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

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I couldn’t watch on anymore.

I had told her last night that nothing more could happen between us, especially since she left something vital out of our agreement. The fact that she was still a virgin. Can you imagine my shock?

Part of me was happy, knowing she hadn’t been with anyone, but the other part of me was pissed that she chose me. Under my circumstances.

Had I known, nothing would have gotten as far as it had last night.

It was fun to cut loose tonight though. Arlee had this effect on me. She always had.

Once the adults went to bed, we played our modern shit and the dancing stopped as the drinking and smoking began.

We even played a Death Mark song while Ian and I pranced around like Kade normally would. It was a good time.

I caught Arlee near the bar around 2am, she was high off her ass, which shocked me in ways I had never imagined.

“Tired?” I tried to ignore the way she flushed under my gaze when I asked.

“Not really,” She shook her head, “Just really hot right now and relaxed.”

“All that dancing will do that to a person.” I cleared my throat and looked back to everyone who were actually still dancing.

Every person in the family under the age of 25 was still up and highly functioning.

“Speaking of dancing,” She eyed me, “You never told me you could dance.”

I shrugged, “You never asked.”

“I got you something for your birthday and I didn’t want anyone to read into it, so I wanted to give it to you now.” I looked to the dancefloor and back to her. She gave a nod and followed me into the kitchen area.

“I bought this a couple weeks ago.” I pulled the box out of my pocket and handed it to her, “I saw it and I thought of you.”

I cleared my throat, looking anywhere but at her as she opened it.

Then she gasped and I looked at her beautiful, smiling face.

“Noah, I love it!”

“Really?” I smiled as she met my eyes.

It was just a little three layered necklace that had a moon and stars set on a white gold chain with leather chains around it. It wasn’t anything too expensive either. It had only run me $80.

“Yes,” She pulled the necklace from the box, “Will you help me put it on?”

I gave a nod and moved behind her and clasped it with sweaty palms. When it was on, she turned to me.

“Are we going to talk about last night?” She cleared her throat and I stiffened, remembering it all more clear than anything else in my mind.

“I told you, last night was a mistake.” I shook my head, not wanting to admit how amazing she felt, “I let it go too far and I shouldn’t have.”


I cleared my throat, battling my emotions and keeping them in check.

“It can’t happen again, Arlee.” I told her, “Last night was... but I took more from you than you should have given me.”

“Is it just because of that or did I do something wrong?” She looked sad and fearful and it killed me.

Was it hot in here, or was it just me? I began to laugh at irony of her question.

“Arlee,” I grabbed her by the shoulders and looked into her beautiful doe eyes, “You did EVERYTHING right, but I am not the guy for you. Can’t you see that? I could have really hurt you last night.”

“But you didn’t.” Now she was just grasping for straws where there were none.

“But I could have and I can’t forgive myself for that. I was careless.” I should have never involved her in my life. She was an angel and I was my father’s son, destined to fuck things up.

“But after you realized-”

“I kept going, because I couldn’t stop myself.” I closed my eyes, shameful of what I’d done.

“I wanted you to.” She bit her lip nervously.

“Don’t say that.” I hissed.

“Why not?”


“Ace! There you are!” Gina came running into the kitchen and grabbed Arlee’s arm, pulling her out the door, “You need to change the music!” She laughed, “Ian’s head banging.”

“Again?” Arlee laughed and followed along, leaving me to myself.


It was around seven in the morning and I had only slept about 3 hours. I had showered and hadn’t gotten any further.

After breakfast, I was supposed to meet my mom in her room and I was such a mess I couldn’t even face breakfast today. My mom’s wedding was at noon and I had promised that my friends and I would play at her reception, but now I was having second thoughts.

I was seated on the bathroom floor of my lodge room in my towel, freaking out.

I was planning on playing my musical piece that I wanted to put in my Julliard portfolio. In front of 100+ of my parent’s closest friends and family.

Musicians... What if they didn’t like it? Would I scratch it all and go back to classical? Could I?

What was I doing? How could I even contemplate changing up the game when I was so close to my end goal. I was going to break my mother’s heart when she had been nothing but supportive of what I wanted.

I couldn’t disappoint my mom. I loved my mom. She loved me and had always supported anything I wanted to do. She always put us first and she never complained. Not once.

Would she REALLY support me if I told her what was in my heart? Would I be able to face myself if I did that?

Ryan had said to follow my heart. Everyone was saying the same thing, but my heart was telling me to go all in, while my brain was telling me not to veer of my original path. No singing and slow it down.

God, I was so torn and I was hyperventilating so badly that I barely noticed when someone knocked on the door to my room.

They had to have knocked more than once, because the knocking had a persistence to it.

The joy of being musically inclined is that I picked up the difference in pitches. Even the slightest little tweak and I knew.

“I’m good.” I called out.

“Ace?” Noah’s voice called from the other side, “Can you let me in before your guard dog puts me in a choke hold?”

“Colby, let him in.” I took a deep breath and tried to control my shaking.

The door clicked open and Noah strolled in with a plate of food and what smelled like coffee.

He smirked at Colby and shut the door in Colby’s face, then placed the food and coffee down on the table.

“I’m exhausted, figured you would be too, so I brought you breakfast.” When he turned and saw me, he rushed over and knelt to look me in the eyes.

“Ace, what happened? Are you okay?” He asked hurriedly.

“I’m just having a mild panic attack.” I told him, “Watched my sister have them a few times, I’m pretty sure that’s what this is.”

“Fuck.” Noah wrapped me in a hug and I felt comfortable, warm as his scent enveloped me.

“You shouldn’t have drank last night.” He said sternly.

“It helped.” I smiled ruefully. Or, at least I think I did.

It had been a couple days since mine and Noah’s night together and after last night, I knew he was still mad but at least we were on friendly terms again.

“Ace, does this happen often?”

“Uhm,” I thought for a second, “I don’t know, maybe a couple times a week. I probably need a shrink. I think I should get one, maybe like Piper has.”

Who knew I had anxiety too? I sure as hell didn’t until a couple months ago.

“Arlee, you can talk to me. What’s bothering you?” His blue eyes met mine and calmed a little more.

“I can’t tell you.” I shook my head.

“Why not?” His brows furrowed.

“Because, everyone says the same thing and it’s not what I want. It’s not what I need.”

“What do you need, Ace?”

“I just-” Then it came to me, “I need to forget, Noah.”

“Arlee, I told you-”

“Please?” I begged, “I can’t calm down. I’ve been trying and it’s just making it worse.”

I could tell he was thinking about it as he looked from me to the bed, then back to me.

“Do you remember the position I showed you?” He placed a hand over his chin in thought.

I gave a nod and he cleared his throat.

“We don’t have much time, you need to meet your mom.” He backed up, still in his crouch, running his hand through his hair, then motioning to the bedroom.

I stood and slowly walked past him. I could feel his eyes on me as he watched my towel fall to the ground.

“This isn’t an every time thing, Ace.” He told me as I went onto my knees in front of the bed.

“You and I will talk too.” He prowled toward me.

“Open honesty.” He pulled my hair so my head fell back and I felt like I could finally breathe for the first time in 2 days.

“Nothing hidden.” His face was less than an inch from mine.

“And I’m going to punish you for hiding shit from me last time.” His lips crashed into mine.

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