Slammed, p.27
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       Slammed, p.27

         Part #1 of Slammed series by Colleen Hoover

  Eddie straightens in her seat and turns to me and smiles. "You slept in his bed with him? You're holding back vital information. You didn't tell me that," she laughs.

  He walks back to the front of the room and throws himself into his chair. He leans onto his desk and sets his face in his hands. This isn’t going how he had planned.

  "You slept in his bed?" she whispers, low enough so Will doesn't hear her.

  "Nothing happened," I say. "Like you said, he's such a bore."

  Eddie laughs again, causing me to lose my composure.

  "Is this funny?" Will says from his desk. "Is this a joke to you two?"

  I can see in his eyes that we're enjoying detention way more than we're supposed to. Eddie isn't fazed, however.

  "Did you know Chuck Norris doesn't have a funny bone? It tried to make him laugh once, so he ripped it out," she says.

  Will lays his head on his desk in defeat. Eddie and I look at each other and our laughter ceases as we respect that he's attempting to have a serious conversation with us.

  Eddie sighs and straightens up in her desk. "Mr. Cooper?" she says. "I won’t say anything. Swear. It's not that big of a deal anyway."

  He looks up at her. "It is a big deal Eddie. That's what I'm trying to tell both of you. If you don't treat this as a big deal, you'll get careless. Something might slip. I've got too much at stake."

  We both sigh. The energy in the room is non-existent now. It's like a black hole just sucked all the fun out of detention. Eddie feels it too, so she attempts to rectify it.

  "Did you know Chuck Norris likes his steaks med-" Eddie doesn't finish her sentence as Will reaches his limit. He slams his fist against the desk as he stands up. Neither Eddie nor I are laughing at this point. I look at her wide eyed and shake my head, letting her know that Chuck Norris needs to retreat.

  "This isn't a joke," he says. "This is a big deal." He reaches over and takes something out of his drawer and swiftly walks to where we're sitting in the back of the room. He smacks a picture down on the crack where the edges of our desks meet and flips it over. It's a picture of Caulder.

  He points his finger to the picture as he says, "This boy. This boy is a big deal."

  He backs up a step and grabs a desk and turns it around to face us as he sits down.

  "I don't think we're following you, Will," I say as I look at Eddie. She shakes her head in agreement. "What's Caulder got to do with what Eddie knows?"

  He takes a deep breath as he leans across his desk and picks the picture back up. I can tell by the look in his eyes that his recollection is unpleasant. He lays the picture down on the desk and leans back in the chair, folding his arms across his chest.

  "He was with them…when it happened. He watched them die."

  I suck in a breath. Eddie and I give him respectful silence as we wait for him to continue. I'm beginning to feel this big.

  "They said it was a miracle he survived. The car was totaled. When the first person came on the scene, Caulder was still buckled up in what was left of the backseat. He was screaming my mom's name, trying to get her to turn around. For five minutes he had to sit there alone and watch as they died."

  Will clears his throat. Eddie reaches under the table and grabs my hand and squeezes it. Neither of us says a word.

  "I sat in the hospital with him while he recovered for six days. Never left his side-not even for their funeral. When my grandparents came to pick him up and take him home with them, he cried. He didn't want to go. He wanted to stay with me. He begged me to take him back to campus with me. I didn't have a job, I didn't have insurance. I was nineteen. I didn't know the first thing about raising a kid…so I let them take him."

  Will stands up and walks to the window. He doesn't say anything for a while as he watches the parking lot slowly empty. His hand goes to his face and it looks like he’s wiping at his eyes. If Eddie wasn't in here right now, I would hug him.

  He eventually turns to face us again. "Caulder hated me. He was so mad at me he wouldn't return my calls for days. It was in the middle of a football game when I started to question the choice I made. I was studying the football in my hands, running my fingers over the pigskin, across the letters of the brand name printed on the side. This elongated spheroid shaped ball that didn't even weigh a whole pound. I was choosing this ridiculous ball of leather in my hands over my own flesh and blood. I was putting myself, my girlfriend, my scholarship-I was putting everything before this little boy that I loved more than anything in the world.

  "I dropped the football and walked right off the field. I got to my grandparent's house at two in the morning and grabbed Caulder right out of bed. I brought him home that night. They begged me not to do it. Said it would be too hard on me and that I wouldn't be able to give him what he needed. I knew they were wrong. I knew all Caulder really needed-was me."

  He turns and slowly walks back to the desk in front of us and places his hands on the back of it. He looks at both of us, tears streaming down our faces.

  "I've spent the last two years of my life trying to convince myself that I made the right decision for him. So my job? My career? This life I'm trying to build for this little boy? It is a big deal. It's a very big deal to me."

  He calmly returns the desk to its place in the aisle and walks back to the front of his room, grabs his things and leaves.

  Eddie gets up and walks to Will's desk and grabs a box of tissues. She brings the box and slumps back down in her seat. I pull out a tissue as we both wipe at our eyes.

  "God, Layken. How do you do it?" she says.

  She blows her nose and grabs another tissue out of the box.

  "How do I do what?" I sniff as I continue to wipe the tears from my eyes.

  "How do you not fall in love with him?"

  The tears begin flowing just as quickly as they were ceasing. I grab yet another tissue. "I don't not fall in love with him. I don't not fall in love with him a lot!"

  She laughs and squeezes my hand as we willingly sit out our much deserved detentions.


  “And I know you need me in the next room over

  But I am stuck in here all paralyzed.”

  -The Avett Brothers, 10,000 words

  Chapter Fourteen

  I've never had sex before. I came really close once, but chickened out at the last minute. My longest relationship was with a boy I met right before I turned seventeen.

  Kerris had a brother who was in college and he brought a friend home with him during Spring Break two summers ago. His name was Seth and he was eighteen. I thought I loved him. I think I really just loved having a boyfriend. He attended the University of Texas, which was a good four hour drive away.

  We had been together for about six months. We talked on the phone and online a lot. I was seventeen at this point and we had discussed it plenty, so I decided I was ready to have sex with him. I had a midnight curfew that night so he rented a hotel room and we told my mother we were going to the movie theater.

  When we got to the hotel, my hands were shaking. I knew I had changed my mind but was too scared to tell him. He had put so much effort into everything. He even brought his own sheets and blankets from home so it would feel more intimate.

  We had been kissing for a while on the bed when he took off my shirt. His hands were making their way to my pants when I started crying. He immediately stopped. Never pressured me, never made me feel guilty for changing my mind. He just kissed me and told me it was okay. We stayed in bed and rented a movie instead.

  It was seven hours later and daytime when we finally woke up. We were both frantic. No one knew where we were, both of our phones had been turned off all night. I knew my parents were worried sick. He was too scared to face them with me so instead he dropped me off at my driveway and left. I remember staring at my house, wanting to be anywhere else but there. I knew they were going to make me talk to them; tell them about where I had been. I hated confrontation.


  I'm sta
nding in front of my jeep now, staring at the gnome filled yard of our house that's not our home. That same feeling of trepidation deep within the pit of my stomach is back. I know my mother is going to want to talk about it all. The cancer. Kel. She'll want to confront it and I'll want to hide.

  I slowly make my way to the front door and turn the knob, wishing someone was holding it shut from the other side. Her, Kel and Caulder are all seated at the bar.

  They're carving pumpkins. She can't talk now. This is good.

  "Hey," I say to no one in particular as I walk through the front door. She doesn't acknowledge me.

  "Hey, Layken. Check out my pumpkin!" Kel says as he swings it around to face me. Its' eyes and mouth are three big X's and he's taped a bag of candy to the side of the pumpkins face.

  "He's making a sour face. 'Cause he ate some sour skittles," he says.

  "Creative," I say.

  "Look at mine," Caulder says as he turns his around. There's just a bunch of huge holes where the pumpkin's face should be.

  "Oh…what is it?" I ask him.

  "It's God."

  I cock my head at him, confused. "God?"

  Caulder laughs. "Yeah, God." He looks at Kel and in unison they both say, "Because he's 'holy.'"

  I roll my eyes and laugh. "I don't know how you two found each other."

  I look at my mom and she's watching me, trying to gauge my mood.

  "Hey," I say, specifically to her this time.

  "Hey," she smiles.

  "So," I say, hoping she'll grasp the double meaning behind what I’m about to say. "Do you mind if we just carve pumpkins tonight? Is it okay if that's all we do? Just carve pumpkins?"

  She smiles and turns her attention back to the pumpkin in front of her.

  "Sure. But we can't carve pumpkins every night, Lake. One of these nights we'll eventually have to stop carving pumpkins."

  I grab one of the available pumpkins off the floor and set it on the bar and take a seat when someone knocks at the door.

  "I'll get it," Caulder yells as he jumps down.

  My mother and I both turn to the front door as he opens it. It's Will.

  "Hey, Buddy. You answering doors here now?" Will says to him.

  Caulder grabs his hand and pulls him inside.

  "We're carving pumpkins for Halloween. Come on, Julia bought one for you, too." He's pulling Will through the living room and toward the kitchen.

  "No, it's fine. I'll carve mine another time. I just wanted to bring you home so they can have some family time."

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