Home > Until Harry(5)

Until Harry(5)
Author: L.A. Casey

“You okay?” he asked me.

Now I am, I silently said to myself.

I looked up at him and nodded.

“I love you,” I said, making our mothers sigh and our fathers chuckle.

Kale snickered. “I love you too, Laney Baby.”

I pressed my face into his stomach as I smiled. He was the best friend ever.

“What did the principal say?” my father asked Kale’s as we all exited the waiting room and headed out of the school.

My mum whispered that we were allowed to go home, and I thought it was really cool, because I didn’t want to go back to my class anyway.

“He understood Kale was upset and felt the need to defend Lane, but violence wasn’t the way to go about it. Kale is suspended for two days, but Jordan and his friends got a week.”

I frowned. “What’s ‘spended’ mean?” I asked, my head tilting to the side.

Kale laughed and slung his arm over my shoulder. He leaned down and whispered, “It means I get to stay in bed all day while you have to go to school.”


I gasped. “No fair! I want to be spended too!”

Kale’s rich laughter filled the corridor we walked down, but he stopped when a door further down opened up and out stepped Drew with her stupid pretty red hair. Kale’s arm tensed around me, but he grinned when Drew’s gaze fell on him.

“Kale!” Drew squeaked when she spotted him, and she ran all the way down the corridor to reach him.

She really ran all the way.

I stepped to the side when she crashed into him and gave him a big hug. I glared hard at her and stepped back until my back pressed against my daddy’s legs. I looked up at him and noticed he was sharing a grin with Kale’s daddy and shaking his head. Our mummies were also smiling and shaking their heads as they observed Drew and Kale.

I don’t get it, I thought. Why are they happy?

“Hey, Drew,” Kale murmured into her hair as he inhaled.

I was disgusted. He sniffed her hair. I saw him sniff it!

Drew pulled back from the hug. “I’m so happy you’re okay, I was worried about you.”

“You were worried about me?” Kale asked, his voice disbelieving.

“Of course,” Drew said, nodding. “Are you suspended?”

Kale shrugged, seemingly not caring. “Two days.”

I frowned. He was acting like it was no big deal.

Drew’s mouth formed into the shape of an O. “For defending your sister? That’s so stupid.”

“Tell me about it,” Kale chuckled, scratching the back of his neck.

Drew blushed then when she noticed my parents and Kale’s were watching the exchange. “Well, I’ll be in every day. I can get notes for you and mark chapters you will miss,” she said, and flushed so much her entire head turned the colour of a tomato. “I can bring them to you after school every day so you don’t fall behind.”

Kale’s face was red too, but he remained silent. I wanted to kick him and say no to Drew for him, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do a thing. I was so angry, but I had no idea why.

“That’d be great . . . Drew, is it?” Kale’s mummy said after Kale still hadn’t replied to her.

Drew looked at Kale’s mummy and nodded, smiling shyly. “Yes, my name is Drew.”

“Pretty name.” Kale’s mummy smiled.

Drew’s face flushed some more, and she murmured, “Thank you.”

She then cleared her throat and looked down to her hands. I only then noticed she was carrying a sheet of paper with a bunch of different words on it.

“I’ve got to get this photocopied for my teacher, so I better go, but I’ll keep one for you, Kale, and make extra notes. I’ll bring them to you today after school – is that okay?” Drew asked, her eyes hopeful.

“Yes,” Kale instantly replied, then cleared his throat. “I mean, yeah, sure, that’d be cool. Whatever.”

Kale’s daddy and mine began to snort, and it caused Kale to tense up.

“Okay, great. I know where you live, so I’ll see you later.” She leaned in and kissed Kale’s cheek.

She kissed it!

She flicked her eyes to me then and said, “I hope you’re okay too, Lane.”

She said bye to us all then and, walking around us, went on her way down the hallway. Kale didn’t move, so his daddy shoved him forward and laughed. “Smooth, son. Real smooth.”

Kale was still red in the face but playfully shoved his daddy back.

“Shut up,” he mumbled, a smile tugging at his lips.

I glowered at the exchange, and my mummy noticed. She nudged Kale’s mummy, and both of them looked at me and smiled. They were weird like that, always smiling at me when I was looking at Kale. It freaked me out, but I never said anything because they were old, and I wanted them to be happy.

“Kale,” Kale’s mummy murmured, and jerked her head in my direction.

Kale looked at me and blinked when he saw my expression.

“Why’re you angry?” he asked, frowning.

I didn’t know why I was angry other than that Drew annoyed me, but I didn’t want to tell him that.

“My head hurts,” I replied.

I wasn’t lying; it did hurt, just not as much as my chest suddenly did.

Kale walked over to me and slung his arm back around my shoulder. “We can watch films with our mums and eat ice cream when we go home. Will that help?”

I forgot about everything.

My sore head.

My aching chest.


Kale calling her beautiful, smiling at her and acting so differently around her.

I focused on thoughts of playing with Kale and watching films for the rest of the day. I leaned into him and smiled, making everyone chuckle. He knew my response was a silent whopping yes.

“Come on then, let’s go.” He beamed and removed his arm from around my shoulder only to reach down and grasp my hand with his. “We have films to watch, Laney Baby.”

I held onto Kale’s hand tightly and smiled with delight as we left our school. I loved spending time with him, and I loved when he called me Laney Baby. I loved everything about Kale, and I knew that I always would.

He was my best friend, my best not-really big brother and my best protector. He was my best everything. He was mine.


Day one in York

My heart was pounding against my chest, and my hands got sticky with sweat.

He called me Laney Baby, my mind whispered. Kale Hunt is standing in front of me in the flesh, and he called me Laney Baby.

I felt like I was thrust back into my early years when things were okay with us, when things weren’t . . . arduous. I forced that knowledge to the very back of my mind and willed myself to calm down. I refused to appear as flustered and unprepared for this meeting as I truly was. I knew coming back here heightened the possibilities of running into Kale; I just hadn’t realised it would happen ten minutes after I stepped foot through my parents’ front door.

“How are you?” I asked after a long stretch of silence, my voice formal.

Kale’s lips thinned to a line. “I’m good, kid. You?”

Kid. I wanted to growl that I wasn’t a damn kid any more, but I didn’t. I somehow kept my composure.

“I’ve” – I glanced at my uncle’s coffin, then back to Kale – “been better.”

He frowned and nodded in understanding. “It’s good to have you home.”

Was it? a voice in my head taunted.

“Thanks,” I replied, then lied through my teeth. “It’s good to be back.”

It wasn’t good to be back.

It was absolute torture standing here and acting like I wasn’t hurting all over again. Like my heart didn’t kick into overdrive at the mere sight of him, like my palms didn’t itch as they ached to touch him, like my knees didn’t shake to keep from walking to him, like shivers didn’t dance up and down my spine upon hearing his husky voice, like my lips didn’t want to fucking devour his until there was nothing left in existence but the two of us.

It’s only for a few days, I quickly reminded myself. You can do this.

I remained mute as my family suggested we go into the sitting room so we could “talk”. I went with them because I needed to be away from my uncle for a few moments to gather my thoughts. I was devastated over him, and ripped apart at seeing Kale, and if I didn’t leave the room soon and refocus, I feared I would have a nervous breakdown.

I was the last to enter the sitting room, so I sat on the lounge chair across from everyone else on the huge L-shaped sofa where Lochlan already sat, scowling at me. I pretended not to notice him, even though I was hyper aware of his gaze on me.

My brothers, like my mum and uncle, were fraternal twins, and they had a similar close bond, though they were the polar opposites of one another. Lochlan was temperamental, whereas Layton was calm-headed; their differences balanced them out. I greatly appreciated Layton when Lochlan got angry with me because the thing about my brother was that I could never ignore him when he was mad with me, mainly because he never let me get away with anything, which apparently had followed us into adulthood.

Everyone sat on that sofa with my pissed-off brother except Layton. He slid onto the lounge chair next to me and put his arm around me. I smiled because he was big with muscle, and his sharing the chair with me just squashed my body into his. I didn’t complain, though, I loved the closeness. I had missed this. I had missed him.

Layton was the true peacekeeper in our family, and the only reason I didn’t see eye-to-eye with him was because he didn’t like me living abroad. He feared for my safety and thought it was cruel of me to disregard my family’s concern for me. He made it clear how much he would miss me when I was away and how much he flat-out hated that I chose to live so far away, but unlike Lochlan, he brooded in the comfort of his own mind after I made it clear I couldn’t come back home. Layton suffered in silence, and he took his silence seriously, which is why we never spoke after I left, unless I was wishing a family member a happy birthday or merry Christmas.

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