I was still seething when I got out of the shower after my morning training, and I knew I would have to work off some more steam at some point today.
I was just finishing drying my hair when I heard the door to my room open. Instantly, I grabbed the daggers from my jacket and snuck out of the bathroom on high alert.
"Addie! There you are! How was this morning?"
Instantly, the tension in my shoulders loosened and I dropped my arms to my sides.
"Hannah, what did I say about surprising me? I could have seriously hurt you!"
She winced at her mistake, and replied quickly, "I'm sorry! Next time I'll remember to announce myself. I just thought you might want some breakfast!"
She seemed so innocent that I just chuckled. It wasn't often I saw someone so thoughtful. On the streets, it had been every person for themselves, so it wasn't surprising that I found Hannah's genuine kindness so refreshing.
"Well, thank you. I would actually love breakfast. Anything to get my mind off this morning," I replied, heading back into the bathroom to grab my jacket and put the daggers back into their sheaths.
I slipped it back on its hanger in the closet before making my way over to Hannah to look at the breakfast she brought.
"Holy shit. How do you expect us to eat all this?" I knew that my statement was pretty crass, but honestly, I couldn't care less. I was floored by the amount of food that she had brought for just two people.
There was an assortment of eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, toast, pastries, and so much more. Half of the stuff I had never even seen before and the other half I definitely had never been fortunate enough to eat.
Even when Elle and I were at Knox's house we never ate this stuff. We both knew that we were only there out of his generosity, and honestly, we just couldn't bring ourselves to spend all his hard-earned money. We ate what we could and we weren't going hungry as we had on the streets, but we never had anything like this.
Even one item from this spread would have been a commodity to us, but here they just pile it all on like its worth next to nothing.
Suddenly, I found myself losing my appetite. How could I eat like this when I knew people were out there starving and fighting for their lives to get just one morsel and maybe not have to go to bed as hungry that night.
It just wasn't right, and it was one more reminder that I really didn't belong here.
Hannah must have sensed my shift in moods because she suddenly lost the carefree smile on her face.
"Well, you seem to have a lot on your mind, and I have a bunch to get done this morning, so I'll let you hang out for a bit and eat whatever you like. Just put the tray outside your door when you're finished and I'll clean it up."
I nodded, regretful that I made her feel unwelcome, but also knowing that I needed some time to myself.
"Thanks, Hannah. Maybe you, Elle, and I can hang out later and chat?" I asked, trying to smooth things over.
I was instantly rewarded as her face lit up with a smile and she responded quickly, saying she would love to hang out.
She left the room in a hurry and I found myself wishing that chores were the biggest worry in my life right now.
I knew I wouldn't be able to eat the incredible breakfast Hannah brought me, so I decided to try and go for a run to blow off some steam instead. Throwing on my leather jacket, I headed into the shared bathroom to leave a note for Elle that breakfast was in my room and I would be back later.
I was lacing up my shoes when another knock came at the door.
My frustration rose to the surface as I stomped over to the door, swinging it open and scowling when I saw the face waiting on the other end.
"Can a girl seriously get no privacy around here? Just one day! That's all I ask! Leave me alone for one damn day!" Not waiting for a reply, I shoved the door closed, only for it to be blocked by his foot.
"Ughhh. What the hell do you want, Lachlan?" I knew he wouldn't leave, so instead, I turned back around to finish putting my last shoe on.
His chuckle grated on my nerves, and I had to close my eyes and count to ten before I could trust myself to look back his way.
When I did, I was glad to see he wasn't looking at me, but glancing around my room instead. When he noticed the untouched array of food, he looked over to me with a curious expression.
"Why didn't you eat anything? Considering what little I know of your past, I would have thought you'd appreciate the food."
He looked genuinely curious, so I didn't think he meant harm with his words, but they still managed to drive a dagger straight into my gut.
I guess that's all I was to them, though. It was obvious I wasn't like them, but it hit me then that I wasn't anything more to them than the charity case from the streets.
Well, screw that.
"I guess that shows you how little you really know about me, Lachlan." I didn't give him a chance to reply, instead making my way out of the room to find somewhere to go run. Surely they had an outdoor space somewhere in this castle.
Unfortunately, I wasn't lucky enough for him to leave me alone. Instead, I heard him shut the door behind me and follow me out into the hallway.
"Addie, hold up! I didn't mean to offend you. Was it what I said just then? Or are you still mad about this morning?" He asked, jogging to catch up to me as I made my way through the hallway. I had no idea where I was going, but I was hoping to find a door to an outside area somewhere. There was no way I was going back to that gym to face Roman the douchecanoe right now.
"Wow. Are you really that dense? Yeah, I'm still upset about this morning. If you thought I would just let go that easy then you're delusional. Leave me alone, Lachlan. I'm not interested in the company right now."
Apparently, he didn't get the hint, and continued walking next to me anyway.
"How do you expect me to know you if you're never even willing to talk to me?"
"Figure it out, Lachlan. Maybe I'm not interested in filling you in on all the details of my life," I remarked scathingly, "Remember I didn't ask to be here."
"No, but you sure as hell are better off here than the hellhole you were in before!" He threw his hands up in exasperation and my anger skyrocketed. He just didn't get it.
I stopped quickly, turning around to face him and placing my hands on my hips so he could see how serious I was.
"Ok listen here, asshole. You. Know. Nothing. About. Me. I didn't ask to be brought here. My life may have been shitty and ugly, but damn it, it was my life! I worked my ass off for everything I had and believe it or not I was one of the lucky ones. So no, I wasn't raised in a castle so huge I could literally get lost in it for days at a time and I didn't have feasts for every meal. Hell, sometimes I didn't even have a roof over my head or a bed to sleep in at night but what I did have was mine. I worked my ass off to get where I was, and you know what, I'm proud of it. I'm proud of where I come from and I damn sure don't need your fucking pity. I'm not a fucking charity case, Lachlan."
I didn't know where the words came from, and I definitely hadn't planned on saying all of that, but as I finished my rant, I realized it was all true. Hell yes, I came from the cities. Hell yes, I lived on the street. But I fought for my damn life and I fucking earned everything I had gotten. And I was damn proud of it.
"It doesn't mean I'm happy about the cards I've been dealt, but there is nothing I can do about it now. And even though I came through it, I wouldn't wish that life on anyone, Lachlan. Like I said, Elle and I were lucky. I knew way too many others who weren't. It's not a nice world out there." I shudder as I attempt to push down the dark memories trying to swim to the front of my mind. I couldn't get lost in them now.
"Wow. I'm sorry, Addie. We never meant to treat you like a charity case or pity you. Truth is, you have us all stumbling through the dark as to how to take you. Like you said, we know nothing about you, and you are a complete enigma. You fight like a damn badass, but you refuse to tell us where you learned to. We're not dumb, Addie. You don't learn to fight like that from just living on the streets. And you don't become so jaded, either. We might not live there, but we've seen more than you know. We didn't mean to rip you from you're life but you could definitely try a little harder to see our point of view! We are trying to help you!" I look into his eyes and see the sincerity in his face.
"So why me, Lachlan? Why, with everyone else out there suffering and fighting for their lives, would you choose to help me? Why not everyone else? Gods know you have enough money to help so many more. Why are you letting them suffer while you're here eating feasts for breakfast? It just doesn't make sense. You say you don't know me and that I'm jaded, but if you know anything about the streets like you claim, then you'll know that people on the streets learn pretty quick that words mean nothing. Actions are what matter. And so far, none of your actions have done anything to make me believe you care."
I huff and turn away before he can read the emotion written across my face. Damn him for getting inside my head. Unfortunately, I don't get the time to rebuild my walls before he grabs my wrist and turns me back towards him, looking directly in my eyes with a serious look.
"Then let me show you. Give me a chance, Addie. That's all I ask."
Damn him. Before I can reconsider, I nod my head. A small smile stretches his face before he nods back and begins to lead me through the castle.
What the hell have you gotten yourself into now, Ad?