Edge of Chaos(Love on the Edge #1)(3)

By: Molly E. Lee

“I’ve always wanted to go to school here. You’ve known that since you met me.”

“Well, I’m not moving here.”

“Are you scared of the change? Because that’s understandable. We’ve lived in the same town our entire lives, but this will be an experience for both of us.” I tried to touch him, but he flinched away, branding me with a menacing look that made me regret asking.

“I don’t know why I let this idea go on this long. I’m not moving. End of story.”

“You’re making me choose between my future and you?”

“Your future? You don’t even know what you want to do with your life. You honestly think you’re ready to be on your own? You can’t even pick a major!”

“I don’t have to decide right this second,” I said. “There’s time to explore.”

Justin rolled his eyes. “You don’t have a clue what it’s like out in the real world. When I was sixteen I was already supporting myself.” He said it like he had decades-worth of experience over me.

Tears finally trailed down my cheeks, the pressure of the world building around me like a supercell.

“Please don’t do this. Don’t make me choose.”

“Are you really going to throw away our relationship for a bullshit school? Abandon me the same way everyone else has?”

“I...” The words stuck in my throat, my heart breaking at his mention of abandonment. The word triggered a memory, one I’d tried to bury but never really could.

“You’re an incompetent bitch!” my father screamed at my mother from the dining room. Five seconds later came the shatter of glass. It sounded like Dad had knocked a serving dish off the dining room table.

We’d only made it halfway through dinner before I’d lost my appetite and bolted to my room.

“You’re a selfish bastard!” my mom shouted back.

Grabbing the phone, I called Justin in a panic.

“Justin, can you come get me please?” I’d asked when he’d answered the phone at his aunt and uncle’s. Having a sixteen-year-old boyfriend when I was only thirteen made my parents crazy, but the fact that he could drive was a sweet perk at times like this.

“Blake, I—I’m not sure if tonight is a good idea,” he said.

“Please? I’m losing it over here. If I hear one more dish break, I’m going to slam my head into a wall,” I said, shutting my bedroom door to prevent him from hearing the fight going on just outside it.

He sighed, his hesitance evident in the weight of it.

“You don’t give a damn about either of us!” My mother’s muffled yell came through my closed door.

A part-groan-part-cry ripped from my throat.

“Just hold on, Blake. I’m coming,” Justin said and hung up.

I tossed the cordless phone on my bed and wiped the tears from my face, counting the seconds until he arrived. I met him in the driveway, not giving my parents the chance to see him, not that they even bothered to look.

He wrapped his arms around me. He smelled like leather and spice, and instantly his nearness lifted the boulder on my chest. He glanced down at me, smiling. “How about a movie?”

I nodded, conveying my thanks with a quick peck.

Two hours in a darkened theater had helped clear my head, but when we got back to his truck, I dreaded going home.

“Let’s go back to my place. I can always take you home later.” Justin started the truck.

“Thank you,” I said, not giving a damn about curfew.

It was a short drive from the theater to where he lived with his aunt and uncle. His mother had dropped him off there when he was six and never returned. They’d taken him in, but lately they’d been riding him pretty hard. Always on his case about breaking curfew or his slipping grades. Justin never had seen the value in school.

I tilted my head the second we pulled into his driveway. “What is that about?” I asked, eyeing the pile of boxes on the porch. I returned my focus to Justin, who killed the ignition. Even in the dark I could see his face crumple and his Adam’s apple bob up and down slowly. A muscle in his jaw ticked, and if it had been brighter in the cab of the truck, I would’ve seen moisture hit his eyes.

“No fucking way,” he said and jerked the truck door open, stomping to the front door.

He kicked a pile of boxes out of the way and shoved his key in the front door’s lock. The porch light illuminated his shock when he’d turned it three times and it didn’t work.

“What’s going on?” I asked, gently touching his forearm.

He didn’t answer, instead he pounded on the door.