Diabolus: The Lost Phoenix

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Chapter Seven

BRENT MATHIS

13 YEARS AGO

MIAMI

It’s an ordinary day in Miami, after all, it’s only September 3rd. I sit in my turquoise cadilac, only cold soda keeps me conscious on this crazy day. Heat pours into my veins as if pumped in through a hypodermic needle. The air is like breathing liquid fire and no one dares to walk barefoot outside for fear of blistering.

But it doesn’t matter when I’m having the greatest time before classes start with my best friends, sitting in my car, laughing and watching the prettiest girls in school, sitting on the grass and talking about boring girly things.

The school started only a couple of weeks ago, so we’re still taking it easy. For us there’s only three things that matter; parties, good time with friends and of course, girls.

And after all that maybe we care a little about classes.

Though it’s the senior year.

“Am I the only one who noticed that Melanie Walker’s boobs got huge during the summertime!?”

The boys let out the loud laughter, making all other students turn around to look at us; laughing at something like we always do, not caring about anything at all. And no one dares to say another word to us.

Even the teachers adore us, the football players, the sweetest tongues in the school, getting everything we want just by talking. Not to mention the girls, always following us everywhere we go.

All I can say that school years are awesome. Especially when you have nothing to worry about.

There are four of us, probably the most popular guys in school. Me, the captain of our football team. Kai, my best friend, my partner for life. Also Jack and Tristan; I couldn’t say they’re not my best friends too, but there’s no one I could put before Kai.

“Do you notice anything else? At all?”

“Um... Layla Kimberly’s ass?”

We start laughing even harder and louder, everyone is looking at us, but we don’t care about anything. Not until we’re living our best year.

“Come on, guys. The class will start soon.”

“You’re the best at ruining fun, Jack.”

We quickly jump out of the car and head to the school, leaded by every student’s gaze. The school halls are crowded with people, like always, and the chaos is so perfect, like a movie. There’s always couples standing by the windowsills, making out or whispering romantic words to each other; and then on the left by the lockers there’s always Amanda Thompson, most popular girl in school, and also, Jack’s girlfriend.

He’s the only one that’s taken out of four of us. None of us had girlfriends before; at least not the ones that we were in love with or had a serious relationship with. Why the hell I should want a commitment, when I can have every girl in school?

Leaving Jack to have his moment with Amanda we reach for the classroom; the bell has already rang, what means we’re late. The teacher gives us an angry glance, but doesn’t say a word, turning back to reading her papers. Though the classroom walls are bare the windows are large, everyone wants a window seat, to sit in the unsubdued light of the morning; but almost all the window seats are taken by us.

I sit on the edge of my plastic chair, looking around the classroom, hearing the whispers and talks, probably about us; but the teacher seems not to care at all, not before everyone is in their seats or whatever. I guess she’s the only one that hates her job this much.

“Hey, have you done the homework?”

Kai turns to me with a smile on his face, clearly not caring about that homework; but not wanting to get into trouble again.

“No, when I was doing homework, dude?”

“Ask Amber for hers, then.”

Amber Gutowski is the nerd, always sitting behind me. I guess she has a little crush on me, always giving me homework when I ask; but girls with braces are not really my type.

I nod to Kai, turning around on my chair to talk sweet to Amber, like I always do when I need something from her. Sometimes I get angry with myself when I use people for things like that, but I guess Amber is smart enough to discern fake flirting from actual flirting. That’s adolescence, probably the hardest part of human’s life; everyone has to learn how to be strong, or they will be eaten.

But as soon as I turn around I don’t notice the wide smile in braces or blue eyes blinking at me.

“Um...”

She’s definitely new, I would remember a face like hers. Her skin was almost without pigment and her hair the most pale blonde possible, each strand almost translucent when seen on its own. Her large liquid brown eyes held such an intelligence and serenity that it was impossible for me not to be held prisoner by them, and for a moment I forgot I need to breathe, blinded by her beauty and the innocence of her eyes.

“What?”

Only one word she needed to say and I’m immediately blown away by her beautiful voice, the sound of a birdsong. Even if her face is turning into a frown, I can’t get back to reality and move my eyes away from her, like I was seeing a real goddess in front of me, enchanted by the magic of her beauty.

“I... Um...”

Words are stuck somewhere deep inside my throat, and there’s no way I can let them out. Somehow, for the first time in my life I don’t know what to say to a girl. How to talk to her. How to stop staring at her like an idiot, my mouth slightly open in shock. I’m shocked by her beauty and my shyness, that I thought I don’t even have.

“Weirdo.”

“Hey, do you... who are you?”

“A person you should stop looking at.”

She draws her eyes away from me, locking them on the book. And still, I can’t make myself do anything but look at her, adoring her, seeing her as the essences of summer, a goddess of the sun, watching her golden hair drap down softly curling along the ends.

“That’s... that’s Amber’s seat.”

Her eyes get back on mine, making my head spin from the depths of her. It even doesn’t matter that she’s frowning, that she clearly doesn’t like me; I want to know who she is. I need to know who she is.

“So?”

“Nothing, um... What’s your name?”

Before she speaks again, the teacher’s voice interrupts our awkward conversation and I turn back, leaving those two big brown eyes; but thinking about them the whole time. God, what a girl. What a miraculous human, making me stop in my tracks and lose my breath only looking at her. I never looked at a girl the way I looked at her, and as much as stubborn I am, I know I need to get to know her. I know I won’t stop thinking about her until I’ll find out who she actually is.

As soon as the bell rings I hurry to gather my stuff, but the girl is faster than me, running out of the class as soon as the teacher stops speaking. Everything in my guts pushed me to follow her, to catch her, to talk to her, to hear her beautiful voice again.

The students have already crowded the hallway, but the only person I see is her, walking down, getting away from me. I know I can’t let that happen. I need to get to know her.

I walk as fast as I can when she stops by her locker, unlocking it, standing alone by herself. I break through the crowd, even Kai’s voice behind me, shouting me to come with him doesn’t stop me as I admire her beauty. How surprisingly innocent and alluring she is.

“Hey, um... I guess that was a weird start. I’m Brent.”

“I know who you are, Brent.”

She gives me an angry gaze before turning back to her locker; and even that gives me tickles inside my stomach.

“I never saw you before. You must be new in school.”

“And you’re still here, because..?”

“Avery!”

Amanda Thompson shouts from the other side of the hallway, running straight to us, stealing the precious girl away from me. Ruining the moment, like she always does; but also giving me something in return.

“Now I know your name, Avery.”

“Keep your hands on yourself, Brent.”

Amanda smiles at me and her words tease me, before she takes Avery’s hand and they walk away, leaving me alone, amazed, astonished.

Later I found out that Avery Belland didn’t like the popular, ladies’ men; that’s who I exactly was until I saw her, and something inside me immediately changed. I was ready to give up anything just to get to know her. Just to see who she actually is. I wanted to change myself, just so she would like me.

A smile creeps on my face and the air grows thick as I look at her walking away, with a tenderness that can’t help but make me breathe slower, deeper, happier.

Because the moment I saw her, it felt like she was heaven and I felt as if I just died.


For a few weeks Avery kept ignoring me, or angrily replying to my questions, shutting down my every intention to take her out on a date or just to talk to her for a little longer. But I kept fighting, I kept trying to get a chance to make her mine.

I knew I wanted her badly, everyday when I saw her, that was it. I was thinking about her for the entire day. When our eyes locked, her eyes burnt mine like I’ve been staring at the sun for too long. I was getting up earlier just to be in school on time when she arrives, trying to talk to her; but she kept pushing me away.

Until one day.

The classes have already ended and everyone left home, but I knew what time her father comes to pick her up. I was obsessed with her, like everything was burning inside of me when I wasn’t able to talk to her for a whole day. Sometimes I caught her looking at me, but as soon as our eyes meet she immediately turned away, like she was scared to look at me for too long.

And there she is, standing by the driveway, waiting for her father to pick her up; who is extremely late. I never miss my chance to talk to her, walking down to her, expecting that this time, she’ll let me in.

“Hey.”

“Oh. You again.”

She rolls her eyes and turns away from me, but her little glances shows that actually she doesn’t want to hate me as much as she does.

“Your father forgot to pick you up today?”

“Why do you care?”

Finally, Avery turns to me with a frown on her face, her deep brown eyes narrowed at me, and I can’t help myself but adore her perfect face features.

“Come on, I’ll take you home.”

“Why should I go with you?”

“Because I’m being nice.”

Finally, her beautiful face becomes softer with every moment, realizing that either she has to keep waiting or accept my offer. For the first time, she looks at me like I wasn’t trying to harm or hurt her; deep inside of her, she knows how I feel about her, even if she didn’t want to let me in.

“I’m not going home.”

“Where are you going, then?”

“To the beach. I always go to read to the beach after school.”

“Beach it is, then.”

The ride was silent, I wasn’t pushing her to talk to me, after all, this was the first step to get her closer to me, showing her that I don’t expect anything from her, just wanting to show that I’m not actually a jerk that she thinks I am. But I see how she slowly gets comfortable with me, the anger in her eyes disappears every time she turns to look at me; I know I have to keep my eyes on the road, but I just can’t stop looking at Avery.

And as soon as I stop the car, she surprises me.

“Will you... join me?”

My eyes widen, I can’t hide the surprise that she actually asked me to keep her company. With no hesitation, immediately forgetting about plans with my friends I agree to spend the day with her; the first chance to get to know her.

I tried to be as much charming as I could, asking her about her family, her hobbies, making her laugh from time to time with my silly jokes. At the same time, I was just enjoying the day with her, savoring every moment like it was the last. Getting to finally know her better, having her only for myself, even if it was just for one day.

Feeling the sand tickling our toes, we walked a few miles down the beach, talking; I never thought that a simple conversation could flow that well. At that moment, I didn’t want anything else; I already had everything that I needed, I was spending the best time with Avery, and honestly, I felt complete. Like the piece of my heart was missing, and every minute being with her fitted that missing piece back in my heart.

“Do you have any siblings?”

“Nope, I’m the only one child. After all, my parents are getting a divorce.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

Avery doesn’t ask much about me, like she wasn’t interested at all; but something inside me tells me there’s something more. Maybe she knows a lot about me already; after all, I’m kind of popular in school. But there are some things that she shouldn’t know about...

“Aren’t you going to ask me the same?”

“I already know you don’t have any siblings since the situation in your family isn’t good.”

“How do you know that?”

“Oh I just... know.”

That was probably the weirdest moment in my life.

My father likes to drink. To drink a lot. Ever since I was born, his every night ended up with a bottle, almost every time he drank until he passed down. My mother is afraid of him, and also, afraid to leave him, because of her health issues she can’t get a proper job. She’s after that she’s not able to take care of us both; and I promised myself that when the school ends, I’ll get a proper job and and work for us both, just so we could leave my drunk father.

But no one knows about that. Not even Kai.

It’s getting dark outside, but there’s nothing inside of me that tells me to go home. Neither does Avery, like she was actually enjoying our time together. The twilight made the sand more orange, the water darker, our skin soft to the eye. We sat there, just taking in the evening, just enjoying each other; when I turned to her and caught her longing gaze, locked on me.

“Why you’re being so nice to me? I mean, I was always so rude to you...”

“Probably because I think you’re special. Because you’re smart, you’re beautiful and there’s something deep about you that I wanted to dive in. To get to know you better. It’s not because you were pushing me away, not to prove that I can get every girl that I want to get. I want to be your friend; I know it doesn’t make sense, but I want to have you in my life.”

Though I know I’m lying to myself and to her, saying I want her as a friend. I want more, I want to kiss her. To touch her. To give her everything that I have, to show her how much I want to give all of my heart.

But temptation is too strong.

My eyes go dark when I start to lean closer to her, admiring her lips, sweet like honey, pulling me as a magnet, to dive into the sweetness of Avery. She sits frozen, not turning away, not pushing me anymore, letting me take the risk I wanted to take from the first moment I saw her.

I feel her hot breath, like flames were licking my lips while I sweep them on hers, gently pulling myself into a kiss, even being afraid to do that, to do something wrong, being with the perfect girl.

I memorize the feeling of her soft lips, touching mine; I savor everything I feel being with her like it was the last. I slowly draw my hand on the back of her neck, feeling her soft golden hair between my fingers, still waiting for her to push me away, like this moment isn’t actually happening. Until she takes a deep breath and I dive into her sweetness; my whole body goes numb when I feel her kissing me back.

I carefully sweep my tongue inside her mouth, savoring the taste of her lips like it was the finest flavor I’ve ever had, as the ecstasy grows inside of me, setting my every capillary, every vein, every artery on fire, like my blood was changed with gasoline and her lips were the lighter.

And it felt like that every time I kissed her, every time I touched her. She was the missing piece of my heart, ever since I kissed her I felt complete, and I could never let go of her. Slowly, day by day she became my everything, and I became hers. She showed me that kind of affection that I never felt before. I was ready to overcome everything just to be with her. The moment I admitted that I’m in love with her, it felt like entering a house and finally realizing I’m home.

Everything was perfect, and I never felt happier than I was with her.

And I never thought that everything could go really bad.

Months have passed, and with every day I was more in love with Avery. That love gave me both happiness and so much strength, power, that it seemed like I was able to do anything. I was strong, I was brave, just because I had her.

My friend Tristan had a party at his house when his parents left for a weekend, and of course, we were there. Me and Avery, seeing only each other, feeling that surroundings have disappeared when our eyes lock on each other. It was a relationship that everyone was dreaming of, but in reality, no one actually knew what it feels like to love someone with all of your heart.

But that night was one of the worst that I remember.

“I’m going to the restroom real quick.”

“Sure.”

She places a soft kiss on my lips, letting me feel that the eternity of happiness will never end.

“I love you, Brent.”

“And I love you.”

I watch her, walking away, listening to the sound of Kai’s voice, blabbing something to me, but the only thing I can see is her. And having no clue that only after moments, everything will change.

I kept talking to Kai, about our dream to become detectives one day, to stay partners for the rest of our lives and also, wishing for Avery to be by my side forever. Big boys with big dreams, that’s how we liked to call ourselves, but as much as dangerous we looked we were soft on the inside, just willing to give our hearts to those who deserve it.

Just when drunk Jack runs into me, spilling my drink I realize it’s been about twenty minutes since I saw Avery. Usually she comes back real quick,not wanting to spend any minute away from each other.

Just not this time.

“Jack, have you seen Avery?”

“I saw her talking to Tristan by the restroom door.”

I never saw her talking to Tristan before, which immediately leaves me anxious. I know she’s friends with Kai, but definitely not with Jack or Tristan; Avery had trust issues and it was hard for her to let people in.

I broke through the crowd of drunk teenagers, dancing, making out or just drinking, it was just a usual party. Just not for me, not when I reached the restroom and didn’t find her by the door.

I slowly open the door, feeling how my heart falls down to my toes. As my heart breaks so do I, dying a little more with every second looking at the restroom, the view I never thought I would see. Not the love, but anger now burns my brains, though I feel that I want to cry. The pain is so bad that it makes my heart break in an instant, like it was shattered glass, tearing me from the inside.

I look at Avery, pressed to the wall with all of Tristan’s body, his arms wrapped around her. Wrapped around my girl. Around my girl’s body. Tristan turns to me and shock, fear is all over his face. But all I can see is Avery, who has her hands on Tristan’s shoulders, clenched into fists.

That was the first moment when my heart broke.

And that moment, I wouldn’t have believed that it could turn even worse.

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