Silence, p.3

Silence, page 3

 part  #1 of  Silence Series

 

Silence



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“Hey, Oakley, will you stop?” Cole’s hand circled around my wrist, and he pulled me to a stop. We were both out of breath and puffing. I rested my hands on my thighs and tried to breathe evenly. As I looked down, I felt a warm tear slide down my cheek and drop to the floor. Not again.

  “Don’t cry,” he pleaded softly as he crouched down beside me. His finger gently brushed my cheek, and without thinking or planning it, I leant my head into his hand and closed my eyes. The comfort I felt from him was out of this world, nothing compared.

  “He’s not worth it. Just forget about him.”

  I was then pulled into his strong, safe arms. I breathed him in. His aftershave mixed with his own scent was all I needed to calm down. I regained control over my emotions and smiled against his chest. Being wrapped up in his arms was my favourite place to be.

  Cole didn’t care that I no longer spoke. He just cared about me and over the years I started to feel much more for him than I should. Perhaps it was always going to happen, we grew up together and had been best friends for as long as I could remember. That was bound to develop as were got older.

  Eventually, after what seemed like hours, yet still not long enough, I forced my head up to look at him. He grinned sheepishly. “You want to ditch the rest of the day? We could go eat our own weight in ice cream.”

  That was a tactical move. He knew I loved ice cream and was using it to get himself out of trouble. Well, I already knew I was going to give in. Plus I’d rather go to a dental appointment than go back to school this afternoon.

  I smiled and rolled my eyes. Cole rewarded me with his Hollywood smile. “Great. Come on then, little miss.”

  As we turned and walked along the path that led into town, Cole grabbed my hand. My heart jumped as his fingers slotted perfectly between mine. The gesture was probably nothing to him, but it made my insides turn to mush.

  For the entire fifteen-minute walk, Cole’s hand was wound firmly around mine. I didn’t ever want to let go. I felt safe. Nevertheless, I kept my head down, hiding behind Cole as we walked through the small town. I was in my school uniform and didn’t want to be seen by anyone my parents knew.

  Dad wouldn’t like it at all.

  We finally reached the place that had the best ice cream around, Julie’s Café. Cole and I spent so much time there, it was like a home away from home. We would chill in one of the booths and eat our fill of ice cream. It looked like your typical diner-style café, with light blue walls and cream booths and blue tables. The atmosphere was warm, friendly, and welcoming.

  “Oh, there you two are,” Julie yelled across the café. She was in her mid-forties and was one of the sweetest, friendliest, and most caring people I knew. The first thing I noticed about her was her new haircut. It usually fell just below the small of her back but was mostly tied up. Now it sat on her shoulders and flicked under. It made her look much younger.

  “Take a seat. I’ll bring over your usual.” She ushered us towards a booth by the window. It was the one we always chose whenever it was free. The few times it wasn’t Cole would glare at whoever had taken it like they’d just spat in his face.

  “Thanks,” Cole said, laughing as she fussed around, swiping up a crumpled napkin from our table. Everything had to be perfect for her customers; that was just how she was. We had barely sat down when one of the waitresses appeared with a chocolate milkshake and chocolate ice cream for Cole, and a strawberry milkshake and cookie dough ice cream for me.

  I was just about to dig in when I heard a voice that made me want to throw something: the girl that liked Cole. No-name, Meg-lookalike babe.

  “There you are! Why didn’t you say where you were going?” She exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air. Ben walked over to our table with her and smiled apologetically. How did they even find us? Cole must’ve told them about our hang out. Stupidly that stung. This was our place. I felt a sense of protectiveness over something that was between us.

  “What are you guys doing here?” Cole asked, his carefree expression morphing into a frown. At least he seemed as put out as I was.

  The girl sat down next to Cole. I wanted her name to go with the jealous, ridiculous hate I felt burning inside my heart. She was pretty, but the fact that she liked the guy I liked made her ugly to me. It was completely irrational and I hated feeling like it but that was how jealously worked.

  “Just wanted to grab a shake,” she replied in her annoyingly whiny voice. “What would you suggest?”

  That you leave.

  “I don’t know, Courtney,” he huffed. Courtney. I didn’t like it. To be fair whatever her name was, I wouldn’t have liked it. I needed to get a grip.

  “Can I get a vanilla shake please?” Ben shouted across the room. Julie frowned at him but nodded. Oh dear. She didn’t like when someone yelled for her attention.

  I stopped listening to what else Ben was saying when Courtney grabbed Cole’s milkshake and took a long sip from the straw. What the…?

  “So you’ve known Cole your whole life?” I turned my attention back to Ben, who had asked the question. He was smiling nervously. His lip pulled up in a sort-of a half-smile. I dipped my head to answer.

  “You’ll have to tell me some embarrassing stories about Cole so—” he stopped abruptly and his eyes widened, horrified. “Err, I mean. N-not tell but, err. Oh, shit, I’m sorry. Oakley, I didn’t think,” he stuttered, grimacing as he tried to explain himself.

  I smiled and shook my head to tell him that I wasn’t offended. There was something about him that made it impossible to be offended by him. He hadn’t meant it badly and wasn’t taking a cheap shot at me. People just assume that if a person is over the age of two they will speak.

  “Damn, I really know how to put my foot in it, hey?” He chuckled and his eyes lost the tension as soon as he knew I wasn’t going to run off upset, and Cole wasn’t going to punch him.

  “Anyway.” He shook his head and frowned as if he was chastising himself in his head. “You should come to my party at the weekend. Cole’s gonna be there.”

  Was everyone having a party this weekend?

  It wasn’t often that I was invited out, but did I even want to go? It wouldn’t be much fun for Cole if I were there. I knew he wouldn’t leave my side all night. But maybe it would be fun. If the other people going were half as cool as Ben, then perhaps I’d have a good time.

  If Cole looked like he was bored, I could always go home early. All I had to do was get my parents’ approval, but I would be with Cole and they trusted him so it shouldn’t be that hard. Oh great, I was nervous already and I hadn’t even accepted yet.

  With a nod of my head, I agree to going to a party. My first proper high school party. It would either be amazing or tragic.

  “Great, I’ll save a dance for ya,” he said, winking at me. Whoa. Guys didn’t wink at me all that often. Or at all. I blushed and shifted in my seat, not liking that kind of attention. I wished I was sitting next to Cole.

  “You ready to leave, Oakley?” Cole snapped. Already? I hadn’t even finished my milkshake or ice cream. I was about to shake my head until I noticed Cole’s face was tense with irritation. What did I miss?

  He got up, and I took that as my cue to leave. Cole weaved around the tables quickly and almost jogged away. What on earth is up with him? I ran to catch up as he power-walked.

  As soon as he slowed fraction and my breathing was normal again we fell into a comfortable pace, I raised my eyebrows at him. He understood that I was asking him what the bloody hell was going on.

  “It’s nothin’, Oakley.”

  Nothing. He didn’t often lie to me. He shook his head, looking around to avoid me pressing the issue further, and I let it go. We walked on in an uncomfortable silence. I felt weird, hating there being anything off between us.

  “So…you coming to mine?” He asked as we reached his car in the car park at school. I nodded eagerly. Spending some time alone with him was definitely what I wanted, what I needed, and I lo
ved being at his place. Cole’s parents and his sister, Mia, treated me like one of the family. I felt so at ease there and preferred it to being at my own house, no question. Cole smiled, his eyes lingering on mine for a little longer than usual.

  The way my heart went wild you’d think he’d just snogged my face off.

  “Hello, sweetie,” Cole’s mum, Jenna, welcomed Cole as we walked through his front door. “Oh, hi, Oakley,” she gushed, giving me a warm hug.

  Cole mumbled something that sounded like hi and walked off to his room. He’d be annoyed about the ‘sweetie’ thing as well as whatever else had turned him moody.

  “What’s wrong with him?” She asked, more to herself than to me. I shrugged anyway and smiled back at her. Jenna always smelt of coconut shampoo and peach moisturiser.

  “You should follow Mr Happy. I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.” She hadn’t even asked me if I wanted to stay for dinner, she just knew I would. I’d never say no to spending time at their house.

  Cole’s room hadn’t changed much since we decorated it when he was fifteen – two years ago. It was still the same shade of blue. He hated it now though, said it looked like a baby’s room. I doubted he would change it anytime soon as he was too lazy. He’d just covered the walls with posters of cars that, unless he won the lottery, he’d probably never be able to afford and motorbikes.

  He was lying on his bed with his hands behind his head staring at the ceiling. His bottom lip was trapped between his teeth. Whatever was going on really bothered him.

  I lay down on my side, propping my head up on my hand, and waited. It didn’t usually take too long for him to come around but after just a few minutes, I became impatient. I gently nudged him in the ribs, prompting him to spill.

  “What?” He whispered, still not looking at me. I sighed and rested my head back, having absolutely no idea what was going on. Maybe the Julian thing was still weighing on his mind. He was very protective of me so it would explain his behaviour.

  “Sorry,” he eventually muttered with a sigh.

  Ah, he’s back.

  I hated when he was cryptic. Sorry for what exactly? It wasn’t often that he could hide something from me, but when he did it drove me crazy. I cared about him, way too much, so I obsessed when something was off between us.

  We lay beside each other in silence. As the seconds ticked by my eyes started to feel heavy. His unique smell was soothing and the sound of his light breathing was like my own personal lullaby. Without too much fight I gave in and closed my eyes. A few minutes later, Cole grabbed my hand, interlacing our fingers, and then I fell asleep.

  4

  Oakley

 
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