Home > Torn (All Torn Up #1)(2)

Torn (All Torn Up #1)(2)
Author: Carian Cole

I don't know what the heck fark is and why Chloe can't just text the word fuck. But whatever. I accept her because I love her. We initially attached ourselves to each other in third grade, when she was dropped off on the first day of school by her two moms and I was dropped off by my father who was already covered in tattoos and had hair almost to his waist. And he still does. Chloe and I bonded in our mutual outsiderness while the other kids avoided us like we were circus freaks.

Me: Stop with the V-card. You're obsessed.

Chloe: Fine. Come to the party. I'll be there. It will be fun. You can't sit home all the time.

Me: I'm really not into it tonight.

Chloe: Every single girl at the party is going to try to hookup with Jason

Me: We've only been seeing each other for two weeks. I don't care what or who he does.

Chloe: You should and you will! I'll text you later. Love ya, girl!

Me: Love ya 2

I have zero interest in joining the race to lose my virginity before graduation and I definitely don't want to be a notch on some guy's belt before he goes off to college, either. So far, Jason's kisses haven't made me feel any feels. For now, I'm happy enough living through the romance books my Grandmother sends to my e-reader, but it's pretty sad that the kisses in the books are way more exciting than the ones in real life. At least for me.

Music, laughter, and voices rouse me from the nap I slipped into after I texted with Chloe - almost four hours ago. I'm surprised my father didn't wake me when he came out of the studio, but I guess he's finally learning to respect my closed door.

Sitting up, I glance at my phone and see I have another text message that came through an hour ago.

Jason: I'm at the party. Want me to come get you? In the car, of course. ;) It'll be fun.

I type a quick reply:

Me: Thanks but I'm good. Kinda tired tonight. I'll call you tomorrow.

Jason: ;-( K. You better call ;-)

I'm not sure why I'm going out of my way to avoid him and can't just attempt to have fun with him. He's cute and mostly nice. He's popular. Everyone likes him. I don't think he's using me for concert tickets, which is a big plus. Whether he's trying to make me a notch or really likes me is still a mystery to me. His kisses are hella boring, but he could get better at that in time I suppose. Maybe he's just nervous?

Or maybe it's me.

After slipping my sneakers on, I head downstairs, through the kitchen and out the french doors to the back deck leading to our back yard. The sun has set, but the yard is lit up with various lights hidden in the landscaping, scattered tiki torches, the fire pit that's blazing, and the cool blue glow from the in-ground pool.

It's no secret my father has a lot of money because his band is super successful, and it's well deserved. I've never once been embarrassed by my father or how he acts on stage. He doesn't drink, do drugs, or screw around. My uncles in the band have had their moments of crazy over the years, but not my Dad. He's all business.

Am I spoiled? Not really. My father won't even buy me a car until after I graduate - if I maintain my good grades until graduation and work to pay for my own gas and insurance. I have a gold card with a limit that would probably allow me to buy a small island, but I don't abuse it. I respect my dad and the trust he puts in me to not go mental at the mall and buy five thousand dollars’ worth of makeup and shoes. I believe trust is a gift from someone, just like love is. Trusting and loving someone says I have faith in you. And I appreciate the depth of that way more than I do material things. I'll take faith over shoes any day of the week.

There are about twenty people mingling around our yard - some by the bonfire, others at the tables on the deck, some sitting over in the gazebo playing acoustic instruments and singing. I find my dad standing at the monstrous grill built into the stone patio, turning steaks and hamburgers over.

"Hey, kiddo, you hungry?" he asks when he sees me.

"Nah, maybe later."

"There's salad." He gestures over to the table where assorted fruits and salads are spread out in serving bowls.

"I'll grab some later. I'm not really hungry."

He blinks at me for a few seconds. "You feel okay?" His face takes on that I have no idea what to do with a female teenager who might not feel good or might be in a mood expression.

Smiling, I touch his arm and lean close to kiss his cheek. "I'm fine, Daddy. I had ice cream on the way home from school."

He backs away from the heat of the grill and pushes his long wavy brown hair out of his face. "With that kid, Jason? On a motorcycle?"

Damn Toren and his big mouth. "Yeah. It was just from school, though. It's not that far. And what the hell? Tor has to tell you every thing I do?"

"No, only the dumb things," he grins at me. "He's right, though. Stay off the bike. We don't want anything to happen to you."

We. I'm being raised by everyone and no one.

My Dad's not with Toren. He's one million percent committed and in love with his wife. My mother - his teen sweetheart. But she's gone now, and my father is a thirty-two-year-old rock star with a seventeen-year-old daughter trying to act like he's not broken and lost and on the verge of losing the very definition of his shit. But I know better. He's afraid something's going to happen to me too. That I'll be here one moment and gone the next. And I don't blame him for feeling that way at all because I feel it, too.

Once you've lost someone you love with no explanation, no closure, no end - you're stuck in a torturous limbo. You don't know if you should hang on to that ray of hope that they might come back or give in to your grief and accept that they're gone. So you teeter between both until you slowly go insane.

I let out a breath. I can't think or talk about my mom much without having a meltdown myself, so I put myself in denial and don't face any of it. She's just away. Like a long vacation with no cell phone access. It's easier that way.

"Okay. No more bikes, Dad. I promise." I don't mind calming his over-protectiveness because he doesn't deserve to have any more stress in his life.

His broad shoulders relax again and he gives me a smile that lights up his face and softens his eyes. It's the smile that's reserved for me and my mother, and it makes my heart melt. My father is an incredibly beautiful man, possessing the kind of good looks where women will actually stop and stare at him, eyes wide, mouth parted, heart pitter-pattering. Some even ask to touch his long hair, or his tattooed arms, while others just want him to look at them so they can catch a glimpse of his soulful eyes. You don't just see his beauty, you can feel it, like a warm breeze that caresses your soul. At least that's how a journalist described him after doing an interview with him.

I fill a small dish with fruit to make him happy and then spy Tor sitting on the edge of the pool by himself. I cross the yard, stopping at one of the coolers to grab a beer on the way. One of the guitarists from another local band is sitting on a lawn chair right next to the cooler. Probably so he doesn't have to get up to get another drink. So lazy.

"What's up, Finn?" I shake the ice off the bottle.

He tips his drink at me in reply. "Kensington."

"Are you guarding the beer?" I tease.

"I might be. You're not drinking that, are ya?" he eyes me suspiciously. "Last time I checked you weren't twenty-one, little girl."

"No, it's for Toren."

A smirk crosses his lips. "Well, if you're playing waitress, I'll take a steak, rare, with some fries."

"Nice try, Finn."

He laughs and throws a potato chip at me as I walk away.

Toren is still sitting on the ground staring into the pool when I sit next to him, tucking my legs beneath me. The pool is heated, but no one's gone in yet. It's still early spring, so the air is a bit too cold for most people to want to swim. A few stray leaves are floating along the surface, and I like how peaceful they look, not going under the water, and not blowing away either. Just floating, weightless and effortless. I want to be a leaf.

I hand Tor the cold bottle and he takes it from me, using his keychain to pop the cap off.

"I thought you were mad at me." He takes a long drink before glancing sideways at me. I can see why Jason was scared of him; on the outside, Tor looks like a badass. He's a beast of a man, not an ounce of fat on him, broad and hard as a rock with ink covering both arms from neck to knuckle. Wavy brown hair falls to the tops of his shoulders. It’s usually tied back in a short ponytail to keep it out of his face when he's working and from tangling up when he's riding. He notoriously wears dark sunglasses to shade his even darker eyes, and his ride of choice is an old custom Harley that roars down the road so loud that you can barely hear yourself think if he's near. But on the inside, he's quiet. Thoughtful. Amazingly caring and giving. Unlike my Dad, he's good looking in a rugged, almost scary way. Chloe has nicknamed him the walking orgasm. I think she's way too fixated on sex lately.

I put my bowl of fruit off to the side. "You know me better than that."

"I shouldn't have embarrassed you in front of your boyfriend."

He passes the bottle to me and I take a sip. I don't like the taste of beer at all but I take sips every now and then, thinking maybe someday that will change and I'll enjoy it like everyone else. Nope. Still tastes gross.

"He's not my boyfriend."

"Really? You were pretty excited about him a few weeks ago. I distinctly remember a bunch of squealing and a happy dance when he asked you out."

Sighing with slight embarrassment over that colorful flashback, I hand the beer back to him, our fingers touching against the cold, damp bottle. "I was, until I got to know him. There's nothing there. I don't feel anything. There's nothing interesting about him. He's just...blah." I feign a shudder.

He laughs and shakes his head. "That shit must be contagious then. That's exactly what Lisa said to me a few days ago."

   
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