Until Harry(6)By: L.A. Casey
Even though I moved thousands of miles away to escape him, every day for the past six years I woke up seeing those hazel eyes and fell asleep hearing that soothing voice. I couldn’t shake him whether I was half a world away or in the next room.
I lived and breathed Kale Hunt, and it was killing me.
“Kale,” I managed to whisper as I stared at the first man to ever break my heart.
He gazed at me, then with no trace of emotion he robotically blinked and nodded in greeting. “Welcome home, Laney Baby.”
Six years old (twenty years ago)
Lane? Where are you?”
I placed my hands over my ears and squeezed my eyes shut and tried to contain my sobs, but couldn’t. They racked through my body because my head hurt so bad. Rubbing it didn’t make the pain go away and only worsened the throb.
I opened my eyes when an arm slid under my knees, then another slipped around my back. I yelped when I was suddenly lifted up into the air, and instinctively latched my arms around the neck of the person who lifted me up. I looked at the person’s face, and when bright hazel eyes shone back at me, I cried.
Kale Hunt was my best friend in the whole wide world. If anyone could make me feel better when I was hurting so bad, it was Kale. He was always the one to take my tears away and put a smile on my face.
I buried my face into the crook of his neck and sobbed like my world was ending. Kale walked over to a desk in my classroom. He sat me on his lap, and hugged my body to his. He rocked me from side to side until I was calm enough to sit up without snotting and blubbering everywhere.
I looked to Kale when he handed me some tissue from his pocket. After wiping my nose and face clear of tears and snot, I blew my nose and sniffled before crumpling the used tissue.
“What happened to you?” Kale asked me, his concern laced through his words.
I continued to sniffle but remained silent and still. I didn’t want to tell him because I would get in big trouble, and he would probably shout at me. I didn’t want to be shouted at.
“Lane?” Kale pressed when I turned my gaze from his. “What. Happened?”
I felt my lower lip wobble, and he sighed.
“I’m not mad at you,” he softly assured me, “but you need to tell me what happened. Anna O’Leary came and told me that you ran in here from the yard and that something happened. Tell me what. Please.”
“I . . . I was playing skipping with Anna O’Leary and Ally Day when Jordan Hummings took our rope and ran away.” I lowered my head until my chin touched my chest. “I chased after him and tried to get it back, but Jordan fell and said it was my fault, so he punched me in my head and now it really hurts.”
Kale’s hold on me tightened.
“Jordan Hummings?” he growled. “The boy in my class?”
I slowly nodded.
That’s why I was so scared; Jordan was a big boy like Kale.
“He hit you?” Kale asked, his voice a snarl.
I began to cry again when Kale’s anger became evident. He quickly lost the livid look on his face and just as quickly put his arms back around me. He hushed me, said sweet things to me and that he was going to make everything better.
I believed him.
“Come with me,” he said, and stood up, then settled my feet on the floor. “My playtime is over in a few minutes, so I have to do this quick.”
Kale was in big boy classes, and I didn’t like it. He had to be in big boy classes, though, because he was nine years old and had to learn big boy things . . . like maths. When I start year 2 classes next year, Kale and I will have the same yard time and can play together all the time. He told me so.
“Where are we going?” I asked Kale as he threaded his fingers through mine.
He grunted in response as he led me out of my classroom and down the long corridor to the exit door that opened up to the playground.
“I’m going to fix what happened to you,” he said as he pushed the door open and stepped through it.
I gripped his hand tightly as we walked around loads of children who were playing chase, hopscotch and skipping. We stopped at the girls who were skipping in the spot I’d been skipping on a while ago.
“Hey, girls, have either of you seen Jordan Hummings?” Kale asked.
I didn’t know who they were, but they were older than me. They might have even been in Kale’s class because they both smiled wide at him when he spoke to them. I narrowed my eyes at them and pressed closer to Kale’s side. I didn’t like that way they were looking at him. They looked a little too happy to see him.
“Hey, Kale.” The girl with the bright red hair and lightly freckled skin beamed. “I did actually. He’s gone behind the prefabs with his friends. I’m not sure why, though.”