39. ACE OF HEARTS
“Whose cabin is this?” I ask him, panic in my voice.
Don’t some security alarms call out cops? I don’t want to be arrested, if my dad hears about this he would flip. The sheriff’s daughter breaking and entering, I assume this place to be only about an hour from my hometown so no doubt my dad would hear about this.
“My dad’s,” he tells me, and I breathe out at least half a sigh of relief. Hopefully that means that he has every right to be here, but I doubt that’s the case since he didn’t even have a key.
Ace opens the front door lock through the window and swiftly walks inside, reaching for the lights. “I have about a minute to enter the code for the alarms, otherwise it will send a signal to my dad’s phone.”
“I hope you know the code.”
He shoots me a wink before flipping the plastic guard screen over and typing a bunch of numbers. The alarm is disabled within seconds and I take a deep breath, letting my shoulders relax.
I look around the cabin, noting the expensive furniture. The whole place is massive and looks even bigger with the floor to ceiling windows that cover most of the building walls. Lucky Ace didn’t try and punch those, although I doubt they would be susceptible to shattering. I also wouldn’t be worried about anyone invading your privacy, there is no one around for miles.
“Wow,” I say, my eyes scanning over the place, from the large plasma tv on the wall to the detail on the ceiling. This is no dinged-up place and I can tell it’s worth a lot of money.
“I’m guessing we’re not allowed to be here,” I almost state instead of asking.
“No one will find out, I doubt my dad has come here recently,” he tells me with bitterness in his voice. I look over to see his expression, but his face is blank. However, my gaze travels to his hand which is bleeding all over the floor.
“Is there a first aid kit?” I ask, keeping my eyes on his hand.
“I don’t know, it’s fine,” he tells me, wiping the blood on the front of his dark hoodie and he narrows his eyes examining his hand.
“There’s probably glass shards stuck in there. Let me at least take a look,” I say in concern.
He doesn’t reply and by the looks of it doesn’t care that he’s making a mess on the timber floors. He strolls over to the couch and sits down. I look around the kitchen for the first-aid kit until I find it.
Ace shakes his head at me but nevertheless, his mouth curves up when I make my way over to him.
I stand above him, taking his injured hand in mine examining it. Ace places his other hand on my waist and pulls me towards him, “Ace,” I warn.
“Calla,” he says my name in a low voice and my toes curl. It’s strange how one person can make you feel alive just by saying your name.
However, I ignore him and grab some tweezers out of the first-aid kit, pulling out small bits of glass. I can see Ace roll his eyes, but he leans back pulling me towards him, so I sit on his lap while I look over his hand.
“He used to bring me here all the time,” Ace says, and I look at him for a second. His eyes seem distant as if he’s remembering the memory.
I know he’s talking about his dad. I don’t say anything, afraid that if I do, he will stop talking.
“He told me this was our secret and mom can’t know about it,” he tells me, his face shifting into something dark and I have a feeling I know where this is going.
I place the tweezers back in the first aid kit after I’m positive that there’s no more glass. Ace doesn’t even notice when I wipe his hand with the alcohol wipe.
“Ends up this is where he fucked all his girlfriends the whole time him and mom were together,” he sneers, and I stop what I’m doing. I meet his eyes and they’re full of pain and anger. I wish I could take all that away.
I run my hand over his cheek, and he catches it with his, holding it tightly like he needs to hold something otherwise he’s going to lose it. Lose all the control that he’s been desperately trying to hold in.
“I was so fucking oblivious to it. Maybe I knew all along. I just didn’t want to believe it.”
“You can’t blame yourself for that,” I tell him, but he just shakes his head as if not hearing me.
“He packed his shit when mom was at work, didn’t even have the decency to tell her he was leaving,” he says, swallowing hard like he doesn’t want to say the words out loud and I have a feeling this is the first time he’s spoken about it.
I wait for him to continue because I can see that there’s more. More to the story.
“He did make it clear how much of a disappointment I was to him. All he ever wanted was a son to follow in his footsteps but all he got was me. An ungrateful stupid party boy that won’t get anywhere. I didn’t care what he said about me,” Ace shook his head. “The thing that got to me was that he didn’t even acknowledge Ellie, like she meant nothing to him.”
I didn’t know what to say. His father sounds horrible, Ace was only a young teenager when this happened and Ellie… how could a father just leave his three-year-old daughter? It’s clear to understand why Ace feels the way he does about his father.
“I beat the fuck out of him before he left, lucky Logan got there in time. We got drunk that night. And that was the last time I touched alcohol.”
“Ace,” I say his name, but it comes out barely audible. My mouth is dry, and I squeeze his hand tighter. “Your dad sounds like a fucking prick.”
Ace laughs, the sound filling the space around us and making my heart clench, “You got that right.”
“Ellie is lucky to have you,” I tell him, “She looks up to you.”
He brings his mouth to mine and kisses me. His lips are soft and gentle. This kiss is different from all the others, slower, deeper. Emotional. Like he’s afraid that I will disappear.
I’m here, Ace. I’ll always be here.
“Calla, there’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you about that night.”
“When I got drunk—”
The phone ringing startles me, and I almost fall off Ace’s lap. He steadies me with his hand, and I wait for him to answer it until I realise it’s my phone.
I quickly take out of my pocket and glance at the screen, half thinking it’s Asher or Mia wondering where I am, but I am surprised to see that it’s my dad. I look apologetically at Ace, silently conveying that I have to take this, he gives me a nod. I stand up and walk towards the back door.
“Hey dad, is everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything is fine. I was just calling to check up, I haven’t heard from you in a while and your old man is getting worried,” he says.
“About to get your SWAT team here?” I joke.
“Do you need one, Cals?” he asks, seriousness in his tone.
I laugh, “No dad, definitely not.”
He asks me what I’m doing, and I lie to him for the first time. I tell him I’m camping with friends, there’s no way he would be okay with me alone with a boy. After reassuring him I’m okay and that I’ll come visit in a week or so, I finally get off the phone.
“You wanted to tell me something?” I ask Ace when I get back.
“It doesn’t matter,” he says standing up. “Wait here.”
He gets a few blankets from the closet and walks over to the back porch where I just was. However, I somehow missed the large bed that hung from the roof.
“I always slept here when we would come here. My dad hated it,” he tells me putting the blanket down and lying on his back with his hands behind his head, waiting for me to join him.
His eyes catch the moonlight, sparkling and I wonder how I ever lived a life without Ace in it. We’re so alike, but yet so different. It’s like we were made exactly for each other, to balance one another.
Tonight, the moon is more beautiful than the stars around it, like it’s taking all the energy from them. I sit on the swinging bed, kicking my shoes off and putting my feet under the blanket.
“Do you think a parallel universe exists?” he asks me like it’s something he was thinking about for a while.
I lay my head on his chest and his arms around me are like everything I thought I could never have. I’m addicted to the way they make me feel. The way he makes me feel. He takes my hand and brings it above us, intertwining our fingers together. And just like that, we lay there for hours, talking about absolutely nothing, but to me it means absolutely everything.
I wake up to the chirping of birds but the spot next to me where Ace was last night is empty. I walk towards the house and I can smell coffee.
“Sorry, there’s no food. We’ll stop on the way home to get some breakfast,” Ace says, handing me a cup of coffee. The shirt that he slept in last night is now draped over the kitchen table and if waking up to a shirtless Ace isn’t heaven then I don’t know what is.
“It’s okay, coffee is okay,” I tell him and smile.
We drink coffee together and leave shortly after. This time he drives the bike and I’m grateful for that.
“What are you doing?” I ask him when he pulls up next to an old building.
“Getting a tattoo,” he winks before taking my hand and walking towards the narrow pathway. We walk through a painted blue door and are met with a heavily tattooed female in her twenties.
“Ace,” her face brightens in recognition.
“Becky,” he returns it and turns to me, “This is Calla.”
“Hey,” I say awkwardly.
Her eyes travel to my hand which is still in Ace’s and her smile grows, “Glad to see you finally found someone who’s worth bringing here,” she says and I have no idea what she’s talking about.
“What can I do for you today?”
Ace tells her he wants a tattoo and she walks us through to the back, seating him down in a chair. Ace shows her something on his phone and they whisper back and forth for a few seconds.
“Don’t look at it until it’s done,” Ace tells me and Becky takes the tattoo gun in her hand after wiping his arm with an antibacterial wipe.
“Does it hurt?” I ask when it touches his skin.
“No, I’m used to it by now.”
Of course he is. His arms are covered in black ink. I keep my eyes on his face the whole time and he doesn’t even flinch.
When he’s done, he shows me his arm. There are four stars and in the middle of them is a moon. The crescent of the moon is in the shape of a C and I know from the smile on Ace’s face that it was intentional.
He got a tattoo for me and it’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever done. The moon. The stars. The whole freaking universe. It somehow became our thing.
“I want one,” I tell him.
“You want a tattoo?”
I nod and he tilts his head to one side considering my answer, “Okay.”
“Can you wait at the front? I want it to be a surprise,” I tell him, knowing exactly what I want but I can’t explain it to Becky without Ace hearing it.
He raises his eyebrows and I give him a pleading look.
“Fine,” he says walking away.
The tattoo hurts more than I expect it to, and Becky tells me I picked the worst spot for pain. However, she is done within a few minutes and I look in the mirror before thanking her.
“Are you done yet?” Ace calls impatiently before walking back into the room.
I lift my shirt just high enough to show him, on the side of my rib, near my left breast is a small ‘A’ with a heart underneath it. Ace of hearts.
Some people say it’s stupid to get a tattoo of someone’s name on your body and I didn’t go that far. However, maybe the letter of someone that’s not even your boyfriend is stupid enough.
But I know I never want to forget Ace no matter what happens between us. Because I finally admitted to myself what I knew from the very start.
Ace has my heart.