Breaker (Riders of Apollo #4)

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Aurora Sterling

I’ve been dancing since I was able to stand and this studio is the place where I was able to express everything in a healthy way. My main focus is ballet but I join in and teach jazz, tap, contemporary and a little hip hop if it’s needed.

I never had to pay for lessons when I was little because the owner - Ms. Judy - took pity on the scruffy little foster kid and let me join in when I was very young. I started helping around here when I was eight or nine, just so that I could pay back everything that she’d ever done for me and that continued until I was getting emancipated and I needed to prove that I had a job and a safe place to live.

Ms. Judy offered me the position and I took it immediately and I’ve been pulling endless hours for years. Thankfully after a long session, I have a quick shower and change into leggings and a jumper with my hair in a messy bun so that I don’t have to worry about it. My makeup came off during the class so I just finish wiping it off before heading to the front so I can sign out.

Good thing no one notices the bruises because I’d have fun trying to explain those.

I get all giddy when I spot Breaker leaning on his bike with his phone in his hand, he looks like a God and it’s really annoying that he can look that good without any effort while I look like a potato.

All the other girls watch curiously from the pickup spot as their parents start pulling in in their SUVS and Range Rovers, some of the girls head to their cars in the parking lot. Most of them are Mercedes but there’s a BMW in there somewhere.

I skip over to him with excitement, having missed him for the last few hours which is slightly embarrassing but I embrace the feeling happily. It’s nice to know I have someone to miss. “Hi.” I greet breathlessly, both from the skipping and the fact he is so close to me, I can feel his warmth radiating onto my skin.

“Hey, how was work?”

“Same as usual, how was the clubhouse?”

“They were having a meltdown.” I wince at the idea of them panicking over me which I appreciate but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

“I’m sorry.”

“We’re just worried for you, Rora. It’s not safe.” Butterflies attack my stomach as a nickname effortlessly flows from him. Nobody ever called me Aurora, even though it is my name, except Breaker and now he’s the first person to call me Rora.

“I know.” I reassure him with a smile and slip onto the bike behind him. The ride to my place is short and I find myself feeling torn. I don’t want to go upstairs and be on my own in a dangerous place but I start to head inside, only to find myself twirled back into his embrace... again.

“Can you-” I prompt him with my eyes to continue his sentence, “Can you just grab a to-go bag and stay with me? I don’t want you in there, Aurora. Leaving you here would scare the shit out of me.” My eyes widen at his confession as my heart warms, he really cares.

“Okay.” I whisper back and the way his body folds in relief has me throwing myself into his arms to hug him. “Thank you for caring.” I pull away with a bright pink face before sprinting into the apartment building with my bag in my hand.

I quickly pick some pyjamas and pack a few other essentials like a toothbrush, deodorant and my favourite perfume before picking some jewellery, shoes and another outfit. I can just sleep in what I’m wearing now so I hurry back down the stairs after locking everything up and sigh in relief as I arrive back at Breaker’s bike without having run into anybody.

“Ready to go?” He asks and I nod, watching as he straps my bag to the bike and gets back on, helping me on soon after. It’s weird but when we get back to the clubhouse everyone takes a collective sigh of relief, the girls quickly surging forward to hug me. They pause just before touching me, allowing me to refuse the affection but I accept it, feeling their warmth and they squeeze me tightly.

“Thank God, we were so worried.” Lexie rests a hand on my face before pulling away, letting me drift back to Breaker’s side as everyone breaks off. The couples and the kids heading back to their houses and the men declaring they’re going to the club to get wasted, leaving only a few of us here.

Rubble - the supposed party person - remains back for some reason and as I walk passed him, he slips in front of me, stopping me from walking. “Can you play pool?” He asks and I laugh at the random question.

“Yeah, I can play. Why? Do you have a pool table?”

“If you’ll follow me, milady.” He bows slightly and points to the next room, I look over at Breaker who seems engrossed in his book so I follow Rubble to the pool table. When I first turned eighteen and got myself a fake ID, I used to hustle pool because it was a quick way to get money so when I needed extra cash for bills or food I would just head to the closest bar and pretend to be clueless. “You wanna break?”

I take a cue and line up the ball, waiting for him to remove the triangle before I shoot. I pot a solid and Rubble nods, scratching at his nonexistent facial hair as he watches me line up another shot. I pot that one too and he narrows his eyes at me in an attempt to intimidate me, I just blink innocently and line up the next shot.

I laugh softly as it ends up in a side pocket. “You gonna let the rest of us play or what?” He teases and I laugh harder. I decide to miss this ball to let him get a chance and he takes two seconds to line up his shot, missing immediately and potting the cue ball.

“You call that playing?” I tease back and he bows sarcastically. I pot again and then poke him with the cue stick as he pokes his tongue out at me.

“Okay, how are you so good at this?”

“I hustled men at bars for cash.” I smile as his jaw drops again.

“If I had known you were a pool hustler, I wouldn’t have played against you!”

“Can’t take a bit of healthy competition, Rubble?” I mock and fail to pot the ball, allowing him to get two in the same pocket consecutively.

“Can you?” I gasp dramatically and jump off the side of the table since I sat down when he started playing. My legs aching from overexertion. He pots the cue ball again and I tut at him, finding his childish pout funny.

It takes another twenty minutes of us bickering and potting balls before I line up a shot on the 8-ball. “And she steps up to the plate. Her brow is furrowed, she looks serious, she pulls her arm back, she glares at the very gorgeous and amazing Rubble before taking aim at the cue ball. She glares again before hitting the ball, does it make it? And it does! Cassidy wins!” He declares while I dissolve into giggles after his commentary.

“Next time we’re betting on it.”

“Oh, you can’t hustle me, honey. I know you ain’t clueless.” He snaps his fingers in a z with his mouth set into a pout which just makes me laugh harder.

“Thanks for the game, Rubble.”

“Anytime, beautiful.” I just laugh and head back into the lounge, finding Breaker snoozing on one of the couches. I head over and place my hand on his shoulder and gently shake him.

“B?” He opens his eyes and makes a whine slash groaning noise that sounds absolutely adorable, he’s like a little puppy. “Don’t you want to sleep on an actual bed, not on the couch?” He grumbles again, his eyes opening enough for him to actually see and heaves himself off the couch and grabs my bag for me.

I try and get it back since it doesn’t seem fair for him to carry it but he just refuses to let me have it. He drops it at the end of his bed and I chuckle as he grabs random clothes and goes into the bathroom.

What I still haven’t sussed out is why I’m staying in Breaker’s room. I mean Saviour, Marielle and Runner all went home with their significant others so surely those rooms are all free so I wouldn’t be imposing on Breaker. I decide not to question it since his bed is really comfy and I’m not about to pass up the opportunity to sleep in it.

Breaker comes out of the bathroom without a shirt on... He is gorgeous, his body is well-formed and covered in tattoos, there are scars here and there probably from guns and knives or whatever he gets himself involved in.

All I know is that I want to lick the water that is currently slipping down the skin and I can’t even come up with a reason not to.

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