Broken

Free Broken by Lauren Barnholdt, Aaron Gorvine

Book: Broken by Lauren Barnholdt, Aaron Gorvine Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lauren Barnholdt, Aaron Gorvine
Chapter One

    Natalia
    I can see Cam through the window, standing by his car and talking to my mom.
    His hands are in his pockets and his face is pleading. My mom’s arms are crossed over her chest, and from the look on her face, I can tell exactly what it is that she’s saying.
    She’s telling Cam that he’s not allowed to see me anymore and that he should go home.
    He looks up and our eyes meet through the window.
    Wait for me, I think. I’ll come down after she’s gone, just wait for me.
    I hear my mom coming back inside, shutting the door behind. Her footsteps echo through the hallway, moving back toward the family room, and then, after a few seconds, the TV turns on.
    I grab a sweatshirt off the back of my desk chair, then run down the stairs and out the front door. But when I get there, the driveway is empty. Cam’s gone. I run down to the street, looking for his mom’s car, hoping that maybe he just drove around the corner or something so that my mom wouldn’t catch us. But I don’t see him anywhere.
    “Cam!” I yell, even though I know he won’t be able to hear me. My knees start to feel weak, and I have the overwhelming urge to collapse onto the driveway, to just lie there and start crying. I have no way of getting in touch with Cam. I can’t call his cell phone, because he doesn’t have it anymore, and I can’t call his house phone, because he won’t be back home yet.
    After a long moment of taking deep breaths of the cool night air, I force myself back up the driveway and back through my front door. I stand in the foyer for a minute, listening for sounds of movement from the family room. But the only thing I hear is the dull sound of the television.
    Luckily, my mom hasn’t heard me go outside. She must have figured that since I didn’t come downstairs when Cam first got here, that I was accepting her wishes not to see him.
    I walk quietly back upstairs and into my mom’s room. I pick the cordless up off the table by her bed, and punch in Cam’s house number. After three rings, his mom answers.
    “Hello?” Her voice sounds a little slurred, like she just woke up, but I can hear the sounds of pots and pans clanging in the background.
    “Hi, Mrs. Elliot,” I say. “This is Natalia. I’m, um, calling for Cam.”
    “Campbell’s not here.” Her voice is definitely slurred, but it’s a controlled slur now, and I can tell she’s trying to curb it for my benefit. “I’m not sure, but I think he might be with Raine Marsden or perhaps at football practice.”
    At the mention of Raine’s name, I feel my heart skip a beat. But then I remember there’s no way Cam could be with Raine, and he’s obviously not at football practice either, since he was just at my house. Which means that Mrs. Elliot is most likely drunk out of her mind.
    “Can you tell him I called?” I ask, even though I know she probably won’t even remember speaking to me.
    “Of course,” she says. “I’ll tell him you called as soon as he gets back. I’m making him dinner. Macaroni and cheese, his favorite.” She sounds proud.
    “That’s great,” I say. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.”
    “What did you say your name was again?”
    “This is Natalia.”
    “Natalia. Okay, dear, I’ll let him know.”
    “Thanks.”
    I hang up the phone and sit there for a second. If he doesn’t call me back in an hour, I’ll call him again.

    ***
    Half an hour later, I’m back in my room, lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling, when there’s a knock on the front door. Cam. I race downstairs, determined not to let my mom beat me to it this time. Let her call the police on me if she wants. I don’t care. I can’t stand the thought of Cam thinking that I didn’t come outside, that I turned my back on him. I can’t stand the thought of not being with him right now.
    But when I throw open the front door, it’s not Cam that’s standing on the porch.
    It’s Brody.
    “Brody,” I say, feeling all the breath rush

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