Home > Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(9)

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(9)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

He was about ten feet away from me, standing six feet and then some. He was missing a shirt but wearing a pair of black athletic shorts and flip-flops. Judging by his disheveled dirty blond hair and bloodthirsty eyes, I’d have to guess this might be the owner of the Escalade.

And I’d just woken him up.

He came closer to me, and my eyes were immediately drawn to his green-and-blue dragon tattoo. Like a giant snake, the scaled body of the dragon wrapped around his forearm and bicep with the neck coming down from his shoulder and the head resting on his broad chest. Red flames poured from its mouth, between laser sharp teeth.

This guy looked medieval.

So, I squinted and pictured him as a rugged Viking, wearing a horned helmet and gripping a spear instead of a gun. Maybe holding a shield instead of his flashlight and definitely wearing some of those laced-up leather boots. The word berserker (from round two of the famous spelling bee) came to mind, and I rolled the syllables around my tongue . . . ber-serk-er. Yep, that was him alright: one pissed off Norse warrior.

I grinned at my amazing analogy because, well, I’d had too much to drink.

“You think this is funny, son?” he snapped.

I shook my head, suddenly aware that this was really happening, that I’d been caught, and an angry car owner was pointing a gun at me. And he thought I was a boy.

“That’s what I thought. Now, what the fuck are you doing out here messing with my car?” he said, biting out the words through clenched teeth.

I swallowed and said nothing.

“You’ve got twenty seconds before I call the cops,” he said, stepping closer.

And then it happened. Everything clicked in my head, and I knew him. He was the one, the gorgeous guy from the open house whose gaze had been the glue that held me together in the parking lot. I forgot about the gun and got tangled up in my thoughts, remembering the countless times I’d played out the memory of our eyes clinging to each other, how I’d wanted to jump out of my car, get into his and just drive away. I flicked my eyes back at the Escalade, dimly remembering he’d driven a black car. I really hadn’t paid much attention to it that day because all I’d seen had been him.

“Ten seconds,” he yelled, blasting his light full in my face until bright spots were floating in front of my eyes.

“Get that off me,” I snapped, swaying a little.

He lowered the light a miniscule bit. “Drunk and disorderly plus vandalism are two misdemeanors. Looks like you’re going to jail.”

“S’kay with me. Put me in jail,” I said weakly. But even as I said the words, I knew I was lying. I wasn’t a minor anymore, and I could kiss Princeton goodbye if I got arrested.

Nausea reared its ugly head and my stomach began to roll.

“Five seconds,” he retorted.

I held my hand up in the universal sign for wait a minute, and then bent over and hurled, missing my shirt but not my adored cowboy boots. After that, I dry heaved, and the force made my legs buckle, making me take a header straight on the concrete, the side of my face slamming into the wet pavement. My ball cap fell off in the craziness, my long hair spilling out over the wet ground.

He got quiet, so I looked up at him to see his face studying mine intently. “Holy shit,” he muttered, easing the gun down, “you’re a fucking girl.”

“Last time I looked,” I whispered, running my tongue across my teeth to check for chips. I scooted myself away from the mess I’d made and reached up to touch my face to see if I was bleeding. There wasn’t any blood, but I could feel my temple swelling. I put a hand on the car and pulled myself up. My knees were on fire, and when I looked down, I saw the concrete had ripped through my jeans and blood was dripping down my legs.

He cursed, pulled a phone from his pocket and dialed a number. “Sebastian, it’s all good. No, no cops. Yeah, come on out here. I might need some help.”

He hung up and gave me a disgruntled look. “And here I thought we’d left all the crime back in California,” he said, putting the safety on the gun and shoving it in his pocket.

A door slammed, and a younger version of the man, probably around my age, came around the corner, his long legs striding briskly. He stopped in front of the graffiti and whistled loudly. “Oh baby, those pretty hearts and flowers are rocking your ride, Leo.” He chuckled and then stopped when his eyes took me in. “Whoa, she’s bleeding. Did you beat her up?”

The guy called Leo rubbed his scruffy jaw. “I don’t hit girls. She fell.”

“She’s hurt,” the young guy stated, frowning. He stared at me with a puzzled expression and then grinned and slapped his leg. “Hot damn. It’s her,” he said in a loud whisper, glancing back at Leo. “You know? Nora? From registration?”

“Yeah. I see that,” Leo said, his eyes searching my face.

“I see no official introductions are necessary. Everyone knows me now as the girl with the potty mouth,” I said, leaning completely against the car, smearing the yellow paint everywhere.

The younger one came to my side. “You okay?”

I focused on him and decided I liked him. He had an open face that made me think he laughed a lot, so when I felt myself swaying again, I reached out to him.

“Watch it,” he said gently and grabbed my shoulders to steady me. I held on to him, and he winked at me. I scrunched up my eyes to get a better look, sure I was seeing things now, but he didn’t do it again.

Leo walked over and loomed beside me, a disapproving look on his face as he watched us. I shifted closer to the one he’d called Sebastian, but stumbled and lost my balance, falling down again on my knees. Shit. This night had gone downhill fast.

   
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