Broken silence, p.5

Broken Silence, page 5

 part  #2 of  Silence Series

 

Broken Silence


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  Wow. How easy was that! A huge grin stretched across my face.

  “I’d love to. ”

  I couldn’t wait get ice cream again. It was something we’d done all the time when we were younger.

  “Great,” he said. As if I was going to say no!

  “I’ll pick you up in an hour? Will you be ready then?”

  “Yeah,” I whispered, gripping the phone tight. My stomach was doing flips.

  “Okay. See you in a bit. ” He hung up, and I smiled to myself. That conversation was a little awkward, but I didn’t care. Hopefully things would be normal between us by the end of the day.

  Lizzie wiggled her eyebrows. “I’m outta here. Have a good date. ”

  Before I could correct her, she was out of the room. It wasn’t a date. Even if Cole wanted anything it was too early for that. Life wasn’t a fairy tale. Things took time and effort, and even then there were no guarantees.

  Jumping up, I grabbed my clothes and ran into the bathroom to have a quick shower and get dressed. My morning routine took a little longer since I started wearing make-up. My dad never let me wear it, but that was my decision now. I didn’t particularly like the stuff, so I only used a little mascara and a natural eye shadow. It wasn’t about making myself look better; it was about having the choice.

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  As soon as I was ready, I went downstairs to find Mum. The smell of coffee wafted through the hallway, and I knew she was in the kitchen. She smiled as I walked in.

  “Morning. ”

  “Morning,” I replied and smiled.

  “You look nice. Are you going out?”

  I froze. Nice? Trying too hard nice? I had on a navy blue maxi dress – Australia clothes! Was it too much to meet Cole in? Maybe I should go more casual.

  “You’re meeting Cole, aren’t you?”

  I nodded numbly, mentally searching through all the clothes I brought with me.

  “What’s wrong? I thought you’d be happy?”

  “Should I change?”

  She smiled, and I knew inside she was going, ‘Aww’.

  “No, you look beautiful. Stop worrying, Oakley. You could turn up in a bin bag and he’d still love it. ”

  “That’s not helping. ” I sipped a glass of water slowly, trying to calm my nerves. “Yeah, I really need to change. ”

  Before I could take a step closer to the door, the bell rang. That would definitely be Cole. It had been almost an hour since we spoke.

  “Too late,” Mum said and grinned, amused.

  “No, it’s not. Get the door, I’ll be back in a minute,” I called over my shoulder as I ran out of the room. Her laughter rang through the house. I was being stupid, but today was extremely important and even the small details mattered. I grabbed a pair of light blue skinny jeans and a long T-shirt. Much more casual.

  As I dressed, I heard muffled voices downstairs. I prayed they were catching up and Mum wasn’t telling him I was changing again. He was so close to me, and that made me feel dizzy with nerves and excitement.

  Taking a deep breath, I slowly crept downstairs. His eyes landed on mine as soon as I stepped into the lounge, and my heart started beating wildly.

  “Hi,” I said hoarsely, chewing on the inside of my cheek.

  He smiled, his eyes lighting up. I loved seeing him like that.

  “Hi. ”

  “Have a nice time,” Mum said and walked into the kitchen, giving us some privacy.

  “You ready to go?” I nodded in response to his question. I could barely talk!

  We drove in a comfortable silence. I watched as he pulled his lip between his teeth every so often. He was nervous too. It felt too good to be true. I was still waiting for him to get angry with me again. He wasn’t being honest about how he felt. This going for ice cream was incredible but it was masking the conversation we needed to have. It was as if we were papering over the cracks and that would get us nowhere in the long run.

  “I’ll warn you now, it’s different,” he said as we parked in front of the diner.

  “Different how?”

  “You’ll see. ” As he always did, Cole held the door open for me, and I walked in. I turned my nose up. It was completely different now. Not one thing was as it used to be.

  “I take it from that look on your face, you don’t like it?”

  “No. Why did they change it?” Frowning at the new decor, I walked towards the counter.

  “To ‘move with the times’ apparently. ”

  I much preferred the old traditional style diner to this ultra-modern, minimalistic look. The walls were a warm caramel shade, with large mirrors hanging from them. The tables and chairs were white glass and boring.

  “I don’t like it either. Ice cream’s still good though. Want your usual?”

  I turned and grinned. Those three words made my whole day. ‘Want your usual?’ I hadn’t heard that in four years.

  “Please. ”

  Cole ordered, and we sat where our old booth used to be. The seat was comfortable but not falling onto a cloud comfortable.

  “I wanted to say I’m sorry for yesterday. I didn’t mean to upset you, but I needed to say that stuff. ”

  I shook my head.

  “Please don’t apologise. I guess you’ve waited a while for the opportunity to say it. I’m the one who’s sorry. I should have given you the choice. I was too wrapped up in what was going on. I didn’t want your life to be messed up too. ”

  He raised his eyebrow, and I knew exactly what he was thinking. His life was messed up because of it.

  “I would have come with you, Oakley. ”

  “I know,” I whispered, looking down at the table. “Can we get past this? I don’t want things to be weird between us. ”

  The waitress arrived, cutting into our conversation. She balanced the tray on the edge of the table and passed us our milkshakes and ice cream. My lungs started to burn, and I realised it was because I was holding my breath, waiting for him to answer. We both muttered a polite ‘thank you’ and I turned my attention back to Cole.

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  He smiled and before even opening his mouth, I knew we could.

  “Yeah, but only if you give me some of that ice cream,” he said, reaching out and digging his spoon in before I answered. I slapped the back of his hand with my spoon, laughing. Finally, laughing properly again.

  “So, when do you think you’ll move out of your parent’s house?” It was weird thinking of Cole living on his own. He didn’t seem old enough, but he was twenty-two now.

  “I’m actually looking at a couple of places next week. As soon as I find somewhere that’s not a shit hole, I’ll be out. ”

  I shook my head. “How are you going to survive on your own? Do you even know how to work a washing machine yet?” I teased.

  “No, but both houses are close to home, so I can just take washing to Mum,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and chuckling.

  “I bet you would too. ”

  “Definitely! She likes to feel needed. I’m doing this for her. ” I laughed. I’m sure Jenna would love receiving bags of her grown up son’s washing every week. “Do you have any plans to get your own place?”

  “No. I don’t think I can live alone, not yet anyway. ” I hated being on my own. I didn’t feel safe.

  Cole’s face fell, but he soon turned it around and smirked.

  “No one to remove the spiders? You’d have so many glasses dotted around the house with spiders trapped inside ’em,” he teased. “Does Jasper catch them for you?”

  Frowning, I shook my head. “No. Jasper throws them at me, and the spiders in Australia are bigger than cats. ” Well perhaps not quite, but they were a lot bigger than the spiders in England that’s for sure.

  “You wanna come with me next week?” Cole asked, changing the subject before he started laughing. “I coul
d use another opinion. Apparently I’m too negative when house hunting. ”

  “Yeah? I’d love to,” I replied. I knew it wasn’t a date or anything, but I was still excited to spend more time with him.

  “Good. Then if it falls down I can blame you. ”

  We stayed in the diner long after we’d finished eating and drinking. I managed to drag everything out for as long as I could, just wanting a little bit more time with him. Eventually though, there was nothing more I could do and Cole paid the bill. Nothing had changed; he never let me pay for anything.

  His arm brushed against mine as we walked to his car. My breath caught in my throat. This was so nice, so normal for us. I didn’t want the talk to come, even though I knew it had to. I was enjoying things being as if I had never left.

  Cole opened the car door for me, and I suddenly realised how close he was. Our faces were inches apart. My breath caught in my throat as he stared into my eyes. Was he going to kiss me? I couldn’t breathe properly. He still had the same effect on me.

  His eyes flickered to my lips, and my heart soared. Everything else disappeared, and all I could see was his beautiful face. Was this a good idea, though? We’d only just managed to get back to being ‘friends’, and I really didn’t want to mess that up. I hated that he was angry with me. Kissing would only make things worse and make leaving again a million times harder on us both.

  “Thanks,” I whispered, very reluctantly taking a step back. That seemed to snap him out of it, and he smiled, nodding for me to get in the car. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. That wasn’t easy to do. I wanted to be with him again so much.

  Cole got in the car and started the engine.

  “Err, Leona said you have to come back and play with her,” he said, scratching the back of his neck nervously. “I can get you out of it if you want. I mean you-”

  I shook my head a little too enthusiastically. “No. I’d love to spend time with her. ” And you.

  “Yeah. Okay, good. ”

  “You’re close?”

  “Really close. Mia couldn’t afford to move out, so she stayed home with Leona. Kids are loud, and I barely got any sleep when she was really little, but I wouldn’t change it. ”

  “How is Chris with her?”

  Cole made a distasteful face. He still wasn’t a Chris fan, then.

  “He’s a good dad, I’ll give him that. Would still love to punch him in the face though. ” I laughed. “At least Mia realised what an arsehole he is. ”

  As soon as we walked through the door, Leona ran at me. She looked just like Mia as a child. Thankfully, there wasn’t Chris in her at all. She was beautiful. “Oaley,” she chirped, mispronouncing my name. Her tiny little arms shot out for me to pick her up.

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  Balancing Leona on my hip, I followed Cole into the kitchen. He made a comment about how Leona would normally have gone to him first and that I was her new best friend. I couldn’t help smile a little at that; it meant a lot to me that Leona liked me. I missed so much of her little life and had a lot to make up for, and not just with her.

  “Hi, sweetheart,” Jenna gushed, giving me an awkward hug around Leona. “Come and sit. I’ll make you a hot chocolate. ” She smiled wide, showing her straight white teeth.

  “Can I have some too?” Leona asked.

  Jenna leant over and stroked her cheek. “You can have whatever you want. ” Leona was so sweet and so innocent. It broke my heart that one day she would watch the news or overhear adults talking and understand that the world wasn’t some happy, perfect place.

  I sat at the table between Cole and Leona. It was so cute watching them interact. Leona looked up at Cole as if he was her hero. He would be a great dad one day.

  “Why are marshmallows squishy?” she asked Cole.

  “Because they’re made from clouds,” he replied. She gasped and looked into her marshmallow topped hot chocolate with amazement.

  “Clouds?” I asked.

  He shrugged and mouth, “I have no idea how they’re made. ”

  I loved being at Cole’s house, always had. Going back to Ali’s wasn’t what I wanted but I knew I couldn’t stay here. “I should probably go now. ”

  Cole stood up. “I’ll take you. ”

  In the car, I sank back in my seat and looked over at him driving again. “You really didn’t have to drive me back, you know. It’s not far to walk. ”

  “I’m not letting you walk, Oakley. You don’t know what psychos are out there. ”

  I did know what psychos were out there though. The world was not perfect. It was dark, evil, and full of monsters in human disguise. The world’s a horrible place, and you were no safer surrounded by family than you were wandering the streets alone.

  Instead of voicing my opinion, I smiled and received one in return. Yes, I definitely want him back.

  Chapter Six

  Cole

  I drove to Ali’s house slowly. Oakley probably thought I had turned into an old man driver, but I just wanted to get a little extra time with her. God, if Ben was in my head right now he would definitely tell me to man up. I admit; my ‘pathetic-ness’ had progressed to a completely new level, but I was in love with her. That entitled me to act like a teenage girl, right?

  As we approached the street, I slowed down a little more. “The accelerator is the one on the right,” Oakley teased, biting on her bottom lip. I loved it when she did that.

  “Very funny,” I replied flatly. I pulled up outside the house and sighed quietly. This is where she leaves. “So… I’ll see you on Tuesday? You’ll come view the houses?” That was only three days away. Great, now I’m back to counting down the days until I can see her again!

  She smiled, and her eyes lit up. “Yes, definitely. ”

  I watched her like a stalker as she got out of the car and bent over to look back in. “Will you text me when you get home?”

  “I would, but I don’t have your number. Obviously, I’m not one of the privileged ones. ” I pouted my lip, and she rolled her eyes.

  “Give me your phone then, Mr Dramatic,” she said, holding her hand out.

  Sighing, faking annoyance, I handed her my phone. This was how we used to be, teasing each other. This is how it’s supposed to be.

  My fingers brushed over hers as she took the phone. There was a small smile on her lips and a blush on her cheeks as we touched. It was good to know that she felt the same. I watched her closely as she punched her number in my phone. I couldn’t believe I actually survived four years without her. Nice. Very melodramatic!

  “Done,” she announced, handing me the phone back. I made sure my fingers touched hers again and like last time, her cheeks flushed. “Feel special now?”

  I pretended to think about it for a minute. “Um, no. You’re gonna have to do a lot more than that to make me feel special. ”

  She raised her eyebrow and tried to stop herself from smiling. “Really?” I nodded, my eyes lingering over her lips.

  “Alright,” she said, giving me a cute smile that made my heart stop. “I’ll buy the ice cream on Tuesday. ”

  Oakley didn’t look back at me as she walked into the house. Was that deliberate? I think it was. Damn, I’m in some serious trouble. I had a feeling she would still be able to wrap me around her finger. In fact, I knew she could, and I think she knew it too.

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  I drove back to my house with the biggest smile on my face. This day couldn’t get better. Well it could if she turned up naked in my room. Stop it. I pulled into my driveway, behind Chelsea’s car. Did we have plans?

  Mum and Leona walked out of the door as I started up the path.

  ‘Oh, hi, sweetheart,” Mum said. “Chelsea’s inside. I’m just taking Leona to get her hair cut. ”

  I knelt down to Leona’s height and flicked her hair. “You having it all cut off like mine?”

&
nbsp; Her mouth dropped open, and she looked up at Mum. “I not Nana,” she shouted, looking a little terrified.

  “No, you’re not, sweetie. ” Mum frowned. “Cole,” she scolded.

  “Sorry,” I said and chuckled. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself. Leona’s reactions were funny. “You tell the hairdresser to keep it long. ” Leona nodded and skipped off to the car.

  I expected Chelsea to be in the lounge or kitchen, but she was in my room. “Hi,” she said, looking at the picture of me and Oakley that still sat on my desk.

  “Hey. What’s up?”

  She sat down on my bed.

  “You seem happy. ”

  I nodded slowly. This was going somewhere I didn’t want it to go.

  “It’s good. You haven’t smiled like that since I’ve known you. ” I hadn’t smiled properly since a good while before that.

  “I am happy. ”

  “You know at one point I thought I could be the one that made you smile like that, but I get it now. You need her. ”

  She was right; I did need Oakley.

  “Sorry I didn’t want more from you. ” It almost sounded like a question the way I said it. I had no clue what I should say. I was not good with situations like this.

  Chelsea laughed quietly. “Don’t worry about it. You’re not the only good-looking guy in the world!”

  I shook my head in mock disbelief.

  “Liar. Look, we’re good, right?”

  Chelsea was a good friend and had really been there for me over the last two years. I didn’t want to lose her friendship.

  “Yeah, course we are. ” She waved her hand dismissively, and I knew that was over. “So, what’s going on then? You back together?”

  I frowned. “Not yet. Well I don’t know if we ever will be. ” Chelsea cocked her head to the side, looking at me sceptically. “I’m serious, Chels. Say we got back together and everything’s great. As soon as the trial ends she’s going back. I don’t think I could do that again,” I admitted. Actually I knew I couldn’t do it again.

  “You’re dumb, Cole. ” That took me by surprise. So I was dumb now? “You could ask her to stay with you, and if she can’t, then go with her. ”

  Wow, she had done a total one eighty! Only a few days ago she was telling me to get over her, and now she was shipping me off to Australia.

  “Look, if you find someone that makes you this happy then you need to make it work. Life is way too short. Tell her you love her, kiss her, and get her back. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Anyway I gotta go. Good luck with Oakley. You should invite her and her weird brother along tomorrow night. ” Did she just come here to say all that?

 
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