Home > The Redemption of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence #2)(7)

The Redemption of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence #2)(7)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

I shook my head, backing toward the door. “I’ll talk to you like this when you’re wrong.”

Her eyes widened, shocked. I’d never talked to her like that before. “What is wrong with you? Is it because you’ve been hanging around Kayden? I bet it is.”

“A few weeks ago you were so happy we were together,” I said, gripping the doorknob.

“That’s before I knew what he was capable of,” she said. “I don’t want you hanging out with him. And besides, you should be on Caleb’s side in all of this. He’s been part of this family for longer.”

A cold, yet hot wave of anger ripped from my toes and rushed to my mouth. “You don’t even know the whole story! And you don’t care enough to ask!” I wasn’t sure what I was referring to anymore but I didn’t stay long enough to find out. I jerked the back door open and ran outside into the snow.

She didn’t follow me and I wasn’t surprised. I’d never expect anything more from her.

“Earth to Callie.” Luke waves a hand in front of my face and I flinch. “Did you hear what I asked? About Kayden?”

“Yeah.” I press my lips together, thread my finger through the laces, and begin to unfasten them. “That’s what everyone’s saying—that he cut himself.”

Grabbing the gap between the blade and the bottom of the skate, he slips off his skate, tosses it to the side, and stretches out his toes. “You don’t believe that, do you?”

Part of me does, whenever I think about that night when Kayden and I had sex and there were all those fresh wounds on his arms. I didn’t think about it at the time, but they could have been track marks from self-inflicted injuries. But I don’t believe that he stabbed himself.

“I think it might have been his dad.” Saying it aloud changes everything, makes it real, true. I’m breathless, not just because of the idea of Kayden’s father stabbing him, but because Kayden hasn’t said anything and it aches to think about what his silence could mean. I know the pain that causes that kind of silence way too well.

Luke kicks off his other skate, then relaxes back in the bench and crosses his arms. “You know, I remember when we were kids and Kayden used to sleep over at my house all the time. I always thought it was weird because he wanted to stay at my house and not his. Mine was a fucking shithole and my mother’s fucking crazy. I didn’t get it, until the first time I stayed over at his house.”

I want to know why he thinks his mother is crazy, but the tension in his jawline is an indicator not to ask. “What happened?”

He pulls off his gloves, balls them up, and puts them into the pocket of his jacket. The intensity in his liquid brown eyes carries the severity of what he’s about to tell me. “I broke a cup. Not on purpose, but still the fucking cup was broken and that’s all that mattered. I remember when it happened, Kayden flipped out. We were like ten and I didn’t get it. It was a fucking cup, right?” He exhales loudly and I notice that his hands have a slight tremble to them. “Anyway, Kayden’s panicking and yelling at me to get the broom from the storage closet. So I go to get it, but it’s not in the storage closet. So I start looking everywhere and finally find it in the hallway closet. At this point, I can hear all this yelling coming from the kitchen.” He pauses and his throat muscles move as he swallows hard.

I realize my own hands are shaking and my heart’s hammering inside my chest. “What happened? When you went back into the kitchen?”

He stares at the other side of the rink. “Kayden was on the floor and his father was standing above him, with his knee bent, like he was getting ready to kick him. Kayden had blood all over his hands because he was crawling through the shards trying to pick them all up. He had this huge cut on his face and there was a piece of the cup in his dad’s hand.” He pauses. “Kayden denied his father did anything to him, but I can put two and two together.”

I breathe through my nose over and over again, fighting back the tears. “Did he ever tell you the truth?”

“About that day?” He shakes his head. “But there was one time I was over there and he got into this huge argument with his father and his father hit him right in front of me, so after that the cat was kind of out of the bag.”

I wiggle my foot out of the skate, shut my eyes, and let my lungs expand as cold air fills them. “Do you ever feel guilty for not saying anything?”

He’s quiet for a very long time, and when I open my eyes, he’s watching me. “All the God damn time,” he says with fire in his eyes.

There’s a moment when Luke and I are connected by a piece of thread that’s frayed and thin and very breakable. Then it’s over and he gets to his feet, collects his skates by the laces, and heads for the locker that’s holding our shoes. I follow him, grabbing my skates before rounding the bench. We put on our shoes and walk to his truck, not speaking and allowing the guilt to seep into our already chilled bodies. He starts up his old battered truck but dithers when he’s about to shove the shifter into gear.

“Maybe we should go see him,” he says and pushes the stick shift forward into drive. He cranks the wheel to the right and turns up the heater before pressing the gas and pulling out of the parking spot. “I’ve got only one more class before Christmas break, but I can blow it off. I already took the final.”

“But they’re not letting anyone see him except for family,” I remind him as I bend my arm and reach behind me for the seat belt. “At least that’s what my mom told me yesterday when I called her. She said that Maci told her he wasn’t allowed visitors except for her and that he can’t even talk on the phone.”

His gaze cuts to me as he stops the truck at the exit and looks both ways at the empty street. “You believe her?”

I pull the seat belt down and buckle it, and then my shoulders lift and slump. “I don’t know. Maci Owens is a lot of things, but why would she lie about that?”

“To cover up what really happened.” The truck fishtails as he pulls out onto the main road that’s slippery with snow. It’s late, the sky is gray, and the lampposts lining the street highlight the flakes falling from the sky.

I’m about to tell him yes, let’s drive down the highway and fly toward Afton. I was planning on heading back in a few days anyway, but then my phone starts playing “Hate Me,” by Blue October.

I frown. “It’s my mom.” I take my phone out of my pocket and stare at the glowing screen. I briefly consider letting it go to voicemail where she could yammer to it about how messed up she thinks it is that Kayden beat up Caleb. But giving her an open door to a one-sided conversation is like Christmas morning for her and I don’t want to have to listen to her go on and on in hopes of hearing something important.

I press TALK and put the phone up to my ear. “Hello.”

“Hi, sweetie,” she singsongs and my face instantly sinks. “How are you?”

“Fine.” I ignore Luke’s questioning stare and watch the road.

“You don’t sound fine,” she replies and then sighs. “Callie, you’re not going back to being depressed again, are you? Because I thought college was healing that.”

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