Home > Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(10)

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(10)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Sebastian kneeled down next to me and looked over at Leo. “Hey, how ’bout I carry her inside so she can get cleaned up? She’s a mess and looks pretty harmless.”

Leo let out an exasperated breath. “Fucking ridiculous,” he muttered. “She ruins my car, and you want to invite her inside? You’d feel different if it had been your Beamer, Sebastian.”

Sebastian gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “She’s my classmate, bro, and I think she’s just drunk.”

Leo let out a grunt. “Whatever. Fine, I’ll get her, and you get the backpack. And don’t forget the spray paint.” He walked over and glared down at me. “If I call the police later, we’ll need the evidence.”

Then, without any effort at all, he swept me up, his hard arms slipping under my knees and around my back as he scooped me off the ground.

And just like that, the night caught up with me, and I nestled into his bare chest, feeling like I had come home. He smelled so good, like—

“Butterscotch,” I mumbled, turning my nose into him.

“What?” he grumbled, carrying me inside the glass doors.

I didn’t answer because I was too busy laying my cheek against his hot skin and staring into the crystalline eyes of his dragon.

He took me down a long hall with several doors on each side and past a large workout room with treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights. “Hold on,” he said and adjusted his grip on my legs and started up a wide staircase that opened to a spacious loft area. He carried me past a den area and a kitchen and into a large white-tiled bathroom. I suppose I was too wet for any other room. And I wasn’t exactly a welcome guest.

He sat me on the toilet seat, made sure I was steady, and eased away from me. Maybe he wanted me to sit, but I didn’t. I jumped up, went over to the sink and turned the water on. He stood there, his broad shoulders tense, watching me as I splashed cool water on my face and rinsed out my mouth. I grabbed a hand towel and dried off, wishing I wasn’t intoxicated. I turned around to face him.

“Tell me why you vandalized my car,” he stated, crossing his muscled arms and spreading his legs, his stance making it obvious he was pissed. The tension heightened in the small room as we stared at each other, and I tore my eyes from his to sit back down on the toilet seat, not knowing how to answer him. I would only sound crazy.

He tapped his fingers against his legs. “What’s your parent’s phone number? And don’t think of lying because I can always look it up online. I know who you are.” He sure mastered the use of a menacing tone.

I looked down at my dirty boots. “There’s no point in calling them. They aren’t home. They never are,” I said, grabbing a wad of toilet paper and cleaning off my boots. My throat tightened painfully at the thought of my parents, and I soothed myself by counting the tiles on the floor.

He didn’t speak and several seconds passed, and I tensed up more, fearing that like Mother, he excelled in using silence. But no one was better than Mother, who’d once refused to speak to me for an entire month when I’d come in second at a debate competition. During the first week of that horribly quiet time, I’d followed her around, begging her to talk to me. She’d ignore me and say to my dad, “Silence is golden.” As the weeks had progressed, I’d learned her silence was her speech, her way of saying I was worthless.

“I’m sorry about your car. It was mean and wrong,” I said, not able to stand the quiet. “Please don’t call my parents,” I added, hiding my shaking hands behind my back.

He tightened his mouth. “Fine, who can I call to come get you?”

“Don’t hold it against Portia from the bakery across the street, but she’s my aunt. I’m staying with her.” I dug my phone out of my wet jeans, scrolled down to her number, and handed it to him.

Our fingers brushed when he took my phone, and I jerked, shocked at the unexpected sizzle of heat sweeping over my body. He pocketed my phone and then opened the medicine cabinet, gazing into it for a long time without moving, like he was considering what to do next. I watched him warily, wondering what he had planned for me. Finally, he sighed and pulled out hydrogen peroxide and a handful of gauze.

“Sebastian has a change of clothes you can borrow, and you’ll need an ice pack for your face. It’s going to leave a bruise,” he told me as he bent down to touch my temple with his long fingers. He cleaned my face with cold water and then dabbed it with the hydrogen peroxide, his touch surprisingly gentle even though I could sense his anger just under the surface.

In the bright lights of the bathroom, I let my gaze run over him freely, taking him in, not missing how beautiful he was. He had an unyielding face, with a jaw line that looked like it could chisel granite, matching his well-built, defined body. Yet even with all the hotness in front of me, the one thing that made my heart fly was his icy pale-blue eyes. This close up I could see how the light, almost transparent color contrasted with his tan face, making his eyes glow like the precious opals I’d studied about in science. And right now they were focused entirely on me as he scrutinized my bruise.

“Is this your gym?” I asked, trying not to wince as he patted my temple.

“Yes,” he said, tossing the used gauze into the trash, his arm muscles rippling. He stood up and raked a hand through his wavy blond hair, holding it there as he studied me with those piercing eyes. I returned his look, my breath kicking up a notch at how sexy his naked chest was, how his dragon tattoo seemed to slither and slide over his chest as he moved. My eyes moved down to his taut abs and the way his shorts barely hung to his lean waist, hinting at what was underneath.

   
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