The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, Page 4Jessica Sorensen
She twines a strand of her curly blond hair around her finger with a thoughtful expression on her face. “I don’t mind if you talk about me, just as long as it’s good. ”
I met Daisy when I was in tenth grade and she moved to our school. She was the hot new freshman and was very aware that she was. I was pretty popular, but hadn’t really dated anyone, just messed around. I was more focused on football, like my dad wanted me to be. Daisy seemed interested, though, and a couple of weeks later, we were officially a couple. She’s self-involved and she never asks where all my bruises, cuts, and scars come from. She brought it up once, the first time we fucked, and I told her it was from a four-wheeling accident when I was a kid. She didn’t question the fresh ones.
“Look baby, I got to go. ” I give her a quick kiss on the lips. “I have to check in and unpack and figure out where the hell everything is. ”
“Oh, fine. ” She pouts out her bottom lip and runs her fingers through my hair, guiding my lips back to hers for a deep kiss. When she pulls away, she smiles. “I guess I’ll go back home and try to fill up my time with boring old high school. ”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” I say to her as I back toward the doors, maneuvering between the people flooding the sidewalk. “I’ll be back for homecoming. ”
She waves as she turns for the parking lot. I keep my eyes on her until she’s in her car and then I go into the school. The air is cooler inside, the lights are faint, and there’s a lot of shouting and disorganization.
“We don’t need a tour. ” I walk up to Luke, who’s standing near the signup table, reading a pink flyer. “And weren’t you going to find your room or was that your excuse to escape Daisy?”
“The girl drives me fucking crazy. ” He rakes his hand through his short, brown hair. “And I was headed there, but then I realized it’d be much easier if I went on a tour so I know where everything is. ”
Luke is a very structured person when it comes to school and sports. It makes sense to me since I know about his past, but from an outsider’s point of view, he probably looks like a troublemaker, who failed out of school.
“Fine, we’ll do the tour. ” I write our names down on the paper and the red head sitting behind the table smiles at me.
“You can go join the one starting now,” she says shamelessly pushing her cleavage up with her arms as she leans forward. “They just stepped into the hallway. ”
“Thanks. ” Grinning at her, I strut off with Luke toward where she directed us.
“Every time,” he says amusedly as he sidesteps around a smaller table with plates full of cookies on it. “You’re like a magnet. ”
“I don’t ask for it,” I reply as we approach the back of the crowd. “In fact, I wish they’d stop. ”
“No you don’t,” he states with a roll of his eyes. “You love it and you know it. And I wished you’d act on it, so you could ditch the bitch. ”
“Daisy’s not that bad. She’s probably the only girl who doesn’t care if I flirt. ” I cross my arms and stare at the nerdy tour guide with thick glasses, scraggily brown hair, and a clipboard in his hands. “Do we really need to do this? I’d rather go unpack. ”
“I need to know where everything is,” he says. “You can go to the room if you want. ”
“I’m fine here. ” My eyes zone in on a girl across the crowd; the one I ran over. She’s smiling at a guy next to her who’s whispering something in her ear. I find myself entertained by the naturalness of it, no pretenses like the one’s I’m used to seeing.
“What are you looking at?” Luke tracks my gaze and his forehead creases. “You know what? I think that might be Callie Lawrence. Now that I think about it, I remember her dad mentioning something about her going to UW. ”
“No way. . . it cant be… is it?” I take in her brown hair, her clothes that show her thin frame, and her blue eyes that sparkle as she laughs. The last time I saw her, those blue eyes were clouded and weighted. The Callie I knew held more darkness, wore baggy clothes, and always looked sad. She shied away from everyone, except for that one night when she saved my ass.
“No, it’s her,” Luke says with confidence as he flicks his finger against his temple. “Remember she had that small birthmark on her temple just like that girl does. It cant be a freakish coincidence. ”
“Fuck me,” I say loudly and everyone looks at me.
“Can I help you?” the tour guide asks in an icy tone.
I shake my head, noticing Callie is staring at me. “Sorry man, I thought a bee landed on me. ”
Luke snorts a laugh and I suppress my laughter. The tour guide huffs in frustration and continues his speech about where all the offices are as he points at each door.
“What was that about?” Luke asks in a low voice as he folds a paper neatly in half.
“Nothing. ” I skim the crowd, but Callie’s nowhere. “Did you see where she went?”
Luke shakes his head. “Nope. "
My eyes travel across the hallway, but there’s no sign of her anywhere. I need to find her, so I can thank her for saving my life, like I should have done four months ago.
#27 Invite Someone You Don’t Know to Dinner.
“What are our plans for tonight?” I fold up a shirt and place it into the laundry basket on top of the dryer. “Are we going out or staying in?”
Seth hops onto one of the washing machines with his legs dangling over the edge as he pops a piece of gum into his mouth. “I’m conflicted. On one hand, I want to stay in and catch up on The Vampire Diaries, but there’s this really awesome restaurant I’ve been wanting to try out. ”
“Ew, not that one with the Sushi Bar. ” I frown, pulling a flimsy sheet of fabric softener off one of my shirts. “I don’t like Sushi and I don’t really feel like eating out tonight. ”
“No, you’ve never had Sushi,” he corrects. “And just because you haven’t tried something doesn’t mean you don’t like it. ” He stifles a laugh by sealing his lips together. “I know this from my own factual evidence. ”
“I’m sure you do. ” My phone vibrates as it lights up from on top of the stack of shirts. “Dang it, it’s my mom. Give me a second. ”
“Hi Mom,” I answer, shuffling to the corner to get away from the rattle of the washing machines.
“Hi, baby girl,” she says. “How’s your first day of classes?”
“First day of class is on Monday,” I remind her, pushing my fingertip against my ear to block out the rattle of the machines. “Today’s just the day when everyone’s checking in. ”
“Well, how’s that going?”
“I already know where everything is, so I’m catching up on my laundry with Seth. ”
“Hi, Mrs. Lawrence,” Seth shouts, cupping his hands around his mouth.
“Tell him hi for me, honey, okay?” she replies. “And that I can’t wait to meet him. ”
I cover the receiver with my hand. “She can’t wait to meet you,” I whisper to Seth and he rolls his eyes.
“Tell her she can’t handle me. ” The washing machine stops and he jumps off to open the lid.
“He says he can’t wait to meet you either,” I tell my mom. “In fact, he’s really excited. ”
Seth shakes his head, tugging a jacket out of the machine. “Moms are not my thing. You know that. ”
“What did he say?” my mom wonders.
“Nothing mom. ” The dryer beeps. “I have to go. I’ll call you later. ”
“Hold on sweetie. I just want to say that you sound really happy. ”
“I am happy,” I lie through a thick throat, because I know that’s what she wants to hear.
Seth drops his hang-dry only shirt on the edge of the basket, puts his hands on his hips, and narrows his eyes at me. “Don’t lie to your mother, Callie. ”
“What’s going on?” my mother asks. “I can hear a bunch of noises. ”
sp; “I have to go. ” I press the end button before she can say anything else.
“My mom is not like your mom. ” I open the dryer door and scoop the rest of my clothes out with my arms. “For the most part, she’s nice. Well, at least when I’m behaving. ”
“But you can’t tell her things—really important things. ” He flexes his arm that was in a cast when I met him. “Just like my mom. ”
“You told your mom. ” I bump the dryer door shut with my hip. “It just didn’t go well and I don’t tell my mom, because it will crush her. She’s such a happy person there’s no use cursing her with dark thoughts. ” I drop the clothes into the basket as one of the washing machines chugs and bangs against the cement wall. “We can try that new restaurant, if you really, really want. ” Picking up the basket, I prop it against my hip. “I’ll add it to my list of new things I’m going to try. ”
He grins from ear to ear. “I love that list. ”
“I do too… sometimes,” I agree as he gathers a stack of clothes. “And you were brilliant for thinking of it. ”
The list was made in the shadows of my dorm room when he admitted to me how he broke his arm and where the scars on his hands came from. He’d been walking home from his last day of school and a bunch of football players had drove up in a truck. They jumped him, beat him, and tried to break him into a thousand pieces that they could dust under the rug. But Seth is strong, which is why I told him my secret, because he knows what it’s like to have something ripped away from you. Although I omitted the gory details because I couldn’t say them aloud.
“I’m a very brilliant man. ” He steps aside to let me through the doorway first. “And as long as you hold onto that notion, you’ll be okay. ”
We laugh and it’s real, but a dark cloud hovers over us once the sound is stolen by the wind.
“This room is the size of a box,” I remark, taking in the very small dorm room. We’re in the Downey residence hall, one of the four buildings they stuff the freshmen into. There are two twin size beds and a desk in the far corner. I can cover the space between the beds in two strides and the closet on the far wall barely holds three boxes. “Are you sure you don’t want to get an apartment? I saw some that are really close to campus on my way in. ”
Luke rummages through a large box labeled “Junk. ” “I can’t afford an apartment. I need to find a job just so I can buy my books and stuff. ”
“The scholarship didn’t pay for that?” I grab a heavy box and drop it onto the mattress of my bed.
He balls up some tape and throws it on the floor. “That only covered tuition. ”
I peel the tape off the top of the box. “I can help out… if you need some extra cash. ”