Nexxus (Nexxus Book One)

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Summary

Can Eveline save herself from becoming a vicious killer or will the ones she loves the most suffer the ultimate consequence? There is a killer after me and my friends. I am three months away from becoming a killer myself. Lillian has spoken with at least five of her upstate friends this week and has gotten none the closer to stopping either of the aforementioned things. And what am I doing? Am I learning how to defend myself when this guy returns to either try and kill me or take me back with him? Am I in Axel's garden with him trying to help him create a hybrid herb strong enough to stop my killer impulses? No. I am not doing any of these. You know, when I started my senior year of high school, I thought my biggest problem would be breaking up with my boyfriend and dealing with my over protective mother. I never thought that, within one month, things would change so drastically. I never thought I would spend all my time fighting to save myself, or the ones I love the most. I also never thought that... In less than half a year... I would be the thing they might need saving from.

Genre:
Other / Romance
Author:
A. Greene
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
28
Rating:
4.6 7 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

1 //revises 4.26.22

There is a three-second pause between the moment my mother knocks on my bedroom door and when she comes barreling into the room, a whirlwind of quickly spoken words and vanilla-scented perfume.

I scrunch my nose and try to ignore the overpowering scent as it invades the small space.

She positions herself in front of the full-length mirror I have leaning against my wall, angling her body so that she can thoroughly inspect her appearance. As always, she is the perfect embodiment of 'knock 'em dead gorgeous' and 'business professional'. Her maroon pantsuit is ironed with precision, a crisp line running down the center of her tailored slacks, and her black flats match the shirt she is wearing under her suit jacket to a T. Her platinum blonde hair is rolled into her signature tight bun. There is a thin layer of makeup brushed across her face because, when your skin is as flawless as my mothers, only the bare minimum is needed. Hell, she's even managed to include a sharp wing to her eyeliner today without downplaying the 'take charge' look she is clearly going for today.

She looks more like a cut-throat lawyer than a reporter, but I guess she is trying to appear as serious as she can.

Her lips tighten into a thin scowl as she turns towards me, taking in the destroyed black jeans and oversized band tee that I threw on eight seconds ago. She makes a disapproving sound as she undoes the sloppy ponytail my hair is pulled into.

"I spent one hundred and eighty dollars at the salon last week for that cut and a blowout and this, this is how you've chosen to style it?" Her fingers fuss through my thick locks, untangling the knots that always seem to form from thin air. "You should wear it down more often, it frames your face perfectly. What is it with this shirt? Are you auditioning to be a homeless person? Here, give it to me and I will iron it. Never mind, there isn't any time for that. Can't you wear something else?"

Letting out an annoyed around, I swat at her hand. I am not quick enough and she tugs at the ends of the frayed shirt, her eyes going wide as she observes me stomach with suspicion and concern.

She is more aggressive this time, clutching the fabric as she lifts it up to expose my ever-shrinking waist and the ribs that now press against the tight skin. "My god, Eveline! I know you were feeling self-conscious but please tell me you haven't resorted to starving yourself."

"Seriously?" I twist away from her, smoothing down my shirt before storming out of the room and into the kitchen. I locate the muddy boots I ditched by the back door when I arrived home yesterday, relieved to find the inside is no longer soaked. "I am not starving myself, that 'fast-metabolism' you have been swearing I will inherit from you finally decided to show its face. I'm just not used to it yet and I need to eat more to keep up with it."

My mother, who has spent most of my youth informing me of the 'long-term benefits of healthy eating habits' was over the moon to see the amount of weight I had dropped during my time in California this summer, but after only two gruelingly long weeks of being home that joy has turned to suspicion.

She flattens her palms against the countertop by the sink, letting out a burdened sigh. Her face shifts from suspicious to a look she reserves only for when she is about to deliver one hell of a guilt trip; the one where her eyes go sad and she damn near pouts. "Is there something you've been meaning to tell me? Maybe something you haven't brought up? You've been so different since you came back from your fathers. You're, I don't know, distant. Not only that but you came back looking like an entirely different person. I feel like I am missing something. I have read things, you know, in magazines about the kinds of things that can happen to kids who spent most of the life overweight. It starts off harmless, skipping a few meals here and there, but it always turns into something they can't control. These people ending up trying to survive off only water and their bodies grow so weak they have to be fed by tubes. And their parents? The parents of these poor kids are always some divorced couple that barely take notice of the kid until it is too late."

I'm glad she turned her back to me during her spiel because, try as I might, I can't help but roll my eyes.

This has been her newest thing, going into guilt mode as the smallest sign of what she thinks is trouble and then inferring that she is the cause of a problem that never existed in the first place.

"Mom," I sigh, placing a comforting a hand on her shoulder so that I can turn her to face me. "I am not starving myself and you are paying more than enough attention to me. I do not have any form of secret eating disorder, okay? I have just been watching what I eat and it is starting to show. Isn't that what you have been pushing for for years? You kept pushing me to take better care of yourself and now I am. Everything is fine and, if it wasn't, you would be the first person to know."

It is only when we are this close, which is a rarity these days, do I realize how much more I favor my father than her.

My mother, no matter what attire she chooses for the day, always manages to look feminine and graceful; something that I could never achieve. She is taller than most women I know but, even with her height, there is something about the way she stands that keeps her from coming off as too intimidating, where I have been known to scare a person or two off simply by standing too close to them.

In fact, aside from both standing at a lovely five foot eleven, we have zero things in common in the looks department. I posses none of the slim, athletic-build that she does because, as it turns out, my curvy features stayed behind long after the fat was gone. Instead of inheriting her alluring green eyes and goddess-like hair, I was 'blessed' with my fathers frizzy as hell midnight-colored hair and eyes that can only be described as 'dirt water brown'.

Don't get me wrong, despite my mothers history of pointing out what she considers flaws, I am by no means self conscious. I know that I can turn a head when need be, it is just that I pale in comparison when standing next to a person with a dedicated beauty routine.

The timer on the coffee maker buzzes to life, cutting off the bonding moment I forced us into. I rush to pour some of the caffeinated goodness into my travel mug before she finds something new to fixate on.

Ever since she accepted the position as an investigative journalist for our state's local paper, she has been not so subtly beating herself up for the decrease in hours she spends at home. This, combined with her need to worry about me, has lead to an increase in Amazon purchases containing books on 'single-parenting for the modern mother'.

Her lack of parental supervision, however, currently sits at the very bottom of my list of complaints when it comes to her. There might have been a time in the past when her not being around might have irked me but, after spending an entire summer practically by myself, I have grown fond of the silence that comes with an empty house.

"Here." She shoves an oversized blueberry muffin in my face and the thick smell of cinnamon causes my stomach to churn uneasily. "You're looking a bit washed out this morning. Maybe your blood sugar is low? Did you spend anytime outside when you were with your dad? Most kids your age would have died to be that close to the beach but you look as if you spent the entire time holed up inside. Did something happen when you were there? Did he say or maybe do something? You know he isn't himself these days, so you can't dwell on anything he might have said or done. You never mentioned anyone you met there either? Did you not make any friends? Maybe made the wrong kind of friends? Experimented with drugs? You can tell me."

"Good lord, I am not on drugs! Though, if you keep overanalyzing and harassing me about every little thing I do then I might actually consider adopting a habit just to dull the pain." I take a large bit out of the unappetizing pastry and try not to cringe as the dry crumbs make their way down my throat, forcing the fakest of smiles onto my face. "Mmm, delicious. See, I still enjoy food as much as I always have but now less frequently as before. Happy?"

She nods, smiling a bit, but unable to fully hide the flicker of distrust in her eyes. I might have veered her away from this discussion from now but I know I have done nothing to convince her that I am even halfway as normal as I am trying to seem.

Her shoulders lose some of their tension, as sure sign that I have temporarily won this battle, and she leans in to plant a quick kiss on my cheek. "I have to head out or else I am going to be late, but I still think there are some things we need to talk about. I am working on something big right now so, if I am not home when school lets out, don't be alarmed. Have a great first day! Oh, and Eveline, do change out of that outfit before you leave, you look like you should be begging for change on the corner."

And there it is, her supposedly well-intentioned poorly worded comment of the day. If she went a whole one without dropping one of those suckers on me, I might worry that she is suffering from brain damage. Well, either that or her head would explode.

I was hoping our time away from each other would help break her of that nasty little habit but, when I returned home, she made it a point to comment on how I had let the god-awful perm she had forced on me go to waste. A few days later, it was about how much time I spent sleeping and how it was a sure-fire sign of depression. Yesterday, it was how I haven't laid a finger on any of the makeup palettes she purchased as a 'Welcome Home' gift and about how my smart might 'catch me a man but won't keep him from wandering'.

I seriously don't think she can help herself at this point and, some days, I think she truly believes she is helping me. From what I have been told, her upbringing wasn't exactly hugs and kisses and I think this might be the only way she knows how to parent.

However, and I would hate to be the one to break it to her, but should I ever develop any of the issues she believes I am suffering from, it will most likely be because of her.

As soon as her silver Beamer pulls out of the driveway, I toss the muffin into the trash and gulp as much water as I can. Thanks to her hoovering and abnormal concerns about my health, I now how to choose between changing my outfit or being late on my first day back.

Timeliness wins, as usual.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the decorative mirror by the door, taking note of the paleness my mother had mentioned. Maybe she is right, maybe I should have spent more time on the beach and less time worrying about my father. Luckily my mother had been quite dramatic when it came to my looks, as my face is nowhere near as skeletal as she referred. Despite all the changes I've undergone my face has managed to retain its roundness but, now, instead of looking like a squirrel gearing up for winter there are soft features and high cheekbones staring back at me.

Being overweight was never something that I paid too much attention to, but then I hit high school and everything changed. Up until then I had taken pride in my appearance but, once the taunting began, I realize I was less curvy and more circular.

I noticed the change in my eating habits while I was in California but, once I returned to Idaho, my appetite practically vanished. At first I thought it was the stress of returning home but nothing has changed in the past two weeks. At this point, I've begun setting alarms on my phone as a reminder to eat and, even then, I occasionally find reason to ignore them.

A warm breeze dances across my skin as I step onto the porch, stray hairs clinging to my face. I check the sky for the same dark clouds that have been threatening us daily since I returned, happy to see them gone. Living in McCall might have its downfall but this time of year, when fall creeps to an end and winter peaks its head a


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