There was a point in time, not too long ago, that I thought Kaleb was the villain of my story. I used to think he was just a punk kid and I’d be better off far away from him. I had sworn to have nothing to do with him. But then I got to know him better. I got to know all the little things that made Kaleb so different. I came to know why he blocked out the world and let people think he was just a bad guy.
But here I am, pressed against my bathroom wall and the only thing on my mind was Kaleb Nixon’s lips. A moment ago, he had said I wasn’t anything special. He basically told me I was another notch to add to his ever-growing belt. Any girl would be instantly heartbroken at his words. I couldn’t even imagine how many girls Kaleb had said those very words to. But I saw through his words. I knew he was just saying them because he was afraid of what he was feeling.
“Who said I was yours? You just said that I wasn’t.” I shrug, trying to bring feeling back into my hands by clenching them into fists. Kaleb made my body go numb and my brain lose all it’s thoughts.
“I change my mind.” He says, his voice merely a whisper.
“Here you go again deciding things for me.” I snap. “Who says I even want to be yours? You’re very annoying, you know.”
“You’re lying again.” He chuckles, pressing my forehead with a single finger.
I scoff, “Am not. I’m serious. You’re angry and mean all the time. Why would I want anything to do with you?”
“Such mean words coming from such a pretty mouth.” He laughed, trailing a finger across my lips.
I gulp, “Don’t say nice things to me while I’m yelling at you. It distracts me.”
He smirks, but his fingers never stop. They trail slowly across my cheek and down to my jaw. I reach up quickly to stop him, my hand gripping his tightly. His smirk widens, “Sorry.”
“No, you’re not.”
“You’re right. I’m not.” He shrugs. My eyes focus on his face, taking in the cuts that Bash gave him. He was going to have some bruises in the morning. I reach up on instinct and trace my fingers across the scratches. Kaleb tenses under my throat. “Don’t do that.” He snaps at me, removing my fingers from his skin.
We spend another moment staring at each other in silence. It was always a comfortable silence with Kaleb. Our fingers are intertwined and our breaths mix in the air between us.
“I should go.” He says quickly, stepping away from me.
“Sure.” I say, instantly hating the space that he’s created between us. “Are you okay to drive?”
He nods quickly, “Any alcohol in my system is gone now, thanks to pretty-boy.”
I fidget nervously, my eyes searching his. My thoughts instantly drift back to the black rose that was left on my bed. I didn’t want to be home alone tonight. I should call Leo and demand he comes home, but I can’t bring myself to tell my uncle what happened. If he knew, I’d be uprooted once again from a life I was just getting used to having.
“Are you okay?” Kaleb asks, his brow creasing in curiosity. Kaleb always had a way of knowing if something was wrong with me, just like he knew when I was lying.
“Tonight, just got me really freaked out, is all.” I answer quickly. It’s not a lie, but Kaleb won’t know exactly what I’m talking about. Hopefully he won’t ask too many questions.
“Where is Leo?” He asks.
I shrug, “He’s probably at work. He works a lot.”
“So, you’ll be home alone tonight?” His voice breaks and he clears his throat a moment later.
I nod without answering.
“On second thought, I don’t think all the alcohol is gone after all. Mind if I crash on your couch?”
I know he’s just saying that for my benefit and right now I appreciate it more than I think he knows. Kaleb is good, there’s no doubt in my mind. “Yeah, that’s fine.”
“Cool.” He scratches the back of his neck and then finally steps out of the bathroom. I follow him and we step into the hallway. I stop to pull a extra blanket from the hall closet. I join Kaleb in the living room. He’s staying at the window, peering out at the dark street. He hears me come in and turns around to face me. “There’s a cop that keeps driving up and down your street.”
I gulp, trying to come up with an excuse. The cop was patrolling the area per Leo’s requests. Someone did it almost every night. I couldn’t tell Kaleb that though. “Oh, it’s probably because of the break ins.”
He nods, “Yeah, you’re right. I just thought it was weird. Have you noticed it?”
I shrug, “Not really. I don’t pay attention to things like that I guess.”
“I’m just paranoid, I guess.” He tells me, stepping away from the window. “It actually makes me feel better though. That way I know you’re safe.”
“You’re here.” I remind him.
His eyes trail over me for a moment and something clouds in his eyes, “For now.”
I take a step closer to him, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He looks away from me, nervously, “I’m not good for you, Greer. You’ll realize that soon.”
I close the distance between us, placing a shaking hand against his chest. I can feel his erratic heart beat under my touch. I meet his gaze, confident, “Why don’t you let me decide what’s good for me, okay?”
He gulps, his adam’s apple bobbing, “If I cared about you at all, I’d walk out that door right now. I’d leave you alone and let you find someone that deserves you. I’d never talk to you again because I know that’s what you need. I’d know that the longer I stay with you, the worse this will be when you finally decide to leave me.”
I grip my fingers tight in his shirt and stand on my tippy-toes, “Good thing you don’t care about me, right, jerk?”
He smirks, wrapping his arms tight around my waist to bring me even closer. “You’re right.” He kisses me slowly. I can feel the smile on his lips. “I hate you, dork.”
“I hate you to, jerk.”