Read Loving Charley Online

Authors: Casey Peeler

Tags: #romance, #dating, #college life, #new adult, #southern literatrure, #mature young adult, #teen and young adult, #pretty little liars, #teen romantic fiction, #teen 16 plus

Loving Charley (7 page)

BOOK: Loving Charley
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“You don’t want to know.”

“Why wouldn’t I? I need to
know everything you’re thinkin’, even though most of the time I
already know. Let me see if I can guess.”

“What, are you a damn mind
reader?” I sass.

“Might be. How about if I
get it right, then whatever is racing through your mind, I get to
decide the outcome?” This makes me beyond nervous. Cash can read me
like a book, but honestly, I need him to decide, because I’m not
sure if I can.

“Aight. Shoot. Whatcha
think I’m thinkin’?”

Scratching his chin like
he’s deep in thought trying to decipher my thoughts, Cash says, “If
I was a mind reader, I’d say you’re debating about going back to
Southern.”

Speechless.
Yeah, that’s what I am. My face must tell it all
because Cash doesn’t give me any time to respond. “The answer to
that verdict is… you’re goin’ back.”

“But…” I start to say, but
he doesn’t allow me to finish. Instead, he covers my lips with his
finger. “Shhhhh… just hear me out.” Knowing I don’t have a choice,
I listen. “I know you’re scared. I am too, but you went to Southern
for a reason. You’re not a quitter, and I won’t allow you to not
finish this year. You have too many people that need you there. The
Kluft girls, the team, and Joe.”

“But, what if they put you
away, and this month is all we have?”

“What did I tell ya about
the what ifs? God knows the future, and I believe that He’s on our
side. He’s gonna take care of us. We are meant to be, but you have
grown so much these past few months, I can only imagine what you
will be like when this year is over.”

As tears form in my eyes
and one trickles down my face, Cash wipes it away. “Charley Anne
Rice, you have grown into a stubborn, fierce, and loving woman that
I plan on making my wife one day. You always say I’m your rock and
that I saved you, but you save me every day. I’d just be another
good ol’ country boy, but with you… I’m the good ol’ country boy
with the strongest country girl by his side, and I’ll take that any
day.”

I don’t want to agree, but
I know I have to. He’s right; he always is. Cash and I hold each
other, and by mid-morning, we know we have to go back home. We pack
our things and load his truck and drive it through the field to the
house.

Dad gives us a wave as he
drives the tractor. Tessa’s car is home, and I’m sure Mama has a
few leftovers from breakfast for us.

Once we are at the house,
Cash turns off the truck and looks at me. “So, when are you going
to return to Southern?”

Taking a deep breath, I
reply, “I guess the sooner the better. Southern States is in two
weeks.”

“I’ve got to go home after
we eat and talk to Mama and Dad. Then, I’ll come back and help you
pack.” Tears begin to stream, and a wave of emotions hit me even
though I try to force it back. I don’t want to leave, but I need to
do this. Just like the day I decided to go to Southern. I just
know. Cash wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me in tight,
and when I glance at him, his eyes are glossy and tears begin to
slide down his face one at a time. Not knowing what to do, I turn
to face him, and press my lips to his. We both continue to cry as
our lips ignite. In this moment, we have both started to heal with
each other.

Chapter 11

We pull ourselves apart,
and wipe away each other’s tears before exiting the truck. Cash
takes my bag, and we walk hand in hand into the house. For some
reason today, I feel like it’s a new beginning.

Cash lays my bag by the
door, even though my mama can’t stand that because we used to do it
all the time. We go into the kitchen where two plates are fixed and
resting on top of the stove. I nuke them in the microwave as Cash
pours us some drinks.

We hear Mama in the laundry
room. “‘Bout time y’all decided to show up. Whatcha got planned
today?”

Cash peers at me with
the
you better tell her
look
. “Um, I guess I’m gonna go back to
school.” She drops the lid on the washing machine and flies into
the kitchen.

“You’re going today?” I
shake my head yes as the tears begin to fall. She rushes to my side
and holds me like only a mother can. “You know you don’t have to,
right?”

“Yes, ma’am, but I need to.
I need to finish what I started.”

Brushing her hands through
my hair, she takes a minute to speak. “There’s my girl. I’m going
to let your dad and sister know. Whatcha want for lunch before you
go?”

“Doesn’t matter.” With
that, she squeezes me tight and then releases me to find
them.

I go to meet Cash, and we
eat our breakfast. Afterward, he leaves me to go home to see his
parents. I don’t walk him to the truck because I might not let him
go. Instead, I go upstairs to get ready, talk to Tessa, and start
packing.

Within the hour, I’m
greeted by a light knock on my door. As it opens, I see Cash Money
freshly showered and grinning from ear to ear.

“Whatcha smilin’ for?” I
ask.

“Well, the fact that I’m
lookin’ at the most beautiful girl in the world is a given, but Dad
talked to my lawyer, and things are looking good. I mean, we
haven’t been to court yet, but he thinks it’s gonna be
okay.”

Tossing the shirt I was
folding onto the bed, I walk toward him and wrap my arms around his
neck. “Now, that’s the kinda news I like to hear.”

He kisses me quickly.
“Yeah, me too.” We stare into each other’s eyes until I feel like I
might burst into flames. “C’mon. Let me help ya,” he says with a
playful smack on my ass.

Cash helps me pack, making
me laugh in the process. We take turns stealing kisses from each
other, and once things are ready to go, he takes me in his arms,
holds me like our lives depend on it, and kisses me with every
ounce of his being.

“Um… I guess I need to call
Piper. Things have been so crazy.”

“She’s gonna kill ya for not letting
her know you were leaving the moment you decided.”

“I know. Joe was going back this
morning. I didn’t really want to interrupt that love
fest.”

“I will have to say, I’m glad to see
them both happy.”

“Me, too. Hold that thought
while I call her.”

Cash does exactly that. He
puts his thought in action as I’m trying to keep a straight face
while talking to Piper. I give him the look as he continues to
place small kisses on my neck. He grins, but continues. Piper isn’t
happy that I waited, but understands it was last minute. She’s
decided that she might as well leave today, too.

We hang up, and I scold Cash, but in a
way he really likes.

“You are too cute when you
are tryin’ to be serious, ya know? It’s pretty hot
actually.”

This only makes me madder, but it
doesn’t take long before I’m not mad and falling even more in love
with the boy of my dreams.

Cash takes the bag
downstairs, and Mama is busy finishing lunch. It’s simple today, a
grilled cheese sandwich and homemade vegetable soup. We all eat as
a family, Cash included. Then, Cash and Dad put my bags into the
car while I spend a few minutes with Mama and Tessa.

While Mama is moving the
clothes to the dryer, Tessa and I talk about Dustin. She’s all
right now that she knows it’s an act. I love my sister more than
life itself, and I’m glad that she’s going to be fine.

Once the car is loaded, I
say my goodbyes to everyone. Poor Blue looks as sad as the first
time I left Grassy Pond, so I reassure him I’ll be home soon. It’s
the truth; the court date will be on us quickly. I hug everyone,
and Cash walks me to my car while everyone else retreats
inside.

Cash pulls me in close; I
want to be as close to him as possible. He kisses my forehead down
to my lips, and we allow our mouths to do the talking instead of
our voices.

Cash’s hands roam to the
back of my neck and hold me close, as if he can’t get enough. He
slows, but continues to give me small kisses, and then pulls away.
He kisses the tip of my nose before he opens the door. I get into
the driver’s seat. He kisses me again and tells me he loves me
before closing the door. It takes every ounce of courage to crank
the car and pull out of the driveway. I know that it’s the right
choice, even though I’m leaving my heart in Grassy Pond.

Chapter 12

Looking into the rearview mirror, I
see the house get smaller and smaller as I drive down the gravel
road. Cash is standing there waving bye, and I smile as my heart
hurts to leave him.

As I approach the only
stoplight in Grassy Pond, I mess with the radio. I’m brought back
to reality when I hear a loud truck engine and horn honk beside me.
Looking to my right, I smile and can’t believe my eyes.

Rolling down my window, I ask Cash
Money what the hell he’s up to.

“Hey, Char-coal, meet me at
the county line gas station.”

“Aight,” I say as the light
turns green, and I take off.

As I reach the county line,
I pull off into the gas station parking lot on the right. After
turning off the ignition, I reach for the door when it opens for
me.

“Well, ain’t that sweet,” I
say as I kiss his cheek once I’m out of the car. “What’s all this
about? Didn’t I just leave you a few minutes ago?”

“Exactly,” Cash says as he
pulls me against his taut chest. “I couldn’t let you go quite yet.
I need you to myself for just a few minutes.”

“Oh, really? Sayin’ bye in
front of my parents wasn’t good enough for ya?”

“Hell no, and to be honest, I don’t
know how I’m gonna make it until Southern States.”

“Well, then don’t! Follow
me back now.”

Looking at me quizzically,
he replies, “Char-coal, I can’t go back to school with
you.”

Knowing exactly what to do,
I make Cash think twice about what I just proposed. Taking my
hands, I place them on his chest and venture them north until they
are around his neck. Using my eyes to tell him everything I’m
thinking, I move myself closer to him, and when I’m within inches,
I propose the question again. “Are you sure you don’t wanna follow
me?”

“Char-coal, there would be
no followin’ you because there’s no way I could drive to Southern
knowing you’re in the car in front of me.”

Bringing my lips to his, I
kiss him gently, and between kisses, I tell him what he wants to
hear. “Why don’t you drive me then?”

“Char, where are we gonna
leave your car?” he questions as he rests his head on my
forehead.

“We take it home, get you some
clothes, and hit the road.”

“I can’t move into your dorm room.
This ain’t a buy one education get one for free deal.”

Laughing, I say, “I know,
but I really don’t need my car because we ride in the Love Machine
anyways. If I need something, I have Georgia or Joe.” Giving him
the biggest puppy dog eyes and pouty lip possible, I plead for him
to take me back. “It will just be for tonight, and then you can
come back home. One more night, Cash Money?”

He runs his hand through
his short hair, knowing he can’t tell me no. “Let me go home and
grab some clothes, but why don’t I just drive your car? That way
you don’t have to move all your stuff,” he says as he motions to
the bags in the backseat along with a full trunk, thanks to
Christmas.

Jumping into his arms, I
give him small, quick kisses on those perfect lips. I pause before
answering him. “I guess you have a point about the car. I’ll meet
you at your house.”

“This is gonna be fun when I pull into
your parents driveway tomorrow.”

“Cash, really? They love
you. They love me, but they love
us
even more. It’s okay.”

“I hate to break it to you,
Char-coal, but in your dad’s eyes, it will never be okay. You’re
his little girl, and even though he trusts me, that’s just a
conversation I’m not lookin’ forward to.” I must have a confused
look on my face. “You’re serious, aren’t you? You don’t get it.
Look, if I drive you back, your parents will know I stayed in your
dorm room alone with you. They will only assume, especially after
everything that has happened over the past few weeks.” Whispering,
he says, “You know they think we’ve done the deed.”

“Ohmygosh, Cash! I bet
they think we already have!” A look of fear crosses his face. “Nah,
I’m kidding. They know where we are, and what we’ve decided… or
what
you’ve decided.
They’re pretty proud of you for standing your ground with
me.”

“You talked to them both about
it?”

“Well, after everything
with Dylan, there are no secrets. I’m an open book for everyone to
read. So, are you goin’ or what?” I ask, changin’ the
subject.

“Meet me at my house.”
Kissing my lips, he backs away, gets into the truck, and we make
our way back to the Montgomery farm.

Once we are at Cash’s, I
text Tessa so she will know what’s up. Of course, she calls me
sneaky as a fox, and she knew as soon as Cash got into his truck,
he wasn’t going to let me leave the county without him, even if it
was for one night.

BOOK: Loving Charley
11.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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