My head was spinning. This was serious. I am a seventeen year old girl in love with a criminal. I scold myself immediately- criminal according to Luke, who had many reasons to lie to me. I have a sinking feeling he wasn't lying though. My phone flashed on my desk, and I picked it up when I saw it was Cal.
"Where are you?" Cal says gruffly, and I feel a lurch in my stomach when I hear his voice.
"I'm just getting ready to go to The Rink with the girls..." I explain, as I grab my bag.
He is suddenly silent on the other end.
"Can you pick me up after?" I ask sweetly.
"Yeah. Text me."
Just like that he hangs up, leaving me staring at the phone in my hand.
What was up with him?
I sigh, packing my skates in my bag. I skip downstairs and out to Sienna's car; a gorgeous Fiat 500 in mint green. I really need to learn to drive; everytime I saw Sienna's car, I was reminded of the fact.
I climb into the back and smile at my friends.
"Hey yourself," Rosie smiles cheerfully, as she climbs back into the car after letting me get in. She turns around to face me and we chat aimlessly on the way to The Rink, when I get a text.
I hope you are ok. I do care about you. Luke.
I feel riddled with anxiety briefly. I hadn't told anyone what he had told me, not even Cal.
"Whos that?" asks Rosie as Sienna swings her car into a vacant space in the lot.
"Luke," I reply quietly, my head pounding.
"Everything ok? More hot guys fighting over you?'' Rosie giggles nervously as Sienna nudges her.
"Luke texting is a good sign, right?" Sienna says hopefully, and I don't respond immediately.
I know she just wants us all to be friends, especially as I was her best friend and Luke was Ethans; it just makes it simpler. I feel bad for fucking up the dynamics of our friendship, but I was starting to care less and less the more secrets that came to the surface.
"I don't really want to talk about it guys. Lets skate!" I say brightly, as we walk into the stadium, joining the queue to pay for the skate only fee.
I pay before sitting down on the bleachers by the rink, lacing my skates up as I listen to the beat of the music. The ice glistens invitingly before me, and I can't wait to slice through it with my recently sharpened skates. I hug my coat closer to me as Rosie comes up dancing beside me.
Finally, we are allowed on the ice. I love the feeling of the wind in my hair as I pick up speed, making patterns with my skates. Rosie slid next to me and we hold hands, skating to the music in a companionable silence. After a while we make our way to the bar and order a hot cocoa each.
"Feeling better?" Rosie smiles kindly, as I nod gratefully.
"Yeah, I needed this. It clears the mind."
I frown, glancing around us. "Where's Sienna?"
Rosie sips her hot cocoa and glances around, groaning with dismay.
"Oh god, she's with Ethan, I said girls only!"
My heart sinks as I turn to see Ethan, Luke and Finn with Sienna on the ice rink.
"Shit Gretch, I'm sorry. I honestly didn't know he would be here," Rosies face falls with dismay, and I know she is genuine.
"I just don't want to spend my evening with my ex, I really don't."
Rosie laces her arm through mine and we walk under the DJ booth to where some tables were well hidden from view.
"I think we will be quite safe in here," Rosie smiles, glancing at the ice.
"I'm so sorry Rosie. I've dragged you into this mess with me," I sniff sadly.
"Hey! What are best friends for? I love you Gretchen, I really do. If this is what feels right for you then I've got your back. But, if it doesn't work out then know that I will still be here too, ok?"
"I know, thanks," I whisper gratefully, looking up to see Sienna and Ethan joining us at the table.
"Here you are," Sienna smiles, sitting down next to Rosie as Ethan sits beside me. I glance around awkwardly as Ethan nudges me.
"Hey listen, we're cool. Your problem with your life is just that- yours. I'm not getting involved."
He smiles at me and I thank him for being so awesome. We all sit and chat for a while until Finn and Luke wander over. Rosie rubs her leg against mine under the table in what I could only imagine was empathy- she had after all, promised a girls night out, and this felt like I was back in school again. I asked Ethan if I could squeeze past him , explaining to the girls that I was tired and needed to go.
"That's a shit excuse," Finn said drily.
"Fuck off Finn, it's got nothing to do with you," I hiss.
He ignores me, sitting down beside Ethan. He then proceeded to tell us all how much better it was for Luke being single, and how cheating never paid off.
Now he has morals? I wonder how many times he has fucked someone's relationship up. I walk away, texting Cal as I start to unlace my skates.
I glance up to see Luke skating on the ice backwards, chatting to a girl I didn't recognise. She laughs as she wobbles on her skates, Luke holding his hands out for her flirtatiously.
I tug my skates off and start lacing my trainers when Cal texted me to say he was almost there. I stand up and walk down the stairs when suddenly I was sprayed with ice from head to toe. I gasp at the cold spray, wiping myself down as I look up to see Luke holding his hands up apologetically.
"Sorry, didn't see you there."
I glare at him as he skates away.
I finally leave the stadium, heading over to Cal's car. I open the door as Cal does a double take at me.
"Do you even know how to ice skate?"
I exhale with annoyance and close my eyes, tossing my skates into the back seat.
"Yes, I know how to ice skate. No, I didn't know Luke was going to be there with his friends and no, I didn't know he was going to spray me head to toe with ice just before I left." I snap, tears springing to my eyes as he stares at me, his jaw tight.
"Fucking dick. Let's go to mine, no one is home and you clearly need a hot shower and fresh clothes..."
He smiles kindly, but I stare ahead, so many thoughts in my head. Why did it feel like in order to be happy, I had to sacrifice so much?
"That's a good idea, but I need to be home at some point tonight. My mom is getting suspicious that she's not seeing me much lately," I explain, holding my head as I lean against the window.
"Luke spoke to me today."
"Did he now," Cal mutters coldly.
"He brought me up to speed about you."
I hear Cal take a sharp intake of breath.
"Up to speed, Raven?"
I turn to face him, my eyes meeting his.
"To the point that you aren't really called Cal."
Cal closes his eyes and leans his head back against the seat.
"Luke is a fucking dead man."
"You fucking need to explain yourself to me," I exclaim, finally losing my patience.
"It's complicated," he says quietly.
"So who are you, really?" I demand.
"I can't tell you that," he admits, "Please understand, I can't tell you a great deal other than I really fucked up. I tried to tell you the other night..."
He trails off as he watches Luke come out of the stadium, his arms around the girl he was skating with earlier.
The hatred in Cal's eyes scared me.
"I want to go and kill that bastard for ever having you. Do you know what it does to me everytime I see him? I hate him. Now he has told you something I couldn't even have told you, and it was mine to tell."
"Cal, whoever the fuck you are, you have to tell me what you did. I need to know who I am falling in love with."
He turns to me then, his eyes wide as he swallows.
"You're...falling in love with me? It's been three days.." his voice trails off when I narrow my eyes.
"Tell me about it. I spend a year with someone who I don't sleep with, or fall in love with. I spend three days with a stranger and I do both."
He strokes my face and I close my eyes, inhaling his scent.
"I don't want to hurt you," he whispers.
Cal exhales then, looking at me sadly.
"When I was a kid I just wanted to be rich. I spent my days researching rich people, what did they do to get to where they were."
I listen intently, afraid to interrupt.
'Some were bankers, most were famous and some invented things. I didn't want to be rich from inheritance, I wanted to earn my money, myself. When I went to school I made out I didn't have much money. I smoked pot, I stole and lied. My parents didn't know what to do. They tried moving me schools, but I still ended up with the crowd I felt that I identified with. The ones that were cool, but for the wrong reasons. Anyway, there was a girl at our school. She was rich, arrived to school with her driver, designer clothes and bags. Her pops was stupidly loaded."
He closes his eyes.
"Someone suggested we rob her house. It was researched, all I can tell you is that I did what I was told to do. I was fifteen."
I slide my fingers into his hand and hold it tightly.
"We broke in. All I had to do was throw the loot onto the ground. Easy. Except the girl was home."
I can barely breathe, as he continues.
"She was fifteen, I can only promise you I had no part in what happened to her. But I didn't try to stop it either. I was a coward. I was there with boys of my age and up, the oldest was a man in his forties."
He leans his head back and I see the raw pain in his eyes.
"They left her for dead. I just ran, and I didn't look back."
I try not to imagine the trauma this man had been through. I squeeze his hand tightly.
"So what happened?"
He clears his throat.
"Well, she survived. Only just. Turns out her dad was rich illegally as well as legally.. he had his fingers in all the pies. We were all caught. There were six of us in total. Four are now dead."
He smiles sadly.
"So I got a hefty fine, which my family paid, and we moved here under witness protection. I have no idea how long I will be here though, her father won't let me get away with it."
I sit completely still, absorbing the information.
"But you didn't hurt his daughter." I argue as he bows his head.
"No, I didn't. But I didn't stop them did I? That's as good as doing it- in his eyes."
His voice is so soft I barely hear the last part.
"I understand if you want to end this. I don't want you to get hurt. If they find me, which I think they may do, I don't want them coming for you. You mean too much, and I couldn't protect you, no matter how much I would try."
I reach for him.
"I won't lie to you; I'm terrified. But I meant what I said, I really am falling for you. I can't be without you."
I mean it. It seems that his life was at risk, which made mine at risk too. But could I really break off with him and carry on like he didn't ever exist? What if something happened to him? I shudder at the thought.
He kisses my head.
"Now you see why school doesn't matter overly to me," he chuckles. "I'm just focusing on surviving currently."
His eyes are full of anger and sadness.
"Can we go somewhere, anywhere where no one will know us?" I ask him, not caring about anyone or anything else.
He starts the car and pulls away, nodding silently. After a while we pull onto the freeway, pulling in to the second motel we pass.
"What was wrong with the first one?" I yawn.
"Nothing. But I don't ever use the first one I get to."
He turns the engine off, pulling out some cash from his pocket.
"Go get us a room," he grins at me as I walk up to the reception door and push it open. A bell rings somewhere, announcing my arrival. A bored looking man is sat playing on his phone, barely glancing at me.
"Uh, I need a room?"
"Fifty bucks. Seventy if you want wifi."
I hand the cash over and he gives me the key, no questions asked. Was it really that easy to rent a room?
Cal read the room number and held my hand as he led the way to our new home for the night. The room was basic; a bed in the middle and a small tv set on a stand at the end of the bed. The bathroom is at the other end.
"Well, I don't think its too bad," I declare, as I sling my bag on the bed. Cal stands against the door and watches me, looking like he is a million miles away. I beckon him over and he slowly walks towards me, shrugging off his jacket as he does.
I move his hair out of his eyes as he turns to look at me. My heart is bursting with love for this boy; he has been through so much.
"I meant what I said Raven. You don't need a part in any of this."
His voice is gruff, his eyes full of sadness. I feel a lump rise in my throat as I stroke his face.
"I know that...but I can't imagine myself not being with you."
I swallow as he holds my face in his hands.
"You could go back to your life, living the American dream babe. You will always be mine though."
He smiles sadly, his hand on my thigh.
"Cal. Ever since the minute I met you I knew I would have to have you in my life in any capacity...I literally don't know how I existed before you."
He kisses me then, holding my face with both hands.
"I really didn't want to fall in love with you, you know," he murmurs. I hold my breath as he rests his forehead against mine. "But I did..." his green eyes stare into mine.
We fall onto the bed, our legs tangling together as our mouths search the other urgently. It felt as though there was no world other than the one we existed in, right at that moment. He lifts his t shirt off, revealing his tanned torso. I pull my shirt off, my hair covering my face as I did so. He reaches behind me and unclips my bra with ease, my breasts revealed to his delight. I lay back on the bed as he leans down, kissing my stomach and causing me to squeal with laughter.
He smiles and slides his fingers into my jeans and underwear, pulling them down and throwing them on the floor. My breathing deepens as he loosens the buckle on his belt, tugging it open to get to his jeans. He drops them and I stare at his body in awe as he climbs back on the bed and kisses me softly.
This is only my second time with him and I didn't feel any nerves this time. I want him so much it feels like a physical yearning. He is so caring, checking I was ok throughout, kissing me and taking his time.
The pleasure was intense.
He held me after, his fingers stroking my arm.
"That was amazing, wasn't it?" I grin, reaching for my clothes. He sits up, reaching for his cigarettes.
"I would struggle to label it, it was fucking delicious. You are fucking delicious."
His eyes wander over me as I dress.
"Do you feel ok?"
He seems to be scared of hurting me. I nod happily, yawning as I crept into bed next to him. My body curls against his, my eyes fighting sleep just so I can continue to look at him. He puts the cigarettes back on the bedside table and laid beside me.
"Get some sleep beautiful," he kisses my eyelids softly, and I fall asleep to the sound of his breathing.