Sitting in the box-sized stall, my bony butt dug into the hard toilet lid while my hands shook in my lap of their own accord. Sharp breath in, long, slow breath out. I can do this, I tried convincing myself, clutching my enormous, black purse to my chest as if I would die without it. Which I probably would. Kenny would see to it that I was killed, or nearly beat to death if I lost it, that’s for sure. He had threatened as much multiple times.
How did I get into this? I groaned inwardly.
Why the hell did I have to date Kenny of all people?
Because you thought he was hot…which he is.
Turned out hotness wasn’t everything. I’d been with so many hot guys, I nearly lost count. It was a huge surprise for everyone, including myself, when this one lasted more than two weeks. It was so much fun those first two weeks—Kenny constantly charming me, constantly buying me new shoes, new purses—it was great, which totally showed how shallow I was, but I didn’t care.
Even the third week, when he talked me into helping with that first deal. The risk, the danger, brought a thrill that no amount of sex could ever fulfill. Not that sex was ever thrilling—it was only for the benefits that came with it. Boys would do anything for easy access. But when one of them gained the control, called the shots, that’s when things got messy as shit.
Now. Now it’s all a mess.
Hence, me shaking my ass off in a high school bathroom stall. The situation I was stuck in was about impossible to get out of.
Stop being a whiny bitch, Mia!
Thump, thump, thump.
Someone with strappy, black sandals that had little stones along the straps, pounding on my door made me jump, the contents of my purse rattling around. After shaking my head, trying to clear it, all I could think was how cute her sandals were. I stayed silent, knowing what was coming. The rest of the stalls were empty, indicating that this patron had only one reason to bang on my door. We did the stall charade for the patrons who wanted to remain anonymous, but her sandals were a dead giveaway.
After the sandals shifted around a few times and she cleared her throat, a wad of bills was stuck under the door. I shifted my purse before grabbing the cash and counting it out. Kayla, who was in four of my classes, frequented the girl’s restroom twice a week for this exchange, even though the amount she was buying should have lasted her at least two weeks. Maybe she was dealing on the side, too. All of these people were trashy, two timing, losers…and I was no better.
Once I passed her a couple baggies, she hurried from the bathroom. Six more people came during the thirty minutes I sat in there. Red pumps, pink flats, yellow sandals, brown boots, black combats, and black sequent flats. From there I moved to an area by the tennis courts where most of my male consumers came.
By the end of the day, my loot was gone, to be replaced by a stupid amount of money and I was coated in sweat, on the verge of vomiting. My hands continued trembling while I approached Kenny, who stood hidden behind the senior lockers with his ridiculously expensive Gucci aviators hiding his eyes, his fists shove in his khaki short’s pockets. His feathery blond hair was swooped to the side all cliché like. I couldn’t discern his expression, but it was probably irritation. I took my sweet time on purpose since it was the only way I could safely retaliate.
I should have been suspicious of his expensive clothing, accessories, and car at the very beginning. I mean, what the Hell kind of teenager can afford Gucci sunglasses? Should have known, freaking idiot!
“Hey, Babe.” He grinned like the Cheshire Cat before grabbing me by the waist, pulling my hips forward to grind himself against me.
The need to gag, to shove him away, was overwhelming, but instead, I leaned into him, groaning my faux pleasure. How despicable. I allowed him to grope me, allowed him to show his dominance, his control, effectively setting women’s rights back to caveman days. He may as well have pissed a circle around me. After sucking on my neck for a good, long minute, he pulled back to gaze at me.
“You clean it out?” he asked, already tugging on my purse to investigate.
“Duh.” I rolled my eyes, perfecting my act.
He shuffled through my purse without my permission, but it was nothing new. Pulling out the pile of cash, he counted it, removed four hundreds, before shoving the rest in his pocket. Saying, “Your cut,” he put the four-hundred in my purse then returned it to me.
“Thanks.” I smiled like a crazy person, going for excitement.
He had to notice I didn’t spend it on pricy accessories like he did, but he probably thought I didn’t want my parents to suspect anything, which wasn’t the case.
Hugging the purse to my side, I gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “Gotta go or Ava’s gonna be pissed.”
I almost got away with it, having retreated a few steps, but he was quick to grab my arm, fingers digging into the muscle. Eyes close, I took a deep breath to keep from showing pain. Never show how much it hurts. I reminded myself.
“Not so fast.” He pulled my back against his front, breathed in my ear, making chills run up my spine, but not in a good way. “Your bitch sister can wait. I need to know if you’re ready for tomorrow’s rounds? It’s our biggest load yet. It can’t be screwed up.”
The shakes were back—there was no hiding them. Add that to my short gasps of breath, he had to know how scared I was. But I had to make my move, had to end this. I had been dreading the next day for an entire week. It was pure luck I hadn’t already been caught with how much we moved through the school on a daily basis. They were tripling my load the next day. I couldn’t handle more, not with how sick I felt. Not with how much was at risk.
I jerked my head to the side. “I told you I couldn’t do it,” I breathed before gasping when his fingers hit bone, causing tears to prick at my eyes.
“And I said there’s no backing out,” he growled, hot breath burning my ear. “Noah won’t allow it. Neither will I. You get on board with the changes before you make trouble for yourself.”
I spun away from him, ripping my arm from his grip. Pins and needles pricked at my hand as the blood returned to my fingertips. “I said I wouldn’t do more…d-deal with it,” I stammered, despite my efforts.
He reached for me, making me flinch right before my saving grace rounded the corner, in form of the hunky security guard, who was a good foot taller than Kenny. “Something going on over here?” he asked in a deep, sexy voice I could have just wrapped myself in.
I swooned. Kenny glared.
This was my chance and I was going to latch onto it. “Nothing but a bad breakup, Pierce.” I whipped out my best pouty face for him, keeping my gaze away from Kenny. “Boys and their pride, am I right?” I joked, but fury flashed through Kenny’s eyes when I chanced a glance in his direction, making me edge toward Pierce, who stared daggers at Kenny. It was the worst kind of cluster-fuck, but I rolled with it.
Kenny didn’t say a word, he only stared when I finally got to Pierce and slyly slid my arm through his. “Walk me to the lot, would you, sugar?” I glanced up, giving a good bat of the ol’ eyelashes, hoping the way too hot rent-a-cop would just go with it. Everyone on campus called him a rent-a-cop, though only few knew he was an actual cop, who hung around the school when security was low. Luckily, Kenny had no clue about the cop thing… Or the fact that Pierce was my older brother’s best friend, thereby a very close family friend.
He nodded once before dragging me toward the student parking, his arm firmly wrapped around mine, giving me all the access to his awesome bicep. I got one last glance at Kenny, but I wished I hadn’t. He hadn’t moved, but those eyes told me there was no way I would get out of it so easy.
But I could, couldn’t I? I gave them the money, I hadn’t stolen from them and there was no way I’d ever go to the cops. Or tell Pierce my dirty secret. They wouldn’t do anything only because I wanted out. Right?
“I don’t know what you’re up to this time, Mia,” Pierce began when we got to the parking lot. Glancing down at me, he pulled the deliciously muscly arm from me. “But that kid’s bad news. I’ve seen shit, I know when a guy is okay with hurting a girl—I could see that in his eyes.”
Though he was on the right track, he had no idea what Kenny was capable of, but I was getting out of that mess. “I know Kai told you to keep an eye on his sisters and all, and I would usually say keep your nose out of my business, buuut, I’m grateful today. So thanks and stuff.”
He snorted before giving me a serious glare. “I’m serious, Mia. Stay away from that punk. If I see you with him again, I might think you’ve gotten yourself into some real shit, and no matter how fond of you I am, I’d have to do my job.”
Wait. What?! Does he actually know what’s going on? Or is he playing a card thinking I’ll give myself up?
I didn’t have the brain space to think on that. I always thought he was hot, like MMA fighter hot, and he was keen to keep an eye on me per Kai’s request, but there was no way I’d spill my guts to him on this one.
“Don’t worry about me, Reno.” I winked before giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, making him suck in a sharp breath. Not sure if it was because I surprised him in a sexy or repulsive way. But, mmm, he smelt amazing, which made me not care so much. He smelt like a grown man, nothing like the Axe wearing boys at the school. Cough, Kenny, cough cough. “I better take off before Ava shits a brick. She hates when I’m late. Catch you later, Love,” I called over my shoulder, leaving him glaring after me with his arms crossed over his chest.
“I’m serious, Mia,” he called after me, but I chose not to heed his words.
I seriously wasn’t that worried. They wouldn’t mess with me. I was certain they would find someone else to do my part and Kenny could easily find a new fuck-buddy to control. Those days were over for me. Pierce was sure a sweetheart to worry though, and I didn’t mind his attention on me for a short minute. Maybe in another life, we’d hook up, or maybe if I wasn’t a drug dealer and he wasn’t a cop. He was only four years older than me, so definitely in the age range I would go for after having dealt with so many idiotic boys.
I was right to worry about Ava being pissed when I finally got to the car where her and her best friend, Rabia were already buckled in, but her anger didn’t seem to be directed at me. Something must have been going on with her and Cade—the only guy she had ever dated, who was suddenly showing an interest in her again. He was extremely sexy and had this dominant, but not too controlling air about him. He was perfect for my sister. I wondered what happened, since the last time I saw them together, their mouths were latched together in Cade’s car parked in front of our house.
My identical twin sister, was my opposite in so many ways. I hid my dark hair that perfectly matched hers by frying it with bleach every month. It was the one luxury I took advantage of with my well paying criminal job.
Ava didn’t say a word when I got in the car, which was totally out of character for her. Rabia seemed to be in a bad mood, as well, which I didn't know existed for her. After we dropped Rabia off and got home Ava pulled a Mia and went straight to her room after saying a quick hi to Mom, who was luckily on the phone with someone.
We both looked exactly like our mom, but I had dad’s crystal blue eyes, rather than Mom’s grays, which went well with the fake blonde locks. Since it was my norm, I followed suit in heading upstairs, knowing no one would question me for being anti-social. Mom was certainly going to bug Ava for acting so weird, though.
I probably should have cared a little more, maybe taken an interest in her little romance with Cade. We were basically best friends before our first year of high school. The kind of twins that finished each other’s sentences. But that was when I realized I could never amount to the straight A, student council, dance team captain she was. She had even been accepted to Vanderbilt a few months back—something I would never even dream of. I hadn’t even considered any college, even though graduation was only a few months away.
It wasn’t like my parents treated me bad or compared me to her, but she certainly got more attention. At the beginning of my high school career, my attention was found in the form of hot boys. But it wasn’t until my senior year that I thoroughly fucked up my life. If I had never met that dick, Kenny, I may have actually ended up in a decent college. Not nearly as prestigious as Vanderbilt, but a suitable one. Instead, I became a bitch and even hit on the guy my sister was in love with, rather than being there for her to confide in. I also effectively ruined the night of their first date by drunkenly interrupting their steamy goodnight kiss.
Despite my bitchiness, Ava snuck me inside and covered for me when Mom woke up. I never thanked her for that. Actually ignored her for a couple days. Then just that morning, I woke up to a text from Kenny saying he would pick me up to take me to the distributer. Terrified, thinking my life couldn’t get much worse, I pitched a fit and gave Ava a bunch of crap so I could get my parents to let me ride to school with Kenny.
When he pulled up to that creepy warehouse, swarming with armed guards and everything, it became real. I was in the middle of a real drug operation. I wanted out, didn’t want to screw up my life anymore. They would let me out, I was sure of it. I hadn’t ever met Noah in person, but he couldn’t be all bad.
I stayed in my room for the rest of that night, ignoring my parents when they called me down for dinner. I couldn’t fake a nice dinner when I was caught up in what the next day might hold. My paranoia got a thousand times worse when Kenny texted me around eleven that night.
Kenny: If you really think it’s that easy, you’re as stupid as I thought you were.
What a jackass. I was stupid. For dating him in the first place. For agreeing to that first deal. I should have told him to pound sand. So many should haves. I was such a screw up. The rest of the night was spent with me convincing myself they wouldn’t retaliate.
And they didn’t. At least not directly.