Slammed, p.34
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       Slammed, p.34

         Part #1 of Slammed series by Colleen Hoover

  "Actually," Will replies as he grabs the other sacks off the floor. "That was before I found out we were making lung cancer. I think we'll have to reschedule our trip."

  Caulder runs over to Will and hugs him. "Thanks, Will. They're gonna need to measure me while they’re making it anyway. I've been growing a lot."

  And once again, for the third time this week, we're one big happy family.


  We have most of the hand drawn patterns cut and it's time to get the boys measurements. "Where's your measuring tape?" I ask my mother.

  "I don't know," she says. "I don't know if I have one, actually."

  "Will has one, we can use his," I say. "Will do you mind getting it?"

  "I have measuring tape?" he asks.

  "Yes, it's in your sewing kit," I say.

  "I have a sewing kit?"

  "It's in your laundry room."

  I can't believe he doesn't know this. I clean his house once and I can tell him where everything is better than he can? "It's next to the sewing machine on the shelf behind your mother's patterns. I put them in chronological order according to pattern nu-nevermind," I say as I stand up. "I'll just show you."

  "You put his patterns in chronological order?" My mother asks, perplexed.

  I turn back to her as we're headed to the door. "I was having a bad day."

  Will and I head across the street and I use the opportunity to ask him about what happened with his internship. I didn't want to ask him in front of Caulder, because I wasn't sure if he had said anything to him.

  "I got a slap on the wrist," he says as we walk inside. "They told me since I was defending another student, they couldn’t really hold it against me."

  "That's good. What about your internship?" I say as I walk through the kitchen and into the laundry room where I grab the sewing kit.

  "Well, it's a little tricky. The only available ones they had are here in Ypsilanti, but they were all primary. My major is secondary, so I've been placed at a school in Detroit."

  I pause what I'm doing and look at him.

  "What's that mean? Are y'all moving?"

  He sees the worry cross my face and he laughs. "No, Lake, we're not moving. It's just for eight weeks. I'll be doing a lot of driving, though. I was actually going to talk to you and your mom about it later. I'm not going to be able to take the boys to school, or pick them up either. I'll be gone a lot. I know this isn't a good time to ask for your help-"

  "Stop it." I grab the tape measure and return the contents into the box. "You know we'll help."

  Will follows me as I walk back to the laundry room and replace the sewing kit next to the sewing machine. My hand brushes against the patterns that are neatly stacked in chronological order as I recall all the cleaning and alphabetizing I did the previous weekend. Is it possible, that maybe I had a momentary lapse of sanity? I shake my head and reach over and flick off the light switch when I run into Will. He's leaning against the doorframe with his head resting against the wall. It's dark now, since I've switched off the light, but his face is slightly illuminated by the glow from the kitchen behind him.

  A warm sensation flows through me as I try not to get my hopes up. He's got that look in his eyes again.

  "Last night," he whispers. "When I saw Javi kissing you…" His voice trails off and he is silent for a moment. "I thought you were kissing him back."

  It’s hard when he's in such close proximity, but I do my best to focus and process his confession. If he thought I was allowing it to happen, then why did he pull Javi off of me? Why did he punch him? Then it hits me. Will wasn't defending me last night, he was jealous.

  "Oh," is all I can say.

  "I didn't know the whole story until this morning, when you told your version," he says as he continues to block my way; making me stand in the dark.

  “God, Lake. I can't tell you how pissed I was. I wanted to hurt him so bad. And now? Now that I know he really was hurting you, I want to kill him." He turns away from me and rests his back against the doorframe.

  I think back on last night and the emotions Will must have been experiencing. To be professing his love for me on stage one minute and then thinking I was making out with Javi the next. No wonder he was so pissed on the drive home.

  He's still blocking my way. Not that I plan on running anywhere. My entire body is tense, not knowing what he’s about to say or do. I try to relax as I exhale. My breathing has increased so rapidly in the last minute, my lungs are starting to ache again as the knot in my back reminds me of its presence.

  "How did you-" I stutter. "How'd you know I was there?"

  He turns and faces me, placing both hands on either side of the doorframe. His height and the way he has me blocked in are intimidating, but in a very good way.

  "I saw you. When I finished my piece, I saw you leaving."

  My knees start to fail me so I place my hand on the dryer behind me for support. He knows I saw him perform. Why is he telling me this? I do my best not to get my hopes up, but maybe since he is no longer my teacher, we can finally be together. Maybe that's what he's trying to tell me.

  "Will, does this mean-"

  He takes a step toward me, leaving no space between us. His fingers brush against my cheek as he studies my face with his eyes. I place my hands against his chest as he wraps his arms around me and pulls me to him. I try to take a step away from him so I can finish my question but his body presses me against the dryer.

  Just as I try to ask him again, he brings his lips to mine. I immediately stop resisting and I let him kiss me. My entire body becomes weak as my arms fall to my side and I drop the measuring tape on the floor.

  He grabs my waist as he lifts me up and sets me down on top of the dryer. Our faces are even now. He kisses me like he’s making up for an entire month of stolen kisses. I can't tell where my hands end and his begin as we both frantically pull at each other, our hands exploring each other's bodies. I wrap my legs around his waist and pull his mouth to my neck so I can catch my breath. All the feelings I have for him come rushing back. I try to hold back tears as I realize just how much I really do love him. Oh my god, I love him. I’m in love with Will Cooper.

  I no longer try to control my breathing; it would be pointless.

  "Will," I say as he continues exploring my neck with his lips. "Does this mean…does it mean we don't have to pretend…anymore?" I'm breathing so heavily I can barely form a cohesive sentence. "We can be…together? Since you're not…since you're not my teacher?"

  His hands soften their hold on by back as his lips slowly close and pull away from my neck. I try to pull him back into me but he resists. He puts his hands on my calves and unlocks my legs from around his waist as he backs up and leans against the wall behind him, avoiding my eyes.

  My hands grip the edges of the dryer as I slide off with a jerk. "Will?" I say as I take a step toward him.

  The light from the kitchen casts a shadow across his face but I can see his jaw-it's clenched. His eyes are full of shame as he looks at me apologetically.

  "Will? Tell me. Do the rules still apply?"

  He doesn't have to answer me-I can tell by his reaction that they do.

  "Lake," he says quietly. "I had a weak moment, I'm sorry."

  I shove my hands into his chest.

  "A weak moment? That's what you call this? A weak moment?" I yell. "What were you gonna do, Will? When were you gonna stop making out with me and kick me out of your house this time?" I spin and turn out of the laundry room and make my way through the kitchen.

  "Lake, don't. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It won't happen again, I swear."

  I stop and turn toward him. "You're damn right it won't! I finally accepted it, Will. After an entire month of torture, I was finally able to be around you again. Then you go and do this! I can't do it anymore," I cry. "The way you consume my mind when we aren't together? I don't have time for it anymore. I've got more important things to think about now than your little weak moments."

  I cross the living room and open the front door and pause. "Get me the measuring tape," I say calmly.

  "Wh-what?" he says.

  "It's on the damn floor! Get me the measuring tape!"

  I hear his footsteps fade as he walks to the laundry room. He retrieves the measuring tape and brings it back to me. As he places it in my grasp, he squeezes my hand.

  "Don't make me the bad guy, Lake. Please."

  I pull my hand away from his. "Well you're certainly not the martyr, anymore."

  I turn and walk out, slamming the door behind me. I cross the street and don't look back to see if he's watching me. I don't care anymore.

  I pause at our entryway and take a deep breath as I wipe my eyes. I open the front door to our home, put a smile across my face, and help my mother make her very last Halloween costumes.


  “Ain’t it like most people

  I’m no different

  We love to talk on things

  We don’t know about.”

  -The Avett Brothers, 10,000 words

  Chapter Nineteen

  Will and Caulder end up going out of town after all. Mom and I spend most of Saturday and Sunday putting the finishing touches on the costumes. I let my mother know about Will's schedule and how we'll be helping them out more. As pissed as I am, I don't want Caulder and Kel to have to suffer. Sunday night when Will gets home I don't even notice; because I don't even care.


  "Kel, call Caulder and tell him he can come over and put his costume on," I say as I drag Kel out of bed. "Will has to leave early anyway. He can get ready over here."

  It's Halloween, day of the cancerous lungs. Kel runs to the kitchen and grabs the phone.

  I take a shower and finish getting ready, then wake my mother up so she can see the end results. After she gets dressed, under instruction from Caulder and Kel, she closes her eyes. I walk her into the living room and position her in front of the two boys.

  "Wait!" Caulder says. "What about Will? He needs to see us, too."

  I usher my mother back into the hallway as I run to the front door, throw on my boots and go outside. He's pulling out of his driveway so I flag him down. I can see by the look on his face that he's hoping I've forgiven him. I immediately cease any false hope.

  "You're still an asshole, but your brother wants you to see his costume. Come in for a second." I return to the house.

  When Will walks in I position him and my mother in front of the boys and tell them to open their eyes.

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