Falling into You Read online
Chapter 1: BFF…Or BF?
I wasnt always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first.
Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way.
I grew up next to the Calloways. Kyle and I were the same age, our moms having given birth to us in the same hospital, two rooms apart, two days apart. Kyle was the older one, much to my irritation. Only by two days, but that was enough for Kyle to get big head about it and tease me mercilessly. We played in the same Pack-N-Play in his mom’s house as babies. We shared blocks and dolls (Kyle played with dolls as much as I did until we were three or so, which I in turn teased him mercilessly about). We learned to ride bikes together; my dad taught us both, since Mr. Calloway was a Congressman and gone a lot. We studied together, did homework together. We were best friends before anything else. It was always kind of assumed we’d end up together, I think.
Not quite arranged, necessarily, just…assumed. His dad, the up-and-coming Congressman; My dad, the CEO, the über-successful businessman. Their beautifully perfect children, together? Well, duh. I mean, I know that sounds arrogant, or whatever, but it’s just the truth. I’m not perfect, obviously. I have some flaws. I’m kind of wide in the hips for my height, and my bust is a little too big for my frame, but whatever. I know what I look like, but I swear I’m not vain about it.
We weren’t aware of those assumptions until our sophomore year. We’d been friends until that point, best friends, but just friends. I was never a boy-crazy type of girl. My conservative father wouldn’t have allowed it, for one thing, and I wasn’t permitted to date until I was sixteen anyway. So then, the week after my sweet sixteen, Jason Dorsey asked me out. Jason is the runner-up to Kyle’s bid for complete perfection. He’s blond where Kyle is raven-haired, a more bulky muscle-builder type to Kyle’s lean, cut, lupine grace, and Jason isn’t quite as smart or charming as Kyle, but then I might be biased.
I didn’t even hesitate when Jason asked if he could take me to dinner after school. I mean, duh, right? Just about every girl at my high school dreamed of Jason or Kyle asking them out, and I was BFF’s with Kyle, and had a date with Jason. He did it at my locker, which was always a busy spot, so it was a public thing. Everyone saw, and they were all so jealous, let me tell you.
I met Kyle at his souped-up Camaro after sixth period like always, and we took off, tires squealing. Kyle tended to drive like he was in a high-speed chase, but he was a very skilled driver, so I never freaked. His dad had made sure Kyle was given courses in defensive driving by an actual FBI agent, so Kyle could out-drive most of the cops at the local PD.
“Guess what?” I asked, excited, as Kyle drifted a wide left turn onto the dirt road leading to our neighborhood. Kyle shot me a lifted eyebrow look, so I grabbed his bicep and squeezed, squealing, “Jason Dorsey asked me out! He’s taking me to dinner tonight!”
Kyle nearly drove off the road. He jammed on the brakes, spinning the car into a sideways skid on the dirt road leading to our houses. Kyle twisted in the leather bucket seat, one arm braced on the headrest of my seat, brown eyes blazing. “What did you just say?” He sounded angry, which confused me. “‘Cause I could have sworn you just said Jason asked you out. ”
I felt my breath catch at the intensity in his eyes, his voice. “I…he did?” It came out like a question, timid and confused. “He’s—he’s picking me up at seven. We’re going to Brann’s. Why are you acting this way?”
“Why am I—?” Kyle snapped his teeth together, cutting himself off, then scrubbed his face with his hands. “Nell, you can’t go out with Jason. ”
“Why not?” Now that I was over the shock of Kyle’s sudden anger, I was hurt, more confused than ever, and getting angry. “He’s nice, and cute. He’s your best friend, so what’s wrong with him? I’m excited, Kyle. Or I was. No one’s ever asked me out before, and I’m finally allowed to date now that I’m sixteen, you’re all mad. I don’t get it. You’re supposed to be happy for me. ”
Kyle’s face twisted, and I watched as half a dozen emotions rippled over his handsome features. He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Finally, he let out a groaned curse and flung his door open, threw himself out of the car, slammed the door behind him and stalked away through Mr. Ennis’s cornfield.
I hesitated, more confused than ever. It looked, just before he stormed away, like Kyle was jealous. Could he be jealous? Then why didn’t he ask me out? I ripped my hair out its ponytail and retied it, the wheels in my head spinning so fast I could barely breathe.
Kyle? I’d done everything with Kyle. Everything. We ate lunch together every day. We went on hikes and picnics, long bike rides ending in ice cream at Dairy Queen. We skipped his dad’s monthly political soirees to drink stolen wine on the dock behind my house. We even got tipsy once and went skinny dipping.
I had a memory of watching Kyle turn away as he shoved his boxers off and feeling a tingle in my belly at the sight of his naked backside. I’d attributed the feeling to being buzzed, at the time. Of course, I’d stripped too, and Kyle’s gaze had taken in my body in a way that had made the tingle even worse. At the time, I’d yelled at him to stop ogling me, and he’d turned away. He’d been in water up to his waist, but now I couldn’t help wondering if he’d been hiding a reaction to seeing me naked. He’d been very careful to keep his distance while we swam, when normally we were very physical, hugging, teasing each other, getting in tickle wars, which Kyle always won.
I was starting to look at everything differently, all of a sudden.
Kyle? He was my best friend. I had girlfriends, obviously. Jill and Becca and I got mani-pedis together every week and then went for milkshakes at Big Boy. But when I was upset or pissed off, when I got in a fight with Mom and Dad or got a bad grade or anything, I went to Kyle. We’d sit on my dock or his and he’d talk me out my funk. Hug me and hold me until I felt better. I’d fallen asleep on the dock with him a thousand times, fallen asleep on his couch watching a movie. On his couch, on his lap. Against his chest, his arm around me.
That’s not BFF kind of affection, is it? We’d never kissed, never held hands like boyfriend/girlfriend, though. And if anyone asked, which happened a lot, we were always like no, we’re not going out, we’re best friends.
But were we more?
God, what a mess.
I got out of the car and followed after Kyle. He was long out of sight, but I knew where he was going. There was a spot on ridge on the other side of Mr. Ennis’s cornfield where we hung out a lot. You could see our town from that ridge, as well the silver string of the creek and the dark swath of the forest.
Kyle was halfway up the huge lightning-blasted pine that crowned the ridge. There was a long, thick branch about twenty feet up, easy to climb to, and we frequently sat on that branch together, his back to the trunk, my back to his chest. I stood on the branch beneath Kyle, waiting. He hooked his foot around the branch, reached down lifted me like a doll and set me in front of him. This position took on a new significance, suddenly. I could feel his heart hammering in his chest. He was breathing hard and smelled of sweat. He must have run up the ridge.
I leaned my head back on his shoulder and looked at him, his profile chiseled and gorgeous, bathed golden in the late afternoon sun. His brows were knitted together, his jaw clenched hard. He was pissed, still.
“Kyle…talk to me. I don’t—”
“Don’t what? Understand? Yes you do. ” He glanced at me, then slid his eyes closed and turned away. As if it hurt to look at me.