THE TIME FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE CAME AS RAVEN OAK PREP opened its doors to me. Taking in the grand building staring down at me I couldn't help but feel small walking inside. Towering pillars forged from beautiful marble stones and masterful paintings scripted across a dome full of arches leading to staircases. Alcoves hid in between the walls which I followed, blending easily into the crowd of students wearing the same patterned uniform as me.
I was an official student of the elite. I didn't know yet if that was a good thing, but I wasn't here to make friends. I had one target to engage and convince her precious Sparrows were not as faithful as she wanted to believe. I'd leave this place behind. Never to look back.
Firstly, I needed to find the Administrative Office.
I sighed down at the mediocre map given to me during Orientation last week. Sadly, the Sparrows had not been there for me to observe, but there was always time.
I tore my eyes from the paper and my gaze collided with a pair of baby blues.
The boy was tiny in size, but thin in mass which made him seem a bit taller than his age. He was undoubtedly around ten or eleven. His blonde hair curled at the ears and child-like baby fat on his cheeks that made him appear harmless at first sight. A thick book was carried in one small hand, and the other clung to the strap of his backpack. The zipper flipped loose where supplies spilled along the floor.
I raised a brow at him. "You look like you need the help more than I do."
He took in the mess surrounding his feet.
"Oh." He smiled warmly up at me. "It was an accident. I may have bumped into someone on the way from the library. I guess I forgot to close the zipper."
The boy had a soft accent.
He was a terrible liar. I could sense the slight catch in his voice as he started gathering the contents that "spilled out" of his backpack. The urge to offer him a hug for comfort was almost hard to resist, but I contained myself and instead dropped on one knee to help. He thanked me.
Standing up I scooped the last of his books and caught the title of one that took me by surprise. "Jack The Ripper, huh?"
He watched me anxiously. "Are you a fan?"
I wasn't. But I did know of the man and the many conspiracy theories about his whereabouts since his sudden disappearance after several gruesome murders back in 1888. He was one of a few serial killers who escaped the law.
"I know of him," I opted, rather than lie to the boy about my lack of information. Something told me this kid was easily disappointed in life. "Read about the murders in a class at my old school. Did a research report on the sadistic man."
"Really?" The boy's eyes lit up.
A strange one, he was.
I had to ask. "Why the creepy fascination with a murdering psychopath? You seem a bit too young to be reading about a man who cut up prostitutes."
It was adorable to watch.
I put my hands up in a non offensive manner. "No judgement here, little man. Just curious."
"Atticus!" a female voice called.
A sudden shiver ran up my spine and spread throughout me.
I recognized her voice. I studied it after my first encounter with her and the assholes who anointed themselves as the Sparrows. Preparations for this moment was all I'd done since Tobias decided to use me as his pawn to retrieve his daughter.
"Maddy." Atticus confirmed what I already knew.
"Is everything alright?" Madelyn asked and stepped around me to inspect our interaction.
She was protective of this one. Interesting.
"I'm fine." He observed me as he spoke to her. "Just having a chat with the new student. He seems to have a problem looking for the administration office to visit the Headmaster. I was going to offer to show him around..."
Recognition crossed her pretty features when she finally acknowledged me. We hadn't met each other face to face, but I knew her and the Sparrows were suspicious of my sudden appearance at her ex-boyfriend's diner where he waitered after school hours.
Blue Bird Prep.
I was put in dangerous territory of the enemy for a reason. I wasn't here to play quietly behind the scenes. That wasn't my style. I was the here to exploit the lies of four boys who felt they could keep my best friend's sister without consequences.
They were wrong.
All I needed to do was separate Madelyn from her tower of naive thoughts.
Then there was the matter of her mother...
"Go find your brother," she told him. "I'll show the new student to the Headmaster's office."
Atticus frowned. Hesitant. "Um...maybe I should come with you."
She smiled softly at him. "Go. I'll be fine. Your know how Ridley gets when he can't find you."
With a huff the boy started off, mumbling under his breath, "I never get to have any fun."
I cracked a smile hearing that.
Madelyn whirled on me. "You must be Makoto."
"In the flesh." I squinted at her. "You know my name when I have not given it. Why is that?"
"News travels fast," she said, not giving anything to me. Smart. "The students get excited when the school welcomes new people."
A bit guarded, too. Her defenses were built high. I expected as much considering what Aydin shared about her past. Oh, and the spirits she could communicate with like her mother. Like her twin brother, too.
I overlook the dwindling bodies passing around us and noticed more than a few girls giggling and outright ogling me. I winked at a group. Their instant reaction of overwhelming glee makes Madelyn roll her eyes.
I found it cute.
"I am sure there are plenty excited about my arrival, but I doubt your source came from the gossiping mouths of your peers."
She raised a challenging brow at me. "And where else do you think I acquired your name?"
I pinned her on the spot. "I know you recognize me from Anthony's Diner last week. I know you are with the Sparrows. I also know none of you trust me, which may be smart for the time being."
She crossed arms. "So you can't be trusted."
I stepped towards her. She didn't back down like I thought she would, but instead stood straighter despite the few inches of height I wielded against her.
"On the contrary, I am the only one you can trust."
This confused her.
She took a step back. "How can I trust you when we've never met before?"
"Simple." I leaned towards her again and reached up. Tucking a stray curl from her one green eye bipolar to the blue, behind her ear. Her eyes were beautifully unique. A fantasy I have only known in the animations back home. She was unreal. "I hate secrets. Something I think both of us can agree are sins waiting to be explored. Secrets ruin people as do lies."
She slapped my hand away, but I rebounded quickly and caught her wrist.
"That was very rude. Is this how you treat all the men who come into your life?"
"Let go of me," she demanded, twisting to get free. "You know nothing about me to say that."
"Actually, I do." Jerking her towards me I placed a hand at her upper back. Bending into her I whispered low and certain into her ear, revealing myself with the two words that would make her understand the length of my validity. Her heart raced against my chest where we pressed together, and the shockwave of warmth which struck me her soft hand catching at the front of my black dress shirt. "Little Rose."
The beautiful girl tensed beneath me.
"H-How do you know that name?" she stammered.
"I have a message from your brother and father. They want you to come home. Do so willingly, or grant yourself a ticket down the much darker path we don't want you to endure."
She straightened to preserve the cold barrier, but I stumped. She was thrown a stone in a calm creek, and like the ripples in the disturbed waters her thoughts were unfocused and trying to claim back stealthfulness. "Your threats mean little to me."
I sighed. Her stubborness was too much like her brother.
Pressing a kiss to her cheek, I abruptly let go and walked away.
The game has begun.
Let the drama begin!
Makoto was a hard character to mold through the process of this next book, so I hope my readers like him as much as I do. Is he the villain or the hero? What do you think his part will be? Why did Tobias want him to come to Raven Oak Prep? Do you think he will become another love interest for Madelyn? Any predictions what Makoto plans might be?
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