I can barely breathe, my fingers fumbling with the lock as I open the door.
My mind reels in shock at the sight of him, leaning against the doorway, his dirty blonde hair longer than I remember.
It can't be.
"Do you always answer the door dressed like that?"
His eyes twinkle as he drinks me in, his hands stroking the short hairs on his chin softly. The black skinny jeans hug his legs, the thin white t shirt soaked through from the rain, exposing his skin and incredible body. I take in his rough beard and intense green eyes that stare into mine.
It couldn't be, it just couldn't.
I try to sound strong, but my voice shakes violently as I feel a wave of dizziness overpower me.
"I must be hallucinating," I mumble, tears filling my eyes as I blink rapidly.
Cal strides towards me, his long legs closing the distance between us easily. His mouth meets mine roughly,this hands in my hair as he kisses me fiercely.
At first, he is having to hold me upright, but then I begin to return the kiss, my heart racing and jumping around ecstatically in my chest. He kicks the door shut behind him and he pulls away so he can see me properly.
I start to cry, hot tears of anger falling down my cheeks.
"What the fuck, Cal?" I stammer, my voice barely audible as he closes his eyes, exhaling loudly.
His voice is gruff with emotion. He smells so good, my body screams for him in every capacity, but the tears continue as I shove him in the chest.
"You fucking left me! Just left. Do you have any idea what you have done to me? You can't just walk in here expecting to pick up where we left off like nothing has happened! I thought you actually loved me," I sob again, my heart shattering to a million pieces. My body hunches over as I try to remain calm.
He grabs my shoulders, and puts his face up to mine, his eyes blazing.
"I've got some explaining to do; if you'll let me. But don't for one second think I stopped loving you. I've thought about you every single minute of every day."
His thumb runs under my eyes, wiping away the tears.
"I'm so fucking sorry baby. But I really didn't have a choice."
I stare at him, unable to comprehend my reality.
"But I'm here now," he mumbles, pulling me towards him, burying his face into my curls.
I breathe in his scent, wrapping my arms around his strong body. My mouth litters urgent kisses on his throat until he turns his mouth to mine- and once again we kiss so intensely I thought I was going to bear physical marks from it.
I grab his hand which was around my head, currently pulling me in deeper to him.
"My parents will be back soon," I stammer, backing away slowly.
He is breathing heavily, kissing my throat whilst his fingers slid under my towel.
"I've missed you so much," he groans, my body responding to the touch it had yearned for for months, despite my brain screaming at it to remain still. I pull away, holding my hand against his chest, the other gripping my towel. He leans back against the door and watches me, a confused expression on his stunning face.
"Give me a minute. Stay there," I order, turning towards the stairs.
I run upstairs and pull the plug from the bath. I drop my towel and slide on some underwear, spraying some deodorant and slipping my hoody on. I pull some jeans and boots on and pick my jacket up.
Cal was back.
As much as I want to have his body wrapped around mine for the rest of my life, I feel like I deserve some answers.
I make my way downstairs to see him with his hands in his pockets, his broad chest still wet from the rain. He looks solemn, and my heart skips a beat.
What was he going to say? What could possibly explain leaving me without even a text?
"My parents will be back soon," I repeat urgently. "I need to hear why, when, where and most of all why!'
I fold my arms in front of me.
"Come with me," he commands gruffly. His hand holds mine and the other opens the door. Regardless of everything he had put me through I am powerless to fight this. I want my explanation, and more than anything I wanted him.
I follow him outside, relieved to see the rain isn't as heavy as it had been earlier. His car is parked opposite my house, and I climb in to the familiar passenger side. I clip my seat belt in as the car screeches away, the wipers clearing the sodden screen. Cal flicks the heaters on to clear the windows, which would take a while, given how cold it was.
Why was I thinking about the fucking windows?
I don't ask where we were going, because I don't really care. I text my parents to say I've gone for some food and I would be back later- I would not make that mistake twice- and stare at the road ahead of us.
The rain wasn't letting up at all, making the road hard to see at the speed Cal was driving. We are soon on the freeway, and I take this moment to sneak a look at him.
His eyes were fixed on the road, concentration on his beautiful face. I want to pinch myself; I can't quite believe he is here.
My phone pings, causing him to glance over at me.
I could've told him it was from my parents but I want him to wonder who it is. I allow myself a smile and slide the phone back into my jacket. He frowns and chews on his lip, deep in thought.
We pull off the freeway, heading through roads that all seem exactly the same as the one before that. I don't know this area too well, so I ask him where we were going.
"Not be long Raven, you'll see."
The mention of my pet name from his lips made me shiver with longing but I couldn't shake the anger.
"You don't get to call me that," I snap haughtily.
He raises his eyebrows as he pulls onto a dirt road surrounded by trees and shrubs. We make our way up a long and narrow driveway, and as my eyes focus, a house comes into view that I couldn't see from the road.
"You live here?" I murmur.
He shrugs and gets out of the car, and I do the same. The house is beautiful, with shutters adorning the windows, Ivy climbing up the old brickwork and steps leading to a rustic porch. Cal retrieves his key from his pocket and opens the door, confirming that yes, he did indeed live here and that he isn't breaking in.
I follow him in, walking into a hallway with shiny wooden floors, a sweeping white staircase and mirrors on the dark walls.
Cal slung off his jacket, tossing it on the banister, then peeled his wet t shirt off. I gulp as I watch the muscles on his back rippling as he does this, and avert my eyes to the floor.
I couldn't be distracted.
He walks into the kitchen and opens the fridge, pulling out two beers. He pops the lids off, and indicates for me to follow him. He hands me a beer and throws himself down on a grey sofa covered with blankets, raising his bottle to me as he takes a sip.
I place my beer down without touching the contents and continue to stand, my arms folded as I wait.
He sighs, knowing full well what needs to be done.
"This hasn't been the easiest thing for me either Gretchen."
I remain silent, purely because I can't be trusted not to tell him to fuck himself.
How dare he?
He rubs his head, his strong, tanned body still glistening with rain.
"I couldn't contact you. I had to make a decision, quickly," he confesses, his eyes on me the whole time.
He inhales slowly, sipping more of his beer.
"Couldn't or wouldn't?" I whisper.
He looks at me directly and continues like I haven't spoken.
"I got a letter, Gretchen. It was addressed to 'L Cape.' It was handwritten."
I frown, confused.
Who was L Cape?
Why would that make him leave?!
I bite my lip to stop myself interrupting.
"No one knew my address or my real name, aside from family. The letter told me that my identity was no longer a secret, and that it was only a matter of time until I joined the others."
His voice is flat as he stares at the floor.
My heart was in my mouth.
"The New York father?"
He nods silently.
"Me and Drake split. You were in danger- I couldn't remain here, fucking around like we were just two teenagers in love," He smiles sadly. "I didn't know what he knew, if he knew about you- but I couldn't risk it. I couldn't risk you."
I take a huge slug of beer at that point before sinking into a bean bag on the floor in front of him.
"You were in danger and you left? I thought the worst. I thought you were dead…" I shake my head in confusion. "I don't get it, you ran again, but you've come back? I don't understand."
He doesn't raise his eyes to look at me, but winces, as though he knows what he is going to say will shock me.
"I went back to New York, Gretchen."