Free falling, p.26

Free Falling, page 26

 part  #2 of  Best Friend Series


Free Falling

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Page 26

  Author: Kirsty Moseley


  “You might as well stay; you’ll be here still anyway. I’ll just drive you home after,” he suggested, shrugging casually.

  I chewed on my lip. “Okay, sure. I guess I can put your cooking skills to the test then, huh?”

  He nodded, seeming pretty proud of himself. “You’ll love it. ” He nodded to the hallway, signalling for me to go first as usual.

  “How do you know how to cook then?” Not many guys knew how to cook; especially not things like a pot pie. Alex wouldn’t have a clue where to start with that - then again, Alex burned grilled cheese.

  “My dad taught me, he liked to cook,” he replied shrugging. My ear picked up on the past tense of that statement. My mind was whirling, wondering again why he was living with his aunt and not his parents. “You going or what?” he asked, motioning towards the hallway again because I hadn’t started walking because I was trying to work out his past.

  I nodded and headed into the hallway, seeing Olivia standing with a blond stocky guy who was probably in his late forties. Olivia smiled warmly. “Maisie, this is my husband, Alan. Alan, this is Zach’s tutor, Maisie. ” She waved a hand between us in introduction.

  He nodded in acknowledgement, looking a little bored as he threw his keys onto the sideboard. “Tutor, like that’s worth it,” he muttered under his breath.

  I felt the frown pull at my forehead. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr Kingston. ” I forced my tone to be polite like I was always taught, but the hard expression on his face wasn’t very welcoming at all.

  “Alright, Uncle Alan?” Zach chirped sarcastically from behind me.

  The guy’s eyes flicked to Zach, a scowl slipping onto his face. “Go to school today or did you make your aunt cry again?” he barked.

  I flinched from his hard tone, shifting on my feet as Zach pushed me towards the stairs, his face mirroring the hard expression of his uncle’s. “I went,” he spat. “We’re going to study. ” Alan made a scoffing sound in the back of his throat as Zach forced me to walk up the stairs, his whole body tense.

  I tried to pretend like I couldn’t hear Alan talking to Olivia as we walked away. “Waste of freaking money. A tutor, really? Like that kid will ever graduate, he’s a f**king waster,” Alan growled.

  “He is not a waster! He just needs some extra help, that’s all,” Olivia hissed.

  I cringed at how uncomfortable this situation was as they then started having a full blown argument at the bottom of the stairs about how Zach was a useless sponger and was ruining everything, that Alan didn’t want him here, and that he made everything hard, that they were already struggling with money and Zach was just a deadbeat kid who’d never amount to anything. Olivia was arguing back that he was family and that she’d never abandon him. By the time we got into Zach’s room, they were practically screaming at each other.

  Zach slammed the door behind him, making it rattle on its hinges as he gripped his hands in his hair, his whole body tight with anger as he leant against the door, kicking it with the back of his heel. I didn’t know what to say or do. What was there to say? He obviously didn’t get on with his uncle, that much was glaringly obvious. The whole situation was really sad.

  “You okay?” I asked quietly, touching his elbow tentatively.

  “Just grab your stuff, I’m taking you home now,” he snapped, shoving himself away from the wall and grabbing my schoolbag, throwing my books and pens in there angrily.

  “But we haven’t finished,” I protested.

  “I don’t give a rat’s ass!” he growled. “I’m done. We’re done. ”

  I frowned, stepping in front of the door, blocking it as he stalked over to it again, obviously ready to leave. “Zach, look, I’m sorry that happened, but we should finish studying. You were doing so well,” I encouraged.

  His jaw tightened, his hard brown glare locked on me. “What’s the point? He’s right, I’ll never graduate anyway. I’m just wasting their money and your time. ”

  I gulped at his words. He sounded like he really believed them; there was a defeated, resigned tone to his voice that was actually painful. “Zach, of course you’ll graduate. I’ll help you. If they’re struggling with money then I’ll just help you for free, how about that?” I suggested. I didn’t really need the money anyway, extra cash was nice, but it wasn’t necessary, I got an allowance from my parents anyway.

  He snorted. “Oh yeah, way to make me feel more like a freaking sponger!” he growled, reaching around me and grabbing the door handle.

  I pressed my back against the door so he couldn’t open it. “Stop snapping at me, I’ve done nothing wrong!” I cried, shoving on his chest angrily, but he didn’t even move, it didn’t even make him step back because he was obviously too strong for me to have any effect on. “I’m offering to help you because you said you really wanted to try this time. You said that you want to get this stuntman job, then go get it. Giving up is just going to confirm everything he’s thinking; so graduate and prove him wrong!” I challenged, glaring at him the same way he was glaring at me.

  Silence lapsed over us as he obviously thought it through. I could see the indecision on his face, I could also see a desire, he definitely wanted that job, but the desire was almost entirely masked by anger. After an uncomfortable minute of him just scowling at me, his shoulders seemed to loosen, and he swallowed loudly. “You’re more of a fighter than I gave you credit for,” he muttered.

  A smile twitched at the corner of my mouth because I knew I’d won. “Yeah, I guess practicing my bitchy comebacks on you is helping with my confidence. I should thank you for that,” I joked.

  He laughed, his eyes dropping to the floor as he chewed on his bottom lip.

  I reached down and took my schoolbag from his hand. “We should finish up with that English assignment, and then maybe work on some biology?” I suggested hopefully.

  A frown lined his forehead but he nodded at the same time. “Okay, but I don’t want you to do it for free. I have a job, I can pay you,” he agreed.

  I smiled because he was still willing to try, and headed back over to the bed, not caring this time that I stood on all of his crap as I marched across the room. “Whatever. Come on,” I replied, deciding that I would get this boy to graduate if it was the last thing I did. I would love to see the look on his uncle’s face when that happened. Zach trotted over to me, plopping down, still looking sad and angry, but he picked up his book again, flicking to the right page so we could finish up.

  Dinner had to have been the most awkward time of my life, ever. Olivia tried to lighten the mood by talking to me, and then would try to bring Zach into the conversation too, but every time he opened his mouth and said something, his uncle would grumble something incoherent or make a scoffing sound. Even I wanted to punch him. I had no idea how Zach kept his temper the whole dinner. The only good thing about it was the food. Zach was right, he did cook pretty damn awesomely, I was definitely impressed.

  After dinner we headed back to his room to get my things. Zach grabbed a bottle of drink, a towel, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. “What you up to?” I asked, eyeing him curiously, wondering why he was packing a bag.

  “Going to the training hall for a couple of hours. I go every night, gets me out of here,” he replied, shrugging casually.

  “Gonna do your traceur stuff?” I asked, proud of myself that I got the word right.

  He grinned and nodded. “Yeah. ”

  I debated asking if I could go and watch him. I’d never really seen it properly, and that one move I did see of his was pretty crazy; I’d like to see more of it. But I didn’t ask because he probably needed some time on his own after the whole disastrous family meal thing we’d just endured. Besides, I was going to watch on Friday anyway, because after school I was going with him to meet with his team before we went to study. I was actually pretty excited about that for
some reason.

  The drive home was just as thrilling as I expected it to be. When he pulled up outside my house, he didn’t cut the engine. I gripped his shoulders and climbed off; pulling off the helmet that he’d given me to wear again. He smiled wickedly, so I quickly smoothed down my hair and rolled my eyes.

  “How come you brought me one of those to use anyway?” I asked, handing the helmet back to him.

  He shrugged. “You wanted one, so I got you one. I’m just chivalrous like that,” he stated, smirking at me.

  I rolled my eyes and shouldered my bag. “Well have fun doing your Spider-Man thing,” I joked.

  He grinned. “I will. And I’ll see you at school tomorrow, little rebel,” he teased.

  I frowned and slapped him in the arm. “We agreed to drop that!”

  He smirked at me and gunned the engine loudly, making a cloud of black exhaust fumes billow around us. I stepped back, waving my hand in front of my face and coughed dramatically for emphasis, which made him laugh as he pulled out, speeding off down the street.

  I smiled as I watched him drive away. When he was out of sight, I headed into the house to find my mom in the kitchen just finishing up washing the dishes after dinner. “Hey,” I greeted, dropping my bag onto the side. She jumped and turned to smile at me warmly as I headed over to her side and grabbed the dishtowel, drying up the stuff that was on the draining board.

  “Hi. So how’d it go?” she asked, looking at me curiously. I’d told her that I didn’t really want to tutor Zach, that he was annoying and cocky. She’d told me to give him a chance; apparently she quite liked him from the meeting yesterday.

  I shrugged. “Okay I guess. We got a lot done. ”

  “That’s good,” she commented, passing me the last plate before pulling out the plug and flicking the bubbles off of her hands. “You got a delivery today. They came tonight. They’re calla lilies,” she said, nodding behind me.
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