What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 7

Scout could hear it in the distance, the incessant ringing of her phone. She thought it might be a dream when it stopped but then it started back up again. Groaning, she turned her head on the pillow, hand searching for her phone. She found it and opened one eye to see Lucky’s face on her screen. She answered and put it on speaker. “What?”

“Morning, sunshine!”

“Oh God,” she groaned, putting her face in the pillow. “You’re a morning person.”

“Yes, I am,” he confirmed. “What are you doing today?”

“Sleeping off my hangover.”

Ava and Scout had not gone easy on the drinks last night. Ava’s fiancé, Michael, was an absolute God send and picked them up before dropping Scout home and taking a sleeping Ava back to theirs.

“No work today?” Lucky asked.

“No. Now go away.”

“I’ll pick you up at ten.”

“What?”

“Dress nice.”

“What?”

“See you soon, sunshine.”

“Lucky!” But he had hung up the phone. Scout opened her other eye and looked at her phone. It was 8:30 AM. Why the hell was he up and chipper so early in the morning? She closed her eyes and stuffed her face back into the pillow.

When Scout woke up again, her phone was ringing. Lucky’s face lit up the screen.

“You ready?” he asked when she answered.

“What?”

“I said be ready by ten.”

“It’s 8:30.”

“Try again, Scout.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear to check the screen and saw it was 10:05. “Shit!” She put the phone back to her ear. “Sorry. Give me ten minutes. Where should I meet you?”

“Outside your house.”

“Ugh!” Scout mumbled. “Sorry. I’m coming.”

“Hurry up!”

Scout hung up the phone and rolled out of bed and into the shower. She had no idea what Lucky was up to. She rushed through the shower, towel dried her hair the best she could and rummaged through her clothes to find something half decent.

“Morning, Scout,” Jim greeted her as she came downstairs. “Are you off out somewhere?”

“Mhm. I have a friend waiting for me.”

“Your gentleman friend?”

Scout snorted. She would not describe Lucky as a gentleman. “Yes, Dad. Friend.” She emphasised the words as she slipped on her shoes. “I’ll see you later.”

Darting a kiss on his cheek, Scout left the house. The sun was bright and warm and she recoiled slightly. The shower had helped but she hadn’t had a proper drinking session since she was in university. As she walked down the street to where Lucky had dropped her the other day, she saw him standing there, leaning against his car.

“There you are!” He held out his hands. In one, was the undeniable bright white of a Starbucks take out cup and in the other was a small white paper bag bearing the same logo. “I came baring gifts. Latte and pain au chocolat.”

“Oh my God,” Scout gushed. “I think I’m in love.”

“I thought you said you’d try your hardest.”

“I was on about the corporation that is Starbucks.” She made a grab for the coffee but Lucky pulled it out of reach. The movement caused her to fall but a strong arm wrapped around her waist.

“Woah!” Lucky said, looking down at her.

“Sorry!”

Lucky held Scout up against him and it was difficult for her to ignore just how solid and warm his body felt up against hers.

“You need to be more careful,” Lucky cautioned.

“Mhm.”

He held onto her for a moment longer than necessary after she straightened up. Lucky handed Scout the coffee and pastry before opening up the car door and she got in, trying her best to get her heart to calm down.

“What do I owe you for this?” Scout asked as the engine roared to life.

“Nothing. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t help you when you’re hungover? Though, I’m jealous I’m not the one who was helping you get drunk.”

“I do not even want to know what you’re like when there is alcohol in you,” she told him as she took the pastry out of the bag. Scout sunk her teeth into it and let it flake into her mouth. Buttery pastry and chocolate making her salivate.

“It would have been warm if you were on time.”

“I must have fallen asleep again.”

The pastry was gone much quicker than Scout would have liked. She took a large swig from the coffee cup and then turned to Lucky. “Where are we going?”

“To view a house.”

“I’m sorry, what?” she spluttered. “I thought we spoke about me renting a flat.”

“We did, but you’re a girl with big dreams and I thought this could be some fun.”

“What have you done?”

“You’ll see.”

Lucky refused to answer any more of her questions. Instead, he turned up the radio at they both sang along to Foo Fighters and Panic! At The Disco.

When he pulled up the car on a street in the Mumbles, her brow furrowed. “What the hell are we doing here?”

“Just trust me.” Lucky got out of the car and opened the door for Scout. She left the coffee cup in the holder and let him help her out. He shut the door, locked up and then took Scout’s arm, slipping it through his. When she tried to pull it away he kept it in place. “Trust me,” he repeated.

She let him take the lead and they walked down the street towards where the houses were repped by Fine & Country.

“Lucky,” Scout said unsure.

He was walking up the path to a house that she wouldn’t even be able to afford in her wildest dreams. An estate agent greeted them as Mr and Mrs Daniels and Scout’s head snapped up to Lucky.

“Everything okay, sweetheart?” he asked sweetly.

“Perfectly fine,” she responded through gritted teeth.

The estate agent led them into the house while rattling off a list of highlights. This place was a five bedroom detached house with two en suite bathrooms. It had ample parking and a double garage. It boasted sea views that were perfect for the conservatory and cost a cool three quarters of a million pounds. Scout almost choked on air when she said that.

“Thanks,” Lucky told her. “We’ll take a look around.”

She left them and Scout instantly unlinked her arm from Lucky’s. “What are you playing at?”

“Chill your boots, Scout.” He started to walk up the stairs and she followed after him, a little slow thanks to her knee. “You dream big. Small town girl went off to London to find her fame and fortune.”

“No,” she hissed. “Small town girl went off to London to go and do what she loves for a living.”

“Okay, okay. But tell me you never wondered how the other half lived while you lived here.”

It wasn’t a lie. Any time she would drive past the area, she wondered what the houses were like inside. On the outside, they looked amazing with lush green gardens and tennis courts. Catherine Zeta Jones owned a house here until she recently sold up.

“Always,” Scout muttered.

“Then just enjoy it.”

They wandered around the bedrooms upstairs, all of them large and spacious. The en suites were kitted out with marble counters and showers you’d expect to find in a spa with the amount of fittings they had.

“Is this your dream?” Scout asked suddenly.

Lucky turned to look at her. “What do you mean?”

“Do you want some big, fancy house?”

They were heading back downstairs. This time, Scout led the way so Lucky took it at her pace. She placed one hand on the rail and made her way down slowly. Behind her, Scout could feel Lucky close by, his hand hovering a fraction off her hip.

“Not really,” he answered. “A house is just a box.”

“No. A house is a home. It’s where you make memories and feel loved.”

There walked out into the garden that was massive and line with rose bushes along one side. The plants were in full bloom and were in various different colours.

“If a house is a home, then why are you so eager to leave yours?”

She turned and blinked at him a few times. “I told you, it’s because I wanted more opportunities.”

“Yeah, I know what you told me but it’s not lining up with what you’re saying now about home being all these things” Lucky was standing in front of her, shielding the sun from her eyes with his body.

“I… I just wanted to leave.”

“Why?”

“What does it matter?” Scout asked, turning away from him and walking further down the garden.”

“I’m just curious about what made you run.”

She turned on her heel and narrowed her eyes. “I did not run!”

“Seems that way to me.”

“I didn’t run! Jesus! My parents divorced when I was ten because my Mum cheated on my Dad and he caught her. Okay?” Scout felt her eyes burn as Lucky came towards her. He stopped in front of her but she couldn’t find the strength to look him in the eye, so she stared at his chest. “Dance was my way of getting out of the house. I put everything into it and I left as soon as I could because Dad still loved her and I just couldn’t understand why. He still hasn’t let himself find anyone new and it’s been fourteen years.”

Scout adored her father but the one thing that always caused an argument between them was her Mum. Jim still spoke highly of her and asked Scout to see her and spend time with her but Scout refused. To this day, Scout refused to visit. She had torn the family apart in the worst way and Scout would never be able to forgive her for that.

Rough fingers touched her chin and guided her head up. “I’m sorry,” Lucky said. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t. I just don’t dwell on it.” She moved her head away from his touch and almost instantly regretted it.

“No family is perfect,” he said.

She was suddenly curious. “What’s yours like?”

“We’re a little—” He searched for the word. “Dysfunctional. My Dad, I love to pieces. He has the sunniest outlook on life. My Mum is… I don’t know. I don’t see her that often.”

“Are they separated?”

“It’s just complicated. And my twin sister is a pain in the ass but she’s getting married soon so I mean, I guess she’s someone else’s problem then.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“No, I don’t. I love her but we don’t see eye to eye on everything.”

“I wish I had a sibling.”

“You’re an only child?”

“Yeah, just me carrying on the Daniels name.”

“Your poor father.”

Scout punched him in the arm and he gave her a shove before realising what he’d done. Lucky quickly wrapped an arm around her to stop her from falling. “How about we head out?” he asked.

“Sounds like a plan.”

He hadn’t moved his arm from around Scout, so they walked back into the house together, thanking the estate agent for her time.

Once they were back in the car, Scout turned to look at Lucky. “Did you need to tell her we were married?”

“Thought it made for a cute story. Rich, young couple looking for a home.”

“You are way too much sometimes.”

“And yet, you continued to spend time with me.”

“Just to keep you grounded.”

“You keep telling yourself that but I know the truth. You enjoy my company.”

She did. Any time Scout spent with Lucky, she found herself smiling. He was a little out there. A little wild when he wanted to be but he could balance it out with being serious. He was honest and he could read her better than she could read herself. Lucky was turning out to be a good friend.

“You keep telling yourself that,” she told him.

He didn’t need to know the truth.

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