The Seasons of Callan Reed - S.M. Soto
For all the readers who like their men mean.
This one’s for you.
Do you ever wonder where rock bottom is? Where it truly lies? I think it’s here in this soul-crushing moment. Just three months ago, I had a normal life. Or what I thought was a normal life.
A loving husband.
A happy marriage.
Yet all of that evaporated within seconds.
Two calls are all it took to ruin my life—one to blow me over and the other to kick me while I was down. I know rock bottom intimately. Chances are, I’ll spend the rest of my life living here.
My eyes spring open at hearing the familiar voice. A sob rips through my chest when I spot my best friend, Rosalind, kneeling in the corner of the funeral home, right next to me.
“I can’t do this, Rose. I can’t,” I cry as she wraps me in her arms. I bask in the comfort of her familiarity. It’s the only thing I have going for me these days.
“I know, babe. I’m here now, and I’m not going anywhere. Got me?”
For what feels like the hundredth time since I got that first phone call, I burst into tears. It’s been happening often. I think I have a hold on my emotions, but all it takes is one small thought, one single smell, one tiny thing and my entire world shatters around me again.
After my mother’s death, I never thought I’d have to deal with the grief of losing someone I loved so soon. Dean handled her funeral arrangements for me because my father and I were too much of a mess. And that was my husband, the fixer. He fixed things and made them better. For a while.
And now here I am, burying him.
It shouldn’t hurt as much as it does. We were separated, and in the process of getting a divorce, but the circumstances are unforgettable. Unforgiveable.
Not only am I losing my husband of nine years, but I’m also burying my cousin, Skylar—his mistress. Because as the universe would have it, killing my mother, letting my husband have an affair, and then getting another woman pregnant are all perfectly acceptable. I have no one left to be angry with. No one to kick and scream at.
All that I’m truly left with is pain.
And their baby.
“Daisy Elise Casillas, are you even listening to me?” My best friend Rosalind’s voice pierces through my thoughts. It’s a struggle to peel my gaze away from the window and the sight I’ve fixated on for the past hour or so.
Down below her window, out in the driveway, is the object of my fixation and every single fantasy. Callan Reed. It might seem premature to say I’m in love with Callan. I mean, hell, I’m only fifteen. What do I know about love and relationships? But the fact of the matter is, I am in love with him—I’m sure of it. I have been since the moment I became best friends with his little sister.
I fell in love with Callan when he taught me how to ride a bike, swim in a filthy lake, throw a punch, and most importantly, when he taught me how to kiss. Though Rose doesn’t know about that last one, and chances are, she never will. She’s likely to lose her shit if she finds out.
How horrible of a friend does that make me to be in love with my best friend’s older brother? Because sometimes, I feel that way. I feel like the scum of the earth. The shittiest friend on the planet. Like right now. Rosalind has been telling a story for the past thirty minutes, and instead of listening, I’ve been staring out her window, watching him shoot hoops in the driveway. Even from the second story, I can see the sweat glistening on his bronzed skin. It’s like crystals you can’t look away from. With each dribble and layup, the muscles in his back flex, the sinews tightening, and my mouth grows dry. Swarms of butterflies fill my stomach and my chest with a tightness that makes it hard to breathe.
Callan Reed is the finest specimen of a boy ever created. That’s just fact.
Too bad he hates me.
Sometime during our childhood, he decided our friendship didn’t mean anything to him. We went from best friends, the three of us being the three musketeers, to him despising my existence. In all the years since then, he’s given me the brush-off. When we’re at school, he pretends he doesn’t know me. When we’re