FLAME

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Rich boy

On the way, I received a text from my mom. 'We need to talk.' Right then I knew she received a call from the Principal's office. And I didn't tell her that I was going to a boy's house to do an assignment. She is really going to freak out.

I decided to text her that I am going to Ryan's house and deal with her later about the incident at school.

"Is there a problem?" Ryan asked me distracting me from my phone.

"No... I was just texting my Grandma that I will be back for dinner." I lied. For that Ryan just nodded his head.

That is when I noticed my surrounding. His car has the standard Porsche interior with black leather seats. By the looks of it, it was customized as a sports car.

"Nice car." I started the conversation to end the awkward silence.

"Thanks. It was a gift from my dad for my last birthday." He said without taking his eyes off of the road.

"That's nice," I said while trying to comb my hair away which was vigorously coming in front of my face due to the wind.

After fifteen minutes driving or so, he stopped the car in front of a huge black grill gate. It was opened automatically as soon as he stopped. He drove through the huge round driveway and stopped at the entrance of a mansion.

The mansion was huge and white like the ones that come in the movie. While I was looking around in awe getting out of the car, someone came and got the key from Ryan to park the car. He invited me inside and left me in the living room saying that he will be back.

He ordered his chauffeur to get me something to drink before climbing the stairs that were in the corner of that huge living room. It was filled with luxurious furniture and decorated with antique pieces. A huge fancy chandelier hanging at the center of the roof made the mansion bright.

I made myself comfortable on one of the leather couches and looked around. No matter how I convinced myself, I felt like I was in the wrong place. The more I looked around I couldn't believe that Ryan actually lives here. This is like a dream to someone like me.

Suddenly I heard a voice behind me which made me startled, and I dropped the juice glass on the floor which was delivered by the chauffer a few minutes ago.

"Who are you?" I saw a middle-aged man and a woman standing at the doorway looking at me confused. The man looked handsome in his suit regardless of his age, and the woman was beautiful in her red dress. They looked like they were coming from a date.

I just stood there blinking without knowing what to do. Thankfully Ryan came down running at the same time.

"Mom? Richard? I didn't know you were home." He looked surprised just as me.

"We just came in. Richard will be staying with us for a week." His mom answered.

"So who is this?" she asked him looking at me.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Collins. My name is Ava and I'm Ryan's classmate." I introduced myself.

"Nice to meet you too Mr..." I didn't know how to greet the man because Ryan didn't call him dad so he is obviously someone else.

"Oh, just call me Richard." He smiled and offered his hands to shake.

They both walked in, and we sat on the sofa surrounding the glass table at the center. Ryan sat a little bit too close to me keeping his hand on the headrest behind me so I moved away, a little further. Ryan's mom noticed this, and I saw a smirk on the corner of her lips.

"She's here to do an assignment. We have to submit it in two days." Ryan explained why I was there.

"That's good. You know Ryan never brought anyone home for any academic purposes." He said winking and laughed. I gave him a pressed smile.

"Okay, that's enough. We will go, start our work. She needs to be at home for dinner. Better not waste any more time." Ryan looked a bit annoyed. He motioned me to come with him.

"Have dinner with us, Ava. I'd like to know more about you." His mom invited me with a warm smile.

"But Mrs. Collins..." I didn't know how to refuse her offer.

"She can't mom. Maybe another day." Ryan refused for me.

"I insist Ava. I will talk to your parents if I have to." She insisted.

I couldn't say no after that. "It's my pleasure Mrs. Collins, and I live with my Grandma so will talk to her. You don't have to worry." Ryan looked at me surprised. Yeah, no one knows anything about me at school except my friends. I bet Ryan has a lot of questions now.

"Oh, that's good. You kids go do your work and I will call you when the dinner is ready." She dismissed us smiling.

"Oh... and call me Bella." She added with a smile.

Ryan gave me directions to his room to go and excused himself saying that he will be back. It was weird to be alone in someone else's room, and I took that moment to breathe. Everything that happened was a bit suffocating for me, and I was able to relax only when I was alone.

I looked around his room. It looked like any other teenage boy's room filled with posters, speakers, and play stations. Surprisingly he has a mini library near his walk-in closet. I walked around a bit and saw a fancy book on his bedside table.

"Please don't touch it." I heard Ryan before I tried to open it.

"Sorry I thought it was a book or something." I apologized.

"It's okay. I brought you something to drink since you spilled yours." He offered me another glass of juice, and I drank it in gulp since I was thirsty.

"Boy, someone is thirsty." He teased, and I returned the glass smiling.

"I know it's overwhelming. I never brought anyone to my room other than Jackson and the boys. You are the first girl. That's why mom's acting like that. I hope you don't take it in the wrong way." He tried to explain with an awkward smile.

"It's okay," I said looking around. To be honest I wasn't listening to what he said. I saw a photo of Ryan with another man framed and placed on his study table.

"Is that your father?" I asked him.

"Yeah."

"Who is Richard then? Your uncle or something?" I asked him looking at the photo, taking it in my hand. They both were smiling so brightly and looked so happy.

"He is my Mom's Fiance." He replied. I turned to look at him biting my lips guiltily thinking about my stupidity.

"My mom and dad are actors and fell in love and married when they were filming a movie together. It's been a couple of months since they divorced. Richard is my mom's manager. She cheated on my father with him and now they are going to get married." He said sadly.

"I'm really sorry. I didn't know."

"It's okay. Richard's a good man. I can understand why my mom loves him. But I just couldn't see him in my father's place. Regardless of that, I love my mom and my dad. But my dad stopped talking to us when he left the house. That's when I realized I lost him too. I should have been a better son when he was with me rather than acting like a spoiled brat." He said looking down but I saw the tears that fell from his eyes.

At that moment, I felt a connection with Ryan. I felt like I really understand him since he is the same as me. He understands how parent's choices would affect their children like me. I grabbed his wrist and made him sit on the bed. I slowly pat on his shoulder trying to console him.

"I'm sorry." He wiped his tears away and gave me a fake smile.

"I think I should show you the house around. Come on, let's go." He changed the subject and took me on a tour of his house. It took us an hour to finish looking around. His mom called us for dinner. We talked about each other's family, and I was careful not to let so much out about myself. I had a great time and Richard and Bella was a wonderful host. Ryan is so lucky, that was what I was thinking the whole time with them.

We came back to his room and finally realized it was late, and we totally forgot about the assignment. I also left my phone in my bag in Ryan's room and missed my Grandma's call. I took my phone to call her back and saw fifty missed calls from Vian. I rolled my eyes. Looks like someone's anxious.

"I'm sorry I took all of your time and we didn't even start the project. But I have to go." I apologized to Ryan.

"You know we can finish this now and stay here in the guest room. My mom will get you everything you need." Ryan offered since it was already late.

"Fine. I will drop you myself even if don't finish it. Just stay one more hour." He bargained noticing me hesitating to answer and it looked like a good idea to me. Even I hate doing everything at the last minute of the due date.

"Okay. I will just make a call and come back." I excused myself and let myself out to the balcony attached to his room. I closed the sliding glass door and called my Grandma.

I was worried that she might be upset but to my surprise, she took it well and told me to come home safe. And then I called Vian. Jay and Vian, both talked to me through speakerphone since they were together. I told them I would be late, and Ryan will drop me. There was dead silence from the other end.

"I know you guys are upset, but this is schoolwork. What would guys want me to do?" again silence.

I sighed and was about to cut the call, "I am coming to get you. Tell him to meet you in the library tomorrow. You can do your work there." Vian said firmly and cut the call before I could say anything.

"Everything ok?" Ryan asked me from behind.

"I'm sorry Ryan but I have to go," I said with an apologetic look.

"Okay, I understand. Let me at least drop you then." He said picking up his coat.

"It's okay. V is gonna come pick me up."

"Oh..." his face darkened.

I took all my things and got ready to leave. "Let me walk you to the gate." He offered. I nodded okay with a smile.

We were silent and it was awkward while walking in the driveway so I tried to converse with him. He was acting a bit weird the whole time and then I thought it was maybe I didn't know him better.

"Thank you for everything, Ryan. I had a great time. And I'm sorry I didn't even ask you what was the topic. Let's meet at the library after school tomorrow and finish this." we reached the gate, and I wanted to thank him for that day before I leave. Vian will be here any minute now.

"Umm... I lied." Ryan said in an almost whisper. I looked at him confused.

"I lied about the project. There was no project and we are not assigned together," he said looking down. I was surprised and didn't know what to say.

"I wanted to talk to you alone without your two bodyguards. That's why I lied. To be honest I didn't think it would work. I was so sure you would say you want to go to the library. This is a surprise to me too." He said looking at me. I understood that he implied Vian and Jay when he said, two bodyguards. I didn't like how he said that.

"Why?" that was all I could get out of my mouth.

"Because I like you. I like you for so long, and you were so blinded by Vian that you didn't notice me." I was shocked not about the like you part but about the Vian part. How did he know?

"Yes, I know. I know you like Vian. Anyone with eyes could see that. I have seen the way you look at him. As much as it angered me, it stopped me from approaching you. Now that he is with hazel, I thought I would give it a shot."

"What do you mean by he is with Hazel?" something unpleasant happened to my insides when I heard that.

"They are dating, right? At least, that's what I heard." He said shrugging.

"Either way, I really like you, Ava." He said grabbing my shoulders and looking me in the eye.

"Will you go out with me?" I shuddered at hearing that and forgot to breathe. I opened my mouth to say something but was interrupted by the headlights opposite to me. I frowned and hooded my eyes to see better.

Vian got out of his truck and walked towards us like an angry tiger walking towards its prey.
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