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The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden

Jessica Sorensen

Page 13


  “We can’t drink at the club,” I say as he flicks the lighter with his thumb. Cupping his other hand around the flame, he lights the end of the cigarette and the paper burns and crinkles. “Remember what happened the last time you tried that at a club?”

  He sucks in a breath, inhaling the smoke, before puffing it out in front of his face. “Yeah, excellent point. Don’t want to go back into the holding cell again. ”

  “You’re lucky it was your birthday and they let you off the hook. ”

  “I also flirted with one of the officers. ” He grins as a thin trail of smoke snakes out of his lips.

  “So, who wants to sit on whose lap?” Kayden asks with his hand on the open door of the truck. His eyes are on me and there’s a hint of amusement on his lips. “Personally, I think there’s only one option here. ”

  I point at Seth’s black Camry parked a few spots down. “I think we’re going to take Seth’s car. You guys can ride with us if you want. ”

  Luke tosses the keys up in the air like a baseball and then catches them in his hand. “Sounds good to me. That way, I don’t have to be responsible for driving. ”

  I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t ride with us so Seth could give me a speech of encouragement and I could put my hair up with something because the way it touches my shoulders and the smell of it’s driving me crazy. I have the urge to run back to my room and hack it all off again.

  As we walk over to Seth’s car, I comb my fingers through my hair trying to get it manageable and out of the way. I reach for the passenger door, but Luke’s arm extends out and he opens the door for me. Moving to the side, I elude around him like I’m dancing, when really it’s just to keep my distance.

  “Thank you. ” I catch Seth’s eye over the roof of the car and he arches an eyebrow as we climb in.

  Seth slams the door and I jolt in the seat. “Relax Callie,” he whispers as he turns the key and the engine purrs to life. Rolling down the window, he puts his hand outside so the smoke doesn’t fill the cab. “You’re going to be fine. ”

  Seth and Kayden hop into the back seat from opposite sides of the car and their doors slam simultaneously. Seth turns the stereo on as we buckle our seatbelts. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails turns on and he presses on the pedal, ripping the tires against the wet pavement. The car lurches forward and I grab onto the door handle. Seth is a crazy driver. He has a drawer full of tickets and when he was a teenager, his parents took away his car twice, because he kept wrecking it. He always seems to be in a hurry, like he kind of is with life.

  Luke leans forward, bracing his hand on the back of my seat, and I angle my head to the side. “Can I smoke in here, man?” he asks Seth.

  Seth raises his cigarette, which is burnt almost to the end. “Of course. ”

  A smile curves at Luke’s lips as he slumps back in the seat. Seconds later there’s a flick of a lighter, the window rolls down, and a cool breeze blows in.

  After Luke gives Seth directions, no one speaks for a while and I worry that the night is going to end in a tragic silence. Then Kayden scoots forward and props his arms on the console.

  “Luke and I have this brilliant idea,” he says and the glow from the buildings reflects in his eyes. “You remember that rock we climbed up to? The one that all the seniors go and tag?”

  I revolve sideways in the seat and bring my leg up onto the leather. “Yes, I remember. ”

  He leans his weight on his arms, slanting even closer to me, and my heart leaps in my chest. “Well, we want to go up there and tag it. ”

  “But you’re not seniors. ” I adjust my seatbelt on my shoulder. “Well, duh, I guess you already knew that. ”

  He laughs at me in an amused tone. “We do know that, which makes it fun. ”

  Luke peeks over the top of the seat with his arm to the side so the trail of smoke is blowing out the window. “We used to crash senior parties all the time back in high school. It was a blast because they weren’t too fond of it. ”

  “You liked upsetting them?” I ask and he tilts his head sideways so he won’t blow smoke in my face.

  “Yeah, it was pretty fun. ” Luke sticks his cigarette out the window, brushes the pad of his thumb on the bottom, and the ashes blow outside. “To mess with someone’s mind instead of being the one messed with. ”

  It’s like he’s told me an unsolvable riddle and I glance to Kayden for an explanation.

  “It is pretty entertaining,” he promises me with a wink. “We were thinking we could drive up to the rock and put something on it tonight. ”

  “But it’s late. ” I glance at the bright red numbers on the clock and then at Seth.

  “We’ll be okay. ” Seth veers onto a slender side road that squeezes between two-story brick buildings.

  There are people walking up and down the sidewalk. Most of the girls are wearing skimpy dresses and high heels, and the guys have on nice jeans and shirts. I look down at my converses, my black skinny jeans, and the fitted white t-shirt beneath my unzipped jacket. I feel underdressed and silly for being here.

  Seth turns into a small parking spot and squishes the car into it. Its a tight fit and I have to crack the car door open and maneuver out. Luke rolls down his window, sticks his head out, and putting his hands onto the roof, heaves his body out the open window.

  “You’re a lot skinnier than I am. ” He props up on his toes and jumps to the ground. “My dumb ass would have gotten stuck in the door.

  Smiling, I walk around to the front of the car where Seth is waiting for me with his elbow extended out. There’s a lanky guy with sores on his face and long black hair leaning against a lamppost near the street.

  He eyes me as he sips from a beer bottle and when he moves it away from his lips, the look he gives me sends a chill through my body. “Hey there sexy,” he slurs, stepping away from the curb before stumbling right back. “You look fucking fine tonight. ”

  I start to run back to the car, but Seth’s fingers enclose around my elbow. “Are you talking to her or me, because I just can’t tell,” he smarts off to the guy.

  The guy’s dark eyes turn cold with the need to conquer someone. I’ve seen that look before and it makes me gag; filling my body with a toxic feeling of revulsion, distrust, and shame.

  The drunken man shifts his body forward and wobbles toward us. “I’m gonna fucking kick your ass for that. ”

  I jerk on Seth’s arm, ready to run, jump into the car, lock all the doors, and cower on the floor. “Please let’s just go back to the car, Seth. ”

  Kayden steps up beside us, his fingers brushing up the inside of my arm, and the man’s eyes rise to meet his. His shoulders stiffen as he halts, his shoes scuffing against the gravel on the sidewalk.

  “Shut your fucking drunken mouth, turn around, and go home,” Kayden orders calmly pointing his finger down the street.

  The man’s chapped lips part, but then he fastens his jaw shut as he takes in the sight of Kayden’s broad shoulders and height. He tosses the beer bottle out into the street where it shatters into pieces across the asphalt and then he drags his feet as he staggers toward the corner.

  Seth and I blow out a breath of relief, our eyes wide as we stare at each other in shock.

  Seth turns to Kayden. “You’re like a knight in shining armor. ”

  I catch a faint hint of Kayden’s musky scent mixed with cologne. From now on, whenever I smell it I’ll come back to this moment when I felt protected. “Thank you,” I tell him.

  He smiles, leaning down so his face is near mine. “You’re welcome. ”

  We head up the sidewalk with Seth and me in the front and Luke and Kayden in the back. Luke keeps whispering to Kayden and then suddenly we hear a grunt. When I turn around, Luke is hunched over, cradling his gut.

  “You fucking asshole,” he growls and he collapses onto his knees.

  My eyes bulge as he stands up straight and prowls toward Kayden, raising his fists. Kay
den does nothing but stand there with a stoic look on his face.

  “Oh my God!” I cry, instinctively stepping for him as the memories of that night when his father beat the shit out of him surface.

  Luke surrenders his hands out in front of him and steps back from Kayden. “Callie, I was just messing with him. ”

  “Oh, I’m sorry. ” I cover my hand over my mouth, feeling like an idiot. The drunken man has put my nerves up way too high.

  Kayden shoots a piercing look at Luke as he edges toward me. “It’s okay,” he says cautiously. “Luke was just giving me a hard time about something so I hit him in the stomach as a joke. The whole thing was a joke. ”

  I free a breath imprisoned in my chest. “Okay, I’m sorry. I just thought he was going to hurt you. ”

  “You don’t need to be sorry. ” He glances at Seth then back at me and his shoulder shifts forward as he wraps an arm around my shoulder.

  I tense from the rush of his touch and the fear of it. It feels so much more personal then when we were climbing up the cliff, because there’s no point to it except to touch each other.

  I look to Seth for help, but he mouths, relax and breathe.

  I order my erratic heart to shut the hell up and even though it doesn’t listen, I manage to make it all the way to the door of the club with Kayden’s arm around my shoulder. It’s something new, fresh, and raw. While being insignificant, it’s momentous and a contradiction in itself.


  Callie is the most skittish person I’ve ever met, which says a lot since every time my dad would raise his voice, my brothers and I would scatter around the house and hide while we were being hunted.

  Luke was giving me shit about checking out her ass, which I was, but I couldn’t help it. She’s so tiny and the way she swings her hips is captivating and kind of sexy, although she’s probably not doing it on purpose.

  “You’re going to get yourself into a lot of trouble,” Luke remarks as we walk just a ways behind them.

  I transfer my gaze off Callie’s ass and scowl at Luke. “Why?”

  He points a finger at Callie with an accusing look on his face. “Because of her right there. Do you know what Daisy would do if you ever cheated on her. ”

  “Move on to the next guy that told her she had nice tits. ” I stuff my hands into my pockets and step around a pole.

  “Okay, you’re probably right on that one,” he says and aims his finger at Callie again. “But do you know what Daisy would do to Callie if she ever found out there was something going on between you two?”

  “There’s nothing going on between us. ”

  “Yet. ”

  I shake my head, frustrated. “She’s not like that. She’s sweet and… innocent. ”

  “That’s a dangerous combination for someone like you. ” He reaches for the pack of cigarettes in his front pocket. “I’m totally rooting that you find someone else, because I fucking hate Daisy. Just break up with her first and don’t bring Callie into it. She seems sad. ” He swallows hard. “She kind of reminds me of Amy. ”