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God of Ruin: Chapter 21

MIA

There’s an error in the matrix.

A miscalculated equation.

A hopeless, absolutely disfigured view of reality that’s impossible to fix.

And it all has to do with a certain Landon King.

The current monster of my life.

The demon who’s ushering me to hell with decadent smirks and a hedonistic view of reality.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be into the demented things Landon keeps showing me. It started with mere curiosity, but now, I’m proficiently fluent in his crude kinks.

That morbid curiosity is morphing into something a lot bigger and more intimidating. He’s cutting each of my self-imposed limits with sharp, bloodied claws.

And the scariest part is that I can’t put a stop to it. Every day, I go to the haunted house, which Landon is slowly renovating, with the resolve that tonight will be the last hit.

And yet each night, I keep going back again and again like a hopeless addict.

My excuse is that a deep part of me has been yearning for this feeling of complete abandon and being slightly forced into giving up control. That black hole in the corner of my soul has been dreaming about unleashing this darker side of unbound lust—the side I wouldn’t even tell Maya about.

A side that’s frowned upon by all societies and their religions.

I often felt an itch in high school. Where Maya loved the attention, I realized early on that none of the boys I knew could satisfy this itch, not even other mafia leaders’ sons who thrive on violence and asserting their place in the world.

So imagine my surprise when I found that in none other than a posh British guy.

A psycho artist with a taste for everything forbidden and wrong.

The truth remains, I’ve never felt so stimulated as when he takes me unapologetically, uses me thoroughly, and manhandles me.

I’ve never been as thrilled as when he chases me and lets me think I’ve gotten away with it, just so he can tackle me to the ground and hate-fuck me.

It’s an aphrodisiac. A hit better than any drug.

The worst part is that I feel safe in his company. Two weeks ago, after he woke me up from a nightmare in the most pleasurable—and sick—way ever, I didn’t feel violated. Not in the least.

In fact, I was thankful that he was able to wrench me out of that loop. He’s done it again a few times since—I’m pulled right out of a horrific nightmare to find myself in blissful pleasure.

I never told him this, but yes, considering I’ve experienced an explosive orgasm every time he’s done that, I’d say somnophilia is safely one of my kinks as well.

Perhaps the reason I’m so addicted to Landon is either the sense of gratefulness or the rawness of emotions he triggers in me. Maybe it’s the ease with which he slid into the middle of my life. Even though we usually meet at the house, he still challenges me to the occasional epic chess game at the club, and because he spends so much time with me, the other members are gradually warming up to me.

Whenever we get together, he has my Frappuccino waiting for me, just the way I like it. He also helps with my presentations sometimes, even though we have completely different majors. In his words, “I think we already established that I have a superior IQ and school projects are child’s play to me. Besides, I’ll eventually study business so I can take over my family’s company.”

Every night, after he fucks me to within an inch of my life, he makes sure I’m well-fed and hydrated. He also has a surprisingly consistent aftercare routine where he wipes me clean and even massages my whole body as I fall into a deep sleep.

Nevertheless, I shouldn’t have disclosed bits of my past to him.

Landon might be in lust with me, but that’s the extent of his attention. None of his caresses and fake grins can fool me. He’s still a narcissist through and through and he’ll use my weaknesses against me when the time comes.

If I want to survive him, then I need to bubble-wrap my fragile, amateur heart that keeps being touched by his calculated gestures. The moment I comment or even show a bit of discomfort about something, he gets it done.

First, he installed new lights in the house so that it no longer looks dark and grimy. He replaced the cracked glass in the windows, ordered new furniture to replace the old pieces, and he’s been buying me gardening equipment.

He also employed a landscaping company to clear the premises of any fallen branches and hazardous objects. I asked him about the reason behind that and his answer was amazingly simple.

“I can’t have my muse injuring herself when she’s running,” he said while lifting my chin with his index finger. “The marks on your body can only be inflicted by me.”

He’s cutthroat and viciously emotionless, but maybe that’s all I need. I’m not in this game for feelings, after all. When push comes to shove, I’d still side with my people.

It’s much better this way. At least I don’t feel guilty spying on an unfeeling monster.

And yet as I stare at my face in the mirror that’s in the middle of the guest room in the Heathens’ mansion, I painfully realize that I put on more makeup than I usually do. My cheeks are rosy, matching the pink color on my lips.

I’m not dolling up for him, right? It’s for myself because I feel beautiful—

My phone vibrates in my dress pocket and I pull it out.

Landon has attached a picture of bags of fertilizer in the cleaned-up gazebo in the middle of the garden.

Devil Lord: Will these satisfy your green-thumb kink?

I smile. He’s been calling me an amateur gardener with an unlikely hobby. Truth is, I always loved tending to the garden back home. Neither Mom nor Dad liked the task, but I take after Aunt Reina—Kill and Gaz’s mother—in that regard.

We each have a beautiful little garden on our bedroom balcony that we often compare notes about. Let’s just say Aunt is winning, so the dead garden at the haunted house is my practice until I can go back to New York and personally greet my plants.

Lan always busies himself with his unfinished statues as soon as he’s cleaned me up and thrown his shirt or hoodie at me. And while I’m thankful for the downtime, he can literally go on sculpting for hours—once, it was over five hours.

So I’ve started bringing my homework, but I finish that in no time. We play chess, but that’s normally a bet on what kink he’s going to indulge in for the day. I usually lose and when I win, it’s only for a harmless bet on his side.

Therefore, I came up with the compromise that I’d plant my flowers and he could watch me from the tall windows of his studio. That way, we can both be productive.

I sit on the edge of the bed and type my reply.

Mia: They’ll do. Have you gotten me the seeds I asked for?

He sends another picture of a bag of seeds.

Devil Lord: At your service, my lady. I am, after all, your favorite gentleman.

Mia: You’re the furthest thing from a gentleman. Don’t be delusional.

Devil Lord: Don’t be ungrateful.

Mia: Thanks. But then again, this is the least you can do for all the inspiration I’ve been giving you.

He finished three statues in a short time and showed pictures of them to his professors. I think the director of some gallery is offering to exhibit them, but Landon refused.

“Not yet.” I heard him talking on the phone. “They’re not exactly perfect.”

I thought he was being sarcastic or exhibiting a false sense of modesty. But one, Landon is so arrogant, modesty would shrivel and die before touching him. Two, he looked serious and was frowning as he said those words.

It’s true that I’m not an artist, but even I can see why he’s labeled the genius of his generation. The level of detail he puts in his sculptures can only be described as otherworldly. The lines in the fingers, the creases around the eyes, the dip of flesh beneath a harsh grip. Everything is simply a perfect piece of art.

And yet he just pushes those sculptures to the back, then brings out new subjects to work on. I feel bad for those abandoned ones. They must feel lonely and unwanted.

My phone vibrates, bringing me out of my thoughts.

Devil Lord: I’ve been doing my due diligence by bestowing you with my cum every night.

Mia: And I’ve been giving you the honor of touching me.

Devil Lord: Does that mean I’m lucky?

Mia: Uh-huh. Thank God for it.

Devil Lord: Nonsense. He has nothing to do with what I made happen. See you in an hour.

I trap the corner of my lip between my teeth and type.

Mia: I can’t tonight. I’m having a mandatory dinner at the Heathens’.

Devil Lord: Mandatory? What is this? The sixteenth century?

Mia: Niko and especially Maya are suspicious about all the disappearing I do. I’ve spiraled into a bad mental state when I’ve done that in the past, so they’re freaking out a little, thinking I’m relapsing. I just need to assure them that everything is okay.

Devil Lord: Then tell them you’re seeing someone.

Mia: They’ll want to know who.

Devil Lord: Then just say it’s me. In fact, I don’t mind coming over to introduce myself.

I study my surroundings to make sure no one is around before I type.

Mia: Have you lost your mind? Niko will kill you.

Devil Lord: You won’t let him, right?

I chew on the corner of my bottom lip as I read and reread his words.

Devil Lord: Right?

Mia: Just stay away. Do something productive with your time and water the plants.

Devil Lord: I’m many things, but a background character isn’t in my repertoire of functions.

My eyes narrow. What the hell is that supposed to mean?

“What are you so concentrated on?”

I startle, but soon regain my composure upon seeing Nikolai at the doorway of my room. I didn’t even hear him coming close.

His long hair is loose, stopping at his shoulders and giving him a more rugged look. He’s wearing only sweatpants and a grim expression.

Subtly, I slide my phone back into my pocket, then leave the guest room and sign, “It’s a friend.”

Nikolai follows after and stops me in the middle of the reception area. “Brandon King?”

“No.”

“What other friends do you have?”

Touché.

“It’s really not him.” Just his infuriating twin.

Besides, Bran has been keeping his distance from me lately. Whenever I ask if he’s up for a game, he says he has exams coming up or that he’s focused on a project.

The excuses have become so similar that they stand out. I wonder if he found out about me and Landon. Last week, I finally managed to meet up with him and Remi for a game and Landon happened to come by.

I made a show of ignoring him, but he barged right in, teamed up with Remi against me and Bran, then proceeded to kick our asses.

So I sent him an article-length text with a few choice words, at which Lan laughed, shook his head, and whispered something to Bran before he fucked off to make other people miserable. I wondered if Lan had told him something, but then again, Bran was being distant before that incident. Which has been making me feel weird.

Nikolai is right. Brandon is the first friend I’ve made outside my family.

Jeremy is Nikolai’s best friend, not mine. His younger sister, Annika, used to be friends with Maya, not me—that is, until they fell out of each other’s graces.

Not only am I too difficult to get along with, but I also make it a habit to never let anyone close. I developed severe trust issues after that monster stole my voice. And yet Bran put in the effort and made me feel precious. Until lately, of course.

Maybe I can’t have both, after all.

Either the nice twin or the evil one.

“The more you defend him, the higher he gets on my hit list.” Nikolai’s harsh tone sends a dash of panic through my veins. “I’ll see to this myself.”

I grab onto his arm and then shake my head.

Bran is so drastically different from Lan, if they didn’t share identical looks, no one would believe they’re twins, let alone brothers.

I would never forgive myself if I put him on Nikolai’s merciless radar just because I’m selfish enough to want a friend.

“Listen,” I sign. “I’m old enough to choose who I spend time with and who I don’t. I appreciate your protectiveness and I adore you more than you’ll ever know, but you don’t get to tell me who I talk to and who I don’t. Bran did nothing to you or anyone in the Heathens. So this animosity is uncalled for and I won’t allow you to hurt someone innocent just because of his last name.”

Nikolai’s eyes narrow to threatening slits, but his face soon returns to its normal grumpy expression as he grabs my shoulders. “I don’t like the secrecy in whatever you’re doing lately.”

“Everything is okay.” I stroke his arm like Mom used to do whenever he got too into his head. “Trust me.”

He narrows his eyes again. Thankfully, I catch a glimpse of Maya, who must be boring Kill to death, considering his near-murderous expression.

I wave them over.

As soon as they’re within reach, I jump on Killian’s back and headlock him in a not-so-friendly greeting.

He elbows me and when I get back to the ground, he ruffles my hair. Not to brag, but I’m probably his favorite Sokolov, maybe even more so than Niko.

“I was talking, Mia.” Maya gives me a look and taps her shoe on the floor and hikes a hand on her hip. She’s done that since we were toddlers and it’s never changed.

“About insignificant fashion topics that could result in someone’s accidental suicide,” Killian says.

“That’s rude.” She glares at him.

“What’s more rude is your indulgence in these shallow topics that make you look like an airhead.”

“Hey,” I sign to him.

Maya’s never really cared about Killian’s—or anyone’s—opinion of her. She’s a diva and wears it like a badge while flipping everyone the middle finger.

And yet her face reddens. “I’m not an airhead.”

“Then develop more interests that aren’t confined to some boring Paris catwalk show.” He pauses. “Considering our blood relation, your clear tendencies of being a stereotypical brain-dead blonde reflects badly on my perfect image.”

All psychos are arrogant assholes who think the world revolves around their inflated egos.

However, I’ve never felt resentment toward Killian. Granted, he’s never hurt me or my siblings. Even now, he’s not really being malicious to Maya. He’s just trying to provoke her on purpose or something.

“Try harder, Kill.” She flips her hair. “Your arrogance used to rival mine, but I’m only looking at you through the rearview mirror now. It would reflect badly on my goddess image.”

“Stop drooling. Your bullshit is splashing on my fifty-grand shoes.”

“More like your bullshit is polluting the air around my special edition LV dress.”

I get between them and look at Niko so he’ll help break up the verbal fight.

My jaw nearly hits the floor when I see him sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs, eyes closed. I didn’t even notice when he left the scene.

Truth be told, Nikolai has never been good in these situations. Not that he can’t break up fights, but if it doesn’t involve his fists, then he loses all interest.

Thankfully, Gareth walks in, recognizes what’s going on right away, and joins me in breaking up the two most volatile cousins—in the ego department.

“You’re officially blacklisted from my next birthday party,” Maya tells Killian.

“Be right back. I’m going to cry into my pillow.”

Gareth and I manage to take each of them to the dining room. Then I go back to wake up Nikolai so he’ll join us.

He still looks at me weirdly, and for some reason, I can’t suppress my fear for Bran’s safety. Maybe I should warn him just in case?

The problem with Niko is that he appears aloof and only interested in violence, but, in reality, he can be secretive and impossible to read if he chooses to.

The five of us sit down for dinner, with Maya and Killian still bickering like children.

“Where’s Jeremy?” she asks as the food is served and points a fork at Killian, who’s taking Jeremy’s usual place at the head of the table. “I certainly didn’t come for your face.”

“Desperate doesn’t look good on you.” He smirks. “Besides, is it really Jeremy you’re asking about, blondie?”

“W-who else would I be asking about?”

All of us, aside from Niko, who’s busy eating, look at her.

“What?” she whisper-yells.

“You just stuttered,” Killian taunts. “I would’ve sworn you didn’t know how.”

“I did not.”

“I’m afraid you did,” Gareth says.

“See? Even Mother Teresa’s lost son agrees,” Killian replies and makes a show of smearing a piece of meat in blood.

Maya, a vegetarian, scrunches her nose at him and then focuses on Gareth. “Jeremy?”

“He said he has something to do.”

“Without me?” Nikolai finally gets into the conversation.

“Who knows?” Gareth lifts his shoulders. “Tried checking your phone?”

Nikolai does just that and his eyes light up. “I’m out of here.”

“Where are you going?” I sign.

“Nowhere you need to worry about.”

“I thought you insisted we have dinner together.”

“Dinner finished.” He gulps his glass of beer and kisses the top of my head. “Stay out of this, Mia.”

He kisses Maya’s head as well. “Don’t cause any trouble.”

Killian stands up as well and I meet his gaze with my questioning one.

He smiles a little. “Not your scene, baby Sokolov.”

And then they’re out the door, leaving the three of us alone.

“Were you left out, Gaz?” Maya asks with a dejected tone as she stabs her salad over and over again.

“I opted out. I have exams coming up.” He chews leisurely, not even bothering to check his phone.

I have a bad feeling about this.

We put on Maya’s favorite movie, Clueless, but I barely focus on it. I contemplate going to the haunted house, but Lan is probably entertaining his band of posh Elites.

Wait. What the hell?

Since when did I start to call him Lan?

This is so hopelessly disturbing.

By the time the movie ends, Maya is already fast asleep on the couch. Gareth offers to carry her to one of the guest rooms, but I shake my head.

She’ll wake up and will find it hard to fall back asleep.

So I cover her, sit on the floor, and continue staring at my phone.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Lan, it’s that he doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. It’s not in his DNA, vocabulary, or code of conduct.

The fact that he didn’t send any other texts or threaten to barge in doesn’t sit well with me.

He won’t do anything stupid, right?


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