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Lyrical: Chapter 16


Livid doesn’t even cover it.

I’m fucking furious.

How dare Dax go behind my back like this. Is he really not man enough to tell me himself that he no longer wants to partner me? What’s up with that shit? My fake smile drops from my face as I storm around the Academy in search of the man who once swore to protect me. I shove past students who are filing out of the building, no doubt heading home to their families to share a meal and talk about their day. A bitterness settles inside my stomach as I watch them all laughing and joking, not a care in the world.

All I’ve ever wanted was security, a family, a home filled with people who love me, who give a shit about what I’ve done during my day. Instead, I was given a mother who fucking looks at me like a piece of shit beneath her shoe and a brother who looks at me in a way no brother should ever look at his sister.

For a brief time, I had that family I longed for. The Breakers became my whole world and whilst Zayn has recently shown me that he’s willing to start again, none of the others have. I know how close they all are, and I also know that Zayn’s decision to fix what’s broken between us isn’t going to go down well. It will cause a wedge between them. Perhaps it already has if this bullshit is anything to go by.

“Well, if it isn’t our very own street rat,” Tiffany says, as I pass her by. She’s so irrelevant to my life that I didn’t even notice her until she stepped out in front of my path. She’s with Sophie and another male student I don’t recognise.

“Fuck off. I don’t have time for your bullshit today,” I retort, stepping to the side and walking around her, only to be yanked back when her bony fingers wrap around my upper arm.

“Now, now, don’t be rude,” she titters, gleefully. I don’t know what’s got up her nose, but she can fuck right off if she thinks I’m going to let her touch me without repercussions.

“Don’t fucking touch me again!” I snarl, twisting on my feet and shoving her against the wall. Her eyes widen as a woosh of breath leaves her mouth from the force, but she recovers quickly.

A glimmer of amusement flashes in her gaze and a nasty smile spreads across her face. “I’m going to enjoy this,” she smirks.

“Enjoy what?”

“Looks like you got dumped, street rat, and guess who’s taking your place?”

Next to her, Sophie grins, and if I wasn’t already about to knock one stupid bitch out, she’d be getting a Pen knuckle-sandwich too. Still might if she doesn’t wipe that smile off of her face.

“Dumped?” My stomach rolls over and I pray to fucking God she’s not talking about Zayn. We’ve kissed, we called a truce and I’m not naïve enough to think we’re together like we once were, but still, the thought of any kind of rejection stings. I’ve never been a sensitive flower, but I’m not completely infallible, especially when it comes to the Breakers.

“Guess who’s partnering with Dax now?” Her smile grows, and I have the sudden urge to stuff my fist down her throat and yank her nasty tongue out of her mouth. He better not have dropped me for this basic bitch. “Yep, that’s right. Me. You’re looking at Dax’s new duet partner.”

“Bullshit. Tuillard told me she declined Dax’s request.”

“Well, Madame Tuillard isn’t the one who gave him the nod. D-Neath did, and we all know she’s his bitch. Besides, why do you care? You never wanted him as your duet partner, so what’s the big fucking deal anyway?”

“You’re full of shit,” I retort, knowing in my heart that she’s telling the truth, but saying it anyway. I’ll be damned if I give her the satisfaction of being right.

“Go ask him yourself. We’ve just finished rehearsing in Studio Five. He’s all worked up from dancing with me. Nice and sweaty. I’ve never been partial to a man covered in that many tattoos, but I could be persuaded.” She laughs, and Sophie smothers a smirk. The guy standing with them looks horrified. He should find some new friends. “A man that… big, has got to have a beautiful dick to match.”

“You fucking bitch!” I shout, slamming my hand against the wall besides her head. She flinches, fear flashing across her face briefly before she hides it behind a nasty grin. She sure has a death wish, but I don’t have time for her shit right now. I let her go with a shove, ignoring the pain racing up my arm and the vicious remarks that follow me down the hallway. She can go fuck herself. This is not happening.

The door to Studio Five slams open from the force of my anger, smashing against the wall. Dax is standing topless in the centre of the room, his gaze lifts slowly to meet mine. He doesn’t say a word, so I say three for him.

“You fucking coward!” I shout, my chest heaving.

“It’s done.”

“That’s it? That’s fucking it! I get to hear from Tiffany that you’ve dropped me for her!” I laugh hysterically, too angry to even allow the tears to fall. They burn my eyes, but I blink them back. “You don’t give me any say in the matter?”

“Did you?”


“Did you give me, give us any say in the matter when you decided to walk away?”

“I—” My mouth pops open then slams shut because really, what the fuck can I say to that other than he’s right? I didn’t.

“Then don’t expect the same consideration, Pen. We can’t dance together. There’s nothing more to say than that.”

He watches me for a moment, and I take my fill of him. His chest is covered in a sheen of sweat just like Tiffany had said, highlighting his tattoos, darkening them. Dax is a beautiful man, quietly powerful, and when he dances… God, he’s exquisite. It’s little wonder all the girls want to get into his pants.

“Why?” I ask, hating the croak in my voice. Hating the vulnerability I can’t seem to hide. I realise I have no right to feel this upset because as angry as I am, Tiffany was correct, I didn’t want to dance with him. Except now that he’s taken the decision out of my hands, I fucking hate the idea of him dancing with that bitch, with anyone else. Of all the four Breakers, dancing with Dax was like coming home.

He was my home.

“Does it matter?” He starts to stretch, pulling his arms up above his head so that the muscles on his chest and arms tighten then release as he drops them.

“It matters to me.”

“Why? You didn’t want to dance with me, Pen. You made that perfectly clear when we were paired up. Has that changed?” He pierces me with his eyes and the way he holds my gaze has my skin prickling with goosebumps. “Well?”

I look away, not able to tell him how I really feel. I do want to dance with him, so fucking much, but I’m too fucking proud, too fucked-up, too confused, too shit-scared to tell him how I feel.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” he says, misinterpreting my reaction. He walks over to where his stuff is sitting on the table and grabs hold of his mobile phone. When I don’t leave, he glances over his shoulder at me. “Haven’t you got somewhere to be?”

“No, actually, I haven’t.”

He nods, turning away from me and I take a seat on the bench that lines the wall, watching him as he puts on a t-shirt, the material pulling taut across his broad shoulders and back.


“Yes, Pen?” His eyes meet mine in the reflection of the mirror.

“Why did you protect me from Malik Brov?”

He stiffens, his jaw clenching before he turns around slowly to face me. “Why did you save me from getting a bullet in the head?” he counters.

We stare at each other for long moments, long past the point of it being comfortable. The truth is right there hanging in the air between us. Just one word that has both the power to bind people together and the power to rip them apart.


He waits. I falter.

Laughter shatters the tension in the air, preventing the truth from spilling from my lips. I swallow it down painfully and turn to find a group of kids walking into the studio, they can’t be any more than thirteen or fourteen years old, and gather in the doorway nervously.

You’re our dance teacher?” a cheeky-looking boy with a flop of auburn hair asks, giving Dax a once-over. He has his arm casually slung over a girl’s shoulder. Her large brown eyes widen as she takes Dax in. I notice a flicker of fear in her gaze.

“Looks that way.”

The boy grins. “This is my girl, Olivia.”

“Nice to meet you Olivia,” Dax says. He glances over at me and I realise my mouth is hanging open in shock. I slam it shut. He’s teaching kids how to dance. I’m stunned.

“And what should I call the rest of you?” Dax asks, waving them into the room.

“I’m Justin,” the same boy with the cheeky smile says, introducing himself. His auburn hair falls into his eyes as he speaks. “This is Rafe, Tam, and his little brother, Sidney.”

They all give Dax a nod of the head. I feel their wariness, but can sense their excitement too.

“Nice to meet you all. Shall we get started then?” Dax asks.

They enter the room and Justin—who I’m beginning to understand might be the leader of this little crew—clocks me gawping at them.

“Who’s she?” he asks, jerking his chin towards me.

“That’s Pen and she was just leaving,” Dax says, fixing me with his stare.

“Actually, I thought I’d stay.” I drag my gaze away from Dax and smile at the girl, Olivia. She smiles back, her body language relaxing a little. I don’t blame her for her apprehension, Dax is intimidating at the best of times.

“If you’re going to stay then you’re going to need to take part. I won’t have any slackers in my class,” Dax challenges, lifting a brow.

“Fine by me.”

Thirty minutes into the lesson, Dax has taught the kids some basic street dance steps and a quick routine. Like me, he has also established who in the group has the most natural talent and who needs an extra hand. He crooks his finger at Justin. “Up front,” he says.

Justin steps forward with a cocky swagger. He winks at Olivia, who blushes. I notice how Tam, the kid with the beautiful smile and chin dimples, glances at her when he thinks no one’s looking. Looks like Olivia’s got herself another admirer. She catches his gaze and smiles back shyly.

“You’re a good dancer. Got a lot of natural ability.”

Justin grins, smirking. “Cheers.”

“But you’re not the best. Sidney, come on up.”

Justin’s jaw drops as the youngest boy in the group steps forward. He looks at least a year younger than the other boys, around twelve I’d say. Dax drops his large hand on Sidney’s shoulder. “Wanna tell me how you learnt to dance?”

“YouTube,” he replies quietly.

I can’t help but smile.

“Like someone else I know.” Dax glances at me and I feel my cheeks flush under his scrutiny. “Pen here has been dancing since she was a kid about your age, probably before that actually. She’s one of the most talented dancers in the Academy. She started out learning to dance by watching YouTube videos then crafted her skill by dancing with her friends.” He lets his gaze linger on me before looking away again.

“So are you saying we’ll all become great dancers by watching YouTube? If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have bothered coming here,” Justin scoffs, obviously feeling a little salty for not being the best dancer in his crew.

“No, I’m saying that anyone can learn to dance if they really want it badly enough but ultimately, dance is just an expression of how you feel, and we all feel, right? Sidney here gave me the most emotion. That makes him the best dancer.”

“Hear that, Sid, you’re basically a pansy,” Justin laughs, and Sidney’s head drops, his face blushing furiously. No one else laughs and then it’s Justin’s turn to go red-faced. “What? Everyone knows Sid’s gay.”

“I’m not gay, arsehole,” Sidney says fiercely, his fingers curling into his fists.

Dax scowls and I see his fingers squeeze hold of Sidney’s shoulder gently in support. “It takes a small man to pick on a kid, but a bigger man to embrace his feelings,” Dax says to Justin. “You, my friend, will never be as talented as Sidney here because you’re afraid of your feelings. Putting someone else down to make you feel good about yourself ain’t fucking cool. Apologise. Right the fuck now.”

Justin’s face turns an even deeper red. He glances at Olivia, presumably for support, but she’s glaring at him too. “Sorry, man,” he mutters.

“Good. If you’re going to be in my dance lessons you listen to my advice, do as I say, and don’t be a goddamn bully. Understand?” Dax growls.

“Got it,” all the kids mutter in unison.


“So, erm, do you dance with your feelings then?” Sidney asks, looking up at Dax, a frown on his face.

“What, you don’t think I can?” he asks, chuckling.

“Well, you’re kinda tough looking. I mean… Shit, no offence,” Sidney mutters, his cheeks flaming.

“Dancing isn’t just about following the steps. You need to dance with feeling.”

The kids don’t look particularly convinced and I can’t help but step in. “Why not show them, Dax?” He locks gazes with me. “Show them that you’re so much more than your appearance leads them to believe. Show them you have heart and integrity when you dance.”

Show me. Show me the boy I loved is still within you.

He holds my gaze and I see his indecision, then he jerks his chin towards the bench. “Take a seat.”

Dax sets up the music, then he moves to the centre of the studio and we all wait for him to begin.


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