‘We all get addicted to something that takes away the pain.’
Astrid rubbed her wrist as she looked at the unconscious man sprawled out on the floor. She should really stop knocking people out. It seemed to be the only thing she had been doing since she moved there.
“Astrid!” Kate gasped, in surprise.
Astrid quickly turned her attention to the Starr family, who were gaping at her, shocked. Her eyes met Asher’s and she gave him a sheepish look as she rubbed the back of her head awkwardly.
“Hey,” she mumbled and gave a small wave to Kate. Asher let out a sigh at her actions but could not help the grin that he tried fighting back as he stared at the girl in front of him. She really was something. He rushed to her side immediately.
“Are you hurt?” he questioned, examining her knuckles.
“Oh, I am perfectly fine though I am not sure about him,” she replied, gesturing to the body on the ground. She noticed Asher’s father talking on the phone, obviously to the police.
Before Asher could reply, she was tackled into a hug by Kate who was as white as a paper.
“Thank you for that. I don’t really want to imagine what would have happened if you did not do what you just did,” she whispered, tightening her arms around Astrid. Astrid returned the hug before pulling back.
“Um, I think I should get going. I should be back home by now,” she said.
“It’s you! The hoodie girl!” Arianna gasped suddenly making all heads snap in her direction. “No wonder why you looked so familiar.”
Astrid gave her a small nervous smile before looked at Asher for help who simply shrugged at her. The awkward silence seemed to go on for an eternity which was broken by a small groan of pain, making all of them turn their heads to the guy who was slowly regaining consciousness. He groggily sat up, wincing in pain. His eyes landed on Astrid and his face twisted in rage.
“You little b-” Asher cut him off.
“Finish that sentence and I will make you wish you were never born,” he hissed. Asher’s father laid a hand on his shoulder and whispered to him.
“The police will be here in a few minutes. They will deal with him so cool down.” He looked at Astrid for a few seconds who held his gaze almost in a challenging way. He was the first one to look away but Astrid failed the curiosity in his eyes.
Just like Asher’s father said, in the next fifteen minutes, the police had come and after questioning all of them quickly, put the guy in handcuffs and whisked him away to the station. The officer told all of them that they had to come down to the police station to give an official statement and left. In the meantime, Astrid called her aunt and told her that she might come home a bit late and that she would explain everything to her. Reluctantly, Tina had agreed.
She stared at the sky from where she stood outside. She had excused herself to make the call but was hesitant to go back inside. What should she do? She knew she could not just walk away like nothing had happened so she sucked it up and straightened her shoulders. She took in a deep breath and walked in.
The vase had already been cleaned up and the entire family had gathered up in the living room. Kate and her husband were sitting on the couch along with Arianna while Asher was on the loveseat. Astrid noticed that everyone was waiting for her and she took in a shuddering breath.
Kate motioned her to take the seat next to Asher and she did not have it in her to refuse. Honestly, the poor woman looked like she would drop dead anytime soon. Her green eyes looked tired as she managed to give Astrid a small smile.
Asher gave her a comforting look as she sat next to him. Asher’s father cleared his throat before talking.
“Thank you for what you did. If it wasn’t for you, I am pretty sure one of us would have ended up with a concussion,” he said, with a grateful look before adding, “I am Richard, by the way.”
Astrid politely nodded her head. Kate motioned towards Arianna.
“That is my daughter, Arianna. I presume you both have met before.” Richard gave her a confused look and at that Kate said, “That is a story for another day.”
Arianna grinned at her, though the day’s events had obviously taken a toll on her. Kate continued.
“Well, Astrid, about what happened earlier-.” Astrid, realising what she was trying to do, immediately stopped her.
“You don’t have to feel obliged to explain anything to me. What happened earlier was clearly a personal matter and I should not intrude in that. Though I am happy I was able to help, I understand I am still a stranger. Besides, I think now is not the time for all this. You all need to get some sleep.” She tried to make it as polite as possible though she knew, deep down, that she was nowhere near that. Asher passed her a thankful look.
Richard looked pretty impressed at her little speech and Kate looked surprised for a moment before she laughed.
“You really do speak your mind, don’t you?”
Even Arianna looked at her in admiration and relief before commenting.“You sound more mature than me, damn.” Asher sniggered at his sister before muttering. “Finally you realise you are a brat.” At that, Arianna glared at him. Before a fight could possibly start, Kate interrupted them.
“So I presume you are going to stay in the same guestroom as you did before,” Kate asked. Astrid and Arianna replied at the same time.
“I am not staying the night!”
“She stayed here before? Where was I?”
Asher looked amused while Richard sported a confused look on his face as he glanced between the girls.
“Why not?” Kate asked her, completely ignoring her daughter’s questions.
“I need to go home. It is not a weekend so...” she trailed off. An understanding look passed over Kate’s features before she nodded.
“Come on. I will drop you off,” Asher said as he got up.
“Oh, chivalry is not completely gone, I see,” Arianna teased. Asher simply gave her a look before walking to the door. Astrid quickly said her goodbyes to Richard, Kate and Arianna. The women pulled her into a hug and made her promise to visit them soon again. With that, she walked out of the house to find Asher already seated in his care and waiting for her.
She quickly got in and buckled up. Neither of them said a word as the ten-minute journey to her house came to an end. He pulled over the car before turning to her. “Thank you for what you did. It was pretty impressive, though. You don’t really hold back, do you?” He chuckled.
“Pulling back my punches is not something that I have been taught, Starr. Better be happy you were not at the receiving end,” she sassed. He laughed at her words before talking in a much softer tone.
“Well, thanks for the day. I had a really nice time except for what happened in the past hour,” Asher told her, the slight pink tint in his checks going unnoticed by Astrid in the dark.
“Yeah, me too,” she replied while giving him a small smile.
“I will see you at school tomorrow then,” Asher said softly. He looked like he wanted to say more but instead just said, “Good night, Astrid.”
She got out of the car and walked up to the door. She opened it with the spare key that Tina had given her before turning back and giving him a small wave. Asher waited until she disappeared into her house and closed the door before taking off, with an idiotic grin on his face.
Astrid also sported a much similar look on her face as she closed the door behind. But that vanished in a heartbeat as she heard a loud squeal.
“Who was that?!” Natalia literally had stars in her eyes as she looked at her cousin hopefully. She nudged her with her elbow before slyly grinning at her. “Nice catch, cus. You have good taste in boys.” Astrid looked slightly amused before she turned to her aunt who looked at her with suspicious yet worried eyes. Her uncle had pretty much that the expression on his face. Astrid let out a sigh as she knew there was no getting out of this without explaining certain things.
This was going to be a really long day!
A crappy chapter, I know. But the real drama is going to start.
Question for the chapter: What is the one thing that you love the most about yourself?
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