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Katherina Blackwood’s life takes an unexpected turn when she’s abducted by a vicious gangster named Luca and taken to Italy, where she is kept as his sex slave. But as she spends more time with her dangerous, enigmatic captor, Katherina realizes that there’s more to Luca than she expected….

Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Assault, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Drug Use/Overdose, Extreme Violence/Gore, Human Trafficking, Kidnapping, Rape, Sexual Assault/Abuse, Stalker, Torture, Violence Against Women)

 

Toxic Love by Sinner is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

The app has received recognition from BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the hottest app for explosive new Mystery, Thriller & Suspense novels.
Ali Albazaz, Founder and CEO of Inkitt, on BBC The Five-Month-Old Storytelling App Galatea Is Already A Multimillion-Dollar Business Paulo Coelho tells readers: buy my book after you've read it – if you liked it

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

Book One: His Possession
KATHERINA

I’m gonna be late!

Great.

So freaking great!

Slipping on a gray sweetheart top and matching it with black jeans, I started combing my tangled black hair.

I was too lazy last night to braid my hair before hitting the bed, and my beautiful silky hair has taken revenge.

I took my time combing it in sections. My hair stops right above my navel, and I’d like to grow it till it covers my ass.

After a busy ten minutes, my hair was swaying in perfect waves.

Picking up all the books from my study table, I dumped them in my small bag and rushed out of my room with a black shrug and a bag full of heavy freaking books.

I rushed to the dining table, placing my books and shrug on the table and my ass on the seat. Breakfast was already on my plate, so wasting no time, I took a forkful of pasta and shoved it in my mouth.

“No one’s going to steal your breakfast, honey,” Mom said while making a sandwich.

“I’m late, Mom! Why didn’t you wake me up?” I asked, glaring at her.

“You’re a nineteen-year-old young lady who is capable of setting an alarm and waking up in the morning on time for school.

“Also, unlike you, I have better things to do in the morning than to wake you up.” She giggled like some adorable kid.

“I believe the better things are teaching my sweet little sister not to pee the bed at night. Right, Mom?”

Hearing this, my sister, sitting in her old baby chair, threw her spoon in my direction. Of course, it flew over my head.

“Mommy!” she started wailing at the top of her lungs, which I ignored and continued sipping my juice.

“Kat!” Mom hissed and started consoling her.

“Bad Kat! Bad Kat, you are,” my sister said, pointing her little finger at me.

“And you are a bad dog. Bad dog,” I mimicked her voice and rolled my eyes, which only made her wail louder.

“Katherina, stop that!” Mom said. I shrugged in response and ignored my mother’s glare.

I finished the last bite of last night’s leftover pasta and got up, lifting up my books and the shrug.

My sister was no longer wailing. She looked peaceful, and Mother was busy packing her lunch. I stood for a second, wondering how to spoil the moment.

That’s when Mom saw my reaction, and her eyes widened in fear, and she mouthed no. I smirked and let the words out of my mouth.

“You know what, Bella? Ursula loves—”

“Katherina!”

“—teddy bears, and they say she comes at night to—”

“Katherina Blackwood!”

“—collect them from cute little girls like you. You better hide yours.” I spoke in a gravelly monster voice.

I fake glared at her before running toward the main door, so Mother wouldn’t smack my head for the war I’d just started. Behind me, I heard Bella’s wail and cups and bowls shattering.

I opened the main door and closed it behind me, muffling the screams and wails as I stepped out into another cloudy day.

Arabella, my little six-year-old sister, has a weird habit of throwing things when she gets emotional. Well, maybe it’s not that weird. And upsetting her is one of the best feelings ever.

We live in an old small town famous for its tourist spots, from mountains to creeks and beautiful landscapes.

The town is surrounded by forest, which keeps the temperature moderate, attracting people from all over the globe to visit.

But since it’s a town, it also has its disadvantages. Some of the townspeople get educated and leave this town for better lives, while others stay here and live unambitiously.

There’s a gas station, a few restaurants and lodges, and a handful of shops, which are enough for the limited population.

I’ve always dreamed of city life and want to move to a city once high school is done, and the closer I get to graduation, the more I feel it since I’ll be leaving town for college.

I pedaled faster on the wet, empty road, with the clouds painted white and gray, threatening to pour rain in the afternoon. I could see my school in the distance.

Students were rushing in already, which means I was late. Again.

When I reached school grounds, I parked my bicycle hurriedly, making it crash into the others and topple over.

“Oops.”

I saw our school security guard snapping his head toward the source of noise and slitting his eyes at me when he saw who was responsible for it.

“Not again!” I heard him shout and stomp toward me with his security stick pointing at me.

“You come late every day and cause havoc before even starting your first class!”

“Sorry, Oliver!” I shouted back and rushed to my biology class before he could catch me and take me to the office.

My biology teacher is a Chinese woman in her late thirties with straight, short hair that matches her height and posture, and huge spectacles on her non-existent nose.

She’s nice but knows when to be strict with us.

I just hoped she was in a good mood today. The hallway was empty as I ran toward my first class, and when I reached the door, I opened it slowly and popped my head inside.

The whole class turned their heads toward me, as did my teacher.

“Uh…mo-morning Mrs. Chihua—I mean Chunhua.”

Mrs. Chunhua glared at me. I have addressed her as Chihuahua a couple of times by mistake and received her wrath of humongous assignments.

One day I’m going to push her too far.

“Morning, Miss Blackwood. You may come in.” Her voice was curt and steady.

I walked in quietly, my classmates giggling, and I didn’t realize why till my teacher’s voice stopped me abruptly.

“Miss Blackwood, I don’t think you need that helmet. So if you could, please leave it outside the room.”

My hand quickly went to my head. The class laughed, making me go red.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I…I’ll leave it.” I almost threw the helmet out and dashed to my seat.

The class started, and as usual, there was silence.

Mrs. Chunhua is one of the finest teachers at our school and also the kind of teacher who sticks to her work and doesn’t gossip about students to the other teachers in the staff room.

“So, if the sperm doesn’t find an egg to fertilize in the uterus, it’ll survive there for five to seven days. Any questions?” Mrs. Chunhua asked the class.

“How do the sperm survive for so many days?” the class nerd Kylie asked.

“The woman’s cervical fluid nourishes and provides proper nutrients for the sperm to survive,” was her answer, which Kylie scribbled furiously in her book.

After biology was English, one of my favorite subjects because I can sleep in that class.

Mr. Moris does nothing but stand in the front of the class with the textbook covering his face as he reads nonstop, not letting the chatter of the class interrupt him.

After that was mathematics, another brain-eating subject.

I endured all three morning classes patiently and went to the cafeteria for lunch to meet my best friends, Isabella Clearwater and Anna Hemming, who were already seated in our usual place.

We three have been attached at the hip since kids, as our parents are pretty close to each other.

Isabella is a beautiful fair blonde. Anna is the most sensitive among us, with dark brown hair matching her eyes. They were so busy talking to each other that they didn’t see me coming.

“Hey,” I said and sat in my seat.

“You were late this morning,” Bella said.

“Again,” Anna finished giving me a mean look.

“Yeah, and the most surprising part is Mrs. Chihuahua didn’t mention it.”

“Mrs. Chunhua,” they both corrected with an eye roll.

“I prefer Chihuahua,” I mumbled and took out my toast.

“Toast for lunch? You eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and you remain in shape,” Anna said, eyeing my toast.

“My favorite. And come on, you don’t have to only eat toast for breakfast and not lunch.” I shrugged at her.

“Did you see Kevin, by the way?” Bella asked me.

“Chris told me that he has started football again, so they’re training for the upcoming game,” I said with the toast in my mouth.

“He didn’t tell me, and it’s pouring out. Where the hell is he?” she complained

“Chris told me last night. We’ll see them after school, don’t worry,” I replied. “I’m only worried about the upcoming exams.”

“There’s an entire month to go,” Isabella sighed. She hated studying; fashion has always been her priority.

“And I haven’t started yet,” I said, taking a spoon to her brown rice. “Mathematics is fucking me sideways. I need to score higher in that subject.”

“As long as I pass all the subjects, I’m not grounded at home,” she said and looked at Anna, who was lost in her own thoughts. “What’s up with you? Did you finally see yourself naked in the mirror?”

Anna smacked her arm and looked at us. “Do you guys remember the house on Green Street, the one we toilet-papered at night while walking down that way?” Anna asked nervously.

“Yeah, what about it?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows at her.

“Anna Hemming, we didn’t toilet-paper a random house on that street. We toilet-papered a guy’s house who called me a fat ass,” Isabella corrected Anna.

Anna ignored her and what she told next took our breath away.

“Same thing. Now listen, that guy has moved in next to my home.”

“What?” Isabella gasped.

“When?” I asked.

“Last night,” she replied. “And I also believe he must be the new kid.”

I shuffled in my seat and gave my friends a determined look. Isabella had already gone pale, and Anna looked worried.

“Okay, here’s the thing, he doesn’t know that it was us,” I said.

“He does know, Bella. He’s almost sure that it was her. The only problem is he didn’t get to see her ever again,” Anna said, looking at Bella.

“Yeah, that’s right, Anna. He might know it’s her, but she didn’t see him after that park incident, and c’mon, he’s just a random guy who teased her. It’s not a big deal.”

I tried to believe my own words.

“It won’t affect her in any way if she doesn’t show her stupid face to him when she comes over!” Anna snapped.

“Right,” I said, looking at Bella, who was in the first stage of a panic attack.

We had a girls’ night out a month ago. We were on Greet Street when Anna and I went to buy ice cream, leaving Bella alone, which was a big mistake.

There were a bunch of guys near a local park, and one of them teased Bella and called her a fat ass. She fought back and threw a rock at him, which hit his actual fat-ass friend.

They started to chase her as she ran through the street, and we hid in the ice cream shop for what seemed like an hour.

After that scene, Anna met him again a week later when she was on the way to her gram’s. She immediately called both of us, and we followed him to his beautiful house.

We, being best friends for life, planned to pay him back by toilet-papering his house at midnight after the lights were off.

We had so much fun that night, sneaking onto private property in the middle of the night and toilet papering the home with the help of ladders we brought with us.

The security guard was fast asleep on his chair, and Isabella had the guts to shove a tiny leaf into his nose, which made him sneeze loudly and sit up alert in his chair, but we were gone by then.

After that, we never stepped onto that street, especially Bella, because he had seen only her, not me or Anna.

No longer dwelling on the situation, Anna and I tried to lift up Isabella’s mood by talking about fashion while we got ready for gym class.

The best part of Monday is all the three of us share the same afternoon classes.

On the way to class, I saw Megan Barbara and her minions leaning on a locker, probably gossiping about fake nights they spend with the football team.

Most of the words that slip through her rich, matte lips are fake and shitty. The popularity she has here is because of her father, who is the mayor of the town.

That’s why she lost me as a friend when we were young. The four of us were close, but pride got the best of her as we grew up, and she drifted far apart from us.

The worst part is she became an enemy. We don’t understand what made her so cold and selfish.

“Little Blackwood wore the same shorts today. Don’t they stink?” Megan said in a disgusted tone.

Her so-called best friend Veronica Davis made a disgusted face as if she was trying not to puke. I ignored her like I always do.

“I’m glad you like her stinking shorts. She’ll be very happy to give them to you.” Anna sent a flying kiss toward her.

“Puke on Barbara’s wig, Veronica,” Isabella snapped back.

Megan looked like a fuming dragon, angry smoke rising from her ears, and Veronica looked pretty troubled.

We chuckled softly and walked faster to the basketball court where Mr. Peterson, a buff-looking South American around six feet tall in his late forties, was already waiting for the students to arrive.

He’s the kind of man who aims for discipline and obedience from his students.

We all lined up, girls and boys, in separate lines. His voice boomed loud and clear in the silent court, hitting the roof and walls.

“As we all know that this year, we have an inter-school sports competition and I expect us to win the basketball tournament.

“Training will start from tomorrow morning at six am and in the evening after school—two hours of practice every day, excluding Sundays.

“We have not won the trophy for the past two years in a row. I hope you students won’t disappoint me and the school!” he shouted.

He paused for a second and glanced at all the boys in the line, hoping to catch someone scowling, but the students knew better than to give him the satisfaction and face his wrath.

“Ladies.” He looked at us. “No gym class. Boys, line up!”

With that, all the girls scattered. Some went out while the others sat in the seats, watching them play.

“We won’t be having gym classes until Sports Day is over!” Anna squealed with happiness. She hates gym classes. They are her worst nightmares, with dodgeball being at the top of the list.

We sat and gossiped a whole hour because we couldn’t leave the grounds due to the rain.

The rest of the afternoon’s classes went by swiftly. When the last bell rang, I informed Isabella and Anna that I’d meet them on the football field and ran outside.

The air was cool when I stepped out onto the drenched football field. I saw that the coach had left, and the boys were worn out, sitting on a concrete bench.

I quickly spotted Chris with Kevin and made my way toward them.

“Chris,” I called out, running toward him and bumping into his tired body. He almost lost his balance but chuckled over my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me.

“Missed me, I guess?” He smirked, looking into my eyes.

“You have no idea,” I mumbled and placed my lips on his. He kissed me back tenderly, pulling me closer to his body.

“I needed that,” he said softly after we parted and slumped his head on my shoulder.

I ran my fingers through his sweaty brown tendrils. Anna and Isabella arrived, and Isabella was immediately in Kevin’s arms, her back pressed against his front as she started talking about her day.

Anna sat next to them, joining their conversation.

“You need to rest,” I said, softly running my fingers up and down his arms.

“Hmm,” was his only reply. He lifted his head from my shoulder to look at me.

“I’m sorry I’ve been such an asshole lately. Practice takes so much of my time that I’m unable to spend my days with you.” He spoke tiredly, his heavy eyelids trying to remain open.

“Take your time. I know how important football is to you, and how important this game is too. I’ll wait,” I said softly, looking into his deep blue eyes that never fail to fascinate me.

I smiled softly and placed a kiss on his forehead. He grinned cheekily and squeezed my ass, making my eyes pop wide open.

“Chris, we’re in the field!” I snapped. He grinned and buried his head in my neck.

“You guys need a bed?” Anna growled, making all of us chuckle.

“You know, you should date that camera guy—”

“Henry Stuart?” Anna finished Chris’s statement as a question.

“Yeah, that guy. He really seems into you.”

“Shut up, Christopher! He’s such a skinny guy, not my type at all,” Anna snapped back.

“Oh, c’mon, I’m sure he’s built where it counts,” Kevin said.

Anna turned as red as a tomato, gripping the bottle in her hand.

Knowing what was coming next, Bella moved forward, and within a second, the bottle in Anna’s hand was emptied on Kevin.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me! You better run for your life before I catch you,” Kevin sputtered.

That was all Anna needed to hear. She ran at the speed of a Royal Enfield 350 while Kevin chased her with the speed of a 5 Suzuki Hayabusa.

The three of us sat and watched them with amusement, Anna running like a madwoman on the court as Kevin laughed at her and finally caught her by the waist.

He lifted her high up in the air, came toward us, and, without warning, threw her right on Bella.

“Ouch,” I exclaimed with a pained expression, watching them.

“You asshole! What did I do?” Bella shouted at him while Anna felt relieved as she was thrown on her and not on the hard ground.

“You did know she was going to do that, didn’t you?” Kevin asked.

“Yes! So what?”

“That’s what you get,” he said coolly.

“This isn’t going to end well,” I mumbled softly to Chris. He chuckled.

“No sex for seven days!” Bella said.

Kevin froze on the spot after hearing that.

“I told you!” I said loudly this time, and we started laughing hysterically, looking at poor Kevin.

After what seemed like hours, we left the school grounds. Anna and Bella left together as Kevin needed to buy some pills for his mother.

Chris insisted on dropping me off as he hardly gets any time with me.

He put my bicycle in the trunk of his old black 1970 Dodge Charger R/T after getting a long lecture from Mr. Oliver before we took off.

We reached my home in no time. I stretched my arms and yawned like an uncivilized woman, but Chris looked at me with pure amusement and love.

Removing my seat belt, I got up and moved toward him, settling on his lap.

“Guess you did miss me,” he said, chuckling, holding my waist.

“Yes, but I know you don’t miss me,” I replied softly and enclosed my arms around his torso, and placed my ear on his chest, listening to his rhythmic heartbeats.

He chuckled above me. “That’s not true, but you know how important these matches are to me and how much I love football.”

I hummed in reply, and we held each other, listening to “Give Me Love” playing on his stereo softly. It was peaceful in his arms. God, how much I had missed him.

He started singing along, his lips brushing my ear.

I chuckled softly and rested my head on his. “What a charmer,” I said.

He laughed before smashing his lips on mine. Our tongues fought playfully for dominance, and finally, I gave in. He explored my mouth before kissing my jawline.

His head came lower and lower, kissing the spot between my neck and shoulder.

I could hear a second voice singing the lyrics now, but I didn’t think too much about it.

“You sing so childishly,” he chuckled in my neck and sucked my favorite spot.

“I wasn’t singing,” I moaned, drowning in my own pleasure.

“You just—wait.” His body stiffened all of a sudden.

I froze, and the singing continued.

Our heads turned toward the voice, and there stood my little bundle of mischief dumping all the contents out of my bag.

“Arabella!” I squeaked. She snapped her head up, her wide eyes looking at me.

“You didn’t get chocolate today, Kat?” she asked, looking at my empty bag.

Chris chuckled and opened the glove compartment. Arabella shrieked, looking at the compartment filled with chocolates, and took as many as her tiny hands could accommodate.

“Thank you, Chrissy!” she beamed with happiness.

“You’re welcome, munchkin,” Chris smiled at her with adoration.

“Okay, you got what you wanted, Ara. Now leave,” I said sternly. My cheeks were burning.

“Okay!” she said and was about to close the door when Chris stopped her.

“No kissy for Chrissy?” he asked with a fake frown on his face.

“I’m not kissing you like my sister!” She made a disgusted face. I buried my face in Chris’s neck in embarrassment.

“Here, munchkin, on my cheek,” he said. Ara quickly climbed up on the seat and pecked his cheek.

“Good night,” she screamed out and ran away home.

I remained still when Chris kissed my neck.

“She’s gone,” he said.

“I know,” I said and looked into his ocean blue eyes.

“I love you so fucking much, baby,” he said, looking deep into my brown ones. I rubbed my thumb on his cheek, smiling affectionately at my love.

“I love you too,” I said softly.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

KATHERINA

Sometimes I really wish I was an only child.

“Arabella!” I screamed furiously as I started walking down the stairs with my chemistry notebook in hand.

“Arabella!”

“Why the hell are you screaming as if your damn ass is on fire?” Mom said, looking very much confused. She was serving Dad his cider while Dad was busy eating his veggies.

My sister, who was sitting in her big baby chair, looked down when she noticed what was in my hand.

“How many times have I told you not to enter my damn room, Ara?” I seethed while she continued eating her cereal, not a problem in her own little world.

“Oh, what did my baby do now?” Mom asked sweetly and took the book from my hand.

She gasped as soon as she saw the creative work done by my baby sister on my notebook.

“Damien,” she giggled, “I think you need to see this,” she said and gave my notebook to my Dad.

Dad burst out laughing, and so did Mom. My sister brightened after seeing them laugh.

“Don’t you dare, Ara! I’ve told you several times not to enter my room without my permission! Now, look what you’ve done!” I scolded her.

“Now, now, calm down, Kat. What she has done is really…creative,” Mom said, bubbling with laughter.

“Impressive,” Dad said. Then his laughter died out. “But dolly, the spelling is c-o-o-k, not…not what you’ve written,” he added, embarrassed a little.

“Let me correct that, Daddy.” She stretched her hand to take my notebook from Dad.

I can’t believe this family! My chemistry marks depend on that notebook, and here they are having fun with it.

“This is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure I’m living with a bunch of mental people here. I’m calling a mental hospital ASAP,” I said.

I stormed toward them and snatched the notebook from my mother, who was still laughing hysterically.

“Mom, stop it now, will you?” I said, my annoyance getting the better of me.

This little lady had drawn Dad with a straight line as the body and small lines for arms and legs, with a huge rainbow-colored chef hat on the amoeba-shaped head.

But that wasn’t the fun part. The fun part was what she’d written in a red crayon at the top of the page: My daddy is the best cock in the world, she had written in her clumsy handwriting.

Dad cooked grilled chicken last night, so to reward him, she had done this creatively in my book!

“I’m going to stick it in our room, Damien,” my mother commented.

“Maybe I could demonstrate it, my dear,” Dad said huskily.

“Dad!” I shut my ears, glaring at my parents.

“Come have your breakfast. Try to leave early today,” Mom said.

I gladly took my seat after taking a spoon of cereal from my sister’s bowl.

“Mommy! Ew, don’t lick my spoon. You’re so dirty!” she complained.

“Here you go,” I said and rudely threw the spoon into her bowl.

“Mommy. I want another spoon!” She made a disgusted face and took the spoon from her bowl as if it were covered in bacteria.

“Thank God my assignment is due next Friday, which means I can rewrite this,” I said, “but that doesn’t mean I’m forgiving you.

“I’m not accompanying you to the washroom in the middle of the night for a whole week. Ursula can have you.” I stuck out my tongue as I saw the color draining out of her face.

“Mommy—” she started to wail, but I shut her up by feeding a spoonful of cereal.

Once breakfast was done, I kissed my parents goodbye before tickling my sister and leaving home. I reached the school grounds way before the bell, and I was so happy.

As soon as I was done parking my bike, I heard Anna’s distinct voice calling me.

“Hey, Anna,” I said as I took my bag from the back rack.

“Problem. Big problem,” she said in a hurry.

“What problem?” I asked, concern masking my face.

“Isabella,” she said in a faint whisper.

My blood went cold, and I let Anna pull me along as we ran toward the washroom. My eyes quickly caught Isabella clutching the hem of her dress, her face etched with worry and fear.

“Bella, you all right?” I asked softly. “What happened?” I asked, looking at my best friends.

“The guy whose home we toilet-papered is Taylor,” Anna said.

“What’s that got to do with anything?” I asked.

“He’s here. He’s the new kid,” Isabella said with worry.

My worry was gone, and I giggled at them.

“I fucking saw him in our grounds with his schedule in his hand, searching for his first class!” Bella continued.

I fell into fits of laughter. This day keeps getting better.

“Stop laughing, moron. If he sees me, which of course he will, then I’m dead!” Isabella said.

“Calm down, Bella. He’s not sure it’s you, so calm down,” Anna said.

“Of course he is!”

We heard the bell go off for our first class.

“Stop being dramatic, Bella. Stay away from him. That’s all you can do. Come on. We gotta go,” I said.

“Kat is right. Even if he finds out, we’re ready to face the consequences together, as always,” Anna grinned. I grinned back while Bella sighed with relief and dropped the topic.

We went to our respective classes, searching for Taylor on the way but didn’t find him. There’s only one period we three shared that day, and that’s language, right after lunch.

Bella and Anna headed to their classes as I went to mine. The teacher entered the class a few minutes late. She wasn’t alone. There was a new guy following her behind with his bag hung on one side.

Taylor

All the girls in the class started adjusting their hair and pulled their dresses a little lower, revealing their cleavage.

He didn’t even glance at any of them as the teacher went on blabbering about him, her hand frequently patting his back. His eyes took in the whole class, watching only the boys.

Is he gay?

If he is, I’m gonna be jealous because, to be honest, he looks hot. Hot guys are always either taken or gay.

He moved a little away from the teacher, ignoring her hand on him. We all noticed that. After all her blabbering, she finally let him take a seat.

He took the last seat in the corner, next to Henry, the cameraman of this school. Henry flinched when Taylor placed his bag on the table. The boys looked the exact opposite of each other.

By the end of the class, I felt the temperature rising though the fan was on. Most of the girls’ lips were now a darker shade, and they sat in such a way as to display their bare legs for Taylor.

The guys looked at Taylor with complete distaste as all the girls’ eyes were on him. I couldn’t control my smile as I watched the scene unfold.

Clearly, no one was listening to the teacher.

This was his first day, first period in this school, and he already had a spell on the girls. I couldn’t imagine where this was going.

The bell rang loud and clear, but all the girls were glancing at the corner, watching him gather his books and bag.

Usually, everyone rushes out when they hear the bell, but it seemed like no one wanted to do so. Unaffected, I got out of the overheated class.

The other periods passed faster than I expected. I didn’t see Taylor, nor did we share another class, for which I was glad. I was already stinking with sweat from the first class.

I walked to the cafeteria, and as usual, both of my best friends were already there. I told them everything that happened in first period. They were grinning like idiots all the while.

“Whatever. I’m just going to stay away from him,” Bella said. We all agreed.

Since the football team had to practice even during lunch hour, neither Chris nor Kevin was with us.

It all went well for almost fifteen minutes until we felt a presence.

All the three pairs of eyes lifted up slowly. Bella’s burger fell on the plate from her mouth, and Anna coughed awkwardly and tried to bury her big head in her lunch box.

Taylor stood right in front of us with a tray of food in his hand and a smirk plastered on his handsome face.

“Do…do you need anything?” I asked, stammering.

His head tilted toward Bella.

“I know you.” His deep sensual voice came out gentle.

Bella’s eyes almost popped out of her sockets as she looked at him with fear. She tried to talk, but nothing came out of her mouth.

“Bella,” Anna hissed softly, and what Bella did next left us both in fits of laughter.

She stood up and started singing “The Best Song Ever” by One Direction. Anna and I just stared at her. We didn’t know what else to do.

She turned around with her plate and started walking like a robot toward the trash can, her voice growing louder as she reached the chorus.

She dumped her lunch in the trash and walked out of the cafeteria, singing the song so loudly that everyone in the cafeteria was looking at her.

I looked at Anna’s waiting eyes, and slowly my lips pulled into a smirk and then into full-blown laughter. We were laughing so hard and didn’t release that Taylor was still standing rooted to the spot.

I kicked Anna under the table, motioning her to control her laughter. He was holding the tray tightly, and his demeanor was stiff.

“Sorry, we didn’t—”

“It was you three, wasn’t it? You toilet-papered my home,” he said curtly, not an ounce of emotion in his voice. I felt my heart racing, and I looked at Anna, who was staring at me like a hawk.

“I-I don’t know what you’re—”

“I tried to be nice, but seeing the little show your friend just put on, I guess we have to do it my way” His voice was calm yet threatening.

I gave him a look of ridicule.

“Listen, weirdo. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I suggest you leave,” I said in a dismissing tone.

“I called your friend a fat ass on a dare, nothing else. And when you guys toilet-papered my house, I kept quiet, watching the scene from my window that night,” he continued.

“You saw us from the window?” I asked quietly.

“Indeed. And I kept quiet because it was payback for teasing your friend,” he replied.

He said nothing for a moment but looked at Anna.

“I have a thing for brunettes,” he said, giving her an audacious wink. Then he turned and left.

I looked at Anna, stunned. She was crimson. She quickly looked down and resumed eating.

The rest of the lunch hour went incredibly slowly. Bella didn’t return, and neither did Taylor. We ate in silence though I made an effort to talk to Anna.

She’s the shy and sensitive type and hasn’t dated any guys. I know how insecure she can beat times.

“Okay, I’ll see you in language?” I asked, standing up.

Yeah, sure,” she said and rushed out of the cafeteria even though we had the same class after lunch.

I thought Anna would go back to normal by the time we got to class, but no.

“Anna?” I mumbled softly, sitting next to her. She acted as if she didn’t hear me and kept scribbling in her notebook. When was the last time she concentrated so hard on language?

“Anna, it was just a wink and a compliment, okay?”

“Stupid flirt!” she snapped, and I let out a sigh of relief. I can bear my friends shouting, yelling, crying, anything but silence.

“Yeah, he is stupid,” I said, looking at the board.

***

“Hey,” I said as I sat in between Chris’s spread legs with my back pressed to his front. He didn’t respond and continued staring at the grass.

The weather was good today, and I’m sure the coach tired them to the fullest.

I placed my hand on his bare thigh and started fidgeting with the edge of his shorts. His face was red, and beads of perspiration were visible on his face.

He was drenched in sweat, but I didn’t mind as I pressed myself closer to him and watched him silently.

“Who is that guy?” The words came out abruptly, and I quickly looked at him, confused.

“His name is Taylor Williams,” Kevin replied with disgust.

“You guys talking about the new guy?” It was Bella who asked.

“Yeah. He joined us today and trust me when I say he is good. The coach already chose him as a part of the team, and the fuckhead took it for granted and tried to beat me!” Chris seethed.

“It’s okay,” I said, rubbing his arm.

“No, it’s not. Who the fuck is he, anyway? He wants to be the quarterback! You know what he said, Katherina?” He finally looked at me. The look in his eyes told me he’s pretty pissed off.

“What?” I asked softly.

“He told the coach that in his previous high school, he was the star quarterback, and he wants the same position here!”

Football is everything to Chris. He loves football so much that he will sacrifice anything for it. If anyone tries to compete with him, he never backs off without playing a tough game.

He aims to be a football champion in the future, and he will do anything to accomplish that.

“It’s okay,” I said.

“Calm down, man. It’s not like he can beat you. He wasn’t that good, trust me,” Kevin said.

“I hate him too,” Anna murmured.

“You guys already met him?” Chris asked, looking at me, Isabella and Anna.

I chuckled and told the whole story. Bella hadn’t told Kevin about toilet papering his house, so he listened to us with pure amusement.

“Woah, baby girl, you really are a feisty one, aren’t you?” Kevin said, kissing Isabella’s cheek.

“Yeah.” She giggled.

“If he tries anything with you, let me know, Anna,” Chris said. Anna nodded silently.

“I think you guys need to leave,” Chris said to me.

“You’re not driving me today?” I asked, hoping he would reconsider.

“I’m sorry, baby. I can’t today,” he said, looking at me and kissing my knuckles.

I was disappointed, but I knew there was nothing I could do to change his mind.

“It’s okay. We’ll leave,” I said, standing up.

“What? You’re not going to drive me either?” Bella asked Kevin.

“Yeah. We have… practice,” Kevin said, scratching his head while Chris glared at his friend.

“What do you mean by practice? You guys just finished your practice,” Bella complained.

“Isabella, it’s…necessary for us both to practice. We are a little anxious about the game,” Chris said.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Are you guys up to some mischief?” I asked, folding my arms.

“No!” both said in unison. This wasn’t good.

“Not at all, baby. Not at all,” Chris added. I eyed him suspiciously but decided to let go.

We left the boys on their own and took off to our respective homes.

Mom was already at home, as always. She picks up Ara from school and waits till I return home, which is just half an hour. Mom runs a small botanical store as she studied botany. It was her dream.

You can see now why so many of my classes are science-related. The business is even more successful than expected, especially if she gets big deals from businessmen for functions and such.

Dad is a manager in a small hotel outside of town, which is why he arrives home late every day.

I opened the door to be greeted by the rich aroma of cocoa. I walked straight to the kitchen to see Mom busy preparing hot chocolate and my sister sitting in her damn baby chair clutching a doll.

“Seriously, you should stop using that chair,” I said, and immediately the spoon fell out of my mother’s hand.

“Christ! When did you come in?” she asked with her hand on her beating heart.

“This is why I tell you to lock the door, Mom. Anyone can enter, and you wouldn’t know.” I shrugged.

She ignored me and continued her work. She placed a hot mug in front of me, which I gladly accepted.

Coming back from a tiring day and getting a mug of chocolate in this blissful cool weather, now that’s life!

I sipped the chocolate, humming softly as the sweetness explored every part of my tongue before sliding down my throat.

My sister imitated my actions and ended up covering her lips and cheeks with chocolate. I chuckled at her, and she grinned, showing me her chocolatey-brown teeth.

“Okay, girls, I’ll take my leave then,” Mom said and kissed us goodbye.

I rushed to my room, leaving Bella on her own in the dining room. I had lots of homework and assignments which must be completed by tonight at any cost.

I started working on my English assignment. There was complete silence for almost thirty minutes. Then I heard a loud noise.

I groaned and walked out of my room, already knowing where it was coming from. The song was blasting so loudly that I’m sure Arabella wouldn’t be able to hear me, no matter how much I screamed.

I looked at the door, which had a small note stuck on it with clumsy handwriting

Tips on how to enter my room:

1. Do not.

I rolled my eyes at the “tips” and started banging the door as loudly as possible. I kept on banging non-stop though my palms were burning. Finally, the door opened.

There stood my sister, wearing a black swimsuit. Her short black hair that reached her tiny shoulders was a complete mess, and her lips were colored bright red, some of it running north and some south.

Of course, she’d meddled with Mom’s cosmetics. I huffed in annoyance at her ridiculous attire and barked what I wanted to say so that she could hear.

“Turn it down!”

“What?” she screamed back.

“Turn it down!” I said louder, reaching for her.

“Turn it up?” she asked innocently.

“No, little lady, decrease. I said to turn it down,” I practically screamed in her ear, lowering myself.

“Why did you scream like that in my ear?” she demanded and went to the stereo.

This is why I had begged Mom not to give her a stereo as a birthday gift.

“Is this enough?” she asked. I raised my eyebrow, knowing what she had done. She’d pretended to turn it down, nothing else.

I walked closer and turned it down myself.

“Increase it, and I will inform Ursula,” I threatened her. She gasped and grabbed her teddy bear. She gets her bravery from that furry creature.

Feeling satisfied that the volume didn’t reach my room, I closed my door and resumed my work.

There was no noise pollution for a perfect two seconds then I heard again.

“Arabella Blackwood!”

 

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