(adj) becoming raw again, breaking out afresh or into renewed activity
I could feel my heart beating in my chest the first time I stepped through the door, and into my new apartment. Okay, our new apartment. Parker would be living there as well.
It hasn't been easy to make enough money to buy the place, and even getting my parents permission to move had been rough, but I wasn't a child anymore and I couldn't stand living at home any longer. My parents always fought, and everyone else but them could see that they should've had a divorce long ago. Eventually I'd just had enough, so I packed my bags, grabbed my best friend, Parker, and got the hell out of there. Parker had needed a bit of convincing, but eventually he agreed to it. "I'd do anything for you, El." That's what he'd said and it meant the world to me. I wasn't sure that I would've been able to leave all on my own, without the support of by best friend. Now we'd just have to start over in a completely new place, far away from what I used to call my home.
The first long while of living in the apartment contained of unpacking and getting settled, trying to make it all work. The apartment wasn't huge, but it truly was a nice place. Me and Parker had a bedroom each, and other than that there was a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen.
I'd also managed to get a job at a local coffee shop further down the street whilst Parker was still searching. We had to make our economy work as well, or else we would be terribly screwed. "Not being a child anymore" definitely wasn't that easy, but we had each other to lean on.
It was Saturday morning, about two weeks after we'd moved in. It was about 6AM, way too early to even be alive if you asked me, but I had a job to take care of. Parker, as nice as he was, had gotten out of bed as well to make me breakfast. That's just how he was as a person. Incredibly kind and genuinely amazing.
"So, for how long will you be at work today?" He asked as we ate breakfast at the small dinner table in the kitchen.
"Just a couple of hours. You could drop by at some point if you want to?" I answered with a sleepy smile on my lips.
"I think you need a cup of coffee more than me. You look like you haven't slept in days." He said, followed by a chuckle. I just rolled my eyes at him.
"Thanks, I kinda feel like it too." I knew he didn't mean anything by it, waking up early just really wasn't my thing.
It was quite a boring shift, really. Most people were probably sleeping in, or sleeping through their hangovers at this point, so the streets were pretty empty. Tomorrow's shift would probably be like that too. Nobody else wanted these early morning shifts, so I'd taken most of them, which I regretted every time I had to get up at an inhumane hour in the morning.
It was now about 9AM, and I was cleaning up behind the counter as the soft music from the speakers in the ceiling filled the room. Suddenly the bell by the door rang, indicating that a costumer had walked in, but I just kept doing whatever I was doing.
"I'll just have a cup of coffee. Black." I finally looked up and for a second it felt like the world had stopped turning. The customer was dressed in all black. Black skinny jeans, black leather jacket. His skin was the color of caramel and his dark hair was slightly curly. His eyes were covered by the sunglasses he was wearing, but I didn't have to see them to know that they were a deep brown, almost black color. I also didn't have to see them to feel his gaze on me. There was no doubt about it, it was Calum Hood.
Calum cleared his throat which made me come back down to earth. "Oh, yeah, sure. I'm sorry", I stuttered as I began with his order. A slight chuckle escaped his lips before he took a step to the side, and leaned against the wall, arms crossed across his chest.
We were the only two people in the room, and just the thought of his presence made it hard for me to concentrate on just making the damn coffee. A billion thoughts flew around my head. What was he doing here? How could he just show up after all these years of absolutely nothing? Did he even remember me? I definitely remembered him. Not many days had passed where I'd not thought of the boy who once was like a brother to me.
"What are you doing here anyway?" He asked, the sudden sound of his voice making me jump. I took a deep breath and looked over at him.
"I could ask you the same question", I answered. It was meant to sound confident, but the way I stumbled over my own words ruined it. He definitely noticed, as a low chuckle escaped his lips.
"I live around here", he answered. Then it was quiet once again, as I didn't know what to answer.
"Here's your coffee", I mumbled as I placed the to-go cup on the counter. His black boot sounded heavy on the linoleum floor as he made his way to the counter, picking up the cup of coffee. Surprisingly he didn't leave afterwards, he just stood there and looked at me, and for some unexplainable reason, I didn't want him to leave.
"You look the same, Ella", he said before taking a sip of his coffee. He did remember me then.
"You look different", I finally answered. It was true. The sight of him was so familiar and very foreign at the same time. He'd changed. The many years had left their mark. His face was more defined, his hair was longer than it used to be, and I could spot the edge of a tattoo on his collarbone. Last time I saw him we were about the same height, but now he was towering over me, making him quite intimidating. He was different, but when I looked at him I could still see parts of the Calum I once knew.
"Do you like what you see?" Calum asked with a smirk. I'd been staring at him once again, getting lost in my own mind. His words made my cheeks burn, but luckily the sound of the bell at the door saved me from having to answer.
I looked over Calums shoulder, and saw Parker walking through the door with a broad smile on his face.
"Hey El", he said, definitely not feeling the tenseness that I was feeling.
"Hey Parker", I answered, followed with the most genuine smile I could manage, before quickly looking over at Calum, who had stepped aside. Parker walked up to the counter, and apparently he realized that something was going on, as he quickly looked over at Calum, then back at me.
"Who's that?" Parker mumbled, raising one of his eyebrows as he spoke.
"No one", I answered, maybe a bit too quickly, making Calum grunt. "No one", Calum repeated to himself and rolled his eyes, before sitting down at one of the tables. Parker still stood in front of the counter, obviously uncomfortable. Luckily he didn't comment on any of it.
"Busy morning?", he joked, changing the subject and making me shake my head.
"Very", I answered sarcastically. There had barely been any other customers other than Calum and Parker. "Cappuccino on soy milk?", I then asked, as I already began to make it, as that was what he always ordered.
"You know me so well", Parker answered, the smile returning to his lips. "Cute", Calum commented, obviously sarcastic. I was tempted to ask what his problem was, but I really didn't feel that tough, so I let it slide.
While I was making the coffee for Parker, Calum was doing something on his phone, which I'd taken as an opportunity to watch him without him noticing. His tall frame was bent slightly over the table as he sat there, making his hair fall down in front of his eyes. He had his phone in the right hand, his head resting in the other. He was pretty fit too, and definitely not hard on the eyes, but the number one thing I thought about was how he'd just disappeared completely, just to show up in my life once agin, uninvited. How was that even possible? It definitely blew my mind.
Suddenly Calum looked up and looked directly at me, which made me almost drop the cup of coffe I'd made for Parker. I managed to pull myself together though, trying to look like I hadn't just totally creeped on him. I think he knew though, as a cocky smirk made its way across his face, before he returned his attention to his phone.
Parker finally got his coffee, and for a while we just had a chat across the counter. For some reason Calum was still there. He didn't participate in our smalltalk or anything, but I had a feeling that he was listening.
"I got a call earlier," Parker said, "regarding the job as an assistent at the real estate company that I told you about." Parker had had a harder time than me finding a job, but it wasn't easy to find one in the big city that didn't take that much experience, and still would be able to pay the bills.
"What about it?" I asked as I polished a stack of plates.
"I got the job!" he answered proudly, and put the now empty cup of coffee down on the counter. A broad smile lit up my face, as I could see how truly happy he was. I made my way to the other side of the counter, and pulled him in for a hug.
"Congratulations, I'm so happy for you", I said before pulling away.
"Thanks, El ..." that was all Parker got to say before Calum cut him off.
"That's what I used to call you, Ella", he said and shrugged, his eyes still on his phone. "El." None of us said anything after that, as Parker looked back and forth between me and Calum.
"Yeah, you did", I mumbled, turning my gaze towards the linoleum floor. I missed it. I missed what we once had and seeing Calum just made that completely clear to me.
"Who are you, again?" Parker asked in a annoyed tone.
"Parker, just leave it", I whispered, but Parker had turned towards Calum and didn't seem to hear what I said.
"If it mattered, don't you think she would've told you? You definitely seem pretty close", Calum answered, shrugging once again. He'd always done that a lot. He then got up and walked to the trash can to throw out the empty to-go cup. Then he looked over at me once again.
"I guess I'll see you around, Ella", he said before, after a short moment of just the two of us looking at each other, winking at me, which made me blush once again. Then he finally left the shop, once again leaving me feeling more or less like a giant question mark.
"What on earth was that about?" Parker asked, kinda summarizing my thoughts.
"I have no idea", I whispered as if Calum's presence had knocked the air out of my lungs. It definitely felt like it. The boy who once meant the world to me, the boy who left me without an explanation, had found his way back in my life.