The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 32Jessica Sorensen
She stops herself quickly, like she’s afraid to say it, but it’s enough that I can tell she means it. And it’ll mean something to me. I know that. It’s not like back when Daisy and I use to say it to each other.
It was just a word between her and me that meant nothing other than it was part of the script. If Callie says it, then I know it means she loves me and I don’t know how to handle that. Love… Love… Love. What the fuck does the word mean?
I don’t have a God damn clue and I don’t like how enthused my heart got when the words just about left her lips, like it’d been waiting around silently for that one word to fall from her lips and jumpstart it to life again. It doesn’t matter how I feel, though. She’s told me she’ll tell if I tell and no matter how much I don’t want to fucking tell, it’s done once she says it. Because I’d put my pain and shame out there to take hers away. I’d stab myself in the heart if it meant her life would be easier.
We lay in bed for a while, listening to the ocean crash against the shore. There are birds cawing just outside the window and someone is snoring out in the living room. I hold onto her while she falls asleep, wishing this is how things would always be. That I could just lie here with her and be at peace with myself and life.
But every nerve in my body is disturbed and adrenaline is coursing through me more powerfully than the waves outside. I’m itching for a razor or something sharp because I took the damn rubber bands off my wrists. I try to pinch myself a thousand times, and then I finally stab my fingernails into my skin. The pain and feelings that come with it keep building like the waves outside. I keep thinking about how I used Luke’s razor to finally shave off my stubble and even though I wanted to, I resisted the urge to cut my skin because I couldn’t stop thinking about kissing Callie in the alley.
This time though, I can’t shut it off. It’s consuming me, the need, the compulsion, the overtaking desire to get it all out of my head and body. Finally, I can’t take it anymore. I peek down at Callie, making sure that she’s still asleep, and then I vigilantly lift my arm off her and place it beneath her head. Inching my body to the side, I scoot out from underneath her and then gently lower her head onto the pillow.
She incoherently mutters something as she twists to her side and tucks her hands below her cheek. I stand there for a moment, making sure she’ll fall back asleep and then I walk quietly across the room to the bathroom in the corner. I flip on the light and shut the door. Callie’s bag is sitting on the counter, and although I hate the idea of digging through it, I need a razor. The only other alternative is to slam my fist into something and that will make noise and I might break something.
I rummage through her bag until I come across a small pouch at the bottom. I take it out and let out a sigh of relief as I spot a razor in the midst of her makeup and travel-size bags of shampoo. I take it out and run my finger along the top blade, testing the sharpness. It looks a lot like the first one I used: pink, with a strip of something at the top. But it’s sharper, and knowing that calms me.
I decide where the best place to make the cut is, the place where she won’t notice. Finally, I slide the bandage down and put the razor to my wrist, not by a vein but to the side where there are already a collection of scars. My head is tipped down and I’m about ready to make the first incision when I hear the door open.
I freeze. No one has ever walked in on me while I was doing it. And what’s worse is that it’s Callie. I don’t even have to look up to know it’s her. I can smell her shampoo and I can hear the sound of her uneven breathing.
“Kayden. ” Her voice is alarmingly calm, not at all what I expected.
Fuck. Shit. Fuck. I don’t want to look up because then it’s real and she’ll be able to see how weak I really am. Plus, she’ll make me stop. And I’ve never had to stop when I’m almost there. I don’t know how my body or mind’s going to react.
Her feet shuffle across the floor as she inches toward me. I still have my head tipped down, my teeth biting hard on my tongue. Her bare feet appear in my line of vision and her legs are naked three-quarters of the way up and then my shirt covers her small-framed body.
“Kayden,” she repeats, sounding so fucking calm it’s unsettling.
I still have the edge of the razor aligned with my skin and every muscle and vein below the skin has warped and convoluted into knots. “Callie, just walk out and shut the door. I’ll be out in a minute. ”
There’s a long pause and I think that maybe she’s actually considering it.
“No,” she says firmly. “I won’t. ”
My hand trembles and my heart thuds brutally inside my chest. I don’t want to snap at her, but I’m panicking and my feelings are controlling me. “Callie, I swear to God if you care about me at all, you’ll turn around and walk back out into the room. ”
She takes another small step, reducing the already limited space between us. “I do care about you and that’s why I’m not going to leave. ”
My head snaps up and rage bursts inside me, flames ripping through my body. I’m about to ruin everything but I can’t stop it.
“Just get the hell out!”
“No. ” Determination burns in her eyes. She doesn’t even look like the Callie I know. She looks strong and confident. “I won’t let you do it. ”
I lean in toward her with the razor still pressed against my skin and I notice her gaze flick to it. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave. You don’t get this… I don’t need you. Now leave. ”
Her hand snaps out and she grabs ahold of my wrist, her tiny fingers encircling it firmly. “I do get it. You want to stop whatever the hell it is you’re feeling and this is the only way you know how.
And because I get that, I’m not going to leave. If you walked in on me when I was… when I was trying to… when I was trying to make myself throw up, I’d want you to stop me even though I know I’d try and argue and justify it with you. ” Her fingers pry into mine as she tries to steal the razor from my hand. “I get you!”
For a brief second her words stop the uncontrollable urge to stab the razor deep into my skin, but then I panic again. I jerk my arm back from her grip, ready to scream at her and probably say words that will scar her for life. But as I move my arm, she winces and she hastily withdraws her hand back to her. Her finger skimmed the razor and her blood is dripping onto the floor by her feet.
I no longer give a shit about the razor or getting rid of my emotions. I chuck the blade into the sink. “Callie, I’m so fucking sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. ” I’ve fucked things up again.
She’s clutching onto her finger and blood is spilling out and her face is contorted in pain. She looks at me through her bangs and I prepare myself for whatever she’s going to say: rejection, hatred, anger. But then she doesn’t say anything. Instead, she moves toward me and the next thing I know, she climbs onto me, hitching her legs around my waist and fastening herself to me.
Then she wraps her arms around the back of my neck and presses her forehead to the side of my neck, right where my pulse is throbbing. I tense, but then a tranquil feeling rushes through my body. My heart starts to still as she hugs me resolutely, trusting me wholly. I’ve never experienced anything like it, especially in the middle of one of my meltdowns and I don’t know what to do with myself except stand there with my hands lifelessly at my sides.
“Callie,” I say, but she steals my voice as she clutches onto me and places kisses on my neck.
“It’ll be okay,” she whispers between each touch of her lips. “I promise. ”
I don’t fully understand what it is she’s promising, or maybe I do and I’m just not ready to admit it yet. Either way, I find that I’m calm enough to leave the bathroom. I walk back to the bed and lie us down. She refuses to let go of me even when I get us onto the mattress. She crosses her ankles behind my waist, latching onto me and making it impossible for me to escape.
But that’s okay.
For the first time in my life I’m content enough that I don’t want to.
Callie I had one of those moments where I knew that every single thing I did mattered, from the way that I breathed, to the tone of my voice. Honestly, I am terrified out of my mind. I’d felt him wake up, but I didn’t think too much off it, until suddenly I did. It snapped me out of my sleep and I went in there, knowing I was about to walk in on something that could potentially break me, just like I did when I was twelve. This time things would end differently though because I’d be strong and I’d save him, just like he’s saved me.
He’s pissed about it, which is understandable, but it doesn’t mean I give up and eventually it ends okay. Well, other than the fact that I cut my finger open, something I’m painfully reminded of when I open my eyes.
The sun is sparkling through the window and paints the sky in contrasting shades of pink and orange. My finger is throbbing and I realize I never cleaned it up. There’s blood on my hand, on my arm, on the bed, and on Kayden’s chest where I am resting my hand.
I sit up, cradling it in my other hand, and blink my eyes until the room comes into focus. I’m still wearing Kayden’s shirt and it smells like his cologne. Swinging my feet off the bed, I leave him to sleep as I head into the bathroom.
My hair is a tangled mess and there are dark circles under my eyes. I feel exhausted as I turn the faucet on and wince when the warm water runs over the wound, washing away the blood and part of last night. I rest my elbows on the countertop and let my head fall forward as I keep my hand beneath the water.
“Are you okay?” Kayden asks and I whip my head up, startled.
He’s standing in the doorway, with his boxers on, and in the bright morning light all of his scars are very distinctive against the outlines of his chest and ab muscles.
“I’m fine. ” I shut off the water and reach for a towel, then press my finger into it. “I just forgot to wash it off last night. That’s all. ”
He steps into the bathroom and I tense as he extends his hand for the towel. He lifts it off and brings my finger closer to his face, examining it. “I’m sorry I hurt you,” he says.
I shake my head. “You didn’t hurt me. It was my own fault… and it was worth it. ”
When he glances up at me, he looks horrified, but then the look disappears and he lifts my hand to his lips. He places a tender kiss on my finger and then moves his mouth downward to kiss my hand. He continues to make a path of kisses across my forearm and all the way to the crook of my arm, and then turns upward, showering my skin in succulent kisses until he reaches the top of my shoulder. He gives it an affectionate suck and his tongue rolls out along my skin. The sensation of his zealous breath drives a shiver through my body and I place a hand on his shoulder to keep from falling down.
“You are the most amazing person,” he whispers against my neck. “You really are. ”
I almost start to cry. “So are you. ”