Silence, p.12

Silence, page 12

 part  #1 of  Silence Series


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I took Cole’s outstretched hand and skipped to him, pressing my side against his. He pulled me around so I was standing between his legs. We’d been a bit touchy feely for as long as I could remember, but it was developing into something more. It didn’t seem as innocent as it was before.

  “You okay?” Cole whispered in my ear. I swallowed hard as his breath tickled my skin, sending a shiver down my spine. A nod of the head answered his question. Even if I could talk right now I wouldn’t be able to.

  “I’m guessing Kerry’s finally making her move on Ben?”

  I looked over to where he was laughing and saw Kerry with her tongue down Ben’s throat. I take it all back. Kerry’s plan is working perfectly.

  After three cans of Coke, I was desperate for the toilet. Cole had told me it was upstairs when he went about half an hour ago so I knew where it was. I weaved between the drunken guests to go find it and had just closed the bathroom door when I heard Mary talking to some of her friends about Cole and me.

  The music was still quite loud, even upstairs, so I could just about hear the bitchy comments:

  ‘Cole only feels sorry for her.’

  ‘He can do way better than that freak.’

  ‘She’ll never make him happy, he’ll get bored of her soon enough.’

  Walking away from the door, I sat on the edge of the bath, not wanting to hear any more as my heart plummeted to my feet. What I hated more was questioning if they were right. The thing that scared me most if we got together was Cole resenting me for not having a proper relationship.

  From the way he kissed me earlier, it didn’t seem like any of that bothered him. But this was early days, not a year or so down the line when the novelty had worn off.

  Was Mary jealous or right?

  I waited a few minutes before I used the bathroom and heading downstairs. I wanted to give them time to leave so I wouldn’t have to pass them. Thankfully, they had left and I got down without them noticing.

  Cole smiled as I walked back into the kitchen and, in that moment, I decided not to let Mary get to me. She didn’t matter. We did. The sick feeling vanished as I watched him.

  If Cole didn’t want to be with me, then he didn’t have to be. I walked straight up to him and wrapped my arms around his waist. Immediately feeling embarrassed, I pressed my forehead into his chest. All right, me being forward really is new.

  When I loosened my grip on Cole’s waist, he pulled away and grabbed my hand, leading me out of Ben’s house. He hadn’t said bye to anyone so I wasn’t sure if that was it, but it didn’t bother me if we left now anyway.

  We walked along the pavement in silence. He didn’t tell me where he was leading us, but we eventually stopped at the park. His face was blank, showing nothing at all. I followed him to the swings and sat on one. Chuckling, he started to push me. I felt like a kid again.

  “Oakley, can I ask you something?” He said after pushing me for a minute. He stopped the swing and came around the front to kneel down in front of me. His face was serious, no sign of the laidback and playful Cole I was used to.

  I don’t like the sound of this. His tone was very much ‘we need to talk’ and I dreaded what was coming next. He took a deep breath as if he was working up the courage first. “Why don’t you text me back?”

  That wasn’t what I had expected at all and it tore at my heart.

  I looked away from him, focusing the outline of a patch of mud in the wood chippings below me. That question wasn’t a new one. He’d asked me that thousands of times before, but it was the way he asked it, with so much hope he genuinely thought that I might answer.

  I wish I could.

  “Look, I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Why don’t you want to communicate with me? Please, is something really wrong? Because if there is, I promise you it’ll be okay. I’ll help you. You just have to tell me,” he pleaded.

  Shut up, bloody shut up!

  I gulped and pressed my lips together to stop myself blurting it out. I wanted to tell him so much. I wanted to talk to him normally, but I couldn’t. It would hurt too many people. It would hurt my family. I didn’t want anyone to know how used and dirty I was, especially not someone as perfect as Cole.

  “Oakley, you can tell me. You know that, don’t you?”

  I nodded once. Of course, I knew that, but it was the after that scared me the most. Telling him the truth was not something I could ever take back. It would be out there forever and rot away at everything that was still good in my life.

  Smiling, I looked into his eyes, trying to convince him everything was all right.

  “Are you scared to talk again?”

  Scared didn’t even begin to cover it. I was absolutely terrified. Being mute was easier; no one could make me talk, so no one could make me tell the truth. I was trapped in here, but it was safer for everyone.

  Cole closed his eyes, pained. He looked so sad it made me feel sick. Being responsible for him being unhappy felt horrible. He slowly opened his eyes and stroked my cheek with his fingertip.

  “Whenever you’re ready you can talk to me, okay? Or you can write it down. We all just want to know so we can help. There are treatments specialists can try.”

  Frowning in hurt, I looked away from him. Why did I need to speak or write things down? We had managed to have a pretty great friendship for almost sixteen years now, and for almost eleven of them I hadn’t said a word. Did he want me to speak before he would consider anything more? Tears rushed to my eyes before I could stop them and Cole groaned.

  “Hey, it doesn’t bother me, you know that. I just want you to know I’m here if you need me. I’ll drop it now. I don’t want to upset you.”

  I so desperately wanted to ask him if he meant that…and how much he meant it.

  Cole sighed and stood up. “Want me to take you home now?”

  I shook my head and prayed he really had dropped it. I knew it would come up again, but for now, I just wanted to enjoy the night.

  “Okay, I’m pushing you over the top!” He chuckled and walked behind me again.

  Thank God, that’s over.

  “You remember that time you insisted on pushing me on the swing?” He asked. “You pushed so hard it swung back fast and knocked you over!”

  I turned my head and glared at him, which only made him laugh.

  “You yelled at me for making it hit you and cried for ages, you big baby.”

  Big baby? I was only four and Cole just six. I still remembered it as if it happened yesterday. I told him it was unfair that he would push me all the time, just because I was a girl, so I pushed him. I hurt my arm when the swing knocked me over. Cole gave me his chocolate buttons to make me feel better.

  He pushed me on the swing until I held my hand up, getting an idea. He immediately stopped, and I jumped off, gesturing for him to sit.

  “Oh, no, I’m not having you fall again and go all whiny on me.”

  I frowned sternly and pointed to the swing. He was getting on it.

  He laughed. “Remember to move when it comes back at you, Oaks, yeah.”

  I rolled my eyes but grinned too. I’d bank that nickname slap I owed him for another time. He got on the swing and I pushed, this time not too hard to have it knock me over. He was much heavier now, obviously, but it was kinda nice to mess around and push him too.

  We fell silent for ages and then Cole stopped the swing by digging his heel into the ground. “I’m getting hungry. Let’s get my car and go to McDonalds for an ice cream.”

  I stepped back at hearing his ice cream plan and he got off the swing. With a little smirk, he added, “And if you’re a good girl, I’ll get you a milkshake too.”


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