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God of Fury – Chapter 4


I’m a creature of habit.

Neurotically so. In every sense of the word.

Without my carefully laid-out routine, I’d crumble and crash into a million irreparable pieces.

Without my punctual set of actions, I’m nothing.

So every day, I wake up at five. No exception—not during holidays, not after a night of drinking or partying or doing whatever is expected from a uni student. Five. Always. Every single day.

Then I put on my clothes, do a smoothie, and go for a run at five thirty. Back at seven. Shower. Breakfast. Wallow in my studio for another hour or two. Then school. Then I go to practice with the lacrosse team. More wallowing. Talking, smiling, laughing, caring, texting, liking, being.


Day in and day out, I have to exist. To be out there and fucking stay there. In the middle of people with blurry faces and names and personalities.

All day, I tell myself that I belong with them and that I’m not in fact battling with incessant nausea that saturates my lungs with every breath. That’s what I do best.

Pretend. Swallow it all down. Smile.

Again and again and fucking again until I can crawl back to my studio, stare at my soul in the form of a blank canvas, then shower longer than necessary. I scrub myself clean, turning my skin as red as a tomato, and that’s the only way I can tune out for the day.

Then I have herbal tea and go to sleep at ten thirty.

That is, if I’m not dragged to a party by my friend Remi, who likes to have fun on an everyday basis.

Sometimes, I can shoo him away and keep to my sleeping schedule, but other times, he’ll be armed with our other friends and I can’t say no.

Rejecting invitations constantly doesn’t fit well in the pretending agenda, now, does it?

My inconsistent sleeping schedule scratches at my neurotic side like an unreachable itch, but I deal with it.


By waking up at five the next day and resuming the cycle.

That’s why I nearly lost it after that godforsaken initiation I shouldn’t have set foot into.

That event was a major deviation from my usual habits, and it took me more than just waking up at five to get over it.

But I did. Eventually. Because I’m in control.

The whole ludicrous experience is in the past.

Or that’s what I thought.

Another unexpected event just slammed into my steel wall, putting a dent in it and sweeping my perfect cycle into a ditch.

My feet come to a halt as I peer back at the waste of space of a human whom I’ve been trying to bleach out of my mind.

And I did.


Until he spoke just now, that is.

My lungs heave in quick succession, chest rippling against my shirt as if hoping to escape from my own fucking skin.

Alternative rock keeps playing from my sole earbud, the loud beat pounding in my ear, but I can’t hear anything over the constant static thumping in my skull.

Like whenever my carefully built life experiences a hurdle.

Nikolai isn’t only a hurdle. He’s a fucking wall that I can’t seem to shove out of the way.

He doesn’t notice the clusterfuck he’s brought on with his mere presence and stands there grinning like an idiot.

Half naked.

Only a necklace with a bullet dangles on his chest.

His white shorts hang so low on his hips, one wrong move would bring them down.

A map of extravagant tattoos spread over his chest, shoulders, arms, and all eight of his abs. He’s stupidly muscular in a very unnecessary way. His thick mane of hair is tied in a messy ponytail which highlights his sharp jaw, harsh features, and unhinged eyes.

I thought the bloodied mask made him seem monstrous the other time, but no, he doesn’t need a crutch when he can pull off that intense and entirely unpleasant energy with his revolting face alone.

He strokes my AirPod between his fingers—definitely disinfecting that later. “Is it just me or are you looking at me like you really missed me?”

I barely manage to stop my upper lip from lifting in a snarl as I snatch my AirPod. “I don’t even know who you are. Run along, boy.”


I threw his insult back at him. Not that I was thinking about that retort, or something similarly obnoxious, hours after the initiation.

I turn and start jogging again, hell-bent on finishing my run and going back to the schedule we all know and love. By we, I mean me and my unstable brain.

Once again, my plan plummets to the deepest pit of hell.

The damn twat catches up to me, jogging at my pace, his shoulder nearly touching mine. “It’s me, Nikolai. We met the other day at the initiation… Oh, right! I was wearing the yellow-stitch mask, so you didn’t see my face, but it’s me! Much hotter without the mask, don’t you think?”

I was intending to disinfect the AirPod before I used it again, but I don’t have the luxury. I push it in my ear and blast the volume to the max and run faster, the trees lining the road blurring in my peripheral vision.

Order. Habit.


I always run the same path on the same pavement, pass by the same park, and look at the same buildings.

It’s intensely infuriating when they have areas of construction on some roads, and I have to take pedestrian diversions. Right now, there aren’t any.

I’m a fast runner—the fastest on the team, which is why I play midfield to perfection.

Nikolai and his ridiculous size can’t keep up with me.

Now I can get back to my rhythm and forget this entire thing happened. Like I thoroughly forgot about the initiation—except for the fact that my baby sister was there.

I couldn’t exactly text her, ‘Hey, little princess, for the love of fish and chips, please tell me I was seeing things and you weren’t at the Heathens’ initiation,’ because that would give away that I was there. Although, she did do a double-take, so she could have recognized me despite the mask.

Either way, it’s absolutely not happening.

My love language is shielding those I love, my precious sister included, from the mess that is my existence.

So there’s no way I would’ve voluntarily divulged I was there. I did text and meet up with her and she seemed fine. Aside from the fact that Killian Carson, another member of the Heathens, posted a picture of him kissing her—or, more accurately, eating her face.

I must admit I was alarmed and Lan lost his damn mind over it. Killian, coincidentally Nikolai’s cousin, isn’t the type of guy we want our sister with.

But she assured me it’s okay and that she knows what she’s doing. Lan definitely didn’t listen to her and made me join him when he went to threaten Killian and give him a deadline to leave our sister.

Of course, I had to apologize on his behalf when he was rude to Killian’s cousin, Mia. Despite being Nikolai’s sister, she’s nothing like him.

She accepted the apology and invited me over for pancakes and gaming.

Not Lan. Me.

I really didn’t want to go to the Heathens’, but Mia insisted, and I wanted to see Killian for myself, so I went.

Fortunately, Nikolai wasn’t there, but Glyn came along and I could see how she was longingly looking at Killian the whole time.

After that, I was a responsible brother and reminded her to be careful and tell me if anything happens. However, giving any sort of advice always makes me feel like a massive fraud.

So I let the whole thing go. Barely.


It’s not my place anyway. It was the first time I’ve seen Glyn put her foot down and vehemently refuse to listen to Lan’s orders—

A weight crashes against my back and I stumble as both AirPods are plucked from my ears and Nikolai stands in front of me, breathing as hard as I am.

No, he’s panting, but the up and down of his chest doesn’t compare to the frantic thumping of my heart against my rib cage.

“What the hell is your problem?” I snap, then bite my tongue because I don’t snap.


“I was calling your name, but you weren’t listening,” he supplies casually, as if he’s not witnessing my temporary loss of control in epic proportions.

I shove whatever demon took over me into the darkest corner of my mind and stretch out my palm so he’ll give back the AirPods.

Nikolai throws one of them in his other hand, then squeezes my palm in his, his lips curving in an unhinged grin. “Oh cool, you remember! Nice to officially meet you, Brandon. Or, hold on! I actually found you a perfect nickname. Lotus flower. You know, because you managed to bloom so beautifully while surrounded by the muddy swamp that is Landon. Isn’t that so fucking poetic?”

I’m momentarily paralyzed, my neatly tucked thoughts almost topple me over into the inky-black hole headfirst.

But that doesn’t happen.

Because I’m in control.

I attempt to pull my hand from his warmer one, but he squeezes, tight, as if he’s attempting to crush my bones.

His grin widens, kicking the creep factor up a notch. “Do you like it? Your new name? Do you?”

“Let go,” I mutter from between clenched teeth.

“But why?” He appears genuinely puzzled. “You’re the one who offered to shake hands. I forgive you for pretending not to remember my unforgettable presence.”

“You need to check your ego.”

He looks down at himself and then smirks. “Perfectly awesome, thanks for asking.”

I want to pinch the bridge of my nose, but I can’t, because the bastard is holding my hand hostage, tightening his grip incrementally. The worst part is that I don’t think he even notices what he’s doing.

It hurts, damn it, but I’d dig myself a hole and rot in it before I’d admit that out loud.

“My hand,” I say in a thoroughly unaffected tone.

He squeezes more. “What about it?”

“Let it go.”

“Do I have to? It’s kind of soft and nice.”

He tightens his hold again, mushing the fingers together, and I have to stifle a goddamn…groan? What in the bleeding livid gates of hell?

Pain. It’s only pain.

“I need my hand, so yes, you have to release it, Nikolai.”

“Fuck. I love the way you say my name. Though everything sounds amazing in that hot accent.” The gleam that I never quite managed to erase from my mind rushes back to the depths of his harsh eyes.

Turquoise blue. Brimming with sharp…curiosity? Violence?

It’s impossible to tell with the crazy twat.

He’s intensity on steroids.

An element I have no interest in whatsoever.

“I wonder how you’d say my name in other…more intimate situations.”

I pull my hand away so suddenly, he has no choice but to release me. “I told you to keep your gay flirtations away from me. I’m straight.”

”Hmm.” He tilts his head to the side, eyes watching me intently like a creep.

What does a whacko like him think about? Aside from violence, of course. The rumors about him beating people up for sport are all I heard about him prior to the initiation.

Maybe if I were more involved in the real world instead of pretending to be, I would’ve found out he likes men.

Though he obviously likes women as well. According to…uh, social media. I didn’t search for him. He somehow landed on one of Remi’s tagged pictures.

I have zero interest in where he dips his dick as long as he keeps it away from me.

“My AirPods,” I demand, not making the mistake of offering my hand this time.

“You like talking in monosyllables and giving orders, don’t you?”

“Give them back.”

“Bossy. Told you I love it.”

“Don’t make me repeat myself or so help me God…”

He jumps in my space so fast, I flinch, my whole body lurching back so he doesn’t touch me.

That manic look in his eyes rushes to the surface, all bright and destabilizing. Like a lethal storm.

“What? So help you God, what? What are you gonna do? Don’t leave me in suspense here.”

He pushes into me with every word until his naked chest heaves against mine. A dash of unknown emotions explodes and spreads through me.

It’s stifling and wrong.

Like nausea 2.0. Only, much worse.

You know what? He can keep the AirPods. I’m not wearing that pair again anyway.

I step back and he steps forward, his chest still glued to mine, his heart thumping in an irregular rhythm.

Or is that mine?

Not waiting to find out, I whip around and run.

I have no idea where I’m going or if I’m keeping with my usual route as I sprint between the trees.

I run fast.

As fast as I can.

Until my muscles protest and my lungs heave.

That black ink is rushing after me in long swirls and sharp strokes. Imaginary hands grab onto my shirt and pull.

My breathing is cracked and wrong.


You’re in control. You’re always in control, remember?


And yet I sway as those hands clutch, twist, tug, and—

A hard object crashes against my back and I’m shoved over so suddenly, I fall headfirst against the ground.

I cough and heave against the dirt, my lungs burning and my vision blurring.

Hot breaths warm my ear before the very familiarly irritating voice whispers, “Don’t run away from me, lotus flower. This is the second time you’ve done it, the third if we count the initiation. I’m kinda hurt.”

I release a puff of air, relishing the fact that I did not get caught by my twisted imagination.

But that leads me to the realization that Nikolai is on top of me.


This time, his knee is wedged on my lower back, his hand squeezing my nape as he talks in my ear.

Fucking again.

“Eh…?” He smiles, and I know this because his lips curve against the damn shell of my ear. “This position is a little familiar. Not that I’m complaining.”

“Nikolai,” I growl, my jittering nerves getting the better of me. “Get the hell off me.”

“Mmm. More. Give me fucking more,” he growls into my ear.

“Back off.”

“That’s it. Fight me. I love this energy, lotus flower.”

“You won’t love it when…” I trail off before I say I bite your head off.

Good grief. This is not me.

“What? I won’t love it when you what?” He speaks so close, I can feel his words inside my darn ear instead of hearing them. “You need to stop cutting yourself off mid-sentence. The suspense is killing me. You’re playing a bit hard to get, Prince Charming, but I’m all over that shit. Fight me. Fight me. Fucking fight me!”

I elbow him. “You’re disgusting. Piss off.”

Surprisingly, he releases me, choosing to let himself fall onto his arse beside me. The disappearance of his crushing weight gives me back my normal thought process. Barely.

That’s when I realize I’ve wandered into the nearby park that I usually pass by on my runs.

Early morning light slips from between the huge centuries-old trees and hits Nikolai’s face.

Something curious happens then.

Under the soft yellow light kissing his cheek and right eye, the blue lightens to a chilling turquoise, revealing tiny flecks of gray in the irises.

Blue on gray.


“Whatever crawled up your ass better crawl right the fuck out,” he barks, all humor gone. “Call me disgusting again and I’ll pummel you against the nearest tree, then hang you by the balls so that everyone sees who’s the disgusting one. Got it?”

I shake myself out of the momentary daze, realizing I actually remained lying on my stomach despite the absence of his weight.

Jumping up, I have to regulate my breathing as I glare down at him. “Don’t touch me again and I won’t call you that. In fact, I won’t call you anything, because I’d rather not speak to you ever again.”

“Why?” His grin returns as quickly as it disappeared as he stands up unhurriedly like a big cat crawling out from his cave after a nap. “Afraid I’ll grow on you?”

I flash him my most fake smile. “The chances of that happening are below zero. Better luck next life, kid.”

“Blah blah and fucking blah. Why wait when I have this life?” He frowns. “Also, why are you smiling like a creep?”

My smile drops and I snatch the AirPods from his grip. “Stop following me. I mean it. I have no interest in whatever you’re hinting at.”

He smiles wide like an unhinged maniac on drugs. Maybe he really is high. “And how do you know what I’m hinting at?”

“You haven’t exactly been subtle. The answer is no.”

“I can work with a no.”

“You’re wasting your time. I’m straight.”

“That’s the third time you’ve told me that. Someone is trying to prove a point.” He slaps my shoulder. “But, hey, whatever lets you sleep at night, lotus flower.”

He starts to get into my space again, his smell—bergamot and mint—filling my nostrils and clouding my senses.

Fucking again.

I shove him away, hard, and break into the fastest run of my running history. I eat the distance back to the mansion in no time.

Forget my routine. I need to protect something a lot more important.

My sanity.


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