"Are we almost there?" I impatiently asked. My mom sighed from the passenger seat as my dads knuckles became white, his grip on the steering wheel tightening.
"About an hour, sweetie." My mom gently spoke.
"How about now?" I asked again, ten seconds later. I saw my mom squeeze her eyes shut, wishing I would stop asking.
"How about you shut up?" My dad grunted angrily.
"Rob!" She gasped.
"What? She needs to learn to be less of a little shit." He mumbled, not wanting to swear loudly in front of me.
"She's a little girl, she cant help it." My mom said, standing up for me.
"Thats no excuse. Shes old enough to know better." My lip quivered as he spoke, my eight year old self feeling guilty.
"Im sorry, daddy." I weakly apologized. My mom looked back at me with a sad smile.
"Just try to go to sleep, honey. We'll be there soon." She patted my knee as I leaned my head against the window, the sound of fast air whipping past us lulling me to sleep.
I thought back to when both my parents were around as I held my phone, hesitant to put the number in.
"Hello?" His deep voice greeted.
"Hi dad. How are you?" He groaned before replying.
"I'm fine. Wendy and the kids are good, too." I rolled my eyes as he mentioned his fiancée . She was ten years younger than my dad and a former stripper. She and her two kids treated me like a child and talked about me behind my back. She fit the evil stepmom role perfectly, her son and daughter being just as evil as he woman that spawned them. She wasn't a good person and she sure as hell wasn't my mom, not even close.
"That's good. Where are you guys now?" I asked, not having known their whereabouts for months.
"We're in New Mexico. We moved so Ashton can go to college here." Ashton was one of Wendy's kids. He was pretty bad but his sister, Elle was worse. She was two years younger than me and acted like she was 30. I silently thanked god that they were now nearly 2,000 miles away from me.
"Oh. That's nice." I bluntly stated.
"You've only got a few months left of school, where are you staying until you can move?"
"With Aunt Nancy." Living with my aunt wasn't the worst. She was my dads sister and my moms best friend. She knitted and made cookies a lot, which she usually burned making then inedible. She had book club on Tuesdays and Thursdays and yoga on Fridays. When she wasn't at either of the two, she was at work as a nurse. She was never home.
"You be careful with that one, she can get feisty." She was nothing compared to how my dad was. "Anyway, the kids and I are going out so I gotta go. Talk to you soon." He hung up, giving me no time to say goodbye. I set my phone down before hearing a knock on the door. I furrowed my eyebrows, not expecting anyone. My aunt was out and wouldn't be home until late. I walked towards the door, opening it slightly and peeking out.
"Hi." He softly said, holding a bouquet of daisies. I looked from him to the flowers and back up at him. I opened the door wider and moved to the side, letting him in. He walked in and I closed the door behind him.
"What are you doing here?" I asked since we hadn't talked in a week.
"I missed you. I know you said we should take a break, but I need you. I don't care who knows or what people think. I need you, Rory. In every sense of the matter. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I can't be without you. I'm sorry for only thinking about myself when you need me. I understand if you're mad, but please take these." He extended his arm, handing me the flowers. I slowly took them from him and gently set them on the table next to me. He looked confused but then went expressionless as I walked closer to him.
I went on my tippy toes and kissed his cheek before pulling him into a tight hug.
"Rory?" He broke the silence. I replied with a small 'mhm', still hugging him.
"I love you." He breathed. I immediately tensed up. "I love you like you love hot chocolate and rainy days. I love you like you love kittens and finding a book you actually like." No one has ever told me they loved me besides my mom. My dad had never said he loved me, even when I wasn't being annoying. He never showed me any sign of love. No boy in all of my seventeen years of life, had even told me they liked me. I had never felt needed. Loved. Wanted. I was just there. But here he was. Luke Hemmings. Telling me he loved me.
A warm feeling came over me as I relaxed, seeming to melt at his words. I was calmed by the faint beating of his heart, a sound I'm most grateful for. His adorable and lanky arms wrapped around me, holding me like if he let go he would lose me forever. I couldn't tell if I loved Luke. I was in love with the thought of being in love but now that the real feeling is here, it's overwhelmingly underwhelming. Its not something like in the books or movies. Its just a person, loving another person. I knew it didn't have to be special or extravagant. I just had to feel special, knowing he loved me.
No one had made me feel the way he did. The way he walked and talked. The way he said my name. The faint smell of cologne that remained on the sweatshirt of his that he gave me. I was special to him and he was special to me. A feeling that I could not put into words was washing over me, something I had never felt before. Love.
"I love you too." I spoke after what felt like hours but was only seconds. He held me tighter, ecstatic by the fact that I said it back. I smiled into his chest before pulling away. He smiled at me and kissed me on the forehead.
"So do you forgive me?" He asked. I was just about to say something before his phone vibrated. He took it out of his pocket and looked at the screen.
"An unknown number sent me a text." He said as more of a question. He slid the bar at the bottom over and read the message. He slowly looked up to me, hurt and anger in his eyes. Once he noticed I was confused he turned the phone around so I could see it.
Hey Luke, it's Michael. Ask your girlfriend when she wants to meet up with me again ;)