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Rhythm and the Blue Line Ch 45

Someone has to make the move.
Ryan covered a yawn as she walked into the hotel lobby. The show had gone well and she was beat. Tired enough, she had decided, to head back to her room while the others hung out somewhere. Her fatigue must have shown, since none of them had made more than a token effort to convince her to go with them.

She pondered that in the elevator. It was unlike Lara to leave her alone these days. Ever since the day Lara had forced Ryan into the restaurant, her friend had stuck close. It wasn't like they'd been joined at the hip, but Lara had made a big effort to keep Ryan's spirits up.

Ryan appreciated it, and it had worked. Talking to Lara, and then to Brody, had reduced a lot of stress for her. Ryan laughed to herself; maybe Lara just wanted a night off babysitting duty. And that was fine, since Ryan wanted some time to herself.

She got off the elevator and walked towards the room, wondering how long she'd have it to herself. She pulled out her room card key, looked up, and almost tripped as she jerked to a stop.

"Hey, rock star." Brody leaned against the wall.

Ryan swore she felt her synapses screech to a halt as questions tumbled through her brain. She shook her head. "What—what are you doing here?"

"I was in the neighborhood."

"In the neighborhood? In Boston?"

"Actually I was supposed to visit a friend in Springfield, but they gave me horrendous directions."

Ryan gave him a puzzled look. "Springfield is like ninety or a hundred miles from here."

"I meant Springfield, Virginia." He grinned. "I told you they were lousy directions."

She stared at him for a few minutes before giving in to the urge to laugh. "They must have been. But you still didn't tell me why you're here."

"I will. First, let's get your stuff. I've got a room upstairs. I wanted to be with you alone and I'm sure Lara will appreciate having the room to herself. You did say privacy was at a premium when you were on tour."

"It's better this time, but yeah, none of us get a whole lot of alone time." Ryan slid her key card through the reader and opened the door. Trying to make sense of things, she questioned him while she grabbed her toiletries and her rolling suitcase. "So when did you get here?"

"I came up yesterday and stayed with Bax and his family. I went with him and the kids to the show. Doreen says hi, and sorry she couldn’t make it." They left the room and went to the elevator with Brody pulling her suitcase. Two floors up they exited and Brody led her to his room.

"You were at the show? Why didn't you tell me before? I mean, before you came?" Ryan stepped inside while he held the door for her.

"I wanted to surprise you. Basically, I missed you; this whole thing of not talking and not seeing each other was getting really old. I talked to Bax, talked to Lara and—voilà—here I am." He closed the door behind him.

"You came all the way up here to surprise me?"

"I was hoping you'd like the surprise. You know, a big romantic gesture and all that." He shrugged. "I haven't done that too often, so I may need to practice a few times to get it right."

A smile tugged at her lips. "I think you're doing pretty well so far."

"I could use a little encouragement."

Ryan laughed and hugged him, but her laughter died quickly and she held on tight. "You're doing great. I've missed you so much."

"I know. I've missed you, too." They were quiet for a moment as he stroked her hair.

Ryan could only think how good it was to feel him next to her again. The part of her that had been wound so tightly over things between them at last started to relax.

"How was the trip up here? Did you fly or drive?" she asked as she sat on the bed.

Brody made a face as he sat next to her. "I drove and I will never do it again. People around here drive like maniacs. Bax says the local term is 'Massholes.'"

Ryan laughed. "I've heard. We had more than a few close calls ourselves getting here."

"I thought D.C. drivers were bad, but man, it's downright scary around here."

"I'm sorry you had to risk death and dismemberment to come see me," Ryan said.

"I'd do it again, a thousand times over." He stood and made an exaggerated bow before he swept her into his arms for a kiss. Ryan returned it, reveling in the feel of his body against hers.

"Oh, man." Brody groaned as he reluctantly pulled away. "That is so nice, but we should talk."

"I thought that was the woman's line."

"It's my line because I screwed things up so bad before you left." He rested his forehead against hers. "I'm really sorry, Ryan. I was—am—happy for you, I was just surprised. I was upset, and I said all the wrong things. I'd blame it on the concussion but I was pretty over it by then."

She smiled. "I didn’t exactly corner the market on the right things to say."

"Here's an idea: let's just say now that we're both really sorry, we both need to handle things better, and it's done and we're back together and all that. Then we can move on to practicing how we make up." He slid his hands down to her hips and pulled her closer to him.

She chuckled and he grinned. "I like the sound of that, but—" She glanced away and then back at him. "But what about later? These same issues are going to come up again, the traveling and everything."

"True, true. And like you said, we were just saying the same things. So I have two new things to say."

Ryan waited, but Brody seemed stuck, which in turn made her nervous. She tried to keep her voice light. "Are you going to tell me, or do I have to guess?"

"I'm not sure which order I should say this in."

"It doesn't matter."

"I love you." He huffed out a breath. "There, that's one."

Ryan let out a shaky laugh. "Was it so bad? Because I love you, too, you know."

"Whew. I was hoping I hadn't missed the window on that." They both laughed.

"What's the next thing?"

"I was thinking about your apartment search and all. What, ah, would you say to moving in with me?"

"Really?" Ryan was flustered. "I mean, it sounds great, but I don't want you to feel like you have to say that. I want to be with you, but you don't—"

"I know I don't." He kissed her again, softly. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't want it, or mean it. Just think about it—we'd be able to be together more. Or at least, we could take more advantage of the time we'd have, and that sounds like a good idea to me."

"Me, too." Ryan wrapped her arms around him. "A great idea."

"I want to be with you, Ryan. I know we both weren't looking for anything serious, but it got serious and I don't want that to change."

"Neither do I."

"And if that offer to meet with you while you tour still stands, I like it. We can set up secret, illicit rendezvous and meet in back alleys behind sleazy hotels." He wiggled his eyebrows. "We can use code words and everything."

Ryan put her head on his chest and laughed. "I really don’t think that'll be necessary. I'm not ashamed about being seen with a hockey player in public."

"That's g—hey!"

"Gotcha." She laughed and then kissed him. "That would mean a lot to me, Brody, if you could do that."

"All right then, that's all settled. Now . . . hmmm. I had an idea, but you need to go somewhere else."

"Go? I'm not going anywhere."

"Just for a minute. Just wait in the hallway or something."

"I don't think so." Ryan shook her head. "I need a shower, will that get me out of the way long enough?"

"Oh, hey, now that's a good idea. I could change up."

"No, no, I want to see what you have planned." Ryan grabbed her bag and dropped it on the bed, then rummaged through it to find some clothes. In the process, she tossed the purple rabbit Brody had given her on the bed.

"You have this with you?" He picked it up and looked at her in surprise.

"Yeah." She bit her lip. "Yeah, it's my good luck charm. I kept it with me on the last tour, too. I know we got upset and everything, but, well, I didn't want to be without it." She picked up her clothes and put the bag back on the floor. "I won't be long."

"Take your time," Brody said with a smile.

Ryan stood under the water, letting it run over her as she tried to get a grip on her feelings. She couldn’t believe Brody was there; she half-expected that it was some kind of dream, and she'd exit the bathroom into an empty room. Don't be ridiculous, she told herself. You're tired, not delusional.

She turned her thoughts to wondering what Brody's surprise would be. Probably food, she thought with a laugh. She wouldn’t be at all surprised to step out and find that he'd ordered a four-course meal. Hell, if the room had had a kitchen, he'd probably have cooked one.

She finished her shower and dried off, sighing in contentment as she slipped into the long t-shirt she slept in. She took a few moments to towel her hair dry and comb it, then went to the door.

"You ready? I'm coming out," she called.

"I'm ready."

Ryan stepped out and looked around. No food. Then her eyes went wide and she gaped.

"What?" He grinned up at her.

She cleared her throat. "I, um. I wasn't sure what to expect."

Brody lay on the bed naked but for her purple rabbit, strategically placed. She couldn't wait to join him, but the rabbit had a somewhat dampening effect on the mood. Fighting to keep a straight face she asked, "What are you doing with my rabbit? It seems like that should be illegal."

"I didn't have a guitar with me."

"Ah. I see." She covered her mouth with her hands but was losing her struggle with laughter.

Brody propped himself on one elbow and arched an eyebrow. "Ryan, I did not come all the way to Boston so that you could laugh at me."

"I'm sorry, but a toy purple rabbit doesn't exactly contribute to a romantic atmosphere." She gave up and leaned against the wall, laughing and wiping her eyes.

"Oh, well." He tossed the plush toy on to the other bed. "How's that?"

Ryan fell onto the bed next to him. "Much better."

"Yes, it is." Brody smiled and pulled her to him. "I really did miss you." He rubbed his cheek against hers.

"Hey, wait." Ryan reached up and put a hand to his face. "You shaved your beard."

"Yeah." He pressed a kiss to her palm. "I wondered when you'd notice."

Ryan laughed. "I didn't mind, you know."

"Cool. I'll grow another one next year. Maybe you'll like it better."

She kissed him. "So you think we'll still be here next year?"

"Well maybe not here specifically, but I like to think there's a good chance we'll still be together. You?"

"I can go along with that." Ryan traced a finger along his jaw. "You think you can handle a musician girlfriend? Temperamental artist and all that?"

He caught her hand and held it. "I think I can manage. How about you? I thought you didn't like athletes."

"I don't, much, but some of them are okay. You know, like Bax and Mark." She giggled at the look on his face. "And you, you're okay, too."

"Just okay?" He inched his fingers up under her shirt.

"I'm willing to revise my opinion."

"See, I knew you weren't that temperamental." He found her lips again, then pulled away. "Hey, I just thought of something."


"If we live together, you can be naked with the guitar all the time!"

Ryan laughed. "Better that than you naked with the rabbit."

"I knew you'd let me live out one fantasy."

This is the last chapter -- hope you enjoyed it!

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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