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God of Ruin: Chapter 29

MIA

Today has been an epic proportion of completely random events.

First, Maya asked to take my car because hers broke down and she refuses to have her bodyguards drive her in their, and I quote, ‘super-old businessman Mercedes.’

Second, I walked in on Nikolai nearly falling off the balcony in his sleep and had to pull him inside with Gareth’s help.

He asked me if I’m still seeing Landon, and when I didn’t say anything, he walked away without a word.

Niko has always been my and Maya’s champion. The brother who walked around school announcing that if a hair on either of our heads was touched, they’d have to start preparing for their lifetime vacation in hell.

He was also the one who hid our troublemaking habits from Mom and Dad, though he did give us an earful about it sometimes. Other times, he joined in.

Mostly, he gave us space to live outside the shackles of our mafia princess lives.

So the fact that he’s both mad and disappointed in me makes me feel like shit. Gareth said he’ll come around, but he didn’t sound like he believed his own words.

To make things even worse, I’m trapped by this asshole as soon as I’m finished with classes and walking down the street.

His name is Rory, if I remember correctly. I know him because I’ve often seen pictures of him with Landon at their tacky Elite parties. The reason I remember him so well is because he’s usually beside Nila, whom I personally researched after I heard her talking in Landon’s room.

I was just curious. Nothing more. Okay, maybe I was a little jealous and wanted to see who I was up against.

At any rate, Rory decided that today of all days was the perfect time to make my acquaintance. He’s taller than me, a bit too lean, and has curly blond hair that looks too big for his head. The most striking feature about him, however, is the bloodshot eyes that could be cast in a horror movie.

When he first interrupted my walk, he was wearing sunglasses, but now, he doesn’t seem to care for his rich English boy image.

Under different circumstances, I would’ve faked a smile and pushed past him, but he went ahead and pissed me right the fuck off.

As I was reading Lan’s message—and cursing Maya for the stunt she pulled—this asshole confiscated my phone, held me at arm’s length, and called Lan to tell him blatant lies.

“You’re welcome.” He dangles the phone in front of me after he hangs up.

I snatch it back, rage building at the base of my belly and a thousand curses tingling at the tips of my fingers.

Rory stares over the length of me with complete apathy and obvious disregard as if I’m a doll in a store window. “I have no clue what he sees in you.”

Excuse you?

I’m about to type that, but he continues, “You’re nothing more than a cunt that he could get in the hundreds if he as much as wants to. What’s so special about yours?”

The audacity of this motherfucker. You messed with the wrong person today of all days.

But before I can type a few choice words, he steps into my space, trapping me against the wall of an old closed pub.

“You’re distracting him from what’s important, and we can’t have that. Without Landon plotting mayhem, our club won’t survive.”

That’s a good thing, if you ask me.

But preppy boy Rory doesn’t seem to agree, because his eyes narrow on me in their bloodshot glory. “If you’re gone from the picture, everything will go back to the way it’s supposed to be.”

I type with jerky movements, then show him. “You sure you want to hurt me? One, your balls will be in jeopardy because they’ll be brutalized by yours truly. Two, Landon won’t take kindly to that.”

“Who said anything about hurting you?” A knowing smirk lifts his lips, completely unhinged and entirely evil. “Violence is never really the answer when something a lot tamer will make a better impact. See, Lan might dote on you, but you are and will always be just a phase, and I’ve figured out exactly how to end his irrational fascination. Do you know the one thing Lan doesn’t care for? No? Let me enlighten you, then. He completely loses interest in soiled goods.”

I’m still processing his words when he leans in, pushes my pigtails to the side, and sucks on my neck like a disgusting hyena.

I shove at him, but he’s surprisingly strong for someone who’s made of bones.

So I lift my knee and hit him as hard as I can.

His howl rings in the air as he falls back. I immediately slap a hand on where his lips touched my neck. Judging by how much it aches, the bastard got me good.

He comes back, face red and fist raised in the air, but before he can attack me, my bodyguard immobilizes him and throws him on the cobbled street.

Rory falls on his ass but quickly stands up, snarls at me with the animosity of an unruly animal, then runs away.

My bodyguard inspects me. “Are you okay, miss?”

I nod, still clutching my neck. For some reason, I don’t want anyone to see what the asshole has done.

“Do you need me to go after him and break his legs?” my bodyguard asks.

I shake my head and sign, “I already brutalized his balls as I previously promised. Just drive me home.”

Any desire for a walk has completely disappeared. I just need to hide this stupid mark first.

We ride to my apartment in eternal silence.

I pull up Landon’s texts and type a few of my own.

Maya is just being a little shit. Never mind her. Like you and Bran, we’ve always been overprotective of each other.

You’re right. Fuck the forbidden love concept.

Also, what Rory said just now was a lie. You know that, right?

I delete each and every one of them. I sound guilty when I did nothing wrong.

Instead, I type.

About that statue you made for my birthday, I think I’m ready to see it now.

I stare at my phone for the rest of the journey, but there’s still no reply.

My shoulders drop as I exit the car and get inside the apartment, still having a glaring competition with my phone.

He hasn’t even read it.

Don’t tell me he really believed what Rory said. Worse, was Rory right and Landon loses all interest in soiled good, as he so disgustingly put it?

“Where were you?”

I startle at Maya’s uncharacteristically monotone voice. She’s been waiting by the corner, in darkness, I now realize. All the curtains and blinds are pulled.

After I slide the phone into my pocket, I hit the light switch and sign, “I just got back from class.”

She releases a shaky breath and inspects me like Mom would. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. You’re being weird.”

Her brows knit together as she looks at my neck. “Was that Landon?”

I shake my head. “Some other asshole who has a death wish. Speaking of Landon, why did you pretend to be me? We agreed you wouldn’t do that again after you tried to vet everyone who had an interest in me during high school.”

“Well, they clearly didn’t deserve you since they couldn’t even tell us apart.”

“But Landon did.”

She makes a face. “He’s so perceptive, it’s annoying. Apparently, we don’t have the same eyes. He figured me out from the beginning and pretended he didn’t, just to see what I was up to.”

I smile to myself. That sounds like something Landon would do. He’s such a manipulative asshole, it’s attractive at times.

Only at times, though.

“Why are you smiling like some proud girlfriend? He’s still bad news, Mia.”

“Maybe I’ve always wanted bad news,” I sign. “You know I never liked all the nice boys at school and found the bad boys too shallow. Landon is neither and maybe I like that. As long as he doesn’t hurt my family, I’m ready to see where this goes.”

“You’re…serious.”

“Yeah. I like him, Maya.”

“Ugh. Of all people it had to be him?”

“It’s because it’s him that I like him. I can tell him things and not feel judged.”

“Things like what? You…can’t possibly have told him about the kidnapping, right?”

“Well, not all of it.” But certainly more than she knows, which I feel bad about.

“You can’t possibly trust him, Mia. Besides, Niko will be pissed.”

“Niko has no right to control my love life. Landon already announced a truce that he’s been keeping despite his destructive instinct. So maybe Niko and the others should do the same.”

“You and I know that’s not how it works.” She rubs my arm. “Just…be careful, okay? You know I’m here for you, right?”

“Always.”

She nods, then retreats to her room and closes the door. I hear her talking on the phone, something about wanting to see someone, but I don’t linger around to eavesdrop.

I think she has a new relationship going on, and I have a most probable suspect, but I’ll let her be until she lets me know herself.

I go to my room and gasp when I see the large hickey on my neck.

Fucking Rory will have more than his balls brutalized the next time I see him.

I apply foundation, but the angry purple is still visible, so I put on a choker, but even that doesn’t hide it.

As a last resort, I put on a scarf that’s so against my usual fashion choices, but at least it hides the atrocity.

Again, I check my phone, but there’s still no reply from Landon.

You know what? I don’t need his permission to go and see a statue that’s supposed to be my birthday present.

I’m going back to where everything started on my own.


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