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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27. 27

Dad got arrested. Him and Tom had a massive fight in the car park and by the time the police arrived they were both in a bad shape but they were both cuffed regardless. I look down at my beautiful dress and a horrible feeling overwhelms me. Amy's blood is on my sleeve and I try and wipe it away but it just makes it worse. I don't know if it was adrenaline but somehow I managed to get Jodie off her. Amy held onto me, begging and pleading for forgiveness but I couldn't offer her any words that would comfort her, I had nothing to give. By the time the ambulance came she was pretty out of it due to alcohol, a bloody lip and a bruised cheekbone courtesy of my sister and as wrong as Jodie was, I hope Amy doesn't press charges. That's the last thing any of us needs

"I'm going to the station"

"Mom you can't! You're not well! Please let me take you home"

"I can't! Carly your dad is in a cell. Tom has been doing god knows what with Amy" she starts to cry so I hold her close to me "I feel like my life is over"

"It's not over mom, don't say that. I'll come with you to the station"

Jodie finishes talking to a police officer and thankfully she doesn't get arrested, her and Luke come over as mom wraps the blanket tighter around herself and I rub her arms to keep her warm, she looks ill and I hate the fact that I can't help

"Girls is there somewhere you could stay tonight? I think it's best if you aren't in the house, I need to talk to Tom and I need to make sure your fathers OK. Jodie, do you think Tiffany would let you stay at hers?"

"Mom I'm going back to the house! Why should we stay away? I want to see Tom and see what he has to say! This is all bullshit! That crazy cow is clearly lying, Tom wouldn't do that, he loves us! Do you know she ripped one of my extensions out? I'm going to sue her sorry ass"

"Because Jodie I have asked you to! I need to do this by myself, we can discuss this as a family tomorrow but right now I need to hear the truth, alone. Please respect that!"

"Fine! Calm down. I'll go and call and Tiff. Jeez is everyone on some sort of dramatic pill?"

Jodie walks towards the exit but Luke and I stay with mom. The hall is empty now but the aftermath of what has happened lingers in the air. Everyone is going to be talking about this and it takes me back to when I was twelve years old. I was that girl from the family that had an "affair scandal" and history has just repeated itself again

"Can I go home and get changed first? I have blood on my dress?" I look at the offending stain on my sleeve and sigh, it's a visual reminder of what's happened

"Of course you can, you understand why I have to do this. Don't you?"

"Of course I do! Sort things out mom, you need to know the truth and I think you need some space to do that. Just call me if you need me and I'll come home straight away"

Whilst I went to the toilet to try and get the blood out of my dress Tiff came by and picked up Jodie. They have gone to a club without even saying goodbye to me and I get the feeling my sister is sick of having me around but that's ok, I'm not her biggest fan either. Mom tells me that Luke and Jodie had argued over why she needed to go out after what had happened but she made it clear that she needed to take her mind off things and she had planned to go anyway as a group of their friends had booked the VIP area in a nightclub called top spot to have leaving drinks for them after the dance and then she got even more angry that Luke had forgot. He did point out that his friends hadn't been invited and this just made her even more mad. He finally relented and told her he would go, I was being dragged along regardless of how I felt. I needed to stay at Tiffs for the night anyway. Brilliant, a sleepover with one girl that ignores me and my sister who I'm not even sure likes me

Luke offered to take mom to the station as her car was at home and Tiff drives a two seater sports car so I wouldn't have been able to get a ride with them anyway. Mom is quite the whole journey and it worries me. What is she thinking? She won't stay with Tom will she? What if she does forgive him? We pull up at the station and after she reassures me over and over that she is strong enough to do this alone, but more importantly she has to do this alone, I let her go. The drive to my house is silent and I can't stop thinking about what has just happened. Will Amy be ok? What had dad seen? Why did she cut herself? I hope my dads alright? Maybe I should have stayed with mom? We pull up and Luke follows me in the house. I don't protest him coming in, I need some company right now. He walks into the kitchen and pours us a whiskey

"Are you trying to get me drunk Mr Hemmings?"

He smirks and then downs his drink in one

"Never! I'm just trying to help with the shock. Are you ok?" I sit down on a stool and try and process this question. I'm not even sure how I feel?

"Ask me tomorrow" I down my drink and grimace as he pours us another one "I should go and get out of this dress first. I'm so sorry I ruined it Luke"

"You didn't ruin anything. We'll get it dry cleaned. It will come out"

That's a nice thought isn't it? That we will get it cleaned. It's a thought that takes my mood to the darkest of places but I soon pull myself back. It's just the fact that there is no "we", it's just Luke and Carly. Two separate people with an entwined present but no future ahead

"Hey, you ok?"

I lean forward and clink my glass off his but I don't answer the question, instead I smile and put on my brave face

"Cheers Luke"

He follows me upstairs even though I reassure him over and over that I'm fine but he tells me he's making sure I don't go into shock so I don't argue. It's not like I mind having him around me, it's an out of bounds comfort. When we walk into my room I start looking through my wardrobe for something to wear and I hear him laugh as he opens a box I haven't unpacked yet

"You're a dork! How many books are in here?"

I turn around and throw a pillow at him and he sticks out his tongue

"About sixty, seventy maybe? There's still another two boxes downstairs so about one hundred and fifty, give or take" He shakes his head bewildered and laughs "there's nothing wrong with reading Luke" He smiles to himself as I protest and I roll my eyes

"You've got a kindle"

"Well I don't like kindles all that much" I walk over to the box and open one of the books. I inhale and smile "you can't beat the smell of a book. I got most of these from a library that was closing down in Coonamble. I think there's something fascinating to know that someone has read this book before you, they have invested their time and emotions into the characters and hopefully escaped reality for a little while" He watches me but doesn't say anything so I stop talking. I hope I'm not boring him? I throw the book down and grab some jeans out of the wardrobe "I'll be five minutes, just make yourself at home" he carries on flicking through the books and I give up trying to figure out what's going on in his head. It causes me too much grief trying to figure him out so I've stopped trying. It saves my sanity and his thoughts should be his own anyway. I grab a coat hanger and then lock the bathroom door behind me. I peel off my dress and then hang it up. I softly stroke the arm and feel sad that such a beautiful thing was ruined by a disastrous night. I tie my loose curls into a messy ponytail and then get changed into jeans, converse and a plain oversized V neck jumper that slouches off my left shoulder. When I walk back into my room Luke is flicking through the pages of Wuthering Heights and he frowns as his eyes skim over the words

"You look serious?" I sit next to him on the bed and he holds the book up

"Why do you underline the words? Do you do this in every book?" I cross my legs beneath me and take the book off him, he watches me as I flip through some of the pages then stop

"Yeah, it's habit I guess. You know when you read a book?" He playfully looks confused and I laugh before carrying on "ok let me rephrase that! When I read a book I like to remember sentences that stand out the most, that can sum up feelings and pull you into the emotions all at once"

"I'm lost, Give me an example"

I don't know why this makes me so shy but I look over some of the highlighted sentences and find one of my favourites "ok, here's one" I let out a small sigh and try and mentally compose myself before I begin. I've never read to anyone and this whole thing seems intimate somehow, because I'm letting him into my thoughts and I've never done that before "Why did you betray your own heart Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. ... You loved me - then what right had you to leave me? Because nothing God or satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have not broken your heart - you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine" I trail off and look sadly at the page. Luke fingers softly hold my chin and he tilts my head so I'm looking at him. I can feel my heart beating against my chest, will he always have this effect on me? I want him to. I never want to know a world where I can't reach out and touch him or worse, a world where he will never touch me again. Luke's phone rings, abruptly ending this moment between us and he mutters something before answering. I get off the bed whilst he takes the call to give him space, I throw the book back into the box and then close it up

"Hey Jodie" he looks embarrassed so I go down into the kitchen and let him have a conversation without feeling like I'm in the way. I pour a whiskey and then drink it too quickly, I cough as the taste hits my throat but then pour another one anyway. He walks into the kitchen and I smile, letting him know I'm not in a mood or pissed that he had to speak to her. I'm actually grateful that she did call because with Luke I don't trust myself so maybe it was best we were interrupted

"She wanted to know what time we are getting to the club for?" He sits on a stool next to me and I turn so we are facing each other

"You can go now if you want? It is getting pretty late?"

"What do you mean, I can go? Aren't you coming?"

I hand him a whiskey and shake my head

"Toms car is in for servicing so I was going to park my truck in the garage and sleep there for the night. It's been a long, emotionally draining, horrible day and if I'm honest the last thing I want to do is go to a club and watch people say goodbye to you! It sounds selfish I know but, I just can't go. I'll be fine, plus moms garage is the most pristine one I've ever seen so it's not an issue. I'll just grab a sleeping bag from upstairs and I'll be sound asleep in no time"

"You say you're fine or OK a lot don't you?"

"That's because I am"

He holds my hands and stands up, pulling me with him

"I told Jodie I wasn't going, I have two nights left in Sydney and I want to spend my time with people I care about. Come on, I've got somewhere I want to take you"

He walks towards the door but I dig my heels in, he stops and looks at me and I smile as he narrows his eyes like I'm challenging him, he goes to pick me up so I dramatically throw myself on the floor. It catches him off guard and we both land in a heap

"What the hell are you doing?"

"I don't want you to pick me up! I'm heavy"

He leans up on his elbow and shakes his head "You really try my patience don't you! I wish you wasn't so hard on yourself it drives me crazy!" He briefly kisses my forehead and then stands up, he holds out his hand to help me to my feet and I warily step away from him in case he tries to pick me up again "have you got socks on?"

"Luke, I think that's the most random question someone has ever asked me! Yes I have socks on?"

He smiles and I notice he hasn't let go of my hand

"Come on, I'm about to welcome you to the secret society"

He won't tell me anything about where we are going whilst we walk along the familiar streets of Sydney and I give up asking. Instead we talk about music and our favourite bands. He also talks about Perth but I find this too painful to even muster up some excitement about so I discreetly change the subject back to music and this does the trick. He was going to make a band with Calum and a few of his other friends but he never got around to it, I find out that this is something he regrets. I vaguely recognise where we are and I look at the building he's guiding me towards confused

"I hate to state the obvious but I don't think the bowling alley is going to be open at" I look at my watch "eleven fifty five"

He swiftly brings my hand to his mouth and his lips run over my knuckles

"That depends on who you know Carly" he winks and I can't help but smile, but it's the type of smile that reflects how happy you truly are and I can't help that regardless of what's happened tonight I am the happiest I've ever been and I know that sounds selfish, but whatever problems my family have, they will still be there tomorrow so tonight I just want to be happy with him. He knocks the door three times and then waits a moment before four more taps

"Password?" Someone calls from the other side and I look at Luke confused

"Rock out with your -" Luke grins and covers my ears but I'm pretty sure I can guess the last bit. He sweetly kisses the end of my nose and then the door opens. We are greeted by Ashton and he raises his eyebrows when he sees me

"Hello Carly, we wasn't expecting you"

I look at Luke but he just shrugs at Ashton

"Sorry for gate crashing, whatever this is?"

"This? It's Saturday night secret society and Luke usually comes alone. You should be honoured" he grins as he takes my hand and I follow him inside. The whole place is in darkness and I hold onto Ashton for dear life. I stumble a few times and I hear Luke laugh behind me. Asshole!

"You know guys, I have seen the film hostel so if you've kidnapped me to kill me I'm warning you now I will fight back!"

Ashton laughs and then quickly steadies me as I nearly fall over what I presume was a box

"We're a good bunch of lads, I promise I'm not leading you to your death"

"Feels like it" I mutter under my breath but then we stop walking so I think I'll be safe from falling to my death for now. He knocks a set of doors the same way Luke did earlier and then after a few moments he swings them open. Bowling lanes are lit up by disco lights and blink 182 are playing over the sound system

"You any good at bowling?" I let go of Ashton as he speaks and nod my head excitedly

"I mean I'm ok, my dad and I usually play on a Thursday night"

"Brilliant! Then I choose you for my team. I work here so strictly speaking I could get fired if anyone finds out we bowl after closing, but seen as you are now a member of our club I know you won't tell anyone"

There's about ten people here but I only recognise a few of the people. Calum is here with the red head, and Michael is currently bowling, his ball goes down the gutter and he starts to swear before stepping over the black line and falling straight onto his backside. A blonde girl comes running over and she hugs Luke

"I didn't think you would be here tonight, Marcus text me and told me what happened! Your girlfriends step dad was sleeping with Amy? This is the biggest scandal ever. I mean is it even legal -"

"Geordie, this is Carly" Luke steps forward and puts his hand on the small of my back. She looks at me and smiles

"Oh, hey. Nice to meet you" she looks back at Luke and folds her arms "stop being so cagey, I want the gossip!"

"Carly is Jodie's sister" Luke says the words slowly and Geordies smile fades, now she just looks mortified

"Shit! Really? I didn't even know she had a sister. I'm so sorry, I'm just nosey that's all. Honestly I didn't mean anything by it. I haven't upset you have I?" She looks genuinely embarrassed and I actually feel a little sorry for her

"No, not at all. It's ok. You won't be the first person to ask, but if it's ok I don't want to talk about it because I don't know what to say"

She puts her arm around me and leads me towards a bowling lane

"My lips are sealed. We won't mention it again I promise. What size shoe are you?" I smile at her, relieved she understands and then I tell her my shoe size. She turns back to look at Ashton whilst Luke goes and speaks to Calum "get this girl a large drink, She needs one! A pair of size fives and hurry up. Come on bitches! Let's bowl"

Ashton, Luke, Michael, Geordie and I are on one team and Calum, the red head, a guy called Leon, his girlfriend Ashlee and another boy called Marcus are our opponents. I haven't played for a few weeks but fortunately I soon get back into the flow of these and the strikes start building up. We win three games out of five and then we take a break. Ashton hands out pitchers of beer and I finally find the courage to go and speak to Calum. The red head has disappeared so I sit next to him and gently nudge him with my shoulder

"Hey you"

"Hey yourself" he puts his beer down and then unexpectedly hugs me "sorry to hear about what's happened. That's fucked up. How are you?" I gently squeeze his shoulders then lean back in the booth

"I don't know, I don't think it's hit me yet. I just feel bad for my mom, this is the last thing she needs"

"Yeah, Luke told me she wasn't well. Is it true you're staying here in Sydney?"

I take a sip of my beer and smile, he's ok with me and I'm so relieved. I didn't want to lose what we had

"I am, I'm here to stay. That's why I would really like it if we could be friends. I know what I did was wrong, and I'm sorry if you felt like I had intentionally hurt you but I can promise you I didn't. I've missed talking to you"

He sighs and then plays with his beanie

"You didn't hurt me, I just, didn't react well to the situation I guess, but I want us to be friends too. I never wanted us to fall out -"

"We haven't! Can we please go back to the way things were? I need you"

"I've always been right here. Everything will be ok. I promise" I lean my head on his shoulder and he playfully ruffles my hair. I hear someone cough and I look up

"You're in my seat" the red head is standing over me so I move over

"Sorry" she rolls her eyes and sits next to Calum. I take it me and her aren't going to be friends. I raise my glass to Cal and then get up, leaving the red head to carry on literally dry humping him

"You two sorted everything out?" Luke stands in front of me and look back at Calum and smile

"Yeah we have. I never wanted things to be awkward"

"They won't be, Cal is a cool guy, he would never hold a grudge. Come with me, I have something to show you" I put my glass down and then he takes my hand. We walk up a flight of stairs that takes us to the roof and when we get to the top Luke covers my eyes

"You can't see can you?"

"Nope not a thing" I hear him open a door and then I feel the cool air wrap itself around me. He's behind me but I put my hands to the back of me so I can hold his belt "this might be the right time to tell you I'm afraid of heights"

"I have no intention of throwing you off the roof, don't worry" we walk forward a little more and then he removes his hands

"Wow" the words come out as a whisper as I take in the view. It's like I can see the whole of Sydney and the moon looks as though it's in touching distance "this is beautiful Luke"

"Yeah it is" his voice sounds sad so I turn to look at him. The light breeze softly brushes my hair over my face and he steps forward to push it behind my ear "you're beautiful Carly. Can I ask you a question?" He sits on the floor and pulls me down with him. I sit on his lap but hold onto him because it feels as though we are close to the ledge of the building even though we aren't, it still doesn't help my anxiety though

"You can ask me anything"

He looks down and runs his hand over my thigh. He looks lost in thought and we sit here like this for a long time before he finally speaks

"Why haven't you asked me to stay?"

I wasn't expecting this question. Its been a lingering thought, I've imagined saying it to him a thousand times in my dreams but I haven't ever dared to think that I would be able to say it to him in our reality

"Because you know I can't Luke"

He bites his lip ring and then softly lifts me off his lap, he stands up and pushes his hands into his pocket

"Why can't you?"

"Because I don't want to know the answer"

I slowly stand up and then sigh with relief that I don't fall. I shakily step forward but he doesn't move. Instead he just watches me with that pained look on his face "Luke don't ruin this. Please?"

"I'm leaving tomorrow, that will ruin it Carly! I will be on the other side of Australia. What changed? You wanted me and now it seems like you don't care that I'm leaving!"

"how dare you! How can you even say that? I've tried to make this as easy on you as I can. I ended this, not for me, for you! Because I don't want you to even feel a fraction of what I'm feeling!"

"You don't decide that Carly. You can't control how I feel! I want to be with you! I've wanted to be with you ever since you got out of that damn truck! I'm sorry that I'm not acting like you, like as soon as I've gone everything will be fine because guess what? From here it gets worse"

"How the hell can it possibly be any worse? We cannot be together. You stay, we aren't together, you leave, we aren't together. Don't you see Luke, we don't win! You said it yourself we don't get a happily ever after. We get what we are given"

"And what the hell do we have Carly? Because from what I can see we have nothing!"

"That's not true Luke" I start to cry and a tear runs down his cheek "you will have a piece of me no one else will ever have. The pain of losing you will be a reminder that what we had was real. That for a short amount of time I had you. And even though it's a small offering I will happily take it! Because I need you so much that I don't even know how I will function when you're gone. If you think this is easy for me then you don't know me at all. Why ask me why I haven't asked you to stay? Is this what you need? To see my cry to verify everything you already know? Why haven't you told me you are staying? Why can't you make that decision Luke? Because you know that we don't get a future!"

"Stop. Please Carly stop. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just didn't think you cared, I'm constantly pushing you and I'm sorry. Forgive me, please?"

I wish I could say that somehow Jodie found out where we were and came up on the roof and heard all of this. But only the silence of the night knew our secret, that we are two people that desperately needed each other but the fight to be together was stronger than both of us, and right now we know it's a fight we would lose.

We sat on the roof and watched night turn into dawn, the whole time Luke held me but we didn't speak. Instead we savoured the moment, because who knew when I would ever hold him like this again

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