Home > Trust(15)

Author: Kylie Scott

On the edge of town past the old cemetery was a park. Obviously neglected if the knee-high grass, scattered trash, and abundance of wildflowers were any indication. Graffiti in every color of the rainbow covered the wooden kids’ play castle and swings.

“What is this place?” I asked, pulling the car in beside a couple of others.

“Some city benefactors’ first attempt at a skate park. Problem is, it’s so far out, you pretty much need a car to get here,” he said. “Kind of defeats the purpose for most people.”


“Guess they didn’t want us young hooligans hanging around, messing up the place where the good citizens could see.”

“How’d that work out for them?”

He chuckled. “For them, not so good. They had to eventually build the one in town. For us, though, fucking fantastic. Come and see.”

I locked the car, then followed him down a well-trodden dirt path. People were gathered by the skate ramps, some watching, waiting their turn. Others were throwing back energy drinks and sucking on cigarettes. Music blared, almost obscuring the sound of a set of wheels thundering across the pavement. I pushed my sunglasses on top of my head. Only one person flew up and down the sides of the pipe, his body and board moving and looking like a dream.

John Cole dressed in only faded black jeans and Converse dazzled my eyes. Add in the hardness of his chest, shoulders, and arms, glistening with sweat courtesy of the late-afternoon sun, and I was on the verge of writing him bad poetry.

Cool girls clapped and called out to him from nearby. One of them noticed me watching and sneered as if he was her property and she was marking her territory. Sadly for her, dirty looks didn’t do much. Peeing might have worked out better. No one wants urine stains on their Docs.

“Hey,” said John, pulling up at the top of the low ramp we were standing on. One foot stayed on the board, rolling it back and forth. “What’re you doing here?”

“She gave me a lift. I invited her to come visit.” Anders passed him a bottle of water with a grin. “I spat in that, by the way.”

John drank without pause while I gave Anders a dubious look.

“Just joking,” he cried, holding up his hands. “I met my new friend Edie here in detention.”

“Detention, huh?”

“Yeah.” I stuffed my hands in my skirt pockets.

“You shouldn’t have brought her out here,” he said to his buddy.

“Why not? You know her.” Anders rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. “She’s a friend, right?”

John said nothing.

“But, yeah. Anyway,” babbled Anders, “nice day we’re having.”

John’s jaw had locked with tension.

“Okay. Sensing a mood coming on. I’m going to leave you two to talk.” Without another word, Anders wandered off to chat with the other people hanging out.

I took a deep breath. “We could definitely talk.”

His brow descended.

“I mean, if you wanted to talk about anything, that would be fine. With me.”

“No,” said John without hesitation. “Everything’s fine. What’d he say to you?”

“Nothing that made much sense.” I tilted my head. “You sure you don’t want to talk?”


Incredibly awkward silence.

“Sorry,” he finally said. “It’s good to see you.”

My whole body eased, relieved. “You too.”

John nodded, giving me a repressed half-smile. It consisted of wrinkled lips more than anything, and God help me, even that was attractive. In the light of day, his eyes were clear blue with brown flecks, his skin tanned, apart from the bandage on his arm. He was beautiful and I . . . I was nothing. An out-of-her-depth girl who wore too much black and feared the bulk of society. Yay, me.

“I’d better go,” I said, taking a step back.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” said John, flipping his board up to his hand, and falling into step at my side.

“You don’t have to do that.”

He didn’t respond.

I watched him out of the corner of my eye. My brain on high alert and my hormones and dreams on overload. Not once in my entire life had I ever been so curious about someone. What went on in his head, what was his life like? John Cole made for an enthralling mystery. I just hoped he’d been telling the truth and he was in fact okay. He did the stoic thing so well. It made it hard to judge.

Bees and other assorted bugs flitted around, the music fading as nature took over. It was nice out here, despite the cigarette stubs and occasional beer bottles hiding in the long grass. Summer had a smell, but so did he. I don’t think I’d ever wanted to rub my face in someone’s sweaty chest before.

Talk about unnerving. People shouldn’t walk around half-naked unless they were at a pool or lake or something. Nipple viewing should really be reserved for special occasions. Christmas, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, stuff like that. Also, with every step he took, the waistband of his jeans slid a little across his lean hips. Not saying I was drooling exactly, but close.

Maybe I should attempt some self-love when I got home. The feeling building inside of me, this hyperawareness of him physically, mentally, and generally every way, had me growing increasingly agitated. Edgy. I don’t know what.

“You okay?” he asked, frowning.

“Yes. Why?”

“Just had a weird look on your face.”

Shit. “Ah, I was thinking about homework.”

He tipped his chin. “How you doing with school?”

“Fine. Good. And you?”

A nod.

“Is your arm still hurting?” I nodded at the bandage.

“Came off my board the other week and opened it up again. It’s fine though.”

“Ouch.” I flinched. “So, I take it Anders is one of the friends you kept when you stopped dealing?”


“He’s different,” I said.

“That’s one way to put it.” John sort of smiled. “He doesn’t care if I can score shit for him or not. A lot of the others, that’s all they really wanted.”

“Idiots.” I scowled, angry on his behalf.

A shrug. “You settling in at school okay?”

“Sure. Everything’s fine.”

“Good,” he said. “Thanks for giving him a lift out here. He would have blown up my phone otherwise.”

“No worries.”

Awkward silence.

“Anders was rattling on about some party on Friday night,” I said, fiddling with the end of my braid. “Were you going?”

“Dunno. Haven’t really thought about it yet.”

I jingled my keys. “Some girl called Sabrina left a note on my car about it. Guess she’s probably trying to sweet-talk you through me, like you warned about.”

Brows knitted, he pushed back his hair. “Bree’s not so bad. You should go if you want. Might be fun.”

Bree, not Sabrina. Hmm. “This is me.”

Without comment, he looked over my sedate white hatchback. Unlike his beast of a vehicle, it wouldn’t be causing fear on the streets anytime soon. My car unlocked with a beep.

“See you at school,” I said, getting behind the wheel.

“Yeah.” He leaned in, resting an elbow on the open driver’s-side door. “You gonna be okay with the gun lobby and everything?”

I winced, slipping sunglasses over my eyes—all the better to hide. “People have been calling me Holden.”

“You were pretty spectacular.”

“Ha, well,” I drawled, going heavy on the sarcasm. “I live to impress. Who even wants to be boring and fit in when you can act like a complete head case in front of the entire class, right?”

“They’ll forget about it.” Pushing my door shut, he gave me a sly smile. “Eventually.”


“Seriously, don’t worry,” he said. “By this time tomorrow Anders will have done something so stupid no one will even look at you twice.”


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