I stand in the hallway outside of Sofia’s room listening to Kaleb sing her to sleep. If I haven’t said it already, I could listen to him sing all day. His words are in Italian, but I don’t care. The lullaby is slow and sweet and puts Sofia to sleep quickly.
Kaleb steps back into the hallway, closing Sofia’s door behind him quietly. He gives me a smile and then leads me into the den. “Can you stay for a bit?” He asks, taking a seat on the couch in his usual spot.
“Yeah, my date canceled.” I tease.
“He was a knob-head anyway.” He grumbles.
“A knob-head?” I laugh.
“You heard me, a knob-head.” He crosses his arms over his chest.
“You just made that up.”
“Maybe, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”
“You don’t even know who I was talking about.”
“Probably that Bash dude. It doesn’t even matter though.”
“So, you’re saying that any guy I date is a knob-head?”
He shrugs but doesn’t answer.
“You’re a real piece of work.” I groan.
“You’re impossible to talk to.” I shake my head.
“How am I impossible to talk to? I’m just speaking the truth.”
“Bash wasn’t a knob-head.”
He scoffs, “Uh, yeah he was. He was the mayor of knob-head city.”
“You didn’t even know him!” I defend.
“I didn’t need to. I’m a good judge of character.”
“Obviously not, because Bash was a good guy!” My frustration was building now, threatening to blow over.
“A good guy? He dumped you!” He matches my frustration.
“He dumped me because of you!” I’m so angry that words are just falling out of my mouth. I hadn’t meant to say it. I hadn’t meant to tell Kaleb at all.
“What?” His eyes are wide as he stares at me.
“Yeah, you jerk! It’s your fault!” I stand to my feet to get away from him.
“How?” He yells, standing up as well to face me. “How is it my fault? What did I even do?”
“You were just you!” I scream. “You had to poke your fingers into my life and you wouldn’t leave me alone! He dumped me because he thought I was confused.”
"Confused?” He asks.
“Confused about you, jerk!” I take a step back from him. “Which is stupid because I can’t stand you!”
We lapse into silence. I’m too frustrated to speak. Kaleb just watches me with a serious look that makes my skin crawl. His dark eyes scan my face, but they don’t stop in one place. He steps forward, closing the space between us in two quick steps. His fingers melt into the nape my neck as he pulls me roughly to him. Before I can process what’s happening, his lips press against mine. This kiss is not like the fairy tales. I pushed Kaleb too far. I made him feel things he doesn’t know how to handle. His burning fingers are not gentle. His lips are not soft.
My mind comes slamming back to me. It takes every fiber of my being to push him away from me. He stands across the room, eyes wide and searching. The distance between us is full of static.
“Why did you just do that for?” I yell, running the back of my hand across my lips in disgust.
“You wouldn’t shut up!” Kaleb yells back at me, a smug look crosses his face. “Besides, don’t act it wasn’t a dream come true for you!”
“I really hate you, Kaleb Nixon!” I scream, but my heart won’t quit racing in my chest. “Just keep your lips and all other body parts away from me!”
“Are you sure that’s what you want?” He winks. “I’m very good with my body parts.”
“Gosh, I really hate you!” I reiterate.
He laughs, “I don’t think you do. That wasn’t the kiss of someone that hates me.”
“And what about you, huh? You clearly don’t hate me as much as you let on!”
“Trust me, I faked it.” He told me with angry eyes.
I scoff, “No way you faked that.”
“I’m good at pretending, dork, I’ve had lots of practice.”
“You’re repulsive!” I balk.
“You can lie to yourself all you want, dork.” He laughed. “But you just kissed me.”
I stare wide-eyed at him. ”You kissed me!”
“As I said, you wouldn’t shut up. I panicked.” He shrugged.
“There are plenty of other ways to get me to shut up!”
“Really? Enlighten me, because I haven’t found another way that works. You never shut up!” He screams.
“I can’t believe for a moment I actually thought you were a decent human being.” I cross my arms over my chest and shake my head.
“That’s your fault, dork. I never said I was.” He smirks down at me.
Tears threaten to spill out of my eyes for a moment. I can’t believe the nerve he has to sit here and say these things. I stare at him with an open mouth and wide eyes, unable to form a coherent thought. How could he just go from hot to cold so fast?
I push past him and into the hallway. He doesn’t stop me. He watches as I jog down the stairs. I gather up my things, and without a word, I disappear out the front door. It’s only then that the tears start streaming down my cheeks. I slip into my car and hurriedly back out of the driveway.
It takes me less time to get home than it normally does. When I pull into my driveway, I lay my head against my steer wheel and let out a frustrated groan. This is why I didn’t want anything to do with Kaleb Nixon. I didn’t want to give anyone the power to make me feel this way.
I take in a deep breath and exit my car. I walk quietly up to my front walk and slip into my house. Leo isn’t around when I step inside, which to that I’m thankful. I walk into my room and plop down onto my bed.
Kaleb Nixon was everything that Leo said to stay away from. I’d tricked myself into believing that I hated him.
But, oh Gosh, I lied.