Reckless In Love
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“I miss you, too,” she said, her voice as thick with emotion as his. “But we’ll always be there whenever you’re ready to come home. Just like Mom always said, we want you to live your dream.”
Ashley was blown away by the Morrisons.
Not just because they were all so beautiful that it almost made her eyes hurt to look at them standing together in the VIP section of Drew’s show. And not just because they were all so smart and successful.
It was the way they loved one another. She’d never seen anything like it. They watched out for one another. They helped one another. They were simply there for one another.
Madison was adorable and hilarious. Ashley loved the way Drew doted on his youngest sister. Madison had clearly thrived as a result of the endless affection and encouragement that she’d been given by her family.
Drew had said that Olivia was someone Ashley could be friends with, probably because they were both the quiet, studious type. Ashley was a little surprised that the two of them had never met before on the Stanford campus. If they had, she definitely would have been drawn instantly to someone as bright and utterly unaware of her shockingly good looks as Olivia.
Grant was the lone Morrison in a suit, but it looked exactly right on him. He didn’t look like other high-tech CEOs in their sweatshirts and jeans, but Ashley had read enough case studies of Collide to know that Drew’s oldest brother had always marched brilliantly to the beat of his own drummer. They’d had a fascinating conversation about the music business during dinner, and he’d asked her if she would email her indie label proposal to him to look over. In fact, the part he’d seemed to be the most interested in was her conviction that there should be women in the executive level positions at the new label. Women who understood other women. Women who had once been the girls in the audience at shows like Drew’s. Women who weren’t afraid to support music that touched you deeply.
Ashley was almost more nervous about showing her indie label proposal to him than she was about whether or not she’d get into Stanford Business School next year. But she was excited, too. Just being able to get personal feedback from someone as brilliant as Grant was a dream come true.
As for the Morrison twins, Justin and Sean might look alike, but Ashley could see how different they were. Both of them were great, but Justin was more the precise scientist, whereas Sean came across as laid-back. Drew had been right about the way Justin and his friend Taylor looked at each other when they thought the other wasn’t looking. And Sean and Serena were almost too gorgeous together—and so sweet, too, considering they hadn’t let go of each other’s hands all night long. She also appreciated that neither Serena nor Sean seemed to notice that they outshone every other human on the planet. All but Drew, of course. Because Ashley was positive that no one could possibly shine more brightly than Drew.
And then there was Drew’s father, Michael. Throughout the concert, she’d noticed him lowering his head to wipe his eyes. He was clearly so proud of Drew, and Ashley kept choking up herself as she watched him marvel over his talented son.
She hadn’t meant to listen in on any of their conversations, but since it was necessary to yell to be heard over the noise of the crowd between songs, she’d ended up catching snippets for the past couple of hours.
Sean to Justin: “How do you think Dad’s doing?”
Grant to their father: “Drew is even better now than he used to be, isn’t he? I’m pretty sure I know why.”
And Maddie to Olivia: “Wouldn’t it be great if Justin and Taylor started kissing out of the blue?”
That one had made Ashley laugh.
They were all so welcoming to Ashley, too, each of them going out of their way to include her in their conversations. It was so lovely to feel like a part of such a close family, even if it was just for a little while. With the way her parents had fought her whole life, the three of them had never been a particularly tight unit. Tonight gave her the tiniest taste of what Drew’s childhood must have been like. Yes, it was noisy. Sure, it was a little chaotic. But what fun he must have had with his brothers and sisters. The kind of fun Ashley had only ever wished for. Her mother, she knew, had wanted more kids. But that had never happened for her parents. If it had, would that have changed anything? Or would her parents have fought even more?
Ashley surfaced from her thoughts as Olivia put a hand on her arm and looked at her with concern.
More than a dozen times throughout dinner with Drew’s family, Ashley had begun to reach for him, or to lean into his broad chest, or say something to him that only two lovers could possibly understand. All night it had been really, really hard to be in the same room with him without wanting to leap into his arms and kiss him. But each time she’d caught herself just in time.
And each time, she’d had to ask herself yet again why she was so darn scared to go public with their relationship. Sure, he was a huge star and she’d be subject to millions of people on the Internet asking one another how on earth he could have picked her. But Ashley had never much cared what other people thought of her, and even though she suspected it would hurt the first few thousand times a stranger commented online that Drew was way out of her league, she could figure out how to deal with that.
The answer she kept circling back to was the same one that had been there from the start—that she and Drew were too different to make it work. At least, beyond the bedroom, where they clearly worked in the most amazing way possible.