Home > Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4)

Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4)
Author: Nalini Singh

PART ONE
CHAPTER 1

 

SARAH KNEW TODAY WAS A BAD DAY FOR ABE. The anniversary of Tessie’s death always was… and it didn’t matter that today was also the anniversary of the day Sarah and Abe had first met. Any happiness he felt at being with her was crushed under a black cloud of grief that descended the instant the clock ticked past midnight.

Sarah understood that Tessie came first, always had. She wasn’t jealous. How could anyone be jealous of a sweet girl who’d only lived for eight years before her life was cut cruelly short? It seemed deeply unfair that someone so innocent was gone when such ugliness continued to exist in the world.

No, Sarah would never be jealous of Abe’s beloved baby sister.

All Sarah wanted was to be there for Abe. He’d refused to share his grief with her on their first anniversary, but they’d been married nearly two years now. It was time she took the bull by the horns and made him understand that she’d always be there for him—in the darkness and in the light. Through the good and through the awful.

Why he didn’t already understand that, she didn’t know. Sarah had stood by her husband through the drugs and the stints in rehab and the backsliding. She’d been there every step of the way, had never, not once, given up on Abe—but he didn’t seem to realize she’d bleed for him, die for him.

Sarah loved Abe with a devotion that terrified her.

She knew he didn’t love her back. That was okay. She could accept that—she’d never expected someone so magnificent to love her. But he wanted her and he needed her and he was wonderful to her when he wasn’t poisoning his body with drugs and alcohol. Only last month, he’d surprised her by taking her to see the live taping of her favorite television show. And the way he touched her… she felt precious.

It was more than she’d ever thought she’d find, more value than she’d ever believed anyone would see in her. If only she could help him with his grief in return.

Four years after Abe and his family buried Tessie, following the rapid onset of a disease against which Abe’s sister stood no chance, and the loss remained an open wound inside him.

The outside world might look at him and think he’d given in to despair, but Sarah knew the truth. Her husband was full of rage. He held it within, his screaming at fate silent, but his anger, it never died. And sometimes, when there was too much inside him and he couldn’t hold it within any longer, he took drugs and turned into a man she didn’t know—and then he raged in truth.

Broken furniture, holes in the walls, Sarah was used to all of it. But no matter how awful his mood, how much poison ran through his veins, Abe had never, not once, turned that rage on her. He took it out on stone and concrete, leaving himself with bloodied knuckles he refused to allow her to bandage.

The last time, she’d called David in desperation. The drummer had come, gone toe to toe with him, made him calm down.

She hoped tonight wouldn’t be a painful echo. Please let Abe be all right tonight.

Heart aching in the post-midnight quiet, she padded barefoot down the hallway of the airy and light-filled house and pushed open the door to the music room where a black baby grand piano sat in solitary splendor. The cover had been pulled off, dropped to the side; the stunning instrument gleamed in the moonlight that speared through the gauzy curtains hanging over the folding glass doors to its right.

Those doors were open, the curtains waving in a gentle breeze.

“Abe?” she said after running her eyes around the room and finding no sign of him.

She stepped through the curtains and out onto the patio beyond, the stone surface slightly gritty under the soles of her feet. The pool sparkled in the moonlight, the lawn pristine green velvet thanks to the gardeners who came in weekly.

Sarah would’ve liked to have set up a garden of her own, plant some happy, pretty flowers, but what did she know about gardening? She’d probably make an embarrassing hodgepodge that’d mess up the immaculate beds created by the gardening team, beds full of roses far more elegant and genteel than Sarah would ever be.

Tugging down the high hem of the sparkly gold dress she’d worn for dinner tonight, a dinner where Abe had sat darkly silent until he got up to stalk off into the night, she looked away from the ice-white roses that climbed up one side of the house and scanned the lawn, the trees at the edge of the property. Abe sometimes walked there at night, but she couldn’t spot him today despite the light of the moon.

Her heart began to thump. “Abe?”

He’d been clean for a month this time, but if anything was going to send him into a downward spiral, it’d be the anniversary of Tessie’s death. “Abe!”

Her voice echoed in the silvered darkness.

Wondering if he’d left the house, gone drinking on the town or out with one of his bandmates, she padded back into the house. She flushed when she realized she’d tracked a little dust inside, quickly went back outside and brushed off her feet on the mat by the door. Sometimes she thought she’d never figure out how to be refined and ladylike and look as if she belonged in Abe’s world.

Not the glittering, hard-edged world of a rock star. That, she could fake.

No, it was the world of the Bellamy family that left her feeling lost. The world of Ivy League educations and old money and people who used words she’d only ever read in the novels that had been her friends throughout life. At least, because she read so much, she understood the words even if she couldn’t pronounce them. That was good.

Once, when she’d dared mention to Abe how out of her depth she felt, he’d given a bemused shake of his head. “You’re perfect, Sarah. Smart and beautiful.” An arm around her neck, tugging her to the muscled warmth of him. “I don’t have a snooty degree either, remember? Stop worrying.”

That had made her feel better. But still, she couldn’t do as he’d said, couldn’t stop worrying. Because while Abe had forgone a degree to pursue a career in rock music, he was an accomplished classical pianist, had been playing since he was a child. And unlike her, he could go to an Ivy League university if he wanted to. His mother, Diane, was proud of his stellar school record, had told Sarah of it.

Of all the people in Abe’s world, it was Diane Bellamy whom Sarah most admired. Abe’s mother never had to raise her voice to get attention; she did it by dint of her presence and her quiet grace. Sarah wanted so much to be like her, to have that elegant confidence and certainty about her place in the world.

After using a tissue she had in her pocket to brush away the dust she’d tracked onto the gleaming wooden floors, she scrunched up the tissue and put it back in the pocket meant for a phone and ID when going clubbing. There wasn’t much else to this strapless sequined dress—she’d worn it tonight because it made her feel pretty, but mostly because the last time she’d worn it, Abe had hauled her close and kissed her stupid.

“Abe?” she said again, her hopeful tone starting to tremble.

A knot grew in her throat.

He’d left her alone again, gone off to deal with his demons on his own—or in the company of the people he did love. Fox, Noah, and David, his bandmates and best friends.

Sarah knew she should be grateful, and she was. Anything that helped Abe, Sarah would accept. She just… She just wished he wouldn’t shut her out. His reserve was like a stone wall she couldn’t penetrate no matter how hard she tried.

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