Until Harry(10)By: L.A. Casey
Kale’s face was red too, but he remained silent. I wanted to kick him and say no to Drew for him, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do a thing. I was so angry, but I had no idea why.
“That’d be great . . . Drew, is it?” Kale’s mummy said after Kale still hadn’t replied to her.
Drew looked at Kale’s mummy and nodded, smiling shyly. “Yes, my name is Drew.”
“Pretty name.” Kale’s mummy smiled.
Drew’s face flushed some more, and she murmured, “Thank you.”
She then cleared her throat and looked down to her hands. I only then noticed she was carrying a sheet of paper with a bunch of different words on it.
“I’ve got to get this photocopied for my teacher, so I better go, but I’ll keep one for you, Kale, and make extra notes. I’ll bring them to you today after school – is that okay?” Drew asked, her eyes hopeful.
“Yes,” Kale instantly replied, then cleared his throat. “I mean, yeah, sure, that’d be cool. Whatever.”
Kale’s daddy and mine began to snort, and it caused Kale to tense up.
“Okay, great. I know where you live, so I’ll see you later.” She leaned in and kissed Kale’s cheek.
She kissed it!
She flicked her eyes to me then and said, “I hope you’re okay too, Lane.”
She said bye to us all then and, walking around us, went on her way down the hallway. Kale didn’t move, so his daddy shoved him forward and laughed. “Smooth, son. Real smooth.”
Kale was still red in the face but playfully shoved his daddy back.
“Shut up,” he mumbled, a smile tugging at his lips.
I glowered at the exchange, and my mummy noticed. She nudged Kale’s mummy, and both of them looked at me and smiled. They were weird like that, always smiling at me when I was looking at Kale. It freaked me out, but I never said anything because they were old, and I wanted them to be happy.
“Kale,” Kale’s mummy murmured, and jerked her head in my direction.
Kale looked at me and blinked when he saw my expression.
“Why’re you angry?” he asked, frowning.
I didn’t know why I was angry other than that Drew annoyed me, but I didn’t want to tell him that.
“My head hurts,” I replied.
I wasn’t lying; it did hurt, just not as much as my chest suddenly did.
Kale walked over to me and slung his arm back around my shoulder. “We can watch films with our mums and eat ice cream when we go home. Will that help?”
I forgot about everything.
My sore head.
My aching chest.
Kale calling her beautiful, smiling at her and acting so differently around her.
I focused on thoughts of playing with Kale and watching films for the rest of the day. I leaned into him and smiled, making everyone chuckle. He knew my response was a silent whopping yes.
“Come on then, let’s go.” He beamed and removed his arm from around my shoulder only to reach down and grasp my hand with his. “We have films to watch, Laney Baby.”
I held onto Kale’s hand tightly and smiled with delight as we left our school. I loved spending time with him, and I loved when he called me Laney Baby. I loved everything about Kale, and I knew that I always would.
He was my best friend, my best not-really big brother and my best protector. He was my best everything. He was mine.
Day one in York
My heart was pounding against my chest, and my hands got sticky with sweat.
He called me Laney Baby, my mind whispered. Kale Hunt is standing in front of me in the flesh, and he called me Laney Baby.
I felt like I was thrust back into my early years when things were okay with us, when things weren’t . . . arduous. I forced that knowledge to the very back of my mind and willed myself to calm down. I refused to appear as flustered and unprepared for this meeting as I truly was. I knew coming back here heightened the possibilities of running into Kale; I just hadn’t realised it would happen ten minutes after I stepped foot through my parents’ front door.
“How are you?” I asked after a long stretch of silence, my voice formal.
Kale’s lips thinned to a line. “I’m good, kid. You?”
Kid. I wanted to growl that I wasn’t a damn kid any more, but I didn’t. I somehow kept my composure.
“I’ve” – I glanced at my uncle’s coffin, then back to Kale – “been better.”
He frowned and nodded in understanding. “It’s good to have you home.”
Was it? a voice in my head taunted.
“Thanks,” I replied, then lied through my teeth. “It’s good to be back.”
It wasn’t good to be back.
It was absolute torture standing here and acting like I wasn’t hurting all over again. Like my heart didn’t kick into overdrive at the mere sight of him, like my palms didn’t itch as they ached to touch him, like my knees didn’t shake to keep from walking to him, like shivers didn’t dance up and down my spine upon hearing his husky voice, like my lips didn’t want to fucking devour his until there was nothing left in existence but the two of us.