Ru knew the world was cruel; she learned that the hard way. She thought that she was the only one, but when she met Luke Hemmings and then Calum Hood, everything changed.


24. 23.

Chapter 23


Month 17. Day 2.


“So he just flipped out on you?” Calum asks. We’re laying in his bed, talking about what happened with Luke yesterday.


I nod. “Yeah, it was really weird. Like, he just started screaming at me and getting all up in my face.”


Calum looks at me and brushes a piece of my hair behind my ear. “I think he likes you.”


I make a face. “You’re kidding me, right? Luke liking me? No way. We’re just friends.”


“Well I think he likes you. More than a friend.”


“And why do you say that?” I ask, looking at him.


“Ru, I see the way he looks at you. I’ve always noticed the way he looks at you.”


“And what way would that be?”


He runs his hand through his hair. “Like… Like you’re the best thing in this world to ever happen to him.”


I look at Calum. “No way. He does?”


“Yeah,” he says, nodding. “Ever since the day I met you guys, he’s been giving you that look. At first, I thought you guys were just really in love. But once I moved in here and you guys didn’t like make out all the time and shit, I realized that he was crushing on you big time.”


“Crushing?” I ask with a smile. “Are you a thirteen year old girl now, Cal?”


He gently pushes my face away from him and laughs. “Oh shush.”


I laugh and hug his neck. “You know you don’t want me to stop talking.” He smiles.


“You’re right. I love hearing you talk.”


I smile wide and blush, making him smile. He cups my chin and presses his lips to mine. I smile and kiss back, playing with the hair on the back of his neck.


“Kissing you is my favorite thing ever.” He says against my lips and I blush even harder. He pulls me onto his lap and presses his lips to my neck.  I shiver and he laughs against my skin. “Nope, I was wrong: watching your body react to mine is my favorite thing ever.”


I start to get that warm feeling again and it keeps heating up my body with each kiss he plants on my neck. What is this feeling? What does this mean? Am I coming down sick? Do I have a fever?


My thoughts are interrupted by someone pounding on the front door. Calum pulls back and looks at me. “Are you expecting anyone?”


I shake my head. “Maybe it’s just one of the boys. They could’ve left their keys here again.” He nods and I stand up, walking out of the room. I hear Calum whistle after me and I laugh and roll my eyes.


I walk to the front door and open it, expecting it to be Michael, who is always losing his keys. But instead, it’s my mother.


“Mom.” I say with a gasp and she glares at me.


“Ruthanne Mae Jacobs! You’ve had me running all over this city looking for you!”


“Mom, what are you doing here?” She pushes past me and walks inside.


“So I see you’re talking now? What’s that all about?”


I look at her, still shocked that she’s here. “How did you find me?”


“Well, after looking all over, I decided to ask June where that Luke kid lives.”


“What the hell? She can’t do that! That’s doctor-patient confidentiality!”


My mother looks at me and crosses her arms. “Watch your mouth, Ruthanne.”


“Mom, I’m eighteen. And I don’t live in your house anymore. You can’t just barge in here and tell me what to do.”


She grabs my arm. “You’re coming home with me. Let’s go.”


“Is there a problem here?” Relieved, I turn around and see Calum standing in the doorway. I yank my arm away from my mom and walk over to him. He wraps his arm around my shoulders and pulls me into his side.


“Yeah, there’s a problem.” My mother says. “Ruthanne ran away from home.”


I shake my head. “First off mom, I go by Ru. I have gone by Ru since I was three years old. And second, I’m eighteen freaking years old; it’s not running away, it’s moving out.”


She takes a step towards us. “Listen here, Ruthanne. You cannot just pack up some of your shit and go stay with a bunch of boys. You are a young lady and I did not raise you to be one of those girls.”


I look at her. “Mom, you can leave now.”


“Not without you, I’m not.” She says, narrowing her eyes at me.


“You can leave voluntarily,” Calum says. “Or I can call the cops to come make you leave.”


My mother looks at him. “And who do you think you are?”


Calum smirks and takes a step towards her. “Someone whose dad is a cop. And also, someone who really cares about your daughter. So I suggest you leave or you won’t like what happens.”


“You don’t scare me.” She says, her eyes planted on Calum.


“You don’t have to be afraid of me, ma’am. I’m completely harmless.”


She looks past Calum at me. “Make your choice now, Ruthanne. When these boys drop you and you’re all alone, you won’t be able to come crying to me. Come with me now and I’ll be there for you when they decide you aren’t worth their time anymore.”


I can see Calum’s body tensing up and I push myself past him and grab my mother’s arm, leading her to the door. She smiles as if she’s won this battle, but I lead her onto the front porch, drop her arm, and step back inside.


“You’ve already decided that I’m not worth your time. And if these boys ever decide to drop me, I wouldn’t go crying to you anyways.”


“Ruthanne, you can’t..”


“Goodbye mother.”


And with that, I slam the door in her face and twist the lock.




“So she’s always been like that?” Calum asks. We’re back in his room, cuddling. He’s rubbing my back and he kisses my forehead.


“Yeah, she’s been like that for almost two years.”


“Any idea why?”


I sigh. “I never told her what happened to me. She still thinks I ran away and she hates me for it.”


He raises an eyebrow. “What did happen to you?”


I shake my head. “I’m ticked off enough. I don’t want to talk about it today.”


“But you will tell me eventually, right?”


I nod. “Yeah, eventually.”


He wraps his arms around me and pulls me into his chest. “You know I’d never drop you, right?”


“You wouldn’t?” I ask, looking up at him.


He pecks my lips. “Never. And by the way, you are worth my time. I love being around you.”


I smile and relax against him.


After a year in therapy, I feel wanted.


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