Lyrical: Chapter 1


Pen

I have a choice. I know that.

Fight back and sign Lena’s death warrant.

Obey and get raped.

Running is no longer an option. It never was.

“That’s it, Penelope, do the right thing,” Jeb sneers as I turn to face him. His warm breath curdles the air that’s already filled with the heady scent of sex and debauchery. Around us people are fucking like animals, all sense of decency left at the entrance to Grim’s club. Not that any of these fuckers had much to begin with. They’re all gangsters, fucking criminals. They don’t give a shit. Their sense of right and wrong is skewed to suit their own sense of morality. This is probably an average night out for them.

“I’m sure Zayn will make you feel good, Penelope. I’ve heard he’s quite the lover.” Jeb’s laughter scratches down my spine, making me stiffen as bile burns my throat.

My instinct is to fight back, but if I do that then David will be the least of my problems. He’s in fucking Mexico, after all. Right here and now, Jeb is just a short car ride away from my little sister who has no fucking clue about the target on her head.

“Did you think I’d forget? That I’d let this go?”

“No,” I bite out. Of course I didn’t. Jeb hasn’t got to this position by backing out of his threats. He collects his debt in blood, tears, and death. Everyone knows that, including me. I just wish I hadn’t allowed myself to fall into the false sense of security that the last three years have afforded me. Now, after all that time, Jeb’s cashing in part of my debt.

Tonight Zayn is playing his doppelganger for the sole purpose of fucking me in front of all these bastards. What I don’t understand is why Jeb gives a shit anyway? Why does he feel he needs to hide his sexual preferences? What difference does being gay make? This is the twentieth century for fuck’s sake.

“Pretty girl, just fucking relax. You loved him once. I’m sure he’ll make it good for you…” Jeb has the gall to say, his blasé attitude boiling my blood.

“I can’t believe Zayn would agree to this. I know I hurt him, but this?”

“You know you want it. Don’t lie to yourself, Penelope. I bet you’re wet thinking about Zayn fucking you in front of the Breakers. Isn’t that what pissed your brother off so much, knowing that you were a whore for them?”

“Fuck you,” I seethe, holding onto the anger because tears are unthinkable. I will not shed any for this man, and I refuse to shed any more for the Breakers.

“It ain’t me who’s getting fucked tonight, pretty girl. Though admittedly, your feistiness is turning me on just a little,” he admits, with a surprised laugh. “Who would’ve thought it?”

“You’re sick. This is rape,” I snarl back, yanking my arms from his grip. My gaze flicks to the table beside us and the empty bottle of champagne. If I could just reach it, I could use it as a weapon.

Jeb smiles lazily beneath his mask, even though his black eyes flash with warning. “Nuh-uh-huh,” he says, wagging his finger in my face. “Grim’s men will take you out, and your little sister will be dead within the hour. The only fighting in Grim’s club is in the cage. Those are the rules. Of course, hate sex is positively encouraged.” He tips his head back and laughs like a fucking bloodthirsty hyena.

Around us the patrons are oblivious to the war raging within me, too busy fucking like animals, or snorting long lines of coke laid out onto plates of mirrored glass in front of them. The trouble is, there’s no winning side. Not for me. I’m fucked any way you look at it. Knowing that, my hands remain by my side. I want to scream, my fists curl and uncurl and my jaw aches from clenching it so tightly, but nothing compares to the anger and betrayal I feel. Nothing.

It burns inside of me, ripping through my chest like an out of control fire gutting a home filled up with memories. Jeb might be the instigator, the guy who holds all the strings, but the Breakers, they’re the ones who agreed to this.

Zayn agreed to this.

And that’s unforgivable.

“So what’s it to be, Penelope? We could do this the easy way or the hard way, but either way, you’re getting fucked right here in front of all these people.”

“Why does it even matter? Why do you care so much about what people think of you? Fuck a man, Jeb. Grow some goddamn balls,” I hiss, trying to buy some time, not caring that my words will piss him off. The longer he’s standing here arguing with me, the better. Maybe I can keep him occupied long enough for this debauchery to be over. I might pay for it later, but I’m going to take my chances. Jeb steps closer, gripping my upper arm as he yanks me towards him.

“Don’t try and psychoanalyse me, bitch. It doesn’t matter why I do what I do. It only matters that you fucking obey!” he sneers.

Twisting on his feet, he pulls me towards Zayn and my worst fucking nightmare. I know I’m strong. I’ve survived years of abuse, but this. How can I survive this? I loved Zayn. I still love him despite everything, but that love is quickly draining away like water through sand.

As I walk through the dense heat of the warehouse, I remember that time when Zayn and I had made out on Xeno’s bed. I remember how I’d adored his kisses, relished his touch. I remember how I revelled in his words of affection and love. My heart had been so fucking full. Back then, Xeno had watched and it had turned me on knowing he was there. Back then, I’d been a willing participant.

Back then, they had both loved me.

Those boys would never, ever have contemplated rape, let alone agree to it. Surely they’re not so different now, right? Surely, what we had meant something? Then again, a lot can change in three years, especially when you’re part of the Skins. Perhaps they’re beyond repair, so damaged by this life they’ve led that there’s no coming back from it. My steps falter as we near their table, my body trembling.

“Don’t fight this, Penelope. You need to put on a convincing show; your baby sister’s life depends on it,” Jeb reminds me.

I clamp my mouth shut on the sob that threatens to break free. I will do anything for Lena. Anything. I survived what happened before. I’ll survive this. My feet feel leaden with every step, but I don’t fight. I keep walking. On the far side of the warehouse, I see their red skull masks. They look like the devil’s henchmen, waiting for my return.

Waiting to break me.

The closer we get, the more I feel their gaze penetrate my skin like tiny nicks from a knife. Every slice has my heart stuttering for breath and my soul crying out for some kind of intervention. Around us, the fucking has become frenzied, dark, feral. One gangster has a woman gripped by the throat, her mouth slack in desire and the skin around her lips dusted a shade of blue. If he hadn’t just released her throat, so that she could scream out her orgasm, I have no doubt death would’ve taken her.

Directly to our left, the same female gangster who was getting eaten out earlier is now straddling a burly man, and is riding him hard. She catches my eye and must see something because mid fuck she reaches out to grab my wrist. I yelp at the tightness of her grip as she yanks me down to her mouth, the scent of her desire is pungent and far too intimate. Jeb stills, looking between us, but for some reason he doesn’t pull me away. He gives her a moment to say what she wants to say.

“I see the fear in your eyes, girl. This isn’t the place for that. Do what you need to survive.” Then she lets me go, leans over the man beneath her and grips his jaw before fucking his mouth with her tongue and his dick with her pussy.

Jeb whistles low, his fingers digging into my upper arm as we move away from them. “You’ve caught the attention of The Belladonnas. Interesting.”

“The Belladonnas?” I ask, again trying to distract him.

“Yeah, those bitches run Manchester. No one moves drugs in or out of that city without their say so, but their time will come,” he explains, the arrogant arsehole.

He’s so fucking sure of himself. Of his power and his reach.

But he’s still flesh and blood, muscle, and bone. Jeb has a weakness, and I’m the one who’s aware of it. That gives me power. I didn’t understand that when I was a kid. I do now. Gritting my jaw, I straighten my spine and hold my head high as we walk back to the table, a plan forming.

“Here we go, Sir,” Jeb says, smiling with glee as he pushes me towards Zayn.

I stumble a little, keeping my gaze fixed on Zayn, the boy I found friendship with first. His onyx eyes flash with anger and something else, something close to pity. It makes a fire burn inside me.

Well, fuck him.

I don’t want his pity. I want him to stand up against Jeb. I need him to do the right thing. I have to hope he’s still capable of it.

“Where have you been?” Zayn asks, flicking his gaze between us both. There are questions in his eyes that remind me of the night I broke his heart. Questions he should’ve voiced back then instead of holding inside. Not one of the Breakers questioned my actions.

They let me go.

They. Let. Me. Go.

“We were just having a little… chat,” Jeb shrugs, sitting at the table. He leans over and grabs the bottle of whisky and pours himself a shot of the golden liquid, smacking his lips after swallowing it down. “We’re back. Now the fun can really start.”

Not one of the Breakers speak up. All four of them remain tight-lipped. Out of everyone here I thought at least Dax would do something. He was the one who always protected me, who came to my rescue first. My Dark Angel.

Not this time.

This time I have to save myself.

With a calmness that I didn’t know I possessed, I turn to look at Jeb, locking eyes with the man that is using me like a whore who can be loaned out at his whim.

“You wanted a show. I’m going to give you one you’ll never forget,” I say, then remove my mask and place it on the table. My trembling fingers linger over the shiny plastic as I hold back the tears pricking my eyes. There are too many memories bound up in that mask. That night, three years ago, I might have removed this mask, just like I have now, but I hid behind another of my own making to save my sister, to save these four men sitting before me now. Tonight, I’m going to lay myself bare to save myself and buy some time. Right now I need the Breakers to see into the very heart of me. They can hide behind these glowing red skull masks like fucking cowards, but I sure as fuck won’t hide. Let them see my anger. Let them see my pain, my fear.

Let them see me.

I look at Dax first, my eyes boring into his. He holds my stare, his mouth pressed into a hard line. On the table, his leather-clad fingers curl into a fist. He’s barely holding onto that anger he’s so famous for. Teardrop Dax, the man who can make grown men cry, but who’s never once shed a tear of his own. I can’t tell if his anger is aimed at me or Jeb, or something else altogether. Either way, he’s on edge. Good. Maybe it’s going to take something like this to push him to act.

Next I turn to face York. He studies me closely, and this time when he looks at me, I don’t hide a thing. I lay myself bare. If he can still read me like he could so well when we were kids, he’ll know exactly how I’m feeling now. In fact, I’m counting on it.

Beside him, Xeno meets my gaze with a hard stare of his own. He was always the most difficult to reach and now it’s no different. I swallow hard, my heart aching for everything we had and all that we’ve lost.

“Come on, Penelope, we haven’t got all night,” Jeb says from behind me.

I ignore him. With a shaky breath, and my head held high, I finally focus on Zayn who is glaring at his uncle.

Jeb, I need you to look at me,” I say to Zayn, barely holding onto my disgust for his part in this charade. There’s a firmness to my voice that’s sharp, lethal. To feel this way towards Zayn isn’t something I’m used to. Hurt and disappointment, yes, but never disgust. Feeling like this cuts me deeply, and I want to hurt him back.

Tonight, I’m going to do that.

He twists his torso, canting his head to look at me, but he doesn’t say a word. The speakers blast out Arsonist’s Lullabye by Hozier, adding to the already oppressive atmosphere. The moaning around us intensifies. The fucking becomes even more frenzied, feeding into the sin and carnal pleasure that unravels at every table. It’s a cocktail of violence, passion, and brutal sex. Chairs fall to the floor, glasses smash and tables rock under the weight of rampant desire. The heat in the room rises and a light sheen of sweat spreads out over my skin. I don’t know whether the Breakers are enjoying this moment or if they’re as uncomfortable as I am. Either way, the tension rises with every second that passes and my skin prickles with apprehension.

I can’t back out now.

Blocking out everyone around us, I concentrate on Zayn. “Turn your chair around and face me,” I repeat, lowering my voice and softening those sharp edges just enough to give him pause.

“I don’t take orders from you,” he replies, the tone of his voice dark, glittering with challenge and lust. Behind us, Jeb sniggers. He’s fucking loving this. Screw him.

“I have something you want, and I can’t give it to you if you’re tucked beneath the table.”

Fuck,” York grinds out, and I can hear the disbelief in his voice.

I ignore him. I ignore the heat of the Breakers’ stares. If this is going to work I’m going to need more than their eyes on me. I’m going to need the whole fucking warehouse to take note.

Zayn shifts his chair around to face me, his legs widening so that I can step into the space he makes. He leans back, his hands on his thighs, his fingers relaxed as he watches me.

I wait for his gaze to run up my body before resting on mine and swallow hard when I see the flash of pain he’s holding onto. It makes me hesitate. Could I have read him wrong? But just like hope, that look is fleeting, gone before I can even grab hold of it, tuck it inside my chest and let it grow.

“What is it that you think I want?” he asks, not taking his eyes off of me. His ebony irises bore into my skin, piercing flesh and bone, aiming right for my heart.

It’s now or never.

I have to keep Lena safe.

“This,” I whisper, then twist away from him, part my legs and bend at the waist, my dress riding up around my hips with the movement. My hands grab my ankles as I look up at him from between my calves. My hair falls in a shroud around my face as Zayn stares at the silky material of my black, lacy underwear that rides up my arse and wraps around my pussy lips, leaving little to the imagination.

His mouth parts and his teeth bite into his bottom lip. That chipped tooth I love leaving an indent.

He wants me.

And I’ve never wanted to kill someone more than right at this moment.

This bastard actually thinks I’m going to fuck him willingly.

Betrayal bleeds like acid into my veins, fuelling me with a rage that overwhelms me. I want to claw at his face. I want to rip him to shreds. I want to rip all of the Breakers to shreds just like they’ve done to me with their barbed comments and their cruelty over the past few weeks. Well, screw him. Screw them. This is as close to my pussy they’re ever going to get.

On the next beat, I straighten up. Twirling on the ball of my left foot, I spin around to face Zayn, my loose hair flaring around me as I move, lashing at my skin. My chest heaves, my face flushes with heat and my fingers curl into my palms. I’m aware that the skirt of my dress has hitched up to reveal the bottom of my arse cheeks, and the mound of my knicker-covered pussy, but I don’t pull it down.

Let them look. Let them all fucking look. If they didn’t see my emotions before, then they sure as fuck can’t mistake them now. My anger is a living, breathing beast that reveals itself in the baring of my teeth, the flaring of my nostrils, the narrowing of my eyes and the raggedness of my breath. Zayn’s gaze snaps up to meet mine just as the words of the song hang in the air around us, a heavy shroud of truth, precise in its timing. When I was a kid, I was fooled by the Breakers. I’d believed that they’d loved me. I’d believed they’d always have my back, would always fight in my corner. It was all lies. Now all I’m left with is this fire burning inside of me ready to eviscerate everything in its path.

“Pen…” Zayn murmurs, his fingers gripping hold of the material of his trousers tightly as I glare back at him.

Pressing back the bitter tears that threaten to fall, I lean over, rest my hands on Zayn’s shoulder and whisper into his ear. “You cannot take what isn’t freely given, Zayn Bernard. You fucking disappoint me.”

With that I place my bare foot on the chair between his open thighs and step up onto the table, kicking the glasses and bottles out of my way. I get a feeling of satisfaction as one of the goblets hits Jeb on the arm, before crashing to the floor. I’m going to pay for that, but right now I don’t give a shit. He jerks towards me, baring his teeth but Zayn holds his arm out, preventing him from getting close. I don’t get to think about that too much because with the next beat, I slam my left foot on the table and proceed to follow up with an angry time-step. I might have slowed down the step a little to compliment the beat of the song, but it still conveys the emotion I wish to get across. In bare feet it doesn’t have quite the same effect that it would have with tap shoes on, but when I glance down at York, I can see he’s beginning to understand. Thoughts whir behind his icy-blue eyes as he watches me intently.

In fact they’re all watching me.

If they wanted a show, they’re going to get one, just not the one they expected. Dance has saved me countless times before. I’ve no doubt in my mind that it’s going to do the same tonight.

It has to.

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