The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, Page 26Jessica Sorensen
He steps in front of me and I freeze. His green eyes are harsh, his jawline taut, his expression indifferent. “I think you forgot something. ”
I force the bread down my throat. “Fine, sir, I’ll find somewhere else to put it. ”
He eyes me with intimidation for a second longer, before stepping back. “And you better come back and clean those crumbs off the counter. ”
I inhale through my nose as I move for the doorway. “Yes, sir. ”
He takes out a bowl from the dishwasher and I hurry out of the house. Why can’t I just hit him? I thought about it a few times when I was younger, but was always afraid he would retaliate twenty times harder. By the time I got older and bigger, something had died inside me and I didn’t really care. I let him kick me, hit me, wishing he’d finally go over the edge and it’d all be over.
That is until the night he almost did and Callie showed up and saved me.
My phone rings and I retrieve it from my pocket as Daisy’s name pops up on the screen.
“What?” I answer, jogging down the steps of the front porch.
“Hey,” she says in the high-pitched voice she uses when she’s around her friends. “How’s my favorite guy?”
“What? Aren’t you excited to hear from me?”
“I heard from you a few days ago,” I say. “When you made it very clear we weren’t a couple anymore. Or actually, Luke did when he told me you were fucking around with someone else. ”
“God, he has such a vendetta against me,” she snaps. “It’s like he wants us to break up. I never got why you were friends with him. He’s not even like you. ”
“What do you want, Daisy?” My tone is clipped as I hike across the grass toward the old truck, stuffing the last of the toast into my mouth.
“I want you to take me to homecoming, like you promised. ”
“I promised that when we were together. ”
She sighs dramatically. “Look, I know you’re mad at me, but I don’t have a date and I’ve been nominated for Homecoming Queen. The last thing I want to do is be alone when they call my name. ”
“I’m sure there’s a ton of guys that would love to take you. ” And get into your pants.
“But I want you to take me,” she complains. “Please, Kayden, I need this. ”
The phone vibrates and I pause at the end of the lawn, quickly switching the screen to text messages.
Callie: I wanted to see if u were okay. Luke told me u had to go home. If u need anything let me know.
I shake my head at her sweet message. She’s worried about me. No one has ever been worried about me before.
“God dammit, I can’t do this,” I mutter, kicking at the dirt. “I can’t be with you. ”
“Yes, you can,” Daisy says. “All you have to do is pick me up at seven. ”
I wasn’t talking to her, but it doesn’t matter. I need a distraction. “Fine, I’ll take you, but I’m not going to the party afterwards. ”
We hang up and I have the most sickening feeling in my stomach. As I pull the truck onto the street, I almost head east to the freeway, toward the campus. But as I glance down at the scars on my knuckles, I head west, towards town to park the truck somewhere and then drive back home to take Daisy to the prom.
“It’s Saturday night,” Seth says and he runs some gel through his hair. “You have to go out with me. There is no way in hell I’m going to let you stay in. ”
“I’ll be fine. ” I lift up a stack of textbooks in search of my notebook. Honestly, I’m feeling a little down after Kayden never returned my text. He’s probably just busy, though. “You’re totally looking into this Kayden thing too much. ”
He sits down in front of the computer, swiveling the chair as he scrolls through his Facebook page. “You haven’t been the one looking at your sad puppy dog eyes for the last two days. ”
I drop the stack of books and put my hands on my hips. “Where the heck did I leave my notes?”
“You left them in your room,” he says. “Remember we dropped them off while…” He trails off and then promptly shuts the screen down. When he swivels the chair around to look at me, his brown eyes are enlarged. “I have a brilliant idea. Why don’t you and I just go out? I can blow off Greyson and you and I can go see that silly movie you’ve been wanting to see. ”
I flop down on his bed. “No way. I’m not going to ruin the first date you’ve had in almost forever. ”
“Please Callie, just come out with me and have some fun. ”
I prop up on my elbows. “What’s wrong with you? You’re acting like a weirdo. ”
“That’s because I am a weirdo. ” He stands up from the chair without looking at me and shoves boxes aside with his foot so he can open the closet door. “I think I need to tell you something that you might be upset about, but that I feel you need to know. ”
“Okay… what is it?”
He removes a hanger from the bar and takes his jacket off of it. “You know what, let’s just go out and do something crazy. ”
I ease out of bed and stand up. “Seth, please tell me what’s going on. You have me worried. ”
He sighs, leaning back into the closet to put the hanger back on the bar. “Please don’t let this ruin your progress, but while I was on Facebook, I saw that Kayden had tagged himself with Daisy McMillian at the homecoming dance. ”
I bite down on my tongue until it hurts. “Okay. ”
He zips up his jacket and picks up the keys off the desk. “Do you want to change first, before we go out?”
I grab my bag off the bed. “I think I’m just going to go back to my room and study. ”
“Seth, I’ll be okay. Now go on your date and have a lot of fun for the both of us. ”
I dash out of the room before he can try to persuade me. I’m not sure how I feel about Kayden. I thought I was getting somewhere with my life. I thought I could smell the possibilities in the air.
Guess I was wrong.
I slip into my dorm room in the middle of the night, still wearing the tux with my bag in my hand. When I turn on the light, Luke sits up, blinks his eyes, and shakes his head.
“Okay, we have got to come up with a system where you quit waking me up. ” He studies my tux. “So that tag was right? You really went with her?”
“No, I picked her up and while I ran inside to pay for the gas, she took my phone and did that herself. ”
“You didn’t go to the dance with her? You just what? Wanted to get dressed up for fun?”
I tug the bowtie off my neck. “No, I made it to the parking lot, before I had a revelation. ”
He glances over at the clock. “I’ve heard those are pretty life changing. ”
I shuck off my jacket and toss it on the floor. “This one might have been… maybe. And you’ll be pretty happy about it. ”
“Because part of it was that I realized Daisy is a bitch. ”
He grins. “Finally. Took you long enough. You know, you’re kind of slow. ”
I sit down on the bed and start to untie my shoes.
The revelation was actually simple. During the drive to the school, Daisy had been yammering about how the manicurist messed up her nails. She kept rambling on and on and I started noticing little details about her, like the way her nose scrunched when she was talking or the dryness of her hair. She kept making her voice sound ditzy and when she reached over to touch my leg, I felt like flinging it off my lap.
She kept insulting everyone, so I tried to change the subject and make a joke, but she didn’t laugh. In fact, she looked at me for a second like she was wondering what she was doing with me. Then I began wondering what I was doing with her.
I dropped her off at the school and shoved the shifter into park. “Have fun. ”
She gaped at me. “What? You’re n
ot coming in?”
I shook my head with a small smile on my lips. “I should have never been here to begin with. ”
She threatened me with everything she could think of, before getting out of the car. I drove away, picked up my bag from the house, and headed back to the campus, feeling a weight lift from my shoulders.
“You’re right. I am kind of slow. ” I pick up my shoes and drop them into the closet. “Hey, did you see Callie at all while I was gone? I found an earring in your truck and I think it’s hers. ”
He’s quiet for a moment and then shifts in his bed. “I have to ask you something about her. Just how much do you like her?”
I shrug, because I really don’t know. “She’s nice and interesting. ” I shrug again, conflicted. “Why are you asking me such a fucking weird question?”
“Well, tonight, I ran into Seth out in the parking lot,” he says. “And he informed me that Callie found out you were at homecoming with Daisy. ”
I grab my jacket and head for the closet to get a hanger, my steps slowing down as I realize what it means. “Did he say if she was upset?”
“He sure was,” Luke replies. “He yelled at me for like ten minutes. ”
I insert the ends of the hanger through the sleeves of the jacket. “I should probably go talk to her. ” I grab a t-shirt and some pajama bottoms from my bag and walk back to the closet to change so Luke doesn’t see my hideous scars.
“Yeah, good luck with that. ” Luke collapses back onto the bed, yawning. “Because I’m pretty sure Seth isn’t going to let you anywhere near her ever again. ”
My heart constricts inside my chest at the idea. Even though I keep telling myself to stay away from her, it hurts thinking that it might actually happen. I admit the truth about my feelings for the first time in my life. I actually have them. And I have them for Callie. Now what I’m supposed to do with them I have no fucking idea.
The next morning I wake up early because I can’t sleep. I have this reoccurring dream where I’m back at the pool house and my father is beating me. This time though, Callie doesn’t show up, and his fists continue to smash into my face over and over again until I black out.
I get dressed and walk over to the shop across the street to get a coffee. I’m on my way back to the campus when Callie appears at the end of the sidewalk. She has a book in her hand, reading while she heads in my direction, oblivious to the people and cars moving by her. Her hair is braided to the side, with loose strands framing her face, and her jacket is zipped half way up. Her tight jeans show how breakable she is.
I wait for her by the street post and she doesn’t glance up at me until the last second.
“Hey,” I say, trying not to worry about the fact that she’s stopped several feet away from me. I move over to her slowly, taking a sip of my coffee. “What are you reading? You looked totally into it. ”
Her gaze lingers on me and I squirm. She lifts the book up and taps the cover where the title is.