It's a Cruel World, Sir

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Bonus Chapter | Chase Kingsley

*MC presses pause* I finished this chapter, like, Sunday? Monday? But I decided to wait until now because I need to be FREAKING PUNCTUAL. Or. Like. Try to be~ Anyway, this chapter is dedicated to AngelLovesOregon because she was the first to request this chapter, and then everyone (literally) agreed with her. At any rate, if you would be so kind, Angel~

*Angel presses rewind*

MC: This is still my favorite part of Bonus Chapters~(;

Chase stared at Vixen, trying to predict the next thing she would do.

Sure enough, she went lax, all of the interest in her eyes completely gone as she leaned against the window more. “What about me?” she said, trying to sound easy-going but failing.

“You know what,” he said, not letting her get away. “Tell me what happened in class today.”

He could still remember the way she had looked—eyes and lips red, skin pale, mascara running down her face in murky, black lines—but, more importantly, he remembered how she had acted, like she was running away from something.

From him.

As expected, she stiffened immediately, but she didn’t let that stop her from looking him in the eyes, like she was willing him to believe what she was about to say. “Nothing happened,” she said. “You were being an asshole like always, and I lost my temper. I don’t know why you think that’s so weird.”

He had to keep himself from sighing. “There’s a common myth among humans,” he said, watching the way she raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to explain himself. “For some reason, people believe that when a person is lying, they look away,” he said conversationally, “but the opposite is true: if someone is telling the truth, they look away because they’re trying to remember. When they’re lying, however, people tend to make an unusual amount of eye-contact—like you’re doing now.”

She rolled her eyes. “What’re you trying to say?” she demanded.

Chase shrugged innocently. “I’m just trying to figure out whether or not you’re relapsing, Vixen.”

“I already told you I’m not!”

“Yes, but what you say and what’s actually happening rarely line up,” he pointed out.

She groaned, annoyed. “Then what? You have a theory or something? Because I’m all ears for it if you do.”

“I have thousands of theories,” he said softly, shaking his head, “but I’ve found myself blank when it comes to what happened earlier.”

It was true—more or less. He actually had millions of theories, but they were getting more and more unlikely, morphed, like he wasn’t paying enough attention to what was happening and had somehow missed something, which should be impossible since he had eons of practice observing humanity.

“That’s because it was nothing,” she tried.

He tilted his head. “Then why were you so angry?”

Her jaw locked as she grounded out, “What do you want from me, Chase?”

“I want you to talk to me.”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” she argued.

“There’s plenty to talk about, Vixen,” he corrected. “Let’s start with why you were angry.”

“I’m always angry; nothing new there,” she muttered, chewing on the inside of her lip so hard, he could smell the faint scent of blood after a second.

Chase sighed, somehow tired even though he had no need for sleep. “I can smell blood, remember?” he mentioned softly, unable to stop himself from brushing his thumb along the base of her bottom lip—right where he knew she had chewed through the skin.

She stopped then, her mouth setting in a thin line as her brows drew together, and Chase could practically see her thinking, deciding whether to lie to him or not.

“Canty’s the one who’s been working with Preston,” she said quickly, rushing to get the words out. “He’s the one who put the ricin on my desk and in my locker.”

Chase kept his face neutral as he asked, “Jeremy Canty?”

She nodded. “He told me earlier today when I caught him lying,” she elaborated quickly.

Chase raised an eyebrow, interested in how he had lied.

Like she could read his mind, she said, “He mentioned that I was the one who was threatened, but, as you know, the entire school thinks that I threatened someone instead. When I called him out on it, he confessed the whole thing.”

He could feel his anger simmering, but he pushed it down, trying to stay focused. “Have you told your friends?” he asked even though he could guess the answer—if Nicole had known about this, he doubted that she and Taylor would have kept it from him earlier today. In fact, he was almost certain that Nicole would have told him as soon as she found out.

“No,” she said with a shake of her head, confirming his suspicions. “He said he’d fail Leon and Whitler if I told him. Neither of them are good at hiding their emotions, and they’d tear into him without thinking about it first. Besides, no one in the school would believe us without hard evidence, so all he’d have to do is say that Leon didn’t turn in homework and Whitler didn’t go to class or some shit and fail them before we could do anything.”

“In that case,” he started, trying to temper down his anger at these humans that kept coming after what was his, “why didn’t you tell me?”

She gave him a look that told him he had said the wrong thing. “I wonder,” she growled. “It couldn’t be because someone was ignoring me like a 5-year-old, could it? Actually, you were the first person on my mind, but no, you were too busy pretending like I didn’t exist, like I didn’t...”

He stared at her, the pieces falling into place slowly. “So, you were actually upset with me then?” he asked.

She bit the inside of her lip again, rust coming to him in a small wave, and he had his answer.

Despite that, though, she stubbornly said, “As if I give a shit whether you talk to me or not.”

He really shouldn’t mess with her, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. “But didn’t you make a comment about it? Just before heading out the door?”

“That’s just because you were being a child about everything!” she yelled, glaring at him. “What’s the big deal anyway!? It’s just a kiss, Chase! I didn’t even ask for it—Darestin forced it on me—but that shouldn’t matter anyway because you’re the adult here, over millions of years old, and you were acting like you were two!”

Now this was interesting. She had been crying because of Chase?Not because of what had happened with Canty? Does she...

“You know, Nikki made the comment that it was cheating—me and Darestin kissing—but all I am to you is some experiment, right? Just some orphan kid you can pass your time with. Which, fine, whatever. I get it. I really do. But as soon as Canty blackmailed me, as soon as he said I couldn’t tell Leon or Whit or anyone in the gang... you know who I thought of?” Her voice cracked, and she no longer sounded angry. Instead, she sounded...defeated, eyes welling up with tears again. “It was you... It was... I tried to convince myself that it was just because you would be the most convenient, the most logical choice, but, in reality, I just wanted... I just wanted you to smirk like an asshole like you always do and tell me it’ll be okay, tell me that you... that you...” She trailed off after her voice cracked again, and Chase found himself both so frustrated and fascinated with the human in front of him that he finally understood what Darestin had been trying to make him see.

He was in love with her.

How ironic.

Without thinking, he cradled her face with his hand, running his thumb along her cheek as more tears soaked them.

“I think you’re the most infuriating human I’ve ever met,” he stated quietly.

She rolled her eyes, defiant even when crying as she grumbled, “Yeah, well, you’re not the easiest creature to get along with eith—”

His other hand grabbed her wrist and pulled, making her fall into his chest with a small squeak she’d never admit to. When she managed to gather her bearings, she looked up at him, readying for a fight, but he had something else in mind.

Before he even thought of asking, Chase leaned in and captured her lips.

It wasn’t electric. There weren’t any of the sparks or fireworks he’d often heard mortal women fantasizing about. Instead, it was like taking a breath after being underwater for a long time—a relief.

When Vixen let out a groan—a desperate noise that sounded both pleased and annoyed—he smirked and leaned back.

She was a sight to see: the shade of red her face was made her pink hair look darker, especially in the dimly lit room.

“You are anything but an experiment to me, love,” he finally admitted—to both her and himself. She hadn’t been an experiment since the day she stood in front of him, defending him from the cigarette like it was second nature for her to do so.

She blinked. “But, you said—”

“I know,” he stopped her, “but that was before.”

“Then... then... then why do you bother helping me?” she demanded like he hadn’t made it painstakingly obvious by getting jealous over Darestin of all people.

Of course, maybe he hadn’t. Vixen didn’t think much of herself, so it was entirely possible that, despite how obvious he had unwittingly been, she didn’t have a clue.

If that was the case, then he didn’t mind telling her point-blank.

“Because I don’t want other creatures laying their hands on you,” he said easily. “I have an incorrigible urge to impress upon any creature that touches you that you are mine. It’s getting to the point that I may actually end up killing some pathetic human for blackmailing you.”

Her ears were turning red now. “You can’t just kill someone for... for blackmailing me.”

He sighed. “Yes, well, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.” Hmm. Maybe that was sharing a little too much. “At any rate,” he said, changing the subject, “I don’t think you understand how affected I am by you.”

The color on her face turned darker as she stammered, “W-why would you... I mean... Oh, forget it.”

Chase chuckled, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Now, back to the matter at hand: is that the only thing Canty said? That he’d fail Leon and Whitney if you told them?”

She was too focused on his arms around her to answer him right away, and he ignored how that made him feel as she said, “Uh, well, part of the agreement was that I wouldn’t fight Noah anymore. No matter what he tried to do to me.”

His anger came back with a vengeance, threatening to boil out of him, but he forced himself to say, “And what did you say?”

Of course she tilted her head like she didn’t understand the problem. “Well, I can handle being touched by the idiot, so—”

This time, he couldn’t contain it. Without any control, the room’s temperature plummeted, causing frost to spread all around him. He had some sense to keep Vixen from freezing along with him, but that was only barely.

“What—” she tried, but he held up his hand to stop her. He didn’t trust himself to talk just yet.

Instead, he focused on her heartbeat, breathing in time with it as he tried to regain his composure. Eventually, he managed to calm down enough for the room to warm up, the frost around them melting.

When he was sure his eyes wouldn’t be black, he opened them and looked at her. “I believe I’ve already said this, but I’m going to repeat myself anyway: you are an incredibly frustrating human.”

She rolled her eyes, still not grasping what he meant. “Well, excuse me for—”

He covered her mouth with his hand reflexively, keeping her from uttering any more nonsense, which made her glare at him. “I know it’s going to take time to prove to you how important you are to others, but it is painstakingly frustrating to be so irate at a human of all things, only to have you try to play it off as trivial.”

She ripped his hand from her mouth, huffing. “I’m not saying it’s not irritating; I’m just saying that compared to what Whit and Leon would go through—”

“And when are you going to learn that you can’t compare on atrocious situation to another?” he asked, trying to keep his irritation in check. It wasn’t her fault, he reminded himself, but it really was infuriating. “Yes, Mr. Reid and Ms. Hall failing would be a tragedy, but you can’t compare that to you being raped. Both are gruesome and horrifying in their own way, so there’s no way to compare the two.”

“But Whit and Leon would be abused and—”

“And so would you,” he pointed out. “By a classmate who would have no qualms with spreading it around the school. Now, how would your friends feel if they found out that you were letting Noah do that to you in order to protect them? How do you think Ms. Hall and Mr. Reid would react?”

She cringed, unable to reply.

“Exactly,” he said, sighing for what felt like the hundredth time. “Vixen, you’re not protecting anyone by taking the fall all the time. Instead, you’re making things worse in a way. This situation with Canty is a good example: you know why Mr. Reid and Ms. Hall would ignore their own fates and go after him for threatening you, don’t you?”

“Because they’re impulsive and short-tempered,” she grumbled.

He copied her favorite thing and rolled his eyes. “It’s because they know how much you’ve suffered, and they don’t want you to suffer anymore.”

“That’s just because they’re—”

“It’s because they’re your friends,” he said simply, “and they want you to feel as if you’re a part of their family.”

“But Idothink of them as family!” she nearly shouted, heated again. “It’sbecauseI think of them as family that I can’t... I can’t let them go through that! I feel like I mightbreakif anything were to happen to them! Leon’s an idiot and worrywart, and Whitler’s an overprotective loudmouth, but they’re both so important to me that... I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

He looked her in the eye. “Don’t you think they feel the same way about you?” he asked softly.

Her eyes widened, realization hitting her like a train, so he continued, “Just like you hurt when they’re hurt, love, they hurt when you’re hurt. That’s how family works.”

She opened her mouth to say something but closed it again, eyes watering.

“And I’m sitting here, telling you rather openly that I care for you, yet you’re so sure that no one in this world would be bothered by you getting hurt?” he asked, putting his hand against her cheek again as a tear falls. “Are you so sure of that? After everything?”

This time, she managed to utter, “I... I...” but that was all she could get out, completely speechless.

He smiled, feeling like he finally managed to reach her. Because he couldn’t resist, he leaned in and kissed her softly before murmuring, “Your friends and I would traverse Hell to make sure you’re okay. Never forget that.”

*MC hits stop even as Angel pouts*

I hope this chapter satisfied your...thirst, cupcakes~ I had a bit of a time with it even though I knew what Chase was thinking during that time. I literally glared at the chapter for the first few hours because, like,how does one word?

Anyway, before I end this chapter, I’m going to do a shameless self-plug: go check out my newest storyTaming the Wind, cupcakes! I need more opinions, and I know all of you are comfortable with being honest with me, so go tell me! It’s for a contest, because Mama Cupcake here decided to enter one for the first time in a while, so go check it out! Tell me how awful/good/meh it is! Love me~ XD

Happy reading, cupcakes~<3(:

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