Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, Page 29

Jessica Sorensen

Page 29


  He does a double take when he sees that I’m awake. “For a while, I thought you were going to sleep all day. ”

  Sunlight flickers through the window as I glance at the clock hanging on the wall above the bed. “Holy crap, it’s almost dinnertime?” The thought of food squeezes at my stomach.

  He hands me a coffee and I gladly take it. “Seth told me that you love lattes. ”

  I nod, taking a swallow. It tastes divine. “God, my head hurts so badly. ”

  He balances the other cup on the nightstand. “That usually happens when you drink too much. ”

  I lower the cup away from my face. “Kayden… I can’t… I don’t know what happened. ”

  He sits down on the bed beside me and the mattress concaves under his weight. “Well, I only got the privilege of witnessing the last half of the night, but from what I heard, Seth said you drank a ton of vodka. By the time I met up with you at Ben’s party, you were trashed. ”

  I wince. “Did I do anything… weird?”

  “Not really. You had to sleep here because I lost track of Seth and there was a red scarf on your door. ”

  “Where did you sleep?”

  He tenses, looking guilty. “Next to you. ”

  I lick the froth from my lips and stare out the window at the clear blue sky. “If I remember right, you had to carry me?”

  He nods. “You could barely walk… I didn’t mind doing it, though. ”

  I pull the blanket off my body and slide my feet over the edge of the bed. “I should probably go take a shower and try to eat. Although, I feel like puking my guts out. ”

  He places a hand on my leg, enfolding his fingers around my knee. “I actually want you to come somewhere with me. There’s something really important I need to tell you… It’s about what happened that night at the pool house. ” There’s heaviness in his eyes and stiffness in his voice.

  “Okay,” I say. “Do I have to go with you now? Or can I shower first? I feel really gross. ”

  He laughs at me. “You can shower first. I’ll wait for you out on the benches. ”

  I get to my feet with a sudden urge to hug him. “Alright, I’ll make it quick. ” I head for the door, but pause as I turn the knob. “Kayden, thank you for taking care of me last night. ”

  “It’s not that big of a deal. ” He hesitates. “I owe you a lot more nights of that before we’ll ever be even. ”


  I hardly slept last night. I lay in bed, listening to Callie breathe, trying to match my own breathing to the rhythm. Part of me wished she’d just stay asleep, so I could continue to lie next to her.

  By the time the sun rose above the mountains, I decided it was time to tell her the truth, so she knew what she was getting into. Then she can decide if she really wants me, because I can’t seem to stay away from her.

  I’m nervous as fucking hell as I drive up the mountain where we took our first hike together. I park the truck near the tree line and we hop out, walking below the blue sky toward the hills.

  “We’re really going to climb up there again?” she asks, staring up at the top of the cliff as we approach it. Her hair is scattered across her back and her arms are crossed over her chest.

  I mount onto a boulder that’s on the side of the path and gaze out at the view. “It’s quiet today. ” I sit down on the rock and pat the spot next to me. “Come sit down by me. ”

  She shuffles toward me and I offer her my hand to pull her up. She situates beside me, rests back on her palms, and gazes out at the hills in front of us. I shut my eyes for a moment, feeling everything, knowing it’s going to go either good or bad when I tell her.

  “That night you showed up and my father was beating my ass,” I start before I can back out, “wasn’t the first time that he hit me. "

  She doesn’t act surprised. “How many times has he hit you?”

  I watch a leaf float in front of us, drifting up and down, before blowing out across the spacious land. “I don’t know… I lost track around the age of seven or something. ”

  She sucks in a sharp breath and her head angles to the side so she’s looking at me. “He hit you like that when you were little?”

  I shrug, like it’s no big deal. “It’s just something he did, you know? More when he was drunk, although he did do it when he was sober. He didn’t like things that we did and instead of grounding us or taking away our toys, he would hit and yell at us. ”

  She stays silent for a long time as she studies the clouds in the sky. “What did you do to make him mad that night?”

  “I hurt my hand. ” I flex my fingers out in front of me, not telling her that I did it on purpose. I’m not ready for that. “He was worried I was going to ruin my football career. ”

  She grows quiet again. “Why did you never do anything about it? Tell someone? Or fight back?”

  And there it is. What I was waiting for. She’s realizing how fucked up the situation is. “I don’t know. At first I guess it was because I was too young to understand and by the time I got old enough to do something about it, I just didn’t care. Sometimes it feels like I’ve died inside. ” I shrug and then shrug again, forcing myself to look at her.

  She arches her eyebrows at me, confounded, but there’s no judgment in her eyes. “You didn’t care that he hit you?”

  I shut my eyes and inhale the cool air. “That’s why I’m telling you this. I just don’t do feelings very well and I’m probably going to shut down and do a lot of fucked up things. You need to just stay away from me. ”

  It’s silent and I open my eyelids, half expecting her to be gone, but she’s watching me, her chest rising and falling with her breathing. She stares at me and then shifts her weight, scooting toward me and I tense. Kneeling up, she hitches her leg over my lap and encloses her arms around my neck, resting her head against my shoulder. She hugs me tightly and my eyes widen, my whole body constricting as I try to keep my hands off her, not knowing what to do or how to react. After a while her scent and warmth get to me and my hands slide up to the bottom of her back. Shutting my eyes, I hug her back with everything I have in me.


  There is something about someone trusting you enough with their secrets that it makes it easier to trust them. It’s like they’re opening their heart and in return yours should open up to them, too.

  Kayden opened up to me and I wanted to open up back, but I couldn’t. Not completely anyway. I want to. I want him so much that I don’t know what to do with myself.

  I want him. I want him. I want him.

  No matter how many times I write it, it still doesn’t feel real. None of this does, because I never believed it would happen.

  Someone knocks on my door and I climb off the bed to answer it. Kayden is on the other side with a football cradled under his arm. Instead of wearing his uniform, he’s dressed in a nice pair of jeans and a grey t-shirt. His brown hair flips up beneath a black baseball hat.

  “I have a favor to ask you. ” It’s been a couple of weeks since he told me about his father and we’ve hung out a lot as friends, but there’s something in his eyes tonight that’s different, lighter.

  “Okay…” I back away from the doorway and let him in. His eyes instantly go to the open notebook on my bed. I lunge for it and tuck it under my pillow.

  “Was that the journal?” He grins as he switches the balls position to beneath his other arm.

  “Can you pretend you didn’t see that?” I put my hands out in front of me, overlapping my fingers. “Pretty please. ”

  He smiles. “Is there stuff in it about me?”

  I pretend to itch my eye to conceal the blood rushing to my cheeks. “No. ”

  “Callie, you’re blushing,” he teases, taking a step forward so he can withdraw my hand from my face. “Don’t hide it. It’s cute. ”

  I roll my eyes, more at myself, because his comment only makes my cheeks heat more. “So what’s the favor?”
/>   “I need you to come help me practice. ” He wanders around the room, taking in everything, passing the ball back and forth between his hands. “Luke’s busy with some girl he’s been dating for a week and he won’t come with me. ”

  “I can do that,” I say. “But you don’t look dressed for practice. ”

  “This will be a mild practice. ” He faces me. “Just a little throwing. ”

  “And you think I can help you?” I question, my gaze scaling up his very sturdy body.

  “I saw you at the store. It looked like you were more than capable. Besides, you were bragging to Ben at that party about how awesome your football knowledge is. ”

  “I did not. Did I?”

  He nods. “You did. ”

  It makes me wonder what else I said. Sometimes it feels like I said stuff to him that he keeps from me.

  “Alright. ” I grab my keys from my desk and slip my feet into my converses. “I will do my best to challenge you. ”

  He chuckles under his breath as he turns for the door and I wonder if he’s thinking about the night we kissed like I am.


  When we get to the stadium, the lights are shining down across the green field. The bleachers are empty and the only sign of anyone is the janitor out front emptying the garbage cans.

  We walk into the center of the field and I spin in a circle, looking at all the bleachers, feeling small because of the massive size of my surroundings. The sky is dark, the stars are out, and the moon orbs fully.

  Kayden tosses the football up in the air as I button up my jacket. “You know, ever since that day at the store, I’ve been really curious to see you throw again. I’m wondering if it was a fluke. ”

  I position my hands on my hips and target a glare in his direction. “Hey, what’s with the insulting?”

  “I’m just trying to get you worked up. ” He starts to run backwards with the ball in his hand. “It’ll make you play better. ” He launches the ball at me and I catch it, wincing when the leather scrapes my palms.

  “That stung. ” I pretend to be hurt, cradling my wrist.

  His arms fall to his side and he strides toward me. “Callie, I’m so—”

  I fling back my arm and throw the football as hard as I can in his direction. He runs backward, jumping just in time to catch it.

  When his feet touch the grass again, he shakes his head. “You play dirty. ”

  I shrug, not arguing. “It was how I was taught. My dad takes the game very seriously. ”

  “Oh, I know that. Do you know how many times he chewed my ass off for messing up? It was a good thing, though. ” He throws the football to my side and I have to move quickly to catch it. “He kept me on my toes and pushed me. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would have never gotten the scholarship. ”

  I hold the football in my hands. “I don’t want this to come out rude, but couldn’t your family afford to pay for your tuition if you wouldn’t have received the scholarship?”