The coincidence of calli.., p.20
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       The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, p.20

         Part #1 of The Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 20

 

  I toss the gloves onto the ground near the corner, irritated. “Okay. ”

  “I want to tell you,” she hurries and adds, “but I can’t. ”

  “It’s fine. I have to head out anyway. I have some stuff I need to do. ” I walk away from her, knowing it’s for the best, but wishing I was the one she was going to see.

  Chapter 7

  #27 Offer to Help Someone Without Them Asking.

  Callie

  I feel weird going with Luke, for various reasons, one being that I barely know him. I have no idea how I got into the situation. Actually I do. I was walking around the back end of the campus, because I like how quiet it is there.

  As I was pouring some M&Ms into my mouth, I rounded the corner and nearly stepped on Luke. He was sitting down on the ground, in the dirt, with his head lowered and his legs bent up in front of him.

  “Oh my God. ” I jumped back, pressing my hand to my heart. “What are you doing back here?”

  He had on shorts and a white t-shirt and his brown hair was damp. He lifted his face up and his skin was paler than snow. “Callie, what are you doing?”

  I balled up the candy wrapper in my hand. “I walk this way after my English class is over. I was actually getting ready to meet up with Seth to go to the gym. ”

  He bobbed his head up and down and sweat was beading his forehead. “Oh. ”

  I turned to leave, but decided I couldn’t leave him looking so terrible. “Are you okay?”

  He scratched at his arm. “Yeah, I was working out and started feeling like shit so I came back here to take a breather for a minute. ”

  I crouched down in front of him, keeping enough distance to make me comfortable. “Are you sick or something? You look…”

  “Like shit,” he finished for me as he got to his feet and sighed.

  My gaze snapped down to his leg, swollen twice its size, blotchy and red. “What happened to your leg?”

  He released a slow exhale as he inclined against the brick wall of the school. “I may or may not have forgotten to take my insulin for the last few days. ”

  “You’re a diabetic?”

  He put a finger to his lips and shook his head. “Don’t tell anyone. I don’t like to show weakness. It’s a weird thing with me. ”

  “Why haven’t you been taking your shots?”

  “I ran out and never picked up more. It’s another weird thing with me… I sometimes can’t bring myself to stab a needle into my body. ”

  I didn’t press as I eyed his leg, enflamed from the knee down. “Do you need me to take you to the doctor? Or go find Kayden?”

  He shook his head, stepping forward and then stumbled back, banging his elbow into the wall. “Don’t tell Kayden. When I say no one knows, I mean no one knows. ”

  I adjusted the strap of my bag higher up on my shoulder. “I think you need to go to the doctor. ”

  “I know I need to go to the doctor. ” Putting some weight on his leg, he hobbled toward me. “Look, don’t you have stuff you don’t want people to know?”

  I nodded warily. “Yeah. ”

  “Okay, well for me, this is one of those things,” he said. “So can you keep quiet about it?”

  I nodded again. “As long as you let me take you to the doctor. ”

  He shut his eyes, breathed in through his nose, and his chest expanded out from underneath his shirt as he opened his eyelids. “Okay, we have a deal. Let me go change my clothes, make an appointment, and then I’ll meet you out front in like twenty minutes. ”

  “Maybe you should just go to the ER,” I suggested. “You look terrible. ”

  “ER trips cost a lot of money,” he replied, limping toward the metal doors. “Money I don’t have. ”

  “Okay, I’ll meet you out front,” I told him and then he stepped inside, letting the door slam shut behind him.

  As I headed for my dorm to drop my stuff off, I had no idea how I’d gotten myself into the situation. I’d spent the last six years trying to stay away from guys, but it seems like that’s all Ive been around lately, but I wasn’t going to bail out on him.

  When I met him out front twenty minutes later, it turned out he couldn’t get into the doctor for another two hours, so we exchanged numbers and I promised him I’d be back from the gym in time to take him.

  Two hours later, we’re sitting in the office. Luke jiggles his knee up and down as I read through a copy of People magazine while finishing off a piece of licorice. I changed out of my workout clothes into jeans and a t-shirt. I’m surprised how well I’m handling what I did at the gym with Kayden. Sitting on top of him like that was strange, but my body liked it. A lot. Seth teased me about it the entire drive home and I kept waiting for it to crash into me, yet I still feel fine.

  Luke’s skin looks almost yellow beneath the lighting of the waiting room. I flip the page and then tilt my head to the side to try and make out what I’m looking at.

  “Don’t you hate doctor’s offices?” Luke says abruptly.

  I glance up and his brown eyes are huge as he stares at a man across from us, hacking into his hand. “I guess so. ”

  He scratches agitatedly at his temple until there are red streaks on his skin. “It’s so fucking unsanitary. ”

  I close the magazine and drop it on the table. “Maybe if you didn’t think about it so much, then you’d relax a little. ”

  He pauses and his foot quits tapping. “I just really hate needles. ”

  It makes no sense, since he’s probably had to take insulin shots for a while. The fear in his eyes makes me wonder if there’s more to his phobia than just the needles, though.

  “Okay, think of something else. ” I scoop up a copy of Sports Illustrated from off the table beside me. “Read this. It’ll help take your mind off stuff. ”

  His eyebrows furrow as he takes the magazine from me and studies the girl on the cover. “You know, I don’t remember you being this way in high school. You were really quiet and everyone…” He trails off, but I know what he was going to say; that everyone made fun of me, picked on me, teased and tortured me. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t bring that stuff up. ”

  “It’s fine,” I assure him, but memories explode through my brain like shards of glass.

  “You know, you remind me of my sister, Amy,” he says. “I don’t know if you remember her. She was a couple of years older than us. ”

  I shake my head. “I don’t. Sorry. ”

  He opens the magazine and flips the page. “She was a lot like you. Quiet, nice, but sad. ”

  I notice he said was. I press my lips together as the glass in my head multiplies as it shatters into more pieces. “Will you excuse me for a second?”

  I get up from my chair and scurry down the hall to the bathroom. My shoulders start to hunch over as the ache in my stomach builds. Thankfully, the bathroom is empty, otherwise I would have done it in the hall and everyone would have known my little secret. The one thing that makes me feel better during the darkest times of my thoughts. The one thing that belongs to me and no one can take it away.

  ***

  “I think I should take you there as a thank you,” Luke says as we drive by a carnival set up in the fairgrounds. The sun is descending behind the mountains and the sky is grey with splashes of pink and orange. Neon lights and music take over the land.

  “I haven’t been to one since I was like eleven,” I admit. “I was never really into the rides, especially the ones that went high. ”

  “Didn’t you ever go to our town fair?” he asks, pausing at a stoplight.

  I shake my head. “I stopped going when I turned twelve. ”

  He looks at me, waiting for an explanation, but what would I say? That my childhood kind of ended at twelve when my innocence was stolen? That after it happened, cotton candy, balloons, games, and rides made me wish for a time I’d never have again?

  “Well, then I’m taking you,” he says as the light changes and a green
glow reflects across his face. He releases the clutch and the truck rolls forward.

  “Oh, you don’t have to do that,” I tell him. “I was happy to help you, especially since you no longer look like you’re going to drop dead. ”

  “Did I look that bad?”

  “You looked like shit. ”

  He shakes his head with a small smile on his face. “Still, I think we should go hang out. It’s better than going back to the campus and sitting in the dorms. I’ve barely gotten out of my room since school started. ” He pauses as he spins the wheel and makes a right into the dirt parking lot at the side of the white tents and the neon glow of the rides. “You can call Seth and invite him. ” He considers something as he shuts off the engine. “I’ll call Kayden and see if he wants to come. ”

  I pick at my fingernails as I try to stay calm and not get all giddy like a silly girl. “I guess we could do that. ”

  I pull my cell phone out of the pocket of my jeans while he grabs his off the cracked dashboard. While I call Seth, he talks to Kayden. I hear Luke being vague as to why we’re together and I wonder if Kayden’s still mad.

  “Seth’s in. ” I raise my hips to shove my phone back into my pocket. “And he said he was going to call Kayden to see if he wants a ride… if he’s going. ”

  Luke repeats what I say to Kayden, and then he snaps his phone shut, rubbing the back of his upper arm where he got the insulin shot. “Kayden says he’s in, too. ” He opens the door and hops out, slanting back into the cab to snatch the keys from the ignition. “I told him we’d meet him over by the Zipper. ”

  I climb out, push the door shut with my hip, and meet him around at the other side of the truck. I take in all the crazy, spinning rides. “The Zipper? That one sounds interesting. ”

  He chuckles as we hike across the parking lot toward the gated entrance. “Yeah, we’ll see if you’re still saying that when you see it. ”

  ***

  We’re waiting in line for a ride that has a long metal center with cages attached to it. Each cage flips around as the middle section whips in a circular motion, so there is double the spin. The lights twinkle and some heavy rock music plays so loudly I can barely hear the screams from inside the cages. I watch it spin around and around, psyching myself out while Luke texts on his phone.

  “Are you going to make it?” Kayden’s breath caresses my neck as his voice touches my eardrum.

  I turn my head and his lips nearly touch mine. The abrupt closeness throws him off as much as it does me and we both take a step back at the same time.

  He’s wearing a loose fitted pair of jeans, boots, and a long sleeve black shirt. His dark hair looks a little wet, like he just got out of the shower before he came here.

  He’s gorgeous, I admit to myself. It’s the first time I’ve been able to admit that about a guy in a very long time.

  “You look freaked out,” he shouts over the music as he leans closer. “Are you seriously considering riding that thing?”