Adam is calling my name, but I can’t get myself to answer him. I’m freaking out. My heart is hammering inside my chest and in my ears. My throat has dried up. Fear grips me tight and won’t let me go. I don’t know what to do. My eyes stare straight out the window. I was seeing the person more and more lately.
“Greer, what is it?” Adam grips my shoulders tight and brings me back to reality. “What’s wrong?”
“There was someone-” I break off, my word die in my throat.
Adam follows my eye line, “Was it the same person outside your window?”
I nod, hugging myself tightly. “I’m going insane.”
“It’s okay, Greer.” Adam snakes an arm around me. “It’s probably just stress and lack of sleep.”
“You’re right.” I nod quickly, shaking myself out of a daze. “Yeah, I haven’t been sleeping well lately.”
“Maybe you should take the day off, go home, and sleep it off.” He tells me, stepping up to the counter and ordering both our coffees. He hands over a ten dollar bill and we step away to wait.
“No, I can’t. I just took a day off.” I answer.
“Okay, if you’re sure.”
“I’m fine.” I give him a sad smile.
Kaleb is already in English class when I get there, which is odd. His eyes meet mine from across the room and a smile works its way across his lips. He doesn’t look tired like he has been. He finally looks back to his old self: leather jacket and charming smirk.
When I take my seat, he turns in his to face me. “You busy tonight?”
I’m caught off guard. I stare at him a moment before meeting his inquisitive gaze. “Um-yeah, for what?”
“Irene is going out with some friends, I guess, and she asked me to watch Sofia. I promised Sof I would ask if you were free for a play date.” He rolls his eyes.
I smile brightly, “I think I can make an appearance.”
“Great, it’s a date then.” His eyes go wide at the word. “I mean, a play date.” I give him a taunting smirk. “Whatever, just be there at six. I’m cooking.” With that, he spins back around and faces the front of the classroom.
I stand in front of my closest trying to decide what to wear. I don’t know why I was stressing over it so much, it was just Kaleb. I finally decide on a pair of jeans and my favorite blouse. I throw on my jean jacket and head for the door. Leo is sitting at the table, files scattered around him.
“I’m going out, Leo.” I call to him. “I’ll be back later.”
His head perks up and his tired eyes meet mine, “Are you eating dinner?”
“Yeah, I’ll eat.” I told him. “Make sure you eat something, too.”
He nods, “Be careful and text me on your way home.”
I smile at him and then make my way to my car. I make sure to put on my favorite band before backing out of the driveway. It takes me little time to make it to Kaleb’s house. The front porch light is on even though the sun is still up. Kaleb’s Mustang is parked in the driveway and Irene’s car is already gone. I walk up the front walk, and before I can even knock Sofia opens the front door.
"Geer!” She cries in excitement, hugging my knees tightly.
“Hey, Sofia!” I rub her curly locks.
She steps away from me and lets me in. As soon as I step inside, I’m flooded with the smell of savory food and the sound of Kaleb singing an Italian song. A bright smile crosses my face. Sofia takes my hand and leads me towards the kitchen.
Kaleb is standing in front of the stove stirring a pot of noodles. I’m instantly reminded of how well he can sing as I listen. He picks up a bottle of Olive Oil and mixes a dash into the noodles. He finally turns around and surprises crosses his face for a moment.
“Greer!” He puts down the bottle of oil and meets me halfway. “I didn’t even hear the door ring.”
“I didn’t get a chance to knock.” I laugh.
Kaleb looks down at the little girl at his feet, “Sof, what did I tell you about opening the door by yourself?”
"Mi dispiace.” Sofia looks down at her feet.
“It’s fine.” Kaleb rubs Sofia’s head. “And English, please.”
She nods, “Kay’s making pasta.”
“Awesome, I love pasta.” I lean forward on the island as Kaleb goes back to stir his sauce. “What is it?”
“It’s called Penne alla Vodka.” He tells me.
“Vodka? Can Sofia eat it?” I question.
He laughs, “There’s barely any alcohol in it, but yes, she can eat it. The alcohol basically cooks off when you boil it.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“Unless you cook regularly, you probably wouldn’t.”
I study him as he adds a shot of Vodka to a sauce pan. “So, you like to cook then?”
He nods, “My mom taught me.”
“You don’t talk about her.”
His hand stops stirring for a moment. I almost expect him to whip around and yell at me for bringing up his mom, but he doesn’t. Instead, he turns around slowly and gives me a small smile. “Remember how I told you I knew what it’s like not having parents?”
“My mom’s dead, too.” He says softly.
My heart instantly clenches at his words. I want to tell him that I’m sorry, but I know it won’t do any good. Besides, I knew how he felt and I didn’t like people always saying they were sorry. There was nothing any one could do to change the past.
“How long ago?” I ask.
“Almost three years. I was fifteen.” He answers.
“How did it happen?”
Something darkens in his eyes and his jaw clenches, “A car crash.”
I gulp. Guilt grips me tight. The cover story about my parents’ deaths was a car crash, too.
“Were you in the car when your parents died?” He asks, his face instantly pale.
I shake my head, “No. I was at home reading.” I hate the lie more than I’ve ever hated it before.
“I was.” I see his Adam’s apple bobbing and my heart drops into the pit f my stomach. “I was there when my mom was killed.”
“Was your mom the only one that died?” I questioned.
“Yeah, my dad and I lived.”
“That’s good, at least you have your dad.” I knew it was a lie though. Irene had said that Kaleb’s father was in jail. And I had a feeling I was about to find out why.
“No, I don’t.” He shakes his head. He takes a deep breath. “My dad’s in jail, Greer.”
“What? I’m so sorry.” I react.
“It was his fault the car crashed that night. He’d been drinking.” He paused, gripping the counter top with paper white knuckles. “He killed my mom.”