The coincidence of calli.., p.3
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       The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, p.3

         Part #1 of The Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 3

 

  “And you still wear that God awful hoodie,” he continues, jerking on the bottom of my grey faded jacket. “I thought we talked about that hideous thing. You’re beautiful and you don’t need to cover up. Besides, it’s like eighty degrees outside. ”

  I wrap my jacket around myself self-consciously, gripping at the edge of the fabric. “Subject change please. ”

  He loops arms with mine as he leans his weight on me, forcing me to scoot over to the edge of the sidewalk as people pass by us. “Fine, but one day we’re going to talk about a complete makeover, in which I will supervise. ”

  I sigh. “We’ll see. ”

  I met Seth my first day at UW during Pre-Calculus. Our inability to understand numbers was a great conversation starter and our friendship kind of grew from there. Seth is the only friend I’ve really had since sixth grade, besides a brief friendship with the new girl in school who didn’t know the “Anorexic, Devil Worshipping Callie” everyone else saw me as.

  Seth abruptly stops walking and swings in front of me. He’s wearing a grey t-shirt and a pair of black skinny jeans. His hair is stylishly tousled and his long eyelashes are the envy of every girl.

  “I just have to say one more thing. ” He touches the tip of his finger to the corner of my eye. “I like the maroon eyeliner much better than the excessive black. ”

  “I have your approval on that. ” I press my hand dramatically to my heart. “I’m so relieved. It’s been weighing on my mind since this morning. ”

  He makes a face and his eyes scroll down my red t-shirt that brushes the top of my form-fitting jeans. “You’re doing great in every department, I just wish you’d wear a dress or shorts or something for once and show off those legs of yours. ”

  My face plummets along with my mood. “Seth, you know why… I mean, you know… I can’t…”

  “I know. I’m just trying to be encouraging. ”

  “I know you are and that’s why I love you. ” I love him for more than that actually. I love him because hes the first person I felt comfortable enough with to tell my secrets to, but maybe that’s because he understands what it’s like to be hurt inside and out.

  “You’re so much happier than when I first met you. ” He tucks my bangs behind my ear. “I wish you could be this way around everyone, Callie. That you would stop hiding from everyone. It’s sad no one gets to see how great you are. ”

  “And vice-versa,” I say, because Seth hides as much as I do.

  He takes my empty Styrofoam cup from my hand and tosses it into a garbage can beside one of the benches. “What do you think? Should we hit up one of the tours and make fun of the tour guide?”

  “You know the way to my heart. ” I beam and his laughter lights up his entire face.

  We stroll up the sidewalk in the shade of the trees toward the front doors of the main office, which is a few stories high with a peaked roof. It has a historical look to it, tan brick with a lot of wear and tear, like it belongs in an older era. The yard that centers all the buildings looks like a triangular maze with randomly placed concrete paths that cross the lawn. It’s a pretty place to go to school, lots of trees, and open space, but it took some getting used to.

  There is confusion in the air as students and parents attempt to find their way around. I’m completely distracted when I hear a faint, “Heads up. ”

  My head snaps up just in time to see a guy running straight for me with his hands in the air and a football flying at him. His solid body collides with mine and I fall flat onto my back, cracking my head and elbow against the pavement. Pain erupts through my arm and I can’t breathe.

  “Get off me,” I say, writhing my body in a panic. The weight and heat off him makes me feel like I’m drowning. “Get off now!”

  “I’m so sorry. ” He rolls to the side and quickly climbs off me. “I didn’t see you there. ”

  I blink the spots away from my eyes until his face comes into focus; brown hair that flips up at the ears, piercing emerald eyes, and a smile that will melt a girl’s heart. “Kayden?”

  His eyebrows furrow and his hand falls to his side. “Do I know you?” There’s a small scar below his right eye and I wonder if it’s from where his dad hit him that night.

  A tiny prickle forms in my heart that he can’t remember who I am. Getting to my feet, I brush the dirt and grass off my sleeves. “Um, no, sorry. I thought you were someone else. ”

  “But you got the name right. ” His tone carries doubt as he scoops the football off the grass. “Wait, I do know you, don’t I?”

  “I’m really sorry for getting in your way. ” I snag Seth’s hand and haul him toward the entrance doors where there’s a big “Welcome Students” banner.

  When we’re in the corridor by the glass display cases, I let go of him and lean against the brick wall, catching my breath. “That was Kayden Owens. ”

  “Oh. ” He glances back at the entrance as students swarm inside. “The Kayden Owens? The one you saved?”

  “I didn’t save him,” I clarify. “I just interrupted something. ”

  “Something that was about to get ugly. ”

  “Anyone would have done the same thing. ”

  His fingers seize my elbow as I attempt to walk down the hall and he pulls me back to him. “No, a lot of people would have walked by. It’s a common fact that a lot of people will turn their heads in the other direction when something bad is happening. I know this from experience. ”

  My heart aches for him and what he went through. “I’m sorry you had to go through that. ”

  “Don’t be sorry, Callie,” he says with a heavy-hearted sigh. “You have your own sad story. ”

  We make our way down the slender hallway until it opens up and there is a table stacked with flyers and pamphlets on it. People are standing in line, staring at schedules, talking to their parents, looking scared and excited.

  “He didn’t even recognize you,” he comments as he works through the crowd to the front of the line, cutting in front of everyone, and he grabs a pink flyer.

  “He barely recognized me ever,” I shake my head when he offers me a cookie from a plate on the table.

  “Well, he should recognize you now. ” He picks up a sugar cookie, scrapes the sprinkles off, and bites off the corner. Crumbs fall from his lips as he chews. “You did save his ass from getting beat. ”

  “It’s not that big of a deal,” I say, even though it does stab at my heart a little. “Now, can we please change the subject to something else?”

  “It is a big deal. ” He sighs when I frown at him. “Fine, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Now come on, let’s go find a tour guide to torture. ”

  Kayden

  I’ve been haunted by a nightmare every single God damn night for the last four months. I’m curled up near the pool house and my dad’s beating the shit out of me. He’s madder than I’ve ever seen him, probably because I did one of the worst things imaginable to him. There’s murder in his eyes and every ounce of humanity is gone, consumed by rage.

  As his fist hammers against my face, warm blood pours along my skin and splatters against his shirt. I know this time he’s probably going to kill me and I should finally fight back, but I was taught to die on the inside. Plus I just don’t seem to care anymore.

  Then someone appears from the shadows and interrupts us. When I wipe the blood from my eyes, I realize it’s a girl terrified out of her mind. I don’t quite understand it, why she intervened, but I owe her a lot.

  Callie Lawrence saved my fucking life that night, more than she probably realized. I wish she knew, but I never could figure out how to tell her, nor have I seen her since it happened. I heard she went off to college early to start her life and I envy her.

  My first day on campus is going pretty well, especially after my mom and dad left. Once they drove away, I could breathe for the very first time in my life.

  Luke and I wander around the busy campus trying to figure out whe
re everything is, while tossing a football back and forth. The sun is bright, the trees are green, and there’s so much newness in the air it gets me pumped up. I want to start over, be happy, live for once.

  On a particularly long throw, I end up running over a girl. I feel like an asshole, especially because she’s so small and fragile looking. Her blue eyes are enlarged and she looks scared to death. What’s even weirder is she knows me, but takes off running when I question how she does.

  It’s bugging the hell out of me. I can’t stop thinking about her face and the familiarity. Why can’t I figure out who the hell she is?

  “Did you see that girl?” I ask Luke. He’s been my best friend since second grade when we both realized how mutually screwed up our home lives were, although for different reasons.

  “The one you just ran over?” He folds up the schedule and tucks it into his back pocket of his jeans. “She kind of reminds me of that quiet girl we used to go to school with—the one Daisy was dead set on torturing. ”

  My eyes move to the entrance doors where she disappeared. “Callie Lawrence?”

  “Yeah, I think that was her name. ” He blows out a stressed breath as he turns around in the middle of the lawn trying to get his bearings. “But I don’t think it’s her. She wasn’t wearing all that black shit around her eyes and Callie had a haircut that made her look like a guy. Plus, I think that girl was thinner. ”

  “Yeah, she did look different. ” But if it is Callie, I need to talk to her about that night. “Callie was always thin, though. That’s why Daisy made fun of her. ”

  “That was one of the reasons she made fun of her,” he reminds me and his face twists with repulsion at something behind me. “I think I’m going to go find our room. ” Luke hurries off toward the corner of the school building before I can say anything.

  “There you are. ” Daisy comes up from behind me and I’m overwhelmed by the smell of perfume and hairspray.

  Suddenly I understand why Luke ran off like there was a fire. He doesn’t like Daisy for many reasons; one being that he thinks Daisy is a bitch. And she is, but it works for me because she allows me to stay detached from feeling anything, which is the only way I know how to live life.

  “I sure hope you weren’t just talking about me. ” Daisy wraps her arms around my mid-section and massages my stomach with her fingertips. “Unless it was something good. ”

  I turn around and kiss her forehead. She’s wearing a low-cut blue dress and the necklace that rests between her tits. “No one was talking about you. Luke just went to find his room. ”

  She bites down on her glossy lip and bats her eyelashes at me. “Good, because I’m already nervous about leaving my ridiculously hot boyfriend. Remember you can flirt, but you can’t touch. ” Daisy gets bored easily and says things to start drama.

  “No touching. Got it,” I say, holding back an eye roll. “And again, no one was talking about you. ”