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The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 42

Jessica Sorensen

Page 42


  “So we’re on for next year?” he checks, and I nod without any contemplation. I know what I want and I’m not afraid to say it. No more living in fear.

  “Good,” he says and then leans in to kiss me, whispering, “Thank you for saving me. ”

  “Thank you for saving me too,” I say, and seconds later his lips engulf mine.

  The fireworks explode and boom above our heads, vivid and colorful against the dark sky, but I think about nothing but him.

  Chapter 19

  #11 Say good-bye and move on


  The next two weeks are pretty uneventful. Between the road trip, the recovery, and the confessions, Kayden and I are drained and we spend the rest of our winter break avoiding our houses, and hanging out in the hotel room, diner, or café as much as possible. Seth and Luke hang out with us a lot too. It’s been snowing quite a bit, but the air feels warm. My mom calls me every morning and every night. At first I wouldn’t tell her where I was staying, because I didn’t want her tracking me down, but then I finally fessed up that I was staying with Kayden and Seth in a hotel room.

  She isn’t very happy about this, but I’m almost nineteen years old, which is what I tell her.

  “Callie Lawrence,” she says after I finally tell her. I’m sitting on the hotel room’s bed in shorts and a T-shirt and Kayden is lying behind me, making shapes on my lower back with his fingers.

  Every once and a while, he hits a ticklish spot and I giggle.

  “This isn’t funny,” my mom says, sounding irate.

  I cover my mouth with my hand to stifle the uncontrollable laughter. Once I settle down, I lower my hand to my lap. “I know, Mom. ”

  “You need to come home… We need to talk about what happened. ” She sighs. “Callie, the police said they can’t do anything about it and even if they could Caleb… he… No one knows where he is still. Jackson thinks he might have taken off. ”

  “I already knew the police couldn’t do anything,” I tell her, lying down on the bed beside Kayden. He has his boxers on with no shirt and when he snuggles against me the warmth and sturdiness of his chest soothes me. “And I’m not surprised about Caleb. ”

  “But…” She’s frustrated and I hear something crash to the ground. “Shit,” she curses—she’s been cursing a lot lately. “I broke a damn cup. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I say, arching my back as Kayden draws hearts on my spine, his hand drifting up my shirt to the area between my shoulder blades.

  “You don’t need to be sorry, sweetie,” she says and then sighs. “It’s just a cup. ”

  As much as my mother and I have never gotten along, I have to give her credit for how nice she’s being through all this. After her meltdown, she’s been less teary eyed and she’s never once tried to put the blame on me. Sometimes my thoughts wander back to my twelfth birthday and my head fills with what-ifs. What if I had told her then? What if I’d never had to suffer in silence for the last six years? What if my life had been different? But I always shove the thoughts right out of my head. What-ifs aren’t important. I can’t go back through time and change things, but I can move forward and create the life I want.

  “Callie, did you hear me?” she asks, sounding a little annoyed.

  I blink away my thoughts. “Yeah… no… huh?”

  Kayden snorts a laugh from behind me as he traces the length of my spine. “You’re so going to get into trouble. ” He makes a silly airhead voice when he says it.

  I reach back and pinch his arm and he laughs even harder.

  “What, Mom?”

  She sighs exhaustedly. “I said, have you thought about going to that therapist friend of mine in Laramie when you get back to school? I think it’ll be good for you. ”

  “I’m not sure… I’m worried what it might bring up if I do. ”

  “Callie, I think it’s important… after all the things you told me… I think you need to get some help. I really wish you’d just consider staying here with us and take a semester off. ”

  “I need to go back to school,” I say. “I need to move forward. ”

  She gives an elongated pause. “Then please just go see the therapist…” She’s on the verge of crying. “I need to know you’re okay. ”

  I glance over my shoulder at Kayden. “I’m okay, Mom. But if you really want me to go, then I will. ”

  “Good. ” She sounds relieved. “And you call me every day.

  And stop by here today before you leave. ”

  “Yes, Mom. ”

  “And you’ll call me whenever you need anything?”

  “Yes. ”

  Kayden starts laughing hysterically, rolling away from me so she won’t hear. I’ve told him how controlling she is and apparently seeing it in action is humorous to him.

  “Who is that?” my mom wonders. “The person on the background who keeps laughing?”

  Craning my neck, I peek over my shoulder at him and he smiles. “Kayden. ”

  “Oh. ” She pauses and I hear clicking in the background, like she’s tapping her fingernails on top of the counter. “Callie… are you… are you sleeping with this boy?”

  Heat rushes through my body. “What?”

  Kayden must have heard her, because his laughter kicks up a notch and fills the room. “I have to give her credit,” he says between laughs. “She’s very entertaining. ”

  “Callie,” she says. “I’m not going to judge you… I just want to make sure you’re being careful. ”

  Oh my God. This is so mortifying. My cheeks are as hot as the heater below the frosted window and I tuck my head down with the phone still pressed up to my ear to hide my blushing face.

  “Yes, Mom. ”

  “Yes, Mom, you’re sleeping with him?” she asks. “Or you’re being careful?”

  “Tell her you’re being careful right now. ” Kayden laughs in my ear and it tickles my neck, causing my shoulders to shudder.

  His arms snake around my waist and then he’s pulling me back, lifting himself up from the bed with one arm. He tucks me underneath his solid body and then lowers himself down on me.

  I laugh into the phone as he starts to tickle my sides and I squirm, trying to keep the phone beside me ear. “Mom,” I say through laughs as his fingers trail high up on my ribs and then halt next to the sides of my breasts.

  “Tell her you’ll make sure to be careful every day,” Kayden teases, his green eyes flashing with untamed desire. He pinches my sides and then moves his hands up my arms and then down them, stopping when he reaches my wrists. He cups each one with one of his hands and then tugs on them.

  “Mom, I got to go,” I say quickly. “And yes, I’ll stop by on my way out. ” Before she can respond, the phone falls from my hands and Kayden gathers my wrists together and brings them above my head.

  For a brief second, panic claws up my throat as I’m hurled into the past when I was pinned down on the bed and my heart beat unstably. He must see it on my face too.

  His grip starts to loosen. “Do you want me to let you go?”

  I shake my head. “Just kiss me, please. ”

  His mouth turns upward and his lips connect with mine as he bends his back and leans in. And just like that the panic and the memories slip from my thoughts and it’s just he and I. No one else in the world exists.

  * * * “So what have you been up to?” Seth asks as he hops cheerily into Luke’s truck beside me.

  It’s a bench seat and a compacted fit, but it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s kind of comforting to be squished into a car with three strong guys who have been there for me in their own wonderful ways.

  “Well, you’d know if you hadn’t disappeared. ” I flash him a playful grin as he fastens his seat belt.

  He smirks with doubt in his eyes. “I highly doubt I was missed. ” The seat belt clicks and he sits back, tugging the sleeves of his black-button coat down to cover his arms. “Besides, I wanted to give Kayden an
d you some space. ”

  “You didn’t have to. We didn’t really do anything. ”

  He arches his eyebrows, accusingly. “Yeah, right. You two have been locked in that room since the new year started. You’re like newlyweds or something, going at it like rabbits. ”

  I turn my face away from him as I feel the blush creeping up and try to restrain my smile. “Seth, stop,” I say and he giggles.

  Kayden opens the door and the hinges squeak as he scoots into the seat beside me, but he pauses halfway in, with one of his feet still on the ground as he examines my reddened face. “Okay, Seth, what did you say to her this time?” he jokes, and brushes the pad of his thumb across my cheek. He grins at me as I stand up a little so he can climb onto the seat.

  “Nothing I haven’t said before,” Seth responds with a wicked glint in his brown eyes. “She just reacts the same way each time, which makes it so much fun. ”

  I swat his arm and then sit down onto Kayden’s lap, immediately overwhelmed by the scent of his cologne. His slings an arm around my shoulders and pulls me into him as he guides the seat belt down from behind himself and fastens it over both of us. It’s snowing outside and fluffy flakes are stuck in the brown locks of his hair. I run my hand gently along the top of his head and dust them out. Some of them melt from my body heat and his hair ends up with this wet, sexy look.

  “So where do we still have to go?” Luke asks as he tosses his bag into the back of the truck that still has Kayden’s motorcycle in it, and then he hops in and slams the door. The truck is already running and he turns up the heater and hot air blasts out from the vents.

  “To my house,” I say. “And…” I look at Kayden. He hasn’t been home since we took off to San Diego and I can tell he doesn’t want to go back. But he has to go back and get his clothes and stuff and I think deep down he might want to talk to his brother Tyler. “And to Kayden’s, I think. ”

  The cab becomes silent and then Luke sighs and drives out onto the main road, flipping on the wipers. The roads are a little slushy and slick so he reaches to the small shifter in the center and shoves it into four-wheel drive. The truck makes a loud thud and jerks as it slides into gear.

  “Jesus. ” Seth makes a face as he turns his legs to the side and adjusts his seat belt, which has tightened. “It feels like it’s going to fall apart. ”

  Luke pats the dash. “It’s fine. It’s just old. ”

  Seth rolls his eyes and then crosses his arms. We all remain quiet as he veers off roads and makes turns down the narrow streets. The radio plays “Wonderwall,” by Oasis, and then “Hands Down,” by Dashboard Confessionals. When he pulls into the driveway beside my house, Luke puts it into park and mutters, “Hurry up. ”

  “Relax,” Kayden tells him, flipping the handle and pushing open the door. He brings his foot to the ground and climbs out, moving me out with him. Once my feet are planted firmly to the ground, he releases his grip on me and slams the door.