Tonight was a blast and I didn’t want it to end but I knew something heavy was weighing on Willow’s mind, something she needed to let it go. I sent my Dad a look asking him to take Josh into the other room. Once they were out of the room I looked over at Willow, I could see the fear and hesitation written all over her gorgeous face.
“What’s wrong?” I ask as I tuck a strand of hair behind her ear.
“I think it’s time for me to tell you the whole truth,” she says without hesitation. This was not what I was expecting to hear, was she lying to me this whole time? I’m suddenly confused and a little angry.
“What do you mean the whole truth? I know you were holding back from telling me things, but have you been lying to me this whole time?”
Tears start to fall from Willow’s eyes. “No, Cole, I haven’t been lying to you,” she answers. “Remember when you asked me if there was more I needed to tell you when you were in the Hospital?”
“Yeah, I was hoping you would tell me what you were hiding. I was really bothered by the fact you wouldn’t tell me.”
“I wanted to tell you but after I heard about your run-in with Allan I felt it was not the right time. What I have to tell you is going to make you angrier and you were already dealing with so much. Please don’t think I would ever lie to you. However, if after you hear what I have to say, and want nothing to do with me I will understand. I don’t deserve you anyway.”
That statement went straight to my soul, how could she think she doesn’t deserve me? She is everything I want. I see she is hurting emotionally so I lean forward and pull her into me.
“Willow, don’t ever say that you’re perfect and I wouldn’t want to change anything about you.
“You may think differently when you hear what I’ve done.” She reaches up to wipe a fallen tear.
“I highly doubt my feelings for you will change, but why don’t you let me be the judge of that. Just talk to me okay?”
“Okay,” she takes a deep breath. “I guess I will start at the beginning since I don’t know where to really start.” She takes another deep breath. “When I was 14 my father really wanted to become a partner at his law firm, he was close friends with the owner of the firm; so he was already up for that promotion. Anyway, he forced me into a friendship with his boss’s daughter. I begged him not to do it since I didn’t want to be friends with this girl. She was mean and hateful and I told my dad this but he just didn’t care about my feelings at all. Well, that girl is Ashley Harrison but I played my role as the obedient daughter and best friend for three years until one night.”
Her phone rang and 3 Doors Down’s Your Arms feel like home and I smiled. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket but ignored the call.
“Nice ringtone.” I chuckle.
“I knew that was you, how did you break into my phone?” She asked but I wasn’t going to give away my secrets.
“A man never kisses and tells.” I laugh maniacally and she gives me a very dirty look. “Okay, it wasn’t that hard to figure out your passcode. I mean you did just leave it sitting there when you went to the bathroom and well I got bored.” I stuck out my bottom lip and started pouting, she couldn’t be mad at my pouting, could she?
I looked over and she was shaking her head but was giggling. She places her forehead on mine and I could feel her breath on my lips, I also caught a familiar scent. One I want to drown in; Lavender and oranges.
Sometimes I just want to cuddle with her and relax while the lavender soothes me. Other times I get the urge to kiss every inch of her body just to get a taste of her skin, but that's getting ahead of ourselves.
“Oh my devilish hacker, what am I going to do with you?” With that, she placed her mouth on mine and sucked in my bottom lip and gently bit down. Not enough to hurt but enough to say don’t hack into my phone again. I kissed her but then pushed her away reluctantly; if I didn't I would be needing a cold shower in a matter of seconds. It's taking enough self-control just having her sitting on my lap.
“Okay." I clear my head of horny teenage boy's thoughts. We shouldn’t do that with my parents here. You were telling me about your Dad and Ashley.” Her smile turned into a frown, settled her head on my chest and continued her story
“On that night Ashley got invited to a frat party and told me I had to go. I didn’t have the desire to go to a party with a bunch of drunken college boys, it just wasn’t my scene. I told her I didn’t want to go but she would tell her dad I wasn’t making her happy and that would not go over well with my dad so I went. When we got there she took off with one of the frat boys and I went to sit on the couch. Sorry!” she says as her phone rang again. She decides to answer it this time. “What?”
As Willow listened to the other person, I watched as her face turned a deathly shade of white and tears starting glistening in her eyes again. “What? What do you mean? Is she okay? Where is she?” I started to worry about what was going on but I stayed silent and hoped that this wasn’t about Erin. She got off the couch and started grabbing her bag. “I’m on my way!” she yells into the phone then hangs up and shoves it into her pocket. She looks at me with sadness. “I’m sorry, Cole, there has been an accident and I have to get Josh and go.”
I stand up and walk over to her, pull her into me, by this time my parents had walked in with Josh. “What happened, baby? Is it Erin?”
She shakes her head no as she sobs into my shoulder. “It’s my mom! Apparently, she was drinking while taking painkillers. I guess she decided to pay my dad a visit at his office. She fell asleep and crashed her car; I don’t know all the details. I just know that she is okay but I need to go to the hospital, I need to take Josh over to Erin’s and go to her. I wasn’t there! This is why I have to be there; this is my fault, Cole!” she cries as she buries her head into my chest and sobs harder.
It’s breaking my heart to see my girl feel so broken. I don’t know what to do other than just hold her. I look over to my parents and see their somber faces; they don’t know Willow’s entire story.
“Shush, baby, it’s okay and this is not your fault,” I try to offer her some comfort. “What your mom did was a fault of her own. She’s a grown woman capable of making her own choices so you can’t blame yourself. Would you like me to go with you?”
She pulls away and looks up with those sad sea-blue gems. “I do but I don’t know if it’s a good idea.” She points to my broken arm and my shoulder which is still being held by a sling and my bruised but healing face. “I don’t want you to get hurt again.”
I cup her check “Willow, I’m fine, I feel like I need to be with you right now and besides I know when I’ve had too much.” I lean forward and press my lips to hers just to give her a reassuring peck.
“Okay, I don’t want to be alone anyway.” She looks over to my parents. “Thank you for a wonderful evening and for accepting us into your home. Josh, we need to go now, buddy. I’m going to take you over to Abby’s okay?”
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to see here. He looked down at his blue sneakers and nodded then walked to the door and pulled Willow into a hug. Willow stood there in shock for a second before she wrapped her arms around her little brother. He leaned forward and whispered something to her and they both smiled.
“Okay, Josh, if it’s alright with Mr. Knight you can stay and play more video games. You need to listen and do what Cole’s parents ask okay?” He nods his head again “I will be back as soon as I know mom is okay.” She looks back at my dad who confirms Josh is more than welcome to stay. She pulls Josh in for another hug and tells him,
“I’m proud of you, little brother.” He smiles at her and bounces over to the couch and starts playing the game without a care in the world. I take Willow’s hand in mine and we head out to her car. I’m worried about what Willow will come face to face when she gets to the hospital and if I’m being honest with myself, I’m terrified of what her father will think of her being with me.
Forty-five minutes later we arrive at University Hospital but we sit in the car for a good five minutes before she decides it’s time to go in. I get out first then come around and open her door for her. She immediately grabs onto my hand and I feel her trembling. I stop next to her and cup her face with my hand; I stare deep into her beautiful ocean blue eyes.
“You are strong, Willow, you can face whatever is in there, please remember this is not you are not in any way responsible for what that woman does. Also, know that I’m right here and I won’t let go until you tell me to.”
She reaches up on to the tips of her toes and gives me the sweetest and loving kiss. I haven’t really kissed her in a while and I’m starting to feel the effects of it. Kissing Willow is like coming up for air after a swim and I’m becoming addicted. I shake the thoughts away and focus on what my girl needs right now.
We are instantly greeted by a guy in his late thirties give or take when we walk in the doors. He looks directly at Willow then at me and down at our clasped hands, then he frowns. He walks straight over to Willow but she doesn’t look pleased to see him.
“I thought you were leaving?’ she asks indignantly. He looks back over to me.
“Who’s this?” he asks with disgust in his voice.
Willow looks up at me with that smile I adore. “This is Cole, my boyfriend,” she says with no hesitation and I wonder if she is just saying that to piss this guy off. He looks me up and down and just by the look on his face he thinks I’m trash. I don’t care because I’m only here for Willow and she is the only one I care about.
“Your boyfriend? Willow, you can’t possibly be serious?” He sounds disappointed. “Haven’t your mother and I raised you to be better than this?”
Now Willow is the one to start laughing. “The only thing you two have taught me to be is selfish and mean, judgmental and spiteful!” she challenged.
“Oh, and let’s not forget nonexistent and uncaring. Where have you been for the past three years when I have been the one doing everything to care for your son and your wife? Since when do you care about what I do with my life? How dare you come here and act like you have a say over what I do with my life. If you had even tried to be my father for five minutes then maybe you would have something to say.”
Normally, I would never interfere in family problems but since this is involving Willow something had to be done. When he comes toward Willow with anger blazing in his matching blue eyes and steam coming out his ears, well okay maybe not that last part but you get the idea, I step in front of her. Yeah, she’ll probably be pissed but she’ll get over it.
“Mr. Johnson, you don’t know me or anything about me so don’t look at me like you do. It’s obvious I don’t come from the right kind of money but that doesn’t make me any different or any less than you. I care about your daughter very much and right now she is worried about her mother; she shouldn’t have to deal with this. I will not stand here and listen to you make her feel bad about herself since you’ve already done a bang-up job of doing that.”
I have a bad habit of opening my mouth and inserting my foot when I’m angry or upset, and by the look on his face I know I just pissed this guy off. He’s going to be out for blood. I heard Willow gasp and squeeze my hand.
Her father gets really close and up in my face. “Listen up you punk ass kid, you have no idea who I am or what I can do! So unless you want to see what that is I suggest you step aside and let me talk to my daughter! This does not concern you anyway!”
Now I’m the one really pissed off because I don’t like being threatened, not since Allan. “I’m not afraid of you or your threats. You have nothing on me and whatever concerns Willow concerns me. You can threaten me all you want but I won’t be going anywhere until Willow tells me otherwise.”
Willow, sensing this argument is only going to get worse, comes out from behind me, touches my arm, and tells me to calm down. She looks over to her father.
“I’m not here to argue about this or what choices I make in my life. Right now you are stopping me from seeing mom and I need to see if she is okay. Please just let me go”. She pleads.
“Is he why you weren’t at home doing your job? You decided it was more important to be off fooling around with some boy than to be at home taking care of your sick mother?” He looks around
“Where’s your Brother?” That's it! I’ve had it with this asshole, he has no right to place that kind of responsibility on his teenage daughter.
That comment about her fooling around with me instead of taking care of her mother was the lowest blow anyone could throw at anyone let alone your own daughter.
I looked over at Willow; her head was held down in shame. She already felt this was her fault and I wasn’t going to have her take the blame for the actions for reckless and irresponsible adults.
I stepped forward and pushed the jerk back. My face was was right up to his, if he wanted to take a swing, but my eyes never left his. This pompous prick can't scare me, this guy is a mouse. I won't back down from him no matter what, my time with Allan has taught me that backing down and showing fear only makes the other guy stronger.
“How dare you blame Willow for her mother’s stupidity? She is only 17 years old; she shouldn’t have to bear the weight of both parents and be held solely responsible for a grown woman who can make her own choices. Willow’s life has been on hold because two selfish people can’t pull their shit together and take care of their children. That makes me angry because you have no idea how lucky how are to have such an amazing selfless Daughter.” I know I need to stop before the dude has me arrested or some shit like that but I won’t because he needs to hear what I have to say.
“You also are so wrapped up in your own self-pity that you have ignored what your selfish behavior is doing to your precious Daughter. She is drowning because of all the pressure you and your wife have put on her. Willow is seventeen, she’s never been on a date, she’s never even had the normal life a teenager should have because you basically emotionally blackmailed her into taking care of her brother. You knew she didn’t want him in a home, and you hold that over her head. Maybe it’s time for you and your wife to pull your head out of spoiled rich asses and pay attention to your suffocating children.” Her father pushed me and I stumble a bit. He glares at Willow and says,
“I can’t believe you would bring this disrespectful garbage with you when your mother has been in a serious accident. I expected better from you! You’re not the same girl I raised!”
I have had enough of his mistreatment of her. I get back in his face and this time I don’t care what he does to me, I will protect my girl!
“Listen, man, you don’t have to like me but you don’t get to talk to her like that!”I yell. “You’re very lucky I don’t report your ass to CPS for child endangerment and neglect. I don’t care who you are or what you can do but mark my words, I will make sure you will pay if you speak to her that way again. Do you hear me?”
He just scoffs and says “You’re just a kid so it’s highly probable they wouldn’t believe you so don’t waste your breath.” I turned back around and gave him the same glare I give the kids at school, the one that says back off and leave me the hell alone.
“Trust me Mr. Johnson; I’m not the garbage you happen to think I am. Perception can do a lot of things, but most of the time it makes you assume the worst of people. So maybe it's time to try turning off that ego and figure out who I really am, and then you can step off that pedestal.”
I had no idea if throwing out my family’s name was going to pull some weight but I had to try something to wipe that smug look off his damned face.
Her father stood up straight and was about to say something when a security guard finally made an appearance and told us to take it outside. I just took Willow’s hand and went in search of her mother’s room. We left her father there fuming and trying to soothe over the security guard.
We had put enough distance between us and her Father when I pressed her up against the wall. Of course, now was not the right time but I needed to do something to relieve some of this pent-up anger and damn, my shoulder was throbbing. I didn’t care.
I pushed my bodies together and crashed my mouth on hers. She held back for a second but then she opened her mouth as my tongue urged forward, she wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me tighter to her. I couldn’t get close enough no matter how much I tried. I deepened the kiss and a small growl came from the back of my throat and she giggled while I invaded her mouth.
I roamed my hand through her hair, to her neck, and stopped at her hip, my fingers grazed the skin above her jeans. He felt her shiver as Goosebumps broke out on her skin, she’s so soft. Willow let out a small moan and I became lost in the moment. I forget were in the hospital, I forget about her mom and her accident, I forgot about her arrogant father, everything else just disappeared and it became her and I lost in a moment of, hell; I don’t know.
I have been falling for Willow for a while now but at the moment she stood up to her father I knew right there that I truly did love her. I was indisputably and unequivocally in love with Willow Johnson and she had me; she had all of me from the moment I laid eyes on her. I finally pulled away from her and looked at her very swollen kissable lips; she was a mess and breathing heavy.
“Did you mean it?” I ask.
“Did you mean what you told your father?” I didn’t want to come out and say it; I wanted her to say it.
“You’re going have to be a little more specific, Cole. I said a lot of things to my father,” she smiles and now she’s caught on but she’s teasing me.
“Are you going to make me say it, baby?” I lean in and start a trail of kisses from her ear down to her collar bone. Her pulse beats faster as she tries to catch her breath.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she says through heady breaths. She knows she has me and I’ve lost this game.
“Am I your boyfriend?” I reach forward and leave a burning trail of kisses on the other side and she holds her breath. Then she lets go when I pull away.
“Do you think I make out with just anyone Cole?”
“I can’t stand being just friends anymore because what I feel for you goes way past friendship.”
“Will you just shut up and kiss me already?” she laughs. “We are definitely past the friendship phase if that helps.”
That was all I needed to hear before I crashed my lips to hers once again. I don’t know how long we stayed like that; it could have gone on forever for as long as I cared. It was the sound of shoes squeaking that made me pull away. I didn’t want to risk her father seeing us like that.
“Your father sent me to look for you, Willow,” The stranger said and I didn’t like the way he was looking at Willow. She grabbed onto my arm with a death grip and went behind my back. She was hiding and was obvious she was scared of this guy.
“I-I-I know you!” she stammers out. “How do I know you? Who are you?”
The guy smiles and looks at Willow with a wicked gleam in his blue eyes. “Ah come on, Willow, you know me,” he says. “I’m Tyler Harrison, Ashley’s cousin. We met at that frat party a few years ago, remember?” Willow pushed herself further into my back hoping for an escape.
“What do you want?” I ask
“I’m here to take Willow back,” he reveals with a slimy tone which gave the feeling he had other intentions, and they were not good ones.