Yes, kitten,” My father nodded at my mother, “I understand.”

“What are you blathering about?” I looked to my mother, who was now at the minibar, mixing herself a drink. She never drank, what was she doing?

“When we met your friend Jason here, we thought perhaps there may be a little more there. He looked at you like I look at your mother, anyway your mother and I took bets,” my father told us with a smile, “I was betting that you would tell us of your wedding just in the attempt to bury your mother, but your mother bet that you’d elope and exclude us all together. She was right, of course.”

“Now your father has to take three months off of work and we finally get to spend it together. In Paris, Mulan and London! Anywhere I want to go!” She was ecstatic, but I was a little offended.

“Daddy!” I wasn’t surprised that my mother would rather take a trip than attend my wedding, but my father?

Jason was chuckling, leaning in to kiss me.

“Well, angel,” my father explained as he rubbed his temple, “I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get to walk you down the aisle but given that you saved us money and possibly a headache we couldn’t be more pleased. I can cut you both a check for the wedding expenses tonight if that works for you?”

“The only reason why we made the bet was because we had never met one of your boyfriends before and you both lit up when you saw one another,” my mother continued to talk and drink, “Gosh, I have not been to Mulan since 1998 and you, my dear husband, now have to come with me.”

“We do have photos,” Jason assured them, “Cortney has the book in the car. It was tastefully done with her dress and flowers and everything. We just did something small on our way through Florida. It was what Cortney wanted and I couldn’t tell her no.”

“Seriously son,” my father chuckled, slapping a hand on Jason’s back, “Let’s go have a cigar in my office.”

As soon as they were out of the room my mother started in on me, brimming from ear to ear.

“So, does this mean that you’ll be living on the hill now?” she was all excitement, “I’ll be able to see you from our back patio. Are you going to stay at home or travel with him and the band? I hear that those bands travel all the time. I would miss you, but you could travel the world together.”

“Are you serious with all of this? We just got married,” I huffed, “Aren’t you supposed to be angry?”

“Good Lord, I’m a little disappointed, yes.” She sat with me on the couch, taking my hands, “But are you happy, Cortney? Truly happy?”

“You just called me Cortney,” I stated as my jaw dropped.

“I love you, darling,” she told me, “I may not say it often enough and I may be disagreeable at times, but all I want is your happiness. If Jason makes you happy, then I am truly happy for you.”

“I don’t think I heard you right,” I couldn’t think enough to pick my jaw up off the floor.

“Darling, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with your father if I wasn’t somewhat of a dreamer myself. I wasn’t always a Socialite. Do you remember when you were little? Before we took over your grandfather’s business? We used to have fun.”

“Dad and I would have fun and you would watch and tease us.” I snorted.

“It all changed when your sister started rolling around these crowds and she wanted to fit in." She swallowed hard, "I wanted to make one daughter happy and turned myself into a monster to the other."

"Mom-"

"I want to see some pictures." She swiped at a loose tear and smiled, trying to cover it.


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