21. EVERY HIGH HAS A LOW
It feels like the middle of the night when I hear pounding and someone calling my name.
“Calla! Calla! Are you here?”
For a moment I feel as if though it’s a dream, I don’t open my eyes waiting for whatever it is to pass. It doesn’t.
I finally open my eyes and the light peaks through the room – it’s not my room. I don’t remember falling asleep last night and I usually have to force myself to sleep. I also didn’t have a bad dream, for once in a long time – I didn’t dream at all.
My heart flutters when I see Ace’s arm wrapped around me. His dark hair is messy and his soft lips are parted – he looks so peaceful, I don’t want to wake him. I know he needs to sleep, he always looks so tired.
I try move Ace off me as lightly as I can but he grumbles and wraps his hand tighter around me, pulling me closer into his hot chest.
“What the fuck is that noise,” he asks irritated.
I quickly untangle myself and get up, heading towards the door because I know exactly who that voice belongs to.
I step out of Ace’s room and Asher is about to storm upstairs when he sees me. I look at a wide-eyed Liv by the front door who is regretting her decision to let him in. She gives me an apologetic look and closes the door on her way out.
“Where did you go last night?” Asher asks, “I looked for you everywhere.”
His eyes dart behind me and I can feel Ace wrap his hand around my waist, making Asher’s eyes narrow in frustration and a flicker of hurt crosses them.
“Sorry… I -,” I begin but I don’t know what to say. What did Ace tell everyone?
“I see,” his jaw tenses but he continues, “My dad has been trying to reach you…” he tells me. I try to remember where my phone is, I think I left it upstairs in my room after I had a shower last night.
“Your dad had a heart attack,” he says.
I must have heard him wrong, my dad is only in his mid-forties. My eyes widen and I can feel my chest tightening like I’m about to have one too.
“He’s in hospital, stable condition” Asher quickly adds.
Silence. I don’t say anything. I’m trying to calm my breathing down.
Everything’s okay. He’ll be okay.
“Calla? Calla… did you hear me?” Asher asks. I try to zone him out, I need my mind to relax before I can respond.
“Shut the fuck up and give her a minute,” Ace glares at Asher and gives my hand a small squeeze.
“Don’t tell me what to do. I know her better than you do.”
“Clearly fucking not,” Ace snaps.
I ignore both of them and rush upstairs to pack some of my clothes. I need to go see my dad.
I hear footsteps coming towards my room and I barely glance towards my door but I know it’s Ace. I throw some clothes into a duffel bag and race past Ace into the bathroom to grab my toothbrush.
“Is there something I can do?” he asks. But I know what he means is Do you want me to come with you? We both know it’s too soon.
I shake my head. Even though Ace makes me feel calm, it’s not the time for him to meet my dad, especially when I don’t know what’s going on between us.
“At least let me drive you?”
“I’ll make sense for me to drive her since I’m going with her,” Asher says. I turn around, Asher is leaning on the door casually. He gives me a small reassuring smile.
I sigh. It does make sense for Asher to come with me – we’re practically family but something about this feels like he has ulterior motives. I don’t have time to argue so I just nod, handing him the keys. It’s a chance for Asher to see his family too plus I don’t trust myself driving – I feel like I’m going to throw up at any minute.
I see the way Ace’s jaw ticks in annoyance, he’s glaring at Asher, however, Asher looks pleased with himself. Too pleased and I need to diffuse the situation before Ace wipes it off his face.
“Can you wait for me downstairs?” I ask Asher, hoping he will take the hint. He looks at Ace and smiles before turning on his heel and heading down.
I notice the way Ace’s hands are curled into fists, his knuckles white. I know he doesn’t like him but now is not the time.
He watches me pack my bag, running his hand through and rubbing his temple every now and then. I finally finish and turn around to look at him. His chest has faint pink lines from my fingernails digging into him last night. I blush at the thought. That memory feels so distant now, so far away – for every high there is a low, a high always must come down. That’s what makes the world go around.
“How long will you be gone for?” Ace asks me, his voice blank.
“I don’t know,” I shake my head. “A few days, a week, maybe more,” I tell him truthfully, shrugging my shoulders because I don’t know what state my dad is in. He needs me, I can’t lose him too.
He looks at me but doesn’t give anything away. I turn to my desk and take a pen and a sticky note, writing my number on it.
“Here,” I say handing him the sticky note, “Call me or text,” I tell him but add, “You know, only if you want to.. you don’t h-.”
“I want to,” he tells me and he takes my hand pulling me to his bare chest. He smells like soap, musky with a hint of vanilla and my hands instantly run up his back. He places his head in the crook of my neck and kisses me gently.
When I get outside, Asher is waiting by the driver’s door of my car. I open the boot, putting my bag inside. Asher comes and places his hand out, I’m confused but then I understand he wants the car keys. I give them to him.
I’m about to get in the passenger side but Ace comes over grabbing me by the waist before I have the time to. His grip is demanding and he holds me firmly, making my stomach erupt with need.
“What are you doing?” I ask, my voice is dry.
“Making sure that idiot,” he nods his head towards Asher who is glaring at us through the window, “knows your mine,” Ace tells me smiling and then slams his lips onto mine.