Billionaire's Childhood Love

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XVII. A King

Hailey’s POV:

Josh...Joshua Greyson...is a king.

My mind flickers in an attempt to wrap around the idea of knowing a king.

I never knew Josh is royalty.

Wait, that makes absolutely no sense.

“The king of Pandora Academy is talking to her,” someone whispers.

Ah, yes. That makes more sense.

Hold on a second. I’m certain someone made that comment earlier.

Josh continues to stare down at me. I open my mouth, but not a single word exit. Everyone looks at us with heightened intensity; it’s disturbing. They stood there and waited for the play to unfold.

I wish I were one of them, merely standing there - perhaps with a bucket of popcorn and a bottle of soda.

Gosh, I miss soda.

My eyes linger around, analyzing the situation. If Josh is a king and Madison is the queen. Then, Mason being Madison’s twin, does that make him a king too?

Can there be two kings at one school?

What about Crystal? She is Josh’s cousin, and her step-father is equally important compared to Josh’s father. Does that mean she is royalty too?

If they are all royalty-ish, from the point of one of the students, I am a commoner who happens to gain a king’s attention?

Why are they all so quiet?

Why isn’t the class bell ringing?

Why aren’t people going to their classes?

Why am I thinking of all these things?

There were too many questions leaping into my mind causing me to stare intensely at Josh.

“Hey! What’s going on over-” the crowd made way for Ahmend, who had a lollipop between his smirking lips. He stood beside Josh, then crossed his arms. His eyes flicker towards Josh before it laid back to me. “Josh-” he bit his lower lips, holding a fist over his mouth. Ahmend snorts slightly, a chuckle of amusement escaping his lips. “Wait, allow me to get into character first,” he whispers loud enough for only Josh and me to hear, causing our brows to scrunch.

I’m still on the floor.

I don’t know why.

After a few seconds, Ahmend whips his head up. “Josh, do you know this girl?”

I straighten out my skirt. “What are you saying, Ahmend?” I asked.

Josh tuck his lips over his teeth, eyes scrunching with pure amusement. He held a fist over his twitching lips, then cleared his throat a few times before responding: “No, I don’t.”

I open my mouth, wanting to know why Josh would say something like that. He knows me!

“Then, why did you call her HayBug earlier?” Madison jumps in before I can respond.

His eyes flicker towards her. “She-” he looks at me, then tilts his head. “She looks like a ladybug laying on the ground,” he said after a few seconds, then nodded as if that excuse made sense.

Everyone stared at me from head to toe then nodded in agreement.

“I do not look like a ladybug!” I scream, then stomp my foot.

“But you call her HayBug," Madison rebuttal.

“She looks like a Bug and-” he took a step towards me and rushed his fingers through my hair. That, itself, caused my chest to beat rigorously, mainly when he pulls me inward, “her hair is yellow like Hay. Hence, I call her HayBug," he said firmly, then smiled.

The whispers around us increased in volume as Josh’s hand ran from my hair down towards my waist. Everyone’s eyes follow his movement, including mine. I tried to push away from Josh, who held me closer to him.

He glances at Madison. “Any more questions, Mad?” His tone sounded slightly irritated.

She lifts a finger and points at us. “She is trying to get away from you,” she said bluntly, and I nod in agreement. “And you’re holding a stranger a bit too close, aren’t you? That’s fucking weird.”

“It’s not weird,” he replies, then slaps my butt, causing the whole hallway to gasp, including me.

I leap back and cover my bum as my knuckles slam against the lockers. “What are you doing, Josh? Why did you slap my butt in front of everyone?”

He grins, “Because I’m claiming you as mine.”

The gasping sound increases.

Josh’s smile disappeared, then he held my hands. He got down on one knee. “I don’t know who you are, but I fell in love at first sight with you, HayBug,” he pauses, then closes his eyes dramatically before exhaling a deep breath, “Please, be my girlfriend.”

My mouth drops on the floor as Ahmend pounds his knuckle onto the lockers with a peal of silent laughter exiting his throat. His face turns a deep shade of red, sounding as if he was hyperventilating. The heat rash from my neck towards my face and I knew I looked like a tomato.

“Josh!” Crystal made her way towards us. Her high heels slammed against the tiles and hit the back of Josh’s head. “Leave Hailey alone! Stop teasing her in front of the whole student body!”

Josh dropped one of my hands and stood up, still holding the other one. “She dared to ask me to treat her like a stranger. So, I’m treating her like one.”

That is not my intention.

Josh points a finger at Crystal. “You’re the one who exposes her.” He wiggles his finger then glances at me. “Look, she exposes you.” He points at Crystal.

“You all know each other?” Madison asks, twirling a single finger in the air.

Josh drapes an arm over me and smiles proudly. “Hailey Vaughn. My childhood best friend and number one girl,” he declares in front of the whole school.

I slap a hand over my face.

So much for trying to make friends on my own.

“So, what? She’s your girl?” Madison continues questioning, eyes glaring at me menacingly.

Josh kept a smile on his face as he gave my arm a rash. “Yup! She is my girl.”

I glance up at Josh, pushing him back lightly. “Woah...I am not your girl.” I glance around, seeing a bunch of skeptical and burning jealous eyes. “I am not his girlfriend!” I clarify.

He tilts his head at me, ocean eyes gazing into mine. “What? Did I say that?”

I nod. “Yes, you did!”

“What did I say?” Josh asks innocently.

“I’m your girlfriend!”

He smiles widely. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“You can be my girlfriend,” he shrugs nonchalantly.

I baffle at his response. “I didn’t ask you to allow me to be your girlfriend. You’re the one who said I’m your girlfriend.”

He shook his head, “I said you’re my girl. You’re the one who said you’re my girlfriend.”

“That’s the same thing!” I exaggerate, placing both hands in the air.

“Oh, God! Stop! We get it! You two are lovers! Just stop flirting! It’s so disgusting!” Madison rolls her eyes. “If you two want to make out, get a damn room.”

“Don’t worry; we got it handled,” Josh placed his head on top of mine. “We’re roommates.”

The gasps return, and some faces turn red at Josh’s sudden declaration.

Is that all they do? Gasp at everything Josh says?

“We aren’t doing that!”

“Doing what?” Josh asked me.

“Having s.e.x,” I spell out the word, not understanding why I decided to do that.

Josh, Ahmend, and Crystal’s lips tighten as a snorting sound escapes their throat.

“What’s so funny?” I ask.

Madison tilts her head, lips curling up into a devious manner. “Why are you spelling out sex? We all know what it is.”

My face turned redder, and I prayed a hole would appear below me so I could disappear into it.

Josh held my face into his chest when my eyes began watering at everyone’s sudden whispers of insults. I close my eyes, attempting to think only positive thoughts as the snickers only increase, causing my heart rate to jump.

“She is fucking ugly and stupid.”

My breathing began to increase vigorously.

“Who does that fat pig think she is? She thinks she is better than us?”

I know it’s all inside my head, so I should calm down.

Everyone was quietly staring, analyzing me as my hands began to moisten.

“Of course, the fat pig is a virgin. No one wants her.”

It’s all inside my head.

They continued to whisper to each other.

“I wouldn’t even touch the pig with a stick.”

It’s all inside my head.

“Let’s show the fat pig her place.”

It’s all inside my head.

I held my hands over my ears as Josh kept me closer.

This is the exact reason why I don’t want to talk to Josh at school. He attracts too much attention. I am not too fond of it when everyone looks at me. It feels as if they are continually judging my flaws.

“Hey!” Josh screams, startling everyone. “Don’t you all have classes to attend, or should I call your teachers.”

Madison’s eyes dropped towards my trembling body, and she took a step back. “Come on Freshmeat! Orientation isn’t over!” she shouts. She paces down the hallway with everyone following her except me.

Josh lifts me into his arms with Crystal hovering over me. “Is she okay?” Crystal whispers as my eyes focus on the students passing by us.

One of them whispers into the other ear as he continues staring at me.

They are talking about me.

I know they are.

Did they find out I used to be fat?

Do they know that I used to-

With a sudden urge to vomit, I push Josh away and rush towards the bathroom while tripping on my own two legs.

“What the fuck are you two looking at!” Crystal yells from behind me while I stumble inside the restroom.

Pushing my face down toward the toilet, the small breakfast hurls out of my mouth. I clench my stomach, feeling another uncomfortable sensation, and vomit once more while the tears trickled down my cheeks.

A warm hand ran down my spine, with the other holding up my blonde locks. My body twitches. “Hey... It’s okay. It’s just me, Hay Bug,” Josh whispered calmly and continued soothing me.

I glance up, seeing a sad smile on his face. “I’m sorry.”

After my vomiting session, Josh carries me like a baby to the nurse’s office. Literally, he didn’t carry me like a Princess. I had my arms around his neck and legs wrap around his waist while his hands grope my butt the whole way.

If I didn’t feel so horrible, I would hit him, but I want to be in his comforting arms right now.

Entering the nurse’s office, my sore eyes widen slightly at the three queen-sized beds and a large window allowing sunlight to dazzle the houseplants.

Josh laid me down on one of the beds and tucked me in. A nurse greeted us, then sat beside me. “She isn’t feeling well,” Josh said, still frowning. “I think she had a...nervous breakdown.”

The nurse nodded. “I’ll call your first classes.” She quickly scans our nametags and walks into the other room.

“Thank you,” he responds, and with a deep exhale, he sat beside me. With crunching eyebrows and thin lips, he ran his hands up his face. The warning bell rang throughout the school. “I...I should’ve left you alone, Hailey. I’m so sorry,” his voice was slightly cracked. “I just thought I could’ve teased you a bit. I-I didn’t know this could happen.”

I smile, tasting a bit of the bitterness from earlier despite washing my mouth with water. “Is Joshua Greyson admitting he had done something wrong?” I spoke in a teasing tone, causing the edge of his lips to curl up. “Does that mean I’m right? Does that mean you’ll listen to Hailey more often?” I continue to tease him.

He chuckles. “Yes, I will listen to you more often,” his tone sounds light, much less strain.

I turn to my side. “Josh. It’s not your fau-”

He stands up. “It is my fault!” He grunts and begins pacing. “I should’ve told my parents I want to stay at MistVille and go to school with you or somehow convince them to stay there so we can be together. So-” his shoulders slump. “So, no one would...bully you.”

I sat up, feeling slightly light headed, but I brushed it off. “Josh, you can’t control these things. I’m fine. Right now, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not fine, Hailey. When we were out there, you looked like you’re about to pass out! You look like everyone was going to beat-” he stops talking and bites the tip of his tongue lightly as his hands crunch up. “Did...Did anyone ever-” he closed his eyes, then opened them. “hit you?”

I swallow, eyes draping towards the white wall that held a few environmental paintings, and with pure force, I shake my head.

“Hailey Vaughn, did anyone ever hit you?”

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