Chapter 4: Coffee Catastrophe
Inside the campus café…
“Ridiculous! Ross, why’s it that the one time I expect you to drive like a speed demon, you decide to be an old woman and follow all the rules of the road? Did you really not want me to get my latte?” A bratty Ashley stuck her tongue out before getting in line. “Ugh. Now there are only twenty minutes before orientation.”
As he watched his fellow Guardian attempt to gain Roscoe’s attention, wave a hand in his face, and snap her fingers, Brandon sneered. “And, he’s dead to the world.”
“Ross?” Tina noticed her friend doing his compulsive neck rubbing thing, saw him square himself and look a few paces ahead, toward a 5’7’’ guy with a short, dirty blond pompadour. She listened to the hefty, buttermilk-skinned man’s complex order, saw how he stuck out like a sore thumb with his youth a stark contrast to his business casual garb, pressed pants, silk shirt, tailored, plum-colored sweater, and cordovan shoes.
The man before the group is best described as an acquired taste. He’s the youngest member of the university’s specialized class, the recently turned 17-year-old, Kyle G. Union, also known as a walking stereotype for the preppy rich kid.
“Money.” The brassy voiced teenager called to his lackey. After a few seconds, Kyle realized he didn’t hear the cashier get paid and stopped texting. He looked to the side, his russet eyes blazing as his naturally ruddy cheeks reddened further. “Goddammit. Where’s that little asshole?”
Suddenly, a loud slam rocked the glass eatery. Tina’s attention turned to a prematurely graying man with golden-yellow eyes that the sun would envy.
“And where the hell were you?” Kyle belted condescendingly. “You know you’re not supposed to leave me.”
Alexander, 19, with deep sesame-shaded skin, rushed to his Protected’s side. He hunched his skinny, 5’11’’ frame as he tried to catch his breath. “You… you… God! These are heavy,” Alexander croaked out, dropping the bags he carried with a loud thud.
Alexander or Alex lives a sad life.
The exhausted Guardian collected himself, blinked back the prescription contacts the longer hair near his forehead had nudged out of place. Alex rolled his shoulders, his black turtleneck and straps of his faded overalls moving with the motion.
“Don’t you remember, Mr. Union? You sent me to get your books after forgetting them.” Alex supplied whilst looking at the ground.
“Are you testing me?” Kyle righted an imperfectly buttoned cuff.
Tina heard Roscoe groan. She looked his way, saw him clenching his fists and grinding his teeth. It looked like he wanted to jump in the situation, but Ashley blocked his path, stood before him defensively.
“You’d better not be trying to embarrass me,” Kyle thought to his frog Guardian, an inflection of hate in his words. “I thought you’d know better than to disobey.”
“No, Mr. Union. I’m not trying to disobey you, Mr. Union. I would never.” Alexander hastily thought back, knowing better than to have this conversation verbally.
Kyle grumbled, placed his phone in his pocket. “The incompetence. Tie your shoe, you cretin.”
While Alex raced to retie his short, off-brand-looking boots, his Protected, with renewed vigor, laid into him.
“Um, sir, could you please-”
Kyle glared at the cashier. “Don’t you see me speaking here?”
“Buddy, if you’re not gonna pay your bill, then scram. We have a line full of customers that needs to keep on movin’,” one of the male baristas finally chimed in, momentarily interrupting Alex’s belittling.
“Do you know who I am, you obese fuck?” Kyle shot back.
Tina flinched. He’s an ass… Makes Brandon look like a saint, she thought.
“Frogger, pay the help and then get Rocky’s cold brew to her before it loses its zing,” Kyle demanded. “Her grad class ends in ten minutes. She’s in that pharmacy one in Darwin Hall.”
Though he visibly shivered at the command, Alex smiled. After placing the amount owed on the counter, he made his way to where the drinks were being distributed. As he waited, he heard his Protected in his head.
“Disgusting. Wipe that dumb smile off your face. Your ridiculous attraction to my sister will never be reciprocated. She’s cut from the same cloth as me, and you’re… you.” Alex stilled.“Also, abstain from doing your creepy frog shit around her. Remember, she doesn’t know the true nature of the special classes.”
Seeing the Guardian suddenly pale, it dawned on Roscoe what was happening, Kyle and Alexander were conversing telepathically.
“You’re just a ball of sunshine.” Roscoe heard Tina’ssarcastic wolf guardian interject himself in the drama.
Kyle moved to the counter’s side, coifed his already perfect hair. “Ah, Coco, and, I’m guessing, friends.” Kyle smiled, taking pleasure in Roscoe’s annoyed face, a result of his sudden nickname.
With her group suddenly busied, Tina found herself stuck with the task of ordering everyone’s drinks.
“Are you cosplaying as a barbarian, George?” Roscoe approached the younger man with Ashley in tow.
Now, Kyle was annoyed.
“I still wonder if how you discovered my middle name was legal. For your sake, I sure hope so, as I’d hate for you to get expelled.” The teen crossed his arms and legs, leaned against the clean butcher block.
“You refuse to stay off social media. You post everything, including photos of your driver’s license that one time.”
The brute looked bored. He inspected his immaculately groomed nails for flaws. “I deleted that years ago, so try again.”
Roscoe huffed, amused.“Have you not heard that the internet never forgets?”
Kyle pulled back a sleeve, already over the conversation. “Whatever,” he dismissed the other man as he looked at his gold, designer watch.
The frog Guardian hobbled over to his partner, lugging both his own and his Protected’s crap behind him. “Here you go, Mr. Unio-” Kyle snatched his intricate drink, effectively shutting the Guardian up.
“He’s not a slave, you know.” Brandon’s eyes flashed angrily.
Chuckling, the rich boy answered, “He’s whatever I tell him he is. Look.”He turned to Alex. “You’re a duck; quack like one until I say stop.”
Upon request, Alexander proceeded with the loud and embarrassing action, looking like a nut.
“See how easy that was?” The man smiled wide, pleased with himself.
“Quack! Quack! Quack!”
“Let me rephrase that then. Get your own fucking coffee and carry your own shitty books.”
“And why would I do that? This is so much easier and more fun.”
“Stop that quacking. You’re annoying me.” The abusive Protected took a swallow of his drink. “Alright. I’ve played with you all long enough. I’m going to be a good student now and head to orientation. Frogger, get that drink to my sister. Remember, if you screw up then we’re going to have problems.” An eerie smile graced thin lips, its false innocence was uncomfortable.
As Tina approached her people, drinks in hand, a familiar voice spoke up. “So, who’s the jerk and why are we all stabbing him in the back wit’ our eyes?”
Ashley sighed, already exhausted from a day that had barely begun. “Fuck, I’m definitely going to need this now.” She chugged her emergency caffeine and turned to face her friend. “Morning, Hailey.”
Tina also turned, admired how Hailey, who’d entered the caféviaa back door that faced the grassy courtyard, effortlessly looked like a bohemian grunge goddess, all smokey eyes and purple lips.“Someone’s dressed to the nines for a simple day of classes.” Tinaeyedthe girl’s heeled booties. “Are you actively trying to put the rest of your witches to shame?”
“Wiccans.” The curvy girl pulled off her beanie. “But yeah.” Shedonneda wool shawl and muted, tie-dye dress. A silver zipper decorated the shift’s front and side slits, one of which was undone, showed off the athame housed in a thigh sheath, part of Hailey’s fishnet stockings and garter belt combo.
“The jerk, as you put it, is named Kyle.” Roscoe began filling in the blanks. “To make a long story short, he and his Guardian, Alexander, are in an Abusive type relationship, something I quickly discovered after researching who the program’s other G/Ps were.”
“For someone so active on social media he sure hated being found,” Ashley muttered.
“Damn. That’s rough,” the Amazonian chick replied before noticing something strange. She turned to Brandon, cutting off his path. “You’re more quiet than usual today, B. What’s wrong?”
“B?” Brandon outwardly wondered.
“You know, for Brandon.” He snorted at her uncouth. “You tired or something?”
“Very,” the Guardian mumbled.