Chapter 18. Babysitting
The fire in the fireplace flickered, and a dim lamp was on above my head, which was the only light on in the entire house. My back was against the arm of the couch. I had my phone scrolling through the same book I had been a few hours before.
Austin had gone to bed around nine o’clock. Avery had left five hours earlier, and I hadn’t heard from him since. Austin told me that Avery was upset with Jay and their mom. After Austin told me that, I knew it had nothing to do with Mason or me.
My phone vibrated on the stand above my head. I reached over the top of my head for my phone. I chuckled at the name that flashed across my screen.
“Hello?” I asked and chuckled again.
“What are you laughing about?” Avery asked.
“I was going to change your contact name, and I forgot, but it suits you today,” I told him. I twirled my hair around my finger and smiled.
“What is it?”
“Jerk,” I snorted and broke into a fit of giggles.
“Haha,” he said sarcastically. “So, since your laughing, I assume I’m forgiven?”
“Aren’t you always?” I rolled my eyes.
“Sometimes I have to put some effort into it,” he said.
“An apology couldn’t hurt,” I suggested.
“I’m sorry for being a jerk,” he said.
“I feel better now,” I said and smirked.
“You love hearing me say that word, don’t you?”
“Considering everyone says that you don’t ever say that word, yes, I love it,” I said and laughed.
“Cute,” he said.
“Are you on your way home?” I asked.
“That is why I was calling,” he said. “I’m not going to be on my way back for at least another hour or two. If you want, just go to bed.”
“Can I sleep in your room?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said softly.
“Okay, I’m going to finish this chapter first,” I said and yawned.
“What are you reading?” he asked.
“Fallen by Lauren Kate, Claire told me to check it out. It’s really good so far,” I said.
“I’ve read that,” he said.
I scoffed. “Oh, really?”
He laughed. “What you don’t believe me? Jocks can’t read or what?”
“Most of them don’t,” I said. “My brother was just giving me shit for reading and enjoying reading.”
“Your brother would be failing English class if it wasn’t for Claire and me. Your brother is illiterate. He gives you shit for it because you’re good at it, and he’s pissed off that he isn’t,” Avery said.
“Wow,” I said. “I didn’t even know that.”
“It’s true,” Avery said. “He gives me shit for reading too. I tell him he’s just mad because he can’t read, and he gets pissed off.” Avery chuckled.
I smiled. “That kind of makes me feel better. So, if you really read it, what’s it about?”
“You know that one chick has to go to that school and she finds out one of the boys is an angel, and she dies and is reborn every time she falls in love with him. I’ve read that entire series,” he said.
“Glad I was far enough to know those parts,” I said.
“You shouldn’t have asked what it was about,” he said.
“It’s fine. I’m on the last chapter,” I said.
“Damn, did you finish that in a day?” he asked.
“I’m a very dedicated person,” I said.
“I like that,” he said and chuckled.
The back door opened and shut.
I gasped and spun around.
“What is it, baby?” Avery asked.
I heard footsteps but couldn’t speak.
“Storm, what’s wrong?” Avery demanded.
“Someone’s in the house,” I whispered.
“Shit, relax. It’s probably Ryder. He texted me like ten minutes ago,” Avery said.
“He better hope he isn’t Ryder because if he is Ryder, he is getting kicked in the balls for scaring the hell out of me,” I muttered.
Avery laughed. “What should you be scared of, anyway? You’re in the middle of nowhere, Stormie,” he said.
“Have you never seen the movie When A Stranger Calls?” I asked in disbelief.
“No,” he said.
“Really? Good movie,” I said.
“Uh, hello?” Ryder walked into the living room.
“I’m going to hit you in the balls.” I looked at Ryder.
Avery howled with laughter through the phone. “I’m going to let you go.”
“What the hell did I do?” Ryder asked. “What are you doing here?”
“Babysitting,” I said. “He’s still in Dallas. He won’t be back for another few hours.” I stood up and put my phone in the pocket of my sweater.
“Just babysitting?” Ryder tilted his head.
“Just babysitting,” I repeated. “I was planning to go to sleep, actually.”
Ryder put his hands up as if in surrender. “Alright, goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” I said. I followed after Ryder and locked the door behind him. I checked the front and side door too. I pulled my phone out as I headed upstairs.
“Yes, ma’am?” Avery answered after three rings.
“I hope you have a key,” I said and smirked.
“I do,” he said.
“Good because I locked the doors,” I said.
He chuckled. “Why?”
“Ryder is just weird,” I muttered.
“Did he say something to you?” Avery asked, confused. All traces of humor were gone.
“No, he’s just weird,” I said. “I’m going to bed. See you when you get home.”
“Sweet dreams,” Avery murmured.
“Thanks.” I hung the phone up as I closed his bedroom door. I took one of his shirts from the closet and changed into it.
The entire bed smelt just like him. My hand gripped the pillow tighter. I had barely seen Avery since the trampoline park and definitely not long enough to do anything. I wasn’t supposed to see him this weekend at all. I knew he was going to be busy all weekend.
After the first couple of times that we had sex, I found myself wanting it more and more. My mind wandered, thinking about how he would be touching me if he was here now. I picked my phone up and opened my texts.
Me: Wake me when you get here. I miss you.
Avery: I miss you too. You didn’t seriously think I was going to let you sleep all night, did you?
Me: Damn, you need to hurry up.
Avery: That’s turning me on. Knock it off. Go to sleep.
Me: I can’t. The bed smells like you; it’s driving me crazy.
Avery: I’m trying really hard not to imagine you in my bed.
Me: In nothing but your shirt, might I add.
Avery: Stop it, Storm.
Avery: No, you’re not.
Me: Yeah, you’re probably right.
I threw my head back and laughed. I put my phone down and focused hard on not thinking about Avery. After an hour of tossing and turning, my phone vibrated. I grabbed it off the stand.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Are you sleeping?” Avery asked.
“No,” I murmured. “I told you I couldn’t sleep.”
“I’m on my way,” he said. “I can’t speed with this shit in the truck, though. It’ll probably take me an hour and a half to get home.”
“Okay,” I murmured. “See you when you get home.”
“Tell me what you meant last night,” Avery said. He trailed his hands up and down my naked back.
I propped myself up on my elbow. My hand froze on his chest and my gaze locked with his. “About what?” I asked, confused.
“Ryder,” he said.
“N-nothing,” I stuttered and fought like hell not to wrinkle my nose.
“You’re lying,” he said. “Something about him is bothering you.”
“Does it matter?” I asked.
“He’s one of my friends. It definitely matters,” he said. “What happened?”
I sighed and buried my head in the crook of his neck. I wound my fingers around his hair but didn’t answer his question. It wasn’t that I was concerned that I did something wrong. I knew it would bother Avery.
“If you don’t tell me, I’m going to confront him about it,” Avery warned.
“He asked me out and I told him that I don’t date my brother’s friends,” I said. Avery’s body tensed up below me, but I didn’t stop speaking. “And he said what about Avery. He knows there is something going on with us. He said the difference between him and you is that he wouldn’t try to hide me. He implied the same crap last night too. He just creeps me out.”
Avery hadn’t moved or even breathed since I spoke. I propped myself on my elbow to get a better look at him. His expression was blank and his eyes were on the ceiling.
He let go of a breath and moved me off him gently. As soon as I was away from him he sprung out of bed like a cheetah. He put his boxers on and went for his dresser.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Stay with Austin,” Avery said.
Avery got his jeans on and went for his closet. He came out and pulled on a white muscle shirt. He slipped into his shoes as he was looking around.
I climbed out of bed and put the shirt on that he had been wearing the night before and put my underwear on. I grabbed his keys from his jean pockets from last night. “Is this what you’re looking for?” I asked. I held the keys up to show him.
He turned around to face me and narrowed his eyes at me. “Give me those,” he barked.
“Not a fucking chance,” I said and smiled. “You’re not going anywhere.”
He braced himself and dashed toward me.
I turned and sprinted across the bedroom and into the bathroom. I hung the keys over the toilet.
Avery stopped. “You wouldn’t.”
I laughed. “You know what is funny? You know me so well and yet you believe I wouldn’t toss your keys into the toilet? Hell, I would flush them down it,” I said.
He took a deep breath. “You can’t expect me to let this go,” he said.
“That is what I expect,” I said.
“Don’t baby me,” I snapped. “You’re not going.”
He ran his hands through his hair. “You know what, fine,” he paused and smirked. “I’ll walk. Hell I’ll crawl but I’m going to beat the piss out of that son of a bitch.” Avery turned for the door.
“Damn it!” I threw the keys into the sink and ran after him.
Avery unlocked the door and threw the door open.
“Avery, stop it!” I shouted. I chased him down to the porch and into the kitchen.
“Look, it’s early. Mom will be back in a couple of hours. Just stay put until I get back,” he said. “Or until she gets here.” He grabbed his keys to the Plymouth.
“Should I tell her to have the bail money ready on my way out the door?” I snapped.
He turned to face me and slammed his fist down onto the counter. “This is getting to be fucking ridiculous, Storm! I’m tired of hiding it! I’m going to go kick his ass and when I’m done with him, I’m going to tell your brother,” Avery spat.
“So we can break up again?” I murmured. I swallowed hard.
Avery sighed and covered his face with his hands. He dropped his hand but didn’t look in my direction. His jaw clenched.
My steps were measured, but once I reached him I placed my hands on his chest.
“Don’t fucking do that,” he murmured.
“Don’t do what?” I bit my lip to fight the tears back.
“Don’t cry,” he said. His eyes flickered to mine. “It doesn’t mean it’s over for us. It’ll only be over if we want it to be. How does anyone have any right to choose what we do apart from us?”
“Mason will tell Dad and Dad doesn’t like you,” I murmured.
“So, fucking what?” he challenged. “We fight.”
“Is that your answer for everything?” I asked. “You’re leaving in half a year to go to college anyway. By then you might not even want me. Is it worth losing your best friend over?”
Avery gripped my face between his hands. “I want you. College, distance, and time won’t change that.” He pressed his lips to mine.
How does he always manage to say the right thing before I know what the right thing is? If I was head over heels before...
I wound my arms around his neck and his wrapped around my waist pulling me into him. We managed to go from fighting to making out. He lowered his hands to my ass and squeezed, before lifting me and placing me on the counter. His tongue slipped into my mouth and moved in slow circles with mine.
We broke apart when we heard a throat clear. Both our eyes were wide with shock.