It's a Cruel World, Sir

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20 | Rescue

*MC presses fast-forward but pauses it first*

Don’t forget to read the bonus chapters, cupcakes! They’re actually super important in the grand scheme of things, especially the last two, as they have information in them you’d never get in Vixen’s PoV (because of the way she thinks about things)~ Enjoy~

*presses play*

Ronnie doesn’t say anything to me in the car. Instead, he spends his time berating me to his friends, laughing about “kiddy emotions” and “self-righteous bullshit,” but I don’t pay too much attention to it, watching the trees as they pass.

I’m not nearly as surprised when we pull onto Broadway Avenue as I should be. I play with the idea of struggling when we pass Bubba’s—if I could get the car door open, I know I’m fast enough to make it into Bubba’s before Ronnie or his goons realize what happened—but it’s only a fleeting thought: if there are people in there that can’t defend themselves, they’ll just get in the middle, especially since Ronnie’s already made it abundantly clear that he’s not above hurting others to get to me.

I sigh quietly, leaning my head against the window. Cassadee has probably already left town—too scared to even call the cops—so it’ll take Nikki and them a little longer to figure out what happened. Unless the next thing Canty was talking about was some sort of ransom note to Leon or something, then maybe a little less time, depending on who’s locker they put it in (Leon, Whit, and Trent almost never go to their lockers, and Calvin tries to keep going to his locker to a minimum, twice-per-day event). No one will help them since it’s me, so they’ll try to plan out their moves accordingly, keeping others from getting hurt... I’d say I have at least a day with these guys.

A wild thought pops into my mind before I can stop it.

Chase could be here within ten minutes.

Dammit! Stop thinking about him! This isn’t any of his business! Besides, how’s he going to know anything’s wrong!? He’s too busy ignoring me, too busy...

I shake my head, stopping that thought and the tears forming with it in its track.

This is stupid. Whatever’s happening to me is starting to really get on my nerves.

Thankfully, the beat-up car we’re in pulls into a construction zone, parking just behind a giant, orange Caution: Area Under Construction sign, and gives me something to stare at instead of thinking.

It’s the old club they’re redoing, the one a few blocks down from Bubba’s. We never went to this one because it was huge and known for massive amounts of Cocaine and Heroine, but it was a hot spot before termite damage was found. They ended up having to tear the whole thing down to rebuild it. Everyone was really irritated because of it.

Now, it’s just a skeleton of what it used to be: gravel dust covers everything, even a thin layer of it is on the bottom of the stone walls, and huge bulldozers litter the lot along with random pieces of broken stone and concrete.

Spray Tan jerks open my door, pulling me from the window, and grabs my arm. “Time to get out, bitch.”

“Haven’t heard that one before,” I grumble, doing as he says.

“Did you say something?” he asks, eyeing me.

“Nope,” I say innocently, blinking up at him.

He clicks his tongue but doesn’t say anything, settling for practically dragging me into the building.

The inside looks a lot like the outside. Only the shell of it is there: basic support beams, square pillars lining the place while they work on making the walls more structurally sound, and the basic gray concrete laid on the floor.

What strikes me is that there’s nothing to suggest they’ve been staying here, not even a blanket or sleeping bag, which means they probably just brought me here so we don’t figure out where their real hideout is: a good sign; means they’re planning on letting us get away from this alive.

“Why, if it isn’t little Vixen Tyler,” someone says, snickering.

Leaning against one of the pillars is the man of the hour: Preston, leader of the Black Kings. True to the rumors, his skin is stark white, and though his head is shaved clean of any hair, I can tell by his pale blond eyebrows: albinism. He’s wearing a pair of sunglasses—to protect his eyes from the light, I guess—and so many layers of clothes, it’s making me hot just looking at him.

“Bring her over here,” he says, waving the goons over to the pillar he’s leaning on.

Spray Tan pushes me towards him, nodding in his direction, and I roll my eyes. “I heard him, dumbass, but thanks for the clarification.”

He immediately kicks the back of my knee, making me tumble to the ground in an angry heap. By the warmth from the essentia, I figure he almost broke my leg, but I try to ignore the fact that it’s not nearly as powerful as it was in the shower earlier, especially since there’s still a dull ache when it’s gone.

“Now, now. Don’t be so rough on our guest,” Preston scolds lightly.

“Sorry, sir,” Spray Tan says, yanking me back to my feet.

I grumble under my breath but refrain from saying anything as they literally hang the zip tie around my wrist on a big hook above my head. It’s just high enough that I can reach it without standing on my tiptoes, but barely.

Preston is staring at me a little too intensely, finger to his lips in concentration. “You know, it’s a shame such a cute girl has such a bad mouth,” he tsks mockingly, stepping to me. “You should smile more.”

I don’t say anything, watching him. The moment he lets his guard down...

He steps closer, tilting his head. “Hard to believe you’re only nineteen. I’m not really into teenagers, but you’re kind of doing it for me. Especially your hair...”

He reaches towards me, and I bite his finger out of pure reflex, earning a grunt from him. Before he can get his finger out, Ronnie drills the back of my head into the beam with his hand.

“You might wanna start playing nice, little Vixen, or I’ll hafta return you to your friends in pieces.”

I almost laugh at him, tell him to try it since Chase has probably made me invincible, but like when Spray Tan punched me, I can feel an ache where Ronnie rammed me into the beam, so I decide to keep my mouth shut.

Preston stares at the teeth imprints on his finger. “You drew a little blood,” he says. “I guess if you weren’t such a violent cunt, you wouldn’t be here, but still. I forgot for a moment just what kind of animal you were.”

Ronnie eyes me, waiting to see if I retaliate, so I keep my face relaxed.

“It really is a shame, though. You should smile for me,” Preston continues as Ronnie leans back.

I roll my eyes. “Tell me to smile one more time, and the next thing I bite will be more important than your finger.”

His fist connects with my mouth, a nice smack ringing against the walls. My teeth crack against the inside of my lip, and despite the warmth that gathers there, I can still taste blood.

“That just healed, you dumbass,” I gripe.

I expect the kick before he even pulls back his leg—I just don’t expect him to dig the tip of his shoe into my ribs. Luckily, he pulls his foot away before anything can break.

“This is what I’m talking about,” he says, spitting on the ground. “If you’d just shut your mouth, we might get along better. You never know. You could be my number one.”

“Only if you stopped breathing,” I retort.

“Stupid whore,” he hisses, yanking me towards him by the collar of my shirt. “Do you want me to kill you?”

“Already are, with how awful your breath smells.”

He slams me into the beam, cracking my head against the hard plaster again. “I’m going to make you regret talking to me like that,” he growls. One of his hands wraps around my throat—not tight enough to cut off my breathing, but enough to be uncomfortable—while the other snakes around my back, slipping up my shirt. “Let’s see if you keep your bark when I’m done with you.”

I smirk, but it’s dark and hard. “What? You think your grass-blade penis is going to affect me?”

His eyebrows draw together in rage, and I half-expect him to choke me to death, but a window three-stories above us shatters, shards of glass falling to the floor. A figure leans on the broken paneling, looking down at us.

“Any more of that, and I’m afraid I will not be able to let you live,” Chase says conversationally.

Preston looks at Ronnie, who’s staring up at him with his mouth wide open, before looking back up, completely baffled.

Chase puts his hand in his pockets and steps off the paneling, like it’s just a small step to the bottom, and falls to the ground. When he lands lightly on his feet, I notice that his hair is windblown, the black leather jacket hanging lopsided on his shoulders. His eyes are so black that it’s like any light gets lost in them, the shape of his eyes entirely gone.

“Give me the girl,” he says, accent thicker than usual, voice powerful.

Everyone looks dazed, confused, and I see several guys actually come closer to Preston and me before Preston snaps, “Don’t even think about it.”

Chase tilts his head. “Are you sure?”

He hardens himself, glaring at him. “Fuck you, asshole. This cunt owes us.”

Chase’s eyes narrow.

Without warning, something rushes towards Preston, knocking him into a window. The glass cracks at the force, leaving him dazed.

“You should learn how to talk to women,” Chase says easily. “Calling them names is hardly acceptable.” He looks at Ronnie. “Now, are you going to hand her over or am I going to have to take her?”

Ronnie opens and closes his mouth like a fish, eyes darting from Preston to him, and takes a few steps away from me, holding them in the air defensively. Everyone follows his lead, staring up at Chase with complete disbelief.

Like Preston, something attacks them. Wind rushes against me, ruffling my hair, and suddenly, not only is Ronnie sliding down the opposite wall almost eight yards away, but everyone in the building is shoved against a wall, effectively knocking them out.

“How did you get...” I let the sentence trail off as I look over at Chase, who’s suddenly right in front of me, invading my personal space. In a movement that I can’t see, my arms are unbound and in his hands, thumbs massaging the zip tie markings.

“Are you okay?” he asks, peering at my face. He grimaces and removes a hand from my wrist to brush something off of my chin with his thumb. “You’re bleeding.”

“No kidding,” I mutter touching my swollen lips. “Damn, that hit hurt.”

He chuckles, and it’s like the black in his eyes rejects the sound, shrinking enough to leave a thin outline of white around it. “At least your mouth is still intact,” he says, the chuckles fading as his brows furrow. “I didn’t think you’d be in this type of danger so soon; otherwise, I would’ve given you more...”

I blink. “What?”

He shakes his head. “We’ll talk about it later. First, let me take care of that.”

“You don’t have to,” I say quickly, heart hammering in my chest at the thought of his mouth anywhere near mine.

He raises an eyebrow. “Are you scared of me?”

Now I’m confused. “Why would I be scared of you? You just stopped Preston from... Well, you just stopped him.”

He smirks. “Vixen, I just descended from a top floor window and attacked over half a dozen men without coming near them. It would only make sense if you were a little uneasy.”

I shrug. “Yeah, but you just saved me from being raped; I think that kind of makes up for the supernatural way you did it.”

He shakes his head. “Your self-preservation instincts are extremely dysfunctional.”

“You think so?” I say thoughtfully. “Funny. That’s what Leon used to say.”

“You’re avoiding the problem at hand,” he notes, entertained.

“It’s just a split lip, Chase; it won’t kill me,” I mumble. Seriously. Why is everything so hot at the thought of—

“No,” he agrees, “but it would be faster than waiting for it to heal on its own.”

I bite my lip without thinking, trying to stop the pins-and-needles feeling it has, but wince.

“And if you continue biting your lip, it’s only going to make it worse.”

I resist the urge to lick my lips and nod, giving in.

He smirks, triumphant, and leans in. I stop breathing, clamping my eyes shut.

It’s fine. It’s just... just him healing me, like he’s done a hundred times. It’s not anything else. It’s not like I want it to be anything else. It’s fine. This’s fine. I’m fine.

His tongue is cold and soft as it trails up the corner of my mouth, lightly grazing along my bottom lip. The cut warms, making me shiver, before it’s gone entirely, just a ghost of pain left. When he sits back, his eyes are bright silver, rich, warm, and I suddenly want...

“Vixen?” he murmurs.

I blink. I didn’t realize I’d grabbed his jacket sleeve. “Sorry, I just... I don’t...”

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

I look up at him and open my mouth. “I...” But my voice trails off, mind going blank.

I want to kiss him.

The thought makes my face burn.

Understanding hits him, eyes widening just slightly as they flash to my lips. The wind around us picks up, but I ignore it, trying to think of anything else.

He leans in again, this time with purpose. My heart hammers with anticipation, with need, and my hands are suddenly shaking.

He stops just before our lips touch, though, and sighs. Before I can say anything, he presses a kiss against my forehead instead.


“You were almost raped today,” he murmurs against my skin. “You’re not in the right mindset to consent to this.”

I let out a frustrated laugh. “Chase, out of everything I’ve been through, do you really think a kiss is going to affect me?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” he says easily, straightening up. “But I won’t be added to the list of men who have taken advantage of you. You’re already underage—by law, and normal processes, the want to kiss you is considered a mental disorder—I won’t add to it by using your vulnerability.”

I roll my eyes. “Only you would worry about something like that even though you’re not human, and the farthest thing from the people who’ve ‘taken advantage’ of me.”

He smirks, but it’s softer this time. “Are you insinuating that I’m better than those men? Even though I have this incorrigible urge to possess everything you are?”

I’m sure my face is so red, it’s glowing. “I don’t know if you mean that in... in a literal way, like a ghost, or a... a... a different way, but the fact that you didn’t immediately take what you wanted proves that you are.”

“Bringing ghosts up is a good way to ruin the moment, Vixen,” he chastises gently. “But I, myself, am unsure as to what exactly it means to possess someone, although I have a feeling it’s more than just sex, as I could easily find someone to fulfill that particular need.”

“Bringing up sleeping with someone else is an even better way to ruin the moment,” I retort.

He chuckles. “Come on. This is no place to have this conversation. Besides, you and I need to talk before we establish this.”

I blink. “This?”

His smirk is back, easy and confident. “Yes, this. As in ‘us.’ As in whether we continue the push and pull or simply give in.”

“Be honest: you were a poet at some point, right?” I grumble but sigh. “You’re right, though. We need to talk. About more than just...whatever you are.”

“Naturally,” he says, wrapping an arm around my waist. “This may be disorienting, so close your eyes.”

I do as he says without thinking. There’s a breeze, a short moment where it feels like nothing’s under my feet, and more air wrapped around me before he says, “It’s all right now.”

I open my eyes, blinking at the light from the sun, and tilt my head. Instead of the three-story house I live in, I’m in front of an old apartment building. The brick walls are discolored and stained, years of weathering making them paler in color, and the grey roof isn’t in much better shape. Overgrown roots are climbing along the side, and I even think there’s a broken window over there...

“You know, if you wanted to kill me, you could’ve spared the haunted house,” I mutter.

He chuckles. “This is my apartment, Vixen.”

“Why in God’s name would you chose such a horrible neighborhood?” I wonder, looking at the weeds peaking through the concrete walkway. “Why not live with Darestin or something?”

“Nothing interesting is going to happen in a rich neighborhood that’s patrolled by police, but anything could happen here.”

“Of course that’s why.”

He smirks. “After you.”

I roll my eyes, heading towards the decrepit apartment.

Most of your questions will be answered next chapter, so look forward to it, alright? School starts back Monday for me, though, and I don’t have a laptop right now, so if I don’t update this coming Friday, expect a shit ton of updates after I get my laptop is done recovering, okay?

Happy reading~<3(:

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