Chapter I: Bad Blood
RULES, made for one simple reason: to keep one from straying. A life without rules is like living in the wild.
My name is Angela Seville, Angie for short. I currently attend Hartford Private, a school for the brightest of students in the entire NYC, or the richest.
I’m one of the lucky ones that got a scholarship to attend here. Without it, I would’ve probably never made it. This place costs a fortune and, for grant students, if you’re under a 3.8 GPA, you get expelled. Hartford Private is, in few word, a Hogwarts for the rich.
As a sophomore, and a scholarship student, being number one is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Thereof, I have made it my personal goal to stay number one until I graduate.
Fifth period finally ends and, just as the bell rings, my phones goes off.
It’s Antoinette. “Hey, where are you?!” She yelps. Is she running?
“Just got out from Mr. Kosher’s class. Where are you?” I ask her. The fact that she’s calling me, and she sounds like she’s in the middle of a marathon, means she’s up to something.
“I’m outside already. Mrs. Vance let us out a few minutes ago. You have to come to the parking lot! Now!” I suddenly hear a few screams in the background. Some sound like cheers but others sound more like cries.
“What is going on?” I ask and just then I see students running around in the hall. “What’s happened? Nette? What’s wrong?”
I hear loud shouts of boys saying obscene words. “You have to get here now! Aiden is going to fight the top dog!”
I gasp out loud. “Holy cow! Nette, what are you doing there? You could get hurt!”
Antoinette is definitely not concerned with her self-preservation, because she says, “Come on! It’s starting!” She hangs up and I stare in disbelief at my phone.
She hung up on me!
More students pass me by running, a group of girls giggling.
Aw, man! Rule number seven! Keep away from brawls! You’re gonna pay for this, Nette! I start running, too.
Outside the front doors, I immediately find the swarm of people chanting in unison, urging for the encounter to take place, if it hasn’t started already.
And... that’s my car!
I sprint faster, my legs pain me, but I don’t care. When I get there, I start shoving people and pushing them to make my way in.
I accidentally pull a girl’s hair on my way there. Whoops! “Sorry!” I yell.
Soon enough, I spot Antoinette. Chastity is also with her, and so is Evans, Aiden’s brother. Evans sees me and gives me a hand. There’s so many people here. “What’s going on?”
Evans simply helps me get to my car.
Nette and Chastity are seating on the hood of my car and Evans is right in front of them, his eyes set on the circle left open for the fight to take place.
Chastity helps me up. “It’s about to start!” She sounds too excited about this.
“Yes, which is why we should get out of here!” I point out.
“Oh my God, look! It’s the top dog! Keenan!” Antoinette, just like her cheerleader spirit demands, gets all too jolly and happy when the crowd opens a path for this guy to step in.
A band of four boys come into the circle. Wow, who are they?
“Gosh, the four princes in person; they’re like an American version of F4.” Nette licks her lips. She screams along with the other dozens of students.
I, honestly, do not see why people find this appealing at all. And what in the world is F4?
Chastity, on my other side, brings her phone up and begins to stream the event. “Are you kidding me?” I ask her, but she looks non-apologetic. She smiles and sticks her tongue out like a child before cheering.
Evans looks annoyed. I pull him back to speak in his ear. “Why is your brother fighting, Evans?” I ask him.
Evans is my boyfriend.
He pulls back and speaks into my ear. It’s hard to hear him. “Aiden got into an argument with one of Keenan’s bitches. Keenan intervened and Aiden punched him. He told him they’d finish this after class. Don’t worry, babe. Aiden’s gonna kick his arrogant ass in a minute,” Evans says like everything is already written and we’re just reading it late in the news.
I, on the other hand, don’t feel the tiniest bit comforted.
Keenan Fletcher. I don’t know much about him, except that he’s a bad boy, like his friends, and that’s all I need to know about him.
Rule number one: Never trust a bad boy.
They’re merciless, careless, and have no respect for anyone else but themselves.
Just then, Keenan’s eyes skim across the crowd, and his gaze meets mine. I look at him, serious and expressionless. His eyes are a deep icy shade of blue.
He looks calm.
This annoys me.
I hate fights.
Be it that they are good at fighting or not, this is not the way to fix anything.
For some reason, Keenan’s eyes stay on me longer than I expect and I realize we’re staring intently at each other. My cheeks flare and I look down.
When I look back up, he’s taking off his tie, jacket, and shirt. Holy gua-ca-mo-le! He’s shredded like the bricks of an old church. You can make out every line of his abs, pecs, and everything else perfectly. And he has tattoos.
Aiden comes to Evans, who happens to be, just so casually leaning against my car’s front, between my legs. Evans’ brother gives him his upper garments and stays shirtless as well.
“Woo-hoo! Let’s go, Aiden!” Chastity screams next to me.
I look at the people around, all cheering and smiling at what is sure to be an unpleasant event. Why are they so excited about this?
Aiden raises his hands in the air, urging the crowd to cheer for him. Really?
“Enough show, princess.” One of the guys that Keenan came with, hands in his pockets, black hair falling in his eyes, and a nose-ring, tells him.
Aiden looks at him and points a stern index finger as the crowd continues to scream. “I’m gonna fuck you up next, asshole.”
And just like that, it begins.
“Let’s go, Aiden!” Evans says clapping his hands. He crosses his arms and waits. The crowd cheers, expectant of what is to come.
Dear God, please, end this.
Just then, Aiden throws his first punch.
I hold my breath, and the punch hits the air. What? Just like that, Keenan moves just in time to dodge the punch and, in turn, connects a hard fist to Aiden’s gut.
The crowd goes quiet for a second, then explodes into louder screams and cheers.
Aiden falls back holding his stomach and struggling for air. He incorporates back up, a bit of spit on his lips. “You’re gonna pay for that.”
Keenan simply looks at him. In the middle of a crowd of people cheering, urging them to continue. ”You will apologize for being a cunt,” his words come out hard and guttural, revealing his colors.
Now I know why Keenan Fletcher looks so calm and relax. This is his place.
I realize now that Aiden doesn’t stand a chance. “Come on, Aiden. Teach him a lesson!” Evans continues to scream, furious.
Once again, I pull Evans back. “Evans, you have to stop this! Aiden is not going to win!” I scream for him to hear me.
“What are you talking about? It’s just one punch.” He sounds almost annoyed.
“He’s not going to win! He’s going to be hurt badly if you don’t stop this now!” I know now. Aiden can’t win this. He won’t be able to.
A scream from Aiden brings our attention back to the fight. Aiden lunges forward and tries to hit Keenan with a series of punches. None of them land on their target.
One second, Aiden is throwing a blow to the air, the next one, Keenan strikes a fist and kicks on Aiden’s face and chest, in that order.
Aiden falls on the ground; he turns to the side and spits blood.
“Holy shit!” Antoinette says and places a hand on her chest, concerned. “He’s not getting up!”
“Aiden, get up!” Chastity says but Aiden is still on the ground struggling for a breath.
Keenan leans next to Aiden, who’s still on the ground, and grabs his face. I can see Aiden’s face getting white from the grip of Keenan’s fingers. “I said apologize!”
Aiden stays still for a moment.
Keenan’s grip tightens. “Apologize!” He screams in Aiden’s face.
I sense Evans starts to move and I hold him back. I snake my arms and legs around him. “Let go!” He snaps in my face. I shake my head violently. If Evans tries to defend his brother, there’s no telling what’ll happen.
There’s four of them. Evans can’t take them all.
Aiden begins to growl, but he can’t move yet. Evans eyes shoot to where his brother is and it’s like a detonator.
“I’m... sorry.” Aiden finally says.
Keenan lets go of him and turns back to his guys.
I feel grateful that it’s over...
...until Evans shoves me away from him and I fall on the ground hitting my face with Nette’s foot and then the pavement.
The next few seconds are a blur. I taste metal in my lips... The four princes are looking at me... Evans throwing himself at Keenan... The crowds loud screams of sheer joy suddenly turn into screams of despair when a second body hits the ground... Antoinette and Chastity grab a hold of me...
I’m inside my car. My head hurts. I can’t breathe through my nose.
And then, sirens echo and strobe lights show up.
I look next to me. Chastity is driving. Antoinette is holding my head up, her hand on my chin. I see her lips moving but in all the haze I hadn’t paid attention to her.
“Oh my God, that asshole!” Chastity sounds so upset. “I’m gonna break his nose tomorrow in school!”
“Careful! Careful! You almost run down a student!” Oh, God.
An hour later, I’m at my house, with two large tampons up my nostrils. I turn my phone off as Evans hasn’t stopped calling. I’m so angry with him. I don’t wanna talk.
Thankfully, Antoinette and Chastity came up with the perfect excuse to tell my mom.
They made up a story about how we were driving home and this hobo jumped in front of the car in the middle of the street. I pulled the breaks so hard I hit my face with the steering wheel and my nose started bleeding.
Best ‘best friends’ I could ask for.
Laying in my bed, the girls and I start watching a movie. “Is there anything more cliché than a good girl falling for a bad boy?” Chastity asks as we watch, for the billionth time, After.
Nette and I look at her. “Probably not,” I say.
“For real, let’s be honest. Would you fall for a bad guy?” Chastity points at me. I’m ready to answer when she adds. “I mean, he’s a bad boy. He skips school, gets into fights, has a reputation preceding him for being a heart-breaker, but...” She raises her finger up towards the ceiling. “Because he’s never fallen in love, everything is so pure! He actually cares because you were the only person able to make him feel. Would you fall for him?”
Both, Antoinette and I, stare. “Cee, are you trying to tell us something?” Nette asks.
My eyes dart at Chastity. Waiting for her reaction. She looks a bit sheepish. “Well, you guys know I’m good friends with almost everyone at school; that includes Justin and Mika.”
I feel like a pebble was thrown at my face because I have no clue who they are. “Who?” Nette and I ask.
“Justin Perry and Mika Dawson. They’re two of the boys from Keenan’s gang. They’re actually not that bad.”
My eyes open wide. “Cee, you do understand that they are bad boys, right? Haven’t we gone over this? You can’t trust them.”
“Also, they’re dangerous. I heard from someone that they are the ones that vandalized the school property last year. That one time that the school had to spend almost fifty grand fixing the infrastructure and buying new equipment,” Nette interjects.
“It was them?” I ask. I had no idea how bad it was.
“Guys, come on. Those are rumors!” Chastity is fighting very hard to defend her case. I wonder why. “They are actually pretty sweet guys once you get to know them.”
I get up faster than I can and sit to gawk at Cee’s face. I feel Nette looking over my shoulder. “Okay, half-time! What are you not telling us?”
Cee looks like a spotlight was just lit her way. “I’m not hiding anything, guys! I have a class with them both and it just so happens to be that I’m a very likeable person. I’m not telling you guys to befriend them. Just suggesting that maybe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”
I squint my eyes as I analyze her face. “Are you sure that’s all?” Nette asks now.
“Promise!” Chastity crosses her heart.
“Just in case, let us revise the three most important rules, courtesy of our tampon face here!” Nette gets up from the bed.
“Hey!” I say, but then lay back down, my nose is still not done bleeding.
I feel like I’m having period on my nose. I pout.
Antoinette pulls and skids through my canvas on the floor until she finds the scroll the three of us painted some time ago. We were having a sleepover and decided to create the official rules of how to deal with bad boys.
I turn in bed so I can see Nette from where I lay without hurting my nose. Cee, although, she’s not smiling, lays back and prepares for the reading.
We do this every time any of us needs a reminder of how to behave, or if we’re having seconds thoughts about things we shouldn’t.
Nette pretends to scrape her throat. She begins to read and I read along with her, in my mind, as I know these rules by heart.
Rule number one: Never trust a bad boy.
Rule number two: Never befriend a bad boy.
Rule number three: Never, ever, fall in love with a bad boy.
I hear Chastity chuckle. “Let’s watch the movie. I’m sick of real life. Let me live my fantasy,” she plays the movie. Nette jumps on the bed and we continue to watch the ‘bad boy falls in love with the good girl’ movie.
After the girls leave, I shower and get ready for bed.
I turn on my phone and see the multiple messages of apologies and missed calls that Evans’ left me. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.
I put my phone to charge and turn off the light.
Sleep always comes easy to me. I can, honestly, sleep anywhere. And yet, tonight, I find myself unable to.
Every time I close my eyes, I hear Chastity’s words repeating in my head and a pair of eyes, with fire in them, looking at me.
Eyes as blue as winter’s ice. Such a pretty color.