Who would have known that I’d be in another fight in my new school? A week hadn’t passed yet and I’m in trouble already. I could see dad’s disappointed gaze in my head, silently berating me for being stupid. I shouldn’t have acted like a hotheaded, but people like this were the worst.
They just knew how to piss me off.
And so I found myself being surrounded by five guys, all looking like they were out for murder. I couldn’t even remember what I did to deserve their anger. But it didn’t really matter now that I’m following them outside. I told Leander not to follow us, but he was adamant about going, clutching onto my back like a scared little puppy.
Their faces as they snickered like idiots thinking that they had cornered me made me want to roll my eyes so badly. Why am I even surprised to find myself in this kind of predicament? Ever since I was a child, I had always attracted trouble like a damn magnet. And it’s the sole reason as to why I’m forced to study in this hell hole. The only redeeming quality North Vale had was that Liam was here. Nothing else.
“What do you want?” I asked, eyeing the guy in the middle. It’s easy to assume he’s the ringleader. The way he carried himself; confident with a lot of arrogance, yeah, he’s definitely the leader of these idiots.
“Doesn’t matter what we want,” he said, smirking at me. A typical line from a typical goon, boring. “The boss wants you dead. Now.”
I raised a brow at him. “And who is this boss?” I asked. There’s only been a few people I had met in this school, and most of them were either eccentric or dangerous. Were these guys sent by Tyler? No, that couldn’t be. I was there when Liam told Maria about his brother needing to back off a little while he recovers.
It couldn’t be Liam. He wouldn’t do something as petty as this. And even if I did have some sort of unfinished business with him, he wouldn’t be sending his posse to take care of it. Liam’s not that kind of person.
Whoever this boss was, he’s obviously a coward to let someone else take care of his problem.
Ugh, now I need to know who he was. It’d drive crazy not knowing who the f*cker was. I loathed people like him and if there’s anything I would like to do right now, it’s to punch him straight on the face for being spineless.
“Get your boss here and let him settle this shit,” I said, glaring at the guy. I quickly noticed the others standing on the side acting surprised as if it’s the first time someone talked to them like this. They might have been terrorizing other kids who didn’t know how to protect themselves, but I spent my whole life training to become a man.
“And why would we bother him when we can just do it ourselves,” he said, scoffing.
I rolled my eyes and heaved a sigh. This is going to be a long day.
“W-why did we even come here…an isolated place where no one can see us?!” Leander asked, his muffled scream almost sounding funny to me.
“I didn’t ask you to come,” I retorted, pushing him behind me. If they had a score to settle with me, they shouldn’t get anyone else involved.
Or I’m really going to get angry.
“Then do it,” I dared, grinning at them. “If one of you lays a punch on me, I’ll let you beat me up.”
They all stared at me as if I grew two heads before bursting into laughter. What’s with these dumbasses acting like second-grade movie thugs, it’s comical.
But who am I to complain when I’m also acting like some kind of hero? All I wanted was to eat lunch with Leander, and maybe, just maybe ran into Liam and have a wonderful talk with him while we spend the rest of our break together. Just like any other couple these days.
“Let’s run, we can outrun these guys, let’s go!” Leander urged, pulling my sleeve so that could bolt away.
But I’m too pissed off to let this matter go. They already ruined my opportunity to see Liam. If only they hadn’t come to block the way, I would be eating right now. “What are you waiting for? Do it.”
The shock on their faces was hilarious. That confirmed it. These guys were so used to making other people wet their pants that it comes as a shock that someone had the balls to stand up to them. The only difference these idiots had to the bullies in my old school was that they could actually kill people and get away with it. North Vale might look like an ordinary reformation school from the outside, but I believed Liam when he said this place was hell for the weak.
The guy in the middle moved, charging towards me with his fist. He moved so slow I had to count from one to five until he gets close to me. And the second he did, I grabbed his arm and managed to throw him on the floor. His cries made the others back away, the confidence in their faces quickly disappearing as they realized who they’re up against. I had to thank my dad for going through all that trouble just to change me into a man. Everything I learned leads up to this moment in my life. I needed it to survive North Vale. I’d rather defend myself than just let these morons take advantage of me just for the sole reason of making my dad proud.
“Sorry, dad. I let you down again.”
“What are you waiting for?! Get him!”
Leander shrieked behind me. Two of them ran towards me, their awkward poses made me sigh in defeat. They did not know basic forms, obviously, they’re not trained to fight. They probably just joined the group of whoever this boss was who sent them just so that they could also survive North Vale. And now that they’re tied to him, they had to do absolutely anything to please their boss, or else, they’d be punished for defying him.
How could a school run like this again? Oh, yeah. Because this was owned by the Torres-Shao family. And that family was involved in shady business. Liam had already explained to me that they’re dangerous.
Once again, the two only met the same fate their leader had. I successfully took them out, punching the one on my right straight on the face while kicking the other on the stomach. They stumbled on the ground, clutching their faces and belly as they winced in pain.
Come on, I didn’t even that hard.
Soon, students who saw us from the window came rushing to watch the scene unfold. I’m sure it’s not every day that they get to see their bullies struggling on the ground, defeated by some unknown student.
“Now tell me who sent you,” I demanded, glaring at their leaders. He stood up oh-so slowly, his eyes wavering as he refused to admit defeat.
“You little shit! You’ll regret doing that!”
I was about to punch him in the face just to scare him a little bit but hearing Liam’s voice stopped me. I saw him marching towards me, pushing aside the crowd to reach where I am.
Shit. I could see he’s pissed.
I was distracted that I didn’t notice the idiot was going to charge at me again. But Liam was quick to stop him. I gasped when he caught his arm, easily pushing him back to protect me. For a second, I felt my heart skipping a beat as I pictured him like a knight in shining armor. But then I realized I’m not some damsel and distress and I didn’t need saving from him.
“Who told you to attack him?” Liam asked, his glare enough to make anyone cry from fear.
Before I get enthralled by his sudden appearance, I had to know how he knew I was here. “Wait, Liam, what are you doing here?” I asked.
He turned to me, his glare focused on my face. I knew that look. He’s about to reprimand me for being involved in this shit. It’s not like it’s my fault I was dragged here. Well, maybe a little. But still!
“Don’t,” he warned, narrowing his eyes at me. He’s telling me I should back off and let him handle this situation.
As if I’m going to do that.
These idiots were the ones who picked up a fight with me, not the other way around. If there’s someone he had to berate, it’s them.
I noticed Liam observing me. Unfortunately, I was too flustered to enjoy his fixation on me. “This is my fight,” I said as I wiped my face off of the sweat. It’s damn hot today and we’re outside like we’re sunbathing, damn it. I wanted to finish what they started and not even Liam could stop me. “Stay the f*ck away.”
What am I even saying? Shouldn’t I be happy that Liam arrived to stop this commotion? If it went further on without anyone coming in between us, I’d definitely be in trouble for misbehaving. But f*ck it, my ego just couldn’t let this go. I yearned to settle it and hunt whoever this boss was just to teach him a lesson not to f*ck with me.
I couldn’t hide my annoyance and I’m sure Liam could sense it. His calm contrasted my anger and for some dumb reason, it somewhat motivated me to do better. But right now, I’m too angry to reason out with myself.
“This isn’t anyone’s fight,” Liam said, looking away from me to stare at the idiot. It’s laughable he’s shivering in pain now that Liam stood in front of him. The confident bastard that called me out a while ago didn’t exist anymore. Pathetic. “Who told you to attack him? And why?” Liam asked.
I eyed him, holding my breath. This wasn’t the Liam I had been talking to. This was the Liam Torres-Shao—a dangerous guy who belonged to a dangerous group.
I grunted. As much as I loved to watch him stammering in Liam’s presence, it irked me that the idiot suddenly seemed to forget how to speak. I understand that Liam had a reputation here in North Vale. Students were obviously wary of him. As for the reason why they would act like that, I’d rather not know.
Liam was a puzzle. His enigmatic personality was what drew me to him. And I’d gladly take my time to know him even if it’s dangerous. I believed he wouldn’t do anything that would hurt me, I just know he’s not that kind of person.
“Tyler? Keanne? Who? Paolo?” He started to mention familiar names—people who probably had unfinished business with me. Hearing Paolo’s name made me even angrier. If he was the guy behind this, I wouldn’t have second thoughts in beating him up. I don’t give a shit if he’s Liam’s best friend. Letting other people do his dirty bidding was just enraging in so many levels. “Tell me!”
Everyone was surprised to hear Liam yell. And so was I. For a second, I forgot my fury towards Paolo as I stared at Liam with wide eyes. Here I thought he was calm only to prove me wrong.
Was he really that concern for me?
It’s not like I couldn’t take care of myself. Yes, this school was a dangerous place. But come on, he knew better than anyone that I’m not just a naïve kid from the outside. I might not have committed any crimes, but I refused to get myself devoured by these wolves.
Not even Liam.
I heard him sigh. “Don’t bother answering, I’ll ask Keanne himself.” My eyebrows furrowed. So, it wasn’t Paolo then. Who’s Keanne again? I thought for a long minute before finally remembering that humongous piece of shit, it brought a bitter taste in my mouth.
Now I’m even angrier.
“Yes, yes, it was him! Please, he’ll kill me if I don’t land a punch on that f*cker!”
I was so ready to make him shut up, but Liam did it for me. He punched the guy straight on the face, blood spurting all over. It’s clear he didn’t hold back.
“Someone clean up the f*cking mess or I’ll send you all to Tyler.” That was what made everyone quickly ran away from the scene, leaving a few students who were forced to drag the idiots who cornered me. It surprised me that Tyler’s name really had that kind of effect on everyone. And yet as much as Liam feared his brother, it doesn’t stop him from using his name.
Leander had already disappeared with the crowd. I’m sure he had fun watching what’s it like to be involved in a brawl. If I could even call it that.
Soon, Liam and I were left alone. He turned to face me before asking, “are you alright?”
I glared at him. Do I look like I was hurt? Those guys couldn’t even land a single punch on me, it’s really so damn pathetic. “I’ve had it!” I yelled at him. “Why did you have to interfere?”
Yes, I was irritated but all for the wrong reasons. Somewhere deep inside me, I was enjoying that. I wanted to beat them so hard that they’d forget why they called me out. They deserved that kind of pain for thinking they could do whatever they wanted just because they’re being protected by some jerk.
I swear I’m going to teach that Keanne a lesson!
“I just save you from—”
I didn’t give him the chance to explain himself. I already know he did it because he was worried. But there’s nothing to worry about. “I don’t need saving, Liam! I can handle myself, god damn it.”
He stared at me, his dark gray eyes growing wide in astonishment. “I was just—”
I closed my hands into a fist. One wrong move and I’d be swinging at him too. “They were the ones who came at me, is it bad that I just defended myself from those f*ckers?!”
Liam just stood there, bewildered by my outburst. His reaction was understandable, I was throwing a tantrum like some problem child. I’m also annoyed with myself but I’m just…I don’t even know.
Why am I acting this way? Was dad right about me? Really I do have a mental problem.
“I was just worried that you’ll—”
“I’m not hurt,” I said, rolling my eyes at him as if glaring wasn’t enough to show my displeasure. “God damn it, f*ck! Those f*ckers deserved to be punched like bitches!”
He was quiet for a second and just watched me release the anger inside me. I was still shaking in fury but what’s even the point of being angry when Liam already took care of those f*ckers.
“Calm down, I was just really worried about you. I don’t want you going to detention because of them,” he carefully said. He’s been very gentle with his words like he’s walking on landmines. At the back of my head, I felt bad for worrying Liam. But I couldn’t control my emotions.
This school just f*cking sucks! “I’m calm, I really am, isn’t it obvious?” I asked, smirking at him.
Liam rolled his eyes at me. I could tell he’s already done with my bullshit. “I’ll call Keanne and confront him about this. But for now, let’s go somewhere safe. Where we can be alone.”
I pursed my lips, my eyebrows furrowed as I eyed him in guilt. “Fine.”
I really need to do something about my anger issues.
I watched Liam talk to his phone, his back turned against me. For a second, I tore my eyes off him to observe the room. I knew North Vale valued its modernized theme and all, but come on, Liam’s dorm room was just…different. It resembled a damn five-star hotel—a room where it had its own living room, bedroom, and a damn kitchen. And the fact that it’s located on the top floors meant this place was reserved for VIP’s. North Vale really was a weird institution. For a school meant to discipline juveniles, this really was just a fancy resort place for them. I could only pity the kids who did petty crimes and get involved with North Vale’s sinister agenda. The parents who thought this school would help their children be reformed were incredibly misled, it’s unfair.
“…sure. Thanks. Everything’s fine now. I’ll talk to Keanne later.”
Liam finished his conversation over the phone. He faced me, his expression unreadable. I didn’t know why he brought me to his room, classes were still ongoing. I reckoned I’m going to be in big trouble after that fiasco during lunch, but I’m willing to accept my punishment, whatever it’s going to be.
Maybe it’d even give me the opportunity to meet the infamous Tyler.
Ah, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I could.
“You’re up to no good again, huh?”
I snapped out of my thoughts. “What?” I asked, blinking at him.
“I know that look,” he said, giving me a sly smile. Did I look mischievous or something? “Have you at least calmed down?”
I nodded. “Yes,” I murmured, embarrassed at what I just did back then. “Sorry, I…just sorry.” I didn’t want to make excuses. I acted stupidly in front of Liam just because I wanted to pummel someone on the ground. I really needed to know when to stop. If it wasn’t for Liam who interrupted, I’d be in much bigger trouble.
Liam smiled at me. “You’re not angry anymore?”
“No,” I said, looking away. “And I wasn’t angry with you if that’s what you’re worried about.”
He sat beside me, so awfully close that I could smell that exquisite cologne in him. Or…was it that his natural scent.
Shit. My cheeks were getting warm, it’s even more embarrassing.
“I know,” Liam said, flashing me a smile. “What those boys did was childish. I understand why you wanted to retaliate.”
Running a hand through my hair, I sighed. “I was also childish, it’s really stupid,” I said. “I promised my dad that I won’t cause trouble and here I am, delighted that someone picked a fight against me.” I eyed him, gulping. “If not for you, I would have…” I stopped and sighed again. “Sorry.”
His smile turned bigger as he patted my shoulder. “It’s fine. I lost my patience there too. We both acted rashly.”
I raised a brow at him. “You don’t look like you lost your cool there,” I said. Well, maybe except for that one time when he yelled. But I’d hardly call it losing his patience.
“I was so worried they hurt you, I—it’s the first time.” He clasped his hands together as if reminiscing something. “I was…really about to lost it there.”
I stared at him.
I really wanted to kiss him.
“Do…you care for me that much?” I dared to ask.
Liam looked me in the eye, nodding. “Do you really need to ask that? This is my first time…thinking about someone else.” That faint blush on his cheeks made me gulp nervously.
Shit, that really made my heart skip a beat.
Control yourself, Isaiah. You just got your cool back. No need to lose it again just because Liam was being so cute.
“Is it alright…to kiss you?”
God damn it. And here I was thinking I had it.
“Yes,” he answered, delighted that I asked. Leaning close, I watched him close his eyes as our lips touched.
What the hell.
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