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

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Ian was talking about me last night. The look on Arlee’s face said it all, but what had he told her?

I had spent my early morning in the gym, then watched my sister’s gremlins. My anger was finally under control and I was going to look for Arlee to find out exactly what he had told her, but when I found her she was sitting with Ian on the deck.

I guess he had decided that he couldn’t keep me away from Arlee, so he’d take her from me to spite me. I’d settle with him later, when Arlee wasn’t around, but right now I had to get him away from her.

“Hey, Noah!” Ian flagged me over.

“Hey, what’s up?” I smiled at the two of them, it was all fake though.

“Not much,” Arlee shrugged, “Your cousin here is trying to convince me that the 90′s was a better musical genre than the 80′s.”

“Please,” Ian shook his head, “She knows classical, not rock.”

“I know music. I know tunes and 80′s rock is better than 90′s grunge.”

I chuckled. At least they weren’t talking about me.

“I have to agree with Arlee, here.” I sucked some air between my teeth and sat in the chair on the other side of her, “There’s just something about the grit that comes with the classics. I mean, think Metallica and Ozzy. They just make you feel so dirty good, man.”

“See!” Arlee fist bumped me, “Noah knows.”

“I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Lincoln Park or Avenged Sevenfold.” I told him, “But if you take our families out of 90′s and 2000′s your left with very little to choose from. There’s just something good about 80′s rock. You can dance to it.”

“Ha!” Arlee clapped, “Exactly and you guys will see it tomorrow night!”

“What do you mean?”

“My birthday.” She smiled brightly, “It’s on the schedule. We get run of the ballroom at the lodge and I plan on playing MY music.”

“Hence our conversation.” Ian rolled his eyes, “Arlee wants to play crap.”

Arlee had a late August birthday. I had gotten her a gift, but I didn’t know if she’d accept it, since she barely spoke to me.

“Is June going to be dancing?” Ian asked her.

“Well, yeah.” Arlee shrugged, “She’s going with Ethan and he likes to dance.”

“Isn’t Ethan your boyfriend?” My brow furrowed in question.

“Definitely not.” She snorted, “We’re just friends.”

“Who are you going with? It’s your 18th birthday.” Ian smiled at me, “You gotta have a date.”

“Well...” She cleared her throat, “Colby asked a couple weeks ago if he could take me and I said yes.”

“Colby?” Ian looked around, “The body guard?”

“He’s got the afternoon off, so stop looking around for him.” She hissed, “Yes, Colby. He’s my friend and he asked, because he apparently feels the same way. A girl can’t go solo on her 18th birthday. So, I said yes.”

“Why Colby?” I asked, “He’s old.”

“He’s only 22.” She gave me an incredulous glare, “And he likes to dance.”

“How do you know?”

“Because he’s my friend and I talk to him.” Her eyes narrowed in anger.

“What’s going to happen between you two?” Ian asked.

“Wow. Uhm, I think that’s between Colby and I.” Her voice had an edge.

“Well, I’m just asking because if you sleep with him-”

She held up her hand to stop him from talking, “Once again, my business.”

“Or maybe you have already...” Ian gave her a cocky ass grin.

I couldn’t handle this. She was too good for Colby. Too good for any of us. I began to nod as I stood and walked off.

“Where are you going, Noah?” Ian called after me.

“The gym.” I threw over my shoulder.

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