The wind grew steadily louder, whistling through the gaps in my window and sending a shiver down my spine. Maddy had finally dozed off and I had gently carried her back to her room before returning to my own room which was still filled with animated chatter since no-one could sleep.
'What do you reckon the damage is gonna be like?' Max murmured.
They were all sat up now. My bedside lamp had been switched on and I noticed Candice was absent-mindedly laying a hand across her stomach.
'I dunno,' Verity shrugged. 'We'll be fine though.'
I was about to join in, when my mobile started ringing. I flipped it up without even bothering to glance at the number, so when the voice spoke, my stomach dropped and my heart stopped beating.
Everybody's head in the room turned to face me, startled, Candice in particular. I got up to leave the room, wanting a bit of privacy.
'What are you doing?' I hissed.
'I miss you, so much Zoey.'
Candice hadn't been joking when she said he'd changed. His voice was completely raw and broken, he sounded detached somehow. All I wanted to do was to make the pain go away.
'I miss you too,' I told him truthfully.
'You do? I need to see you!'
'Ben, I don't live in Beverly Hills anymore. You've gotta move on.'
'I can't,' he whined. 'I'm coming to see you Zo.'
'No! I mean, there's a tornado at the minute, the weather's pretty bad. At least wait until it passes...'
'I can't. I have to see you now.'
With that, he hung up and I was left with a tight knot in my stomach. My mind had turned to a jumbled mess full of confused emotions. Part of me longed to see Ben again, to gaze into those bright blue eyes of his, to hear his laughter, to feel his touch...
But then the other part of me remembered the kiss he'd shared with Pheonix.
'Oh,' I groaned. 'What do I do?'
I hadn't realized I'd spoken aloud until Candice came out of the bedroom.
'Is everything okay?' she murmured.
'No,' I shook my head frantically. 'Ben's coming up to Missouri. I think he's being serious.'
'I don't know. Soon I think. It's like half of Beverly Hills is moving up here,' I joked pathetically.
The next morning, I was absolutely shattered from the lack of sleep I'd had. I stumbled over the sleeping bodies of my friends and headed for the shower. The cold water certainly woke me up and by the time I had gone back into the bedroom, people were waking up.
'I'm so tired,' Verity moaned. 'How bad's the destruction outside?'
I climbed over her to reach the window, peeking outside. It wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be. The tree outside the house had fallen over though, creating a scattering of leaves and branches across the pavement. Bits of newspaper fluttered in the aftermath breeze and a few slates of somebody's roof sat in the middle of the road. However, as my eyes flickered to the driveway, I couldn't help the sharp intake of breath.
Ben's car was parked in the driveway.
I leaped into action, chucking my towel in the wash and throwing on some clothes, thankful that Max was still asleep. I didn't have time to do hair or makeup before I heard my voice called from downstairs.
'Zoey!' mother shouted up the stairs. 'You have a visitor!'
I ran downstairs, my heart doing somersaults, butterflies fluttering away in my stomach. I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw him.
It had been way too long.
He turned towards me, his face lighting up.
'Zoey,' he whispered.
I couldn't stop myself; I crossed the room in one stride and ended up in his arms. His lips sought mine, kissing me passionately, his hands snaking up my back, into my hair. He pulled me closer towards him, securing my body to his.
'Oh Zoey,' his lips moved against mine. 'I've missed you so much.'
Hot tears were falling down my cheeks, I was clutching onto him for dear life. My fingers tangled in his jacket, my head rested against his chest. He was holding me tightly, like he was afraid to let go.
'Zoey?' Max called from behind me. I whirled round, still tangled in Ben's grip.
'Max,' I stammered.
'Who's this?' Ben narrowed his eyes.
'Ben, this is urm, this is Max. He's my friend's brother. Max this is Ben. The guy I was telling you about.'
'Your ex?' he raised his eyebrow.
'I'm not her ex,' Ben growled, taking a step towards him.
'Whoa,' I held him back. 'Ben calm down it's fine.'
'Yeah whatever,' Max scoffed. 'I'll be upstairs.'
'Who was that jerk?' Ben muttered after Max had disappeared. 'And why's he in his boxers?'
'Don't freak out,' I sighed. 'He's just a friend. There was a tornado here last night and their parents were out so they had to stay round mine. Nothing happened.'
I could tell that things were about to get incredibly complicated. Ben had no intention of leaving and Max had no intention of being nice to him. I had no idea how things were going to play out.