Home > Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(3)

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(3)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills


I released my note cards to the floor and watched as they fluttered down like frightened little birds, escaping at last. I raised my head and faced the audience. Clearing my throat, I leaned over the podium until my lips were right on the microphone and delivered my new opening remarks, “Fuck Briarcrest Academy, and fuck you all.”

Finally, some of the pain and darkness that had been wrapped around my soul fell away.

I smiled for real this time without even trying.

It felt good to be bad.

“I never met a girl I couldn’t say goodbye to.”

–Leo Tate

WHAT THE FUCK just happened?

One thing for sure, Little Miss Buttercup just blew my mind. When she’d first walked up there all prim and proper, looking like she’d just stepped out of a Gap ad, I’d expected to suffer through some boring speech about Briarcrest Academy. But, she’d surprised me by telling us all to fuck off. Amused, I watched the reactions of the country club audience, most with their mouths gaping open, staring at the girl who’d just dissed the elite of BA. Welcome to Highland Park, Texas, an affluent suburb of Dallas and home to conservative past Presidents and white-gloved debutantes.

Nothing like my beloved Los Angeles, where I’d spent most of my life, first as a musician and then as a businessman. Yet, the move here was a good one. We had relatives in Dallas, a cousin or two. And supposedly, this school was the best and that’s all I wanted for Sebastian, the chances I never had.

I checked out the girl on stage. She wasn’t a classically beautiful girl, or maybe just not the kind of pumped-up pretty I’m used to seeing at Club Vita, yet there was something compelling about her that had gotten my attention. From the moment she’d taken the stage, my eyes had followed her. Probably because she was tall and blonde and wealthy, a prime example of an American princess-type. I bet she was popular and the quarterback’s girlfriend. I bet she had a pet Chihuahua she carried around in her purse. No doubt, her parents gave her anything her heart desired. She was spoiled rotten and didn’t know shit about the real world.

Nora Blakely was everything I avoided when it came to girls. Her kind expected love and commitments, two things I’d run away from a long time ago.

But still I stared at her, now focused on her pouty, sexy mouth as it tilted up in a smile. Fuck. I looked around guiltily, wondering where the hell that thought had sprung from. Bad, Leo. Buttercup was not sexy. A pretty piece of jail bait, definitely. And I wasn’t touching that. Ever.

“Dude, she just said fuck,” my seventeen-year-old brother declared, grinning. “That’s what I call entertainment. Good choice on the new school, bro.”

I smacked the back of his head. “Language, Sebastian.”

He smirked.

We both looked back to the stage-spectacle where Buttercup was still standing. I couldn’t seem to stop my eyes from running over her long-as-hell legs and curvy breasts and—I made myself stop right there. Why was I daydreaming about some school girl anyway? I knew plenty of girls my own age who were available. It was just too damn hot in here, that’s all. You’d think they’d have enough money to pay for better air conditioning, considering the price tag of this place. I picked at my collar and wished I was back at Club Vita. I wanted out of this suit and back in my jeans.

Excited, Sebastian leaned forward to get a better view, whereas five minutes ago he’d been complaining about how bored he was. Now his gaze has lasered in on the girl like she was his prey.

“Check her out, Leo. I mean, she’s got that smokin’ hot librarian look going on and that attitude of hers is a total turn-on,” he said, perusing her with a confident smile that was typical Sebastian. He was cocky, no doubt about that. “First day of school, she’s all mine. No one can resist the Tate charm when I crank it up.”

I scowled, not happy with the idea of Sebastian hitting on Nora Blakely.

We looked back at the stage and saw two faculty members and a man and woman who’d bolted up from the front row surround her. After some heated whispering and skillful maneuvering, they moved her toward the stage curtains. Nora seemed to be resisting their efforts, pulling and tugging to get away from them, but it was four against one and they were winning. I wondered what would happen to her now. Would she be denied registration or suspended before classes even started? I felt a bit sorry for her until I considered that in all likelihood, she was a brat who’d probably been pissed at someone and had wanted to spout off.

I glanced at the program, and it said her mom was an anchor woman for the show Good Morning, Dallas. I flicked my eyes back up to the stage, this time recognizing the lady from the crowd as the star of the number one morning show in Texas. Everyone watched the show, even me. As I sat there watching the family drama play out, the mother seemed to lose her cool a little bit, her claw-like hands grabbing Nora’s arm, forcing her backstage and away from the whispering crowd.

Yeah, I predicted a hefty school contribution on behalf of the Blakely family.

I glanced down at Sebastian. “I didn’t pay for this school so you could screw around with girls. You’re here to play football and get good grades so you can get into a decent university. Stay away from Buttercup,” I said, pointing my finger at him.

He chuckled. “Buttercup? Oh, man, do you have a hard-on for the smartest girl at BA?” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“No, asshole. I just meant she’s got all that blonde hair…” I drifted off, gesturing up toward the now empty stage, hoping I didn’t sound as stupid as I thought I did.

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