(n) the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness toward others
I walked for a few minutes, before deciding to sit down on the curb. As soon as my butt hit the concrete, the first few tears started rolling down my tears, soon to be followed by a lot more. Parker was slowly becoming a stranger to me. He wasn't like this, I knew it. The boy who'd kissed me just a moment ago wasn't him. It was not the best friend that I knew. Other than that, I had a long way home, I was all alone and I was scared. It was all bad, and I could do nothing but let myself cry it out.
But as I sat there and just felt more and more down, I ended up making a choice that I'd told myself I wouldn't make. Right now, I just needed to do it. I called Calum.
"Uh, hey", he said when he answered the phone. His voice was a bit raspy, and when I looked at my watch, I realized that I'd probably woken him up. It was way past 3AM, but since it was the weekend there was a chance that he hadn't gone to bed yet.
"Calum, I'm so sorry, but I need you", I sobbed.
"Hey, what the fuck is going on? Are you crying?" he asked. He did actually sound worried, but I couldn't bring myself to answer since it was such a long story.
"I'm on the corner of Kimber Lane and Factory Street, please", I begged after taking a quick look at the street signs that stood beside me. I must've sounded quite pathetic, but I didn't care. I felt so completely drained of all hope and energy, and all I wanted was his company. It was selfish, really.
"I'll be there in twenty minutes, Ella, stay where you are", he answered. Then he ended the phone call.
So I waited and I waited, and I felt more and more like shit, but then somebody suddenly sat down next to me, almost making me jump.
"Shit, Calum, I didn't hear you coming", I said. I couldn't help but laugh a bit at my reaction, but the smile faded quite quickly.
"I'm sneaky, what can I say", he answered and smiled a bit even though his brown eyes were filled with worry. It was quite the contrast from the last time I'd seen him. His eyes had been all bloodshot from the drugs and he'd had that cocky smirk on his lips the entire time. That was the thing about him, you never really knew him. He changed like the weather.
"Did I wake you up?" I asked and fiddled a bit with my nails. I'd started to feel bad for bossing him around, but I was so thankful that he'd agreed to come.
"Nah, I'd just gotten home", he answered and shrugged.
"Were you with her?" I asked before I was able to stop myself.
"Her?" He raised one of his eyebrows and smirked a little.
He just kind of looked at me for a while, and I looked down, not knowing why I'd asked that question. I just wanted to know, I guess. Simple as that.
"Why do you care?" he asked, but he didn't sound defensive, just curious.
"I've already answered that", I answered, referring to the night before. I'd told him how she didn't deserve him, and I still stood by that. It was harder to look him in the eyes and say that kind of stuff when sober, though.
He never answered the actual question, but I was okay with that. Maybe I was better off not knowing what he'd been up to.
"So what's up, Ella?" he finally asked. We were still sitting on the curb at that point, the low temperature of the concrete giving me goosebumps every once in a while.
"Parker. That's what's up", I answered and sighed. I could still feel Parker's hands on me, his lips against mine, and it wasn't a sensation that I necessarily enjoyed. I loved that boy, but at this point he scared the hell out of me too. After what had happened, I didn't know if I could trust him anymore.
"He's in love with me, Calum", I answered. My voice broke as I spoke, and as soon as I'd finished the tears came once again, but I desperately tried to wipe them away with the back of my hand. There was no chance that he hadn't seen it, though, so eventually I just gave up and let them run freely.
"You didn't know?" he asked, the tone in his voice making it sound like it was common knowledge.
"Of course not!" I answered and frowned. How was I supposed to know when he hadn't told me until now?
"It was quite obvious, you know."
"Well if it was that obvious, I guess I was just blind then", I answered, raising my voice as I got more and more frustrated.
"Maybe, but why are you here anyway?"
"He left when he'd told me, and I got worried... So I went out to look for him, and I found him at that club down the street, but then he blamed me for everything that's been going on, and he kissed me and..." I couldn't go on, so I stopped mid-sentence. My body was shaking. I didn't know wether it was because of the cold or all of the stuff I was feeling, but it made me feel even more pathetic.
"Did he hurt you?" he asked and seemed to tense up. Then he moved a bit closer. "You're shaking", he continued before he took off his sweatshirt. Underneath he was wearing a white tank top, showing off his toned arms and tattoos, but I tried not to look too much.
"Don't-.." I tried when he gave me the sweatshirt, but he just shook his head, telling me not to refuse, so I put it on and it was comforting. It smelled of his cologne too, giving me flashbacks of the night before.
"Did he hurt you?" he asked again. I could see the goosebumps on his skin, showing that he definitely felt the cold breeze as well, and I felt really bad about wearing his clothes, but then again, he'd given it to me.
"No. Not really", I answered and shook me head before running a hand through my hair as it was falling in front of my face. Calum looked at me for a bit, probably not believing me, but it was true in a way. Parker had definitely crossed my boundaries, but I'd be okay eventually.
We sat in silence after that, watching the cars that occasionally passed, but then Calum spoke once again, his soft voice having a comforting effect on my mind.
"You wanna go somewhere?" he asked and shot me a gentle smile. He seemed so genuinely kind, and even though he'd been an ass at times, this once again proved to me that he was a good person. Probably the best person I knew at the moment, and I honestly wouldn't know what to do without him which felt a bit stupid. I shouldn't be dependent on anybody like that.
"Depends. Where is somewhere?" I asked, also trying with a smile, but not really feeling it. Calum chuckled and shook his head.
"There's a diner not far from here. It's open twenty-four seven", he explained as he got up and brushed off the back of his black skinny jeans. I just nodded and got up as well. It didn't really matter where we went, I just didn't want to be alone.
So we walked to this diner he'd been talking about. It was quite small and there were no other people in there except for a single waiter and whoever was in the kitchen, but it was a nice place. Soft music came from the speakers as we both sat down and ordered milkshakes. The waiter seemed tired, but revealed that something was finally happening. I doubted that there usually was a lot of customers at this time.
"So, what are you going to do?" Calum asked all of a sudden.
"About what?" I asked and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear.
"About Parker. Since you live together and all", he answered and shrugged. I couldn't help but sigh since I'd thought about it too without coming up with an answer. I didn't want to move, but I didn't want him to move either. I just wanted us to go back to normal, but I doubted that was going to happen anytime soon. If at all.
"I have absolutely no idea", I answered and shook my head. I lowered my gaze a bit, trying to hide the tears that once again welled up in my eyes. I'd felt so fragile all day, one moment being worse than the next until Calum had showed up, and I was pretty fed up with it.
"Are you crying?" he asked and I couldn't help but laugh at myself a bit. I must've looked a mess, dressed in his sweatshirt and a pair of lounge shorts, my mascara probably running. It sure was a look.
"I'm sorry, it's just a lot", I answered, my voice breaking a bit. I still managed a smile when I looked back at him, though. He didn't answer, but just looked at me, his eyes once again filled with worry and his face falling into a frown as he leaned back in the chair he was sitting in, running his fingers through his dark hair. I couldn't tell what he was thinking, obviously. If he thought I was pathetic, or if he felt sorry for me. Maybe both. Maybe he cared, maybe he didn't. I was just thankful that he'd shown up and that was enough for me.
The waiter finally came with our milkshakes. Mine was strawberry, his was chocolate. He'd insisted on paying, and I had to let him since I'd left my wallet at home. I didn't feel too great about it, since I didn't want him to once again feel like he had to take care of me, but that was that. It didn't take long to finish the milkshakes, and we decided that we might as well get out of there. I was tired as hell and Calum must've been too.
"You want me to follow you home?" he asked as we stood in the light coming from the windows of the diner. Then he put the cigarette which he'd just gotten out of the box in his pocket between his fingers and lit it. I tried not to be bothered by it, but smoking really wasn't my thing.
"I don't want to go home", I answered and sighed. I didn't know where to go other than that, but I didn't want to run into Parker right now. Calum looked at me for a bit, eventually putting the cigarette between his lips and blowing out the smoke again, and I could tell that he was thinking. Then he finally spoke.
"You wanna go to my place?" he finally asked, and I felt my heart skip a beat. I didn't expect that.
"That's too much to ask for, Calum", I stuttered.
"Shut up, let's go", he answered as he put out his cigarette and placed his hand on my lower back before starting to walk.