CALUMThe phone trembles in my hand. I drop it to the study table and replay the short conversation with Tessa in my head. They wanted to talk to me. Sam and Lucas. My former bandmates.
They haven’t been able to reach me because I changed my number and blocked both of them. I don’t want anything to do with Sam or Lucas or the fucking band. I am done with that life, not the singing but the mindless moments; the high, the toxicity and loneliness. Fame changed the three of us. They hurt me. Not once did they visit at rehab. Yes, I fucked up badly. But friends fuck up all the time. And friends also pick each other up.
I don’t hate them for casting me off but I hate them for being unable to put down their pride and anger to check on their friend who almost lost his life. We were friends first before we became a band. His brother survived, I might not have.
My fingers tap against my temple. Cathy knew. Wai
On Monday morning, I join Dad to school. It’s a silent ride with my earbuds plugged in to avoid him asking questions. Calum should still be at home. I don’t know. I don’t care. Okay, I care.But I don’t understand. Okay, maybe I also do. Calum has every right to be mad for me lying and meddling but I was trying to help. Tessa and I.He shut everyone out after the band broke up and they want their friend back. Not to resume the band but to have him. To be friends again. And they sounded so excited about him meeting this producer in London. London is only three hours away. He could meet up with him and return to me the same day.How can that man not see that we are on his side and we are doing all of these because we love him?I roll up the window as Dad’s car slows in the parking lot. The term will be over in fifty days, then what? He can’t teach forever. There’s more for him out there. His friends are
Lunch break is officially over. For me, it ended with the fight. I grab my bag and hurry outside to join Calum and Amelia but the hallway is empty. I can’t go to Dad’s office or I’ll be in trouble and I can’t let Amelia take the fall alone. It’s my fault.Kicking the air in frustration, I start for Dad’s office and stop halfway there. Bad idea. I’ll be grounded. He hasn’t grounded me in years. The bell saves me from making that mistake. I head back to class and count the minutes until the final bell goes off. Once the closing bell rings out, I bolt out of the class to wait at Amelia’s locker.The hallway soon grows noisy as other students begin to leave their classes. Bored, tired, I bang my head against the locker, torturing myself with a million scenarios on how it could have gone.Someone taps me. Amelia. She grins.Why is she grinning?I throw my arms around her, squeezing
Later turns into four days. By Friday, Calum is still not talking to me and I have had enough with his silent treatment. We fought. Couples fight all the time. And they make up. Kiss too. I want to kiss him. More than that, I want a hug.After the last period for the day, I hug the girls goodbye and race to the teacher’s parking lot. Over the last few days, I have avoided any chat that might lead to them asking about C. It will be Amelia and I secret. So far, she has been doing a good job of steering the conversation each time it comes up.Slowing to catch my breath, I walk the rest of the distance to Calum’s car. He doesn’t show up and when he does, he’s with Miss Gates. I swear he does it to annoy me. Or not. Whatever the case, I don’t like seeing him with her, not when we are having a fight because my brain keeps bringing up these wild conspiracy theories. I have given that man enough space to get over his anger.Calu
“What?” sputters out of my lips. I let go of Calum. My back hits the steering and the honk goes off.We jump and I readjust. Calum laughs. But I don’t find the situation funny. Fine, we didn’t do things the traditional way but we have been on a date. We text. We cuddle. We fuck. We kiss.Oh, my God. Is he joking?“You’re my boyfriend,” I insist. But I don’t touch him.Calum purses his lips. I smack his chest and it provokes more laughter out of him. “Am I?”“Yeah,” I say. “Yeah? Wait, are you not?”His face is solemn. “I don’t think so.”“Why not?”The pounding of my heart is so loud I’m afraid he will hear it. Taking my hand, he plants a kiss on my knuckles, then another on the inside of my wrist.“You didn’t ask me to be your boyfriend,&rdquo
The greatest part about having a boyfriend is asking him mindless questions he mustn’t fail to answer. Oh, and the random selfies too. I can be doing assignments and my phone pings with a picture from him. And I love the sexting too.“Why’s the sky so blue?” I ask.Calum rolls his eyes again and his guitar almost slips from his grasp. He must be tired of me. Too bad for him because I’m here to stay. My books are sprawled on the floor in his room, he’s helping me with my music homework. It might be considered cheating if he was actually doing any work but he’s letting me do it all while offering little to nothing but his sexy presence.I poke him on his cheek with my pencil. He’s seated cross-legged on the floor while I’m flat on my belly. The blanket he spread on the floor is keeping me warm but I know something else that will do a better job and make me warmer.“Answer me, Cal.
The cafeteria is too loud. Sadly, Calum is not on lunch duty. The girls are talking about school. Mostly Rose and Taylor. Lucien and Ryan barely speak but nod along to their girlfriends. It is a bit weird to have Jackson’s friends on our table.Lucien’s arm wraps around Taylor’s shoulder, we share eye contact and he looks away. I don’t know if Jackson told them anything. But if they are here with us, I guess he didn’t. Or, he did and they didn’t care. It doesn’t matter anymore.Jackson’s opinion of me is shit, it doesn’t count.My fingers race over the edge of the table as their talk grows louder, more intense. Rose is excited to be out of town. Taylor will move to London. Amelia and I hardly have anything to say. She didn’t apply to any schools, neither did I.Beside me, Amelia nibbles on her sandwich. As always, we are on the other side of the table. I slide out my phone to te
The bell for the next period goes off while I’m still in my thoughts. Another peek at my phone and my fists clench. Calum hasn’t replied me.Jamming my locker door close, I start for my next class before students start swarming the hallway. Sadly, I don’t have music today so I sit still throughout the classes for the rest of the day. As soon as the bell goes off, I bounce.I’m alone in the parking lot. Impatience knots my joints and my fingers beat against the roof Calum’s car. Speaking of the annoying man who ignores his girlfriend’s texts, Calum walks out a few minutes later. One look at my frowning face and the jerk of a boyfriend cracks a smile. It draws one from me. Damn him.The car beeps to signify it’s unlocked, I slide into the passenger seat and his hand comes down immediately on my knee. “I was busy.”“Too busy to reply your girlfriend,” I murmur.
Calum turns to me with a sigh. Dark emotions rise to the surface of his eyes. He’s angry and hurt but none of that is directed at me. I offer him a small smile so he knows that whatever he tells me won’t change how I feel about him.“In rehab, you’re allowed visitors,” he whispers. His blues close as if he’s reliving those days. I rub his knee, humming our favourite song till the tension in his shoulders dissipates. “They never showed up and I was there for a year. They were aware. I told my mum to tell them. At first, I tried not to care but I fucking cared, superstar. I mean, even if I was upset with my friends and I heard they almost OD’d, I would bury the grudges. I’ll show up immediately.”A memory from last term hits me unexpectedly. The day Jackson couldn’t make it to the house because his car was bad. I told Calum I hated him. I didn’t have a ride to school and he said I should