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

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1

Arlee

Noah McGhee... Public enemy #1.
The boy I tried to avoid at all costs now.

I wasn’t going to allow those deep blue eyes get to me again.

I smiled at the text on my phone, “See you on the plane, Ace.”

“No, you won’t, because my mom is a free spirit, who trusts me.” With my new bodyguard by my side, that is.

Mom had agreed to allow my friends to come to her wedding, under the pretense that they were helping me play at her wedding. Which was true, but it was also because I needed the moral support when it came to the jerkwad known as Noah McGhee.

“Who was that?” Colby, looked to my phone.

“Who do you think?” I shook my head and looked around the airport for my friends.

“Does that boy ever give up?” Colby was 22, blonde hair, brown eyes and everything that Noah McGhee was not.

He was honest, kind and well... Colby. He was stiff, uptight and a pain in my side, but he had witnessed a lot in the past 5 months of his work, of what I had dealt with, with one Noah McGhee.

“It’s been 3 months since he graduated, so no. Apparently he doesn’t.” I said dryly.

I had gotten over being hurt by what Noah had done and now I just hated him and let me tell you, when he laid on the charm, I wanted to strangle him.

I avoided the weekly get-togethers and family gatherings because of him and at school I only talked to him if there was no other option.

I thought I was free from him when he graduated, but no. Now I’d have to spend 3.5 weeks avoiding him once again.

Why? Because our mothers had become the bestest of friends and my sisters and I were staying with their family while my parents went on a 2 week honeymoon in Europe. After their 10 day mountain retreat and wedding in California.

My dad and his bandmates and family had rented out an entire lodge for this and it was a huge gathering but, I had a plan for that too though. Stay in my suite with June and Ethan and when I was at the McGhee’s later on, I’d be working at the orchestra downtown. I’d be with June the rest of the time. June was my savior. My buddy who was waving at me excitedly from the terminal head.

“Oh my god! This is so cool.” My redheaded friend jumped and clapped as Ethan, our other friend, covered his ears.

These people were the joy of my current situation. We all had a similar goal. One that I may have sidetracked ever so slightly.

“I can’t believe that we get to go to California! Your dad is so awesome!” She squealed.

June’s parents had offered to pay for her trip and my dad said no. He said the gift was to make my mother happy, by making me happy.

I think he was just happy that I was focusing on something other than Julliard for a change.

Only I knew that my friends were both on the same path as me. Graduate high school and go to Julliard. It had been my goal all along, but lately I had been questioning why... So I needed this time with them. More than anything, it was to reassure myself.

Since I had been working on some things with Bree, I really wasn’t sure what my heart or head were saying. It was a jumbled mess.

“Do you know how much trouble I had getting my guitar through security?” Ethan complained, “Are they going to allow it in the resort?”

“Dad said that we have the whole place, since were like an army when we all get together.” I shrugged. I had my violin in hand and knew exactly what he meant. They acted like I was smuggling drugs.

“We should have taken the flight with the others when your father offered.” June shook her head.

That was another thing... My dad’s band and their families and family bands took up an entire plane. Why they insisted on doing so much together was beyond me.

“With everyone else? No thanks.” I shook my head and handed the flight attendant my ticket and driver’s license, “I’d rather catch an illness from someone I don’t know.”

“That didn’t sound right.” Colby chuckled.

“You know what I mean.” I glared at him.

“June, you know who’s on that jet.” Ethan glared at her.

They both knew why I couldn’t take that flight with the rest of the group and I thought they understood, but June had apparently forgotten.

“Oh, he’d be too busy becoming a part of the mile high club.” June rolled her eyes.

“He probably already is.” I cringed.

We made our way onto the plane and carried on about our daily business.

“So, I put my Julliard piece together.” Ethan said nonchalantly.

“I’m still working on mine.” I told them.

“You said you had something.” June smiled at me.

“I did, but I just don’t know.” My dad and Bree had been helping me and we were going to submit something, but I had backed out right before we put it in the mailbox.

Live in my heart, Ryan had said, but if I did that it would change my whole game plan if Julliard didn’t accept my piece.

I was a violinist. That’s where I needed to stay.

“The singing?” June asked.

I nodded. I had told them, about my confusion, but never went into detail.

“I just... I’ve always done violin.”

“Then send them a boring violin concerto, but if it’s not in your heart, they can tell.”

I looked to Colby, but he was no help. He had told me several times over, that I was the one who had to make my decisions and he was only there to keep me safe.

That was the whole point of my predicament. What was in my heart?




Noah

“Where’s Arlee?” I asked my cousin Chloe, as she sat next to me.

“Why don’t you leave that poor girl alone.” She sighed and looked to the front of the plane.

Chloe wasn’t really my cousin, the daughter of my parent’s manager Liv and my “Uncle” Nick, who was a guitarist in my dad’s band.

“She took a different flight.” She whispered, “I heard Mom talking to Ryan a couple weeks ago. Arlee wanted to bring a couple of friends. One’s her boyfriend or something. Mom had to shift rooms to get him into one and she’s sharing one with June. It’s why Gina and I are shacking together.”

June was her friend from school. Chloe liked June and Arlee. Her and Gina spoke to them often enough. At least she’d respond when they spoke to her.

“Wait. What?” I gaped at her, “Ace has a boyfriend?”

Chloe sighed like she was annoyed, “Why do you have to call her that? Don’t you harrass her enough?”

“Wait. Go back. Arlee? Our Arlee? She has a boyfriend?”

Her goal had always been Julliard and she was working hard toward achieving that goal. She shouldn’t be dating. It was one of the reasons I told her we couldn’t date.

“Look, I like Arlee and I’m pissed that she doesn’t hang out with us anymore because of you. I don’t know what you did to her, but it scarred her. She’s not like us and if she found a boy who really likes her, good for her.”

Arlee was so sweet, innocent and smart that she was breath of fresh air to me. I’d tried to back off and just be friends, but it always ended in me kissing her. Damn I liked that girl.

Ian, our other cousin and my bandmate found out that I liked her and told me to back off. He had given me an ultimatum and I was caught in the act of trying to get over her. It had broken her heart and made me feel like an even bigger shit.

I looked up and saw that Ian was on his way to where we sat in the back of the plane.

He was my legit cousin. Our dads were twins, which meant that we of course looked very similar. He was also my guitarist in my band, a trait he’d learned from his mother, who was the guitarist in my mother’s band. We were all heavily intertwined and it could be confusing as hell.

“Arlee doesn’t date.” I hissed.

“Things change, Noah. She went to prom with Troy Hudson.”

“Don’t remind me.” I cringed.

“You should see her now though. The girl went from cute to hot over the summer, I honestly don’t blame the boy, if I were into chicks I’d tap her too.”

Arlee was always hot, but she didn’t deserve any guy. She derved more than what I had to offer and Julliard combined. I had never met anyone like her.

“Shit, did you see the flight attendant?” Ian gave me a lopsided grin, “I swear... In flight enjoyment anyone?”

“Have at her then.” I shrugged.

I hadn’t slept with anyone in 5 months. Not since I got caught by Arlee.

Essentially, it was my own undoing. I was pissed at Ian for telling me to back off and keep away. I thought sleeping with another chick would calm the way I wanted her and distract me. You know- taking a play from my old man’s handbook, but she’d started at my school that day and saw the aftermath. It had only put a wall between us that I couldn’t shake to save my life. Not that I deserved to shake it anyway.

The flight attendant began to give us instructions as the plane taxied.

“Anyone seen Arlee?” Ian asked Chloe, but his eyes never left me, almost daring me to say something.

“She’s taking a different flight.” Gina, another cousin/band member, came up and plopped in her seat across from me.

“I overheard Meg telling Aunt Bree. She’s worried about her traveling alone with her friends.”

“She has her body guard.” Chloe started giggling.

“Why does she still have a bodyguard?” I tilted my head at her in question.

“Oh, who cares! He can guard her body, but what about her virginity?” Gina wagged her eyebrows, “Think he’s guarding that or taking it?”

“Oh, he’s taken it.” Chloe laughed and I shook my head, looking out onto the runway.

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