It's a Cruel World, Sir

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Bonus Chapter | Chase Kingsley

*MC holds up hand* This chapter is about to explain something very important and may give you a better understanding of Vixen. However, it may be triggering to some readers, so please continue with caution. (I don’t want my cupcakes to go down a dark, sugarless road they’d rather not visit~)

*MC puts down her hand and smiles, pulling out a cupcake* Now, without further adieu. Spirals, if you would be so kind~

*downwardspirals presses rewind*

MC: Hehe. Here we go again~


Chase stared down at Nicole, wondering what she wanted. The survey he assigned was strictly opinionated—there were no right or wrong answers—yet she had told Whitney that she needed help with it.

She sighed, rubbing her head. “Sorry about that,” she said. “You’re probably used to Cupcake going bat-shit crazy, but Whit...” She shook her head.

“Don’t worry about it,” he assured her. Honestly, he knew his proximity with Vixen would cause suspicion—that was the reason he had moved away from her—but he never expected Whitney to threaten him after he had moved a few feet from her. The thought of what she would have done if she’d seen them as close as they were before she walked in amused him.

“Listen, what I’m about to tell you is top secret.” Nicole interrupted his thoughts. “If Leon or anyone else knows I told you, I’ll probably be slaughtered, especially by Cupcake.”

Now that was interesting. “Then why are you telling me?” he asked lightly. He wouldn’t mind a few answers to his questions, but her telling him something ‘top secret’ without him pushing her only gave him more questions.

She sighed, running a hand through her hair again. He wondered idly if it was a nervous tick or a habit. “Because things’ll make more sense once you know,” she explained. “I’m sure Whit’s suspicions of you since the beginning has been confusing as shit, and I know she comes off as a paranoid psychopath, but there are reasons for it. Promise.”

He figured as much.

“And Cupcake’ll tell you that it has nothing to do with her,” she added. “She doesn’t like to think that the reason Whitler’s paranoid is because she’s worried for her instead of herself, but we all know differently.”

He raised an eyebrow, still unsure as to what she was getting at.

“I’m guessing you’ve heard about Macintyre by now, right?” she said. “The old history professor that Cupcake hit?”

There that name was again. “Yes.”

“She didn’t hit him without a reason,” Nicole dismissed the rumor immediately, like she knew what he was thinking about. “She never hits someone without a reason.”

“I know,” he said honestly, causing her eyes to widen. “She’s not randomly violent.” He could still see her standing in front of him, like it was second nature for her to take the burning cigarette instead of him. She didn’t know the cigarette couldn’t do any damage, so she had grabbed it without so much as flinching, ignoring the fact that Chase was a grown man and probably capable of taking care of himself. If he had known she would’ve gotten in the man’s way, he wouldn’t have agitated him as much...

Nicole nodded, the dour look taking over her expression not matching her personality, and sighed again. “When she first transferred here, Cupcake was a wreck. You should’ve seen her, tense and on edge, like she was ready for a fight, glaring at anyone that tried to say something to her. There were rumors that she’d spent a year at a prestigious school somewhere near Lynnwood—a town famous for all those rich people—and ended up getting kicked out because of a fight with some guy. We immediately looked into it. See, things like that interest us, especially Leon. The guy’s a big softy under everything, to be honest, and the thought that this skinny, ragged girl could’ve whipped someone’s ass was mind-blowing as hell. Turns out, the guy was an upperclassman, like a senior or something, and had threatened to hurt Kay and Austin. One thing you never do is threaten Cupcake’s baby brother and sisters. Naturally, she kicked his ass—even broke a bone in his cheek or something. Thinking back, I’m not sure why we didn’t immediately hang out with her; she was just the type of person who’d fit in with us. I think the main reason was that she was barely eighteen—had just turned it in March—so she was just a kid.”

“You’re all kids,” Chase said, not meaning it as an insult or anything, just fact. “You’re still kids.”

She snorted derisively. “Do kids live on their own, Chase? Do kids struggle through days trying to figure out how to make money just to eat something? Do kids constantly fight for their rights to live in this God-forsaken town even though we would much rather leave? We may be a lot of things, but a kid isn’t something I’ve been since I was nine.”

He was silent, taking it in. While there were many definitions of a “kid,” he knew she was right: they weren’t adults exactly, but they weren’t children either.

“Cupcake, though, I mean, she was so small, you know? She was just some skinny thing last year. Like, God, I felt like if I’d breathed out too hard she’d snap. How could we invite such a vulnerable girl into our group? If you haven’t noticed, we attract a lot of unwanted attention because of outrageous rumors. Around the same time, people were starting some crazy shit about us kicking the local gang’s ass. It was rubbish, of course, and we tried to ignore them, but it didn’t work. When this gang found out about it, they were sending us threats—old school threats too. It was actually pretty pathetic that some grown man decided to shove a dead rat in my locker, but that’s beside the point. We were starting to get into deep shit, and there was no way we could just snag some freshmen into the mix, so we kept our distance. Whit had a class with her, though, and started noticing things that we couldn’t really ignore, like bruises that would appear around her neck or cuts on her arm. At the time, we thought she was being abused, so we tried to get the professors to take notice, but no one seemed to care. Except Dr. Macintyre. He was all about helping her, too, man. I think he spent countless hours trying to talk to her, having meetings with her after class, having little get-togethers after school; we honestly thought he was making sure she was alright. But...” Her voice faded, fist clenching. Chase could hear the blood roaring in her veins, much like Vixen’s did when she was losing her composure. “He was just using what we told him as an excuse to molest her.”

Chase froze, his body going cold, ice. His fist clenched in his pockets, face hardening. He couldn’t breathe.

“That’s the same face Whitler and Calvin made when they found out,” she said, black humor in her eyes. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but Whit is actually really observant, to the point she can be downright creepy sometimes. She mentioned something about getting the wrong vibe from Macintyre, and Calvin joked that maybe he was into Cupcake. It was in bad taste, but Calvin’s not mature to begin with, so we all blew it off. Until we walked in on him with his hands up her shirt.”

The image burned his mind as he pictured it, gnashing his teeth to keep from growling at it.

“But Cupcake... She just laid there. The girl with a chip on her shoulder and a hard-ass glare on her face, the girl that had kicked some upperclassman’s ass, was just lying there, letting him, not saying anything, not doing anything, face completely void of emotion. It was like she didn’t care, like it didn’t matter that this fuck trumpet was putting his hands on her. Like, how much do you have to hate yourself to get to that point?”

He didn’t know. He didn’t want to know. He didn’t want to think about it.

“I thought Leon was going to kill him. Like I said, he’s a big softy on the inside, completely made of marshmallows or something, and kind of the big brother for everyone—we go to him if we’re in deep shit. But it was Calvin that shoved him away from her. He hates violence, poor guy, and he doesn’t have a temper, but there are some things even he can’t stand. Thinking about it now, it might have hit him a little too close to home when he saw how little she cared. After his parents died, Calvin was the same as Cupcake, see? If it wasn’t for Janet, his older sister, I’m sure he would’ve sunk to where Cupcake is.

“Anyway, she didn’t say anything as she fixed her shirt, didn’t breakdown, didn’t cry, just pulled her shirt down and situated her bra, all the while looking as if she was watching some boring-ass 60′s movie or something. Then Macintyre grabbed Whit. Now, Whit’s been through some serious shit, even before she met us, and I’ve never seen her look scared before or after that, but for a moment, when Macintyre wrapped his arms around her waist with one hand and grabbed her chest with another, Whit looked terrified, and in that moment, Cupcake went from emotionless doll to Chucky. She jumped off of the desk faster than light and nailed Macintyre with a seriously amazing left hook, right in the nose. He let go of Whit to grab it, and Cupcake kicked him in the dick so hard, I still think I heard something crack. None of us could believe that this eighteen-year-old, who just recently didn’t seem to give a damn, just kicked the professor’s ass. Whit went to hug her, but Calvin stopped her, grabbing Cupcake by one of her arms, staring at her. Again, she didn’t do anything, just stared back, and Calvin did something I’ll never forget: he smacked her.

“You could hear the sound all around the room, and the only thing Cupcake did was continue to stare at him, didn’t move to cup her cheek, didn’t flinch, just blankly stared. He started going on a rampage, telling her that she should treasure herself more, that she should stand up for herself. He just kept yelling, going ape-shit, demanding that she not let someone do something like that again. We all understood why he was so torn apart, so the only thing we could do was nod in agreement when it was over.

“Since then, we’ve all hung out. Calvin, Whit, and Leon worry about her more than anyone else, but Whit and Leon are more opened about it. Calvin likes to stick to his jokes, cover up how worried he actually is, but I think everyone knows—maybe except Cupcake, but she can be pretty dense.” She shook her head, a fond smile. “There’s a point to this story, though. One, I don’t want you to have the wrong impression of Whitler. Yeah, she’s overbearing, probably worse than Leon, and that’s saying something, but she’s only like that because of Macintyre. Before everything went to shit, we were starting to trust Macintyre because he was helping Cupcake, almost as much as we trust you, which is probably why Whit’s trying to keep a stern face and not give into your wickedly good looks and wonderful personality.” She winked, and Chase couldn’t help huffing a chuckle even though he didn’t feel like laughing. “Two, I don’t want you to get confused. It’s not that Cupcake doesn’t show how worried or upset she is about threats and shit. Trust me, I thought that for the longest time. It’s just she doesn’t care about them, plain and simple. As long as they’re only threatening her, she’ll continue on as if nothing happened, which is why we have to be especially careful with her right now, and why Leon feels like an overprotective mother goose. Even after everything we’ve done to try and prove to her how important she is, she doesn’t get it. Cupcake hates herself, more than she hates anyone in her life, even her shitty mom and fuck-face Macintyre. She simply doesn’t want what happens to her to happen to anyone else. It’s like she’s made it her personal mission to save anyone she can, no matter the risks.”

Everything fell into place then. The reason she didn’t react when he insulted her the second day, the reason she wasn’t worried about the poison on her hand, the reason she jumped in front of him: to her, anyone was more significant, anyone was more important, anyone mattered more.

He didn’t understand the feeling he had. In all his years of existence, he’d never felt more... there wasn’t a word adequate enough. It was as if something weighed in his chest, some gravid force weighing him down. He had never had a heart, but he wondered if this was the reason so many humans died by their own hands—if he were mortal, he didn’t think he could survive the agony in his chest. It was etched deep, far deeper than his limited soul was, threatening to implode.

“You understand.” Nicole pulled him from his thoughts. He didn’t miss that she wasn’t asking him, more like stating. “I can tell by your face; everything makes sense, doesn’t it?”

“I’m starting to think Whitney isn’t the only observant person,” he remarked calmly.

She grinned. “Nah, anyone can tell when puzzles fit together. You’re not easy to read, but even you can’t hide understanding.”

He didn’t say anything.

Suddenly, she turned mischievous. “Of course, I approve of you and Cupcake. Macintyre be damned, I think you two are nice together, especially since you reacted the way you did when you found out about the poison. Whit has a bad habit of only comparing—like how both you and Macintyre have taken it upon yourselves to take care of Cupcake—but I like contrasting. Macintyre would’ve never helped Cupcake when threatened with a gang attack. You, on the other hand, have saved her twice.”

He tilted his head, curious again. “Twice?”

“You didn’t think we wouldn’t find out, did you?” Her smirk was crafty, like she knew something she wasn’t supposed to. “Yesterday, we weren’t just looking for information on Preston, you know: we were also looking for information on you. See, Maggie—the girl who was working at Circle K when you picked Cupcake up a week or so ago—told us something interesting. Around the time you left, a couple guys managed to appear out of the woods nearby, looking peeved. Turns out, those guys have purposely been cornering the store since Cupcake goes there for cheap food when she’s by herself, but they couldn’t snag her like they’d planned because some guy in leather found them out.”

“Oh?” He kept his face straight.

“Yeah. They said he looked in the exact place they were hiding and basically threatened them with his eyes before he drove away,” she continued, looking like she won the lottery. “He seemed to be pretty nice to her too—opened the door for her, gave her his jacket, took her bags—they thought he was her boyfriend.”

“Ah.”

“C’mon, Chase!” she exploded, jumping up and down. “Give me something here. You don’t have to tell me how close you two are or how far you’ve gotten, but give me something.”

He couldn’t help but smirk. “There’s nothing to tell.”

“You can’t hide it from me!” she said, pointing a finger at him. “I know there’s more going on, and I will find out!”

He chuckled. “There’s nothing going on between Ms. Tyler and I.”

“Using her last name won’t fool me,” she said. “I already know you call her Vixen when no one else is around.”

“Only sometimes,” he amended. “And only because calling her ‘Ms. Tyler’ in public would draw too much attention.”

She snorted. “Yeah, because just hanging out with her doesn’t.” She rolled her eyes. “You seem to forget that everyone knows Cupcake because of her hair, not her last name, and someone other than the six of us with her is enough to draw ‘too much attention.’”

He pretended to look thoughtful. “That explains why everyone was staring at us while we were in that club.”

“Definitely. One, you’re hot as hell with a smile like the devil, and two, Cupcake’s a little infamous there since the DJ has a thing for her.”

Both the irony of the statement and the information that the man Vixen had introduced him to in passing was attracted to her made him smirk. “That explains why he was sullen when I met him yesterday.”

“Poor guy probably had his heart ripped out at the sight of you two together.” She shook her head in mock sympathy before glancing at the clock. “Shit! I need to get Cupcake from homeroom!”

He cocked his head to the side. “Why?”

“Because the dumbasses in her homeroom aren’t used to her being there and will probably turn into statues. Plus, I need to get my shit before class.”

He nodded. “Stay out of trouble.”

“Us? Stay out of trouble? Haven’t you been listening to me?” She grinned. “If you looked ‘trouble’ up in the dictionary, you’d see our pictures.”

He shook his head, smiling a little as she rushed out of the room with a fast “See ya later!” When she was gone, however, the smile dropped as he rubbed his eyes, feeling his age. It was odd, how much older he had felt ever since he had had his first class with the little gang of teenagers. Darestin liked to point it out every time he saw him.

“You look like death,” he had cracked after Chase got back from his quest with the pinkette.“Is it because of that human kid you’ve been observing?” he wondered.

Chase had nodded, collapsing on the couch.“Sometimes, I feel like I age quicker when I’m with her.”

Darestin had laughed.“Your experiment a little too intense for you?”

There was a pause before he answered.“Not particularly.”

Of course, Darestin noticed.“She is the one you’ve been conducting one of your experiments on, right?”

“Yes,” Chase answered slowly, “but yesterday wasn’t for the experiment.”

“Oh? Then why were you with her?”

Chase sighed.“Because her friend was missing and she needed someone to go with her.”

He stared at him unblinkingly.

“What?”

“Are you sure she’s still just a subject, Chase?” he asked.

“Of course,” he had answered.

Now, though, Chase let out a long breath, staring out the window as the rain calmed to a drizzle.

Was she still just a subject?


*MC hits stop*

Well, that was legit. Hope some of your questions have been answered. To be honest, cupcakes, I’ve had this chapter written since chapter two came out. I’ve been dying to write this one for ages.

Also, please remember that there are options out there for rape victims. The national hotline (1-800-656-4673) is available 24/7. You can even text this number if you have anxiety regarding phone calls, and there’s even an online chatroom for those who don’t want it on their phone records or simply prefer typing on a computer over a cellphone (because same, cupcake, same). You can find it here: https://hotline.rainn.org/online/.

All of these are also available on my profile page for easy access.

I’m also here for you, cupcakes. I see you, I hear you, and I believe you. If anyone out there is struggling, and the aforementioned services aren’t for you, please feel free to use my inbox. I’m always available if you need me~

Happy reading, cupcakes~(:

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