Broken silence, p.10

Broken Silence, page 10

 part  #2 of  Silence Series

 

Broken Silence


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  “Done,” Leona announced, admiring my messed up face.

  Oakley gripped her heart, in mock joy.

  “You look so beautiful!” she exclaimed.

  I smiled sarcastically.

  “Don’t you think Uncle Cole looks great as a girl?” she asked Leona.

  Leona nodded and bounced on the spot.

  “He’s pretty. ”

  I stood up, pointing to the chair for Oakley to sit on. I’d had enough of them laughing at me. Time for payback. The next half an hour was spent painting hearts and flowers on Leona’s face, and play fighting with Oakley to add even more glitter on hers. I refused to look in the mirror. Oakley had pink stuff on her eyelids, bright purple lips, pink glitter on her cheeks, and four orange hears on her left cheek.

  Eventually Mum shouted, “Dinner!” from the kitchen. Leona jumped up and sprinted off. She wasn’t usually that enthusiastic for dinner, but Mum had promised to make her favourite of mashed potato with broccoli sticking out of it, so it looked like a forest on a mountain, sausages and alphabet spaghetti.

  Oakley was staying for dinner too, so it was like old times: she would often come over after school when we were kids. I made sure I sat next to her at the table. I wanted to enjoy having such a relaxed time with her, before she had to deal with what tomorrow would bring.

  At half past ten, I took Oakley back to Ali’s house. I had to remind myself that her being back was probably temporary. She had a whole life in Australia, and I wasn’t sure if England, or I, could compete with that.

  I woke in the morning to Leona shouting my name over and over.

  “Untle Ole, untle Ole! Get up,” she sang, slamming her hands down on my bed. I loved her, but I was installing a lock on my door.

  Groaning, I forced my head up. “Alright, I’m up!”

  She grinned, turned, and ran out of the room. Was there even a point in waking me? She didn’t want anything!

  I suddenly realised that today was the start of the trial. Shit! I grabbed my phone and called Oakley.

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  “Hello,” she mumbled sleepily. Great so not only was today the first day of her dad’s trial, but I just woke her up to remind her…

  “Hey,” I said, wincing at how dumb I was.

  “Before you ask, I’m fine, and I will be fine. Mum and Jasper are amusing me until you get off work. ” Then, softly, “I’m not a child, you know?”

  “Oh believe me, I know!”

  She laughed quietly, “Behave. ”

  “But I find it so hard around you. ”

  “I bet you say that to all the girls. ”

  “I’m not even going to waste my time arguing over that. ”

  “Go to work, Cole. I’ll see you at lunch. ”

  “Okay. I love you. ”

  She sighed, and I could sense her smile.

  “I love you too. ”

  I found it only half weird that we said that to each other, but we weren’t together. It felt so natural.

  We hung up, and I forced myself out of bed. Forcing a smile as I walked into my office, I flopped down in my chair and debated sleeping for a bit. Would anyone notice? Hmm, probably…

  I wanted the whole day off, but I had a few urgent things to deal with. Usually I would hang out in the kitchen for a few minutes, drinking coffee and chatting to my colleagues, but today I made a mug of coffee and got straight to work. At quarter past twelve I was done.

  “It’s all finished,” I told Glen, leaning against his door.

  “Already? I don’t think you’ve ever worked that quickly. I’ll expect that every day. ” He joked. At least I hoped he was joking!

  “Hey, I can work that quickly. I just don’t want to make everyone else look bad. ”

  He laughed, shaking his head. “Get off now then. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Cole. ”

  I nodded once. “Thanks. See you later. ”

  Oakley was on my mind the whole time as I drove back to my house to change, but that wasn’t a surprise. I really didn’t want to go looking at boring carpets and different shades of the same colour paint, but she was excited about it so I could suck it up for the afternoon.

  As I stopped in front of the house, she came walking out. Her eyes were tight with stress, and she walked with a clear, single purpose – getting away from whatever had been going on inside.

  “What’s wrong?” I asked, anxiously.

  She shook her head.

  “If I don’t leave now I’m gonna kill them both, I swear!” She took a deep breath. “And new rule, don’t ask me if I’m okay. ”

  “I take it you’ve heard that a lot today. ”

  “Every five seconds. If I left the room for longer than a minute, one of them followed me and asked how I was. ” She got in the car, laid her head back against the seat and closed her eyes.

  “It’s only because they care. ”

  “I know it is, but it drives me crazy! I’m not the only one going through this, but they only focus on me. Anyway, can we change the subject? How was work?”

  I shrugged. “Fine. ”

  “That’s what you used to say when your mum asked how school was. ” That was the universal reply to the ‘How was school?’ question. “I thought you like your job?”

  I did until you came back. “I do like it. Just had other things on my mind. ”

  “I would ask what those things are, but I have a feeling I’ll have to tell you to behave yourself again. ”

  Shrugging innocently, I turned the key in the ignition and started the car. “Smart girl. ”

  “Do you have the room measurements?” she asked.

  “Yep. Ready to be bored to death in a carpet shop?”

  “Yep,” she replied, mimicking my voice badly.

  Walking into the carpet shop, I fell into a deep boredom. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t want to start.

  Oakley laughed at the expression on my face.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “There’s just rows and rows of rolled up carpet. ” Oakley shot me a warning look. “I know that’s what it’s supposed to be, but it’s so boring. If I worked here, I’d suffocate myself in one of those rolls. ”

  Someone cleared their throat behind me. “Can I help you?”

  Oh shit. I grimaced, and Oakley replied, “No, thank you. ” She grabbed my hand and pulled me outside. As soon as the door closed behind us she turned and slapped my arm.

  “I can’t believe he heard what you said! That was so embarrassing!”

  “Well they shouldn’t creep up on you then. ” I linked her arm in mine and we walked on, laughing.

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  The rest of the afternoon was spent in DIY shops. I was instructed not to talk to anyone. Ever again, actually. By the end of the day I had, well Oakley had, picked out carpet for my house, and I had some say in the paint. Apparently I had to pick actual colours.

  “Are you coming in?” she asked as I parked outside Ali’s house.

  “Are you asking?”

  “Did that sound like a question?”

  “Err, I think so?” I said, laughing. “I don’t know. I’m confused so I’ll just come in. ”

  The house was empty. Sarah had left a note saying they were all at her parents’ house, and we could join them if we wanted. As I thought, Oakley didn’t want to, so we ordered a pizza and sat in front of the TV.

  “You’re coming out again tomorrow. Kerry’s ordered another night of ‘getting trashed’, so I’ll need you to suffer with me. ”

  Oakley laughed quietly. “Sounds good. Although I’m not doing shots. ” She shuddered. “Never again. ”

  “So you don’t do gymnastics any more?” I asked, changing the conversation. She shook her head. “Are you still really bendy?”

  She nudged my side with her elbow. “I should have expected that, shouldn’t I?”<
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  Grinning, I tried, discreetly, to look at her full lips; in reality I was probably just staring. I had never wanted anything more in my life than to kiss her that very moment and carry her upstairs.

  “Do you want to start it again?”

  “Yeah, I would like to. Maybe when this is all over I’ll join a class,” she said and smiled sadly. “And yes, I’m still really bendy!”

  Hmm… “Prove it. ”

  Oakley pushed me down on the sofa. My eyes widened in shock. She sat on my lap with her legs either side of mine. Okay, I like where this is going, but huh?

  “Um,” I mumbled, mentally punching myself. That was all I could say?

  “I shouldn’t have to prove it, you should trust me. ”

  “You’re such a fucking tease. ” I groaned, pulling on my hair.

  “And you’ve got a filthy mind!”

  Oakley giggled and laid down, settling her body in between my legs and her head on my shoulder.

  “Not that I mind,” she mumbled against the skin of my neck. My hands automatically tightened in her hair.

  “Oakley,” I murmured, closing my eyes as she kissed just under my jaw. She ignored me and carried on planting little kisses all over my neck and jaw, working her way across to my mouth.

  I moaned loudly in anticipation of finally kissing her again. Just as she reached the corner of my mouth, the sound of car doors opening outside reached my ears. No. Fucking. Way. Oakley looked up, and I knew the moment was over.

  “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. ” I groaned. This had to be a joke.

  “Nope. ” She pushed herself off me. “They’re back. ”

  “Someone up there hates me. ”

  Oakley laughed and threw a cushion at me, which I used to cover my lap just in time for the front door to open.

  Chapter Eleven

  Oakley

  I grinned as Cole’s scowl quickly turned into a warm smile, just in time for Jasper, Mum, and Ali to walk in the house. I was just as annoyed that they came back at the worst possible time but thankfully, I hid it much better than him.

  Jasper’s glared at Cole for a second. It was as if he knew what had almost happened. Back home he wouldn’t leave me alone with anyone. Cole was different to anyone else though. He was the one who saved me. He was the only man I felt comfortable with and the only person I wanted near me. If it hadn’t been for him, I would still be that silent girl hiding a terrible secret.

  “Hi love, hi Cole,” Mum said.

  “Hey. How are Nan and Grandad?”

  “Good. They miss you. We’ll have to go over there again soon. ” I nodded in agreement. It wasn’t actually that long ago that I saw them, but I suppose they hadn’t gotten their fix since we came back. “You two had a good evening?”

  “It was great,” Cole replied, putting a little too much emphasis on the word ‘was’.

  “Where’s Lizzie?” I asked before anyone could pick up on his tone.

  “Staying at a friend’s,” Ali replied.

  “Guess who we ran into outside Nan’s?” Mum whispered as Jasper went to the bathroom.

  Cole smirked. “Angelina Jolie?”

  “How did you know?” Mum replied sarcastically. “Abby. ”

  “Jasper’s cheating ex?” Cole asked.

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  I slapped his arm. Thankfully, Jasper wasn’t in the room to hear that.

  “How is she?”

  “She’s doing well. Working at your old school full-time now. She lives just along the way from Nan, in the house where that crazy old man used to live. ”

  Mr Johnson, the crazy, but harmless, old man. He used to walk around the village asking if anyone had seen his turnips. He was a farmer before he became too frail to work. I heard he died of a heart attack a couple years after we left.

  “Was Jasper okay seeing her again?”

  Mum shrugged. “Must’ve been, they’re going for a drink tomorrow night. ”

  “What?!”

  Jasper walked back in the room, ending that conversation, and Mum walked into the kitchen. Jasper and Abby were sort of okay just before we left, so I guess it was good he was making an effort to catch up with her. I’d spent a lot of time hating Abby on Jasper’s behalf, but the past four years had taught me not to hold a grudge. Life throws too much crap at us as it is, so why hold onto something negative if we don’t have to?

  I snuggled back into the sofa, pressing my side against Cole’s. The brief conversation with my family had made it possible for this gesture to be comforting, rather than electrically-charged. Just how far would we have gone if they hadn’t have come home?

  I didn’t want something to happen if it would just end up the same way it did four years ago. Breaking up with Cole was the hardest thing I had ever done, and that was saying something. Neither of us could go through that again. Even knowing all that, I didn’t feel fully in control. I knew if he kissed me, there was no way I could stop.

  “So how’re you doing?” Jasper asked.

  “I’m okay,” I replied, trying not to get irritated by the question.

  He sat forward in the seat. “Have you heard anything from Linda yet?”

  “No. ”

  Jasper’s mouth cracked open, probably to ask me why, but Cole shook his head, effectively shutting him up. The truth was, I couldn’t deal with it. It was already too much that my dad’s trial was starting today. I didn’t want to keep hearing about it too.

  “You wanna come out tomorrow night?” Cole asked Jasper, changing the subject.

  “Err, I have plans. ” Of course. Plans with Abby.

  “You can bring Abby too,” he said.

  Jasper glared at Mum through the door. Obviously she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. Cole’s jaw snapped shut as he saw the look on Jasper’s face. “Oops,” he whispered to me.

  Jasper sighed. “I might meet you lot after. ”

  I turned to my brother and smiled. “Are you going to bring Abby too? It would be nice to see her again. ”

  “Maybe. ”

  “Okay. ” I didn’t push it further; he looked almost sad talking about her. Jasper had carried on sleeping around in Australia and didn’t date anyone. I had a feeling he still liked Abby.

  Soon after they arrived home, Mum and Ali excused themselves and went to bed, while me, Cole and Jasper continued watching TV.

  “What are you guys doing tomorrow?” Jasper asked, filling the silence.

  Cole shrugged. “Working. Some of us do that, you know!”

  I stifled a laugh. “If you can call what you do work!” Cole’s mouth dropped open in protest.

  “Oh come on,” I needled him. “You text me loads at work. You can’t be doing that much while you’re there. ”

  “Have you ever thought that maybe I’m just so good at what I do I can work and still have time to text you?”

  Tapping my jaw, I pretended to think. “Nope. ”

  “Right,” Jasper said. “I’ve had enough of the flirting already. I’m going to bed. Night. ”

  “Night,” Cole and I replied at the same time.

  Cole gasped in full teenage-girl mode. “Jinx!”

  I laid against his side. “How old are you?”

  It was getting late, and he had work in the morning, but I still didn’t want him to leave.

  “Oakley?” Cole whispered against my hair.

  “Hmm?”

  “I need to go. ”

  “But I’m comfortable,” I mumbled, gripping his T-shirt, not wanting to let him go. “You could stay. If you want to?” As I waited for him to reply I felt wide open, vulnerable and totally bare.

  He kissed the top of my head, and I hoped it wasn’t in rejection. “I’ll stay, but I’ll have to leave pretty early. ”

  Lifting my head off his shoulder, I was met by his beautiful blue eyes.

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  “Thank you,” I whispered. “Shall we go to bed then?” Cole as he stood up and offered me his hand. Well someone likes the idea of us sharing a bed…

  Cole followed me upstairs. The closer I got to my temporary room the more nervous I felt. The futon wasn’t very big so we would be practically lying on top of each other, unless he wanted me to sleep in Lizzie’s bed? I shook my head. There was no way he would want that! Calm down!

  I grabbed my oversized T-shirt, a pair of pyjama shorts and excused myself to the bathroom. Taking a deep breath, I looked in the bathroom mirror and smoothed down my hair. I grabbed the make-up removing wipes and swept it across my eyes slowly, giving myself some more time to calm my nerves.

  Once I was ready for bed, I forced my legs to walk back to Lizzie’s room. “Hey,” Cole said, sitting up in the futon. His naked chest was staring me in the face.

  My eyes widened. “Hi. ”

  Cole laid down, stretching his arm out for me. I swallowed my excitement and slipped into the tiny bed. I laid my head on his shoulder and threw my arm over his chest. His breathing quickened as I ran my fingertips over his soft skin, drawing a figure of eight.

  “Are you okay?” I whispered in the darkness.

  “Yeah,” he replied. I pressed my face into his neck and sighed happily. “When are you speaking to Linda?” Safe topic?

  “I’m not sure. I’ll call her some time tomorrow if I haven’t heard anything. ”

  Cole’s lips grazed the top of my head. “If you want I’ll be here when you call. ”

  “Thank you but you really shouldn’t miss any more work, unless you want them to fire you. ”

  Cole chuckled quietly. His chest shook beneath my hand. “What if I came here on my lunch break and you called her then?”

  I smiled against his skin. “Really? You wouldn’t mind?”

  “Oakley, you know me. Of course I don’t mind. I want to be here for you. ”

  “Thank you. ” I kissed his neck

  Cole kissed me again and held me tighter. “Go to sleep, beautiful. ” Hearing him say those words made me smile. He was so sweet. “I love you. ”

  “I love you more. ”

  He laughed humourlessly. “Sure you do. ”

  I woke up to Cole shuffling around in the bed. He was sitting up, pulling his T-shirt on. “Hey,” I whispered. His head snapped around, and he smiled as he looked at me. “You leaving already? Doing the walk of shame?”

 
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