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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(68) by Samantha Young|
I didn’t want to know this. It would be much easier for me to pretend that Nate had no feelings about the dissolution of our relationship. Jo wanted me to know, though. She thought it meant something. She thought there was still possibility.
She just didn’t get it.
‘Oi, movie’s over,’ a belligerent voice said.
I glanced up at the young cinema worker. ‘Yeah, so?’
‘So … you have to leave now,’ he replied irritably.
Slowly I got up. ‘You just love your job, don’t you?’
His look would have quelled Death. I grabbed my bag and got out of there.
I pushed my hair back off my face as I entered the lobby of the Cineworld. I’d come to the Omni Centre at the top of Leith Walk on a Friday night because sitting home, remembering how many Friday nights I spent watching movies with Nate, was not a good way to get over him.
I glanced back over my shoulder before I hit the stairs and saw Cole standing at the concession stand with a group of friends. Being so tall, he was easy to spot. He smiled at me, murmured something to a friend, and strolled over. I had to tilt my head back to look up into his face. ‘Hey.’ I smiled at him. ‘You okay?’
He shrugged. ‘Just going to see a film with some friends.’ His eyes searched my face. ‘You okay?’
‘I’m fine. Just heading home.’
‘You were here alone?’
‘A person can go to the movies alone, you know.’
Cole’s eyes narrowed. ‘Right.’ He glanced over his shoulder before returning his focus to me. ‘Let’s go back to the flat. Jo and Cam are just hanging out tonight. We can all watch a movie together.’
‘Cole, no, go be with your friends.’
‘Nah, it’s cool. They’re going to see a film I’ve already seen. Jo bought those little chocolate cupcake thingies you like …’
I groaned. ‘You know me too well.’
He grinned. ‘Come on, then.’
Maybe it would be nice not to go home to an empty apartment just yet.
We turned toward the stairs. ‘Hey, Cole!’ Looking back over our shoulders we saw a pretty blonde step away from the group, her large eyes questioning. ‘Where are you going?’
‘She’s pretty,’ I murmured under my breath. ‘Sure you want to leave?’
Cole shrugged. ‘She’s not really my type,’ he murmured back.
‘Pretty’s not your type?’
‘She’s kind of annoying.’
‘Coh-ul?’ the blonde whined, and the sound was incredibly irritating.
‘Oh, yeah, I get you now.’
He snorted and looked back at his friends. ‘I’ll catch you guys later, all right?’
One of the boys glanced over at that, his eyes flying to me and widening instantly. ‘Fuck, Cole, are you tapping that?’
Cole glared at the kid. ‘Del, why don’t you turn around and start talking through your arse? That way we’ll forgive the shit you come away with.’
While their friends laughed, shoving and teasing this ‘Del’ person, Cole gripped my elbow and started walking me down the stairs.
I was choking on laughter. ‘I know I’m supposed to admonish you for cursing, but … you are getting so like Cam, it’s too funny.’
Cole was pleased with my assessment. He tried to hide it, but I saw the flush of pleasure on his neck and the little twitch to his mouth. I understood why. Cam was this hero who had swept in and saved him and his sister from a crappy life. Cam was everything Cole wanted to be.
We were silent for a while as we strolled down Leith Walk side by side until the thought of the pretty blonde who’d stared at Cole with open fascination came to mind. ‘So, if you’re not into the whiny blonde girl, is there someone else you like?’
In answer Cole flushed but surprised me by saying, while gazing at the ground, ‘There’s someone, but I’m too young for her. And I think she likes someone else anyway.’
A pang of deep affection echoed in my chest. ‘Dude, you really know how to boost a woman’s self-esteem.’
He smirked, but his eyes were searching when he finally gathered the courage to look at me. ‘I overheard Jo and Cam talking. I know about you and Nate and what he did. I told him I don’t hang out with idiots or ass**les, and seeing as he’s both, I was done.’
For some insane reason I felt bad for Nate. ‘Cole, while I appreciate your loyalty, and I really do, Nate is your friend. He cares about you. Don’t shut him out because of me.’
‘But he hurt you.’
‘Yes. And I’m angry at him. But he didn’t hurt you. So please don’t you be angry at him.’
Cole was quiet for a moment and then he said, ‘I think he feels bad. He’s been looking like shit lately.’
I pretended not to hear that. ‘That’s the third time you’ve cursed – you realize that, right?’
‘Okay, I’ll leave the admonishing to Jo. Let’s talk about something less depressing. How’s school?’
‘You think that’s less depressing?’
‘It can’t be that bad.’
‘Okay, how about art?’
That topic immediately opened him up. ‘I’m getting a tattoo on my eighteenth birthday. I’ve been drawing loads of different ideas.’
‘Oh? So, are you still thinking about becoming a tattoo artist?’
‘Aye, didn’t Jo tell you?’
‘Tell me what?’
‘Adam’s friend’s cousin owns a tattoo parlor down in Leith. He’s going to let me spend a couple of days a week there over the summer. After high school there might be a possibility of an apprenticeship with him. If he likes me, that is. He told me to keep all my drawings. Create, like, a portfolio.’
‘That’s brilliant. Wow, you are way more organized about life than I was at fifteen.’
He grunted. ‘Tell that to Jo. She wants me to go to college first.’
‘Maybe you should.’
‘We’ll see. Despite what she thinks, I have still got time.’
‘She just wants you to have choices in life, Cole.’
‘Aye,’ he said, his eyes softening. ‘I know that.’