The Coincidence of Callie & KaydenJessica Sorensen
Amy is Luke’s older sister, who took her own life at the age of sixteen. He was never the same after her death. I wonder what happened to bring Amy to the bottom, what made her want her life to be over.
“I promise I’m not going to bring Callie into anything. ” I kick an empty cup across the road.
“Just think with your head. ” He smirks. “And not with your dick. ”
I swing my arm out to my side and my elbow smashes into his gut, hard enough that it’ll annoy him, but not hurt him. “I’m not breaking up with her and there’s nothing going on between Callie and me. ”
He lets out a grunt as he clutches his stomach. I’m about ready to laugh at him when Callie spins around looking terrified. I feel like an asshole. It only gets worse when Luke charges at me, and she just about jumps in between us. I question if she was thinking back to that night that she saved me or if she’s the kind of girl that just wants to save everyone.
I want to comfort her so I do something I shouldn’t. I put an arm around her shoulder and her muscles constrict so tightly that I worry she’s going to crumble to the ground. It’s different from the cliff because there are no excuses, yet she lets me hold her like that until we get into the club, then she quickly steps away as the music and smoke engulf us.
“It’s so loud in here,” she remarks, as she gapes at the people dancing in the middle of the room, writhing their hips, and pressing their sweaty bodies together. Neon lights flash across their horny faces and it’s practically like watching porn.
It’s a little much even for Luke and me, but we still go search the room for a vacant table, pushing our way through the mob of people. Seth and Luke instantly light up once we’re settled in a corner booth.
“I’ll go get the drinks,” Luke says sliding toward the end of the seat. “Since I’m the only one with an ID, unless you have yours on you. ”
“I told you my dad found it while we were packing up my stuff. ” I pick up the menu that’s in the middle of the table. “He cut it up. ”
From across the table, Callie peers up at me. I flip open my menu to avoid her penetrating gaze. “What do we want to order? Should we get an appetizer or something?”
“I have to use the little girl’s room,” Seth announces and Callie giggles at him. “Come with me Callie. ”
She takes his hand and follows him without even questioning. It leaves me scratching my head. She trusts him so much and everyone else so little. For a brief moment, I picture what it would be like for someone like her to trust me, but I have too many twisted secrets locked away inside me for that to ever happen.
“Holy Jesus. ” Once we’re inside the restroom, Seth whirls around and places his hands on his hips. “That was ridiculously sexy. ”
I turn on the faucet and place my hands underneath the warm water. “What was?”
He walks up beside me, capturing my gaze as he clears his throat accusingly. “The way he stepped up to save us. ”
I shut off the water and wave my hand in front of the paper towel device. “It was very nice of him. ”
“Callie Lawrence, you let him put his arm around you,” he states. “It was more than nice for you. God, I’m so jealous. ”
I grab a paper towel and run it along my hands. “He made me feel safe for a minute,” I admit, tossing the towel into the trashcan.
“And that’s a big step for you,” he says.
I nod my head an excessive amount of times. “I know it is. ”
His lips spread to a massive grin. “Should we go out and have some fun?”
One of the stall doors swings open and a fortyish-year-old woman walks out tucking her shirt into her jeans. Her heavy lined eyes land on Seth. “This is the women’s restroom. ” She points a finger at the door. “Can’t you read?”
“Can’t you see that everyone in this club is about twenty years younger than you?” Seth retorts, turning to the mirror. With his pinkie, he messes with his bangs. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to have some fun. ”
He grabs my arm and I offer the woman an apologetic smile before stumbling over my own feet as I hurry to keep up with Seth. He bangs his hand against the door and shoves it open, moving us to the outside. The smoke and noise instantly shatter around me as his fingers leave my arm.
“Can you believe her,” he says, patting his pocket for his cigarettes. “What a bitch!”
I don’t argue with him. He has a thing with being treated as an equal. “I think you left your cigarettes at the table,” I tell him.
We wind our way around the dance floor where an erotic song is playing. People have their hands all over each other, skin to skin, and watching it gives me a headache.
At the table, there are four shot glasses filled with clear liquid. Alongside each shot is a taller cup full of a brownish liquid with a lemon slice floating on the top.
“I didn’t know what everyone wanted to drink,” Luke explains as Seth lifts the shot to eyelevel and peers through the distorted glass. “So I just ordered vodka shots and Long Island Iced Teas. So we have intense and semi-intense. ”
Seth glances at me from the corner of his eyes. “Looks good to me. ” He raises the shot glass in the air. “Should we make a toast?”
I direct my attention to the dance floor so I won’t be scrutinized and watch a girl jump up and down with her arms in the air, trying to maintain her balance in the neon pink stilettoes on her feet. The guy she’s with is shaking his head at her, laughing.
“Callie, did you hear what Luke asked you?” Seth’s concerned voice flows over my shoulder.
Ripping my gaze away from the dance floor, I concentrate on Seth’s bloodshot eyes and the small glass in his hand. “No, what?”
“He wanted to know if you were going to join us?” he asks with pressing eyes.
I shake my head. “I don’t think so. ”
Luke smacks his hand on the table and the vibration tips over the salt and pepper shakers. “There’s an unwritten rule that you have to make a toast if it’s proposed. ”
I stand the shakers back up and sweep the spilt salt off the table. “Someone has to drive us all home. ”
“We’ll get a cab,” Luke proposes. “Easy fix. ”
I stare at the alcohol in front of me, wondering what the big deal is with the stuff, because with the beer I felt nothing. “But then you can’t go spray paint the rock. ”
Kayden targets a warning at Luke. “Just let her be, okay? If she doesn’t want to, then she doesn’t have to. ”
Setting the glass down, Seth chimes in. “We can have the cab driver drop us off and pick us up later. ” He leans over and cups his hand around my ear. “If you want to, then just do it. Pick up the glass and have some fun for once in your life, but if you really don’t, then shake your head. ”
My hair is down, I let Kayden touch me, and I’m sitting in a place bursting with sexual tension. It’s the most challenging night I’ve had in terms of facing my fears, so I wrap my fingers around the glass and lift it up in front of me.
“What the hell,” I say over the music. “We’ll get a cab. ”
Seth claps his hands and scoops up the shot. “Hell yeah!”
Kayden laughs at Seth and then inclines over the table toward me. “Are you sure you’re good? You don’t have to. ”
I nod with assurance. “I’m okay. I promise”
Seth levels his arm so his glass is just above the center of the table, right below the domed light. “Bottoms up. ”
Luke puts his hand up, and Kayden and I follow.
“Shouldn’t someone say something like meaningful or something?” Seth asks. “That’s what toasts are for. ”
Luke cocks his head to the side, tapping his fingers on the table. “To getting away. ”
Seth grins at me. “To acceptance. ”
Kayden bites at his bottom lip with his eyelids lowered. “To feeling alive. ”
bsp; The three of them fasten their eyes on me and I glance to Seth for help.
“This is your thing, Callie,” he tells me. “Whatever you want to say, just say it. ”
I suck in a breath and release it out gradually. “To being able to breathe. ”
There’s a moment that passes between Kayden and me as our expressions match. Then the four of us clink glasses.
“Fuck. ” Seth spills some of his on his hand and he licks it off. Tipping his head back, he pours the shot into his mouth. Then he slams the glass down and points at it. “I’m already ready for round two. ”
Kayden watches me as he moves the glass to his lips, arches his neck back, and gulps it down. I observe his neck muscles as they move to force the alcohol down. He lifts his head back up and licks his lips with his gaze attached to mine.
Inhaling deeply, I position the rim to my mouth, and the stench burns my nose as I let my head fall back and suck out the drink. The hot liquid spills down my throat and the heat is almost unbearable. As I bring the glass away from my mouth, my gag reflex kicks in and I choke on the burn, but keep my lips sealed, forcing the alcohol down. My shoulders heave as a strangled sound bursts from my lips.
“Are you gonna make it?” Luke wonders, setting his glass down on the table.
Seth gives me a gentle pat on the back. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I choke, with my palm pressed to my chest.
“Callie is a newbie,” Seth explains as he takes a swallow of the Long Island Iced Tea.
“You’ve never drank before?” Kayden gapes at me. “Really?”
I feel stupid as I shrug my shoulders. “No, nothing this hard anyway. ”
“Then why did you do it tonight?” he asks, looking guilty. “Did we pressure you too much?”
“No, I wanted to try it. ” I wipe my lips with the back of my hand.
His eyebrows furrow and a hint of a smile curves at his lips. “Was it on your list?”
“What?” Seth exclaims over the loud music, slamming his hand on the table. “You told him about the list?”
“I told him of the list,” I explain, stirring the straw around in my drink, watching the lemon go around and around. When I peek up through my hair, Kayden is observing me curiously.
“What list?” Luke wraps his lips around the straw and sips at his drink.
Seth and I trade a glance and then he shoos me with his hands to move off the seat. “How about you and I go dance?”
“Alright, I’m in. Just don’t do any of those weird moves again. Last time I fell on my butt. ” I adjust my shirt over my stomach as I get to my feet.
Laying a hand on the small of my back, Seth steers us toward the dance floor. He’s done this a couple of times with me, so he understands what he’s in store for; lots of panicking and a whole lot of clinginess.
He selects a section at the side of the dance floor where there are less people and the atmosphere is mellower. A slow song plays from the speakers and the lights stop flickering and settle to a pale glow. Seth looks ghostly white underneath them and his honey brown eyes look black as he puts his hands on my hips.