Truce

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Chapter 11

Jacob

Saturday used to mean early mornings, nice clothes and two hours in church listening to the pastor and getting scolded by my father to listen, instead of muck around with Royce or Luca. We always had sporting commitments on Sunday, so we went to the Saturday service instead.

Now, Saturday meant sleep ins, relaxing and homework, the former of which I never did. Today was no exception, as I rose bright and early at 6am. My body clock had already gotten used to school time so instead of sleeping in until seven, I woke an hour earlier.

From my bed I could see out of my window, where rain was pelting the street. It was heavy and like the rain we got in winter, except it was still humid.

I showered and threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, put my connies on and headed to my sister’s room. She went to bed early last night with a headache and I was going to check on her, but had to drive Kaia home.

I knocked lightly on the door before entering, her blinds still pulled tightly closed. She was tangled in her covers and looked like she’d been restless all night, which was probably the case. I could barely see her open her eyes and then the small smile she showed.

“Hey,” I whispered, sitting at the end of her bed. “How are you feeling?”

Her eyebrows furrowed as if she were confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Your headache from last night?”

“Oh,” she paused, nodding as she pulled herself into a sitting position. “Right. Yeah. I’m good. Just tired, is all.”

“Okay. Well I’m headed to Hayden’s for the morning. You should get some more sleep if you can.”

“I will. Thanks for checking up on me.”

I stood up and walked over to her door. “No problem,” I said, and then left.

Music was coming from the kitchen but it wasn’t my mother’s. It was rare anyone else was up this early and played music.

I got to the door and it clicked. It was Royce. The brother who was never home. It gave me a bit of a shock that both of my brothers were home last night, however one was a good shock and one was not. I wanted to punch Luca for how he was acting but Royce did it for me.

“Guten morgen,” I greeted him, taking a seat on the stool at the counter.

He looked up from the book he was reading with a grin. “Good morning, little brother. I didn’t get to talk to you when you got home. You were in such a rush to get upstairs,” he mocked, closing the book and setting it aside. Instead of using bookmarks, he remembered the page number he was up to.

“With the lot of you in the living room, can you blame me?”

“No,” he chuckled and stood up, making coffee. “Want one?”

“Please,” I nodded and he flicked on the kettle. Instant coffee sucked shit, but I’d end up drinking only a few sips then getting a real one on the way to Hayden’s.

“How was the party?”

I worked to put a smile on my face. After all, I had to convince him, along with the rest of my family, that I was falling for Kaia. “It was pretty damned awesome,” I said, tapping my hands on the bench. “I asked Kaia to be my girlfriend.”

“Congrats man,” he said, handing me my cup of coffee and clinking his mug with my own. “Wait, she said yes, didn’t she?”

“She said ‘how could I refuse’.”

He chuckled, taking his seat on the other side of the bench. “She’s a keeper.”

I nodded. This was heading in the right direction. “She sure is.” I took a sip and then stood up, patting my pocket to make sure I had my phone, keys and wallet. Check. “Anyway. I’m headed to Hayden’s for the day. Will you be home tonight?”

“I’m leaving around five.”

“I’ll see you before you leave then.”

“Have fun, Jacob.”

“I will.”

The drive to Hayden’s house was shit, considering the rain was impairing my vision. I stopped at a drive through coffee shop and ordered a chai latte and a coffee, the latter of which was for Hayden. The likelihood was that he would be asleep or have just woken up and would be grumpy until he got his caffeine. He was such a drama queen.

I got out of my car with the two cups and jogged to the shelter of the porch. I set the cups on the railing and got the key from where it was hidden under a potted plant. Not the best hiding spot for the mayors house if you ask me, but it seemed to work for them.

Once I got inside I realized that Mayor Porter wasn’t home. I breathed a sigh of relief. That lady was scary as fuck, and I didn’t find many things scary.

I figured Hayden would either be in his room or the basement, so I opted for his room. It was on occasion that he slept in the basement, but it had become more often than not recently.

His room was empty, with his bed still made from what seemed like days ago. I frowned, but navigated my way to the basement none the less.

The blinds were open but it didn’t seem to bother the seventeen year old, who was sprawled on the couch with his mouth hanging open. I snorted and nudged him with my toe until he woke up.

He rubbed his eyes and stretched, before catching sight of me and cursing. “It’s Saturday morning, are you fucking kidding me? I’m trashed, fuck off.”

I just laughed and handed him his coffee. “Suck it up man, I’m in the mood to vandalize shit.”

He groaned, taking a sip of his coffee and sitting up. “I fucking hate you sometimes.”

“I know. Just get your ass up and let’s go.”

Within half an hour he was in the passenger seat of my car, holding onto his coffee for dear life. I’d finished my chai and made a coffee to refill the cup while he got dressed, so I was sipping on that as I drove. The windscreen wipers were on full speed as the rain continued to pour.

“Rain? I thought it was summer. This is bullshit.”

“Well someone’s in a fantastic mood.” I rolled my eyes, turning the radio up a little bit. It was kind of crackly because a wire in my antenna was out of place, but it was better than nothing.

“Hey, where’d you get to last night?” I had to ask. He’d mysteriously disappeared while I encountered the ex’s, and I’d forgotten to ask Kaia where he’d got to.

“Nowhere.”

“Bullshit.”

“Fuck off.”

“Were you with the girl?”

He sighed. “Yeah.”

“And that’s why you’re tired?” My voice was suggestive but he punched me on the arm. Really hard.

“Shit. What the fuck, man?”

“I didn’t sleep with her.” He sounded defensive, like sleeping with her was wrong. I was as confused as a trucker at a Tupperware convention.

“Okay,” I said, leaving the conversation there. I was still sure the girl was Parker but I wanted him to tell me on his own terms, so I wasn’t going to push him into saying shit.

“The maze in the park would be good. There’s a blank wall in the middle under cover of the tower and it’s hidden if anyone does come to the park,” I suggested. At the Pirate Park there was this huge maze I’d never been able to get through without climbing over or under the walls. Right in the middle was a watch tower and underneath were four perfectly bare walls. I’d checked it out when we were playing hide and seek here the other day. It was perfect.

“Sure.”

“Are you okay?” I pulled into the empty gravel lot and parked the car, turning it off. All you could hear was the sound of the rain on the windshield. Hayden was torn between being snappy and silent, which was unlike his usual loud and likeable self.

“I’m fine. There are some things in my life that are currently not but I can’t talk to you about those.”

“You know I won’t judge you or tell anyone or shit, right?”

“It’s not that. I just can’t tell you.”

“Can’t?” I asked.

“Can’t.”

“Okay. I ain’t going to push it. Let’s just chill, okay?”

“Alright. Grab the black bag.”

We jogged through the maze, getting soaked as we tried to locate the undercover bit. After five minutes of dead ends and endless paths we made it, the big open space sheltered from the rain.

“Got any ideas?” I asked and he just nodded, and got to work. He was using predominantly blues and purples, all of them swirling together in a pattern rather than a picture. It looked sick. He got me to spray the top half in dark blue, all except for a single circle which I was to leave blank. I managed to do as much and by the time he was finished the picture, it looked like a beach at night. With the moon reflecting off the purple-blue water.

“Fucking awesome,” I nodded, taking a step back to admire his work.

“Not done yet.”

He took out the white spray paint can and shook it, before writing in an elegant script; all that you are is all that I’ll ever need – Ed.

“Ed Sheeran?”

“Don’t.”

“Pun.” That got him to laugh.

“Aye there he is. How about we go grab some real breakfast and maybe play some pool?”

“Nothing like a good ass kicking to cheer me up.”

I shoved him. “In your dreams.”

My phone buzzed in my pocket, a relentless sound that wouldn’t ease up until I answered. I scrambled to get it in time and luckily I did. It was a viber call from my father.

I answered, putting the phone to my ear.

“Hallo, vater. Wie gehst du?”

“English, my boy. I’m good, but I can’t speak long.” He never could.

“Of course. What do you need?”

“I heard you have a girlfriend.”

“Yes. Kaia Sawyer.”

“Is that the girl you used to be friends with all those years ago?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I always liked her.”

“What does she have to do with things?” I asked, confused and partially concerned as to where he was heading with this.

“I would like to re-meet her. Will you bring her home this weekend?”

“Is that a real question?” I sighed.

“I knew you’d say yes,” he chuckled, knowing full well he wasn’t giving me an option. “The jet will be waiting for you on Friday afternoon and we will have dinner Sunday night. Yes?”

“I’ll have to check with her.”

“Let me know.”

“Will do. Goodbye, Vati.”

“Auf wiedersehen, Jacob.” And he was gone.

“What was that about?” Hayden was looking at me with a frown, only having caught half of that conversation.

I sighed, turning the keys in the ignition.

“I’m taking Kaia home.”

Kaia

I woke up late with a pounding headache and a pounding on the front door. I had no idea where my siblings were but apparently they weren’t here. I rolled out of bed and chucked sweats on with my tank top, frowning at the rain pelting down on my window. Wasn’t it supposed to be summer?

Oh well. I loved the rain.

I stumbled my way downstairs and into the entrance hall, where I could see someone through the glass panes beside the door. I couldn’t make out who, so I unlocked the deadbolt and turned the handle, pulling the heavy thing out of the way.

Out of all the people it could have been, I was expecting her the least. Her dark hair was damp and in a low ponytail, making her look more my age than fourteen. She had the same blue eyes as her brother but with longer lashes framing them.

“What’s up, Ada?”

Ada Beck was standing on my doorstep at whatever ungodly hour of a Saturday it was.

She took one look at me and frowned, her eyebrows knitting together. “Sorry, did I wake you up?”

I shrugged and couldn’t help but smile at the girl. She was so worried. “It’s fine, Ada. Come in.”

I stepped aside and let her come through the threshold, her eyes roaming around the house before they returned to me.

“I don't really know why I came here. I have to talk to someone about something but I can’t talk to anyone in my family and all my friends at school wouldn’t understand and that only leaves my cousin who is my best friend but she already knows and I need someone else’s opinion and I thought of you and that maybe you could help me?” She let it all out in a gush, pacing in front of the door, her ballet flats clicking against the tiles.

I just leaned against the door and chuckled. “I’d love to. How about we go grab some coffee and chat?”

“Are you sure? You don’t have to I just-“

“Ada.” I cut her off, putting my hands on her arms and looking at her. “Will you relax?”

She hesitated but nodded, a small smile starting to work it’s way onto her lips.

“Great. I should probably chuck some jeans on so come hang in my room and then we can head off.”

“Thanks, Kaia,” she grinned, and followed me up the stairs.

“Always happy to help,” I told her honestly. She was kind of like a little sister to me, someone I always got along with. Even when we were kids and the age difference felt bigger, we were still close. She was so better company than her brother, which reminded me. “But I have to ask. Why didn’t you talk to one of your siblings about whatever this is?”

I pushed open my door and scrunched up my nose, slightly embarrassed by the messy state it was in. “Sorry for the mess.”

“It’s nothing,” she said, taking a seat on my desk chair. “But they wouldn’t take it too well if I told them.”

I was going to dispute this by saying how good her family was and how much they loved her and wouldn’t get angry at her or whatever she was worried about but then I saw the genuine look of concern on her face and stopped searching for my jeans.

“If you told them what?”

“I’ll explain at Coffee Bean…”

“You’re not in trouble or anything, are you?”

“No! God, no,” she exclaimed, shaking her head profusely. “I swear I’m not in trouble. There’s just this guy.”

Oh, of course. With the way she hesitated made me want to laugh. Instead I gave her a dubious look and returned the search for my skinny jeans. “And you say you’re not in trouble.”

I found my jeans and changed in my ensuite, leaving on my pajama singlet because I was too lazy to get changed. I ran a hand through my thick hair quickly before grabbing my keys, wallet and phone and heading out the door with Ada by my side.

“What would you like?” I asked her as we came to the front of the line. Coffee Bean on a Saturday afternoon was busy and I recognized loads of people from school, unfortunately.

“I can buy my own.”

“I know you can but you’re already in enough trouble,” I teased her with a chuckle. “Hot chocolate?”

“You don’t have to.”

“Of course I don’t,” I said, stating the obvious. “Do you want to go grab a booth and I’ll bring them over?”

She rolled her eyes, acknowledging the fact that I wasn’t going to budge. I was stubborn as hell, something she knew very well. “Thank you.”

“Not a problem. I’ll be there in a sec.”

I ordered and paid and because it was a Saturday there were more staff working, so it only took a minute for our drinks to be made. I took them to the corner booth Ada had managed to get and slid in, giving her the hot chocolate.

“Thank you,” she said again, taking a sip of her hot drink.

Her and Jacob were so different. She was so polite. He was not. Okay sometimes he was but he was never this polite. “The guy?”

She gulped.

“You can’t back out now. Spill your beans.”

“I’m seeing someone,” she blurted out, frowning into her mug.

“No shit Sherlock.”

“You knew?”

“It involved a guy so it was one of two things, and I’m pretty sure you’re not pregnant.”

“Funny.” Her voice was bitterly sarcastic.

I just grinned. “The guy?”

“Not that you’d know him, but for argument’s sake lets call him Fred.”

“Fred. Yes. What’s he like?”

“Perfect.” The word tumbled out of her mouth without her thinking about it. “Well, he’s not. He’s far from it. But we just click really well, you know?”

I nodded, understanding exactly what she meant. Some people you were just comfortable with and some people you just fit with really easily. “So what do you need my help with?”

“I’d really like it if you could get Jacob off my trail. I think he knows something is up and he’s really protective. I know he tries to pretend he’s not but he is. The less he knows the better.”

I kept my eyes on her, trying to pull apart her expression. “There’s something else.”

She sighed. “I really don’t like you sometimes.”

“I know. Do you want to talk about it?”

She ran a hand through her hair, messing up her ponytail. “I’m dying to.”

“Then d-“

“But I can’t.”

“It’s the worst when that happens,” I nodded sympathetically, my mind drifting back to year seven when I had a crush on her brother and couldn't tell anyone because he was with Audrey. God, I hated her.

“It is,” she groaned, putting her head in her hands. “I really like him, Kaia.”

“Liking someone isn’t a bad thing.”

“I know. I just feel sort of pathetic. I see him every day but I still want to talk about him all the time.”

“I’m always here to listen when you do,” I told her, taking a sip of my drink. It bothered me to see her so clearly upset. Whatever she wasn’t telling me was important, but I figured I’d find out one way or another. So I let it be. “Is he in any of your classes?”

She shook her head. “No. He’s in my one with one of my friends.”

“How did you start talking to him?”

“We met here, actually. He came in and recognized me from school and started talking to me. It all just went from there.”

“That’s kind of cute.”

She groaned. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. Then she must have caught sight of her watch as she cursed under her breath, got her bag and stood up. “It’s later than I thought.”

“What’s up?”

“I’m meant to be meeting up with him in a few minutes.”

“Do you need a lift?”

She shook her head. “No. I’ll walk. Thank you so much for letting me talk! I’m sorry I’m ditching you.”

“It’s fine,” I assured her, standing up and giving her a hug. “Just have fun with Fred, okay? I have some shopping to do.”

“You’re the best.” She gave me one last grin and rushed out of the café, disappearing out of sight and into the rain.

I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for a present for her birthday on Thursday; just something small even though Jacob had told me I didn’t need to. I spent the evening on the couch with Parker watching Orange Is The New Black. The title sequence was just beginning when my phone buzzed near my feet. I frowned, not used to getting texts on Saturday nights when everyone was usually out at a party or socializing. Neither of which I particularly liked doing.

Text message: Jacob

Those three words brought a frown to my face, only deepening when I unlocked my phone and read the text.

Jacob: hey. remind me when I see you next that I need to talk to you about something.

What the hell?

Kaia: how am I meant to remind you to tell me something if I don’t know what i’m reminding you to tell me?

Jacob: touche. just say it has something to do with this coming weekend. yeah?

Kaia: and if thats not enough?

Jacob: well youll get a hell of a surprise on Friday XD

Kaia: u r an idiot

Jacob: danke schon, mi amor

Somehow the conversation continued for the next hour as the show played. I ended up missing half of the show, needing to re-watch it after Parker went to bed so she didn't think anything of it.

Jacob wasn’t as bad as I thought. We ended up talking until midnight where I claimed exhaustion and left. It was like the good old days but with more sarcasm and rudeness. It was kind of nice.

I went to bed with the hope that perhaps Jacob and I could be friends again.

Maybe.


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