Integral Instruments - With prelude to Justified Voices (Book 7)

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35

Meg

Arlee’s birthday party last night was phenomenal. I didn’t think that our wedding could even compare, but Ryan swore it would. He said that he had a special gift for me, and I definitely had one for him.

I looked at my phone again. It was almost 11am. Arlee was supposed to be here at 9am for hair, make up and pictures, but she hadn’t showed yet.

She wasn’t at breakfast and she hadn’t answered my calls, although she did text around 7, saying she was going to do some last minute stuff before coming up to my room.

I was worried about her. First the drinking, now this? I knew that she was having some issues with Noah and maybe Ian, but now this? The fact that she was older now and was drifting away from me was making this harder.

It all started when she looked into her father, but I couldn’t blame her, I would have been curious too. I just wished she’d wanted to talk about it, like she always did when she was little.

“Maybe she’s hungover.” Declan’s face scrunched ruefully, “I think they were drinking again last night.”

“Believe it or not, I understand,” I sighed at my phone, “Not that I promote under aged drinking, but it was nice to see her really having fun last night.”

“I’ll go check on her.” Declan laughed, “Make sure she’s not off puking somewhere.”

“Thank you.” I smiled at her as the hair dresser pulled my hair.

Declan

Okay, something was up. Arlee was never late. She was always the opposite, so why now? She loved Ryan, and she definitely loved her mom, so she wouldn’t miss this.

I walked down the hallway to the solo rooms. I knew Arlee was supposed to be sharing one with her friend June, but we had an extra one available, since one of Jason’s kids couldn’t make it. So, if Arlee was alone and hung over, she could have hurt herself or just be unconscious and totally oblivious to the time.

When I made it to her door, Colby was propped against the wall, completely passed out. Some guard he was.

“Hey.” I kicked his foot, “Wake the fuck up.”

“Shit,” He stood and cleared his throat, “Sorry. I was up late, what’s up?”

“Let me in Arlee’s room.” I ordered.

He crossed his arms, standing tall. How cute... He thought he was in charge here...

“I’m sorry. I can’t do that.”

“I’m her friend and part of her new family, why are you here again?” I crossed my arms in return, glaring up at him.

“I’m here to do my job.”

“And that entails you falling asleep in the hallway?” I sneered, “Give the fucking key, I’ll wake her ass up and take her to her mom, you get the afternoon off to sleep and no one is the wiser.”

He looked between the door and me, thinking about his next move.

“I don’t have all day. Her mother is walking down that isle in less than two hours.” I hissed and he handed me the key.

“Bye.” I waved him off and he clopped away.

I listened in at the door and didn’t hear anything, so I assumed she was just sleeping.

“Okay, sleeping beauty,” I mumbled as I slid the card in the door, “Time to wake up.”

I entered her room and was in sheer shock of what I saw.

Arlee was asleep alright, but she was draped over a very sound asleep Noah.

She was practically on her stomach in the crook of my brother’s arm and I couldn’t see anything around the sheet, but it hung so low around their hips that I could tell they were both very very naked.

At first I was just totally grossed out. I mean, it was my baby brother. No matter if he had sex or not, it just shocked me, but then I started my mental rant.

What had Noah done?! This was Arlee! I know they had been drunk, but this was too much! What had he done?!

“Get the fuck up!” I shouted and Arlee screamed as she pulled the covers up while Noah went into protective mode, making sure she was okay before his ass even noticed me.

“What the fuck, Noah?!” I shouted and began to slap him, “What have you done?! What the fuck were you thinking?!”

“Oh my god! What time is it?!” Arlee’s wide eyes darted around the room, looking for the clock no doubt.

“11!” I glared between the two, “You guys are so fucking lucky I came down here and not one of our moms or dads!”

“Declan, stop!” Noah was holding his end of the sheet with one hand while his other hand was held outward to stop me.

“No!” I shouted at my little brother and continued to slap him, “How moronic are you, Noah?!”

“Stop fucking hitting me!” He shouted back at me.

“Then get the fuck up!”

He grabbed my hand on the next slap and glared.

“I’m obviously naked,” He spoke through clenched teeth, “So unless you want to see my dick, get the fuck out.”

I turned around and crossed my arms, “Get dressed!”

I heard them scrambling around and didn’t turn back to face them.

“I can’t believe this shit!” I hissed, “How fucking stupid are you two?! I hope you at least fucking wrapped it!”

“Fuck you.” Noah hissed, “We’re dressed.”

When I turned back around, Arlee had a dress on and was pulling her messy hair into a bun while Noah sat shirtless at the edge of the bed, putting his shoes on lethargically.

“How could you?! This is bad! This is really bad.”

“It’s also none of your fucking business.” Noah stood and slid his shirt on.

“How is this none of my business?! If she gets pregnant-”

“What the fuck?” Noah paused and glared at me, “I’m not Dad and I’m not Kade. I wouldn’t hurt Arlee like that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Guys!” Arlee shouted, pulling us out of our argument, “This is stupid! Declan, we used a condom! I have to go! I’m super late!”

“Go,” My brother told her, “I’ll clean up and see you at the wedding.”

She gave Noah a rueful smile and ran out the door. Then, I watched as my brother knelt on the floor to pick up an empty wrapper and glared at me.

“Oh.” I gagged.

Ew! This was my baby brother! I knew he was having sex, but not with Arlee and I really didn’t need to see all of this.

Why was I always walking in on people? First, Mom and Dad, then Abby and Todd, now Noah and Arlee... This is a sick twist of fate.

“Care to judge me some more?” He began picking up and righting stuff. What the fuck had they been doing to knock off the lamp and alarm clock?!

“Arlee has a future, don’t fuck it up.” I crossed my arms and glared at him again.

“I have a future too, you know.” He shrugged and picked up the blankets, putting them back on bed, “I have my band kicking off our first album next month and a career.”

“And what’s Ian going to say about this?” I pointed to the tumbled mass, “Doesn’t he like her too?”

“Nothing.” He shrugged, “It was a one time thing.”

“You looked awful cozy for one time, Noah.”

Noah ran a hand down his face, “I fell asleep. I’m exhausted, Declan.”

Something was off, he wasn’t looking me in the eye for a reason. I knew my little brother. I had practically raised him while our mom and dad toured.

“Noah-”

“What, Declan?” He turned toward me and sighed, “What? Because I’ve got a lot of shit to do today too and talking to you isn’t one of them.”

“Noah, Are you okay?” I looked at my brother with concern. Something was wrong. Really wrong. And something told me that it involved this thing with Arlee.

“Nothing that concerns you.” He told me, point blank, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find my cousins and come up with a damn good lie as to why I was AWOL this morning.”

“Ian likes her.” I repeated what was obvious last night.

Colby was all friendly dancing and smiles, but Ian was flirty and fun, similar to Noah. This could be a problem for my brother and his band.

“Ian doesn’t want me near her, for good reason.” He picked up a second condom wrapper that I hadn’t seen and placed it in his pocket, leaving me in the room by myself.

Meg

Megan

Our wedding was perfect. The girls all looked beautiful in their white gowns, even if Arlee hadn’t had time for hair and make-up, but my girls didn’t really need it. We just braided her hair and sent her down the isle.

Ryan looked phenomenal in his tux, although he refused to wear a full sleeved dress shirt, but I wasn’t complaining. When he took that jacket off and his muscles were visible, I melted.

Everyone had their songs for us and, the last one to play was Arlee. Her and her friends comprised a beautiful ballad for us, one that lead into a full, really amazing dance tune.

They had obviously outdone themselves with the ten minute song, and I was so grateful that she had found such great friends. I was hopeful that they would encourage her to follow her dreams.

As Ryan and I danced on our balcony after the wedding and reception, we looked out onto the stars.

“How was your night, my wife?” He smiled down at me.

“Perfect.” I smiled back.

“I noticed that you didn’t drink tonight.” He smiled, the look he gave me was hopeful, “All week, actually.”

“That’s part of your gift.” I grinned up at him, “You’re going to be a father, Ryan.”

“I already am a father.” He grinned back, “But, I hope it’s a boy.” He snorted, “Cause we don’t need anymore girls.”

I laughed, “It’ll be twin girls, just because you said that.”

“Are you okay with it?” He asked, “I know this wasn’t planned and our oldest is a high school senior this year.”

“Life isn’t planned, Ryan.” I continued to smile up at him, “It happens.”

“How are you feeling?” He suddenly seemed concerned, “Do you need to sit and relax? You’ve been on your feet all night.”

“I am absolutely fine.” I sighed, "I have a loving husband, who cherishes our daughters and will love our next child all the same."

"Even though I'm a pothead?" He cocked a brow at me.

"That's the best part." I laughed, "You're always chill."

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