Reliving fate, p.11

Reliving Fate, page 11


Reliving Fate

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  Although she's crazy, Bella is surprisingly easy to get along with--for Ellis anyway. She drives me to drink. To be fair, Ellis is probably drunk now. His eyes did look a bit glazed.

  "I guess it's just us," she quips, stating the obvious.

  I step closer, and she tilts her head up to watch me. She's not intimidated, and that's honestly not what I'm trying to do right now. I bend my head and plant a quick kiss on her lips.

  "Hmm, what could we do now that we're all alone?"

  Her hazel eyes twitch, and although she stands her ground, her breathing is faster. Shit, she wants to get naked, too. That is not helping. I said it as a joke--sort of--but if she's game, then I'm definitely in.

  "I would like to go to the scrapyard," she whispers. Her voice is rough, like she swallowed gravel, and her eyes are wild.

  Taking a step closer, I lean in. "Is that really what you want to do with me, Bella?"

  Her lips press together, like she's trying to stop herself from using them in a way we both want. Her breathing still isn't something she's gotten control of; it's coming thicker and faster.

  "Admitting you want sex is nothing to be ashamed of."

  "I know that. I'm not stuck in the fifties, but I'm not going to sleep with you to prove a point."

  "So then, sleep with me because you want to."

  She rolls her pretty eyes and folds her arms. "Lead the bloody way to the scrapyard, Rocco."

  Since I first met her, there have been so many moments when I've wanted to tell her to fuck off, but something stops me every time. I don't know if I'm just bored or if there's more to it. Her reaction to me just then and the way my body is responding to her being turned on are exactly why I can't walk away anymore.

  She's intriguing. I love the mystery even if it drives me up the wall. There are few people around this place who still have mystery. I've peeled back the layers of everything around here, and it's just rotten to the core. Although I don't know what she's up to or why, I know she's good inside.

  "Right this way," I say, taking a step back and gesturing for her to walk on.

  She blinks out of the trance she was just in and starts to walk, stumbling over the first step.

  Looks like we're fucking each other's brains out in her mind, too.

  Bella keeps close as we walk along the road. Every wall beside us is covered in graffiti. Occasionally, there's something good enough to pass as art, but apart from that, it's just a lot of swearing.

  "Did you do any of this?" she asks, wiggling her fingers at the wall.

  "A long time ago. My contribution has been covered since then. Let me guess; you've never done it."

  "Are you trying to make me feel inadequate because I've never drawn big words on a wall?"

  Tilting my head back, I laugh. I properly laugh and for the first time in a damn long time. I fucking feel alive.

  Is this what it feels like to be normal?

  I love that she gives as good as she gets--better even most of the time.

  "We'll try graffiti sometime," I say.

  She could do with relaxing. Her eyes hold so much responsibility.

  "You want to take me on a vandalising spree?" she says in disgust.

  My God, the tone in her voice then almost makes me ashamed that I suggested it. She has never sounded so private school before.

  "Yeah, why not? Are you worried we'll be caught?"

  She screws her nose up. "Would the police even care around here?"

  "Not really. They tend to only turn up if someone has died or is about to."

  Her body jerks, and her eyes turn cold and distant, but she doesn't stop, and we carry on walking.

  All right, what was that about? She scared or something?

  With a nervous laugh, she nudges me with her elbow, like she thinks I was kidding. That was either her trying to cover up her fear or there's more to that reaction.

  It's anyone's guess.

  "Don't worry, Snow White. You'll be fine with me."

  Narrowing her eyes, she stops and folds her hands.

  Uh-oh, I think I'm in trouble.

  Cocking my eyebrow, I smirk. Let's do this.

  I crave the arguments with her. Every time she's being challenging, I get harder than a rock.

  "Why are you referring to me as a Disney princess? Either you really don't know me at all or you have a thing for little girls' movies."

  I could fight with her all day.

  "We both know it's the first one," I reply to Miss Cryptic.

  "You've hardly shared your life story, Rocco."

  "Look the fuck around. This is all there is. This is all I am."

  She blinks and slowly shakes her head. "No, this is where you live, not who you are."

  Same difference.

  "Do you want to see the scrapyard or not?"

  "I do." She nods.


  We start to walk again, and she keeps her eyes on everything, taking it all in. She really must not get out much if she wants to remember all this.

  "It's up there," I say when the half-rusted chain-link fence comes into view.

  There's not much need for the seven-foot fence. No one would dare steal because Hugo would kill them; it's to keep the cops out more than anyone else.

  "Okay," she replies. She's already looking ahead.

  What the fuck is she searching for?

  "You need a car?" I ask.

  "No, I have one. You know that."

  "Daddy buy it?"

  Gritting her teeth, she seethes, "Yes. Fuck you."

  "Lighten up, sweetheart, yeah? Not many people wouldn't take a free car from the 'rents."

  "I do share it with my sister, you know," she grumbles, as if that makes her any less of a princess just because it's not completely hers.

  We stop outside the fence, and I give her time to commit the place to her memory. Battered old cars hide the true nature of the business--drugs and firearms. Of course, I don't feel the need to share that nugget of information with Cinderella.

  "Did you get your car here?" she asks.

  Along one side is a car sales. Secondhand and mostly chop shop.

  "Well, I didn't get it from the Mercedes showroom."

  I can't be one hundred percent sure who the legal owner of my car is, and I don't particularly give a flying fuck either. I got papers that say the car is mine, and whether they're the legal ones or not, it doesn't matter to me. There's not much Hugo can't counterfeit.

  "Right," she mutters. "Okay, where to next?"

  "My place," I reply.

  "And what's at your place?"

  "All my shit. What do you think's there?"

  She rolls her eyes.

  "Come on, Bella. I've spent the best part of the day being your fucking tour guide. I'm hungry and bored."

  "Fine, I'll leave you to it. Thank you for showing me around."

  "Where are you going?" I question.

  If she thinks she's walking around on her own, she's mistaken.

  "Well, I'll just head back to my grandparents' house. I don't want to take up your whole day."

  I thought I wouldn't want her to either, but actually, I don't want her to leave. She's too amusing for me to let her walk away. I want to spend time with her. We're not done here.

  "Come back to mine?" I find myself saying.

  "Erm, that's okay. I'll leave you in peace."

  "That was my fault," I say, snatching her wrist and tugging her flush against my chest. "I made it sound like a question, and it wasn't."

  She tries to look pissed off, but her breathing is coming out a little bit harder, and her body is melting against mine.


  "All right, fine. But I'm not sleeping with you."

  "Maybe not yet."

  "Maybe not ever," she fires back.

  I lean my forehead against hers, and her eyes burn.

  "Don't say things you know are untrue; it's embarrassing. We both know it's only a matter of time."

  "You bastard!"

  "Cut the offended shit, Bella. I'm cool with giving you time, so you can justify it to yourself, but don't ever deny the inevitable."

  "I'm torn between wanting to shag you to shut you up and bashing you around the head with that crowbar," she says, nodding to the discarded tools on the other side of the fence. "And you think I'm entitled? What makes you think you can just click your fingers, and I'll strip off?"


  "Ah, but you have no experience with me."

  That's fucking true; I'll give her that. If she were a typical girl from around here, I'd have bedded her already. Truth is, I don't really know how to handle her. She wants me--I can tell that much--but for some stupid reason, she's resisting.

  Why wouldn't you give in to something you want? Especially when it comes to sex.

  "Are you telling me that you don't want this?" I ask.

  Her eyes flutter closed when I move my mouth closer.

  "No, I'm telling you that, when and if we have sex, it'll be when I want, when I'm ready."

  "Looks like you're ready now. I can feel your body, Bella. I feel how hard you're pushed up against me, feel how hard your chest is rising and falling. You want this as much as I do."

  Her body shudders, and I grow stiff. I want her so bad; it's painful. My body is burning with the need to be inside her. I'll never need time. If she let me, I'd take her against the fence right now.

  "Rocco..." My name is a plea, and I groan, gripping her wrists tighter. "Please, not here."

  I let her go and take a step back.

  "My place," I say through gritted teeth. "No funny business, I swear." Right now, I'll just take her being with me.

  "Erm, yeah, okay," she whispers. "I can really do with a coffee right now."

  And I can really do with a fight since I'm not getting laid.

  I take her back to my flat, and again, I make no apologies for the tiny, cheap pit it is. I'm not ashamed. Bella has never cared that my place is probably the size of her car.

  She slumps down on the sofa in the tiny kitchen/dining/living room.

  "I need coffee, Rocco. Tell me you have coffee."

  She's treating my place like it's her own.

  This is fucking weird.

  "Um," I say nervously. What is going on with her, with me? "Yeah, I got coffee. I'd say, Make yourself at home, but you've got that down."

  She shrugs, kicks off her shoes, and curls up on the sofa.

  I like it.

  I need a JD. Straight.

  Flicking the kettle on, I grab the jar of coffee.

  "Actually, wait!" she shouts as she jumps up.

  There's really no need to shout. My kitchen is about three steps from the living room area.

  "I'll do it. I'm fussy with coffee."

  "Just with coffee?" I ask sarcastically.

  "Piss off. Tosser," she mutters. "Coffee, one sugar and milk in first. Stir, add the water, and then stir again, both ways."

  Is she for fucking real?

  "Don't look at me like that. I said I was fussy."

  "Yeah. Well, you really didn't lie."

  "Just let me make it. What do you want?"

  "JD," I reply, dropping the spoon in the mug and opening the fridge. "And you don't think the princess nicknames are justified."

  "Liking your drink a certain way isn't--"

  "No," I snap, cutting her off. "Let's not do this, Bella."

  "What are we doing, Rocco?"

  My skin itches all over. A part of me wants to run for the door at hearing those words, but a bigger part of me wants to know what we're actually doing.

  "I don't know," I reply honestly.

  "We're friends, right?" she asks, stirring her fucking coffee granules into the milk and sugar.

  "I s'pose."

  "Okay," she replies as she nods. "That's a good start. I could really do with..."

  Her head whips around, so I can't see her. She doesn't finish her sentence, but then she doesn't need to. For some reason, she doesn't have many--or any--friends. The girl is certifiable, but she also has an addictive personality and plenty of independence and attitude.

  "Yeah, me, too," I admit.

  I've got Ellis, and he's solid, but round here, you don't have the type of relationship where you confide in other guys.

  "We're pretty unlikely friends," she says, looking back up with a smile.

  "I dunno. Two screw-ups--"

  "You think I'm a screw-up?" Her mouth drops, and she narrows her eyes.

  "Well, something's clearly wrong for you to want to be here all the time."

  She laughs humourlessly. "I'll give you that."

  "Fuck this," I say, slamming the booze cupboard door shut.

  She doesn't have much time to look shocked before my mouth covers hers, and I lift her up. Her legs wrap around my waist, and her hands attack my hair.

  "Rocco," she moans into the kiss.

  I almost fucking come in my jeans.


  * * *


  When Rocco puts me down, I'm breathless and still teetering on the edge. My body is buzzing, but I know that it'd be a mistake to jump into bed with him.

  I step back, putting some much-needed distance between us. I had to slow things down even if I'm regretting that dumb decision right now.

  Rocco takes deep breaths, grabs JD from the cupboard, and closes his eyes tightly as he takes long gulps from the bottle. I want some, too, and I don't even like it.

  Calm down, Bella.

  Composure is hard to regain when your heart is trying to free itself from your chest. I go back to making my coffee as my insides squirm in need. My body is aching.

  This not-shagging-him thing sucks.

  "Erm, shall we go through to the living room?" I say, picking my mug up.

  The sofa is against the other wall of the room, and it's the only place to sit.

  He shrugs and adjusts himself in his jeans.

  That's surprisingly hot.

  He's not said anything since before the kiss, and it's getting weird. We sit on the sofa side by side because he only has a three-seater. We're entirely too close. I can still feel his lips, hard and demanding, against mine, his erection pulsing against my stomach.

  I take a deep breath and sip my boiling-hot drink. I don't even care that it burns the inside of my mouth.

  Think of something else.

  The moment after a kiss can be awkward sometimes. This isn't awkward; it feels more like unfinished business, like we're just pretending that stopping is what we both think is best when, in reality, neither of us can delude ourselves or each other.

  Coming out tonight was a mistake.

  "When do you have to go home?" he asks. "Your proper home, I mean."

  "Erm, I'm going back tomorrow. I'm on study leave now, but I have to go to school tomorrow and check in."

  "What exams are you taking?" he asks. It's a forced question, but he's trying to take his mind off the cracking, sparking sexual tension between us.

  "A-Level English Lit, Drama, and Sociology."

  "You'll ace Drama."

  I glare. Dick.

  "I won't ace any of them. Livvy will."

  "Your sister, right?"

  "Yeah. My twin actually."

  His eyes widen like saucers. "Fuck. There are two of you?"

  "Ha-ha. There's definitely only one of me. She's the together one."

  "Sibling rivalry?"

  I shake my head. "No, nothing like that. I don't resent her. I love her. I love that she's not like me, and I want her to do well. I'm just stating facts here. Whatever happens and wherever I end up, I'll be all right. I'm just not Cambridge material like she is."

  "She got in?"

  "Yep, if she gets the results, which she will. She's brilliant."

  "And you?"

  "I like the idea of uni, but I'm not cut out for it just yet."

  "Why not?"

  Well, I can't go with th
e truth.

  "I'd like a gap year first at least. I want to travel a bit, and after that, I'll see if I want to go."

  Lies, lies, lies. I couldn't give a shit about a cop-out gap year.

  "Yeah, where do you want to travel to?"

  Screw him and his questions.

  "America, Australia, a bit more of Europe, Thailand, Japan, and then wherever else I fancy."

  "Uh-huh," he replies, cocking his eyebrow. "Why do you look like you're not sure of your own plan?"


  How transparent am I?

  "I don't know what you mean."

  "Sure you do. If you just don't want to go to uni, Bella, that's fine. I'm sure your parents would understand."

  "Oh, of course they would," I mutter sarcastically.

  "Are they pushy?"

  "It's not what you're thinking."

  They just don't want me to piss away opportunities that Celia never got a chance at. When your older sister's life ended in her teenage years, it makes your parents come down hard when you're not "living up to your potential."

  I get it, and I hate that I'm not achieving what I should be right now, but nothing is more important than giving the best shot I can for finding justice for Celia.

  "All right," he says, narrowing his eyes at my vagueness. "What are your parents like then?"

  "They're...normal. They want the best for me. I'm naturally academic, so they don't understand why I don't put in even a tiny amount of effort to get further and achieve more."

  "Why don't you? No offence, but if I had the opportunities you have--"

  "Because life isn't that simple."

  "That's it?" he asks. "That's your whole argument?"

  I shrug one shoulder. "What else is there? I don't have to justify anything. Sometimes, things aren't what they seem. We both know that life isn't fair and equal for all. There can be a person who has everything and a person who has nothing, and they can both be the same fuckups or high achievers."

  "Right. But what about those people who have everything and choose to be fuckups?"

  Why the hell can he read me so easily? It's irritating.

  Also, I might not be together like Livvy, but I'm hardly 2007 Britney.

  "Again, life isn't that simple."

  Chuckling, he swigs his JD. "Right. I get ya."

  He doesn't get me. He has no idea what I'm talking about, but he's either annoyed that I'm not being clear or he's bored.

  "What about you? Did you go to uni?"

  The bottle freezes midair in his hand, and his eyes slide over to me. "Does it look like I went to uni?"

  "Who knows? You could've gone to Cambridge but are now down on your luck."

  He lowers the bottle and rests it on his thigh. "Right. Well, shocker here, but I didn't. I left school at fifteen. Fucking hated it. Moved out of my mum's flat and I've been here ever since. Jealous of my life?"

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