Reliving Fate, page 9
God, I shouldn't be this excited. Have I ever been excited before?
My mum was always too wasted to do anything at Christmas, and there's not really been much since.
Bella is my fucking Christmas!
I need to get control of this.
* * *
Bella knocks on my door thirty minutes later, and I'm right there. I hold my hand on the door handle, giving it a few seconds so that I don't seem so fucking pathetic.
"Hey," I say, opening up to let her in.
My eyes go straight to her chest. She's perfect even if her clothes are obstructing my view. It really doesn't matter; I won't ever forget what she looks like.
She clicks her fingers, drawing my attention to her face. "Eyes are up here, pervert."
I shut the door behind her and grip her hand, stopping her from rushing off. "Take your top off."
Laughing, she playfully punches me in the chest. "You've already seen more of me than you need."
"No, I really haven't."
"I'm hungry. Feed me. And no innuendos!"
I should really buy more than bread, cheese, and beer if she's going to hang around a lot.
Great, because buying food for her is really helping me keep some distance.
"Toast?" I offer.
She gives me a look. "Is that all you have? I can cook."
Shrugging, she heads to my kitchen. "How hard can it be?"
"Look, this might not be the flashiest place, but I don't want it covered in smoke and--"
"Have some faith. I won't burn your place down...probably. Do you have home insurance?"
I raise my eyebrow. "Do you think I have home insurance?"
"Well, be prepared to lose your home then."
I'm always prepared to lose everything at any point.
"Turn that sweet arse around, Bella. We're going out."
"Aw, you're taking me on a date," she says sarcastically, tilting her head and trying to look cute and innocent.
I wouldn't have the first clue what to do on a date. Unless having sex and leaving so fast you'd beat an Olympian qualifies as a date.
Bella probably wouldn't think so.
"I bet all the dates you've been on were to posh restaurants."
She bites her lip, and it does nothing to help the blue balls.
Take your top off.
"That's not the point," she replies.
"Ah, I was right."
"Fine, show me what you do on a date."
I raise my eyebrows. "I would be more than happy to. I'll get the condom; you strip and drop to your knees."
Her mouth falls open. "Come on, that's not all you do on dates. That's not even a date!"
"You want me to show you what I do?"
"Where are you taking me to eat, Rocco?"
"Diner down the road."
She walks back toward the front door, but I stop her with my arm.
"Just so we're clear, you're not getting naked?" I ask.
"I'm not getting naked."
I lower my arm. "Damn."
Shoving past me, she shakes her head, but I see the smile she's trying to hide.
Why do I feel like she's going to drive me insane before letting me get close to that body? Fucking hell, she definitely is eighteen, isn't she?
"Isabella, tell me you're not underage."
She turns on her heel. "Huh? I'm eighteen, Rocco. Unless you have a different law in your part of town to the rest of the UK, I've been legal for two years now." Leaning in, she whispers, "I can even drink."
I nod. "Good." I've never been too concerned with the law, but I draw the line completely at underage girls.
"I don't even want to know why you asked that. Where's this diner?"
I grab my phone, keys, and wallet, and we head out.
Bella doesn't walk around with her eyes darting everywhere now. She no longer thinks someone is going to jump her wherever she goes. She's getting confident in being here.
We enter the diner, and I nod to a table. A few locals are in here, and they seem very interested in us.
Maybe I shouldn't be out with her much. I don't want anyone to know I've got a weakness...because that's what she is to me now. Before Bella, there was nothing anyone could hurt me with. I care about her, and it's really fucking nice to have someone I can be myself around.
She sits opposite me and grabs a menu. "What's good here?"
"The burger isn't shit. You're also safe with the coffee."
Her eyes flick up to me. "Those are my only choices?"
"No, but you asked what's good."
"Okay." She closes the menu. "Looks like it's a burger and coffee."
I smile. "Good choice."
Rolling her eyes, she slaps my hand. "Hey, why are people staring?"
Hitting was unnecessary.
"I don't date."
"Oh, this is a date?"
Out comes the girl who makes me want to strangle her.
I take a breath. "You know what I mean."
She laughs and nods. "Yeah, I do. You're fun to play with though."
Is this a date?
I don't exactly hate that idea, and I don't know what to think about the fact that I don't hate it.
"Hi. What can I get you guys?" Leigh asks.
Leigh is a year older than me. At school, she was adamant about going off to London to make it as a model. At fourteen, she took a job here to save for her bus ticket. I don't know what fucking bus she plans on taking, but nine years later, she's still here.
"Burger and coffee for us both, please," I say.
"Can I not order for myself?"
I take another breath. She'll regret ordering anything else from here.
"I'll have the burger and a coffee, please," Bella says to Leigh.
Bella looks smug, lifting her eyebrow and the corner of her mouth, and I want to bash my head on the table.
Leigh laughs and writes down our order. "It won't be long, guys."
"Do you do shit like that on purpose?"
She must. No one is that naturally aggravating, surely. And why the hell do I like it so much?
She bats her eyelashes. "I really don't know what you mean." Looking at the menu again, she purses her lips. "Hmm, are there any decent desserts here?"
"Ugh, that sucks. I want ice cream or cake. Or both."
Who the fuck is this girl?
Bella licks her bottom lip as she puts the menu down, and my blood sets alight in my veins. I want to grab her and fuck her over the table.
If we just get it over with and have an afternoon in bed, I might be able to forget about her.
Like that'd happen.
The revelation slams me in the fucking face. I wouldn't sleep with Bella if that meant she would be out of my life.
I take a jagged breath as the air gets knocked from my lungs. This has never happened before.
Since I first saw her, everything in my world has been animated. Meeting her was like being released from a prison. I'm not sure she's getting a good deal out of...whatever we are though.
I clear my throat. "We can get cake and ice cream after. There's a supermarket nearby, and they have a bakery."
"Very gentlemanly, Rocco. I didn't know you had it in you."
Yeah, neither did I.
She's changing me, and I want to embrace it, but I'm terrified.
* * *
I left Rocco's just after three in the morning, wishing I could stay longer. When I'm with him, I don't have to try so hard just to get through the next minute. He was so sweet, taking me to get a massive tub of ice cream and cupcakes. Whatever I wanted, he was willing to make it happen.
Now, I'm driving back home, and the closer I get, the more I want to turn the car around. With Rocco, I can be myself. I can relax, and I don't have to act like I'm okay...as much as I do with everyone else anyway.
In a few short hours, my family will be up, and I'll have to pretend. I'll pretend that everything is all right and that I haven't failed them all so badly that they'd never want to see me again.
Over the years, I've gotten fairly good at making it seem like I'm fine after losing my big sister.
I pull the car into our drive and shut the engine off. They're all pretty heavy sleepers, so it's unlikely they would've heard anything.
Creeping up the path, I press lock on the key fob, and the car makes a quiet beep. The house is pitch-black when I get inside, and I don't dare turn a light on, so I use my phone to illuminate my way.
I could do this in the dark, but sometimes, Dad leaves his bloody shoes lying around, and if I fall, I'll probably scream. Can't see them sleeping through that, especially after Celia.
I take the first step to go up to my room, and the landing light turns on.
"Bella?" Harry says, rubbing his eyes.
Tucking my phone behind my back, I smile. Okay, why did you just hide your own phone, you dickhead? The car keys are still in my hand.
"Hey, Harry. What's up?"
His eyes narrow, and he looks suspicious as hell. "What're you doing up?"
"What're you doing here?" I shoot back. Can he not just bloody stay home for one night?
"You're really going over old ground?" he asks in a snotty tone that makes me want to punch him. Rolling his eyes, he walks down the stairs.
Don't worry about letting me go up before you come down.
"Whatever." I step back down, look away, and wait.
"Why are you walking around in the dark?" His eyes dart to my clothes. My obviously not-pyjama clothes.
Great, there is no way he won't tell my parents what time I rolled in.
"I was at a friend's and didn't want to wake anyone."
"Unlikely. You don't have any friends."
See? He's a wanker of the highest calibre.
"My God, I can't wait for Livvy to get bored of your sad little married life with three kids and a traditional family home and cheat on you with your own brother."
"Leave Livvy out of this," he growls, narrowing his eyes to slits.
"Sure, if you leave Livvy..."
"Are you trying to blackmail me into leaving your sister?" He stops at the bottom of the stairs and cocks his eyebrow.
Folding my arms, I pretend to think for a second and then shake my head. "No, I really think I'd prefer to watch her cheat on you with your brother."
He leans into my personal space. I'm not intimidated.
"You really are a jealous, bitter bitch."
I yawn, bored of him now.
Harry and I will never get along, no matter how much Livvy wants it. I'd like to think that, if it ever came down to it, she would choose me. But I would never ask her--not because I'm scared she wouldn't, but because I love her, and I couldn't put her in that position.
So, I just hope that, one day, Harry will.
"Yeah, totally. I want you all for myself," I mutter, unable to be any more sarcastic.
"Sometimes, I wonder."
I laugh. A lot. Holding my stomach, I crouch over and tuck my head under my body. "Jesus, Harry! Okay, that was brilliant. Honestly, I know you can't possibly think that because, you know, I would rather get fingered by Freddy Krueger, but that was funny."
He grits his teeth and folds his arms harder. "Keep this up, Bella, because you're the one who's going to end up sad and alone."
"Fuck you, buddy," I say, pointing to him. "I'll have my racoons." Not giving him a chance to reply because I really don't care, I walk upstairs with a big smile and don't look back.
Once in my room, I change and brush my teeth in my en suite. My phone beeps, and I know it's Rocco. No one else would be messaging me at three thirty in the morning. Or any other time really unless it's Mum, Dad, or Livvy.
Are you home, or did you crash your roller skate of a car?
You'll be happy to know, the car is fine, and I'm home. My sister's boyfriend is a mega prick though.
What did he do???
Three question marks. Rocco is angry, probably gritting his teeth and imagining the worst. I should let him punch Harry in the face. It would be like Christmas.
Just talking shit. Nothing I can't handle.
I get into bed, put my phone on the charger, and send him another message before he's replied to my last one.
Now going to sleep. If you wake me, I'll cut off your foreskin in your sleep.
At least you'd be touching it.
Rocco's reply makes me laugh. He's such an idiot. I don't reply because it will only lead to more conversation, and I'm too tired. But, tomorrow morning, I do plan on getting a naughty pic from him. My body warms at the thought.
It takes me longer than usual to fall asleep because Rocco is on my mind. Rocco and dirty things. It's distracting and frustrating. When I do go to sleep though, I'm completely out of it.
* * *
In the morning, I'm woken up by my stupid sister again, but thankfully, when I look at the clock, I see that I don't have to suffocate her in her sleep. It's after ten a.m., and I'm feeling pretty awake already.
I get out of bed and grab my phone before heading downstairs. Livvy is just ahead of me on the stairs.
She looks over her shoulder. "Morning, Bells."
"Hey. Why're you happier than a clown on crack again this morning?"
"Don't you want me to be happy?"
I deadpan. "No, I want you to be miserable forever."
"Hey, if uni doesn't work out, you can go to comedy school," she says sarcastically.
"I don't think they teach funny, Liv."
Where's her lapdog?
Hopefully, he's left already, so I won't have to deal with him.
My phone vibrates in my hand, and it causes my heart to beat a little faster.
Don't get ahead of yourself.
I follow Livvy into the kitchen and check my message when she's distracted with making a pot of coffee.
Do I get the naked bottom half today?
I should have guessed.
No. I've sent you my boobs, and you've sent me...SWEET FUCK ALL. So, pay up or face having just one picture to wank over for the rest of your life.
I chew my lip as I try not to grin too much at my phone, or I'll give it away, and I don't want Livvy to know about Rocco.
That'd be an interesting conversation. Mum, Dad, I've been sneaking out of Nana and Grandad's to see a man I barely know, and I've sent him a nude picture. And, FYI, he's an illegal fighter.
I'm sure it's every parent's dream for their kid.
Isabella, I can get nudes from at least ten different women in about five minutes.
Go on then!
I'm calling his bluff. And I really hope it goes in my favour because I don't like the thought of other women sending him pictures of their naked bodies at his request. Not at all.
It's probably not a good idea for me to send them either because that shit doesn't ever disappear from the internet, but despite not really knowing him for long, I trust him more than anyone else in my life.
Wow, I'm dumb.
How have three universities offered me a place?
Well, probably because they don't know me. Funny enough, I didn't put, Is willing to sext, on my applications. Though, if I had, I wouldn't be having the uni battles with my family on a daily basis.
Rocco texts back.
I don't want pictures from other women.
Well, hello, cloud fucking nine.
I like him a bit too much.
Grinning, I send back a flirty message and wait for his reply.
* * *
I drain the last of my beer and watch everyone at the river from the window in the pub. A night here used to be satisfactory, but now, I'd rather just hang out with B
It's something I need to get over because she won't be around forever. Maybe I won't hate it when she's not around anymore. Yeah, right. I already don't like it when she goes home, let alone like the thought of never seeing her again. Jesus, I'm not sure if I've changed for the better.
"Where is she tonight?" Ellis asks, smirking, as he stops right in front of me.
The prick always looks so fucking smug when he's talking about Bella. He knows I care about her. I hope no one else does.
"How would I know?"
I hope he can't tell that I actually do know.
She's out to dinner with her family, and then she's going to her grandparents', so she can sneak out with less risk of getting caught.
"Oh, I don't know...because you spend all of your time with her now."
"No, I don't." It's a shit comeback, but I don't have the energy to argue with him. I don't want to talk about Bella here.
"Of course not." He gives me a side-glance and smirks again.
"I'm very close to punching you in the gut, prick."
"Hey, no need to get violent. You don't have to hide her from me, man."
I grit my teeth, not entirely sure where to take this. Ellis would never fuck me over--I'm almost certain of that--but I still don't completely trust anyone. If I have to push him away a little more to protect her, then I will.
Why is she more important than my oldest friend?
My God, my life is one confusing mess, even more so since Bella came into it.
"Yeah, I know I can trust you with her."
He clears his throat. "I like her, too."
You've got to be fucking kidding!
My head snaps in his direction, and he holds his stomach, laughing at my reaction.
Shaking his head, he takes a step back as he says, "Calm down. Not like that! I just mean, she's cool. I can see why you like her so much."
"I don't like her so much."
Yes, I do.
"We don't talk about our feelings, hopes, and dreams, Rocco, but if we're going to talk, at least don't lie. She's important to you. That's why you're so on edge when she's out in public here, and it's why you don't want to discuss her in front of all these people."
My groin vibrates where my phone is stuffed in my pocket, saving me from having to think of something to come back at Ellis with. However, I don't need to continue arguing with him because his face is a permanent smirk as he watches me pull my phone out.
Gritting my teeth and ignoring the twitch in my hand that wants to punch my oldest and only friend, I open the text from Bella.
Other author's books:
- Broken SilenceSilenceThe CellarPlayers, Bumps and Cocktail SausagesLie to MeSilent NightReliving Fate
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