Silence, p.4

Silence, page 4

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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  I woke up as the mattress dipped and caused me to roll over. Cole was getting off the bed. Rubbing my eyes, I sat up.

  “Sorry, did I wake you?” He said softly, grimacing.

  I shook my head even though he bloody had. It probably wasn’t a good idea to nap for too long anyway. “Liar.” Oh, yeah, he knew when I was lying. Most of the time. “Anyway, your parents are coming over for dinner, too. We’re having a barbeque. Again.”

  Grinning, I stretched my arms up, unlocking my muscles. I loved sitting out in Cole’s back garden eating barbecue food. Cole’s dad, David, always forgot about the food and wandered off, only to return when it’d reached the point of no return. We ended up having to smother the burnt bits in tomato and BBQ sauce to balance out the taste of burnt charcoal. It had become a tradition, though. I couldn’t eat non-burnt BBQ food anymore.

  “So, that guy at school today, Julian...” Cole said, trailing off.

  Ah, so his grumpiness is about Julian.

  Cole’s face was tense, he was unsure if he should bring it up or not Not would be the answer. I shook my head. School was over for the day and I was with Cole, there wasn’t anything in the world I wanted to think about other than a long summer with him. We only one day left at school. I could survive that.

  “Yeah, I know you don’t want to talk about it but tough. Does he do that a lot?” Cole’s eyes pierced through mine, pinning me with his steely gaze. “We’re doing this, Oakley, whether you like it or not. Does he harass you a lot?”

  Closing my eyes, I reluctantly nodded my head once. There was no point in trying to lie and assure him nothing was going on. He would only know I was lying anyway.

  “I’m gonna kill him,” he growled angrily.

  My eyes widened and I shook my head, desperately pleading with him not to do anything stupid. Couldn’t he see that it would just make things worse? I didn’t want more fighting.

  Cole’s face softened and he groaned. “I’m sorry, Oakley. I just fucking hate that people give you a hard time,” he said tenderly. “I’ll leave it, I promise. As long as he doesn’t do anything like that again. You tell me if he does, okay?”

  Sagging in relief, I laid my head on his shoulder. He instantly wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer to his side. My heart started drumming as he rubbed circles on my arm with his thumb. I loved his touch. Not once had I ever felt sick or scared with him. It was completely different, and I never wanted him to stop.

  “Wanna watch a film until dinner?” He asked as he picked up the remote and flicked through the movie channels. I nodded against his shoulder. I didn’t really care what we did. I just wanted to be around him.

  We stayed in Cole’s room, watching TV until Jenna call us down for dinner. I could have quite happily stayed in his room for the rest of the night, but I knew our parents would want us with them.

  Cole leapt up, and I got off the bed slowly, preparing myself to go and act normal.

  “Finally. I’m starving,” Cole exclaimed. He couldn’t be starving, he ate two hours ago.

  I followed Cole at my own pace, smiling at how eager he was to get food. He took the stairs two at a time and darted towards the back door.

  The second I got downstairs Mum greeted me. She pulled me into a hug and rubbed my back. It was her way of trying to make everything better. A hug from Mum fixed things when I was really little, but I hadn’t felt safe like that in almost eleven years.

  “Are you okay, honey? Jenna said you both came home early,” Mum whispered, stroking my hair. I pulled back to nod my head and smiled to convince her that I was all right. “Are you sure? Did someone do or say something to you?” She pressed further, her fingers squeezing my arm slightly.

  Mum was desperate to fix me.

  There was nothing she could do.

  I shook my head and rolled my eyes, convincing her, successfully, that I was all good.

  Her face relaxed and lost a fraction of the worry around her eyes. “Okay. You know you can come to me though, for anything.”

  No. I smiled again.

  “Good. Now, let’s eat, eh?”

  I was pulled through Cole’s house by Mum tugging on my hand. Sometimes, actually most of the time, she still saw me as a little girl. It was as if in her eyes I stopped aging when I stopped talking.

  Taking a seat next to Cole I watched his dad, David, stand at the barbecue for a change. My brother, Jasper, was talking to Mia, Cole’s older sister. Well, he was bickering with her as usual. No doubt he was trying to convince Mia of one of his stupid theories. His last one was: sausages and bacon coming from the same animal is all part of some big conspiracy because they taste nothing alike.

  Yeah, I was related to that.

  Someone was missing from the table. Where was Dad?

  I glanced over my shoulder, looking around the large, landscaped back garden. He was nowhere to be seen. Cole waved his hand in front of my face, snapping me back to reality.

  “Hello! You okay?”

  I nodded and grabbed a can of Coke from the table to have something to do, some distraction.

  “About school,” my dad’s voice cut through everyone else’s. I jumped and spun my head around to find him walking over to my side. “You can’t just walk out like that. If someone’s bullying you, then you need to let me know, and I will contact the school.” I cracked open the can and nodded, looking down at the table. “I mean it, Oakley,” he added sternly. His tone was harsh, but no one even looked up. To them, it was just a concerned father telling his daughter off because he was worried about her.

  So I didn’t cause a scene or prolong the discussion, I nodded.

  “Good girl. Now grab a plate, I think the food’s ready.” He kissed the top of my head and went to take his seat next to Mum.

  Thankfully, Cole started talking to me about a class trip the sixth-form students were taking to a theme park, and how he wished I were going, too. I threw myself into listening to him and not dwelling on Dad being angry, but I didn’t feel hungry anymore. I knew I should eat though, all I’d had today was ice cream, and Mum would start fussing if I didn’t have a proper meal.

  I was so ready for bed.

  David placed a plate of burgers and sausages on the table. I took one of each and grabbed bread rolls. I forced myself to take a bite of my ketchup-smothered, charred hot dog.

  “It’s agreed then? Two weeks in Italy,” Jenna exclaimed, clapping her hands together.

  Italy? What had I missed?

  “While you were off in Oakley land, we just planned the holiday,” Cole explained, reading my confused expression. Oh! That put a smile on my face. I felt my excitement build at the thought of going on holiday. Every year we went away with Cole’s family, and I loved every second of it.

  “Italy,” Mum confirmed, her face lighting up. She seemed excited. I knew she loved spending time in foreign shops with Jenna, or sitting by the pool gossiping.

  Everybody else agreed, and I grinned. I couldn’t wait to get away, to relax and hopefully forget everything for a while. Cole winked at me, and I blushed.

  Oh, God. Don’t let him see! Why did I have to turn into such an idiot when he did things like that? We’d been friends forever, even if I do have feelings for him I shouldn’t be over here blushing.

  We couldn’t be together.

  I would never be good enough for him.

  Cole was perfect and I was broken.

  Once we finished dinner, Cole and I went back up to his room so I could watch Hollyoaks. We didn’t have Sky because Dad complained that it was a rip off, them charging so much, so Cole recorded the latest episode on E4 for me every single day.

  I settled on his bed and laid my head on his chest. His heart beat steadily. It was my favourite sound.

  “Whoa, bad move,” Cole called out, shaking his head at the TV. He hated the programme so much that he made a running commentary on everything that was going on.

  I laughed at him, enjoying his stupid
remarks. Secretly he loved it, too.

  “Oakley,” he warned, glancing down. I pressed my lips together. My mouth ached where I tried to keep a straight face.

  I gasped in surprise as he suddenly rolled us over, and moved over me. Oh, wow. He was hovering above me, his legs either side of mine as he pinned my hands over my head. I wasn’t scared, not at all. There were no feelings of panic or dread. I should be scared. I should shove him off. But it felt… right. So right my throat clogged and my eyes stung with unshed tears.

  “Are you sorry?” He half-smiled and raised his eyebrows. I shook my head to play along but my mind was elsewhere. “Alright, you asked for it,” he said with a shrug. His face became mischievous, blue eyes glistening and his face inched closer to mine.


  “Oakley, your parents said it’s time to go,” Mia shouted as she burst into the room. She gasped as she saw the position we were in. Her eyes were on stalks, and I groaned internally.

  This looks so, so bad.

  “Actually, you know what? Why don’t you two finish first?” She grinned and popped her hip. “I’ll just go tell them you’ll be a minute.”

  Cole pushed himself up off me and reached down the side of the bed for something. He threw one of his trainers at her, but she managed to jump out of the way before it hit.

  “Shut the fuck up, Mia,” he growled.

  Mia laughed and stepped out of the room. I really hoped she wouldn’t tell my parents about this. Not that we were even doing anything in the first place. I didn’t want them to think anything was going on with Cole because then they probably wouldn’t let us be alone together.

  I needed Cole and that wasn’t an exaggeration.

  Without looking him in the eye, because my face was flaming in embarrassment, I quickly kissed his cheek and hopped off the bed. Refusing to meet his eye, I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

  Today has been rubbish.

  “Are you ready, sweetheart?” Mum asked, placing a protective arm around my waist as I entered the room. I didn’t reply to her question because Dad stepped in front of me.

  “Let’s get you home. School tomorrow.” He smiled and stroked his hand down the back of my head. I nodded in agreement and slipped past them both, giving a little wave to Cole’s parents as I headed to the front door.

  “Thank you for tonight,” Dad said to David and Jenna politely. “You’ll have to come to ours soon.”

  “You’re welcome, and you know we’d love to,” Jenna responded.

  I took a deep breath and watched them exchange their goodbyes. It looked so normal, just friends thanking each other, making plans and saying goodbye.

  I’m the only one who can see through the façade.

  “Why does it take them ten minutes to say bye,” Jasper moaned, appearing at my side. Where had he been? I shrugged. They would say goodbye and then start another conversation. It went on like that for a while.

  “We’re leaving,” Jasper called loudly. Mum gave us a little wave of acknowledgement and went back to chatting about Dad’s business, which, judging by the recent hushed phone conversations and his stressed outbursts, I guessed was in trouble.

  I walked home with Jasper. He hung back to stay at my slower pace. I could tell by the way he glanced over at me that he wanted me to hurry up, probably because he was keen to get home and play computer games.

  “Shit.” Jasper cursed. “You got a key?”

  I sighed in exasperation and shook my head. My key was in my school bag in Cole’s bedroom.

  We both turned and looked back at Cole’s house, just as our parents were walking along the path. Mum had my school bag over her shoulder. Thank God, I didn’t have to go back and get it. I wasn’t ready to see Cole again.

  Dad unlocked the door and let us in. “Make sure you do any work you missed today, Oakley,” he instructed, nodding his head towards the bag that Mum let slip off her shoulder.

  I nodded and took it from her. I felt so tired from an extremely long day, and just needed to be out of the way, so I went straight to my room. Just as I snuggled under my thick puffy covers, my mobile beeped with a text message. I knew it would be from Cole. Not only was he the only person to text me apart from my parents and Jasper, but he also sent me a message every night.

  My skin pebbled with goose bumps as I opened the text. It said just one word. Every night it said just one word. ‘Night x’

  I hit reply and typed, ‘Goodnight x’ but I didn’t send it.



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