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.


30. 29.

Chapter 29


Month 18. Day 3.


Today, we’re going to Luke’s parent’s house for a barbeque. Luke isn’t exactly talking to me, but Calum and I are invited, so we’re going. I’m kind of excited to meet Luke’s parents and brothers: he told me all about them before, and it’ll be nice to know the people who helped make Luke the man he is today.


The car ride is silent and awkward. Luke is driving and Ashton is riding shotgun, so Calum, Mikey, and I are all squished in the backseat. Ashton keeps trying to get a conversation started, but it never lasts very long.


“So, what are your parent’s names again?” He asks and Luke sighs.


“I’ve told you four times, Ashton: Liz and Andrew. And my brothers are Jack and Ben. My sister in law is Celeste.”


“And Celeste is married to…?”


Again, Luke sighs. “Jack. Celeste is married to Jack.”


“Ben doesn’t have a girlfriend?” Ash asks.


Luke glances at him, annoyance etched into all of his features. “No. Why? Are you interested?”


Ash makes a face and I hold back a laugh. “No! God, no! I don’t- I don’t roll that way!” Mikey starts to crack up.


“Roll that way?”


Ash throws his arms up. “Yeah! I don’t roll that way! I don’t bat for the other team! I don’t like boys! I like girls. I live vaginas and boobs.” I roll my eyes at his words.


Calum leans over and whispers in my ear. “I love vaginas and boobs too. Yours specifically.” My eyes widen and I elbow him gently, trying not to blush.


But, I’m discovered as Mikey pokes my cheek. “Why are you blushing, Ru? What did he say to you?”


“Nothing,” I mumble and swat his hand away. Calum chuckles and wraps his arm around my shoulders, pulling me against him.


“Ru’s not used to all this nasty talk.”


I roll my eyes again. “How can I not be used to it? You guys have the nastiest mouths ever.”


“Why don’t you clean them out for us?” Mikey asks, opening his mouth. I make a face.


“Ew, no thanks.” Calum gives me puppy dog eyes. “What are you pouting about?”


“Can you clean my mouth out?” He asks and I smack his chest.


“That’s gross. Stop that.”


Cal smirks. “You do it all the time.”


“Well I won’t anymore.” I say, crossing my arms. “Not when you phrase it like that. I’m not a dentist.” Calum, Mikey, and Ash all burst out laughing, but Luke keeps his eyes on the road, his mouth a straight line.


“I don’t see why that was so funny?” Luke says and all three boys stop and look at him.


“Just wasn’t expecting it, s’all.” Mikey answers and we go back to being silent. It’s hard to laugh and have fun when there’s a party pooper among the group.


It only takes another twenty minutes to get to Luke’s parent’s house, and when Luke parks, we all scramble out, happy to stretch our legs. Luke leads us into his house.


“Mom! Dad! We’re here!” When there’s no answer, Luke leads us into the backyard, where an older man and woman are lounging around in the pool. “Did you guys forget we were coming?”


They both jump, then look at us. Liz smiles. “Of course we didn’t forget! Just passing the time until you got here!” She climbs out of the pool and walks over, wrapping her arms around Luke. “I missed my baby boy so much!”


Luke shifts uncomfortably and tries to hide his blush. “Mom, not in front of my friends.”


Liz laughs and lets Luke go. “Sorry.” She then looks at us, her eyes landing on me. “And you must be Ru!” She engulfs me in a hug. “Luke has told us so much about you and it’s so nice to finally meet you!” I awkwardly hug her back, not knowing what to do.


“It’s nice to meet you too, Mrs. Hemmings.”


She pulls back. “Nonsense, call me Liz.” I smile and nod, and she moves on to hug each of the boys. “It’s nice to meet your boys, as well.”


The three of them all chorus a “nice to meet you too.” And we watch as Liz walks back to the pool and dives in.


“Sorry about her; she’s a hugger.” Luke mumbles to us and I smile.


“Luke!” Liz calls. “You should go up and get your brothers and Celeste! They’re just sitting up in the game room!” Luke nods silently.


“I’ll be right back.” He mumbles and disappears inside. Mikey, Ashton, Calum, and I look at each other, feeling awkward, and not knowing what to do now.


“You guys can have a seat!” Luke’s dad calls to us and we quickly sit down on the patio furniture. “No need to be shy! We don’t bite!”


“Speak for yourself.” A voice says and we all look over at the back door. Luke’s brother, Jack, is standing there, his eyes on me. He smiles and heads over, holding out his hand. “I’m Jack.” I reach out to shake his hand but instead, he kisses my knuckles. “Very nice to meet you, Ru.”


A girl, who I assume is Celeste, walks up and smacks Jack on the back of the head. “If you’re going to flirt, at least do it when I’m not around.” Jack smiles and wraps his arms around her.


“Sorry babe.” I smile at how ridiculously cute they are as Calum pulls me out of my chair and onto his lap.


“You’re mine.” He whispers in my ear, kissing the nape of my neck softly. I blush, hoping Luke’s family didn’t see the interaction. I’m not a fan of PDA.


But nobody seemed to notice, they just go on with introducing themselves.




Thirty minutes later and we’re all in our bathing suits and lounging around the pool. Celeste and I are sitting in the lawn chairs as the boys swim.


“So, I’ve heard a lot about you.” She says, turning to lay on her side.


I raise an eyebrow. “Good things, I hope?”


She laughs quietly. “Yes, very good things. Luke thinks very highly of you.”


“He does?” She nods.


“Whenever him and Jack talk on the phone, all he talks about is you. Jack is always complaining about it.”


I blush. “I’ll have to apologize to Jack for that.”


She smiles. “Nah, he’ll get over it. He loves the fact that his brother even talks to him.”


“Did they not talk before?” She shakes her head.


“After Luke, uh…..” She pauses. “Did he tell you about?” I nod. “Okay, good. Well, after that, he stopped talking to his family. He was embarrassed about it, which is understandable, but he left. And Jack was really upset: they all were. Upset that he left; upset that they didn’t figure out what was going on sooner; that kind of stuff. But ever since he met you, he’s been calling almost every other day.”


“Really?” I ask and she nods.


“I don’t know what you did, Ru, but thank you. You brought our Luke back.” I gulp and nod my head slowly.


“Yeah, uh, no problem.”


She studies my face, which makes me blush, and also makes me feel super uncomfortable. “You don’t love him, do you?”


I cough and run my fingers through my hair. “Not in the way he wants me to.”


“In what way, then?”


I sigh. “He helped me get over my problems and he helped me to get better. I owe him my life for that and I love him for that, but I see him more as a best friend or a brother than as a…. as a lover.”


She nods and sits up. “I can tell.”


“Do you all know that he likes me?”


She smiles slightly. “Unfortunately for you, yes. And Liz is really hoping you’ll give Luke a chance.” I lean back in the chair and close my eyes.


“I don’t think that’s going to happen.” I say. “I’m with somebody and I’m very, very happy.”


She laughs quietly. “We know that, too. Calum, right?” I nod, not able to stop the smile that spreads across my face.


“Yeah, that’s him.”


She smiles. “Then don’t let my mother-in-law make you feel bad about it.” She pauses to put her hair up into a ponytail. “Luke will realize one day that you’re only friends for a reason.”


I look over at her. “I’ve felt horrible about it all for a long time. Thank you for reassuring me that it’s okay that I’m not with him.”


She leans over and hugs me. “Anytime, Ru. I can tell you’re a nice girl.”


I smile and blush. “Thank you, Celeste.”


Our talk is interrupted by water being flung at us. I look over to see Calum staring at me from inside the pool.


“What the hell was that for?” I ask, wiping the water from my face.


He pouts at me. “Come in and swim with meeee.” I make a face at him.


“And why would I want to do that?”


His pout grows and he pulls out those damn puppy dog eyes. “Pwease, Ru? I won’t splash you; I promise.”


I look at Celeste to see her smiling. “Go ahead and go in. I don’t know how you can resist that face.”


I blush and stand up. “That’s the thing: I can’t resist it.” She laughs and I walk to the pool stairs, Calum meeting me there. He reaches up and grabs my waist, pulling me in gently.


The water is warm, but it’s refreshing from the sun. Calum keeps his arms wrapped around me, carrying me around the pool.


I laugh quietly and Calum looks down at me. “What?”


“I feel like a baby.” I laugh again and he smiles.


“Cause you’re my baby.”


I bust out laughing, not able to hold it in. “Oh my god! That was the cheesiest thing I have ever heard!” Calum pouts at me, but I continue to laugh.


“Don’t laugh at me, I was trying to be romantic.” I get my laughter under control, but he continues to pout. “Keep laughing and I’ll drop you.”


I stop and glare at him. “You better not.”


He smiles. “And if I do?”


“I’ll sleep in one of the other boy’s beds tonight.” His jaw drops.


“You wouldn’t dare.”


I smirk. “Try me.”


“I call dibs if he drops her!” Mikey yells and Calum sends him a glare.


“She’s mine, Clifford!”


“Drop me and I’ll be Mikey’s cuddle bug tonight.” I say, making him look at me again.


“You’re mine.” He says to me, right before he drops me.


After a year in therapy, I met my best friend’s family.

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