The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, Page 42Jessica Sorensen
The muscles in his neck move as he swallows hard. “Callie, I know what fear is. Trust me. I’ve seen it on my brothers’ faces, felt it many times. You’re afraid of him. I can see it in your eyes. ”
“Afraid of my brother?” I play dumb, praying to God he won’t find out, fearing what will happen if he does.
“Don’t do that,” he says sternly, placing his hand on my cheek. “You’re afraid of Caleb. He was… he was the one who did it to you?”
“Yes. ” I don’t even mean to say it, it just falls out into the world. I stare at him, listening to my heart thump inside my chest, to the wind sing, to the sound of someone breaking somewhere in the world.
He forces a lump down in his throat. “Callie… I… you need to tell someone. You can’t let him keep going around living his life. ”
“It doesn’t matter. Too much time has gone by and even the cops can’t do anything about it anymore. ”
“How do you know?”
I shrug, feeling detached from the world. “Because I looked into it once to see—to know that I no longer have any options. What’s done is done. ”
He shakes his head, his jaw set tight. “This isn’t fair. ”
“Neither is your life,” I say, wanting my moment back. I want it back. Please, God, give me it back. ”Nothing really is. ”
Silence builds and it all crumbles out as I collapse into his chest, tears spilling out as the secret I’ve carried with me breaks into lighter pieces. He scoops me up against my protests and cradles me against him as he carries me up the stairs and into the room as I sob out every tear I’ve been holding inside me.
He lies down on the bed with me and I bury my face into his chest. Somehow, I stop crying and we lie, unmoving, feeling each other’s pain. Eventually I fall asleep in his arms.
After she falls asleep, I watch her breathe in and out, trying to make sense of the world. Rage washes through me like a fucking wave crashing against the shore. I want to kill Caleb. Beat him to death in the most painful ways.
When I hear her brother and Caleb leave the house, laughing as they get in the car and drive away, talking about going to a party, something snaps inside me. All the rage I’ve channeled ruptures and suddenly I know what I have to do.
Callie saved me that night from a fight that would have probably left me dead, but she also saved me from myself. Before her, I was dying inside; there was nothing in my heart, but an empty hole.
Gently slipping my arm out from beneath her head, I grab my phone and sneak out the door, looking at her one last time before I leave. Trotting down the steps, I text Luke to come pick me up, then I start walking down the sidewalk away from her house toward the unknown.
I walk a ways in a direction I’ve never been, letting the cold air consume me. About fifteen minutes later, Luke’s truck pulls up to the curb. I hop in, rubbing my hands together as the heater blasts against my skin.
“Okay, what’s up with the totally random fucking message?” He adjusts his beanie lower on his head and cranks up the heater. “You do realize I was about to get lucky with Kelly Anallo?”
“Sorry,” I mutter. “Where were you?”
“Down at the lake. ” He cranks the wheel to the right and drives down a side road. “There was a party going on. ”
“You didn’t happen to see Callie’s brother and Caleb Miller down there, did you?”
He halts at a stop sign, cranking up the defroster as the windshield fogs up. “Yeah, they pulled up right as I left to come get you. ”
“Then drive down there. ” I motion my hand for him to drive. “I have something I need to do. ”
We drive in silence as I bounce my knee and drum my fingers against the door. The truck bounces as we weave through the trees and surface out the other end. When we pull up, I spot Caleb by the bonfire near the shoreline, chatting it up with some blond chick wearing a baggy jacket over a tight pink dress.
“I need your help with something,” I say as Luke shifts the car into park and starts to get out of the car.
He pauses with his leg outside. “What’s up? You’re acting kind of weird… it’s freaking me out a little. ”
I don’t take my eyes off Caleb. He’s shorter than me by an inch or two, but I remember him picking a few fights at parties and he can definitely hold up his own. “I need you to have my back. ”
Luke gapes at me as he puts a cigarette in his mouth. “Are you planning on picking a fight?”
I nod unwaveringly. “I am. ”
“So you want me to make sure you don’t get your dumb ass kicked?” He cups his hand around his mouth and flicks the top of the lighter.
“No, I want you to stop me before I kill him. ” I flip the handle and hop out.
“You what?” A puff of smoke rises in front of his face.
“Stop me before I kill him,” I repeat and slam the door.
He meets me around the front, flicking the end of his cigarette, sending ashes to the ground. “What is this about, man? You know I don’t do well in reckless situations. ”
I pause at the end of the line of cars. “If someone you… cared about a lot got hurt in the worst way possible by someone else, what would you do?”
He shrugs, staring at the fire. “It depends on what it is?”
“Something really bad,” I say. “And it scarred them for life. ”
He takes a slow drag off his cigarette and then turns his head toward me. “Alright, I got your back. ”
We hike over to the fire, the rage inside me burning as brightly as the flames. People are yelling, laughing, filling up beers from the kegger on a tailgate. There’s music bumping from one of the car stereos and a lively game of beer pong is going on by the lake.
Daisy shows up in front of me with a huge grin on her face and a plastic cup in her hand. “Hey, party boy, I knew you’d show up. ”
I shake my head with annoyance and step to the side. “Get out of my way. ”
She’s taken back and presses her hand to her chest, like she’s a wounded deer. “What is wrong with you?”
“He realized what a bitch you are,” Luke chimes in gladly and blows smoke in her face.
“Oh my God. You’re such an asshole,” she says, fanning her hand in front of her face, looking at me expectantly to defend her.
I wave her off, dodge around her, and march straight for Caleb. Weaving through the people, I step out into the open near the fire. When Caleb’s eyes meet mine, his expression falls, but he doesn’t budge. He knows what’s coming and he waits for it like he wants it.
I step toward him and a smile curls at his lips as he starts to lurk toward me. “What the fuck are you doing here?” he asks. “And where’s pretty little Callie?”
I sucker punch him in the jaw, which is where I make my mistake, but I can’t take it back. The crowd gasps and the girl in the pink dress drops her cup, spilling beer onto the dirt, and she skitters to the side.
Caleb crumbles to the ground clutching onto his cheek. “What the fuck?” He stumbles to his feet, wiping away the blood dripping from his nose. “Who do you think you are?”
I swing my fist at him again without an explanation, but this time he ducks and slams his fist into my side. My ribs pop, but it’s nothing compared to what I’m used to, and I rebound, bringing my knee to his gut.
He coughs, hunching over as he spits blood on the ground. “You’re so fucking dead. ”
I pop my knuckles, shuffling forward to hit him again, but he jumps up and charges at me. With his head down, he rams into my stomach, knocking the wind out of me, and our shoes scuff against the dirt as we struggle to stay upright. Someone screams from the crowd and it’s followed by yells as we hit the dirt.
I smash my fist into his face over and over again, seeing red, only red, like it’s been bottled up inside me for years. Someone tries to pull me off, but I shove them off repeatedly. I don’t know how much time lapses as
I continue hitting him. Finally someone is able to get me off of him.
I shake off their hand, thinking it’s Luke, but the red and blue lights flashing against the still water bring me back to reality as a police officer slaps handcuffs onto my wrists.
“Don’t move,” a cop yells and I’m shoved forward, falling on my knees into the dirt.
With my bloodstained hands behind me, I take in what I’ve done. Caleb’s still breathing, but his face is so engorged and bloody there are no features left. I’m not sure I care, though, because when it all comes down to it, Callie got her justice.
Being in jail seemed better than going home and I refused to call my dad. In the end, one of the officers calls him, because of his highly respected status in the town. My dad’s always been big on the donations, which makes people automatically think he’s a great guy.
Hours later, I’m in the kitchen of my house, sitting at the table. My mom went to pick up Tyler from the airport and had to take a cab, because neither of them will be sober enough to drive. It’s just my dad and I in the house. Something’s about to end, I just don’t know what.
“This is fucking bull shit. ” My dad circles around the table and kicks the bottom of the counter with his boot, putting a hole in the wood. “I get a call in the middle of the God damn night to bail your ass out of jail, for beating the shit out of someone. ” He pauses, running his finger along a small cut below his eye that was caused by our fight. “You’re really on a roll today, you little shit. ”
“I was taught by the best,” I mutter, my ribs stinging, my arm throbbing, yet somehow, I feel more content than I ever have.
He picks up a chair and throws it across the room into a shelf, breaking a vase. I don’t flinch. I just trace the cracks in the table with my thumb. “Where did I go wrong with you?” He stomps around the island that’s in the middle of the kitchen. “You’ve been a fuck up since you were two. ”
I stare at the wall, picturing Callie’s smile, the sound of her laugh, the softness of her skin.
“Are you listening to me?” he shouts. “God dammit, Kayden, quit ignoring me!”
I close my eyes, reliving how it felt to be inside her, touch her, kiss her all over her body, the smell of her hair.
My dad’s hands slam down on the table and my eyes shoot open. “Get up. ”
I shove away from the table, knocking the chair to the floor. I’m ready for it. As he bends his elbow back over his shoulder, swinging his fist forward, I curve mine up and slam it into his jaw. The pain stuns us both as our fists connect with each other’s faces. There’s a pause, where he really looks at me, like he’s seeing me for the first time, before he seizes me by the shoulders and throws me against the wall.
“Knock it off, you little shit!” He knees me in the side and I hammer my knuckles into his cheek in retaliation.
Again, he’s shocked and it takes him a moment to recuperate. All I think about is how afraid he looks, the lack of confidence in his eyes, and the unsteadiness of his posture.