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.


27. 26.

Chapter 26


Month 17. Day 17.


When Calum and I wake up the next day, I’m determined to talk to him about what went down with Luke last night. I’m going to tell him that I know that what Luke said about him isn’t true. I know he’s not playing me. I’ve always been good at telling if people are telling the truth or not, and when Calum looks at me, the feelings in his eyes are real.


“Mm” Calum mumbles as he rolls over, wrapping his arm around my waist. “I could get used to waking up like this.”


I giggle quietly and wipe the sleep from my eyes. “Me too.” He smiles and kisses the nape of my neck. “We need to talk about what happened last night.”


He moves his arm so I can roll over to face him and I sit up. “I figured you would want to talk about it.”


I nod and he sits up, watching me closely. “I just want to let you know that I don’t believe a word Luke said about you.” He goes to talk but I cut him off. “Luke likes me-that’s been obvious since I met him-but I don’t like him in that way. I haven’t ever thought of him in that way. I just want to make sure you know that.”


He smiles at me and strokes my cheek gently. “I know. I can tell that you like me.”


I roll my eyes. “I should’ve known something like that would come out of your mouth.” He chuckles and kisses my cheek.


“Yeah, you should’ve.” He kisses my nose and then the corner of my mouth. “And what happened after I left the room?”


I shake my head. “Nothing important. Just me telling him that he’s going to have to get used to me being with you and that I don’t want him in the way he wants me.”


Calum nods and buries his face in my neck, kissing it softly. “I want to go down to Mali’s today. Start doing the plans and such so I can start calling people in to do the actual work.”


I smile and play with his hair. “I would love that.” He kisses from my neck until he reaches my lips, and then he kisses me softly. The kiss isn’t long, but enough to send my heart racing. When he pulls back, he smiles.


“Go get ready.” When I stand up, he slaps my butt, not hard, just enough to make me blush.


“Calum.” I mutter, my face red. He laughs and I make my way to the bathroom, grabbing two towels from the closet on my way. Once inside, I undress, start the water, and get into the shower. I close my eyes as the warm water hits my body, helping me relax.


I didn’t think living with my best friend would turn out that way it has. I didn’t think we would go from the way we used to be to this weird, not even friend, state. I mean, he used to be the only person I was ever comfortable around; the only person I would talk to, and now it’s like he wants to control my every move.


Things used to be so easy between him and I: we could just relax and have a good laugh and things were great. But as soon as I started seeing Cal, Luke became this controlling, overprotective guy that I don’t recognize at all. Living in a house with him is insanely difficult.


I wash my hair and think some more. Maybe I should just get my own place. That would solve a lot of problems. I mean, then, Luke could come over and we can have our best friend time, but Calum and I can also have our private time without any interruptions. It would keep the peace and keep both boys (not to mention myself) happy.


I freeze in place and smile. Get my own place! That’s exactly what I’ll do! Besides, I’ve been mooching off of these boys too much; I need to take care of myself and have my own space. I’ve been living in too much male testosterone: I need to be able to leave my bras on the floor. Hell, I need to stop sleeping in sports bras because those dumb things aren’t comfortable at all.


I rinse the shampoo from my hair and work in the conditioner. I don’t think I’ll tell the boys just yet. I think that’ll start a whole lot of problems if the boys knew about it. They’d probably try to talk me out of it, and knowing me, I’d let them convince me.


I need to be firm with this decision; I can’t have them convincing me to stay. This is something I need to do for myself. So, it’s decided, I won’t tell any of the boys until I absolutely have to.




After finishing my shower, I quickly make my way to mine and Luke’s room, sighing in relief when Luke isn’t there. I dry off and get dressed: a black crop top, jean shorts, my red converse, and I tie my red flannel around my waist. I decide to let my hair air dry, so I hang up my towel in the bathroom, then walk back into Calum’s room, laying down on the bed. He’s looking through his closet, shirtless, and I can’t help but to lick my lips. The way his back muscles contract as he moves makes my body go weak. How did I get this lucky?


He pulls on a Green Day t-shirt, and turns around, jumping when he sees me. “Holy shit, Ru. I didn’t even hear you come in.”


I smile, “I’m a ninja, that’s why.” He laughs and pulls on a pair of shorts.


“A ninja, huh? How many years of training did that take?”


I laugh quietly and sit up. “Eighteen.” He looks in his mirror and fixes his bed head.


“I’m so ready to get this place up and running.” He says as he sits on the bed and pulls on his socks on his Vans. “Mali is going to love it when we’re done.”


I smile sadly at this and wrap my arms around him from behind. “I’m sure she’ll love it, Cal.” I feel his body relax slightly as I squeeze him gently. “I bet she’s watching over us right now, cheering us along.”


He takes one of my hands from his torso and kisses my knuckles. “You always know just what to say, don’t you?” He pulls me around so I’m standing in front of him.


“No, I just say what’s true.”


He cups my cheeks in his hands and kisses me hard. I kiss him back hard and he smiles against my lips then pulls back. “You’re amazing.” I blush at his statement and shrug.


“So I’ve been told.” He laughs and hugs me. Before I know it, he picks me up and throws me over his shoulder, heading out his bedroom door. “Cal!”


He chuckles and the sound vibrates through my body. “Yes?”


I squeeze my legs together to make the feeling go away. “Nevermind.” He walks out to the car, carrying me the entire way, then he sets me in the passenger seat. He leans in, kisses my cheek, then whispers in my ear.


“Do you need to take care of something before we leave?” My eyes widen and I shake my head fast, making him chuckle. “Do I need to take care of it?” I blush hard and shake my head even more. He laughs at my innocence and kisses my forehead. “Just making sure, darlin’.” He shuts the door and I lean back in the seat, letting out a breath. How the hell did he know what I was feeling when I’m not even sure what I’m feeling?! All I know is that there’s this wet feeling in between my legs and it’s insanely uncomfortable. Is he right? Is this something I should go take care of? How would I even take care of it?


I don’t even notice when Calum gets in the car and starts it, driving off. I do, however, notice when he rests his hand on my thigh, tapping his fingers on the inside of my leg. My eyes travel to him and he smirks at me.


“Is there a problem with this?”


I shake my head but squeeze my legs closed so he can’t feel the heat that I know is down there. The smirk doesn’t leave his face, but he doesn’t try anything else, just keeps driving.

The familiar roads of our neighborhood disappear as we head towards the building that is soon to be “Mali’s”. I’m excited to get this place up and running. I’m excited that Calum is letting me be apart of it.


I don’t even try to contain my smile when he pulls into the parking lot of the old building. I jump out before he even turns the car off and make my way to the building, frowning when I turn the door knob and it doesn’t open. Calum chuckles as he walks up behind me, reaching past me to unlock the door.


“Did you think I was going to leave this place unlocked?” I blush at this and he opens the door for me. I walk inside as he follows and I head for the light switches, switching them on. I smile as the place comes to life, the machines turning on, jingling and ringing their little tones. Calum smiles at me and grabs a pad of paper from behind the “bar”. He leads me to the couch and sits down, motioning me to sit next to him. When I do, he opens the pad of paper, grabs a pencil from his pocket, and sets them both on my lap. “I want you to draw the designs. I think you could get them correct better than I can.”


I nod, “I’ll need you to take measurements for me.” He smiles and pulls a tape measure out of his pocket.


It only takes us an hour or so to measure out the building. When he’s done, he lets the tape measure fold itself back up and sits back down next to me. “Okay, so can you repeat that same drawing three more times. I plan on making this place four stories up.” I nod and take my time repeating the drawings.


“So, what’s going on this first floor?”


He counts on his fingers. “Two Pacman games; two pinball games; one Space Dungeon; three Cosmos; a Dig Dug; a Space Invaders..” He goes on to name about 24 more arcade games. Then he continues. “I want to set up a couple TVs: one for the old Nintendo for Mario Brothers; a Nintendo Wii for Mario Kart and Wii Sports and shit like that; an XBox for Call of Duty, Black OPs, and Skyrim; and one just for cable TV.” I draw out the places for each television and game system. “Okay, so obviously there’s a bar since this place used to be a bar and grill, but I want to make it into like a smoothie station or something just for soft drinks and snacks and stuff.”


“Like a pop machine, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, hot dogs, stuff like that?” He nods and I sketch it all out. I even make room for a cotton candy machine, the smoothie machine, and some candy like, Air Heads, Sour Patch Kids, and M&Ms.


Calum waits until I’m done sketching before continuing. “And then where we’re sitting right now, I want there to just be like tables and chairs and couches and stuff; sort of just a hang out area where people can eat and all of that.” I nod and sketch that down.


“Are we good to move onto the second floor?”


He nods and I flip the page. “Second floor, I plan on doing the bowling alley. So, each of the lanes need to be 86 feet by 6 inches: I looked it up and that’s the normal bowling lane size with like all the walk up room and stuff.” I measure out each lane.


“With 6 inches for each lane, we should be able to fit about thirty lanes.”


“And we need a bar for the shoe rental and stuff. And I want to add in a concession stand just for like water and stuff. And of course tables and chairs and bathrooms.” I take in everything he says and sketch it out.


“Okay, second floor down: two more to go.”


He runs his hand through his hair. “Third floor: glo-golf. I was thinking like twenty holes? I was thinking just the regular kind of obstacles: dinosaurs, historical stuff, under the sea things. Does that make sense?” I nod and sketch out each obstacle: the Eiffel Tower; Statue of Liberty; a London phone booth; and all the rest of his ideas. I also sketch out the bar for the putters and the balls. I turn the page when I’m done. “Fourth floor: laser tag. We can just make like a cool pattern or something.” I nod and mark off a section of the fourth floor for the equipment and sketch a skull in the rest of it. Calum smiles. “I love that.”


When we’ve finalized everything, Calum takes the drawing pad from me and tosses it on the floor. He then lays me back and kisses me hard. And we stay there on the couch in our rough cut of “Mali’s” and make out.


After a year in therapy, I’m helping make a dead girl’s dreams come true.


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