Breaker (Riders of Apollo #4)

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Aurora Sterling

The poor guy seems genuinely distressed at the idea of going with Sav and Reign but I’m sure he’ll be alright, at least I hope he will be. “Are you okay?” I whisper when everyone else is distracted by whatever they’re doing, some of them are playing pool, others are watching the TV and the rest have most likely gone to bed.

Even Bear and Lexie - the ones who are normally the last to go to bed - have gone to their newly renovated apartment on top of the compound. They’ve been building it for close to a year now but every time they’re about to move in there’s another problem. It’s a gorgeous three bedroom apartment for the two of them to grow into as the President is expected to live on site so that his men can always access him.

“I’m okay, how are you?” He whispers back to me, so close that his lips press against my ear and I fight the urge to shiver. I just shrug and snuggle further into him, it’s weird but after sleeping on him last night I feel a lot closer to him and I don’t really want to be away from him. Not like I have a choice though, I start school in four days.

I chose a different school to my last one as I don’t want anything to do with the teachers or the students that I had terrible experiences with. I just want to get in, get out and never have to step foot into another school hallway again. “Are you looking forward to going back to school?” I pout up at him with big eyes which makes him smile in response. “I guess that’s a no.” He strokes my hair back and kisses my forehead with the same smile on his face.

“It’s a definite no, I’m gonna be so old and I’m actually going to turn twenty in high school. They’re gonna hate me and I’m not gonna make any friends.” I grumble, relishing in the heat of his hand as it brushes comforting circles on my back.

“If that’s what happens then they’re stupid and they’re missing out.” I nod in agreement, I am awesome and I deserve friends that are also awesome.

After another hour or so I untangle myself from Breaker’s grip, smiling as he pouts slightly up at me. “I have to go home.” I tell him and he grumbles before heaving himself off the armchair, I give him a look of confusion but follow out behind him not wanting to be left in the lounge filled with people. “What are you doing?”

We get outside and I put two and two together, he’s driving me home. “Oh. B, you don’t have to. I was just gonna call an UBER.” He rests against the bike and drags me closer to him by my waist.

“I will take you anywhere you want, whenever you want. You don’t need to keep worrying about that.”

“I don’t want you to think I’m taking advantage of you.” I whisper softly, looking down at my hands that are fiddling with his shirt. I feel his chest rise sharply and I gain the courage to flicker my eyes up to meet his.

“I made a promise to you, Rory. Whatever you need, I’ll provide. No matter what.” I almost burst into tears at the sincerity and warmth in his eyes and voice. What did I do to deserve this man? I give him a watery smile and wrap my arms around his neck so I can bury my face in the crook of it. “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s get you home.”

I reluctantly unwrap myself from him only to climb onto the bike and hug him again. When we pull up outside my apartment, he gets off the bike and follows me into the building. “Are you staying?” I ask as I unlock my door, hoping he says yes. I always feel safe and calm when he’s here, I always want him around.

“I can’t, I have to leave early tomorrow with Sav and Reign. Last time I was supposed to do that, I woke up late.” I laugh softly, remembering him basically unconscious this morning despite how many times the phone went off. It was getting annoying but I didn’t want to touch his phone without him saying it’s okay.

“Be safe.” I tell him, gently kissing his cheek before entering my apartment, my heart hurting as I close the door behind me.

--------

“You can go shopping on your own, Aurora. Stop being dramatic!” I scold myself as I pace around my room in a robe. I have to buy some things for school, okay, ‘some’ is definitely not a good quantifier for the sheer amount of things I need to buy.

I forgot how hectic back to school periods are especially when you’re taking a load of AP classes that you haven’t done in close to two years. I am so screwed but I need to get these things without having a panic attack, that is the goal for today.

To be honest, it’s more of a necessity for many reasons. One, turns out I don’t sleep very well without Breaker so I’m running on a few hours sleep. Two, I have work this evening and I will not have the energy to do anything if I do use the last iota of energy I have on a panic attack.

You see my problem?

I groan at my hyperactive brain before deciding to just get on with getting ready and we can worry about this when I’m actually leaving the damn house. I mope into the bathroom and put some makeup on, like a full face because I look dead and I don’t want to freak people out, before brushing my hair and putting it into a messy bun.

I throw on a green sweater dress and some white converse before slipping on my watch and all of my rings and a pair of earrings. I spritz some perfume and grab my purse before stopping in front of the door, biting my lip and trying to avoid knocking myself into a tailspin. “You can do this.”

I encourage myself before perking up and bouncing out of my apartment. I wave at Tiff and start the short walk to the mall. I would get an UBER but I’ll need to get one back with all the stuff so I might as well save some money since I’m about to spend half my savings in one trip.

The mall is just as full and overwhelming as it was the other day but this time I’m facing it alone. I heave in a breath and straighten my back, I’m acting like I’m going to war when really all I’m doing is shopping for stationary... and probably books... and plants.

I hate myself.

I start off with the standard stuff. Notebooks, pens, pencils and a few art supplies like paint and brushes - I haven’t painted in awhile so hopefully I’ve retained some of that ability. If not, I’ll wing it. Then it’s textbooks - fun stuff - I wish I had managed to take them from my last foster home before moving out, would’ve saved me some major cash.

My self restraint is awful because the textbooks are in a standard bookstore where I spend the next three hours just digging through everything. I could spend an entire day in here. “Are you okay, sweetie? You’ve been here for a long time?” I jump about twenty feet in the air as a sales assistant approaches me with a soft smile on her face.

She’s got bright hair and dark green eyes - like a real life Merida - and she’s wearing a dress that hugs her curves really well. “I’m sorry for scaring you.” She comforts and I just laugh awkwardly.

Talk, you idiot.

“Umm, it’s alright. I just like it in here, I always spend too much money on books and I came in here for textbooks which are expensive enough as it is but you know they’re really important and then I got distracted so I started looking at those books over there and then I got carried away and now it’s been like three hours since I got here and I’m holding you up with the rambling. I’m sorry.”

When I said talk, Aurora, I did not mean that much.

I face palm myself while she giggles softly at my expense. I know she doesn’t mean it maliciously so I don’t take it to heart. “Are you starting at Westwood?” She asks and I nod, I’m gonna try and not embarrass myself further. “I go there! I’m Vivi.” She reaches out her hand and I slip mine into it.

“I’m Cass.” I almost introduce myself as Aurora as it’s all Breaker calls me (or some nicknamed form of it) but I want him to be the only one to do that.

“I’m guessing you’re starting on Tuesday? That’s when the semester starts.”

“Yeah.” God, I’m so awkward. I either talk too much or not enough.

“Great! Well can I get your number? We can hang out and I can show you around the school, introduce you to some people?”

“Really?” Is it normally this easy to make friends or is this a rarity? She laughs again and gives me her phone, I have to copy the number from mine onto hers since I don’t actually know the number yet.

I ended up spending over 100 bucks in there and I can’t even find it in me to care. I actually made a friend today, weird. After I’ve finished in the plant/flower store with two new succulents, I slide into a seat in the food court with a smoothie and a slice of pizza. God, I am starved.

I slip my phone from my purse and check for messages, finding three from Breaker has my heart kicking up a notch. One of them just says good morning, another tells me to be safe and if I need anything to call him and the final one just says will see you tonight.

Just as I’m about to reply, a guy sits down opposite me with a Varsity jacket on and a smirk that makes me uncomfortable. He’s got blond hair cut into a shaggy sort of style that curls around his ears and covers his forehead, his blue eyes are bright but relatively empty and he’s built like a footballer. He could probably be considered attractive but only by people who have never seen Breaker.

“Don’t annoy the pretty girl, Jason.” Another guy scolds. This one has better vibes, with darker hair and soulful eyes. He has laugh lines creasing around his mouth and forehead that gives me the impression that he is the joker and he isn’t as broad as the guy sat across from me but from the look of his jacket, he is also a football player.

“I wasn’t going to annoy her, Braden. I was just gonna chat with her.” Yep, just talk about me like I’m not here, whatever. I just lean back in my seat and watch them bicker, sipping my smoothie and biting my pizza silently.

“I’m sorry about him, he’s a douchebag.” Braden tells me, shoving Jason over and taking the seat beside him.

“I am not a douchebag I’ll have you know!” His voice gets higher towards the end of the sentence and I find myself chuckling at him. Dramatic much? “Would it be too much for me to ask for your name?”

“Cassidy.” I respond with a shake of my head. Okay, maybe I misjudged him, he seems nice enough though I’d feel more comfortable around Braden.

“A pretty name for a pretty lady.” I snort at the statement, he wiggles his eyebrows as Braden punches him in the arm.

Lord give me strength.

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