I hung up the phone as soon as I heard Isaiah’s name. There’s no way it’s the same guy, right? I mean…that’s impossible. He wouldn’t go to North Vale, that’s—
I ignored all my qualms and rushed out of my room. My heart was beating fast as I dreaded for the worse. I didn’t know why but something tells me it’s him.
I walked out of my room as calm as I could. It was almost three in the morning and the corridors were empty and quiet. I kept my gaze on the ground as I debated with myself. Why would Isaiah even be here? This place was reserved for the vilest kids in the country. Isaiah was far from that.
But if I remember correctly, there’s a behavioral program that North Vale had been pushing for years. No one really takes it seriously as their department was different from the correctional, but still, there’s a high chance that Isaiah would be sent there.
Wait, no, that’s—Isaiah was far from problematic. I had only met him a few times and I knew his heart was in the right place. He was different from us, from me. He’s strong but he’d never use it against people.
I entered the elevator and paced around inside, not knowing what I’m really doing. What if it’s a person who just happened to have the same name as the man I’m infatuated with? There were thousands of people who were named Isaiah in the Philippines. What’d be the chance that it was my Isaiah?
Calm down, Liam.
You’re just going to check who’s the poor guy they’re trying to traumatize for the rest of his life. It’s not because I’m hoping it’d be Isaiah. That’s absurd. I wouldn’t wish for him to come here and spend his high school years in prison. No matter how much I’m attracted to him, I wouldn’t want that for Isaiah.
“You’re obviously lying.”
“Shut up,” I mumbled after hearing that deep voice in my head. I’m not lying.
“I would have locked him up I was you. To make sure he’ll never be seen by anyone.”
I rolled my eyes, ignoring him. I reached the fifth floor and with brisk movements, I walked to where Keanne and Vincent would bring their victim. I knew about their debauched hobbies and how many lives they ruined just because of their insatiable lust. They didn’t care about who they f*cked over, as long as their families were willing to pay for the consequences, they’d continue doing it until they find someone who can stand against them.
Unfortunately, no one ever dared to do that. Keanne and Vincent were the best of friends, and they knew they’re powerful together. Even if someone tries to fight them, they’d only end up being killed. Of course, justice, not only here in North Vale but in the rest of the country as well, was useless against people who had money and power. It’s almost beyond ridiculous how easy it was for them to bend the law, and even politicians who’d supposed to be looking out for the common people couldn’t do anything. They were all puppets by the elites, the ones who stood on top.
Just like the Torres-Shao.
It’s scary to think that anything we do didn’t matter. If dad wanted it, he’d get it. He had people all around the place to do his dirty bidding, and he even had friends who had positions in the government.
I hated to make Isaiah realize how hopeless we were, and that he was a part of that.
It’d be better if he just lives his life without knowing.
I didn’t bother knocking on the door and just entered. It was eerily dark inside. The single lightbulb in the middle of the room wasn’t enough to illuminate the whole pace. As usual, there was a bed placed dead center in the room, with chains and ropes hanging on the ceiling to restrain their victims. The red leather mattress gave the bed a sinister appearance, as it had witnessed everything these two perverts had done during their stay in North Vale. They terrorized too many kids, grabbing anyone they wanted as if they’re objects and bringing them here to taste.
Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl in disgust.
I might have done things that would prevent me from going to heaven, but compared to Keanne and Vincent, I’d be a saint.
Vincent stood from the sidelines while Keanne dominated the transfer student. I didn’t know if it really was Isaiah, but even if he wasn’t, I had to do the right thing and save him from these monsters.
Even if Tyler tells me that what I’m doing was futile and that I had to be like Keanne and Vincent to take over the Torres-Shao group, I had to hold on for my sanity until I become a monster like them.
“What the hell, Liam? You’re f*cking late,” Vincent said as he turned to look at me. It was dark and yet we could see each other.
“What are you doing?” I asked, feigning innocence. I could already hear Keanne’s sarcastic answer to my question.
“Isn’t it obvious? We’re giving the new student its welcome initiation.”
And there it was, the sarcastic answer from Keanne. He was called as gorilla because of his huge size and intimidating aura, but to be honest, gorillas were far better than him. I wouldn’t want to compare a magnificent creature to Keanne who was a demon dressed as a human.
“Just because the president isn’t here doesn’t mean you can do anything you like, Keanne,” I reprimanded. I’d never been afraid of using my brother’s name to scare people. His name enough would bring terror to anyone who studies in North Vale.
I walked through the crowd that treated this incident as entertainment. “And who are you—?” I froze as soon as I recognized the guy under Keanne’s humongous body. I almost dropped my jaw as I saw Isaiah in the flesh—his striking brown eyes looking back at me in utter shock. “Isaiah?” I mumbled his name.
No freaking way.
“I knew it’d be him.”
My heart skipped a couple of beats as I tried to breathe properly. My blood boiled, maybe from anger after seeing Keanne on top of him, or from excitement as I wanted to pull him away and kiss him senseless.
No, focus Liam.
Not one in the room did utter a sound. Maybe someone did say something, but my focus was on Isaiah. It’s as if everyone around us vanished as we stared into each other’s eyes.
He’s really here.
This wasn’t a dream.
“No, it’s not. I should know.”
I didn’t want to let anyone see the smile on my face, masking it away with a scowl and furrowed brows.
I was reminded that Keanne was about to touch Isaiah. If there’s one thing in this world that I wanted to protect, it’d be him. I wouldn’t let anything happen to Isaiah as long as I’m alive. The anger inside me rose as I realized how ugly Keanne really was, and how much I wanted to kill him if ever tries to touch a single strand of hair on Isaiah’s head.
But I knew it’s already too late.
He already did.
“What? You know each other?” Keanne asked, bewildered.
I glared at him, sending him a silent warning that I wouldn’t have second thoughts about sending him to Tyler to be punished. He stepped back, as he had only seen me angry once and they almost died from it. They wouldn’t want that guy to come out again and haunt them until they were corpses.
He let go of Isaiah as I walked to him. “Are you alright?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m fine, I—” Isaiah was too surprised to even know what to say and it pained me to know that he had to go through Keanne and Vincent’s stupidity just because he was the new transfer guy.
If only I listened to Steven earlier, this wouldn’t have happened. But who would even know that Isaiah would come here, him of all people?
What did he even do wrong? Who sent him here?
Was it his father?
Or was it his free will?
Did he know that I come here to study? I knew for sure that I didn’t tell him that.
I had too many questions that I wanted to ask but now wasn’t the time. I had to get him out of here before I punch Keanne and kill him right on the spot.
I clicked his tongue in annoyance and grabbed Isaiah. He gasped but didn’t say anything as I pulled him to the door. But before I could leave, I looked back at Keanne and said, “we’re going to talk later.”
He gulped, and so did Vincent. They knew what talk later meant. And I’m sure they’d do anything to get out of Tyler’s punishment, even going as far as bribing him we money.
“W-wait, Liam,” Isaiah stammered. He held his head as if it’s aching, and I wouldn’t doubt that it was.
Now that we’re out of the lion’s den, I stopped and grabbed his shoulders. I leaned closer to inspect his face, silently hoping that Keanne hadn’t done anything to him yet. “What did they do?” I asked, trying not to sound like I’m in a panic.
Isaiah’s eyes widened, swallowing a lump in his throat as he replied. “F*ck me in the ass,” he said, looking me in the eye. He was waiting for my reaction, and he saw it. I was angry, and he felt it too. I learned how to control my anger was it’s one of his triggers to come out, and whenever he does, I just lose it. I wreck everything I touch as if destroying things would make it feel better. The rage inside me grew each second passed, and I was ready to go back and kill Keanne and Vincent for even thinking they could do that to Isaiah.
Control yourself, Liam.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Don’t satisfy Tyler by losing control. That’s what he would have wanted; to turn me into a monster.
I had to hold onto my humanity for as long as I could.
For Isaiah’s sake.
I unclenched my hands curled into a fist. “I’ll go and talk to Keanne, wait he—”
Isaiah gasped. “No!” he begged, taking my hand as fast as he could before I could walk away. He was strong, pulling me back in front of him. “They didn’t do anything, they just…” He bit his lip and looked up at me, his eyes were ablaze with confidence. “I can protect myself.”
And at that moment, I knew I had fallen hard for him. Isaiah wasn’t like the others. He wouldn’t have submitted against Keanne and Vincent. His independence even at a time like this excites me, like igniting a fire that had long been extinguished in me.
I slowly let go of the tension as I stared at him. It’s really him. I thought I wouldn’t see him again and yet here he was, in North Vale. I would have teased him for chasing me, but I know he wouldn’t have thought I’d be studying at a place like this.
But maybe he did. Maybe he assumed that I’m the kind of person who’d be attending North Vale. I might not look like Tyler, Keanne, or Vincent as I try to carry myself as decent and polite as I could, just to stop myself from turning into a man like my father, but Isaiah could see right through that mask. I knew he could.
“What are you doing here, Isaiah?” I finally asked after tearing my longing gaze off him. “North Vale’s too far for you to be lost here.”
A small pout formed on those lips, and God knows how much I restrained myself from kissing him. “I study here now,” he said, eyeing me in interest. He waited for my reaction and I noticed he loved observing me for it—like I’m a specimen that he’s studying.
As long as I attract Isaiah’s attention, I’d be anything he wanted.
“Aren’t you corny tonight?”
“What?” I asked, blinking.
Why would he come and study here? This wasn’t a place for someone like Isaiah. That’s—
Isaiah and I turned to look at the person who just called me. But I didn’t need to as I knew who it was without looking.
I caught a glimpse of Isaiah glaring at Paolo as he walked towards us. I straightened my back, quickly masking whatever emotion I had for Isaiah as I didn’t want Paolo to know that I had lingering feelings for him. His warning last time echoed in my ears, reminding me that it’d be dangerous if I try to get closer to Isaiah.
But now that he was here, it’d be impossible not to come near him. He exudes force that kept pulling me to him, and it’s almost scary how powerful it was.
Paolo looked at Isaiah and I quickly noticed the flash of disgust in those dark eyes. He turned to look back at me and said, “I’ve been looking for you. You weren’t in your room,” he said.
“Yeah, I—Evan called me and said Isaiah’s here,” I said.
“Come on, let’s go back to bed,” he said, ignoring my explanation as to why I disappeared. “Your brother needs to talk to you in the morning.”
I hesitated to go with him. I wasn’t feeling sleepy nor tired anymore, and the thought of meeting Tyler didn’t scare me as much. Not when Isaiah’s with me. It’s strange but being in his presence sent me some sort of a protective blanket like he’s ready to take the bullet for me just to keep me from harm’s way.
“I think Liam wants to stay with me.”
Paolo and I were both surprised to hear what Isaiah just said. I turned to look at him, my mouth parting as I was dumbfounded. Not a lot could talk back to Paolo as he had been a part of the Torres-Shao. My family was feared in North Vale as almost everyone knew what we’re capable of doing.
But Isaiah didn’t know that.
“Excuse me?” Paolo asked, his gaze piercing Isaiah. But he didn’t give a damn.
He looked back at him, ready to attack. “Are you deaf?” he asked, returning Paolo’s glare. “I said Liam wants to stay with me. So back off.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” my childhood friend retorted, his voice simmering in anger.
I held my breath as I watched them argue. Isaiah might be strong, but Paolo had the power to make his life miserable while he’s in North Vale.
I was about to step in and stop them, but Isaiah opened his mouth, smirking at Paolo. “What? Are you going to hit him again, just like what you did before?”
Paolo was speechless. “Wha—?”
Suddenly, Isaiah held my hand. “Over my dead body, bitch.”
He pulled me away from Paolo. I was too astonished to even say anything. I let him take me, watching Paolo stand in the middle of the corridor. He watched us helplessly, as the guilt of hurting me comes back to him. He already apologized and accepted it but knowing Paolo and how loyal and weak he was to me, it’d definitely affect him as Isaiah hit a sensitive topic—me.
“I f*cking hate that guy,” he hissed as he continued pulling me farther and farther from Paolo. I figured he’s taking me back to his room.
“He’s my friend,” I said. I didn’t even know why I’m defending Paolo from him, but it felt like I had to as Isaiah’s probably thinking there’s something going on between us.
I didn’t want that.
“Yeah? Well, he’s not my friend and he’ll never be,” he said. “I would have hit him back just for hurting you.”
That immediately warmed my heart. No one in this world cared more about my well-being, not because it’s me, but because of what I was and what will happen to them if I disappear.
Only Isaiah cared enough.
I resisted the heat about to creep in my cheeks, but it’s impossible. What Isaiah said made my skin tingle.
Now that we’re holding hands, again, I realized how much bigger his hand was compared to mine. It’s rough and firm and just…warm.
I loved it.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked, finding it funny that he was the one leading me when North Vale was supposed to be my turf.
“To my room,” Isaiah said. It’s still evident that he’s angry, but I liked that he was. It’s alluring, a trait I expected he would have.
He pushed back a door identical to any other doors a common student used in the dormitory. Isaiah turned the lights on, allowing me to see the luggage messily sprawled on the floor. It looked like he hadn’t settled in. He did arrive late, I’m sure he was exhausted from the long travel to even care about his stuff.
I checked the other side of the room. The mattress had beddings, indicating that he had a roommate. Surprisingly, Isaiah’s would-be friend was nowhere to be found.
I hated the fact that I couldn’t have the same dorm room as the others. As a Torres-Shao, I was regarded as a VIP, like the rest of my brothers who studied here in North Vale. I’m sure a lot would die for what I have, but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind giving it all just to get out of my family’s grasp.
I refused to think about the Torres-Shao, not when I’m with Isaiah. He locked the door close and gestured me to sit on the bed. I did, but before I could, I saw him taking his clothes off.
My cheeks became hot as I stammered, “w-what are you doing?” I asked, nervously.
He tossed his shirt on the floor as if it was trash. “Those f*ckers touched that,” he said in disgust. “It’ll be better if I can burn it, but it’s not an option given the circumstances I’m in.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I can have that arrange.” I would have to tear it apart just to erase any evidence that Keanne and Vincent had on Isaiah.
Squatting on the floor, he ransacked his luggage with another shirt and pants he could wear for the rest of the night. Or…morning.
I was unable to take my gaze off his back. Was he always this…muscular? His biceps flexed as he searched for his clothes in the bag.
I was never attracted to anyone before, not even with the most beautiful girl in class, or the dozens of women Tyler gave to me so that I could f*ck them—like the real man that he wanted me to be. Yes, I get hard for their body, but it’d never get deeper than that. I could never look at them twice as they all looked the same to me.
But Isaiah, he’s different in all aspects. His slightly tanned skin and perfectly sculpted muscles were enough to turn me on. He was inches taller than I am and was manly as hell compared to me. I wouldn’t dare compare him to the other guys here in North Vale. Isaiah was in a different league.
He could dominate me all he wanted, I wouldn’t care.
“And then I can f*ck him too.”
“Not a chance,” I mumbled to him.
“You said something?” Isaiah asked.
“Nothing,” I said, forcing a smile at him.
Thank God he found his shirt, or he’d see my erection about to bulge from the sweatpants I was wearing. He put it on, letting me take a glimpse of his chest that tempted me to touch it.
Man, am I that horny? Or is it just Isaiah’s effect on me?
Ugh, I’m no different than those two.
“I’ll have to apologize for what Keanne and Vincent did,” I said, lowering my head as I let Isaiah see what North Vale had to offer. I still had to know what the reason was for him to come here, but it scared me to know that he thinks of me as another juvie who needed reformation.
“You’re not like them.”
I froze. “What?”
“You’re not like those idiots,” he said, looking me in the eye. “You’re a thousand times better than them.”
I forced a smile. “Thank you,” I said, ignoring the pang in my chest.
Am I really?
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