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The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 37

Jessica Sorensen

Page 37


  Halfway through, when I’m telling him about how my father choked me until I passed out, I started to cry.

  He’d done it because I’d lost the remote. After hours of searching, I’d finally given up. And I was never supposed to give up. I didn’t even fight him. He just started yelling and I stared at him, which seemed to piss him off only more. His face was bright red and he was screaming and then running at me. And I just stood there as he tackled me and wrapped his arms around my neck.

  I remember looking up at him and thinking, Please just kill me so it’ll be over. And when I woke up from my blackout, I found myself slightly disappointed.

  “So what’s next?” I ask, after Doug pays the bill, trying to wipe my eyes off on my sleeves as discreetly as possible.

  He puts his wallet back into his jacket and slides the empty plates aside. “That’s really up to you. ”

  I pile my fork and spoon onto the stack of plates, and then I stare at the healing crescent-shaped wounds on my arms with blood dried over them. “This therapist in Laramie that you know, is he… is he as understanding as you?” I don’t like the idea of opening up to anyone else.

  “He might even be better. ” Doug smiles. “But Kayden, you can call me whenever you want. And be sure to come to your appointment next week. ”

  I nod, scooting to the edge of the booth. “All right. ”

  Doug tosses a few ones down on the table. “Kayden, I feel like I have to say one more thing… about your father. ”

  I wince. Over the last several hours I’d said a lot of terrible thing about my father and even though I wish it weren’t that way, feelings of guilt and betrayal lie within me. Maybe one day, though, they’ll be gone. “What?”

  He takes his time answering. “I think you should consider pressing charges against him. What he did to you that night… there’s a lot you can do to him. ”

  I shake my head. “I can’t… especially since I might be getting charges pressed against me. ”

  “You don’t have to do it now,” he assures me. “There’s a somewhat lengthy time frame for these things… Maybe it’s something we can talk about next week. If you feel up to it. But that’s the key here. I don’t want to push you until you’re ready. ”

  Press charges against my father? I want to. The idea of throwing him out to the world is fucking appealing. But every grain of fear that’s ever been inside me rises. “Okay, we can talk about it next week. ”

  He nods and then gets up from the booth. I follow him outside, zipping up my jacket and tugging my hood over my head.

  I sling my bag over my shoulder as he gets into his car and drives away. I stand beneath the shelter of the carport watching the sunrise and the sky shift to a bright pinkish orange. It’s blinding to look at but I can’t seem to turn away. I keep staring at it until I see spots and then slide my hand into my pocket to call Luke, figuring I’ll skip the cold, numbing walk in exchange for a car ride. I turn on my phone and instantly feel like an ass. Callie has called and texted multiple times, asking if I’m okay. I’ve been gone all night and she’s probably worried sick.

  My voicemail light is flashing so I dial into it and hold my breath, fearing what she has to say, fearing she’ll say it’s over and realizing that I don’t want it to be over, a feeling that amplifies at the first sound of her voice.


  So Seth thought it would be a good idea for me to write everything that I’m feeling down and please, pretty please, keep in mind that I wrote this before the beach, but I’m sure I still feel the same way.

  She takes a deep breath and it sounds like she’s about to cry.

  Before I met you, I was kind of a mess. Even though Seth had brought me out of my shell, I still felt so ugly on the inside and outside… so broken… so ashamed I guess. Sometimes the pain was so bad that I couldn’t take it, and it’s part of the reason why I’d make myself throw up. It’s part of the reason why I chopped my hair off in sixth grade. Why I wore baggy clothes for so long. Why walking through a crowd sends me into a panic attack. Why I hated being touched. It was basically the reason for everything that I did. And it was always there all the time… Sometimes I just wanted a break from it, but every time I looked forward to see if a break was possible, it never seemed like it could happen. I honestly thought I’d be that way forever, which sometimes made me wish that forever would be a really short time.

  She takes another deep breath and her voice falters.

  I actually thought about making it short a few times, but I never got further than the thoughts. I’m glad I did too, because despite all the ugly and heaviness and panic attacks, it was worth the suffering because I got you… You saved me from a lifetime of self-loathing and torture. You saved me from myself, from my past, from the painful, lonely future I’d set up for myself. And I thought everything would be okay. But then I found you on the floor… that night… and I realized how much you’d been hurting and how much you needed to be saved too. Not just from the injuries but from the pain I know you have trapped inside you.

  I get it. I really do. And I’ll do anything to help you. You just have to let me help. And I need you to let me help you because I need you. I can’t… I can’t….

  She starts to cry and it makes my own eyes water up. There are people walking in and out of the café and I’m standing underneath the carport in front of cars crying like a fucking baby.

  But it doesn’t matter. The tears, the pain, the past, none of it matters. They’re just things that exist inside me like the scars on my body. Sure, they’ll always be there, reminding me of what I went through, but it doesn’t mean I have to hold on to the pain.

  Scars fade and become marks on my skin. They weren’t originally there and although they do alter how my skin looks, they don’t change how I work and function.

  Her tears quiet and she sniffles before speaking again.

  I can’t do this without you. I… I-I love you, Kayden. And I don’t expect you to say it back. I don’t expect anything. I just wanted you to know because you deserve to know and you deserve to be loved.

  The line goes quiet. I hear her breathing for a moment before she hangs up. Her words echo in my head. It’s like she knows. Knows that no one’s ever said that to me before, except for Daisy and that wasn’t the same. It was fake and easy to say back to her because it was just words to both of us. Callie means it. I can tell through the sound of her tears.

  I don’t know what to do. My heart is thumping in my chest as I glance around at the people getting in their cars and eating their breakfast inside the diner. I know what I want to do. I want to turn it off, make my heart relax, run away from the feelings nipping at my heels.

  I get up, sliding my phone into my back pocket, and then I start to run down the road right as the wind kicks up. Snow flurries are falling on the sidewalk and road, but I run against them, pushing forward, unsure where I’m going. And that’s okay.

  Sometimes the best things are the ones that aren’t planned, the decisions made while living in the moment.

  Chapter 17

  #1 Overcome your worst fear


  “Have you heard anything from him?” Seth asks me. He’s lounging on the bed, with the remote pointed at the television as he surfs through the channels. Kayden’s been gone all night and I’m extremely worried about him. I text him a couple of times, but he doesn’t respond. Everyone keeps reassuring me that everything’s okay, but Luke left really early, saying he needed coffee, when really I think he went to look for Kayden. At least I hope he did.

  I shake my head and set the brush down on the counter.

  “No, not yet. ”

  I wonder if he’s heard my voicemail, if he’s heard me pour out my heart and soul. If he has, he’s probably upset, or pissed, or maybe even scared. But I needed to say it. No more hiding. I love Kayden and he needed to know that.

  I leave my hair down and walk back into t
he room. I drop down on the bed, flat on my stomach, and stretch out. “I need caffeine,” I say through a yawn. “I didn’t sleep very well. ”

  He tosses the remote onto the foot of the bed. “Maybe it’s because you spent half the night talking to a voicemail. ”

  I prop up on my elbows. “You heard that?”

  He nods. “I heard the crying too. ” Leaning forward, he sweeps my hair out of my face. “Do you want to talk about it?”

  I shake my head and pivot to my side. “Not really. I kind of talked about it last night. ”

  He crooks his eyebrow. “On a voicemail. ”

  I nod. “He’ll hear it and that’s all that matters. ”

  “And then what?”

  “And then he hears it. ”

  Seth waits for an explanation. “And…”

  I trace the floral pattern on the faded bedspread. “And then nothing… I didn’t tell him because I expected anything. I just wanted him to know how I felt about him… He deserves that. ”

  He presses his lips together, contemplating. “Did you tell him you love him?”

  I look up from the bedspread. “Y-yes. ”

  “Callie, I…” There are drops of pity in his eyes. He doesn’t think this is going to end well.

  I sit up and tuck my feet under me. “Seth, I promise everything will be all right. The very fact that I could tell him I loved him means something to me… It means I’m growing. Do I wish he’ll say it back? Yes. But either way, I’m glad I did it. ”

  He gives me a lopsided grin and then brushes the tip of my nose with the tip of his finger. “That’s good. ” He sits up and swings his feet over the edge of the bed. “But Callie, if he doesn’t say it back, as your best friend and protector of evil guys who want to hurt you, I’m going to have to kick his ass. ”

  I snort a laugh and cover my mouth. “Yeah, okay. ”

  He stands to his feet and presses his fist into his hand, popping his knuckles. “I’m not joking. I’ll hurt him for hurting you. ”

  Laughter sputters from my lips at the sight of tall, thin Seth trying to kick Kayden’s ass. “Well, thank you, protector. I appreciate your getting your ass kicked. ”

  His nose crinkles as he scoops up a pillow and throws it at me. I duck and it zips above my head, landing on the floor. I start laughing at him, clutching onto my stomach as I roll onto my back.

  “What the hell’s so funny about that?” Seth sounds offended and he rolls up the sleeves of his gray shirt. He flexes his muscles and I just about die of laughter. “Well, I’m glad I can entertain you. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I say, wiping the tears away from my eyes. “It’s just so funny to picture. ”

  He glares at me, but it vanishes as someone knocks on the door. “Oh good, there’s my breakfast. ” He heads over to it, collecting his wallet from the nightstand. “And if it’s so funny to picture then stop picturing it. ” He grins at me as he grabs the door handle. “You know we’re going to have to come up with a solution to the no-car dilemma…” He trails off as he opens the door and his jaw hangs to his knees.