I was in his arms, hugged against his firm, warm chest as he comfortingly held me. And we talked. It was this first time we had ever truly just talked. And it was nice, although I'm certain Luke was only putting up with the talking so that my mind wouldn’t return to the earlier events. And it was nice, momentarily. Until unwanted memories returned to the surface. I don’t mean the bad memories of the alley either, not that, a totally different set of memories all together.
“How come you never talk about your family?” Luke spoke looking aimlessly in front of him as he brushes his fingers through my hair. I gulped at the word ‘family’ the one thing I tend to avoid talking to everyone about.
“You’ve never spoken about yours?” I queried him in reply, my finger drawing circles on his shirt, trying to drop the subject.
“Because I don’t exactly have any to talk about.” He simply answered me and it made me feel sad but I wasn’t in the right mind to ask what happened to them.
“So, your family?” Luke questioned me again.
“My father is a Warden. Mother, Architect. Sister, home schooled. Brother…” I paused, upset, disappointed and angry all in one. I sighed.
“Well, I don’t know where he is.” The circles I was drawing onto his stomach stopped as I began to stare into space.
“Wha-” Luke began to speak but I interrupted knowing what he was about to ask.
“Caleb. He disappeared when I was six, before my sister was born. Came back when I was fourteen, just turned up out of the blue. I was so happy to have him back. So, so happy. We would go out for late night takeaways and I’d help him fix up his motorcycles. Then about a year after he returned and we’d grown close again he was rushed to hospital. I got a call while I was at college to say he was in a critical condition. When I got to the hospital he was in a coma. I visited him every day for two weeks. I was so scared I was going to lose him again. I’d only just got him back; I couldn’t bear to lose him. Then, he finally came round. He told me it was a brain tumour, but I found out from my father that he had lied and the doctor had said it was alcohol and drug abuse. At the time I didn’t care, I was just so happy that he was alive. But then a couple weeks later he was admitted again. Motorcycle accident, just a small one but enough to worry me. My father wouldn’t let me visit this time. Turns out he’d been getting involved with the wrong people. I didn’t see my brother for a while after that, he’d asked my father for money to pay off credit cards that didn’t even exist. My father set him straight, told him he wasn’t getting any money out of him and that he needed to pull himself together. I still haven’t seen him, it’s been years.” My mind fell blank as I felt the hole in my heart that my brother had left reopen a little.
“Caleb?… sounds like he’s got some problems he needs to sort out.” Luke replied strangely and I was surprised by his response. Usually people say ‘I'm so sorry’ or something. But no, Luke didn’t.
“So, why are you here?” Luke continued the conversation.
“What do you mean?” I asked slightly confused.
“Well, you’re family seem pretty well off, ok your brother is out of the picture but what about your parents and your sister? Why are you here on your own when you have them?” He questioned me again and my heart sank.
“Freedom, rebellion, escape. All of the above I guess.” I simply replied.
“You know that answer isn’t good enough right?” He spoke and I felt as he moved a little to look down at me. I looked up, no emotion on my face at all and then there was a knock at his front door and two voices called.
“LUUKKEEYYY?!” It was a male and female voice, ones that I recognised and I was relieved that Luke and I’s conversation was cut short. The two people appeared in the living room doorway and as soon as I laid eyes on the girls perfect blonde hair I knew exactly who it was.
“Chloe!” I yelled jumping off of Luke, running toward her and bombing her with a hug. She immediately hugged me back with a huge sparkling smile across her face.
“Wow....you look nice." Dom said to me as he looked me up and down and laughed, Chloe playfully hitting him in the stomach. I was still only wearing Luke's shirt and my underwear; slightly awkward...I could feel my face turning pink. My eyes quickly flicked to Luke to see his reaction but he just laughed too.
"Alright?" Luke got himself up off of the sofa and greeted them both.
"We need to talk business." Dom told him gesturing towards the back door.
"I see, ok- ladies, if you'll excuse us for a moment." Luke replied understandingly and rather polite, and then they both headed out into the garden. When they had left I kindly offered Chloe a drink and she seemed to get excited at my offer.
"Ooo, yes please that would be nice." Her sweet voice answering my question. A smile marked my face as I thought to myself, she hugged me back and is happy to see me too...I didn't even realize we were that close?! As I headed for the kitchen to make the drinks I was stopped in my tracks when Chloe let out a huge gasp.
"Oh my god! Kasey!" She shouted pulling one of my arms back.
"Forget the drinks. We need to talk." The tone in her voice was now slightly lower and more serious as she dragged me towards the sofa.
"What is this?" She pointed at the bruises on my wrists from where Luke had pinned me down.
"Nothing." I giggled covering the marks with my other hand. She raised her eyebrows as she looked at the wrist of the hand that covered the other. Dam. I had bruises on both.
"What about this then?" Chloe then pointed at the black mark and grazes on my arm from where Luke had knocked me over.
"Or this?" She carried on gesturing to the bruises he had left on my neck too.
"It's nothing; I've just been clumsy a lot recently." I knew my answer was stupid but I didn't think Chloe would catch on so quickly.
"I know it was Luke. I may be blonde but I’m not stupid Kasey." She said confidently and I looked at her shocked.
"I also know that you're now wondering how I know..." She raised her eye brows again as she spoke and I didn't respond.
"He's done it before you know....that's why I warned you to be careful when we were talking in the club." She sat desperately looking into my eyes for an answer. Her gaze trying to force some sort of emotion and answers out of me.
"I'm fine." I said smiling at her and letting out a false little giggle.
"Really, I'm fine." I put my hand on top of hers attempting to reassure her somehow.
"It was only an accident...it was my fault." Chloe then nodded and said,
"It always is." Silence fell over the room. I didn't know how to react to this. Ok, so he had injured other people before. Yes, I knew that. Other women...hmm ok. But how many? The conversation was dampening the mood and I didn't want to bombard Chloe with the hundreds of questions that were floating in my mind, so I decided to try and change the subject.
"So, what business are they discussing?" I asked. Her face fell emotionless and her jaw dropped slightly.
"You honestly don't know... do you?" Chloe's voice became bewildered and I shook my head.
"I think maybe you should ask Luke. Not me." That's when I froze. Business...what business? And why didn't I know about it? My heart began to beat heavily, pounding at my chest as my breathing became more uncontrolled.
"Kasey are you ok?" Chloe's worried voice stunned me back to reality for a moment.
"Sorry, I need leave. I can’t deal with this again." I briskly said as I got up from the sofa and headed for the front door.
"Leave?" Chloe replied following me.
"I just need some fresh air." I turned to her and faked a smile as I shut the door behind me and leave the house.