“You’ve got to be shitting me!” Lia’s angry voice reaches me as I eat my breakfast, well, lunch actually. I make my way to the front door, not even minding that I’m still shirtless and that my hair is wet.
I burst out laughing at the sight in front of me, as Lia is quietly seething. Wrapping my arms around her, I pull her close to me, so she doesn’t gouge someone’s eyes out.
“Hey, you two.” Damien greets with a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrows, causing the other guys to chuckle. Lia just narrows her eyes in annoyance, huffing lightly. She gets out of my arms before heading inside.
“And there goes my weekend! Just one fucking time I want to be lazy!” I catch her mumble angrily as she storms to the kitchen. The other guys clearly hear her too, as they laugh, but one glare from my angry girl shuts them up.
“You look like you just woke up.” Nathan jokes as the guys come in. Since Lia didn’t smash the door in their faces, I’m guessing it’s okay to let them in.
“That’s because I did. I was eating when you arrived. What brings you here?” I ask, getting back to my unfinished food.
“We wanted to congratulate Ghost on her win.” Damien answers, grinning cheekily. I feel my jaw drop, while Lia looks like she’s about to faint.
“What… did you just say?” She asks slowly, clenching her fists by her sides.
“You’re Ghost, right?”
Lia glares at me accusingly. Does she think I told them?
“Oh, no, no. Blake didn’t tell us. We figured it out on our own.” Nathan adds, seeing Lia’s expression.
“Am I getting careless? Just one night and so many people find out!” She grumbles, running her hand through her wet hair as she paces around the kitchen.
“Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with us. But I have to say, you just got so much hotter, Clarke.” Damien winks at her. That little shit is after my girl!
“Back off, she’s mine.” I warn him.
“I know, I know. Just wanted to mess with you a little.” He laughs, seating down at the counter before stealing a toast off my plate.
“Hey!” That thief!
Lia leans against the cupboard across the kitchen and crosses her arms against her chest as she regards the guys with a hard look.
“How did you find out?” She gets straight to the point. I finish my coffee then take my dishes to the sink, while Will answers Lia’s question.
“You left right after your fight, and we followed right behind. Then that asshole grabbed you and you told him to get his hands off. Blake looked like he was going to have a heart attack when he told me to take him home. – I cringe at that. It is my fault she got exposed! – I pretended to go home after dropping him at his house, but in fact, I followed him. He was so distressed he didn’t even notice two cars following him.” Will chuckles, amused.
“When he arrived at your place, we just put two and two together.” Damien adds. “But no worries, we won’t tell anyone.”
“You better not!” I growl at them.
Lia sighs, rubbing her forehead tiredly. “You better stay quiet, guys! It’s bad enough that so many people know about me already.” She looks so tired suddenly.
“How are you feeling?” Damien asks worriedly, making Lia look at him confused.
“You got stabbed yesterday. Are you okay?” I’m going to punch him in the face if he keeps ogling her.
“I’m fine. It’s not a big deal.” Lia sits on the counter, leaning her head against the cabinet.
“Keep your mouths shut about this if you don’t want your bones broken.” She offhandedly warns everyone, but I can tell she’s not serious. She wouldn’t hurt anyone she considers a friend. She’s that kind of person.
“You can trust us, Ghost.” She glares at him for using her alias.
“Can I? I don’t even know you that well.” Lia gives him a mocking look, making it obvious she doesn’t like the idea of them knowing about her.
“Come on, Lia, have we done anything to make you question us?” Nathan sounds hurt for some reason.
“OKAY! FINE! Just… keep quiet about this.” She gives up, annoyed.
“Guys, don’t start treating her differently because of her being the Ghost. It’s really important to keep it a secret, got it?!” I stare them down, making it known how serious it is. I am not losing her because of them.
“We know! Jesus, man, you don’t have to tell us.” Will says, looking irritated.
Lia heaves a deep sigh, getting off the counter then leaves the kitchen. I notice guys’ eyes follow her, looking at her tattoo that’s visible through her tank top.
“Are those scars?” Damien whispers once Lia’s out of the hearing range.
“Don’t stare at them, don’t ask about them and don’t tell anyone about them.” I warn him lowly. I’m not surprised he noticed; he’s always been observant.
“Jesus, man, those must have hurt.” He looks in the direction where Lia left with a pained expression.
“But I got to admit, that tattoo is fucking cool. So dark.” Nathan shudders.
“It suits her, though.” Damien smirks. I will gouge his eyes out if he keeps looking at MY girl!
Lia comes back a while later, wearing long sweatpants. I guess she noticed the guys’ looks. “Come on, kids. Let’s go to the living room, my kitchen is too tiny for all of you.” Everyone basically jumps at her words before following her. I almost laugh at the excited looks on their faces. They really are like kids.
“If you make a mess, I’ll make you clean my whole house.” She threatens, sitting on my lap as the guys settle on the couches. I see Lia slightly cringe at them, mumbling something about how they’re going to ruin her leather couches.
The guys give us teasing looks, before taking off their shirts one by one. “What? You’re shirtless too.” Damien defends when I glare at them, while Lia just sighs, searching for something to watch.
“Boys.” She shakes her head in pity.
We settle for ‘Lucifer’ on Netflix, but we’re not even finished with the first episode when the doorbell rings.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Lia hisses, getting off my lap to open the door.
“Well, hello there. You guys partying without me?” Tyler exclaims as he walks in, seeing us all shirtless.
“There’s no party. And there WILL be no party at my house. And if you guys want something to eat or drink – you know where the fridge is.” Lia settles back in my lap, snuggling into my bare chest as she concentrates on the show. I run my fingers over her back, trailing unintelligible patterns on her skin.
“Where’s your dad? I don’t see him anywhere.” Will asks, looking around.
“He left. He had to go back to work, so he went home already.” Lia answers, not taking her eyes off the screen.
“You’ve met her dad?” Nathan implores curiously.
“Yeah, we did, when Blake was at the hospital after getting beaten by that Declan fucker.”
“That man is fucking scary! He’s like 6’6”, packed with muscle. He’s like a fucking bear, I tell you.” Lia snorts cutely hearing Tyler's scared exclamation.
“What’s with you guys comparing my dad to a bear? Blake said the same thing. – she chuckles – Unless you poke him, he’s completely harmless.”
I shudder at the thought. “Don’t ever make that man angry. I don’t know who’s scarier when pissed off, Lia or her dad.”
Guys laugh at that, but they have no idea how terrifying Tyson is.
We spend the rest of the afternoon at Lia’s place then guys start mentioning dinner, but one glare from Lia shuts them up.
“I am not cooking for you hungry horde.” She warns with a menacing look. I almost laugh at the pleading looks from the guys.
“We can go out, if you’re okay with that.” I suggest, getting nods from everyone.
“Fine.” She groans, getting up from my lap. “I’ll be ready in 5.”
“You don’t have to change, baby, you look great.” I get a raised eyebrow from her in response, as she scoffs.
“Who said I’m going to change? I just have to tie my hair.” She chuckles, heading to her room.
“Here, you can put this one on.” She hands me a black t-shirt once she's back.
“Is that Blake’s?” Ty teases as Lia puts on my jacket.
“Yeah, why?” She’s completely oblivious to the looks she’s getting from the guys.
“Nooooo reason….” Ty trails off, while the rest of the guys just smirk at me.
We go to Jen’s, one of the best diners in town. Thankfully we manage to get a booth, so we all get a seat. It’s a bit crowded, but Lia doesn’t seem to mind.
“Hello, my name’s Jim and I’ll be your server today. Are you ready to order?” I notice him looking at my girl as he speaks. He better take his eyes off!
“Why don’t we start with the lady? What would you like, beautiful?” Lia blatantly ignores his flirting, focusing on the menu.
“I’ll get… grand beef burger, medium rare, no onions, roasted potatoes, Greek salad, no olives, large cola and for dessert, I want chocolate and blueberry cupcakes.” She doesn’t even glance at the dumbstruck waiter, while the rest of us try our hardest not to laugh.
“Um, we don’t have chocolate and blueberry cupcake. They are sold separately.” He tells her.
“I know.” She throws her menu on the table with a loud thud, looking at Jim as if he’s stupid. "I want both."
We give Jim our orders and while we wait for our food, I notice Lia’s bored expression as she leans her head on my arm, her right hand intertwined with mine, like always.
“Here’s your order, cutie.” As expected, Lia’s the first one to get her food, and the cheeky waiter goes as far as to wink at her. If it weren’t for Lia’s obvious lack of interest in his pathetic flirting attempts, I would show him who she belongs to.
Every time the waiter comes back with our orders, he glances at my girl, and it pisses me off. The rest of the guys look at us amused, waiting for the turn of the events.
But it’s when he brings a set of napkins with his number written on the one on top that I finally explode.
“Stop hitting on her before I fucking lose it!” I snarl at him, but he ignores my warning with an eye-roll. I will smash his fucking face!!!
Lia notices my worsening mood, tightening her hold on my hand as she leans up to give me a peck. “Don’t mind him, babe. Let’s just eat.” She softly tells me.
“You’re too pretty to be with such a boy, beautiful. You should find a man instead.” He gives her a wink.
Lia looks him over critically then scoffs, turning back to her burger, and I can’t stop myself from grinning proudly as I kiss her temple.
“Oh my god, what a slut!” Natalie’s shrill voice reaches us, as she strides towards our table. That Jim guy was just about to leave, but he turns around to watch the commotion. Natalie is one of Victoria’s minions, as Lia likes to call them, and now that Victoria is not coming to school anymore, she took on the role of the leader.
“That’s fucking rich coming from you.” Lia rebukes with a mocking look.
“What did you just say?! You little bitch!” She shrieks, and I almost get up from my seat, but I stop when I hear Lia crack her neck in annoyance before she stands up, getting in Natalie’s face.
“Watch it, you fucking cocksucker. I’ll put you in your place just like I did to your whore of a friend. I want to eat in peace, and I will fucking eat in peace, even if it means sending you to the ER to do it.” The mad look on Lia’s face is enough to make me move. It’s about to get real ugly.
I wrap my arms around her waist, pulling her back to me. “It’s okay, baby, just ignore them. Your food’s gonna get cold.” I whisper into her ear, almost feeling her fury as it rolls off her in waves. Lia hates it when someone disturbs her meal and right now she’s about to explode and it won’t be pretty.
She takes a deep breath, trying to reign in her fury as I pull her with me to the booth. I heave a deep sigh of relief when she finally calms down.
“What the hell?” Damien mumbles, flabbergasted.
“You know she hates it when someone bothers her while she eats.” I remind them, exchanging our plates, since Lia is now on my right, between me and Nathan, while I sit on the end of the booth to block her way out. I kiss Lia’s head, wrapping my arm around her waist.
The rest of our dinner is peaceful after the bitches go to their table. I don’t miss the nasty glare they throw Lia’s way, though.
We leave once we’re done, deciding to go to my house this time. Fortunately, Lia came here in my car, so I can easily convince her to stay over at my place.
“You sure have a short temper, girl. It was my first time seeing someone snap this fast.” Nathan jokes as we lounge in my living room.
“When someone disturbs my meal, I’m like a mad dog. I’ll fucking bite if I have to.” She calmly tells him, snuggled into my chest as she sits in my lap.
“Why do you get so angry when it happens?” This time it’s Josh who speaks.
“It’s just something from my past. I hate it when people bother me while I eat or try to steal my food.” She shrugs, not going into detail. I know she’s not ready to reveal her painful past, even though the guys already know about her being the Ghost.
“Why don’t we change the topic? I don’t think Lia’s comfortable talking about it.” Will suggests with a smirk.
“Well, since we know you’re the Ghost now, can you tell us when are you fighting next? We wanna come and watch.” Tyler asks, looking excited.
“I’m not sure. Probably in two weeks, when my wound heals a bit, but if my next opponent agrees to fight next week, I’ll most likely accept it, too.” Lia answers offhandedly.
“Do you know who are you supposed to fight next?” Damien implores. I know for a fact he’s one of Ghost’s biggest fans, apart from me.
“Yeah, I always know.”
“So who are you going to fight against next?” I ask.
“Uh, there’s Tank, ex-soldier, 6’4”, heavyweight. He would be a challenge, especially with my wound, but I think I can handle him. Then there’s, what’s his name? I think it’s Flash or something like that. He’s a fucking cornstalk, but he has a black belt in taekwondo. He’s fast and precise, so I’d rather avoid him until I’m better.” I’m fucking surprised, so are the guys. I did not expect her to just talk so openly about it.
“How do you know this stuff?!” I snap out of the shock quite fast.
“Whenever I get a message about a fight, I demand details about my supposed opponent. They usually don’t question it, since it helps both of us prepare better for the fight.”
“Wow. And here I thought it’s like: you walk in, fight whoever’s there, then leave.” Nathan chuckles, as does everyone else.
“No, it’s much more complicated than that, especially if you already have a reputation in the industry. Amateur fights are easy, since they follow the pyramid system. The first fight is against someone randomly chosen then, if you win, you rise in the ranks. Once you’re high enough in the hierarchy you earn the right to refuse a fight. The higher your rank is, the more privileges you get.” We all listen to her explanation of the Cege's fighting system. I honestly had no idea that it works this way.
“And what rank are you?” Tyler implores tentatively.
“I’m at the top.”