The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 34Jessica Sorensen
“Oh, you think that’s funny?” I sit up, still holding onto her waist, my fingertips delving into her wet skin. Beads of water are streaming down her body, her hair, her soft skin and it’s even better than I ever could have imagined. We sit there for a while, listening to the water fill up the tub, looking at each other, waiting for the other one to speak.
“Callie, I have to ask…” I massage her hip bones with my thumbs. “About the throwing-up thing. ”
She stops breathing, but doesn’t move away. “I’m working on it. ”
I let out a deep exhale through my nose. “You’re too skinny… to be doing that. ”
“I told you it’s not about that. ”
“I know it’s not about that, but regardless, it’s making you too skinny and I hate the fucking idea that you’re hurting yourself. ”
I’m being a hypocrite, but it’s important that she knows how I feel because she always tells me how she feels.
“Maybe I should talk to someone,” she says, conflicted.
“Although I’ve been doing better. ”
“Talking to someone would be good. ” I shut my eyes and summon up some courage. “I’ve been… I’ve been talking to this therapist at the clinic. As much as I hate the fucking clinic and the reason why I was there, he seems like an okay guy. ” I shift my weight as the water gets higher. “I’m supposed to keep seeing him. ”
“That’s good,” she says, searching my eyes for something.
“Maybe you should tell him about what your dad did. ”
My fingers pierce deeper into her skin. “I’m not sure if he’s the right person. ”
“Then who is?”
She has a point. Who would I tell? My mom? My brother?
After that, the only people I know wouldn’t know what the fuck to do with the info. “Maybe I could. ”
“You’re going to,” she insists and runs her hand through my wet hair, smoothing it out of my face. “And I’ll come with you. ”
I’m wary and hesitant, and honestly, as much as I care about her, I really don’t want her there, listening to all the fucked-up things I’ve done. “Callie… I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I don’t want you hearing the gory details. ”
“I saw the gory details,” she says and tears form in the corners of her eyes. “I can handle hearing them… unless you don’t want me to be there. ” Determination burns in her eyes.
“Callie, I really don’t think you should be there,” I protest, my insides clenching as I think about her hearing the inner workings of my screwed-up head.
She shakes her head and takes my hand. “Kayden, I can help you if you’ll just let me… Please just let me help you. ”
It’s hard to say no when she’s looking at me this way, so even though I want to go alone, I hear myself saying, “Okay, you can come with me… but only if you promise me one thing. ”
She nods enthusiastically. “Anything. ”
“That I can be there to help you when you tell your family about Caleb. ”
She considers this, looking conflicted, but then she slowly leans in and lightly places her lips against mine. “Okay,” she whispers against my mouth. “We can do this,” she mutters and I’m not sure if she’s talking to me or herself. “Because I think we’re stronger when we’re together. ”
I think about last night and how she managed to calm me down and stop me from cutting. She might be right. On so many levels. “I think we should head back today… I don’t think I should have probably left in the first place… I kind of feel like I’m running away from everything. ”
She nods in agreement. “It might have been a bad idea. ”
“Not bad. ” I inch my fingers between her legs, causing her breath to falter. “What happened last night…” I lower my voice as I dip my lips toward her ear and run my fingers across the back of her hand. I want to get as much Callie-time as possible, just in case this doesn’t end well, because in my world things generally don’t.
It’s painful to think about, but realistic, and it could end up being reckless and damaging if I didn’t see this way. “What happened over and over again…” I slip my finger inside her and her body curves into mine. “… was in no way bad at all. ” I kiss her cheek as her eyes gaze off. “It was amazing. ”
I start moving my finger until I drive her to the edge and she cries out my name. Then I slip my soaked boxers off and slide inside her, wanting every part of her, knowing that at any moment things can go wrong. But for once in my life, I hope they don’t. I hope everything goes okay. What that means, I’m not sure, but I want to find out.
#26 Face the inevitable, whatever the hell it is
Bathtubs aren’t as gross as I thought. I’ve never been much of a bather. The idea of sitting in water and soaking in your own filth grosses me out. But after the bath with Kayden, I think I’ve had a change of heart. After we get out, we get dressed and then prepare ourselves to head out into the kitchen. It’s kind of scary, leaving the room. We’ve lived in this magical, safe bubble for the last fifteen hours and as soon as we step over the threshold it’s going to pop, especially when we tell Seth and Luke we have to go home early.
I put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, pull my hair into a ponytail, and slip my shoes on. Kayden has on a plaid shirt, jeans, and boots. His hair’s a little damp and he had to take the bandage off because it got wet in the bathtub. The wounds beneath it aren’t healing and one of them looks fresh. He notices me staring at them as he rolls his sleeve down to cover them up.
“I’m going to work on it,” he says with his head down as he buttons his sleeve. Pieces of his hair hang in his eyes and, unable to stop myself, I brush them away.
“I can’t lose you. ” I’m not one hundred percent sure why I say it other than I can’t stop thinking about him lying on the floor and how I felt when I thought he wasn’t going to make it. “I need you. ”
He seems to grow uncomfortable with my declaration, fidgeting with the bottom button on his shirt. It doesn’t matter, though. He needs to know. In fact, I think I’m going to tell him a lot just how much I need him and how great a person he is, because I don’t think he’s heard it that much.
“You ready?” he asks, finally looking up from his shirt. He reaches for a rubber band on top of the dresser and slips it onto his wrist.
I nod and open the door. “Seth’s not going to be happy we’re leaving. ”
“Yeah, Luke isn’t going to be either. ” He winds around me.
“But oh well. ”
I follow him out the door and down the hall into the kitchen.
Seth and Luke are sitting at the table, looking exhausted: bags under their eyes, which are bloodshot, pale skin, and they look nauseous. Seth is dressed in cargo shorts and a gray polo, and his hair is stylishly tousled. Luke’s got a pair of striped pajama bottoms on and no shirt. I immediately feel uncomfortable at the sight of his bare chest with tattoos all over it. Some of my old feelings of shame and guilt begin to surface, so I hitch my finger through one of Kayden’s belt loops on the back of his jeans. I don’t know why I do it, other than holding onto him seems to have a serene effect on me.
He glances over his shoulder at me, his emerald eyes glistening as he looks at me with concern. “Are you okay?”
I nod, avoiding looking in Luke’s direction, biting at my nails.
“Yeah, I’m fine. ”
He looks down at my finger in his belt loop, and then shrugs it off. I love him even more at that moment, especially when he swings his arm around my shoulder and pulls me up next to him as we stop near the counter, which is littered with beer bottles, ashes, and cigarette butts.
He slants in and brushes his lips across my forehead, before he announces, “So, we have to head back today. ”
Luke starts digging around in the fridge and then he moves back with a gallon of milk in his hand, kicking t
he door shut with his barefoot. “Are you fucking kidding me? We just got here yesterday morning. ”
“I know,” Kayden says, glancing at me with a hint of fear in his eyes. “But… but there are a few things that Callie and I have to take care of back at home. ”
Seth puts a cigarette in his mouth, cups his hand around the end, and flicks the lighter. “Like what?” He drops the lighter onto the table and leans back, taking a long drag and then letting a thin trail of smoke escape his mouth.
“Like really important stuff,” I say with pressing eyes, hoping he’ll catch on.
And just like the good friend that he is, he catches on. “Oh, okay. ”
Luke shoots him a harsh look as he twists off the lid on the milk. “No way. I’m driver. Therefore I get final say. ”
Kayden exhales loudly and then moves his arm away from my shoulder. He walks up to Luke and places his hand on the counter, standing right in front of Luke. “Look, I know why you don’t want to go back—and I really don’t want to make you—but there’s something I’ve been running away from that I need to return to. ”
I don’t know if Luke understands Kayden’s full meaning, but I think he might. He nods his head with a grunt, even though he looks annoyed. “Alright, if it’s important, then it’s important. ”
“Thanks. ” Kayden returns to my side. “You want to go pack your stuff?”
I nod and then motion at Seth to come with me. He puts his cigarette out in a leaf-shaped ashtray that’s in the center of the table and then pushes the chair back. He gets to his feet, glancing at Kayden as he walks by, and then he links arms with me. We walk side by side back to the room. As soon as the door shuts, he turns around and puts his hands on his hips.
“All right, let’s have it,” he demands. “What’s going on?”
I shake my head and bend down to pick up a pair of shorts and one of my shirts off the floor. “I can’t tell you. ”
He gapes at me with his hands out to the side. “Why?”
“Because I can’t yet. ” I ball up the clothes and stuff them into my bag, which is near the foot of the bed on the floor. “Part of it’s that I’m not ready to and part of it’s because it’s not my thing to tell—it’s Kayden’s. ”
He doesn’t press anymore. He starts packing his stuff as I gather up my clothes. I clean up a little, stalling, knowing that as soon as we walk out of the house, Kayden and I’ll be stepping back into reality and all I can hope is that it’ll be nice to us.
#15 Stop torturing yourself
I’m afraid to go home and face my mother, even with Kayden at my side. Halfway there I turn on my phone to find that I have thirty-seven new voicemails and fifty-eight text messages. All are from her and it’s unbelievable and yet believable at the same time.