Prologue: At The Start
This was it. The moment we were waiting for—the pathway to finally get out of this hellhole. High school has been the worst of it all, and I say that with conviction as a person that have been living in a house filled with people who knows how to use every weapon there is. It hasn’t been easy, especially when I’ve been juggling being in Notorious and being a normal teenager in high school.
It hasn’t been easy, but I’m glad I’m graduating.
I finally get to be rid of all the mean girls and mean boys there are.
I turn to the sound of the voice and see him, Dean. My best friend. The only person who I’ve let in besides the gang. He had his cap in his hands, still wearing the robe with its small string tied around his neck, but you can’t miss seeing how muscular he looked at the buttoned shirt he was wearing. Long sleeves that hugged his toned arms and body.
It’s not a wonder how most girls saw him as the guy they wanted to be with. He had a sense of carrying himself ever since I met him, he was known as the member of the football team. He was tall and bulky, he would give you a bright smile to let you see how his pearly whites, he’d charm you off of your feet with the stare he did with those bright emerald eyes of his.
Nevertheless, he never could get me to befriend him at first. It took a while and a lot of patience in his part for me to actually be his friend. I’ve never really depicted of us being best friends, and now, here we are.
With a small smile playing on my lips, we hug one another. “We finally did it,” I whisper in his ear. “I thought I was going to die in this place.”
He chuckles, the vibrations on his throat being heard loud and clear. “I was never going to let you,” we let go of one another and his smile falters for a bit before his eyes glance at the phone I was holding. “Any luck with contacting them?”
Shaking my head, the smile in my face disappears.
I’ve been trying to contact Nate, trying to ask where he was through a series of text but I got none. I’ve also asked around at the gang, my first instinct going to call Antonio who picked up immediately and when I asked where Nate was, all I got was a short silence on the line before he responded.
“Not sure, Bly. He told me that he was going somewhere.”
Nathan promised he’d call. Though, I knew that he was busy and wouldn’t be able to make it to my graduation, I’d at least like a call from him. Telling me that I finally did it, finally graduated, and that—
My train of thought stops when I feel a hand around my wrist, and being pulled to turn around. Knowing that it wasn’t Dean, because he knew better than to caught me off guard, I raise my hand balled into a fist, ready to strike when the person who grabbed me also caught it with their other hand.
“Better late than never, right?” The hazel eyes that greeted me were familiar, all too familiar for me to jerk my hands away from his grip and jump up to hug him. “I thought surprising you rather than calling that I was coming was a much funnier move. Guess it was a good thing that I saw that fist coming before it landed, huh?”
Nathan Murdock, the man who saved me at fourteen when I ran away, was now here, in the flesh. He was never really my brother by blood, but I saw him as one after a year. That’s how long it took before I finally accepted him as my family, and the gang too. I’ve never really learned how to love or how to feel being loved by a family but when it came to Nathan and Notorious, our gang, it was different. They made me feel as if I was their own and it was the best thing that happened to me.
This high school thing was his idea—told me that I can’t be a Notorious member until I accept the terms. The second I start learning at a school that’s suited for my age, then, the acceptance tradition on becoming a member will be put in place.
It took me a while to get used to it but because my eagerness in becoming a member was much more, I couldn’t refuse the terms. So, I agreed.
“I can’t believe you came!” I happily state. “Oh my God, is that why Antonio was acting all weird? Does he also know?”
“Definitely.” A voice pops out and the first thing I see was the shoulder-length hair that belonged to the one and only, Antonio. He was now sporting a beard as he smiled at me, the wrinkles by his brown eyes popping up. “Hey, Orca.”
Laughing, I hug him and he pulls me up and practically shakes me around. “Nice to see you still have your strength, old man.”
Both of them joins me in my fits of laughter as Antonio drops me down to the ground, my feet aching from how high the heels were. Shaking my head, I ignore the pain, telling myself mentally to call Chloe and tell her that her heels are from the devil.
Right! I forgot.
Nathan nudges me at my side. “Is this the guy that knows about us?”
Nodding, I place my hand at my best friend’s back; who, in turn, stretched his hand out to greet Nathan and Antonio. “This is Dean. The only guy that I haven’t decided to kill yet. Dean, that’s our boss, Nathan Murdock,” they shake hands and he turns to Antonio. “and this is the dad of the family, Antonio Rojas.”
“Nice to meet you, sirs,” he grins at them, but at the slight falter in his smile told me a lot.
He’s nervous. I’ve never really seen him nervous and this was an absolute first.
Antonio has his arms crossed on top of his chest in seconds, his eyes glancing up and down at him multiple times. “Very nice. From the looks of you, I’d say you’re very lucky to be Orca’s boyfriend.”
I jump away from Dean immediately. This has always been the greatest misconception of all time. “I’m not sure if his girlfriend would like that, old man,” Antonio’s eyebrow cocks at me, and so does Nathan’s. “We’re good friends. That’s it.”
Never have I really looked at Nathan that way. I couldn’t. My emotional state in forming other relationships weren’t the best and that’s why any other guy would either get burned or in a unique state, would be my friend. Nathan knew that well, Antonio too, but I guess from how we act sometimes isn’t friends-like.
“Huh,” Nathan says, simply, before turning to Dean. “So, we’re having lunch in celebration of Junie’s graduation. If you’d like to join us, we’d be glad to have you and get to know you. You can also bring your girlfriend too. The more, the merrier.”
I’ve never really shielded any stories I had for Nathan and I’ve never hid the fact that I didn’t like her girlfriend, Grace. She was kind, yes, but she also had a bitchiness in her that she would show whenever she saw Dean and I together. Knowing that she couldn’t do anything about it because we were long friends before they became together, she would always resort to throwing jabs towards me, and it would always end up awkward.
And of course, me wanting to rip her head off.
But I understood why he’d tell him that he can bring Grace. It was polite, and possibly a way to test him if he knew that I didn’t like her.
Dean glances at me, trying to pry something in me, but I just shrug at him. “It’s your choice. I’m okay with you being with Grace since your mom and dad aren’t here.”
They were picking up his older brother, James, at the airport. Dean understood, but still couldn’t help but feel sad about it. Though, they were still going to have a celebratory dinner with all of his family, I knew him well enough that he would’ve liked it for them to be there to see him giving his valedictorian speech, and letting his cap fly up into the air.
But he shakes his head, and places his arm around my shoulder. “Nah, I think I’d stick around and see why you’re called Orca.”
Pressing my lips together, I reach out and smack his shoulder. “You would like to know, wouldn’t you?”
“You suck!” He yelps, rubbing his shoulder, feigning hurt. “Ouchie.”
Chuckling, I smack him again.
“So, it’s her first day training and she goes up against our member that is called Shark,” Antonio has a glint in his eyes as he tells the story. Nathan’s smirking. Oh no. They’re going to tell him. “They start sparring, and because she’s tough as nail no matter how many blows she was given, she runs towards him and slam hm down to the ground. Right as she did it, she yelled out—”
“—I am your killer, Shark!” Nathan finishes, constantly laughing. My palm is on my forehead, smacking myself repeatedly from the embarrassment. “Prepare to die! Shark got scared that before she could even take revenge, he screamed and said ’get her the hell away from me’. Never have I seen someone that’s two years older than her be so scared.”
I’m regretting being happy that they’re here.
“Since then, we’ve named her Orca. It’s much easier than saying Killer Whale,” Antonio continues, smiling to themselves. “Honestly, kid, it was funny as hell. Shark has been too scared to come close to her ever since. Whenever training is ordered, we have to force someone to spar with her, but when no one would want to, it would be me she’d go up against.”
“Woah,” Dean’s eyes widen in amazement before turning to me. “Guess I have to call you Orca, now, huh?”
Shaking my head, I wiggle my finger in his face. “Uh-huh, only members can. You’re not a member so you can suck it, Deano.”
“How about Junie?” He wiggles his brows. My eyes narrow at him. “What? I heard Mr. Murdock say it.”
“Nate,” Nathan speaks, correcting him. “You don’t have to be formal. If Blythe likes you, then, you’re good with me. And you have my permission to call her Junie.”
“No, nope, no, nope,” Over and over again, I say it. “I already agreed to you calling Bly and I hate that nickname. It sounds like fly and I am not a mosquito, you buffoon.”
They just laugh at me.
And I can’t help but feel happy seeing Dean not so nervous anymore, and interact with Antonio and Nathan with so much calmness. I thought that he’d be scared at the thought that they’re dangerous, but, I guess, him being my friend has rendered him numb to the option that we could hurt him.
Me? I still think that he can hurt me in ways that he doesn’t mean to.