Out Of Bounds

In all honesty, my sister and I had never been close

But one person was going to tear us further apart

His name is Luke Hemmings

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2. 2

Luke manages to roll the truck to his driveway and after grabbing my small case from off the passenger seat and thanking him for the hundredth time I finally meet my fate, I knock the front door that has 360 on it. Mom swings it open and before I can even mutter a word she has pulled me into a hug. I soften in her arms and drop my case as I hug her tightly

"Oh my little baby, gosh how I've missed you"

"I've missed you too mom" I don't know what it is, but being around my mom makes me feel emotional. She pulls away and places her hands on my shoulders. She looks at me like this is the first time she has ever seen me and her cheeks puff out with pride. Truth be told I look like my mom. We both have blonde sun kissed hair, the only difference is the length. Moms is bobbed but mine falls just past my shoulders and today its styled in soft beach waves. I have her hazel eyes and the same shaped mouth. Yep, I am definitely my mothers daughter. She looks over my shoulder and frowns

"baby, where's the truck? You didn't get a flight here did you because I would have met you at the airport?" I sigh and she leads me into the living room. I sit down on the couch and she sits in the chair opposite but she doesn't relax, she looks too concerned

"No, I did come in the truck but its currently at your neighbours house. You know Luke?" She nods her head, engrossed by the story like its the most exciting bit of gossip she's heard in a while "well his dog ran into the road and basically killed my vintage Chevy"

Moms hand covers her mouth and she lets out a laugh

"Mom, it's not funny-"

"Carly that thing should be on a scrap heap or in a museum its that old. Let me buy you a new car?"

I groan and slump back in the chair, this is typical behaviour for her. Just throw money at me, like the dollar can fix everything

"I don't want a new car I want my truck" I say defiantly and she presses her lips together to stop herself from laughing

"Well I'm sure Luke or his brother will be able to fix it, boys and their toys as they say. So you met Luke? He's a nice boy. Your sister is very happy"

"Speaking of my sister where is she?"

"She's shopping with her friends but she'll be home soon, she's so excited to see you"

Clearly that excited that she couldn't stay in and wait!

"Great, will be fun to catch up"

Liar, liar, liar

I take a deep breath and put on my most false and yet convincing smile

"So where's Tom?"

"He's at work, school is officially over for the holidays but he's already preparing for the next semester. He likes to be ahead of things, that way he can spend more time at home. He's also looking forward to seeing you. We do love having you here Carly"

Her eyes fill with tears and I lean forward and squeeze her hand, the same way dad does with me when I'm emotional or stressed

"I love being here too mom"

"So, how's your father?" Just asking this question looks like it pains her

"Dads fine, he's going to spend a few weeks on the boat with Jennifer. They are getting engaged" it comes out before I can stop myself, a part of me wanted to say it just so I could see her reaction and for a fleeting moment she almost looks hurt

"Oh, really? That's nice. I'm glad he's happy" Then why is she saying it through gritted teeth? "Does he still work out at sea?"

I nod my head and she stands up and pats down her pencil skirt. Dads a fisherman and I think it's the grossest job in the world. Mostly because he comes home stinking of fish. It doesn't pay well but it pays the bills and the few things we do have we are proud of. Dad always says there is no other feeling in the world like the happiness being at sea brings. He always says even if he won the lottery he wouldn't give up his job, he believes you can't beat the feeling of having the wind through your hair and the distinct taste of salt on your lips. That's how he said you know you're alive, when you can leave the shore behind and feel the spray of water against your cheeks.

The front door opens and I sit up straight, Tom strides into the room followed by the air of authority that he always possesses

"Carly you're here. Glad you made it to us safely" he genuinely smiles at me but all I can do is look at his perfect pearly white veneers. He holds out his arms and I stand up and hug him. He pats my back and finally lets me go. I hold in the urge to shudder. Mom fills in him about what has happened to my truck and he looks that enthralled I start to question how boring their lives must be if the death of my Chevy is the only gossip they have heard in a while

"Oh Carly that's devastating, I know how much you love that truck. What are you going to do?"

"I don't know, Luke said he would get his brother to look at it but I don't even think he knows what he's doing. He's good with cars apparently but I don't know about trucks? I suppose I'll have to use my savings to either buy parts or pay for a funeral" I try and jest but I honestly feel like I could cry! Tom goes into his wallet and pulls out a few hundred dollars

"Here, go and give this to Luke, if his brother can't fix it maybe he will know someone who can"

I look at the money and shake my head

"No, Tom that's lovely of you but I don't want charity. It's too much -"

"Carly you are like a daughter to me, don't offend me. I want to help you out" He pushes the money into my hand and I look down at it flabbergasted

"I don't know what to say, other than thank you. I will pay you back I promise"

Tom waves his hand dismissively and I manage to give him a small smile

"Now go and give it Luke and then we should all get ready for tonight. I'm taking us out for dinner to celebrate you being home" he smiles broadly at me and for a moment I realise I'm scowling at the fact that this is not home but I quickly compose myself and smile

"Oh yay" I hope that didn't sound as sarcastic as I intended. It must not have as mom claps her hands excitedly and when her and Tom look at each other like two love sick teenagers I decide to make my exit.

I walk the short distance to Luke's house and the garage door is still open so I make my way up the drive

"So, is she hot?"

"Calum, it's Jodie's sister!"

I freeze when I hear Luke talking to someone and I'm tempted to walk away but I'm too much of a curious creature

"Ha you think she's hot! Is she single?"

"I didn't answer your question and I was too busy talking about the truck to ask her if she was single"

"So you would have asked her if she was single if it wasn't for this piece of shit?"

"Hey that's my truck you're talking about!"

I walk into the garage and Luke's friend laughs through his embarrassment. The hood is open on my truck and Luke leans against it. He still has grease on his hands and some of it is smudged on his cheek. I find myself just staring at him so I shake my head and remind myself he's dating Jodie

"Ignore him, he's just rude. Everything OK?" Luke asks and I open and close my mouth. Oh great. Now I'm acting mute

"Yeah. I have some money here for you. Its off Tom actually. It's in case you need to buy any parts or if your brother can't fix it, maybe you will know someone who can?"

Luke wipes his hands on his jeans and walks from around the truck so he's standing in front of me. I hold out the money and his fingers skim against mine as he takes it. I see his cheeks lightly blush and he looks at me before looking down quickly. I knot my hands in front of me and bite the inside of my cheek

"I'm Calum by the way" his friend calls from the corner of the garage and Luke moves to the side so I can see him

"I'm Carly, Jodie's sister" I wave at him and he smiles. He seems friendly enough

"I've heard all about you" he teases and Luke shoots him a look "So you wanna hang out whilst we try and fix this artefact?"

"Oh ha ha! I thought Luke's brother was fixing it?"

"It's not as though we can do anymore damage" Calum smirks and even though I feel outraged by his cheek I find myself smiling

"Hands off of my truck and nope I have to go but thanks for the offer" I go to walk out of the garage and Luke follows

"My brother is coming over tomorrow so I'll know more then"

I stop and turn to face him

"Thanks, I really appreciate it. Just don't let your friend really do anymore damage. I beg you" I smile as Luke nods at me and I hesitate before walking away

"Bye Carly"

I turn around and Calum is grinning at me

"Bye Calum and oh, to answer your question, yeah I'm single"

He folds his arms before bursting into laughter and when I look at Luke he just looks mortified I overheard the whole conversation. I walk away satisfied by my unheard of courage and I go back to my second home, bounding up the stairs two at a time to my part time bedroom. Maybe summer won't be so bad here after all

After a long hot bath I sit on the bed in my fluffy pyjamas and look into my handheld mirror as I apply some make up. The door knocks and when I look up Jodie is standing in the doorway. She has put her head around the door and she smiles at me before coming in and ruffling up what was, my perfectly straightened hair

"My baby sister is home. Come here and give me a hug" I don't know what it is with my family and hugs but I happily oblige and she briefly wraps her arms around me. She lays down on the bed and stretches out

"So you happy to be back? These next four weeks will be awesome C. We'll hang out, shop until we drop, get a tan at the beach. Will just be like old times. I take it dad gave you some money to come here with? It's cool if he hasn't. Tom has given me a credit card"

Jodie is nineteen. My mom "accidentally" got pregnant with me when Jodie was only six months old. Mom said it was a happy accident, that was until two Christmases ago when she got drunk on port and emotionally told me that she got pregnant as she felt dad was neglecting her and she was desperate to keep hold of him. She then continued to tell me that having two children under the age of two was a draining nightmare and if I had any sense I would never have children. Ever! So Jodie technically isn't that much older than me but she plays the part of the big sister well, I guess

"Yeah I've got money. That sounds like fun"

"so heard you met my boyfriend. He's hot isn't he? So many girls around here fancy him but he's all mine. Jealous bitches that's what I say"

"He's good looking yeah, not my type though" I shrug and carry on putting on my make up

"Oh please he's everyone's type. Are you seeing anyone?"

"Are you joking? Coonamble has a population that doesn't even exceed three thousand and nobody in that number is even eligible. So no, no boyfriend"

"Oh my god that sounds awful. I'm so glad I didn't move to that small ass town. I couldn't even imagine my life there. I mean could you imagine me living there? That's hilarious" her annoying laugh tinkles around the bedroom and I have to bite my tongue. Of course I couldn't imagine Jodie living with me and dad. She wouldn't have Toms credit card and heaven forbid she should get a part time job, the horror!

"Anyway Luke has a lot of cute friends so don't worry it will be easy to get you a hook up -"

"No, no, Jodie that isn't necessary believe me -"

"Oh shush stop being such a square. There's nothing better than a no strings attached holiday fling. Anyway I'm going to get changed. We are leaving in forty minutes" she air kisses me and then flicks her glossy brown hair over her shoulder before sashaying out of my room. I shake my head in disbelief and continue to get ready. I need a distraction so I don't get annoyed and want to leave!

My mom buys me clothes for when I stay here and in the wardrobe I find a cute white skater dress. It is sleeveless and comes just above my knees. I put on the white gold necklace that has a c hanging from it that my dad gave me for my sixteenth birthday and I put on a pair of nude flats. I throw my phone and some money into my clutch bag and make my way downstairs where everyone is waiting. Everyone including Luke. Luke who is looking too good in a fresh pair of skinny jeans that has a rip by the right knee, black boots and a white T shirt. I look at him surprised and when he sees me he gets up off the couch

"Carly" he nods

"Luke" I say slowly

Jodie comes into the room and pushes Luke back down onto the couch. She sits on his lap and wraps her arms around his neck whilst kissing his cheek. He looks away and I wait in the hallway for mom and Tom. Mom comes out of the kitchen and looks at me confused before looking into the living room

"Jodie, please behave. Come on put him down we are going"Jodie rolls her eyes and I press my lips together so I don't laugh.

I have no urge to laugh at all as I sit in the back of the car with Luke and Jodie. He sits in the middle because Jodie is wearing a body con dress and you have to part your legs to sit comfortably so obviously she refused. I push myself nearer the door so my thigh isn't touching his and I look out of the window the whole way there so I don't have to see my sisters hands all over him. Mom and Tom make idle chit chat in the car and I reply when they wait for an answer. Truth be told I just keep thinking about dad and Jennifer. Saturday in our house means one thing. Pizza, beer and a movie marathon. When I turned eighteen dad allowed me to drink in front of him. Up until then he was very strict that I would never drink at all. But being eighteen was a right of passage and if the weather was permitting we would sometimes sit on the front porch drinking cheap beer and looking at the stars. My dad is literally my best friend and I have no shame in admitting I'm a daddy's girl, but why wouldn't I be? He's always been there for me and I would never hesitate telling him anything. When my mom had the affair I found a new respect for him because he held his head up high and even though she left him a broken man he never once has said a bad word about her. Every birthday he still sends her flowers and a card because he said it's the polite thing to do, that my mom has given him two beautiful daughters and many years of happy memories and he doesn't regard her as an enemy, more like a friend he lost contact with. We pull up at the restaurant and I roll my eyes. My mom knows I'm a vegetarian but yet here we are, at a steak grill bar. When we are seated I feel relieved that we aren't at some swanky restaurant that is overpriced but then I open the menu and I'm not shocked to find that even the appetisers cost twenty dollars upwards. Tom never dines out anywhere that he thinks of as "cheap". I'm seated in between mom and Luke, Jodie is on the other side of him and Tom sits next to mom. I accidentally drop my menu and it hits off Luke's knee before dropping on the floor. We both lean down to pick it up, our heads are near each other's and our hands both go to pick the menu up from the corner which means our fingers touch. I still and look at him, our eyes meet and when he realises his fingers are still on mine he quickly pulls away and we both sit up. I look around the table but no one has noticed as the waitress is taking everyone's order. I look at Luke from the corner of my eye and he runs his thumb over his bottom lip but I can see he's smiling. I order the tomato and basil soup as it's the only vegetarian friendly thing and a large glass of white wine as I feel like I need it

"Are you sure that's all you want sweetie?" Mom asks concerned and I assure her I don't feel very hungry even though I have ate most of the complimentary bread board platter. I am famished but I don't want to cause any awkwardness by bringing up the vegetarian thing. Even though I haven't ate meat for three years my mom still classes it as a "phase"

Food finally arrives and I try and savour the tiniest bowl of soup and the most pathetic bread roll I have ever seen although it costs twenty one dollars

"So have you got much planned for the weekend angel?"

Tom addresses Jodie and I carry on slowly sipping the soup off of my spoon

"Not much dad, I'm going to drag C out later though -"

I choke on my soup and mom pushes my hair off my face concerned as Luke instinctively pats my back

"Carly, oh my god are you OK?" Jodie asks panicked and I wipe my mouth with my napkin before leaning forward to look at her

"What did you call him?" My voice sounds harsh and she blushes

"I said Tom didn't I?" She shrugs innocently and I stare at her perplexed

"No you said dad. You know you said it so why are you acting dumb?"

Her face is a picture of embarrassment and she desperately looks at mom to help her out. Luke bites on his lip ring but he looks at his hands that are placed in his lap. He can't look at me

"Now let's all calm down, you know you girls are like daughters to me. In fact I don't see you as my step children I see you as my own flesh and blood" Tom says light heartedly but this just infuriates me even more

"But that's the thing Tom I am your step daughter and I have a dad. This is no offence to you at all and I hate the fact I am being rude" I look at Jodie "But we have a dad, and he lives six hours away, He's not dead, he's alive and he's here for us or have you forgot. Please excuse me I'm not hungry anymore"

I throw my napkin on the table and walk as quickly as I can towards the exit. When I get outside I breathe in the fresh air and I let the oxygen fill my lungs as I try and steady my shaking body. She calls him dad? How long has she done that for? It would break my dads heart if he knew, but I wouldn't tell him. I couldn't

"C, please I'm sorry"

"Don't Jodie, I don't want to hear it"

"He's been here for the last five years -"

"Yes because mom left dad for him!"

"I know you're angry and I'm sorry. I really don't want to upset you. I called Amy earlier, she was going to meet us at a bar and surprise you. I was going to take us out after this, a night out on me -"

"I really don't think alcohol is going to help my mood do you?"

"Please sis I'm trying here. You know C we are two different people. I love dad of course I do but Tom has treated me like his own. He treats you the same when you're here. He's a good person, please give him a chance"

I lean against the wall and let out a long sigh. I feel the breeze run through my hair and I imagine being on the boat with dad and Jennifer. This is Jodie's home, this is her world. It's not mine

"I don't want to fight. Let's just forget this. I just don't feel comfortable hearing you call him dad -"

"I swear you won't hear it again" she pretends to zip up her mouth "so will you come out after? Luke is meeting his friends at this cool karaoke bar so thought we could go too, sing some songs, have some shots, what do you say?" She looks at me and smiles nervously and I nod my head defeated

"Fine. Whatever you want to do"

She rubs my arm and then we go back inside. The table is silent and I feel horrible for causing an atmosphere

"I'm sorry Tom -"

"No, I won't hear any apologies. I'm not offended at all and I totally see it from your point of view. There's no hard feelings" He smiles kindly and I return the gesture. Soon enough everyone falls back into conversation and I swirl the last bit of soup around the bowl

"You OK?" Luke whispers and I turn my head so I'm facing him

"I bet you think I'm a drama queen don't you?" I whisper back and he shakes his head

"Actually that's the last thing I think" I see Jodie put her hand on his thigh and he tenses before turning his back on me

I talk to mom and Tom and try and salvage the rest of the night. I go above and beyond to fit in, I laugh at Toms jokes, congratulate mom on her work and most of all I act like I'm happy to be here because that makes it easier for everyone else. Throughout it all though I can't get one thought out of my mind, I want to go home

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