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|J A K E|

NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS DID I ever think that I’d go down like this. The guards walking beside me don’t say much but I’m being flanked by the two of them and that says a lot about my impending doom. My hands are linked together with handcuffs and a length of chain that extends downwards to link with the cuffs on my ankles and they make a clanking sound as we head down the dimly lit hallway.

The only thing missing apart from the cuffs and orange jumpsuit is a muzzle on my face. Which is ironic considering that the judge who presided over my case called me a β€˜rabid animal who doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.’

We come to a stop on the last door and one of the guards knocks on it twice before it’s opened. The room is unsurprisingly dark with only one bulb lighting up the place. A table with two chairs is situated in the middle of the room. One of the chairs is being occupied by a person who I’d never imagine would dare take a step inside the confines of this place.

He watches as I’m brought over to sit on the chair across from him. He’s still exactly the way I remember him to be. Dark grey hair with streaks of black in between, eyes as black as his soul, a hard and cold expression highlights his facial features. Not to forget his body. He may be an old man but he’s made it a point to stay physically fit. Even in his old age.

β€œJacob.” He breaks the silence and I grimace. I hate my given name. Absolutely fucking hate it and he knows that.

β€œWhat the fuck do you want?”

β€œIs that how you greet your grandfather?” He chuckles. The sound of it grates me and I clench my fists.

β€œOkay. I forget you’re one who doesn’t give a hoot about pleasantries, so I’ll go straight to the point.” He pauses. β€œI’m in need of your services.”

Now it’s my turn to laugh.

β€œYou have got to be fucking kidding me. Are you actually serious right now? Philip fucking Carlisle, coming to me because he needs my services. Ain’t everyday you see the big, bad alpha wolf come to seek help from a lone one.”

He narrows his eyes, nothing but coldness emanating from them. β€œDon’t get in over your head, boy. I said I needed your services not your help.”

β€œSure.” I roll my eyes. β€œHow can I be of service to you, grandfather?”

For a moment, he grimaces. He doesn’t like when I acknowledge our relation to each other. I bet he wishes that I didn’t exist altogether.

I was being sarcastic about my offer to help him but the old man doesn’t read into it. He goes ahead and states his problem.

β€œI’m running for senate,” he states.

β€œAnd that concerns me how?”

He chuckles. β€œOh, Jacob. Surely, by now you know why I’m here.”

He wants me to come back and play Family with him during the campaign period. Nothing makes a good campaign strategy than a united family front.

β€œI have criminal records. I’m the last person you should even be considering to add on to your picture perfect family.”

β€œLook at you, being all considerate and whatnot,” he mocks. β€œYou do have a point, though. You’re nothing but a dirty stain to the Carlisle name.”

I snort. β€œYou’re just now figuring that out? Thought you were brighter than that.”

He ignores the jab. β€œNothing makes a good story than a prodigal, wild, ex-convict son coming back to his family and being offered a second chance.” He stares at me for a moment, letting his point sink in.

β€œYou’ve got a lot of nerve to come here and assume I’ll gladly go back to your house and become your lapdog.”

β€œYou want me to tell you how I know you’ll be coming back to my house and become my lapdog? Alright, Jacob. I’ll tell you.” He leans in, as if he’s about to let me in on a secret.

β€œWord is that your sentence borders on a life one or one that extends up to ninety nine years. Which means that you’ll have to hold off your revenge plans against a certain Miss Eliza Fischer.”

I remain passive but he’s smart. He knows he’s got me right where he wants me.

β€œJudging by your silence, I’d say that we’re in agreement. You’ll be a good little boy, won’t you?” His tone takes on a mocking edge. β€œYou’ll come back home and play your part because like it or not, you are a Carlisle. My blood flows in your veins. You will not fail me the way you failed your mother.”

His words elicit no reaction from me and he puts on a good show to show it doesn’t affect him in the slightest. A long time ago, I would have been up and holding him by the neck at the mention of my mother.

β€œYou’ll meet your teacher in a short while.”

β€œMy teacher?”

β€œYes, your teacher. You think you’ll come back just like that? You’ve lost touch with how you were raised, Jacob. God knows you resemble a savage now with your bad behavior and manners.”

β€œSo you hired a teacher to help me learn manners?” I laugh. β€œYou must be really desperate.”

He stands up, though with much difficulty. Age must be catching up with him. He gives me a stern look as he says, β€œDon’t fail me.”

This old bat thinks I’m out to impress him. What a fucking joke. β€œAs if I’m planning on it.”

He just smiles and begins his slow walk to the door. He’s lucky he has that cane for support otherwise he’d have come tumbling down to the floor.

I’m saved from having to think hard of who my tutor is going to be when the door creaks open a minute later. I half-expect a hardass middle-aged, stoic as fuck woman to step in. At least that would have made sense. The person who strolls in is no middle-aged woman and she’s definitely not a stoic hardass.

To say I’m thrown off would probably not be the fucking truth. Standing right in front of me is Julia Price- preppy, way-out-of-my-league and still was out of my league. Hell, out of my fucking universe.

She’d been too good for me in high school, she’d been too good for me two years ago, and as sure as she is standing right in front of me today, she is still too damn good for me. And I bet she’ll be the first person to say it.

Anger flares within me at the sight of her. I might not remember the night we’d spent together, but I sure as hell remember the morning after when I’d interrupted her escape from my bedroom. She’d told me right then and there what she actually thought of me and also to erase what had just happened between us from my memory.

Even with that memory vividly replaying in my head, I still have to tell my dick to calm the fuck down.

Julia Fucking Price was still out of my league.

I still can’t figure out how she’d ended up in my bed that night. Not because my bed didn’t see action with rich chicks-it saw plenty-but not like her. Classic elegance like some of the actresses in the classic movies mom always loved to watch.

β€œJacob.” She bites out and I grimace. I hate that name and she knows it. Her eyes hold mine and they dare me to lash out at her for using my full name.

I let it pass. β€œJulia.”

She releases a short breath, tucks a loose strand of her auburn hair, and reaches into her massive handbag to pull out a huge book. β€œWell. Let’s get started-”

β€œYou were able to carry that?”

β€œYes.” She doesn’t elaborate further. She instead looks at me, as if she’s waiting for something from my end.

I let out a wry laugh. β€œI can’t fucking believe this. Julia Price, here in the flesh, ready to give me lessons on. . .” I read the title of the book. β€œManners 101. Catchy title.”

She watches me, an unreadable expression on her face. Maybe she’s still in shock at the sight of me, just like I am right now. Or maybe she can’t believe that she ever hooked up with a scumbag like me.

β€œWhat happened to your face?”

Should have seen it coming. The scar on the side of my face will now and forever be the highlight of every conversation starter once I come back to town.

β€œSome fucker with a knife decided to use my face as a canvas. What happened to yours?”

Nothing’s wrong with her face but I like that it ticks her off.

Her eyes narrow. β€œStill a jerk, I see.”

β€œOnly to people who deserve it. Care to tell me what the fuck you’re doing?”

β€œWhat do you mean?”

β€œYou’re not a teacher and if my calculations are right, you should be a practicing lawyer right now.”

β€œA lot can change in two years, Jacob.”

Goddammit. She’s got to stop calling me by that name. The chain clinks as I place my forearms on top of the table.

β€œDon’t call me that.”

The corner of her lips tug up. β€œYou know, I’ve always wondered why you don’t like anyone calling you by your name, Jacob.”

There’s two beats then I’m up and standing, fury and rage coursing through my veins. My action startles Julia and now she looks at me with a new profound fear. She visibly swallows and watches me with wide eyes.

β€œYou fucking little -” One of the guards stops me from finishing my statement by grabbing my jumpsuit’s collar and yanks me down to my seat.

β€œI’m not here to start a confrontation. . .” Julia starts and I hope to God she doesn’t push my buttons any further.

β€œThen why the fuck are you here?”

β€œI’m just here to do my job.”

I don’t know what game grandpa’s playing, but he’s got some nerve setting me up like this. Maybe that’s his plan. Rub it on my face how I couldn’t even score the girl of my dreams just to prove his deductions of me being a failure.

Too bad for him I’m not interested in his games.

β€œI’ll just ask my grandfather to change my tutor.”

Panic washes over her face and for a split second, I actually think I have the upper hand until she says, β€œYou just can’t handle rejection like a mature person, can you?”

β€œThis isn’t about our little tryst. Stop flattering yourself, you’re not that hot.”

All lies. This girl is a fucking goddess and it would all be well if she didn’t know that she in fact was one. Except she does and she has always used that to her advantage.

β€œDo you really think I give a damn about your approval or flattery? I got this job fair and square and I’ll be damned if I let you walk all over me simply because you’re hang up on the past.”

β€œIt’s not like you even need it. I know you. You’re here because you want to prove a point. So I suggest you pack up your shit while you still have any shred of dignity left. Otherwise, I’ll do something that I’ll most likely not regret later. We don’t want anything happening to your pretty face now, do we?”

That makes her stand up from her chair real quick, going to stand behind said chair as if to put a barrier between us.

I have killed before but I have never gone down the low road of being capable of raising a hand to a woman but in this case, I have to make that threat if it means getting this woman standing in front of me out of my sight.

Part of me doesn’t want her to go and I resent her for it. I’ve never had someone who got me worked up like she does and her standing there in that tight short skirt and a shirt that bares her midriff doesn’t help the current situation in my pants. Julia Price and her hot body will forever be the epitome of my destruction.

She clears her throat, forcing my eyes up to meet hers. β€œYou wouldn’t.”

β€œTry me,” I challenge.

She breathes in deeply and releases it in one short breath. Deciding that it’s best to trust her intuition on my reputation, she shoulders her handbag and with one last glower at me, she makes her way to the door.

β€œDon’t forget your fucking book,” I remind her and she stomps over and picks it up. Then for the second time in my entire existence, Julia Price walks out of my life.

Fucking Christ. What the hell was that? If grandpa thinks he can throw me off-balance with this meeting, he’s got a whole lot of shit coming.

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