Forever Starts Today (Thirty Eight #.5) Coming 2015
Thirty-Eight Days (Thirty Eight #1)
Thirty-Eight Reasons (Thirty Eight #2)
Left Behind Series
What We’ll Leave Behind (Left Behind #.5) Coming 2015
What you Left Behind (Left Behind #1) Coming 2015
For Jaycee Ford and Alex Rosa.
Thank you for walking into my life and fighting dragons with me.
Thank you for being the first to believe in the beauty of sometimes moments.
Our friendship is spelt in the many infinities of this universe.
We are forever.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
Four years and five months ago.
Infinities exist only when two people believe in them and will for the universe to allow them.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The taps on the glass window had Peyton’s head turning. She sat on her bed, waiting for another sound. Seconds passed.
Resting her book down, Peyton felt her phone vibrate next to her on the bed. Seeing his name, she picked it up and answered it.
“Tell me it’s you outside my window,” she said quietly into the phone’s speaker.
He didn’t answer. Her breathing heaved as she moved the covers off her body and stood from the bed.
A laugh broke into her ear.
“It’s me, Pey. Go to the window.”
She smiled at the sound of his voice. Smooth and beautiful. She wasn’t sure when it had happened, but when he’d kissed her underneath the cherry blossoms outside her window, Callum Reid was no longer her best friend. That one kiss and their relationship had become more.
Hanging up, Peyton stood next to her window and looked back at the bedroom door. If her father caught her with him at such an hour, he’d never let her leave the house again.
But her parents were asleep. What were a few minutes with him? Summer would end soon, and then they’d be attending their final year of high school. They had one last year together before university and life decisions would be made. It was either stay in their small tourist town or leave and go to the city—a decision she hadn’t made just yet.
After pushing the curtains back, Peyton lifted the window up and was met with Cullum’s lips on hers. Her hands wrapped around his wrists as she kissed him back. Her playful bite of his lower lip had him laughing against hers.
“Easy, tiger,” he whispered as he pulled his mouth away.
Her heavy breathing mirrored his, and she smiled up at him. The bedside lamp gave her enough light to see his grey eyes. She had always loved him. All her life, she had. But that one kiss had broken free an unconditional and intimate form of love.
“You have to go,” she pleaded.
He brushed her light-brown hair behind her ear before placing his hands on the windowsill. “Just a walk down to the lake together. We’ll be back before your father wakes up for work,” he promised.
The glint in his eyes had her rolling her own at him. “Let me just change,” she sighed, pulling away.
Peyton was surprised when Callum’s hand stopped her from leaving.
He tugged her to face him and his eyes ran down her body. “What you’re wearing is more than fine.”
This was all new to them. They had never gone past their boundaries, and when he did compliment her, she’d blush. Because they’d grown up as neighbours, she knew all there was to know about him.
“Fine!” Peyton said, faking her bothered tone.
Callum grinned as he held out his hands to her and helped her out of her bedroom window. When her feet hit the dry grass, she remembered she had no shoes on. Callum let go of her hands and picked up the basket next to him, taking out a pair of black flats.
“You planned this!” Peyton took the pair of flats she recognised as a pair she had missing.
“I wasn’t willing to let you change your mind if you went and changed.”
Stepping out of the house, Peyton covered her eyes to the early morning sun. It had been two days since she went to the lake with Callum. The warm wind hit her skin as she sat on the steps of the front porch. Looking across the road, she noticed the moving trucks parked in the driveway of the house across the street. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she stood up and watched men with boxes pack the trucks.
After she walked down the path and crossed the road, she stepped onto the green grass of her neighbour’s lawn. She watched as pieces of furniture left the double-story house and was placed in the back of the trucks.
She heard her name. When she looked at the door, the grey eyes made her shake her head.
“I don’t…” she breathed out.
“I’m sorry,” he apologised.
“When were you going to tell me?” The aching in her chest stifled her sob.
He looked away and she felt her heart crumble.
“Callum,” she begged.
“I couldn’t tell you, Peyton. Had I told you, it would have been difficult to say goodbye,” he said and then instructed one of the movers who held a box that was marked ‘Callum’s room’ to place it in the back of the truck.
“This is much worse!” she yelled.
Callum flinched before he breathed out and reached for her hands. Peyton took a step back.
“You’re leaving me!” she sobbed.
“Summer’s over, Pey. I can’t stay in this town. I have to leave. I’m... I’m sorry about everything. It and us… We shouldn’t have happened. We should have just stayed friends,” Callum said before he turned and walked back into the house.
That one word pierced her heart.
Peyton wiped her tears and looked around. More boxes were packed into the trucks, and she tried to process it all.
“Peyton, I didn’t think we’d see you today.” She heard Mr Reid say.
She lifted her head to see an older version of Callum step out of the house. “I-I,” she stuttered, but she couldn’t form words.
“Dad, just leave it,” Callum said angrily. He didn’t look her way as he handed his father another box.
Callum stood in front of her, and the fine line his mouth made was one she never saw.
“You should have told me,” she said, hurt and devastated by what was happening around her.
“There was nothing to tell. I’m moving to the city.”
“That’s it? You’re just up and moving to the city. That’s all it took? Two days and you changed your mind,” she cried.
She had told him that she loved him. He hadn’t said it back, but he hadn’t pushed her away. That night they’d gone to the lake, she’d given him her innocence and told him that she loved him. Two days later, he was leaving.
“Peyton, it’s goodbye,” he softly said. The break in his voice didn’t match the menacing look in his eyes.
“Then goodbye. But don’t you ever come back to this town, Callum. You’re dead to me! If what we had meant nothing to you, then good. Go! I never want to see your face again!” Peyton took one more look at those grey eyes before she turned around and walked towards her house.