It's a Cruel World, Sir

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Bonus Chapter | Chase Kingsley

*MC presses pause, staring intently at chapter* Welp, I finished this way sooner than I planned. For a moment there, I thought this chapter was going to be as big of a pain-in-the-ass as the last one, but then I finished it within two hours of starting, so... *shrugs*

*MC pulls Nameless from behind the pages* Since this chapter wasn’t technically requested, just kind of required, I’ve decided to dedicate this chapter to the person who’s been commenting on my stories like a sugar-induced maniac (it’s pretty great), so, without further adieu. Nameless, if you would do the honors~

*NamelessJa presses rewind*

MC: This never gets old, does it? Hehe~(;


Chase stared at his cup of tea with little interest, debating if it was time to move on to the next lesson in his second block Psychology class. Technically, his schedule had them learning about the sixteen personalities for another week, and his first class was still struggling with the concepts. That being said, the point of teaching was to educate and keep students interested in learning, and the only way to do that was to go at the students’ paces, so there was nothing wrong with going forward with the lessons when his second class had a good grasp of what each personality was—some of them even had the personalities memorized—so, maybe, it was okay to just keep to the schedule for his first class until they had a better grasp of it, and move on in his second class, start talking about personality disorders and mental illnesses. It was Chase’s favorite part, though, so he’d probably spend more time than needed on it...

“You know, even if you drown yourself in work, you won’t be able to avoid it,” Darestin said conversationally, staring at the ceiling of the teachers’ lounge. “After all, you like answers, and avoiding the questions isn’t going to get you any.”

Chase didn’t bother looking at him, choosing instead to take a sip of his black tea.

Of course, when the professor was more passionate about the subject, the students tended to get that passion and enjoy the lessons more as a result, so maybe it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. After all, the entire class already liked him enough to show up, and they clearly liked the subject enough to do the homework for fun, so...

“I’m just saying, man. She’s in your next class, so even if you manage to avoid thinking about it now, you’ll end up dragging it up later. That’s just how your mind works: you hate unsolved puzzles.”

Chase finally looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “And what, exactly, do you think I want the answer to?”

Darestin looked evenly back at him, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Why your first instinct was to behead me when you saw Vixen and I kissing.”

“I did not want to behead you, Darestin,” Chase clarified, “only mildly maim.”

Darestin snorted. “Basically the same thing, dude, basically the same thing.”

“And it doesn’t matter why I wanted to,” he said simply. “What matters is that Ididn’tand I feel no need to now.”

“That’s only because you’re not thinking clearly,” Darestin said. “Seriously, man, listen to me for once. There’s something seriously wrong here if you, the King of Curiosity, don’t want to know why you were so pissed last night.”

“It’s quite simple, Darestin: I didn’t want you to get involved with her.” When Darestin’s smirk turned full-blown self-righteous, Chase rolled his eyes. ”Only because her soul is one of the sweetest souls alive right now, and I don’t trust you to keep yourself in check. Nothing more. When I saw you kissing her, I assumed the worst. That was my mistake.”

“I had my tongue in her mouth, dude; no need for tongue when having a snack.”

The cup in his hand froze over, the once steaming tea now completely solid. “I don’t recall asking for details, Darestin, but thank you.”

“This is what I’m talking about, man. You’re losing your temper like some newbie, and you’re taking it out on Vixen. If you’d just listen—”

The bell for the next class rang, interrupting him, and Chase stood up, dumping the cup and frozen drink in the sink.

“I need to get to class,” he said without looking at him. “I trust you know how to get out of the school without being seen.”

Darestin shook his head, but Chase pretended not to notice, stepping into the hallway without another word.

Chase knew it wasn’t Vixen’s fault. It wasn’t as if humans could avoid the allure Darestin had—he had the charisma of a werewolf—and for as much time as he’d spent with her, he knew she didn’t have an inkling of attraction to him that didn’t surpass that of basic, physical attraction—Darestin was an enticing creature in his own rights after all, no denying that—but, like Darestin had pointed out, that wasn’t what was bothering him.

For a wild moment, when he saw Vixen in Darestin’s arms, his control almost snapped.

The laugh he let out was derisive.

It wasn’t as if he actually wanted to behead Darestin. He didn’t want to maim him either, really. It was more like he wanted to take Vixen from him, warn him off of her. He had an unbelievable urge to impress upon him that Vixen was his.

Which was absurd. Vixen wasn’t property. There was no way to really own her, and he didn’t really want to either.

Still. The strange possessiveness was in the corner of his mind, nesting there like it belonged.

Perturbed, Chase started scrolling out the different categories of personality disorders on the board, hoping to distract himself from the foolish thoughts Darestin somehow managed to get out of him, but his nose caught a scent: vanilla and cinnamon, the devil’s mix.

How was it possible that she had somehow gotten sweeter in the last week?

Barely able to keep himself from rolling his eyes, he continued writing, avoiding meeting Vixen’s eyes when she walked in. He did offer Nicole a nod out of habit, and then chided himself. If he had wanted to seem normal, he should have at least nodded in Vixen’s direction.

He sighed. Obviously, Darestin had been a little more correct than Chase wanted to admit, because he was most certainly not thinking clearly.

The bell rang, and he shook himself out of his mind, turning to the class. “Today, we’re going to move on from the 16 personalities to personality disorders. Before that, can anyone tell me the definition of the word ‘personality?’ From a psychologist’s perspective, of course.”

Hands shot up, especially on the left side of the room, and he picked the first one who met his eyes. “Lauren?”

The black-haired teenager grinned at him. “A personality is a set of long-lasting traits that only varies a little bit from person to person.”

“Good,” he said, nodding. “Now, using that definition, can anyone tell me what a ‘personality disorder’ is?”

More hands raised the same time as someone groaned, and his eyes flashed in Vixen’s direction before deciding on the first hand he saw. “Elias.”

“Wouldn’t it just be defined as some kind of astronomical change in someone’s traits or whatever,” he answered. “Like, if someone usually does something, but then does the complete opposite out of the blue?”

“You’re on the right track, but you’re not quite there yet,” Chase said. “Technically, what you’re describing could easily be the result of a traumatic experience, like PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, which is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are mood disorders—we’ll cover them in our next lesson—not personality disorders. In layman’s terms, personality disorders are a set of rigid and unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning, and behaving.”

“Wait. Then what’s the difference between mood disorders and personality disorders?” Elias demanded.

Chase wasn’t really paying attention to Elias anymore, though, because a certain pinkette was muttering profanities under her breath as she stared out the window, looking more than just mildly irritated.

Irritated because of what, though? Did the fact that Chase hadn’t greeted her actually perturbed her in some way? The thought made him smirk.

Entertained, he walked over to her desk, ignoring the raised eyebrow Nicole shot him. “Ms. Tyler,” he called.

She looked up at him, eyes tightening.

Well, that was certainly interesting. “Is something wrong?” he wondered, mainly just to see her reaction.

He could actually hear the sound of her blood roaring to life, saw the tick in her jaw as she clenched her teeth, and watched as she opened her mouth to snap at him. One look from the classroom, however, and she backed off, fuming.

“Nothing,” she growled.

Just a little nudge... “Then please refrain from growling under your breath,” he said, the smirking widening.

He wasn’t surprised when she jumped up, hitting the top of her desk with her hand. “You want to know what’s wrong, asshole, because I’ll—” she started, trying to get in his personal space, but Nicole and Taylor stopped her. Nicole restrained her, pinning Vixen’s hands behind her back to keep her from attacking him, while Taylor covered her mouth, which actually had Chase chuckling under his breath.

Like an angry kitten.

But his amusement stopped when she ripped herself out of Nicole’s grip, shoving Taylor away from her as she seethed. Anything that made her angry enough to reject her friends wasn’t something to be taken lightly.

“Ms. Tyler,” he tried again, this time tempering his teasing, “if there’s something—”

“Shut up,” she hissed at him, cutting him off. Without looking at him, she rushed past him.

He grabbed her wrist out of reflex, though, effectively stopping her. “Class isn’t over yet, Ms. Tyler. Sit back down.”

“Oh, now you’ll talk to me?” she groused out under her breath, making him blink. “Too late now. Let go of me.”

“What happened, Vix—”

“I said: let go,” she said again, eyes dark.

He did, more from disconcertment than her demand, and watched as she headed out of the room without bothering to look back.

Strange.

What would make her, of all people, push her friends away? After all, this was the girl whose entire existence centered around others. For her to physically push them away... Oh, now you’ll talk to me? she had practically growled at him. Did that mean the reason she was so angry was because of him?

“If you’re thinking it’s your fault, you’re right,” Nicole said casually next to him, looking at her nail bed with little interest. “I mean, you gave poor Cupcake the cold shoulder.”

Chase raised an eyebrow at her, earning a snicker from Taylor.

“But, to be fair, Cupcake’s always had a short temper,” he said. “Of course, I’d be upset too if the guy I was in love with ignored me.”

Chase blinked, tilting his head at the blue-eyed child, and opened his mouth to say something, but stopped.

Something in the air tasted like saltwater and protein.

Tears.

Someone was crying.

His eyes sifted through the room, looking for the person, but no one looked emotion, though most looked perplexed—probably due to the fact that Nicole and Taylor had been talking softly, making sure he was the only one who heard what they had to say, so it most likely looked as if the three of them were just standing in set confusion.

He took a deep breath through his nose, trying to pinpoint the tears. To his surprise, it was just outside the door.

Mixed with vanilla and cinnamon.

Could it be...

He walked towards the door, ignoring the deepening confusion on the students’ faces, and opened it slowly.

Sure enough, Vixen was standing in the middle of the hallway. Her head was down, hands covering her face, so he couldn’t see her clearly, but he was almost certain she was crying.

Why, though?

“Vixen?” he tried softly, hoping to sound more inviting.

She stiffened, every muscle in her body physically tightening.

“Vixen,” he repeated, reaching for her, “what’s wrong?”

Instead of cowering into herself like he half-expected, her head snapped up to him, glaring at him with a watery gaze, and he forgot to breathe, arm falling to his side. Her face was a mess of smeared make-up lines and tears, the color almost completely drained from her skin. The swollen red of her lips and underside of her eyes only make it worse, giving her a sickly, pale look.

All of a sudden, that feeling was there again, the same one he had when he had first learned about the extent of Vixen’s self-sacrifice, like something in his chest was weighing him down, trying to suffocate him.

Before he could form a coherent thought, she turned around and bolted out of the door, leaving him entirely lost.

There were several beats of silence that he just stared at the main entrance, more questions in his mind than answers, before Nicole cleared her throat.

“So... the difference between mood disorders and personality disorders is...?” she asked, from her desk.

He stepped back into the classroom and studied her for a moment before he answered. “Mood disorders, as the name would imply, are based solely on an individual’s relationship with their emotions. Personality disorders, however, are characterized by fundamental differences between an individual and most other people. Instead of focusing solely on emotion, these differences may be related to how someone interacts with others, how they think about problems, and how they interpret situations.”

Elias still looked lost. “In that case, what’s...”

And, like that, the class continued on. No one uttered a word of whatever had happened with Vixen, allowing Chase to throw himself back into teaching. However, when he found himself explaining a little too intensely why the DSM-V was not a valid source though it was one of the most well-known, he realized it was time to end the class—even if that meant allowing the students to go to lunch fifteen minutes early.

Nicole nor Taylor left with the others, though, staying in their seats as everyone flooded out of the room, too excited about getting out early to gossip about the distraught pinkette.

“You doing alright, Chase?” Nicole asked casually, crossing her arms. “Seem a bit spaced-out.”

“I’m fine,” he answered, studying her. “Why do you ask?”

“Because you called Cupcake by her name,” Taylor said for her.

“Her real name,” Nicole clarified. “You called her Vixen.”

“In front of the whole class.”

Chase raised an eyebrow. “Not wholly. I stopped myself.”

Nicole shook her head. “No, you didn’t. The only reason you stopped was because she interrupted you.”

He sighed and rubbed his eyes with his hand, patience wearing thin. “What is the point you’re trying to make exactly?”

“Nothing,” she said innocently, grabbing her books as she straightened up. “I’m just saying that Cupcake hasn’t been rough with one of us since she joined our gang, and I’ve never seen Cupcake cry before—honestly, I thought she was too detached from her emotions to cry in the first place—but this is the first time you’ve been distracted, so maybe Cupcake isn’t the only one struggling with her composure, that’s all.”

“And maybe Cupcake isn’t the only one who needs to open her eyes for once,” Taylor added.

“Why does it feel like you two have been talking to Darestin?” Chase muttered under his breath as they both gave him smug looks on their way out, keeping himself from sighing again.

Now, the important question: was he going to follow after Vixen? He didn’t have any more classes for the day—as a new professor, he only had two classes, and they were both in the morning—and he and Darestin didn’t have anything planned until tonight, so there wasn’t much for him to do. At the same time, Vixen was most definitely not in the mood to converse with him, and the way his patience was now, it might be best for them to take a few days to themselves. Chase was far too wound up to do anything but damage right now. Besides, it was Friday. Vixen would no doubt spend the night dancing with her friends: a stress relief.

Chase sighed again, rubbing his temples.

Darestin had been more than just a little correct: he was entirely accurate.

As if he had summoned him, Darestin shifted in front of him, eyes wide and panicked. “Chase, we have a problem.”

Chase raised an eyebrow. “Besides the fact that you just phased in my classroom without the slightest idea as to whether or not I had students in here?”

“That’s literally the least of our problems right now, man.”

Chase waved him off. “Yes, yes. What happened?”

“Shit. I’m sorry, dude. I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to say it: Vixen... Vixen was attacked. By some human gang.”

It took him exactly three-point-two seconds to process what Darestin had said.

Attacked? Someone attacked Vixen? A human attacked her?

“Where is she?” he demanded as he got out of his chair and headed to the door.

Just as his hand clasped the handle, Darestin cleared his throat. “I don’t know. They... they took her.”

He stopped, frozen.

They took her?

A growl ripped through his chest, the sound reverberating from the back of his throat. The temperature in the room dropped past zero, but his mind ignited with a hot fire, singeing his self-control. The muscles in his arms coiled, bending the handle to form with his cold fingers.

But it wasn’t until Darestin saw the black of his pupil burn out, taking over his entire eye, that he stepped in.

“Calm down, man,” he said, grabbing Chase’s shoulder tightly. It wouldn’t be enough to stop him from phasing, but it’d be enough to ground his mind at least. Hopefully.

Chase grinded his teeth in an attempt to calm himself. Self-control. He needed to breathe; he needed to think. It was not logical to run out the door in a murderous rampage, would not do him any good to hunt down every human who had ever threatened her to get information. He needed to calm down and think.

“Tell me what happened,” he groused out.

Darestin almost told him he’d have to wait until he was thinking coherently, but then Chase turned his black eyes on him and Darestin realized why people mistook them for demons.

“I heard sirens—a lot of them—and in my neighborhood, where all of the rich folks live, that’s a rarity,” he explained quickly. “People don’t like robbing us because police patrol the area like flees, right? When I went to check it out, almost all of the cars were at Vixen’s house. Her older sister or whatever was amess. Completely hysterical. I had to use some serious power to get what happened out of her. Apparently, some guys showed up and challenged Vixen. She was winning, I guess, until they took her sister hostage. From there, you can pretty much guess the rest.”

He could. Knowing her, she probably gave herself up to save her sister, the very sister who wouldn’t hesitate to sell her if it meant making a profit.

“I’m going to get her,” Chase stated simply.

“Hell yeah, you are. I expected nothing less. I just wanted to warn you before you did.”

Chase looked at him, waiting.

“The higher-ups are watching, man, and I don’t know if they like what they see. It might be time to come clean. You know, tell Vixen what we are and shit.”

Chase ripped open the door, using every ounce of the waning control he had not to just tear it off of the hinges. “I will worry about that later. One enemy at a time.”

“Just don’t kill the humans. You know how they feel about messing up the Fates.”

He didn’t bother replying, phasing as soon as he stepped through the doorway.


*MC hits stop*

I didn’t really know if I was going to wait until Friday to update this chapter—kind of get you guys into the habit of getting updates on Fridays, you know, like an actual, punctual author—but then I just kind of *throws all the fucks in the air* so yeah. Yay early updates~

Also, remember: the pictures are guides, not actual representations of what’s happening usually. I know the way Chase’s eyes change color is a bit confusing, but I’m thinking, like, the Covenant. I have a GIF that I’ll use in the next chapter so you guys can get a better look, but the expression in the GIF above was so accurate compared to the face Chase made when he heard the news about Vixen that I had to use it.

Alright. I’ll shut up now.

Happy reading, my little cupcakes~(:

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