Breaker (Riders of Apollo #4)

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Adrian Calder

The door closes behind her and I descend into panic.

Why the fuck did you just speak? You don’t speak to people, Adrian, you speak to yourself in the mirror but not other people!

It’s been years, eight to be exact since I’ve spoken in front of people and I didn’t realise that streak would come to an abrupt end because of a beautiful girl who sees me as her hero. When she looked to me before entering the pink room my chest swelled with pride, she trusts me, only me at this point, and doesn’t feel safe without me.

I take that as a massive compliment since most people are normally scared of me, whether it be my size or disposition, I don’t know. All I know is that I scare people away but Aurora didn’t even flinch. I change quickly into some sweatpants and a cotton shirt before sitting up on the window seat with a book in my hands like I do every other day of my life.

A few minutes later, the bathroom door slowly opens and Aurora pokes her head out and asks if it’s okay for her to come back in. She’s so adorable. “What are you reading?” She slips onto the seat opposite me, her eyes wide and curious with her head tilted to the side.

I lift the book cover to show it to her and her eyes spark in excitement, “When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.” She quotes word by word and my jaw drops, “Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller is a good author.”

“How many times have you read it?” I ask her, my brain still freaking out at the ease with which I can speak to her.

“Probably a dozen, my copy is highlighted and annotated and battered but I love it a lot... Thank you, by the way, for saving my life and letting me stay here.” I just smile at her and marvel at the warm chocolate of her hair that falls across her face in her attempt to hide from me.

“It’s not a problem, Aurora,” Her cheeks tint pink and I almost melt on the spot, she’s going to be the death of me, “You should get some sleep, you’re probably exhausted.”

“Are you sure you’re alright with me taking the bed?”

“Anything you need you can have, Aurora, I promise you that. The bed included.” I don’t really sleep for more than four hours a night anyway and I tend to sleep here more than on there. I don’t think I’ve slept in that bed for close to a week, I fall asleep reading because passing out from exhaustion is the only way I can sleep properly.

She whispers another thank you and crawls under the duvet, wrapping herself in it and almost disappearing from sight as she sinks into the bed. She looks perfect in my bed and too many dirty thoughts drift through my mind as I think about what it would be like to be in that bed with her.

I fall back into my reading and try to ignore the soft breaths that seem to capture my entire attention. I let my eyes drift back to her and a smile creeps onto my face as I see her hair spread everywhere, some even making its way into her mouth and her hands contorted in awkward positions by her head.

But she seems content, her lips set into a small smile as she dreams about God knows what. As I said, she’s gonna be the death of me and I can’t find it in myself to care.

-------

I stir awake from a light sleep and use the light from the window to assume it’s early morning, maybe seven or eight. I slip off the seat and head into the bathroom with some clothes to get ready for the day. Once I’ve finished all the boring parts of my day I head back into the bedroom and lean against the doorframe as I study her.

Somehow she’s untangled herself so instead of looking like a pretzel, she’s now curled in on herself with the duvet reaching the top of her ears as she snoozes softly. Hidden from the world in a cotton cocoon.

A knock sounds at the door so I kick off the wall and head over, opening it quietly so I don’t wake Aurora, who didn’t even flinch at the sound. “Hey, Breaker, I was hoping to nick Aurora. We all have a meeting with the prospects later and we need to get ready.” Lexie whispers, noticing Aurora’s unconscious figure. “Can you wake her and bring her to the pink room? No one else is awake besides us girls so she should feel safer.”

I shut the door and head over to the bed. I reach out and pull down the duvet so that I can see her face and gently brush the back of my hand against her cheek. She’s a deep sleeper. I shake her by her waist without jolting her and she slowly comes to. Her eyes are droopy and her little smile has my chest physically hurting. “Good morning, Breaker.”

“Hey, Lexie and the girls have asked for you. I assume they want to get you all dressed up.”

“Are they-” She cuts herself off and her eyes flick to the side awkwardly.

“Are they what, Aurora?” Her eyes snap back to mine at the sound of her name and the same pink coats her cheeks as she looks up at me.

“Are they safe?” I slowly reach out to rest my palm on her cheek so I don’t startle her and she leans into it, making my heart go fucking haywire.

“Nobody here would ever hurt you.” My voice is quiet but strong and that seems to calm her down enough to let me lead her to the pink room where all the women are already gossiping with Oliver, Gem and Miracle sat in the corner playing together.

“Good morning, Cass!” Mari cheers and heads over, she reaches out a hand and Aurora looks at me for confirmation. With just a nod from me, she slips her hand into Mari’s and allows herself to be pulled into the room. “There’s coffee in the kitchen, Breaker. We’ll look after her.”

I look at Aurora to see if she’s okay without me and she nods, even without me saying anything. I head straight to the kitchen, needing caffeine to start my day. “Morning Breaker.” I jump at the sound of Runner’s voice.

I forgot that Runner and Romeo stayed here last night and since Runner is one of the few early risers, he’s already in the kitchen. They have their own house up the road but Ollie fell asleep here and it was late so they didn’t leave, same with Saviour, Reign, Hunter and Marielle.

It was a full house last night, one of the reasons why Aurora slept in my room. I nod at Runner, only to jump again as Romeo claps my shoulder as he walks passed me. “Heard you got yourself a woman, I’m offended that you didn’t tell me.” I sharpen my glare and tighten my grip on my mug, trying not to throw it at the imbecile’s face.

I met the little bastard when he was fifteen and he’s still a little shit. Sure, he’s mellowed out now he’s got Runner and his kid but he still knows how to piss me off in seconds. He raises his hands in surrender but his eyes and smirk speak of mischief, it’s gonna be one of those days where he gets on all my nerves just because he can and I’m gonna knock his skinny ass out.

“I know that face, Breaker. Please don’t knock him out again, I can’t deal with the complaining.” Runner points at me with determination so I turn my glare on him. His most recent target is me, meaning he wants to beat me in hand to hand combat but it’s probably not going to happen. Even Saviour - his actual trainer - has told him that, he just doesn’t listen.

“Is Breaker threatening Romeo again?” Bear is the next person to appear, he looks stressed as he normally does but we all know he’s happy to be Prez.

“Romeo is mocking him about Cass.”

“Ah yes, she seems very sweet and very taken with you, Breaker.”

I fucking hate these people, why am I here right now?

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