Usual notices apply: First draft, unedited, may be deleted, blah, blah, etc. Hope your Monday is going well – enjoy!
Rui’s icy voice reverberated through the afternoon air. “I need you to get the money from him.”
Weak rays of milky sunlight trickled across the concrete courtyard. The usual group of potheads occupied the narrow recess beside the stairs while the cheerleaders and athletes took the table farthest from the building door. They weren’t getting involved. Neither was the Student Council group gathered along the west side.
Heat from the wooden table seeped through my jeans and warmed the back of my legs. Troy’s fear raked against my insides and I focused on shutting it out.
Trust no one. Only be responsible for yourself.
I’d managed to follow her rules the entire four months we’d been in LA. The championship tournament was in two hours and she’d be seriously pissed if my performance wasn’t better than the last one.
I needed to concentrate on my own shit, not get involved in anyone else’s.
“I—I don’t know him that w-well…” Troy’s voice trembled.
“See, that’s kind of a problem.” Rui took another long drag of his cigarette. I had to hand it to him. He carried off the menacing look pretty well. “‘Cause your dad owes mine a lot of money.”Empath reached inside, sensing clumps of frustration and rage, hardened over the years.
Guess Rui’s father took his displeasure out on anyone nearby, including his son.
“It’s just me and my mom,” Troy mumbled. “I don’t see him that often —“
I groaned inwardly. Mistake one.
“Often?” Rui’s voice rumbled with the dark glee of a predator who’d spotted its prey. “So you do see him.”
“N..no.” Troy’s eyes darted desperately around the courtyard.
Frightened eyes locked on to me. Great.
“What do you mean, no?”
“I m-m-mean…” He stumbled over the words. “S-sometimes I do, but…”
“Then you can get the money from him, right?” Rui leaned forward and the simple move made Troy flinch as if it were a punch. “I don’t think your dad would like it if my father got his hands on you.”
Troy swallowed, his gaze flickering toward me again.
Sasha followed his line of sight. “You thinkin’ some chick’s gonna help you?”
Everybody except Rui and Troy laughed.
Damn it. And the day was going so well.
Rui slowly turned. Olive skin, black hair, and hard, sharp features gave a striking impression of cold danger that made him appear older than his eighteen years.
He flicked his cigarette and ash landed a foot away from me. “She’s not bad, Troy. Don’t think she’s your type, though.”
Might as well get this over with.
I stood. “You don’t know what my type is, Vergara.”
Genuine surprise crossed his expression. “You know my name. I’m flattered.”
“Don’t be.” I strode over and leaned against the metal railing with a bored expression. “Everyone knows you’re the asshole who has nothing better to do than go after freshmen.”
Sasha’s face twisted with anger and he stepped forward. “What did you say, you —“
Rui’s arm shot out and stopped him. “You’re a junior. Transferred here a few months ago. Kendra, right?”
He exhaled and a ring of smoke gently swirled around his face. Observant dark eyes studied me.
Empath sensed finely honed threads of wariness and curiosity. The way he immediately controlled his emotions set off my internal alarms.
I shouldn’t underestimate him.