Silence, p.44

Silence, page 44

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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  There was a knock at the door just after we had finished getting dressed. I was so grateful that Jasper took forever to get here.

  Cole glared at the door before going to open it. “Hey,” he said, sounding annoyed at my brother’s presence. He wasn’t the only one.

  “Sup, Bonnie and Clyde,” Jasper joked. He walked into the room and put the one, two, three, four, five, six, seven pizza boxes down on the side table. Seven pizzas for four people?

  “Guys, this is Casey. Casey, this is my baby sister, Oakley, and her corrupting boyfriend, Cole.”

  “Hey,” Cole said to Casey. I smiled at her and moved over so we would all be able to sit comfortably on the bed. She was pretty. Her dark hair was tied to the side, styled perfectly. Her lips were painted hot pink, matching her nails. She was his type…but who wasn’t?

  “What have you two been doing?” Jasper asked a little too enthusiastically. I blushed, probably tomato red, and looked out of the window. “You’d better not knock her up.”

  “Shut up, Jasper!” Cole snapped. He reached over and grabbed a pizza box off the side. “How many people were you planning on feeding?”

  Jasper suddenly gasped and hopped off the bed, making all of us jump at his sudden movement. What now? “Am I sitting on your sex sweat?” He yelled like a little girl, frantically wiping his bum with his hand, then wiping his hand down the wall.

  I choked on nothing. What? Cole just shook his head, discouraged, while Casey just looked scared. Clearly, she hadn’t known my brother long. Run, Casey. Run fast.

  After Jasper’s inappropriate freak out, we all ate. The TV was on in the background, but no one really watched it. Everything Jasper said was either gross or stupid. He raged about how chocolate bars used to be bigger, and it should be illegal to reduce their size. Why every ‘weird’ meat tasted like chicken, and my personal favourite, what was the point of belly buttons?

  Casey looked more and more regretful. As crazy and unpredictable as Jasper was, I wouldn’t change him for the world, and I knew he wouldn’t change me either. I loved him so much for that. Along with Cole, Jasper was the only person who accepted what I’d become.

  “Effing hell,” Jasper said, sighing heavily and shaking his head as soon as Casey went to the toilet down the hall.

  She’ll no longer get any sympathy from me if she comes back.

  “Go on, what’s wrong with this one?” Cole asked, sounding bored.

  “When I picked her up she made me go in her house!”

  What a monster…

  I raised my eyebrows, waiting for him to explain what was so wrong with that. “Her parents were there. I’ve only met the girl once. Once! I had an actual conversation with her Dad and ate bloody cake with them all. Jesus, it was a first date not an anniversary.”

  “How awful,” Cole agreed, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

  “You haven’t heard the worse part yet. Talking to the parents, I could just about handle, but the cake had banana on it.”

  Cole laughed, and I smiled so wide my jaw started aching instantly.

  “Chocolate belongs on a cake. Banana does not.” Cole continued laughing, clutching his stomach. “I’m serious, man! Who the hell does that to a cake?” Jasper said.

  “Casey’s parents,” Cole choked out and laughed some more.

  “Whatever. Back me up, Oakley. That’s weird right?”

  I nodded. He was right, but it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a deal breaker.

  “Thank you! At least she doesn’t live close,” he quickly whispered, as the room door opened. She came back. Wow. “We need more Coke,” Jasper announced, getting off the bed. “Come help me, Oakley.” He kind of made it sound like a question, but before I could answer he was pulling my arm.

  We left the B&B to go to the corner shop opposite.

  “You know Mum didn’t mean it, don’t you?”

  So that’s why you wanted me to come along.

  I nodded and smiled. She did mean it, but I wasn’t looking for sympathy. Lies are easier. Lies glued the broken parts of my family together.

  “You don’t seem that convinced,” he muttered.

  I rolled my eyes and nodded again. I knew she would change me in an instant if she could, and part of me wished she could do it, too. I’d give anything not to be locked inside myself anymore.

  Anything but your and Mum’s happiness.

  “Good. Look, none of us really care if you never talk again.” Making an unattractive sound in the back of his throat, he slapped his own head. “That came out wrong. We care, obviously, but you’re fine as you are,” he said, scratching his jaw. “You know I’ll always be there for you, and so will Cole,” he added.

  Maybe I didn’t have the most understanding parents, but I did have the best brother and boyfriend anyone could ever want.

  Jasper bought four bottles of Coke and we went back to the B&B. Cole and Casey were talking about universities when we got back. He looked relieved to see me. Probably shouldn’t have left him to make small talk with Jasper’s next conquest.

  Jasper threw – literally – a bottle to each of us and then downed half of his in one go. I climbed back on the bed and snuggled into Cole’s side, laying my head on his shoulder. He handed me one of the pizzas and I arched my eyebrow. There was no way I’d be able to eat the whole thing.

  “He got seven, Oakley. Do your bit,” he teased.

  The rest of the evening was normal. Jasper was an idiot, and we spent most of the time laughing at him. At ten o’clock Casey began yawning. Well done for sticking it out this long. “I should get home,” she said to Jasper, hiding another yawn behind her hand.

  Jasper nodded and stood up. “Sure. I’ll see you guys tomorrow, right?”

  “We’ll be back in the morning,” Cole said.

  “Look after her.” It was a demand, one he knew Cole would do anyway.

  “You know it,” he replied as he started to gather up the empty pizza boxes. We had managed to eat five of them. The other two would be Jasper’s breakfast, apparently.

  The second they closed the door I peeled my clothes off and dived under the soft, puffy quilt.

  “You don’t have to be shy in front of me,” Cole said, smirking in amusement at how fast I’d covered up.

  I can’t help it sometimes.

  “I’ll just take the boxes out, won’t be a minute.” I nodded, curling up underneath the cover and closing my eyes.

  I briefly woke up when I felt the bed dip. Cole’s arm flopped over my ribs, and he kissed the side of my head. “Night, beautiful girl.”

  “Oakley, wake up, babe,” Cole whispered. I felt a soft pressure against my forehead. His lips. That was the best way to wake up.

  I groaned, not wanting to get up yet. Every ugly second of yesterday’s argument came flooding back, and I didn’t have the energy to deal with it all again. Cole pulled the cover off. I gasped and covered my half naked body.

  Cole frowned. “Don’t hide from me. You’re perfect to me, Oakley, and I’ve seen it all before.” He winked and walked off out of the room, probably to use the bathroom. I used the time to get dressed and run my fingers through my hair. We had nothing in the way of toiletries so I rinsed my mouth out and popped a Tic-tac in my mouth from my bag.

  Ten minutes later, we’d paid the room bill and were making our way to a café for breakfast when Cole’s phone rang. He’d taken it off silent first thing, deciding we couldn’t ignore everyone forever.

  I wished we could.

  He pulled his phone out of his pocket as we sat down on a white, plastic looking table. He mouthed ‘your dad’ before answering. “Hello, Max. She’s fine,” he said, his voice short and snippy. “In an hour, we’re just having breakfast. Yep… Bye.”

  His frown faded as he looked over at me. “He wanted to know when we’ll be home. I think they just want to sort it all out now.”

  I looked at him carefully to see if he was only saying that
to make me feel better. He kept a straight face, and I knew he wasn’t talking it up. Mum and Dad wanted to make amends. I wanted that, too.

  “Chocolate chip pancakes?” Cole asked, looking up at me over the tatty menu. I nodded, feeling my empty stomach begging for food.

  Throughout breakfast I couldn’t help thinking how this was probably the last time we would be properly alone for a while. But surely after running away Dad wouldn’t try to control our time together too much.

  Why wouldn’t he? He already controls every aspect of your life.

  You can’t talk.

  You can’t have a normal relationship.

  You don’t deserve a normal relationship.

  I rubbed my forehead roughly. Just stop.

  Breakfast ended too soon. It was time to go. Cole opened the car door for me with a little bow. I smiled at how stupidly cute he was.

  “Oakley?” He paused and took a deep breath. I didn’t like where this was going already. He was serious again.

  “I don’t want to be the reason you’re fighting with your parents, I know you hate that. Damn, this is what Mia was talking about.” Mia? “I will completely understand if it’s too much and you don’t think I’m worth the trouble.”

  I felt the blood drain from my face.

  He wants out.

  Of course he does.

  Cole reached over and took my hand. “I don’t want to, believe me I don’t, but I don’t want you to fall out with them. If you wanted to just be friends again. If it’s too much, then we can. It would hurt like hell and suck so bad, but I want you to be happy.”

  I felt sick. He really had no clue just how much he meant to me. I couldn’t go back.

  “So, do you still want to be together?” He’d never looked so vulnerable or scared before. I squeezed his hand and nodded. His shoulders relaxed and he smiled. “Okay, good. I terrified you’d want to end this. I don’t know how I’d pretend like it wasn’t killing me.”

  I blinked rapidly and a tear rolled down my cheek. How is it possible to love someone this much?

  “Don’t cry, babe. God, you’re such a girl,” he said teasingly, making me smile. “Oh, just so you know, that offer was forever. Since you said you don’t want to go back to being friends you no longer hold the right to.” He laughed. “And yeah, I’m aware of how much of a psycho I sounded just then. I don’t care. That’s just the way it is.”

  That was fine with me.

  We pulled up outside my house, and I sagged into the seat. Going home always dampened my mood. The front door flew open before Cole had even turned the engine off. Mum ran towards us with Dad behind her. Cole’s parents also saw us arrive as they both came out of his house. Mia and Jasper were nowhere to be seen, probably choosing to stay away from the drama. Lucky them.

  Cole jumped out and walked around to my side, ready to be at my side. I got out of the car and stood with him. We’d show them we were serious about each other. I relaxed as I felt Cole’s his hand rest on the small of my back.

  “I’m so sorry,” Mum mumbled. She pulled me into a long hug and cried. Her body shook with tears.

  After a few seconds, I caved and hugged her back.

  She loves you. She just wants the best for you.

  She wouldn’t if she knew.

  She’d hate you then.

  When she let me go, Dad wrapped his arms around me. I let him because there was no other choice, but my body was rigid. I forced up an emotional barrier in my mind. He couldn’t get in there.


  “I’m sorry, too, sweetheart. And to you, Cole.” He released me, and I backed up straight away. “Let’s go in. We all need to talk.”

  We all followed Dad into the house. I sat down next to Cole on the sofa. “Calm down and breathe,” Cole whispered as Mum put down a tray of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits five minutes later. No one had said a word since we got in. I took a deep breath but it didn’t help much.

  Dad cleared his throat and sat forward in the chair. “Yesterday, everything got out of hand and we all said some things that we didn’t mean. I didn’t think this would happen yet. Not until you were older, Oakley.”

  I almost choked in disbelief. How could he even sit there and pretend my age mattered? I felt sick to my stomach. I burned in anger and shame.

  Push it away.

  Mum reached across from the sofa beside us and grabbed my hand. “I need you to understand that as your mother of course I want you to talk again. But it isn’t everything. I don’t love you any less. Nothing could make me love you any less.”

  I can think of one thing.

  Dad’s eye twitched.

  “I’m sorry for what I said, but you have to understand that you will always be my little girl, no matter what. However, I really am happy for you both. Just make sure you look after her,” Mum added.

  Cole smiled and threw his arm over the back of the sofa. “Always.”

  There was that always again.

  After the air had been cleared, we moved on to lighter subjects. I didn’t dare look at Dad again. I hated him so much, but I still loved him. I wanted him to go to prison, but I wanted him to stay and change.

  I wanted him to be my dad again. It was so confusing I thought I was going crazy half the time.

  You shouldn’t love him at all. It should be that simple but it isn’t.

  I hadn’t seen Frank in almost three years so I knew for sure it was over, but I didn’t understand why things couldn’t go back to how they were before. Well, I did know why, but I desperately wanted to be carefree and have a happy family again.

  God, I’m so messed up.

  After Cole left, and had arranged to come back for dinner, I sat in my room with Mum. She had apologised a million times for what happened and was trying to think of ways she could make it up to me.

  “Oh, what about a spa day? That would be lovely,” she suggested.

  I did like the spa in Italy. I nodded. She was making an effort. I could do the same. She lay back against my hard wooden headboard and smiled like a teenage girl. It was nice to see her smile.

  “So, how are things going with Cole? You two do make a lovely couple, I’ve always thought that.”

  So why the freak out? Oh, because she realised she’d have to acknowledge that I was growing up and still had the same issues. I was supposed to grow out of it and that couldn’t have been easy for her when I didn’t.

  In answer to her question, I smiled. And bloody blushed!

  “It’s so good to see you happy, love.”

  It’s good to feel happy.



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