My head was spinning. This was serious. I was a seventeen year old girl in love with a criminal. I scolded myself immediately, criminal according to Luke, who had many reasons to lie to me. I had a sinking feeling he wasn’t though. My phone flashed on my desk. I picked it up.
Cal spoke. ′Where are you?′
‘I am just getting ready to go to The Rink with the girls...’
He went silent on the other end.
′Can you pick me up after?′ I asked sweetly.
‘Yeah. Text me.’
Just like that he hung up. I stared at the phone in my hand. He didn’t sound overly happy that I was going out, I am not entirely sure how I knew that, it was just the impression I got. I sighed, as I packed my skates in my bag. I skipped downstairs and out to Siennas car. She had a gorgeous Fiat 500 in mint green, I loved it. I really needed to learn to drive, everytime I saw Sienna I was reminded of the fact.
I climbed into the back and smiled.
‘Hey yourself’ said Rosie as she climbed back into the car after letting me get in. She turned around to face me and we chatted aimlessly on the way to The Rink when I got a text on my phone.
’I hope you are ok. I do care about you. Luke.′
I felt gripped with anxiety briefly. I hadn’t told anyone what he had told me, even Cal.
’Whos that?′ asked Rosie as Sienna swung the car into the vacant space in the lot.
‘Luke.’ I replied, my head pounding.
They exchanged a look.
’Everything ok? More hot guys fighting over you?″ Rosie giggled.
Sienna nudged her.
′Yeah but this is a good sign right?′
I know she would just want us all to be friends, especially as I was her best friend and Luke was Ethans. It just made it simpler. I felt 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 shook my head. ’I don’t really want to talk about it guys. Lets skate!′
We walked into the stadium and joined the queue to pay for the skate only fee, whilst the other long line had people without skates queuing. I paid up and went and sat down on the bleachers by the rink. I started to lace my skates up whilst I listened to the beat of the music. The ice glistened in front of me and I couldn’t wait to slice through it with my recently sharpened skates. I hugged my coat closer to me as Rosie came up dancing next to me. Finally we were allowed on the ice. I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair as I picked up speed, making patterns with my skates. Rosie slid next to me and we held hands, skating to the music in silence. After a while we made our way to the bar and ordered a hot cocoa each. Rosie smiled at me.
I nodded gratefully.
′Yeah I really needed this. It clears the mind.′
I frowned. ’Where is Sienna?′
Rosie sipped her hot cocoa and glanced around.
‘Oh god, she is with Ethan, I said girls only! Did she miss the memo?!’
My heart sank as I turned around to see Ethan, Luke and Finn laughing with Sienna on the rink.
’Shit Gretch, I’m sorry. I honestly didn’t know he would be here.′ Rosies face fell and I knew she was genuine.
’I just don’t want to spend my evening with my ex of 3 days, I really don’t.′
Rosie laced her arm through mine and we walked under the DJ booth to where some booths were well hidden from view.
‘I think we will be quite safe in here.’
She smiled, glancing at the ice.
‘I am so sorry Rosie. I have dragged you into this mess with me.’ I sniffled sadly.
She grabbed my arm.
‘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?’
My eyes shone with appreciation as I grabbed her hand back.
’I know. ′
Suddenly we were joined at the table by Sienna and Ethan.
′Where did you guys go, we couldn’t find you hiding under here.′
Sienna sat down next to Rosie meaning Ethan sat next to me. I glanced around awkwardly and Ethan nudged me.
‘Hey listen, its cool. Your problem with your life is just that- yours. I am not getting involved.’
He smiled at me and I thanked him for being so awesome. We all sat and chatted for a while until Finn and Luke wandered over. Rosie rubbed 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 and I told the girls I was tired and needed to go.
‘Thats a shit excuse.’ Finn said drily.
‘Fuck off Finn, its got nothing to do with you.’ I hissed.
He totally ignored me and sat down next to Ethan. I don’t get him sometimes. He sat and told us all how much better it was being single, how we would never work out. Now he was Mr Morals? I wondered how many times he had fucked someones relationship up. I walked away and got my phone out, ready to ask Cal to come and get me. I typed in a text then started to unlace my skates. This was a fucking ridiculous situation. I wondered if it would ever get easier. I glanced up and saw Luke skating on the ice backwards chatting to a girl I didn’t recognise. She laughed and smiled at him as she wobbled on her skates, him holding his hands out for her to hold onto. I yanked my skates off and started lacing my trainers when Cal texted me to say he was almost there. I stood up and walked down the stairs when suddenly I was sprayed with ice from head to toe. I gasped with the cold and wiped myself down. I looked up and saw Luke hold his hands up apologetically.
‘Sorry, didn’t see you there.’
I glared at him and muttered, ‘Prick’ as he skated away. I eventually left the stadium and saw Cals car. I made my way over to it and saw his beautiful face staring at his phone intently. I opened the door and he gave me a once over.
‘Do you even know how to ice skate?!’
I exhaled and closed my eyes, throwing 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. ’
He stared at me, his jaw tight.
‘Fucking dick. Lets go to mine, no one is home and you clearly need a hot shower and fresh clothes...’
He smiled mischievously. I stared ahead, so many thoughts going on in my head. Why did it feel like in order to be happy, I had to sacrifice so much?
’Thats 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 answered, holding my head as I leant against the window. I wondered why he hadn’t started the engine.
‘Luke spoke to me today.’
I hadn’t intended for it to come out that way, but it did.
’Did he now.′ Cal said coldly.
‘He brought me up to speed with you.’
I heard Cal take a sharp intake of breath.
‘How much up to speed, Raven?’
I turned to face him.
’To the point that you aren’t really called Cal.′
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat.
‘Argh, he really is a fucking dead man.’
′You fucking need to explain yourself to me.′ I shouted, the past couple of days coming to a head. I was losing my tolerance.
His voice was quiet and non confrontational.
We faced each other in the car, my arms crossed.
‘So who are you, really?’ I demanded.
‘I can’t tell you that,’ he said, ‘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 trailed off as he saw Luke coming out of the stadium, arms around the girl he was skating with earlier. The hatred in his 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 turned to me then.
′You’re falling in love with me? Its been three days..′ His voice trailed off.
‘Yep 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 stroked my face and I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent.
′I don’t want to hurt you.′ he whispered.
‘Then don’t.’ I said.
He sighed and glanced around.
’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 listened, 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 closed 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 slid my fingers into his hand and held it tightly.
‘We broke in. All I had to do was throw the loot onto the ground. Easy. Except the girl was home.’
My heart raced.
’She was fifteen.′ his eyes looked sad.
’I 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 leaned his head back and I saw the pain in his eyes.
‘They left her for dead. I just ran, and I didn’t look back.’
I felt like I had been holding my breath. I squeezed his hand tightly.
‘So what happened?’
He cleared his throat.
‘Well, she survived. Only just. Turns out her dad was rich very 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 smiled 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 sat absorbing the information, my ears ringing.
‘But you didn’t hurt his daughter.’
I stated as he shook his head,
‘No I didn’t. But I didn’t stop them did I? Thats as good as doing it- in his eyes, I know that much.’
His voice was so soft I barely heard the last part.
‘Look, I understand if you want to leave us, where we are. 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 reached for him.
‘I won’t lie to you I’m fucking terrified. But I meant what I said, I really am falling for you. I can’t be without you.’
I meant it. It seemed 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 is something did happen to him? I shuddered at the thought.
He kissed my head.
′Now you see why school doesn’t matter overly to me,′ his attempt at humour fell short. ’Just focusing on surviving currently.′ His eyes were full of anger and sadness.
′Can we go somewhere, anywhere where no one will know us?′
I asked him, not thinking of anyone or anything else. He started the car and pulled away. We drove in silence for a while as he pulled onto the freeway, pulling in to the second motel we passed.
‘What was wrong with the first one?!’ I yawned.
’Nothing. But I won’t ever use the first one we get to.′
He turned the engline off, pulled some cash from his pocket and pushed it into my hands.
‘Go get us a room, Theodora,’
He grinned at me as I walked up to the little door and pushed it forwards. A bell rang somewhere as I walked into the reception. A bored looking man sat playing on his phone. He barely glanced at me.
His voice sounded scratchy, like he needed to clear his throat like, yesterday.
‘Uh, I need a room?’
‘Fifty bucks. Seventy if you want wifi.’
I handed the cash over and he handed me the key, no questions asked. Was it really that easy to rent a room?! I came out with a chunky keyring with a key attached to it. Cal read the number and held my hand as he lead the way to our new home for the night. The room seemed basic, a bed in the middle and a small tv set on a stand at the end of the bed. The bathroom was at the other end.
’Well I don’t think its too bad,′
I commented as I slung my bag on the bed. Cal stood against the door and watched me. He looked like he was a million miles away. I put my hand out for him to come over to me and he slowly walked towards me, shrugging off his jacket as he did. His eye was turning slightly yellow and didn’t look as bad as it did yesterday. I moved his hair out of his eyes as he turned to look at me. My heart felt full of love for this boy. He had been through so much.
’I meant what I said Raven. You don’t need a part in any of this.′
His voice was gruff and his eyes full of sadness. I felt a lump in my throat as I stroked his face.
‘I know that.....but I can’t imagine myself not being with you.’
I swallowed as he held my face in his hands. ′
You could go back to your life, living the American dream babe. You will always be mine though.′
He smiled 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 kissed me then, holding my face with both hands.
′I really didn’t want to fall in love with you, you know,′ He murmered. I held my breath as he rested his forehead against mine. ‘But fuck it..’ his green eyes stared into mine.
We fell onto the bed, legs tangled together as our mouths searched each other urgently. It felt as though there was no world other than the one we existed in, right at that moment. He lifted his t shirt off revealing his tanned torso. I pulled my vest off, my hair covering my face as I did so. He reached behind me and unclipped my bra with ease, my breasts revealed to his delight. I laid back on the bed as he leant down, kissing my stomach and causing me to squeal with laughter.
He smiled and slid his fingers under my jeans and underwear, pulling them down and throwing them on the floor. My breathing deepened as he stood and loosened the buckle on his belt, tugging it open to get to his jeans. He dropped them and I stared at his body in awe. He climbed back on the bed and kissed me softly, and I felt myself responding hungrily. This was only my second time with him and I didn’t feel any nerves this time. I wanted him so much it felt like it was a pyschical yearning. He was so careful, 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 asked, reaching for my vest and underwear.
He sat up, reaching for his cigarettes.
′I would struggle to label it, it was fucking delicious. You are fucking delicious.′
His eyes wandered over me as I dressed. He leant back and watched me. I sat facing him and smiled. ′
Do you feel ok?′ He asked, as he did last time. He seems to be scared of hurting me. I nodded happily. I yawned and crept into bed next to him, my body curled against his, my eyes fighting sleep just to look at him. He put the cigarettes back on the bedside table and laid next to me.
‘Get some sleep beautiful.’ He kissed my eyelids softly, and I fell asleep to the sound of his breathing.