Reckless Hate


Series: Westbrook Blues #1
Release Date: September 10, 2019
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"Deep always calls unto deep. The results? Reckless Hate & Catastrophe."

Westbrook had four boys that ruled my life once.

They were hell raisers.

Cunning Athletes.

Skilled Manipulators.

Hateful Assholes.

Gorgeous gods.

Heartbreakers. . .

Only I never counted on them breaking my heart as savagely as they did, sending me away when I needed them the most. Making me spiral into a vicious abyss of darkness where I'm haunted by a pair of frosty blue eyes filled with hate.

But now I'm back and this time around. For a reason that makes breathing almost completely impossible.

And if they think I won't get revenge for my brother--one of the Blue Boys--then they have another kind of hell to face.

Because I'm no longer their little Blue girl from four years ago. . .

Read an excerpt from Reckless Hate

ASTRAEA

Ever since I can remember, Westbrook has always been a place for the wealthiest people ever in continental U.S. It was almost like Silicon Valley but with even more snottier people with snottier, sickening tendencies and communities.

One of them being Westbrook Blues High.

I remember everything about this school. I remember the excited feeling I had just thinking of attending this school. I remember the giddiness I felt whenever I visualized just walking through the halls of the school and being popular, with lots of friends and then maybe at the end of the year, I would be like some kind of high school ‘it’ girl.

I always thought that I would become “that girl” whom every other girl wanted to be like. I imagined all the other girls would either want to be me, love me or kill me and I would just smile politely in their faces and remind them that they were not me. Either way, popularity was one of the things that I was so looking forward to whenever I thought of Westbrook Blues High.

Again, how stupid and shallow could I have been? Much shallower and petty than you think, is the answer.

But now. . .I can’t articulate the anxiety I feel as I look up at the large intimidating and extravagant buildings that surround the school grounds. I watch as students pull up to the school in the latest makes and models of cars that people only hear about by rumors.

I watch as athletic guys in their pride athletic W.B.H jackets park their cars and soak up all the attention they can get from the beautiful—albeit over the top—girls who wear fancy shoes, really short skirts and almost transparent white blouses that leave nothing to the imagination.

I watch them all as I sit like a freaking statue in the backseat of the tinted car.

I know that there are a lot of people here who know who I am. I know there are rumors about me, and these rumors have been circulating for years. And judging from what I experienced at my brother’s funeral, I can only imagine that I’m not going to be very much welcomed here.

Not after everything else that happened. Not after all these years and the mess that was left behind. For Pete’s sake, these asshats think I set my own house on fire and ran away—heard that one at the funeral.

“Are you going to attend classes today, Miss?”

Trumbull’s old raspy voice breaks me from my worry as I clink my tongue bar around in my mouth, clutching the pendant that I never remove with a death grip in nervous energy. I know I’ll have to tuck the pendant in, away from view—according to the school rules of course.

I know I can very well be rebellious and do what the fuck I please. I mean, that would have been a great option but here in Westbrook, I would like to keep a small profile. I don’t want to draw any kind of attention to myself and I definitely don’t want any drama. There is no way that I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb here. For as long—or rather a very short time—that I’m here, I’m going to keep my head down, my eyes focused on the goal.

Find out what the hell happened to George.

“You know I have no choice.” I say to him with annoyance.

Even if I wanted to ditch this inevitable day, there was no way I could get away with it, seeing as everything that happens around Trumbull is reported back to my parents and I’m just about done with the shouting matches.

If I want to beat my parents, I have to find out what kind of game they are playing. The game is already in play, and I’m behind. So, I started by visiting the local police station to get answers of my own, but the damn police report only collaborated the story that my parents told me.

That too, didn’t feel right. Not to mention, the police officer looked at me funny, it was unnerving the hell out of me. So, I left without answers, and a whole lot of questions.

Apparently, George died in a drunk driving accident. The level of alcohol in his system—according to the autopsy report—was higher than the limit. But still, something about it all rubs me the wrong way, especially when the Officers told me that the Officer that filed the report was away on vacation. How can he go on vacation so suddenly, especially after a son of one of the elite families of Westbrook has just passed away? It all reeks of bullshit.

“Why are you even dropping me off? Isn’t there a lowly driver that can save you from this misery?”

“Madam Fields instructed that I personally drive you to school.”

“For how long?” It’s day one and I’m already sick of the eyes that are constantly monitoring me. It almost feels like everywhere I go, someone is watching and reporting back to my mother. She’s so obsessed with me. As if.

“For as long as is necessary.” He answers in that bored raspy voice of his that grates on my nerves like nothing else.

If only I had taken my brother’s offer to give me driving lessons last summer right around the time he got his license. But then again, George was driving cars by the time he was fourteen. He was damn well good at it too, what with all those illegal street racing shindigs.

So it doesn’t make sense that he would lose control of a car he drove so naturally, like it was an extension of him. Then there is the issue of driving under the influence. George was much more responsible than I ever was.

“School will start in exactly eight minutes. I suggest you head on to the administration office.” Trumbull says in an effort to get rid of me.

“Oh shut it, T. You can take your eight minutes and. . .”

Whoa Raea, not today Satan. I mutter to myself, trying to calm down.

When I get agitated, I tend to lash out but Trumbull’s unnecessary pressure just pisses me off.

“I’m going, it’s not like they are not expecting me.” I tell him after a dramatic pause. The thing about Westbrook is that it’s a small place and gossip travels faster than the speed of light. Rich assholes have nothing to do. Their shallow, stupid and not so smart selves are mostly interested in trying to out trash each other, embarrass each other and get popularity.

And will you look at that, I’m back at this toxic place with no way out until I forge it.

I gather my new school backpack, fix my white ankle socks and make sure my new shoes are laced up. Wouldn’t want to trip over my own two feet and let these ravenous teens see that they make me nervous. Hell no.

But at the same time, there was no way in hell I was going to try to blend in their system by wearing some damn high heels today—much to my mother’s dismay—but I don’t need the added stress.

I open the car door and the moment I step out, all eyes are on me. Have they been waiting for me to arrive? That’s just sad.

I can feel multiple eyes that quickly zone in on the semi-new prey of Westbrook High School. I know what they sense fresh blood in the water. I am after all, the new girl and not just any new girl but the long lost and forgotten sibling of the great George Fields.

Let the festivities begin.

The festivities of picking me apart and break me to the level they want me. I’ll just have to wait and see what level that might be.

Sigh.

I don’t know what it is with these kids. It’s almost like they have nothing else to do around here so whenever there is someone new, they take it upon themselves to find entertainment in any way possible. I would know—I was once part of that vicious, useless system.

Even though they obviously know who my brother was, they have ill thoughts about me and I can see it. I can see the looks of disapproval from the girls frowning my way, probably because my face is not caked up with powders and shit. I can see the smirks from the guys, checking me out.

My noticing all this doesn’t help much to ease my nervousness as well as my social anxiety that I’ve been trying to deal with for a while now.

“Hey new girl!” Someone shouts from somewhere but I ignore them and their snickering. I quickly shut the car door and make my way straight to the administration office.

“You lost, new girl? You don’t look like you belong here.” Someone else hollers. A snotty girl with a nasal voice that needs some major revamping. I think of turning and telling her about that voice that can wake the dead but I don’t even bother because I know they haven’t begun yet.

“Nice socks!” A bitchy girl calls out and her group of friends start laughing as if they have never seen someone wearing socks with proper, none-slutty shoes before. But then again, these girls are vain, all they are used to are high heels and thongs.

I keep walking until I’m in the office and I breathe a sigh of relief when I find one of the office assistants already there with no other student there.

“Good morning dear, welcome back to school.” She says politely but isn’t looking at me, all her focus is on the screen monitor in front of her.

“Err, I’m actually new here this year.” I say after clearing my voice and that’s when she looks up at me over the top brim of her glasses.

“Oh my, you must be Astraea Fields.” She says with a gasp. That’s an odd reaction to have.

I just nod in affirmation, not sure what to make of her gasp or the weird look she is giving me now.

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry about your brother.” She says with obvious empathy and I nod my head again, unable to say anything else as my throat is suddenly chocked up.

“And to think he was just in here last year, that was the last time I saw him.” She says with remembered sadness in her eyes. “All he wanted were the transfer papers but he never collected them.”

Wait what?

“I’m sorry. Did you just say transfer papers?” I question, as she starts typing something on her computer.

“Yes that’s right. He mentioned that he was going to join his sister for senior year of high school.” She explains as she prints out some papers on high quality paper and then hands me a folder with the W.B.H emblem on it.

“In there is your schedule, the classrooms and the list of teachers. There is also a set of default combinations that you will have to reset to your desired combination for your locker.” She quickly explains but my brain is still stuck on the transfer papers.

“Wait, when exactly did he request for transfer papers?” I question.

“Well right before school let out for summer, if I remember correctly. He was rather very sullen and missed you terribly.” She explains.

He was sullen? George never mentioned anything about wanting to transfer schools to me. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t talking to me much at all by the time summer started.

What does this all mean?

I’m about to ask her something else but another student walks in at that very moment. I can’t help but notice the way she walks, or rather, strides across the office like she is on a runway. But what’s shocking is, she has on the same shoes and socks combo I’m rocking–and she isn’t trying to be so damn appealing. Her step very confident, head thrown back with an ease that you can’t fake.

This girl knows exactly who she is and she isn’t scared of anyone. She has jet black hair and stormy grey eyes that immediately take me in, as if scanning for faults to exploit if I ever step wrong to her. I stare right back at her, getting on the defensive. I’m looking for trouble but if she wants a go at me, I can take her. Even if her sex appeal is a punch to my gut, as apparent is her beauty. Her skirt is a bit higher than mine, her shirt tight with the curve of her awesome boobs. How I notice all of this I don’t know, but the chick is stylish as fuck.

And, she looks badass. As in, ‘don’t come for me if you can’t handle it’ type of badass. I aspire to be on that level, honestly.

“You new?” She questions and something about the way she looks at me prompts me to answer back where I would have normally ignored her and carried on with minding my own business. That’s my level of petty, ignore and dismiss.

“Somewhat. You?” I question.

“Somewhat.” She says with a smile and then walks up to the counter. “I just arrived, moved here a few days ago and already I hate this snotty ass place. These bitches look like they fart daisies with their plastic asses.” She says, making me chuckle.

“Mind your language young lady. You must be Kimberly Allory.” The administration assistant says with a frustrated huff, as if the new school day has already begun to take a toll on her.

“That’s me Carol. How are you today?” Kimberly responds with a quick smile that is aimed at grating on the admin’s nerves.

“Just peachy.” She says as she types something else on her computer and Kimberly shoots me a wink.

“Well, Miss Fields, it looks like you and Miss Allory will be in some classes together and seeing that we never have any new students at all—let alone in the senior year—I would normally advice you both to at least stick together.” She says as she gathers some papers shoves them in a folder and extends the same folder as mine to Kimberly. “But in this case, I sense trouble with Miss Allory so, in respect of your brother Miss Fields, I suggest that you stay away from Miss Allory and perhaps all the other spoilt brats of this school.” She says sternly to which Kimberly snorts, reaching for the folder.

“Yeah, somehow I doubt you are the type to do as you are told.” Kimberly says as she looks at me, completely ignoring the administrator’s weird warning.

“But you really do look like trouble.” I say with a smile of my own. I like this girl. I don’t know if it’s because we are both starting out as new students or the way she seems to be unimpressed by this school at all. I don’t know what it is about her but I already like her.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” She says with a chuckle as the first school bell rings.

“I’m Astraea, by the way.” I introduce myself.

“Astraea? Is your mother into Greek Mythology or something?” She questions, raising her perfectly groomed and threaded eyebrow.

“That, among other things.” I say as we begin walking. I don’t want to talk about my mother, she boils my blood just thinking of her.

“Well, you already know my name, but call me Kim” She says as we start walking down the long hallway, making our way to the exit, watching as the students rush to get to their homerooms. I know for certain that I’m going to be late to my first class, whichever it is.

“What’s your first class?” I question her as I go through my file. I don’t have time to go to my locker room right now though, I’ll have to do that later.

“Hmm, says here I have AP Chemistry.” She says just as I notice my own schedule and there it is, our first class together.

“Same here. We should go to the science block.” I say and begin walking that way.

“Wait, you know this place?” She questions, following after me.

“Somewhat.” I answer. But in my mind, I’m already questioning everything. Why would my brother want to transfer? What happened here?

As we walk down one of the paths that cut through the grass, right beside the parking lot, with Kimberly texting on her phone, we notice that most of the students are outside, instead of going to their homerooms. They are all looking at something, staring in a rather fascinated manner.

“They are still there?” Kim sighs. I shoot her a look then back to the circle of students.

“What’s going on there?” I question Kim who looks up and looks at the direction I’m looking at, where some students are gathered.

“I don’t know but whatever it is, must be super ridiculous. Look at the way those girls over there are pulling up their skirts. Definitely doing it for the boys.” She says with an unimpressed look on her face. “Or girls, I mean I don’t discriminate.”

“It’s not just any boys, bitch.” A random girl rudely interjects, her words are clipped as if she was just offended by Kim. Then just as quickly, reverence and adoration fills her voice, “It’s the Blue Boys.” She quickly walks past us to get closer to the gathered group of girls.

“What a bitch.” Kim says. “And who the fuck are these Blue Boys?”

“I think I have an idea of who they are.” I quickly turn on my heel to make my way to the science building. I’m not staying for any of this bullshit.

“Hold on, you know them?” She questions.

“I’m surprised you haven’t heard of them. Which part of Westbrook did you move to?” I question.

“The valley. Why?”

“The valley and your new school is Westbrook Blues High? A self-proclaimed school of idiotic rich jocks and totally fake ass, plastic bitches?” I say and she laughs.

“Oh, the wonderful passage of teenage years. Every school has those you know.” She answers and I shake my head.

“Yeah but not on such an exclusively shallow and well, disastrous level as Westbrook High.”

Westbrook Blues High is a private school only attended by kids from the top tier of the country. Just a select few are ever enrolled each year and some kids never actually get in so I’m surprised that she is from the valley and got a place here. Don’t mistake me though, many kids from the valley would jump at the opportunity of attending this old as fuck, wealthy school but Kim doesn’t strike me as the type of girl that cares about all of the glitz and glamour of bullshit that is W.B.H.

“And besides, I’m not sure if you know this or not but since you are new, I’ll tell you. Valley kids mostly go to the public high school there.” I think back to the cryptic way the office administrator was looking at Kim. Surely, that wasn’t a look of suspicion. But then, why would she warn me against Kim—it doesn’t add up. Shit, I might be reading in between lines that don’t exist here.

“Not me. Somehow found myself here.” She says, her voice firm and hard. I guess there is a story here as well, judging by the way she grits out her words, getting on the defensive. Yeah, I know the signs.

I decide to be honest with her.

“Listen, I’m not prying. I’m just trying to understand, is all.” I explain. I am not at all into digging into other people’s lives simply because I don’t want anyone digging into mine. It’s messy as fuck in there and I don’t need anybody trying to get a glimpse. Let alone a random girl I just met.

“I know.” She says with a sigh. “It’s just that, I’m not good at making new friends.”

“Huh, go figure. So am I.” I say.

“Somehow, I think you are okay with that.” She says with a raise of her perfectly shaped eyebrow, looking at me with a searching gaze.

“So are you.” I counter back. We stare at each other for a beat and then she burst out laughing.

“Oh, I like you.”

“I’m glad I am of some use to you.” A small smile graces my face.

“Yeah, but you haven’t told me about the Blue Boys.” She points out as we arrive at the science building. Our classroom is the first one we see so we make a move to walk there.

“Will you look at what the wind dragged in.”

Oh God, please tell me it’s not her.

“It looks like our poor, abandoned and castaway girl has made friends with our latest charity case. And look at that, they are already fishing about our Blue Boys. Whores at work and all that.”

Her high pitched, cold and calculated snorty voice speaks from behind us followed by some annoying giggles from a group of girls. I know before I even turn around, that trouble has already found me.

Turning around, I come face to face with someone that I never thought I would ever have to see again in my life. And there she is, Brittney Pace. I take her in just as much as she is studying me.

Her blonde curls that I remember and used to be so intensely jealous of are now longer, bouncier with more volume. Her pale blue eyes are crystal clear, sharp and cold as she looks at me with disdain marring her face, a curled up lip completing the look. I take in her perfect nose that somehow doesn’t match the blotchy one I remember when we were younger—well, she definitely joined the surgical adjustments train. Her lips are coated in some kind of blood red lipstick that makes her look like the cunning bitch that she is.

My childhood best friend, the very one that stabbed me in the back with a perfect, gleeful smile on her face while she did so. The one to give me that drink at that party four years ago. . .

“What happened, Astraea? Britain kicked your crazy self out and now you are back?” She taunts, looking at me like I’m her least favorite person in the world.

I know that look in her eyes. I definitely know that she doesn’t want me here. Well the feeling is mutual. I don’t want to be here and I certainly don’t want to see her witchy face.

The animosity I feel towards this whore cannot be put in words so I remain deathly still, watching her smirk as she looks at me.

“Uh, and who the fuck are you, blotch face?” Kim butts in after I remain silent, staring at the person that literally set out to destroy me. And well, she did succeed.

But calling me crazy, now that is something that evokes a reaction in me. A negative one and judging by the increase in my pulse rates and the sweat I can feel on my brow, that word ‘crazy’ combined with seeing her, has driven me into a space I wasn’t ready for.

“Bitch, Brittney doesn’t have a blotched face!” One of her friends steps up, “She just got her face done by the best doctor in the world!”

Brittney gasps and turns to shoot a death glare to her friend whose words haven’t as yet caught up with her. It would be your own friends sometimes, ha!

A pause. And then Kim and I look at each other, then we burst out laughing. Suddenly, everything is going to be alright. I finally have control of myself again, and I won’t allow anyone here to affect me or my mood.

“Oops, I didn’t mean to say that, Brit. I’m sorry.” The girl says but Brittney ignores her. She must be that one friend in every clique that can’t really control her mouth.

“You have the best of friends there, Brittney.” I say with a laugh.

“Shut up, Astraea. Nobody asked for your opinion.” She counters, getting angrier by the second.

“And nobody asked you to come here.” Kim says, literally looking down her nose at Brittney and her friends. I watch as they all study Kim. I notice the looks of envy in their eyes. And why not? I don’t know Kim, hell, I just met her, but the girl literally oozes appeal and confidence. Combine that with her sass and you have a lethal combination of a badass girl.

“This is my turf, not yours Astraea.”

Insecurities much?

“Oh honey, you can have every inch of it. I’m sure you need some space to put all that nasty fat.” I counter, growing tired of this conversation already.

Her friends gasp in embarrassment but Brittney’s claws are only sharpening, her eyes growing frostier with each second that passes. I’m not sure what this is all about or why she is in my face right now, but it’s just pissing me off.

I watch as she takes a step closer to me, invading my personal space. I wonder if she knows what she did all those years ago. I wonder if she knows what happened to me that night. I wouldn’t put it past her though, I think she has hated me since day one when I thought she was my day one, my ride or die best friend.

I guess I was so damn delusional about that too. Can’t believe that I never noticed the plastic smiles or the hate in her eyes. How could I not have seen it? It’s right there in front me—albeit, intensified over the years.

How could I have been so wrong about the people in my life?

Just seeing her though, it breaks a part of my composure but I won’t ever, not ever, allow her to see that. She will not have any power over me. Not her and definitely not this town.

“If I were you, I would watch my back and stay away from the Blue Boys.” She threatens in a low voice. Ah, there she is. Vindictive, manipulative and hates me for the very boys I named.

The same boys that abandoned me.

“I’ll do you one better.” I step closer to her, watching as her eyes widen. She didn’t expect me to actually get into her face like this, huh?

“Why don’t you and your little barbie-bratz stay away from me and as a bonus, you can all keep your Blue Boys? How about that?”

I watch her shocked expression, and shoot her my award winning sweet fuck you smile. “Now, run along and fix your eyebrows. One of them is crooked.” I say with a happy wink, and then turn to make my way into the class.

Before I can take any more steps towards the open classroom door, I notice three sets of icy eyes staring at me with blank expressions on their faces. From the way they are standing there, it’s obvious that they have been there for a while and watched the entire confrontation that I did not ask for at all.

Oh well, I guess it’s a usual thing for them to witness, but I don’t care. I’m not here to fight for these assholes. Maybe once I would have gone to war for them but they proved they could never go to battle for me. So, that’s that I guess.

It’s then that I recognize who the other two guys were, from the church. The brunette one, with a smirk on his face is Noah Montreal.

God, he’s so damn tall, lean and drop dead gorgeous. From the corner of my eye, I notice Brittney’s friends eye him and wave at Noah who in turn sends the girls a wink.

Really? He strings them along when he clearly has no interest in them?

As I watch him, he catches my eye, sends me a playful ‘I caught you staring’ wink as I take my time to take him in. I narrow my eyes at him.

He isn’t anything at all that I remember—nor does he do justice to the image of him that I would conjure up in my head on the many isolated, lonely nights I spent in London, trying to battle the darkness in my head. The braces—that we both got at the same time—are now gone and in their place, I can see he has a mouth full of shiny white teeth as he sucks on a lollipop in a rather seductive way—if the sighing girls are any indication. Gone are the bright yellow rain boots that he used to love so much, parading in them everywhere he went. Now in their place are some of the most expensive—most likely exclusive—shoes I have ever seen.

His body has filled out and although he was the shortest among the boys, he has grown a lot, but still a few inches shorter than Ace and Emmett. Noah is lean and well cut, definitely keeps himself in check but that smirk on his face, that twinkle in his eyes that I know makes girls drool—now that is the Noah that I never anticipated but can see clearly. He was always a ladies’ boy back then, breaking hearts and taking names with his charming smile. Now, he is Mr. I’ll Make You Wet Then Break Your Stupid Heart.

It’s written all over that smirk and wink.

Then there is Emmett Easton. The boy that gave me shivers yet still I absolutely loved to be around him. Silent, smart and brimming with anger inside himself.

He is tall, brawny, much more muscular and filled out than Noah and Ace, but then again, he was always bigger, quieter than the rest of the boys. He was my teddy bear that I just loved being around. His silence never bothered me, his intelligence always amazed me. Then there was his creativity. . .now that blew my mind away.

I wonder if he still creates magic to this day but as I look at him, I notice the ticking in his clenched jaw, the darkness in his eyes, I know he is angry. The anger is so intense, so strong that it takes me aback with its ferocity. If looks could kill. . .

Back then, he was always a bit reserved and kept to himself a lot but he would allow me to be around him a lot too. Never quick to anger and always mulled over someone’s words before responding with wise advice. I always thought that he was smart, highly intelligent and could read people better than anyone. Which is why he doesn’t so much as look away when I stare at him, his anger intensifying as we stare at each other.

His dirty blonde curls are messy today. I watch as his thick cannon of arms reaches up to run his fingers through his messy curls and I literally hear the sound of feminine approval—the international heavenly, orgasmic sigh.

Emmett’s eyes were a bit lighter from what I remember. I clearly remember the way those very eyes would light up when he would help his best friends, Noah and George to torture and prank me. He would try to talk to Ace about leaving me alone but Ace, couldn’t be told what to do, especially when it came to me. I learned that the hard way once when I cried to Emmett one time about something Ace had done to me. The next thing I knew, Emmett had gone to confront Ace and came back with a black eye and a bleeding nose.

As for Ace, he was just as much fucked up but he wasn’t happy with me either, punishing me for talking to Emmett about. . .us. Ever since then, Ace and I—whatever was going on—was always between the two of us.

But I never minded Emmett’s pranks. I loved seeing joy on his face, loved his company because I understood the loneliness he felt at times. He got me, I got him right back. I guess that’s another thing of the past.

Back when they were the fearsome Blue Boys—together with my brother.

But now, there is just. . .darkness in his eyes. A kind of darkness that I’m not sure I’m ready to understand just as yet but something tells me I have to find out about it anyway. Because like it or not, these boys are a link to some answers that I desperately need.

Then, there is Ace. He stands there with his brothers, watching me. If I’m being honest, I felt his presence long before the standoff, confrontation or whatever you would like to call it—with Brittney. He was right there all along, watching.

I wanted him to watch.

“Alex baby!” Brittney calls out now, shooting me an evil glare as she quickly struts over to Ace, attempting to be seductive as she goes. Eye roll. “I didn’t see you there.”

Right. . .

“Yeah, that bitch definitely knew they were there.” Kim says as she steps closer to me. Just as Brittney places a palm over Ace’s chest, I turn away and make my way into the classroom, where half of the students are already seated and the final bell rings. I don’t have the time to watch Brittney stake her claim over the same boy that claimed me way back before I could ever understand what that meant. All I knew was Ace was the cutest boy I had ever met and I wanted him to kiss me and hold my hand.

How naïve of me.

“True, Brittney is nothing if not calculated.” We choose the lab bench closer to the back. Kim goes to seat across from me, closer to the windows.

“You knew her, huh?” Kim questions but I see the answer in her eyes. She already knows.

My chest tightens, but I remain composed.

“Yeah.” Is all I say as I take out my notebook and my black pencil case with my pencils and pens.

If I’m going to be here, trying to find the answers that I need as well as formulate a plan as to how I will get out of this hellhole, then I might as well pretend to at least be into this façade regimen of schooling.

Amanda Fields thinks she has me backed into a corner. I’m going to teach her the layout of that corner.

“She did you dirty, didn’t she?” Kim questions again, after a while. The class teacher is about to start, the class filing in, as he rises from his chair. He starts scribbling something on the board, but I’m looking at Kim.

“I thought we said no prying?” I say as I look at her and she only grins, showing her perfect teeth.

“We didn’t say that per se, but that’s neither here nor there.”

I study her for a beat. I’m not so sure what to make of her yet. She is quite hard to read but knowing at least one person in this shit school will be beneficial in the long run. Yes, we are both new this year but she is still someone that doesn’t know me or has heard rumors about me so she is safe. A fresh start. So why not?

“Brittney obviously has a problem with me. But it seems everyone else seems to be aware of this so called problem, apart from me.”

“Yeah well, I think you need to get on board.” She says as she looks pointedly at the door where, right there stands Emmett Easton, Noah Montreal and Alexander King—the Westbrook Blue Boys.

“I’m guessing those are the Blue Boys?” Kim asks, her voice suspiciously breathless as she takes them in.

I just nod as I turn away from looking at them. All I want for the short time that I’m here is to keep a low profile. Keep my head down, find the answers I need and then get the hell out of this place. There is nothing but barren coldness here and I want none of it.

“Uh, excuse me.” Another voice says. I look up to see a cute face looking down at me uncertainly. “Are you Astraea Fields?”

I push back into the backrest of the comfortable chair and look up at one of the cutest guys I have ever seen in my life. He has shaggy brown hair that desperately needs a trim but it’s somehow working for him. He has friendly hazel eyes and just below them, dark circles.

As if he hasn’t been sleeping for quite a well. But I know better. Those dark circles are signs of drug use but that escapes my brain somehow, as I study him. There is something familiar about him. . .

“I’m sorry to just come up to you like this. It’s just, I noticed you at the funeral. I wanted to talk to you but I couldn’t bring myself to it.” He says as he takes a seat that is beside me.

I realize why he is so familiar looking and I’m rendered speechless as I stare at George’s supposed friend. The one that gave his eulogy at the funeral. The one I have never heard of before the funeral.

How was George friends with this guy?

“God, you look just like him. But you are obviously much prettier than he would ever hope to be.” He says and at that I laugh.

“He would have been offended if he heard you say that.” I respond and watch as he exhales in a sigh of relief as if he didn’t know how I would react.

“Are you scared of me?” I question out of the blue, because that would just be ridiculous if it were true, but the dude looks like he is about to shit his pants, looking over his shoulder every split second.

Weird much?

“Scared, no! What gave that away?” He questions, looking around and waving his hands dramatically, making me laugh. “No, it’s just that, you are a bit hard to just. . .you know. . . approach.”

“What do you mean?” I question, very much intrigued.

“You are intimidating as hell.” He says as he stares at me. I’m not exactly sure what he is looking for but I stare back at him. “Your brother was like that too, the first time I met him.”

George was intimidating? Of the two of us, George was the one most people would approach freely. He just had an inviting aura about him, which is why making friends was never hard for him.

“I’m sorry, I can’t say I have ever heard of you before.”

“Ouch. What a blow to my ego.”

I laugh, and notice three huge guys now looking in my direction with displeasure all over their expressions, but I ignore them. “No, it’s just that George never really mentioned much of his new friends.”

“Oh, I understand that. My name is Dereck Myers.” He says, extending a hand towards me.

Dereck Myers huh? The very guy I was warned by a certain dark, broody and volatile being not to talk to. I look up and meet his expressionless stare. I guess I broke that rule, oops.

“And you must be new too, I’m Dereck. Dereck Myers.” I hear him introduce himself to Kim who was busy on her smartphone before but I’m engaged in some kind of battle of sorts with Ace.

“Say Myers.” Someone calls and I notice as Noah walks over, with an easy charisma in his step as he comes closer. “Wrong seat ain’t it?”

“Oh, come on man. It’s a new year and these seats weren’t taken before.” Dereck tries to explain but I see a glint of evil in Noah’s eyes, but it quickly fades away

“Except these seats are actually taken.” He says with a smile but his voice is hard.

The rest of the class is watching and the teacher is busy setting up the projector. If he notices the commotion that has just begun, he doesn’t show it.

“Come on, Montreal. You are going to start calling dibs on seats now?” Dereck chuckles as he looks around with panic and then looks at me, eyes wide.

“No, just this one. And that one there.” Noah points at the seat to the left of Dereck. “And this one too, is that good for you Emmett?”

“Sounds about right. I do like seating by the window. I like to stare at nature as I learn and shit. You know what I mean?” Emmett says as he walks closer to where Noah is staring at Dereck. Emmett shoots me a quick look then stares down at Dereck.

“Well, we wouldn’t want to rob you of some sunshine then, now would we, Dereck?” Noah taunts. The whole class starts laughing, the girls giggling to get some kind of reaction—which they do get when Noah sends a few of them a smirk.

“Do you need sunshine too, Dereck?” Noah asks as he looks down at Dereck who is now looking a whole lot uncomfortable right now.

“I think. . .” He actually stutters. “I think I’ll get some of that in front there.” He says and quickly gathers his books and flees faster than I have ever seen, making Noah chuckle with glee. “Asshat.”

The empty chair to my left is pulled over and I feel him—Ace—take a seat there. He is silent, doesn’t say a single word the whole time, but I can feel his intense stare on me, making me shiver in anticipation.

“Oh, hey there, Raea!” Noah smiles, greeting me like we are the best of friends, as he takes a seat right where Dereck was about to sit. Is he high?

Emmett doesn’t bother taking the seat that Noah had pointed out, instead he sits right next to Kim on the other side and he doesn’t say a single word.

“Was that really necessary? And it’s Astraea to you.” I roll my eyes, trying to ignore the silent stare to my left.

“Oh, come on, is that how you treat old friends?”

“You and I are not friends. And we never will be friends.”

“You wound me, Raea.” Noah dramatically clutches his chest.

“Physics, Mr. Montreal, is the study of matter and energy. I’m not quite sure your energy is the one we want to study today.” The teacher says out loud to get the class’s attention away from gawking at the three boys, taking a jab at Noah in the process.

“Oh, but wouldn’t you all want to know the energy I possess.” Noah says, shooting a group of what looks like cheerleaders a wink and they sigh. “Besides, isn’t this a Chemistry class?” Noah smirks, making the class laugh.

What’s with all this sighing around here? These boys are not Jesus.

The teacher’s sigh however, is not dreamy. “Oh, would you look at that, Mr. Montreal actually knows which class he is in.” The teacher spreads his arms wide, gaining the class’ attention.

I like his quick wit, it’s refreshing. And he obviously doesn’t kiss anyone’s ass around here. Not Noah’s at least.

“Please sit properly and pay attention now.” He states, and you can just see the frustrated lines on his face.

“My name is Mr. Richards and I’ll be your Chemistry teacher this year. Now, I know some of you think you can do what you like around here, unfortunately that will not be happening in my class.”

What? Where was he when Noah and Emmett literary embarrassed Dereck?

“Before we get any further, please turn to the person seated next to you and smile, because that’s your partner for the rest of the year folks.”

No. There is no way in hell.

“Also, you will be in project groups of five this semester, that’s why I set up your seats the way I did.”

Fuck. I look around and notice that indeed, the seats around the lab countertops are set up in groups of five, meaning, holy fuck, that the Blue Boys, Kim and I were a PERMANENT group for the rest of the semester.

Not only that, Ace will be part of that group too!

I turn and meet an icy pair of eyes that were already on me. He doesn’t smile, doesn’t acknowledge anything at all. I don’t know what happens but I’m about to raise my hand or speak up to Mr. Richards so I can have another partner other than the one beside me—but as if he somehow anticipated it, his long, deft and calloused fingers grip down my thigh so damn tight, a silent gasp leaves me.

My head snaps down to where he is touching me and I freeze.

I know that touch. I know exactly what it means. It’s the same warning he would give me when we were kids, a warning that would come right before my school bag went missing or right before I would find my favorite book torn to pieces, scattered all over my bed.

This touch is just that, but unlike the fear it gave when we were younger, this grip on my thigh is different. Desire blooms inside me like some damn fireworks. Desire and fear spread just from that touch he has on me.

The fear that courses through my veins is different. It’s soft and beguiling but what is predominant in my system as I look down at his large hand, completely unaware of the proceedings of the class—is that Ace has something in store for me. And whatever it is, I’m going to hate him for it. Because no matter how much I fight, I won’t be able to refuse him.

Snapping my head up again, our gazes collide. I don’t know what he sees in my eyes, but whatever it is, his nose flares, his eyes harden and the grip he has on the exposed skin of my thigh tightens.

We stare at each and don’t break the gaze. I can’t tell what’s going on around us, stuck in this forceful matrix created by Ace and controlled by him. All I can do is try to hold on by the cold, frosty hold of his eyes.

“Give me my phone back.” I demand.

I’m aware that, that’s not supposed to be my first demand. I’m supposed to demand that he get his hands off of me but the weight of his hand on the bare exposed part of my body is strangely addictive.

I can’t help the stirrings of pleasure I feel as his hand flexes over my thigh, his icy gaze still hard and unyielding.

“I told you to stay away from him.”

“I didn’t know it was him.” I almost cry out but his hand reaches higher, under the hem of my skirt and grips there. Sensually painful.

I gasp again, his eyes dilate as he watches me.

“Yeah, you knew exactly who he was.” Ace mocks. Something about that just pisses me off. Who is he that he has to monitor who I talk to or who I allow myself to be around? He damn well isn’t my brother!

“What are you going to do about that?” I challenge staring him dead on.

He watches me for a beat, completely ignoring the class and everyone around us. He cocks his head slightly as if to say ‘you don’t want to try me.’ Some things haven’t changed at all.

“Star, these are different times than when you were here. The world is much smaller than you think, but my reach is longer.” He says as he rubs the spot he gripped on my thigh. My breath falters like a broken record. I almost groan in arousal.

Until his words register in my system.

“Remember that.” He says and then lightly pulls my skirt back to cover the area he was caressing and abusing. And like nothing happened before, he looks straight at the teacher and ignores me the rest of the class.

But the tingles caused by his touch never go away.

CHAPTER NINE

ASTRAEA

“Okay, is it me or are all these people just gawking at you each time you pass by or are in the room?”

It’s Friday, four days after the first day we started school. Kim and I are in the cafeteria, walking towards the food buffet that is spread across the side of two adjacent walls. This place looks like some type of expensive resort or something what with all the food laid out, giving students the option to select whatever the hell they want. Of course, Kim and I are on the junk food section, while the rest of the girls are at the salad table. Go figure.

And it’s not even normal high school cafeteria food that you are accustomed to. No.

This is some kind of fancy food, with fancy names even. I can’t say it doesn’t taste good. It does—from what Kim tells me, but I just think it’s just too over the top. But as I look around the said gawking and staring student body that Kim so kindly pointed out, I know these kids would expect nothing but the best treatment with all the money that is linked to their names. Not money—wealth. Lots of it.

“It’s not you. I feel it too, but I’m just good at ignoring it.” I respond as I arrange my fruit platter. Okay, so I’m not into junk food but whatever, my appetite has been broken since forever.

I can’t help but feel self-conscious of my body or the way I look or dress. I prefer wearing baggy clothes, I will never be found wearing some damn short alluring clothes. Look what that brought me.

Don’t think about it Raea. You are perfectly safe. Nothing will happen to you here.

“Are you famous? Are you related to the Kardashians or something?” Kim questions suspiciously as she peels a banana then proceeds to eat it. I like her attitude, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks and just does what she wants—and says what she wants too.

“The Kardashians? Really? I would rather be related to Beyoncé and if not, then maybe Meryl Streep.” I say with a laugh.

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind being related to Leo myself.” She says with a groan that boarders on a moan. Kim as I’m coming to realize, is very out spoken. And thirsty. Thirsty for some big dick energy. Her words not mine!

“You have no shame. Which Leo?”

She gasps out loud and looks at me like she is offended. “What do you mean which Leo? There is only one Leo!”

I laugh at her and we move down the rest of the junk food section where she loads her plate. “It’s not funny, Raea. I mean, have you seen that hunk of a man? I would be stuck on a sinking boat with him anytime, anyplace.”

“Really? You found the Titanic romantic?” I question, watching as she adds some fancy looking tacos on another plate, that with a burger and fries. Where does it all go? Like seriously.

“Seriously, where do you put all that?” I have watched Kim eat junk food for lunch for five days now and she doesn’t seem to have any extra pound anywhere. Not an ounce of fat and it amazes me to no end. Where does it all go?

“It goes where it’s meant to go.” She says with a wink. “Wait, you didn’t think Titanic was romantic? Didn’t it give you the feels?”

We walk over to the very back of the fancy cafeteria. I do my best to ignore the looks and the whispers that have followed me for as long as I have been here. I can’t say it’s not getting to me because it is. I find it hard to sleep at night, my anxiety level is always high. I can’t afford to take my pills right now because I have decided to keep them for their intended purpose—an emergency that I can’t get out of. That being said, the bottle is always with me.

So, in a nutshell, my life sucks right now. I feel sucky too, but whatever.

“The feels? I never watched that movie.” I respond when we reach the table we have been using ever since we started school. I see why other students don’t particularly care for this table.

It’s small and has only six seats but right behind it, there is the entrance to the kitchen and it’s really loud in there. I guess you can’t exactly gossip with all the ruckus that goes on in there, but whatever, it works for Kim and I.

“What the loving hell, Raea. Do you live under a rock too? You haven’t watched Titanic?”

I raise my shoulders, popping the juiciest grapes in my mouth.

“I can’t believe this.” She says in offended disbelief.

Just then, a hush falls over the entire cafeteria. From our view from the back, we watch as Ace, Noah and Emmett strut into the cafeteria as if they are on some kind of fashion runway. And why not? They are treated like they are on display or something. Insert eye roll here—give me a break please!

The girls fix themselves up, retouching their makeup in what is supposed to be in a discreet manner but it’s not. The guys sit up straight and try to be manly as Ace, Noah and Emmett walk past them without sparing anyone a glance.

“What are they doing in here?” Kim questions.

“What do you mean, it is lunch time and they are students too.”

The way these three are treated around here almost makes me sick but it doesn’t at all surprise me. They have always been at the helm of power, attention and envy for as long as I can remember. These three boys would get into trouble, cause trouble and in most cases, they would be THE trouble—and would get away with it.

They have been literally worshipped by what seems to be hordes of females, respected by the guys. But these three boys are ruthless, cruel, hard and evil. I know George was part of that shit, but somehow it worked—until it didn’t.

When we moved, they accepted my brother into their fold, but as for me, I was theirs to toy with and terrorize. Now that I’m back, I can’t help think they are planning something. Especially after what Ace said in Chemistry on Monday.

“Uh, nope.” She says, popping the ‘p’. “I heard that the Blue Boys don’t have lunch here at all. They leave campus like all the freaking time.” Kim explains with a roll of her eyes.

“Well, that’s their business. And where did you hear this anyway.” I really don’t want to talk about Ace and his boys, what I really want is to see how the gossip mill works.

I have only seen and actually talked to Dereck once in Chemistry that day, but now I can’t seem to find him anywhere. One way to find out about anything in a certain place, get the gossip going, you’ll get all the info you need.

“It’s the only thing they ever talk about here. Them and you.” She says and I whip my head in shock to look at her.

“What?”

“Yes, they talk about you. A lot.” She says, taking a bite of her burger. Ace, Noah and Emmett long forgotten.

“What do they say about me?” I question, my tummy now doing a violent dance, threatening to give the floor the gift that is the grapes that I just ate.

“Oh, some stuff that I thought by day five of being your friend I should at least know about.” She says casually, after sipping her water.

“Kim, you are not helping. What are they saying?”

“You really are an oblivious one huh?” She says and I just shrug. “You know, I somehow think that the oblivious persona that you show each day is a front. You are much smarter than you want these brats to realize.”

Hmm, not really true. I like being oblivious, it protects me from things like gossip, until it doesn’t. . .

“Kim, what are they saying?” I question with an urgency that attests to the impending doom I can see in her eyes. In all the rumors, there is always some useful tidbits of information and I intended to find it out.

Kim starts rambling. She never rambles, like ever.

“Well, I have heard a few things that I thought—since I’m your friend and all that—that you would have told me. For one, that you had a twin brother who passed away a week ago. That your brother is the only reason why you came back from wherever your parents stashed you and that your brother and the Blue Boys were at war when he died.” She says in one breath and I suck in a shaky breath.

George was ‘at war’ with Ace and the boys?

“I thought something was up after Monday. The way that other guy, Noah is it—and his brooding friend, who so happens to be my partner now—where looking at you.” Kim watches me. I know she wants me to say something but what can say?

“Raea, you have to give me something here. They are saying that you are going to die next.” She warns and I look at her again. I frown.

“Why would they say that?”

“Well.” She starts uncomfortably. “There is a rumor that the Blue Boys know people and that they are able to dispose of anyone and that. . .”

Well, they do have the means but still. . .

“Stop rambling, Kim. What are they saying?” I demand, my voice shaky, my heart is thumping painfully. What happened in this school? Damn you George and all the secrets you kept!

“I’m sorry Raea, but there is a rumor that the Blue Boys killed George.”

In that moment, it feels as if the world is a sudden blur and I can’t breathe at all. Everything else is now a haze. I can’t make out what’s what or what is going on around me as my vision darkens, the world getting dimmer and dimmer as Kim’s words soak into my subconscious like poison.

“Astraea! Astraea, are you okay?”

George told me that he wasn’t friends with Ace, Noah and Emmett anymore. George never told me that he had new friends. George never told me that he was at war with Ace, Noah and Emmett. He never told me just how bad things were between him and the boys.

But Ace, he is a cold blooded asshole who has burned down houses, violently threatened his enemies and I know he has the capability of doing something as fatal as. . .but no.

But Ace can hold a grudge like no other and he won’t let it go unless he deals with it. . .permanently. He once sent an entire family away from Westbrook just because they displeased him. Then he made sure they would be financially destroyed. And he was only fucking twelve years old! Just twelve! Now he’s older.

“The world is small, but my reach is longer.”

He just said there was bad blood there. Ace threatened me not to talk to Dereck. Noah literally sent some kind of warning to Dereck that day. Could it be that they did kill George, Dereck knows and they are all trying to cover up the tracks by making sure that Dereck never talks to me? I haven’t seen the guy the entire week and Ace knows I’m wondering what happened to my brother.

“Astraea!”

Ace said that George’s recklessness killed my brother. Could it be that he ordered a hit on my brother? His own brother in all intents and purposes of a friendship and bond that the Blue Boys can pull off.

Ace killed my brother?

Without even realizing it, I’m up and out of my seat and my sight is in search of one of them. Any of them. I fucking want answers right now. I know I’m jumping to conclusions right now but I’ve felt nothing but weird vibes the entire time I’ve been here.

From being monitored and watched by Ace. The way my parents refused for me to go back to London, the fucking police report. George dying alone. It’s not like there was a collision with another car or anything, they are saying George lost control of the car all by himself on an empty freeway.

What the fuck kind of bullshit is that?

I completely snap in that moment, ignoring the pounding of my heart as I stand, scanning the cafeteria, in search for them.

“Raea. You are scaring me, are you okay?” I can hear Kim’s inquiring voice but I don’t care. My entire body is vibrating with tense anger and frustration.

I scan the entire room, knowing that everyone’s attention is on them. I follow their enamored gazes and right there at the center table where Brittney and her minions are busy fawning and opening their blouse buttons to give their best cleavage view, is Noah and Emmett, talking to a cool, unbothered Ace whose eyes are strangely on me.

Fuck you asshole, I’m coming for your blood!

I push my chair away and I march over there.

“Raea, calm down.” I can hear Kim’s voice behind me but I’m past rationality right now.

My entire focus, my attention has all zeroed in on Ace and with steam that I never knew I had, my palms ball into fists, a chill going up and down my spine, I march over there, directly in their line of sight.

They see me coming. Noah and Emmett straighten up, watching me with wary looks. They know they are about to get it.

Everyone else is a blur around me as I quickly pass through, blind in my rage. The hue around my vision is a shade of bloody red with sparks of blue but that doesn’t matter because I can see him perfectly.

He is right in front of me and I watch as his entire body tenses. I don’t care if he can sense the rage in me. Hell, I don’t care if he knows that I’m coming for him.

Brittney sees me coming too. She tries to block my path but I push her out of my way and since she is wearing those damn six-inch heels, she wobbles on her heels and after her failed efforts of remaining upright and steady, she falls down with a cry to the tiled gleaming floors. Wrong day, bitch.

As she falls, I’m cognizant of the domino effect of her fall as one of her follower’s juice spills all over Brittney and her other friends scramble to help but they start falling as well, slipping over the sticky and wet floor.

I’m unaware of the silence that has fallen over the cafeteria but I watch as both Noah and Emmett get on their feet and watch me with hooded, sharp gazes but I don’t pay them any mind because he is right there, his gaze now locked on me.

“You stupid, pathetic son of a bitch, what did you do?!” I think my voice is a cross between a roar and a cry. My chest twists painfully, images of George flashing in my head.

I’m unaware that tears are falling down my cheeks as I watch Ace’s hardened gaze. I’m unaware of the way my body is shaking because Ace just sits there, looking at me like he is completely unfazed by everything. Unbothered by me.

That hurts. That hurts more than I can process right now.

“Raea, I think you should calm down.” Noah says softly as he walks closer to me but I raise my palm, halting his movements.

“Don’t you fucking talk to me, you damn murderer!” I shout at him. His gaze hardens and his brow furrows, he shuts his mouth and his lips form a firm unhappy line.

“How could you do that to him?” I look at Emmett as I say that because for fuck’s sake, Emmett and George would work on cars all summer long and they were really close. George ALWAYS had Emmett’s back when I couldn’t, and fuck me sideways, I made sure that George would always be there for Emmett. Now look at what they have done.

I can’t shake the feeling that these boys are responsible for my brother’s death. I just can’t move past it and my instinct is always on point. I never ignore it.

My heart has completely shattered now.

I didn’t know it before but I was holding on to some kind of hope. I thought that the police report was correct, that I was the one being paranoid for nothing but hearing the rumors from Kim, and looking down now at Ace’s hard, frosty and unyielding gaze—I know he did it. I know he is behind everything.

“You can hate me. You can torture me all you want but you killed my brother!” I shout, feeling breathless like the wind has just been knocked from my lungs.

I don’t care who is watching. I don’t care who hears what I’m saying but for this one, I step closer to Ace and lower myself so that our gazes are aligned. So that I’m in his face.

“You killed my only reason to live.” I spit out the words with so much anger and pain but he doesn’t flinch, doesn’t turn away as would a guilty person being confronted so publicly. No. He matches the heat of my glare. “For that, I’m going to light your spoilt and entitled ass up.”

I make sure he sees everything that’s going on inside me, because he can read me like no one else in the world. I make sure that he can feel the rage in me like I feel the tense hate in him.

“Baby, I’m going to blow you away.”

I watch him but his eyes give nothing away about what he is thinking but I hope to hell that my own eyes tell him just how serious I am. As we stare at each other, with tears falling down my cheeks, he reaches over with a careful strong hand. I hear an audible loud gasp rock throughout the room. No one bothers to make a move but all eyes are on Ace’s large arm as it raises higher and higher.

I don’t know if Ace is going to strangle me to death right here or not but I’m ready for whatever he does. Whatever happens, we are going to go down together.

But what he does shocks the whole room but it makes me tense as dread fills me entirely. He lifts his hand and brings it softly, in a measured way, to my right cheek and proceeds to wipe away my tears. Softly, like a light whisper over my skin in a sensual way like he understands my pain but the look in his eyes—it says that he is going to intensify that pain.

My entire being freezes right then. My breathing completely stops soon after. I know this move. Just like the grip on my thigh on Monday morning, this touch from him is also one that I remember well. A shudder rocks through me as his thumb wipes away the tears that keep falling.

When we were younger, after Ace would have done horrors to me for his enjoyment. I would go somewhere, anywhere really and just cry. He would find me though. He would always find me, no matter where I was. Then he would corner me somewhere were nobody would see and he would softly and tenderly wipe my tears away.

But not for the reasons that tender gesture are meant for. No, not Ace.

Ace wiping my tears away meant he was going to destroy me even further, but this time, he was going to do it to a degree that I would never recover from.

I know this because the last time I cried and he wiped my tears, I was pulled out of a burning house. He hates my tears like nothing else in this world and him wiping them now, I know I’m fucked.

“Bring your best, Blue Star.”

That’s all he says in a low, deep voice that is meant for me to hear.

We stare at each other and I move away from him as if I’ve just been burnt by scorching fire. My knees are now weak, I can’t stand up straight, but my eyes are still on him.

I’m completely destroyed already and I don’t know if I’ll make it out of here but Kim is right there. She sweeps in and wraps a hand around my waist.

“I got you.”

Without another look, not another word, Kim gets us out of that cafeteria as quickly as possible with all eyes following my messed up state in utter silence.

Ace is going to destroy me, but not before I destroy him first.

And I will.


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