The whole way home I think about the handsome blue-eyed man who saved me from Dorian. He was so stern and cruel as he crushed Dorian’s hand that I’m honestly thankful he didn’t get angry with me. For some reason, though, I don’t think he’d hurt me, especially with his daughter - at least I assume it was his daughter - cradled to his chest. The tiny girl was so adorable! Her big blue eyes that were just like her father's, her teeny tiny body wrapped in a fuzzy pink blanket… Such a cutie.
Babies are absolutely endearing.
I wonder what the girl’s mother looks like. I’m sure she’s gorgeous if her baby ended up being so cute.
The thoughts of the handsome man don’t leave me even as I climb up the stairs to my aunt’s apartment. He left a lasting impression on me that I’m sure won’t disappear anytime soon. His protective attitude actually reminds me of someone.
He saved me from Dorian just like the handsome man did. He was just as brutal and fierce.
Are all men like this?
Dorian is a bully and so are his friends, while Kaden Knight is a guy that fights others a lot but doesn’t direct his anger at innocent people. At least that’s what I want to believe.
However, it still doesn’t mean I can trust him.
He could turn his anger to me at any moment. I know better than to think he’ll always be kind to me. I’m not going to set myself up for another disappointment.
It’s better to avoid him at all costs.
“Faye! Where the hell have you been?!” My aunt shouts at me the moment I enter the apartment. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t as hard to walk up the stairs as usual. I wonder why that is…
“I’m sorry. - I apologize, knowing better than to try defending myself - I had to stay longer at school.” I lie.
My aunt only grumbles something under her breath then points to the kitchen. “Your dinner is in the fridge, just heat it up. Then wash the dishes, I didn’t have time for that. I’m heading out and I don’t know when I’ll be back. You’re on your own tonight.” She announces before grabbing her handbag and going out the front door, not even leaving me a chance to say anything. Not that I have anything to tell her. It’s not the first time I’m left on my own. I only hope Wanda’s boyfriend won’t be home tonight. I hate being alone with him. He creeps me out.
“Wow, Wanda, you’re such a cook…” I chuckle humorlessly when I see the ‘dinner’ left for me - store-bought Chicken Parmesan. I thought she’d at least try to cook, but I guess it’s too much to hope for.
After eating the crap my aunt bought for my dinner, I hobble to the couch in the living room to do my homework. Thankfully, there’s no one to disturb me so I can study in peace. I like studying. Getting good grades is not that important to me, that’s not what I’m after, but gaining knowledge goes a long way. It’s the only way to make my life better. I want to get out of this dump and live my life the way I want.
My life dream is being a beautician. I want to work with people, make them beautiful, happy and content with themselves. I also thought about becoming a hairdresser, but now that my leg is busted, I’m not sure if it’s possible. I don’t know if it’s possible to work as a hair stylist on a wheelchair.
Yes, I’m already expecting the worst outcome. I have no hope when it comes to my leg. The doctors were very clear about the probability of me recovering. The chances of me walking again are pretty slim if I don’t go through a long rehabilitation. And I don’t have the funds to do that. I’m also sure that the constant strain I put on my leg isn’t helping. Every single day I make a trip down seven flights of stairs, all the way from the fourth floor, then I walk three miles to school, walk around school, where Dorian occasionally steals my crutches and forces me to limp pathetically, and then I once again walk three miles to get home and climb up seven flights of stairs to the apartment. It surely doesn’t help my leg.
And even though I should be relieved by the lack of pain, I’m not. The fact that I can’t feel pain in my leg is only making me more paranoid. It can’t be a good sign.
Just like I hoped, Wanda’s deadass boyfriend doesn’t come home for the night, probably too busy drinking at some shady bar. I don’t mind, though. I’d rather be alone all night than with him, especially since there’s only one room that serves as a bedroom for all three of us - my aunt, her boyfriend and me.
Much to my surprise, my aunt doesn’t come back until morning, but the second she comes home, she demands a breakfast. Which I’m supposed to make. This woman really doesn’t understand how difficult it is for me to move around, she keeps telling me to do things like cooking, cleaning, throwing out trash… Does she have any idea how hard it is to hobble down the stairs with a big bag of rubbish in hand?! Of course she doesn’t, her leg is not broken!
“I’m going to school!” I announce, getting only a snore in response from my aunt as she sleeps on the couch in the living room. “Good day to you too…” I mutter coldly, locking the door behind me.
When I arrive at school, I’m met by a bunch of students gossiping and giggling near my locker. The second they notice me they stop talking, which makes it only more obvious that they’ve been talking about me.
You could at least try to be more subtle about it.
“It’s her, I saw Kaden take her to the nurse yesterday.” Someone whispers as I walk towards my locker.
“I saw that too! Who would’ve thought that she’s the reason for the war between Kaden and Dorian… She’s not even that pretty.” Gee, thanks! You could at least pretend to be polite!
I get some other comments from students, but there’s no point in reacting. That’s what they want. They all know I can hear them and they want to provoke me to react.
I’m not stupid enough to fall for that.
When I finally reach my locker, the crowd gathered around it disperses and lets me see what caught their attention. I thought I only had Dorian to worry about, but looks like I’m now a public enemy. My whole locker is painted with hateful words, like ‘slut’, ‘whore’, ‘bitch’ and some comments telling me to kill myself and that I don’t deserve to live.
It gets worse.
I barely manage to avoid the mass of dead bugs that falls out as soon as I open the locker. It’s disgusting! Who wanted to go this far just to torment me?!
“Oh my, maybe you should’ve cleaned your locker properly… - I hear some girl comment snarly as she records the whole thing with her phone - I wonder if it’s the same under your bandages… maybe you’re festering like that locker of yours…” She sneers gleefully, seemingly proud of herself for doing this to me.
“How about I fucking feed you those bugs, huh?!” A deep angry voice comes from behind me, making me stiffen in nervousness. I know this voice.
“K-Kaden?” The snarky girl gasps fearfully, quickly hiding her phone behind her back.
“Which one of you fuckheads did this?!” Kaden snarls at the students, pointing at the mess by my locker. “Speak up!”
“Knight, why so angry? - one of the guys chuckles amusedly - You like this cripple or something?” He taunts. I already feel tears well up in my eyes at the harsh comment. I’m standing right here! How can he be so cruel?!
Kaden seems to have no tolerance for such words and instantly throws a harsh punch to the boy’s face, making him cry out in pain as the crunching sound of a broken bone resounds through the hallway. He’s so brutal! I was right, it’s better to avoid him. If he punched me like this, I’d DIE!!
“Try saying that with a broken jaw, asshole.” Kaden snarls darkly, his whole body tense as he stands over his classmate’s writhing body. The mean boy can only groan pathetically on the floor, his face already turning purple from the harsh blow he received.
“Kaden! How could you?!” The girl from earlier shrieks in fear, getting behind me as if to use me as her shield. “He didn’t do anything! I’ll report you!” She warns, harshly shoving me forward and running away. I expect to land on the floor but before I can face-plant the puddle of bugs, I’m caught by a pair of strong arms that belong to none other than Kaden Knight.
“T-thank you.” I murmur quietly, too shocked by the feeling of Kaden’s arms around me to speak properly.
“Are you okay? Did they do anything to you?” Kaden asks, sounding genuinely worried. I guess he feels pity for me…
“I’m okay.” I say timidly then attempt to leave his comforting embrace, only to find it impossible when he gently tugs me back to his chest. “Your crutches fell, let me get them for you.” He tells me, carefully lifting me to help me lean against the window sill. I watch stunned as he casually picks up my crutches and hands them to me before turning to the gaping crowd gathered around us.
“I see one of you fucktards bother her and you’ll end up like this shithead!” He warns, kicking the boy from earlier pointedly. “Don’t fucking try me.” He adds, his tone dark and menacing. Why is he taking my side so fervently? He doesn’t even know me…
“You better be ready for trouble, Knight! - another one of the boys sneers - Stacy went to the principal! You won’t get away with this again!”
“Yeah, I will.” Kaden smirks smugly and I turn to him in absolute shock. How is he so sure of that?!
It’s not long before the headmaster stomps towards us, clearly angry about the mess. Classes haven’t even started yet and there’s already something going on. Of course he won’t be happy about it. “Knight! You again?!” He yells furiously, making the students turn to us with gleeful smirks, almost as if they’re happy that Kaden got in trouble again.
“Go ahead, call my parents. Tell them how I punched this shithead.” Kaden taunts. He’s undaunted! Doesn’t he realize that he can get suspended for this?!
“You can be goddamn sure I will call them. This time I won’t be so lenient!” The principal shouts then points at me and Kaden. “You two, my office. NOW! - he orders before gesturing at the boy Kaden beat up - And someone take this student to the nurse!” He adds then storms away to his office. Oh boy, how did I end up in this situation?
“Faye, can you walk?” Kaden asks gently, leaving me completely gobsmacked by how quickly his mood changed. Is he bipolar or something?
“Y-Yeah.” I nod nervously, adjusting my crutches.
“Alright then.” Kaden nods back, a faint smile on his face. Damn, he’s handsome when he smiles…
Kaden and I walk side by side to the principal’s office, leaving the mayhem behind us. I’m slightly surprised by how kindly Kaden treats me, but I think it’s purely because he feels bad for me. It’s a normal human reaction when seeing something pitiful. I’m sure Kaden would be the same if he saw a wounded puppy.
Surely there’s no deeper meaning to this…
Even though Kaden has to considerably slow down to match my pace of walking - or rather hobbling - he still doesn’t complain about me being too slow or try to hurry me up. He simply walks beside me, throwing worried glances my way whenever I stumble on the uneven floor.
Maybe I’ve judged him too harshly… even though his aggressive tendencies still scare me.
It’s my first time being summoned to the principal’s office, so I have no idea what to expect. Though I have to admit, Kaden’s presence beside me as we wait for his parents to arrive is slightly comforting. He’s so… calm about this that I can’t help but relax a little.
“Did you really miss me that much?” I hear Mrs Knight laugh humorlessly as she casually walks in, not even knocking beforehand.
“If you have the hots for my wife, you better start preparing your funeral.” A male voice follows her before none other than the handsome man from yesterday appears in the doorway. NO WAY!
“Mr Knight, I don’t appreciate being threatened.” Mr Kessler - our principal - tries to defend himself, but I can clearly see he’s scared of the Knights. I mean, who wouldn’t be?! Mr Knight is easily 6’8” and buff like a bodybuilder! He could crush Mr Kessler with no effort at all.
“Oh, hello Faye.” Mrs Knight smiles kindly, putting me even more at ease. I like her, she’s a really kind and warm person. She reminds me of my own mom when she smiles like this.
“Good morning, Mrs Knight.” I greet with a small smile. “And Mr Knight.”
“You caught on quickly.” Mr Knight winks playfully, making me giggle quietly.
“So what’s the issue again? This better be important.” Mrs Knight addresses the principal, the warm smile disappearing from her face in a split second.
“Your son punched a student again. This time it resulted in a broken jaw!” Mr Kessler shouts angrily, making me flinch at his loud voice.
Much to my surprise, the Knights don’t seem to be surprised by this. Mrs Knight only stares bemusedly at the headmaster and Mr Knight smiles proudly at Kaden. “You broke a jaw with one punch? That’s my son!”
“Thanks, dad.” Kaden grins smugly.
“Mr Knight! Do you even realize what you’re saying?! This behavior deserves to be punished, not praised! I can no longer condone this kind of attitude, so I’m forced to take disciplinary action against your son.” Mr Kessler states sternly, sounding absolutely appalled by the Knights’ lack of reaction.
“Kaden, what happened this time?” Mrs Knight asks curiously, completely disregarding the fuming principal.
“Those fuckheads were bullying Faye again. - Kaden reveals - They put bugs in her locker then called her names and shoved her. I got pissed off and punched the shithead that called her a cripple.” He tells his mother. I’m honestly shocked that he doesn’t even bother hiding anything from his mom. He tells her everything including the mean names that boy called me earlier!
I glance curiously at Mrs Knight when she doesn’t respond, only to see her glaring coldly at Mr Kessler. I’ve never seen someone so murderous! She’s even scarier than an angry Kaden!
“What did I tell you about this whole bullying shit…” She mutters darkly, stepping over to the headmaster’s desk. “I warned you, didn’t I? - she taunts - Deal with your students’ shit before I do it for you… And what do I hear? The very next day after one of your students torments this poor girl, she’s bullied once again, this time by a group of people!” She harshly slams her hands on the desk, leaving a clear indent in the wooden surface. Damn, she’s strong!
“Mrs Knight, I don’t think it’s an issue to be discussed right now.”
“Oh really? - Mr Knight chuckles humorlessly - Would you rather call us over the third time to discuss it?”
“You know what? I’m done with you. If you can’t manage your damn school then I don’t see the point in letting my son attend this shithole. Get his papers ready, I’m taking him out of here.” Mrs Knight orders sternly, leaving no room for discussion.
“Mom, no! I can’t leave! What about Faye?!” Kaden shoots up from his seat, standing by my side as if to protect me again.
“Sweetie, do you think I’d let her stay in a place where she’s bullied? I’m disappointed…” Mrs Knight sighs, shaking her head sadly. “My own son doesn’t believe in me…” She fake-sniffles, wiping a nonexistent tear off her face.
“M-Mrs Knight? I’m not sure I understand…” I speak out for the first time. I honestly feel like I’m a mouse among lions right now. I’m too afraid to even interfere.
“Faye, would you like to go to a different school? I can easily arrange it for you. All I need is your parents’ agreement.” Mrs Knight smiles kindly. Her mood changes so quickly I'm about to get a whiplash.
“Um… Right now my aunt is my legal guardian.” I inform, not eager to reveal too much.
“Okay. Then how about you talk to your aunt and tell me your decision?”
“I don’t want to burden you with that… I’m fine.” I mutter timidly. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the kindness this family is showing me.
“You’re fine with being bullied? Sorry, but I don’t believe it. - Mrs Knight scoffs humorously - Take your time deciding. No rush.” She says with a reassuring smile before turning to Mr Kessler. “Both Kaden and Faye are going to be absent for the rest of the week. I want to receive a full list of the topics discussed during that time. They will go through it independently.” She declares sternly, making both Kaden and Mr Knight smile smugly.
“Ooh, you pissed my wife off. - Mr Knight laughs - Be ready for the consequences.” He taunts with a dark chuckle, earning a scared look from the principal.
This family isn’t normal.
But they’re so freaking awesome!
“Fine, they can take a few days off school.” Mr Kessler agrees reluctantly, surprising me to no end. I was sure he wouldn’t allow this.
Wait, but does that mean I now have to stay home for a couple of days? I don’t want to… Wanda’s boyfriend stays home for the whole days, I don’t want to be alone with him…
“I think that’s all for now. - Mr Knight says after a moment - Kaden, pack your and Faye’s things, we’ll take you home.”
“Me too?!” I gasp in shock. Surely they’re joking!
“Of course, I won’t let you stay here and be an easy target for those idiotic bullies.” Mrs Knight scoffs, as if the mere idea of me staying at school is absurd.
Maybe it’s because my aunt isn’t interested in me and my life, but I really like how much attention Mrs Knight is giving me. Ever since my parents’ death no one has shown me such care or bothered to make decisions that would be beneficial for me. It’s so nice to know that not everyone is as cold as my aunt.
“Oh, and from what our driver told us, you live on a fourth floor in a block without an elevator… - Mrs Knight chimes in - If you can get your guardian’s approval, you can stay with us for the time being or I can get you a room at my hotel. It should be more convenient for you to move around than climbing so many stairs every day.”
“Would that really be okay?” I breathe out in pure shock, only realizing I’ve said it out loud when I get a quiet laugh from the Knights.
“Of course. There’s room for everyone who needs it.”
I want to go. I want to see. I want to try.
Let’s just hope Wanda lets me leave.