I could feel his eyes on me, somehow I knew he was smiling too. So I couldn't help the giggle that just came out of me. It feels weird, but good at the same time to be making a real breakfast for someone.
Josh and I usually just eat a bowl of cereal because we don't have time for anything else. Sarah went back to cooking after she came and got me, Josh woke up confused and upset. I was able to get him calm pretty quick when I told him we stayed at Cole’s dad’s house. At the mention of Cole, his face lit up and I think my brother has made a new friend and that makes me happy.
I didn’t want to be an ungrateful guest so I walked into the kitchen and offered to help and Sarah took me up on that offer. She turned on the small radio attached to one of the cupboards and it was on one of my favorite stations. I felt a little connection to Sarah. It was nice to be here with another mom, even if she wasn’t my mom.
American Authors This Is The Best Day Of My Life started playing and Sarah says, “I love this song!”
I smiled. “Me too!”
Before we knew it we were dancing and singing along and then the guys came in. Cole just stood there watching me but didn’t say anything and I got the impression he was enjoying the show. I turned around and smiled at him; he walked up and pulled me in for an embrace.
“Good morning, beautiful,” he says as he plants a kiss to my forehead and my heart melts. If he keeps saying things like this I’m going to be a puddle at his feet.
“Good morning to you too.” Okay so that was lame compared to what he said, but I’m not the one who has a way with words.
“What do you have planned for today?” he asks.
“Um, what day is it?”
“Saturday,” he answers and I remembered I promised Erin I would go shopping with her.
“I promised Erin I would go with her to pick out her Fall Ball dress. Toby Hansen asked her last week.” I wanted to go but after my dream last night I’m not so sure it would be the best thing for us.
I looked up and saw that mischievous grin I love so much. He was up to something and I feared I knew what it was. He pulls out of our embrace, walks over to the flowers sitting on the table and pulls out a pink rose.
He walks back over to me and then he bends down on one knee. I look around and both his parents are either laughing or in shock, I can’t really tell. My brain won’t process what’s going on.
“I had wanted to do this differently and in a more special place, but I guess my dad’s kitchen and in my pajamas is the best I can get. So here it goes. Willow Rain Johnson, would you do me the honor of being my date to the Fall Ball?”
I don’t know what to say. I want to go but my dream keeps playing in my head. What if my dream comes true? What if I lose Cole that night? Wait, I did tell him so Ashley can’t use that against me, right? What the heck, I only get to be seventeen once and I haven’t had a real date in like forever.
“Yes, Cole, I would love to be your date for the Fall Ball,” I giggle as he picks me up and swings me around. “I guess that means I have to get a dress too.” I smile at that idea.
“Yes, babe, go pick out the perfect dress and have fun with Erin. But I would like it if you came back here so we can discuss what we are going to do about going home.”
“Oh shoot, I hadn’t thought about that. What am I going to do?” I ask no one in particular.
“I don’t know but don’t worry about it right now. Go have fun with your friend and we’ll talk about it when you get back, but you always have us.” He smiles and pulls me in for another hug as he kisses the top of my head and I snuggle into him, never wanting to move from this spot.
When Sarah says that breakfast is done, I pull away from him and walk over to where Josh was sitting at the table playing his DS and help him get his plate. Sarah places Bridget in her high chair and the sweet little girl looks up at her brother with such adoration that I’m hit with a tinge of jealousy. I know Josh loves me and he is grateful for me, but at the same time, I wish he could look at me like Bridget does with Cole.
I watch as he helps her eat, and he is very intuitive to her. It’s adorable how he talks to her and plays with her. You can see it on his face and in his eyes how much he loves his little sister and I wonder if things were different would Josh and I have that kind of relationship. However, there is no sense in thinking about things that aren’t possible.
After everyone had finished their breakfast and cleaned up, I had Josh ready to go. He was spending the day with Abby and I was spending the day with my best friend. Cole was nervous about not being with me, but I reassured him that I can take care of myself, which seem to calm him a little.
He did make me promise to call him if anything happens. It’s clear he’s worried and that made me fall just a little bit more, but this is getting a little ridiculous. Cole must have sensed my irrational thoughts.
“I know you have been on your own and there hasn’t been anyone to protect you but you. You’re not alone anymore, just let me feel useful and let me protect you the best I can, please.”
He had me there and to be honest it’s nice to have someone else help fight my battles, but the question is how do I do that? I have been on my own for so long, but he’s right I’m not alone anymore.
Cole is here and he wants to protect me, can I let go? Can I let him step in and take over? I guess time will only tell and I’m willing to try for this perfect boy who has captured my heart.
“Okay, Cole, I will try,” I tell him as I push my bag up on my shoulder. He pulls me in for another hug and once again I don’t want to leave the warmth and safety, nevertheless Erin’s waiting. “I’ll call on my way back. Oh and I have to go to my parents’ house, but I will wait until my dad isn’t there.”
I swear I hear Cole let loose a growl. “You know you shouldn’t go there alone. What if Tyler is there waiting for you?”
“You really think he’s going to spend every minute there waiting for me to come home? That’s kind of insane.”
“I really do, Willow, he is insane and is capable of doing anything. I’m afraid of what lengths he would go to, to make you his. I’m not trying to control you or tell you what to do. I just want you to be careful and make sure you don’t go alone, okay?”
“Yeah, I understand and I appreciate that you are only watching out for me.” I reach up on the tips of my toes and press a soft kiss to his mouth then pull away. I look back as I walk out the door, almost afraid to leave the safety of his house. I text Erin and tell her I’m on my way.
Two hours later Erin and I are sitting at the food court in the mall. “Okay, miss, spill!” Erin says through sips of her Orange Julius.
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” I say around bits of my ice cream. Erin gives me her you can't-fool me stare.
“You’re not fooling me, Willow; I’ve been your best friend for like forever so I know when you’re hiding something.” Darn, she has me there. I take the last bite of ice cream and think about what to tell her.
“Um, what do you want to know?” I question.
“Hello… how about all of it. From the start and don’t think to leave anything out cause I will know,” she says with a wicked laugh. I can’t help but shake my head and laugh with her.
“Well, um, so Josh and I were at Cole’s dad’s house last night and we we’re having so much fun until I decided I needed to tell him the truth about what happened to me. I was just about to get to that when my dad calls me and tells me my mom had been in an accident.”
“Woah...wait…what?” Erin interrupted. “Your mom was in an accident and I bet it was her doing, wasn’t it?”
“Actually yeah, she had taken her sleeping pills and had been drinking when she decided she needed to pay my father a visit, probably hoping to catch him in the act with Piper or something. Who really knows what that woman was thinking?"
"Well, anyway, so Cole and I go to the hospital and Peter was there waiting for me. I never found out why but the instant he saw Cole he started in on me about knowing better than to step down from what he’s taught me and Cole was way below my father’s idea of power and image. Peter started in on me and blamed me for my mother’s accident and that’s when Cole lost it. He got in my father’s face and told him off.
"Oh man, you should have seen how pissed both of them were. It was hot and sexy coming from Cole, but my father looked like he wanted to kill him. So Cole and Peter stood there in a face-off until a security guard told us to break it up or leave so we took advantage of the distraction. When we rounded the corner, he had my back against the wall, then he gave me the most earth-shattering rock my world kind of kiss.”
Erin’s eyes were as big as saucers. “Oh, you have to give me the details!” She squirms in her seat and I can’t deny my best friend and I gave her all the juicy details about my earth-shattering rock my world kiss.
“Oh my gosh, Willow, that sounds like it was intense and hot,” she trilled. “Does this mean you are officially a couple now?”
“Um, yeah it does. I think I made it official when I told my father he was my boyfriend. I only said that to piss Peter off, but I think deep down it’s what I wanted and he made it definite when he told me he loved me. He said he had loved me from the first time he laid eyes on me.”
“SHUT UP!” Erin shouted so loud the crowd in the food court looked over at us with dirty looks. “He really told you he loved you? What did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything until he thought I was asleep.”
“What? Why didn’t you say anything back to him?”
“He told me he didn’t want me to say anything until I truly felt it and the truth is I really don’t know how I feel. I think I love him but I’m afraid it’s too soon for me to feel that way about him. I feel safe, loved and wanted when I’m with him. When Tyler showed up at the hospital, he nearly lost it but he was in so much pain he couldn’t do anything to protect me. Luckily I was able to break Carter’s nose when he started dragging me away from him.”
“Wait…hold up… Who is Tyler?” I forgot I hadn’t mentioned him.
“He’s Ashley psycho cousin who has this sick idea that I belong to him, and guess why he has that idea?”
“Because he’s the crazy skank’s cousin!” she grimaced with disdain.
“Well, that too, but apparently my sick father promised me to him like I’m some kind of prize. It’s really sick and Tyler is also the one who well you know.”
Anger brewed in Erin’s eyes. “I could kill them both, and you’re stupid father needs to be locked up with all of them. What are you going to do? Does Cole know?”
“Yeah, I told him last night and you’re going to have to join him on that I want to kill them train. He is beside himself and is really angry about it but I made him promise to let it go since there is nothing I can do about it anyway. I can’t prove it was Tyler, only my dreams and instincts."
"However, as of right now, Josh and I are homeless because I refuse to spend another night in that house of horrors. I’m done dealing with their drama. I’m done being my mother’s cleaner and verbal punching bag. I’m tired of not being good enough for my dad. I’m finally taking a stand and taking my life back.”
“It’s about time, Willow. I have to say, Cole has changed you and I’m grateful for that; I’m proud of you. Where are you going to stay and what are you going to do about Josh?”
“I haven’t really figured that part out yet. Cole’s dad said Josh and I can stay there as long as we need, but I don’t know how well that will work. I’ll be eighteen in a few months so I can legally move out and I’m thinking about getting my own apartment. I have the money saved and I can get more hours after graduation. As for Josh, I don’t know, he’ll probably just live with me.”
“You can always stay with me too if you need it,” She reassures. “You know my Foster parents adore you and Josh and would love to have you stay with us. Where are you going tonight?”
“Back to Cole’s for now. He made me promise to come back so we can figure things out. He’s worried about Tyler being there, waiting for me to come home and taking his chance to nab me.” I didn’t tell her but I’m freaked out about it too. “I need to go back and get some stuff for Josh and I but don’t want to go alone.”
“I’ll go with you,” Erin says. “But I think we should have the police involved.”
“I don’t know what good that will do but it’s worth a shot. I’ll think about it but right now I have a dress to buy and I’m done with the Debbie Downer stuff for the day.”
Erin gets a wide grin and squeals like teenage girls do. “He asked you? How’d he do it?” she begged for my answer with excitement.
“In an embarrassing display in his dad’s kitchen while in his pajamas. It was really cute though.” I told her how he asked and I swear she was more in love with my boyfriend than I was.
“He’s perfect so that means we have to find the perfect dress for you,” She gushed and the rest of the afternoon was spent looking for those perfect dresses. Not another thought other than finding that dress and wondering what Cole would like was on my mind. It was the fun I needed.