The classes go smoothly, with occasional stares from the other students, but I just ignore them.
Blake’s been keeping my hand hostage for the whole day, as always. It doesn’t bother me, though, I got used to it.
As we go for lunch after putting away our stuff at Blake’s locker, we’re joined by the guys from the football team. They take one glance at our joined hands before grinning teasingly.
“Whose turn is it to buy my lunch today?” I implore, looking pointedly at Will and Ty.
“His.” They both point at each other, making me chuckle.
“Be prepared, I’m famished.” I warn, heading to the cafeteria.
“I was actually meaning to ask about it – why are they buying you lunch everyday?” Nathan asks as we get in line.
“They ate my chocolate cake.” I give the guys a pointed glare.
The rest of the guys boom with laughter hearing this, clearly not expecting my answer, while Blake just shakes his head, amused.
“They’re supposed to buy her food for a month as punishment.” He adds, laughing.
As guys’ boisterous laughter resounds through the cafeteria, I skim over the food, trying to decide what I want to eat. Nothing looks that appetizing, but I am hungry, so it will have to do.
“So what does her majesty want to eat today?” Will mocks from behind me, bowing dramatically.
“Chicken tenders, roasted potatoes, a Caesar salad, a cheeseburger and lemonade.” I decide to go for the simplest items on the menu.
Once Blake gets his lunch, we wait at the table for the rest of the guys.
“What is it, baby?” Blake leans in to whisper into my ear, noticing my irritated look.
“Someone’s watching me. But I’m too lazy to turn around to see who it is.” I tell him offhandedly. He turns around, and groans in annoyance.
“It’s Natalie.” I sigh.
“She’s about to end up like Victoria. It’s starting to piss me off.”
“What is?” Tyler implores, taking a seat at the table, while Will pushes my tray to me. I thank him before digging in.
“Natalie’s been glaring at Lia all the time. It’s fucking annoying.” Blake grumbles.
“Don’t worry about it. If she does something stupid, I’ll fuck her up.” I assure him with a quick peck.
“Will you come to detention with me?” Damien asks all of a sudden, as I take a sip of my drink. I give him confused look when I notice he’s looking straight at me.
“Fuck off, D.” Blake growls, wrapping his arm around my shoulders possessively.
“Why would I go to detention with you?” I ask him.
“You went with Blake.” He whines, giving me a pleading look.
“That’s because I’m her boyfriend!” Blake seethes.
I snort unladylike at his angry expression, shaking my head in mock pity.
“Come on man, I’m just kidding. You’re so easy to rile.” Damien laughs, but Blake still glares at him furiously.
“Boys.” I groan, focusing back on my food.
“Oh god! What a pig!” I slam my glass on the table with a little too much force when I hear the bitch’s voice next to our table.
“Go away, Natalie!” Damien hisses, reading my mood correctly, while Blake tightens his hold on me, probably to stop me from lashing out.
“How the fuck can you guys even look at this fat pig? It’s disgusting!” I rub my forehead, getting tense, as the bitch keeps yapping.
“I am about to do something that I will not regret, so better take that slutty ass away from here before it happens. You don’t want to get on my bad side, whore.” I warn her. Everyone at the table stays quiet, knowing I can handle it. Thankfully - or not, I haven't decided yet - all the guys sitting here know about the Ghost, so I don’t have to hide anything from them, including my short temper.
“Oh, would you look at that. She’s threatening me!” She exclaims loud enough for the whole room to hear. I get up from my seat and approach her with a hard look on my face. I notice her flinch when she catches my murderous expression.
I grab her by her shirt, getting in her face.
“If you think that turning to the public will save you from me, you’re fucking deluded. Keep bothering me and I will make what happened to Declan look like child’s play compared to what I’m going to do to you. – I see her eyes widen in shock – Oh, I know you’ve seen me beat him up, you’re not as sneaky as you think. So, unless you want to end up like him, stay away.” I grab her by the nape of the neck and seethe into her ear, giving her a meaningful squeeze before releasing her. “Mark my words, bitch.” I get back to the table without a second glance and Blake pulls me to sit on his lap. He sends the bitch a hard glare then turns to me and gives me a deep kiss.
“My badass sweetheart.” He smiles with a proud look.
“You know it.” I smirk smugly, taking a sip of his smoothie, not bothered with the looks I’m getting from everyone.
“You sure are tough, Clarke.” Chris, the nerdy guy, says with an amused expression.
“And don’t forget that.” I tease with a smirk.
“I have an idea. Why don’t we hit a club this weekend, just to ease the tension.” Tyler suggests, getting nods from the guys.
“No can do. I’m fighting on Friday.”
“OH YEAH BABY!” Damien exclaims, hitting his fist on the table, excited. “Who are you fighting?” He adds in a hushed tone.
“Can we come??” They turn to me with expectant looks as Josh asks.
“Yeah, why not. Just don’t slip up and expose me, okay?” I shrug.
“Sure thing. What time?” Damien questions.
“I don’t know yet, I’ll find out later.”
I see Damien hesitate for a moment before he asks another question.
“What happened to Declan? Natalie looked pretty scared when you mentioned him.” I’m not surprised he caught that.
“I beat him up.” I shrug.
“Beating him up is a fucking understatement. She basically destroyed him. – Blake adds – My mom said his arms were broken in 12 places before they were ripped out of the sockets, his ribs were crushed and his knee was shattered. He also got his face reconstructed.” He finishes with a shudder.
“Jesus Christ! I didn’t know it was that bad!!!” Damien looks beyond shocked. I get it, though. You wouldn’t expect a girl to beat up a guy much bigger than her so badly.
“No wonder Natalie got scared.” Josh adds.
“I’m so glad I’m friends with you. I do not want to get hit by you.” Damien sighs in what seems to be relief.
Blake just squeezes me a little, giving me a kiss on the side of my head.
The rest of the week is peaceful. Natalie must’ve gotten the message, as she hasn’t been bothering us at all. Even the whispers and stares stopped, so we can go on with our business without being wary of people watching us.
Today Lia is fighting that Tank guy. I’m fucking nervous. She got stabbed a week ago and she’s already back in the cage. I’ve been antsy the whole day and I’m sure everyone around me notices it. Lia tried to reassure me she’ll be fine countless times today, but I can’t shake off the feeling that something bad is about to happen. If something goes wrong, her wound can reopen. If it does, I won’t even be able to help her, since it would risk her getting exposed. In order to prevent that, the guys and I decided to wear disguise. We’re going to wear bandannas on our faces and Lia agreed to dye our hair.
At first she laughed at us, but after some reasoning, she realized how important it is for us, especially me. If someone associates us with her, it will be easier to uncover her secret.
“Stop moving or I’ll mess it up!” Lia scolds, rubbing the shampoo dye in my hair. I went for black, since my hair is naturally brown and I can’t get it lighter without bleaching. The other guys also chose black, so we’ll all look the same. Black hair, brown eyes, – yes, we all got colored lenses – bandannas, leather jackets, dark jeans and boots. We’re about to look like some fucking gang members – Lia’s words, not mine.
“You’re really good at this.” Tyler praises, checking himself in the mirror. We’re all in my room, getting our makeovers done one by one.
“It comes with practice, I guess.” She answers casually, concentrated on my hair. “Okay, leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it off. And don’t touch it!” I get up from the chair and give her a quick kiss as the next guy takes the seat.
“When are you going to get ready?” Damien asks, as Lia starts working the dye in his hair.
“I don’t get changed at home. And I will not go to the Cage with you, so no one sees us together.” She says, getting in front of Damien to get the front of his head done and not get anything on his forehead. I was fine when she did the same thing for me, since she’s my girlfriend, and even Tyler and Will because I know they see her as sort of a little sister. But with Damien, I don’t fucking like it since I know he has hots for my girl. He’s made it quite obvious. And I’m about to punch him in the fucking face as Lia bends a little to work on his hair and he shamelessly looks at her chest.
“Then where do you change?” Will questions, sipping on a beer.
“I won’t tell you, it’s a secret. I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out. I mean, have you ever seen my Challenger at the Cage?” She taunts with a smug smirk, enjoying our dumbstruck faces.
“No.” Ty trails off, before gasping in realization. “THAT YAMAHA!!!” Lia snorts cutely at his expression.
“Yeah. That Yamaha is mine.” Lia confirms. I was so preoccupied with her being the Ghost last week that I didn’t even notice that she was riding a bike.
“What model is that?” Ty questions further. He’s a fan of bikes and he wants to get a Harley Davidson when he turns 18. We sort of have a pact to get Harleys on our 18th birthday, just like we got our cars on our 17th.
“R6.” That gets a few whistles from the guys.
“Damn, girl. How much hotter can you get?” Damien flirts.
“I don’t know, you’d have to put me in an oven.” We all laugh at the ridiculousness of her statement.
“30 minutes, then wash off. Blake, 10 more minutes.” Lia turns from Damien to me after checking the time. “Next.”
The guys and I leave my house few hours later. Fortunately my parents don’t question us. They know that I usually go out on Fridays, so this is not a surprise. My nerves are spiking, it’s the first time I’ll be watching Lia’s fight, knowing it’s actually her.
We get few suspicious glances from the bouncers, but since we don’t carry anything with us, they just let us go. We take our usual seats in the booth, near the cage and wait for the fights to start. For once I’m glad we decided to spend all that money on private booth, cause it gives us a clear view of the ring and the entrance.
I tense when Lia enters, looking fucking badass. Half of her face is covered under the mask with only her red eyes visible, her red hair in a high ponytail with a French braid on top of her head, and her posture confident and steady. She looks like a true warrior.
Lia doesn’t even glance our way, heading straight to the MC, who grins at the mere sight of her. I take a glimpse at the guys on the other side of the cage, hoping that it’s not any of them that she’ll be fighting tonight. Especially that beefy motherfucker that looks to be just about 6’4”, like Lia told us. He’s got to be at least 250 pounds, but I can tell it’s muscle, not fat.
“Jesus, tell me it’s not the buzz cut.” Will seems to have the same concerns as me as he looks at the huge buff guy.
“He will kill her!” Damien says worriedly, only loud enough for us to hear him.
“Shut up guys, can’t you see he’s about to have a fucking heart attack?!” Tyler hisses quietly from beside me, but I’m too worried to even acknowledge any of them.
Shit, it is him!!!
Both Lia and the buff guy, Tank, enter the cage.
She gives him a slight bow in greeting and the surprise on Tank’s face tells me he did not expect that. He repeats the gesture and gets in a fighting stance, while Lia remains still.
He moves sideways, Lia following right after, and they start circling around the cage, most likely trying to suss each other out.
Then Tank attacks.