Pieces of Summer (A stand-alone novel)(4)

By: C.M. Owens



He doesn’t even turn around. It won’t be the last time I try to get out of here and back to Hayden. He’s crazy if he thinks it is.



***



Summer turned into fall, fall turned into winter, and winter turned into spring before I knew it. Escape from Crazy Town hasn’t been possible because of my militant, ever-watchful uncle. But my mother finally has a new boyfriend, and her attention on me has slowly dwindled to nearly nothing.

All they do is make the bedroom wall rattle day in and day out. It’s disgusting and disturbing, and my mother seems a little weirder every day. If she’s not fucking him, she’s sleeping or crying for no real reason at all. And my uncle won’t leave.

But that doesn’t matter today. Today, I’m five minutes from Hayden. I’ve driven straight through, only stopping for gas and pee breaks. Mom is in a sleeping mood, so she hasn’t even noticed I’m missing. I will owe Aidan for forever for having my back on this.

My stomach tightens with anticipation, nervousness, and excitement. It becomes a painful wad in my throat and stomach, growing bigger the closer I get to town. My hands actually shake, and my heartbeat drums in my ears. I can barely even continue driving by the time I reach town, taking the curve that leads to the dirt road I know so well.

Chase hasn’t answered my letters at all—not since summer began. That’s my fault. I left him hanging, but he doesn’t understand, and he’s probably hurting. Chase is easily hurt, because everyone always lets him down. Not me. I’m not going anywhere. Well, I’m going to him, but nowhere else.

The deep craters in the road have been dug out by the rain over the years, never getting repaired, and they try to slow me down. I don’t slow down. I don’t care if I tear my BMW apart on this shitty road as long as I reach Chase.

My neck is red and flushed, along with my chest. I’ve never been so excited and nervous in all my life. My smile is painful when I see his small, pitiful looking house. The house is certainly nothing to smile about. It looks like it should have been condemned five broken windows and four missing floorboards ago, but knowing Chase is close… I can’t contain my smile.

However, the smile slowly starts to fall when I see all the cars in the small yard. There’s nothing but open fields all around the house, so it’s easy to spot the fire in the back field. It’s also easy to hear the roar of music coming from the backyard where there’s apparently a party going on.

It’s Saturday night in Hayden, so they have field parties. Chase always said it wasn’t his style. So why is he having a party at his house?

Parking behind a massive truck, I turn my car off. With shaky hands, I push the door open and walk on unsteady legs toward the origins of the music and laughter. I’ve never been this nervous about seeing him. I’ve also never missed one of our summers before, and I don’t know how well he will have taken my absence.

The party is actually much farther behind the house than I initially realized—off in one of the empty fields. The bonfire is raging, red plastic cups are everywhere, and laughter and dancing is being shared by everyone.

Desperately, my eyes move from face to face, searching for the one guy who will make all these insane knots inside me go away. Each face is vaguely familiar, but none of them are who I want.

Unfortunately, finding what I came to look for proves to be very, very freaking disturbing, considering his tongue is currently being sucked on by a girl who has her legs wrapped around his waist. Her ass is firmly planted on the tailgate of an old truck, one of the many trucks circling the field and acting as seating.

All those knots explode in unison, and my legs wobble, barely holding me up as the first hot tear hits my cheek. Chase laughs against the kiss, even thrusts between her legs like he’s seconds away from screwing her on the tailgate of someone’s truck.

I watch, because I’m sick and need to make sure I’m not delusional as well.

“Chase! Need one?” a guy calls.

It’s definitely him. He looks a little more muscular… a little older. A year and a half has changed him in more ways than just the physical.

Then… Then he pulls out a phone, and my heart crumbles a little more as he holds it to his ear, answering whoever is calling. His tailgate buddy is now shoving her hand down the front of his pants, and he’s smiling down at her as he carries on a conversation over his phone.

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