Home > Until Harry(16)

Until Harry(16)
Author: L.A. Casey

“So it’s cool to stay?” he asked.

I crossed my eyes at him, making him burst into laughter.

My lip twitched. “Like you even have to ask.”

He thought about this for a second, then said, “True.”

He ignored his phone when it rang again, and switched it off instead. “I’ll have your mum call my mum and let her know I won’t be home. Then I’ll be back, and we can totally talk lads and do each other’s nails.”

I fell sideways on my bed, laughing.

“You’re such a freak.”

Kale beamed at me. “If it’ll make you smile, I’ll be the biggest freak this world has ever seen.”

I continued to laugh. “That wouldn’t take much.”

He gripped his chest. “Your words, they wound me deeply.”

“Go call your mum already!” I howled in laughter.

Kale chuckled to himself as he left my room, and I beamed after him, not surprised that I felt so happy being in his presence after being so sad without him.

The next day Kale helped me convince my parents to let me have the day off school. He had the week off college and promised my parents he would take me out and help cheer me up. My father wanted to know what that entailed, and Kale had to explain my makeover plan to them.

My father didn’t like it, but my mother was completely on board. She gave Kale a bunch of money from her savings jar and told him to help me make good decisions.

“Come with us, Mrs Edwards – you know more about fashion and hairstyles than I ever will,” Kale said to my mother.

She patted his shoulder and said, “I think a boy’s opinion is what is needed here, not a mother’s, because I think Lane looks beautiful as she is.”

“Then it’s pointless for me to go too, because I wholeheartedly agree with you.”

“My God,” I grumbled as embarrassment heated my cheeks.

We eventually left my house, without my mother, and made our way into town, laughing and joking the entire bus ride in. When we got off the bus, we were in shopping heaven. There were clothing shops, nail bars and hair salons in every direction. I’d never come into this part of town before, and the overload of people made me nervous.

“I’ve got you.” Kale threaded his fingers through mine. “Don’t let go; you’re tiny and would get lost in the crowd.”

Oh, my God. I could have died. I could have died right there in the middle of the shopping district.

Kale was holding my hand and leaning protectively into me like a boyfriend would to his girlfriend. I knew we were just friends, and he was making sure I didn’t venture off, but I let myself pretend that it was real and he was really just hanging out with me as his girl.

“Okay, what do you want to get done first? Hair, nails or do you want to hit the clothes shops first?” Kale asked as he leaned his mouth down to my ear so I could hear him over all the voices around us.

I trembled as shivers ran up and down my spine.

“Hair,” I squeaked, and then I cleared my throat. “Hair first.”

“Hair first it is,” he said, weaving us through the crowd until we entered a Toni and Guy hair salon.

I stood staring at all the different hairstyle pictures in black and white on the walls for a long moment, and when Kale pulled on my hand, I almost jumped out of my skin. He laughed at me, and so did the woman behind the counter.

“Follow me,” the woman chirped after she smudged a little white gel behind my ear, a skin test for future appointments that involved hair dye. I didn’t want my hair dyed this time around; I just wanted a different style, but I did the test anyway.

I swallowed and looked to Kale and found him sitting behind me in the mini waiting section next to the doorway. “I’ll be here and I’ll be able to see you. Go on – you’ll be fine,” he said, and then hesitated. “Just don’t cut too much off, ’kay?”

I smiled and nodded my head, then walked over to a chair to be introduced to Kevin, a stylist. Kevin was in his early twenties, with spiky hair the colour of the rainbow. He also had so many piercings on his face and in his ears that I lost count at fifteen. He was lovely, though, and very excited that he was giving me my first haircut in, well, forever.

“What are we thinking of doing today?” he asked me, his voice bubbly.

I blew out a breath. “Okay, so I don’t like my hair being so dull. I like the colour, because it’s dark brown but it has a natural red-wine tint when the sun hits it. I’m thinking of five inches off the length and a full fringe like that picture over there. With some layers thrown in too.”

Kevin snapped his fingers at me in a “Z” formation. “Honey, your lad over there won’t be able to take his eyes off you when I get done with you.”

I knew Kevin was talking about Kale, but I didn’t correct him because I liked the fact that someone didn’t think it was as crazy an idea as I thought it was. A half hour went by, and after getting my hair washed, cut, blow-dried and cut again, I was ready. Kevin spun me around and told me to open my eyes. I gasped when I saw myself in the mirror. I looked . . . pretty!

Not beautiful or anything, but pretty, and I was so happy with that.

“Oh, my God,” I squealed. “I love it. I love it so much.”

I hadn’t been trying to look older, but I could easily pass for sixteen now, and I thought that was beyond brilliant.

“Told you,” Kevin said, beaming, and ruffled the hair on the sides of my head.

He brushed stray hairs off my clothes and brought me back over to the desk, where I checked in so I could pay. Kale still sat in the waiting area. He was slouched down on a seat, his long legs bent as he paged through a magazine. There were two girls sitting across from him, watching him with keen interest. I wanted to roll my eyes. He got attention like this everywhere he went, and he didn’t even notice.

“Kale,” I said when I walked over to him.

He looked up at me when I reached him, and his eyes widened. His immediate expression made me very nervous.

“What do you think?” I asked, my voice a whisper.

He put down the magazine and stood up to his full height, which caused me to take a step back so I could look up at him. He was so much taller than me now. Over the last two years, he’d taken a big stretch and got lanky on me.

“I think” – he reached out and brushed the back of his fingers against my fringe – “you look just as beautiful as I knew you would.”

“Oh, my God,” one of the girls said out loud while her friend stared at him in complete awe.

I felt heat crawl up my neck and spread out over my face.

“Kale!” I hissed with embarrassment, and turned to Kevin, who was smiling brightly at me.

“I told you he wouldn’t be able to keep his eyes off you, didn’t I?” he beamed. “I can spot a good boyfriend from a mile away.”

Oh. My. God.

Kill me. Please, just kill me now.

I looked down and tensed when Kale stepped up beside me and paid for my haircut out of the money my mother had given him. I thanked Kevin as we left the salon, and swallowed when Kale placed his hand on my lower back.

“He thinks I’m your boyfriend?” he murmured in my ear.

Shit.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” I said, laughing nervously. “He just assumed.”

Kale grabbed a hold of my arm and turned me to him. “Why are you sorry?” he asked curiously.

I shrugged. “Because I don’t want you to be embarrassed if people think we’re together.”

He frowned. “Why would that embarrass me?”

I blinked. “Because I’m not Drew. I don’t look like her, or any of her friends. I’m not stupid, Kale; I know I’m homely compared to her. That isn’t news to me.”

He stared down at me, a frown on his face, but he said nothing.

I looked over my shoulder and spotted a River Island shop. “Let’s go in there.”

Kale took my hand in his – I got excited shivers again – and led me to River Island without muttering a single word. He was acting very strange. He followed me around the shop as I picked up different items of clothing. I came to a black pair of skinny jeans I really liked, but I wasn’t sure if I could pull off such a look or not.

“Do you think I could wear them?” I asked Kale, and picked up a pair, showing them to him.

He looked at the jeans and nodded. “Sure, why not?”

“Because they are skinny jeans,” I said in a duh tone.

Kale blinked. “I don’t know what that means.”

Lads.

I rolled my eyes, making him snort.

He followed me to the changing rooms and waited outside as I began the process of trying all my outfits on. I tried on a few different dresses and T-shirts, then decided to get the jeans out of the way. They were a size twelve and slid on me fine; they even buttoned up great.

They looked good; at least I thought they did.

I turned around and looked at myself from every angle to see if my bum looked okay. I turned to the front and grunted at my tummy; it was chubby, but not exactly flabby. I wished it were flat and toned.

“What are you trying on?” Kale asked me from outside the changing room.

“The jeans,” I replied.

“Can I see them on?” he asked. “Or do you not want my opinion?”

I did want his opinion; I just didn’t want him to see me in the jeans, if that made any sense. I was going to throw on a T-shirt to cover up my stomach, but I thought the hell with that because I would need him to help me get a certain dress on in a few minutes, which meant he would see my stomach anyway. Besides Kale wouldn’t care if he saw my bra or chubby belly. He probably wouldn’t even notice. He never noticed anything about me.

I opened the door of the changing room and gestured to the jeans. “What do you think?”

Kale widened his eyes and quickly entered the changing room, closing the door behind him.

“Kale!” I snapped as I stumbled backwards. “What was that for?”

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