Romance

Loathing Ryan

Victorious

Ryan Miller, King of Bennett, is the bane of Izabel Sander’s existence. Every year at Camp Wildwood, he would think up ways to make life hard for her. Izabel never retaliated. Until the day she cracked. And so did the king. In circumstances that no one foresaw, the pair are thrown into a life-or-death situation. Izabel has to learn to trust Ryan; they have to rely on each other for survival. Will their relationship flourish in adversity, or will Izabel never be able to forget their history?

Age Rating: 18+

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Loathing Ryan - Book cover
Romance

Loathing Ryan

Victorious

Ryan Miller, King of Bennett, is the bane of Izabel Sander’s existence. Every year at Camp Wildwood, he would think up ways to make life hard for her. Izabel never retaliated. Until the day she cracked. And so did the king. In circumstances that no one foresaw, the pair are thrown into a life-or-death situation. Izabel has to learn to trust Ryan; they have to rely on each other for survival. Will their relationship flourish in adversity, or will Izabel never be able to forget their history?

Age Rating: 18+

1: CHAPTER 1

IZABEL

“Cholera!”

“Nope.”

“Tuberculosis!”

“Try again.”

“Ebola!”

“Izabel. Knock it off.”

“I can’t go. They don’t allow students who have a deadly disease into the camp,” I said as I fought against my two best friends who were pushing me toward the bus.

“Well, good thing you don’t have any diseases then.” Juliet rolled her eyes at me as she made a display of her athletic strength.

Juliet and Lila each had a firm grip on one of my arms which aided them in dragging me through the dirt despite my feet working against them, trying to push my way back.

It truly must’ve been an unusual sight to anyone observing. However, my classmates weren’t paying any attention to me.

This was an occurrence that took place every year.

Without fail.

My reluctance to get on that bus that would take us to camp was not something I’d grown out of as we all matured over the years.

“Seriously, guys, I’m going to throw up.” I continued to fight my case, making gagging noises.

Lila took this chance to chime in. Her bright-red hair was sticking up all over the place as she and Juliet tried to wrestle me onto the bus.

“Izabel, you literally say that every year. We’re seniors. You can’t just push through one more summer?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think so. I think I am truly coming down with something deadly this time.”

My friends had managed to push me all the way from our school’s front doors toward the bus that was waiting for us. My shoes were now covered in dust, and my arms were weak from fighting against them.

Sighing in defeat, I stood up straight and looked back and forth between my two best friends.

“I loathe you guys.”

“You mean you love us? Aw, we love you too, babes,” Juliet shot back and winked at me.

I turned and stared at the bus.

Almost all my classmates had arrived and were loading their luggage into the undercarriage. The bus had the logo of our boarding school printed on the side in dark-blue letters, Hawthorne Academy.

Everyone was jumping around and screeching to their respective friend groups about which activities they wanted to do first and, more importantly, who was going to hook up with which boy from Bennett this summer.

One name, in particular, was thrown around more than the others. The one name I tried my hardest not to think about.

It was depressing, really. The two most prestigious private schools in our county were Hawthorne Academy for Girls and Bennett College Preparatory for Young Men.

They were passionate about the belief that teenage boys and girls would receive a better education if they were separated by their genders.

However, they didn’t want to deprive their students of interactions with the opposite sex, which is why I was now staring at the bus, counting down the minutes until I was forced onto it.

Camp Wildwood was the two schools’ way of ensuring that their students were enjoying their summer break away from the “immoral influence” of the public schools in the city.

Students were bused from the comfort of their dorms to the desolate summer camp in rotations beginning the first day after finals.

Each class would spend three weeks at Camp Wildwood before returning to school, where parents would be waiting to enjoy the rest of the summer with their kids.

While at camp, students would spend their summer days doing cliché camp activities while still keeping their minds sharp with extracurricular classes.

Camp rotations continued until three weeks before classes resumed for the next school year.

Even worse was that even seniors who had taken the very last final of their high school career were still required to go.

True, seniors’ rotation at the camp was two weeks earlier than all the underclassmen, but we could not and would not walk at graduation or receive our diplomas until we returned from camp.

As I said, it was depressing.

My heart started beating erratically as I thought about the upcoming days and nights that I would have to spend at my least favorite place on Earth. And suddenly, my feet were moving beneath me.

I bolted back toward the doors of Hawthorne, trying my damn hardest to get there before I was caught.

Unfortunately for me, my best friend Juliet was quicker than I was. She leaped on me before I could even make it two feet and tackled me to the ground. I groaned and moaned as I felt her land on my stomach.

“I think I’m having a heart attack. My chest hurts. I have angina!” I hollered.

“Cut the dramatics, Izzie. You’re behaving like a child.” A nasal voice snarked at me from above. “You do this every year. Can’t you just give it a rest?”

Juliet? No. This person was worse. Way worse.

Nahla Fenwick was the class Barbie doll. She was the one who would show up from a long weekend off with a brand-new hairdo and her skin two shades darker. For her, Wildwood was the chance to really show off her skills.

And I’m not talking about classroom skills.

The boys of Bennett all knew Nahla’s name, and they were quick to run to her side if they needed her for any reason.

“I will give it a rest when I never have to see your face again,” I shot back at her, rolling my eyes.

Her lips curved up into a snide smile. “Look, I’m not going to stop you from not going. In fact, I encourage it.”

I raised my eyebrows at her, waiting to see where she went with this. This was the most she’d ever said to me in one sitting.

“I have a very detailed list of things I want to accomplish this year. And guess who is at the top of my list?”

Juliet rolled off me and glared at the Barbie doll, knowing that by things, Nahla meant ~boys.~ “Please enlighten us.”

Nahla’s perfectly plucked eyebrow raised just a fraction of an inch as she stared at Juliet, who now had most of her attention instead of me. “Well, Ryan Miller, of course.”

Of course, Ryan Miller.

The one name that was tossed around like candy at a parade. The bane of my existence. The King of Bennett.

The sole reason why I was now lying on the ground, despite knowing I was getting my white capris all dusty.

Juliet gave an amused laugh. “Ryan doesn’t have time for your games, Nahla.”

I mean, Jules would know. She’d been going steady with Ryan’s right-hand man for the past two years.

Nahla narrowed her eyes. “I know. Because he’s always too busy playing games with this one over here.” She pointed one perfectly manicured finger at me.

She wasn’t wrong.

While Nahla obviously had her own agenda regarding the summer at Wildwood, so did Ryan Miller. He found immense joy in ruining my summers. All because of one little slip up on my part.

A word to the wise: be careful when walking through an overly crowded cafeteria with a full plate of spaghetti.

Someone might accidentally bump into you, causing you to dump your tray all over their pristine new white golf shirt.

And that someone might be the King of Bennett College Prep.

Apparently, one plate of spaghetti is equivalent to six years of summer mind games.

Ryan Miller devoted his summers to getting back at me for dropping my plate of spaghetti all over him.

Honestly, it was exhausting. I hated him. It was a consolation, though, that after this summer, we would all split ways, and I would never, ever have to see or deal with Ryan Miller again.

Pushing myself up out of the dirt, I looked right into Nahla’s distrustful eyes. “Trust me, Nahla, I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about what you do with that egomaniac.”

She smirked. “Well, good. Because I got a whole year’s worth of stuff planned, and I don’t need you getting in my way.”

I shook my head. “Trust me, there won’t be a problem.”

“Good.” I heard her mutter as she spun on her heel and walked back toward the bus.

Giving a sigh, I looked back toward Juliet, who now stood staring at me with her hands on her hips. Lila stood just a few feet behind her, looking at the two of us warily. “Any more antics, Izzie?”

“No, Jules. You won. Let’s go and get this summer over with.” I stomped away from my two friends and climbed up the stairs onto the bus.

I went straight toward the back and slumped in my seat. Rummaging around through my small duffel bag, I found my headphones and popped them in.

My favorite music flowed through my ears as I forlornly looked out the window and waited for the bus to load up and head out.

Eventually, Lila came and sat next to me. I looked up at her, and she gave me a sad smile before patting my knee.

She and Juliet both knew how much Ryan affected me, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. Ryan never did anything that could get him in serious trouble; he always played it off as an accident or as a joke gone wrong.

Besides, he was the King of Bennett. He could do no wrong.

Every year was the same. I had given up hope long ago that anything would be different. It was pointless to hope that over the course of the year, Ryan would have matured enough to move past his games.

Who knows, maybe we could’ve been friends if we hadn’t gotten off on the wrong foot from the very beginning. Everyone liked him, so there must have been something to him that wasn’t 100 percent cringeworthy.

As the bus started to move, I looked back out the window and watched my school disappear.

The trip took two and a half hours. Two and a half hours to mentally prepare myself and put my walls up so that I could survive the next few weeks.

I must have drifted off into a nap because the next thing I knew, I was gently being shaken awake by Lila. I ripped out my headphones, and she smiled at me, her eyes lighting up.

“We’re here.”

Of course, she was excited.

Everyone was excited.

Except me.

But I was used to that by now. I was just about the only person who didn’t like coming to this camp. No one else had a reason to dread it like I did.

Groaning, I wrapped my headphones around my phone and stuck them into my bag.

I looked out the window again but tried to avert my gaze to anywhere but the hunter-green bus with the Bennett emblem that was unloading boys from the brother school.

I stood up and followed my classmates as they filed out of the bus one by one. When it was finally my turn to get off, I took a deep breath and readied myself. I hopped down from the last step and looked around.

The same trees, the same cabins, the same tennis courts. It was exactly the same as we had left it last year.

As I looked around, I could feel someone’s eyes on me. Already knowing exactly who it was, I’m not sure what possessed me to turn around.

My eyes met the smoldering green of the King of Bennett. He tore his gaze away from mine and looked me over. Slowly an evil smirk appeared on his flawless face.

I sighed.

He was exactly the same as I had left him last year.

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