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Lyrical: Chapter 30


The following week things at the Academy go relatively smoothly. Beast keeps me informed about Lena, and so far no one’s attempted to kill her. However, there have been a few horny teenagers who’ve got too close and been given a boot up the arse. I couldn’t help but chuckle when Lena complained about her lack of pulling powers on the phone to me last night. Little does she know that there are two very capable men scaring off potential suitors. Good. She needs to concentrate on her studies anyway. She’ll totally thank me for it later.

York, Zayn and I hang out when we can. Being together again is still all so new, and since our talk last week, they’ve both backed off a little in the touchy-feely department. It’s not that I don’t want their kisses and their attention that way, because I really fucking do, but we’re trying to build our trust and friendship, and right now being intimate has taken a backseat to that.

“So, erm, how’s Dax and Xeno?” I ask tentatively, taking a sip of my coffee and peering at them both from behind my rather large coffee mug. It’s Thursday morning, and we’re sharing a table in the canteen grabbing a drink before lessons start for the day. I’m shattered from a week long dose of rehearsals for the end of year performance and really fucking exhausting dance classes. This week Madame Tuillard seems to have turned up the heat beneath all our teachers, and every lesson has been full on, sweat-dripping, muscle-shaking torture. I love it though. “Guys?” I prompt when they don’t answer right away.

York glances at Zayn then pulls a face. “Dax is being a stubborn bastard, and Xeno is being… difficult.”

I sigh. “Yeah, I get it.”

Zayn reaches across the table and grabs my hand. “They’ll come around, Pen.”

“Who’s coming?” Clancy asks, her eyes bright and her grin wide as she and River slide onto the bench next to me. This girl’s got a one track mind.

“We were just talking about—”

Coming to Chastity Nightclub with us tomorrow night?” she interrupts, looking at me and smiling broadly. Is she asking them to join us or just fucking with them? She finds it highly amusing when they go all alpha possessive, and loves to wind them up at every possible opportunity. Clancy knows that us going clubbing without them is a sure-fire way to do that.

“You’re going clubbing tomorrow?” Zayn asks, looking between the three of us. I see a flicker of possessiveness flash across his eyes before he covers it up with a smile. Part of me is turned on by his jealous streak, the other part is appalled. I’m all for girl power and I’ve never been one for letting a man tell me what I can and can’t do. Though, seeing he cares enough to feel jealous does something to me.

“It’s Clancy’s birthday—” I explain.

“Count us in then!” York grins widely, raising an eyebrow at Clancy and daring her to object.

“Sure thing, partner, though don’t expect me to get you into the VIP area too. You’ll just have to use your charms. River, Pen and I already have a nice spot waiting for us.”

“Is that so?” York asks, staring at me with raised brows.

“Yup,” River confirms, grinning. Urgh, he and Clancy are a nightmare. “Clancy tells me it’s a themed club. Better get your leathers, whips, and handcuffs ready, Pen.”

“Wait, what?!” I snap, narrowing my eyes at them both. They better be pulling my leg. I am not going to some dodgy sex club. Then I remember Clancy’s dad is paying for our night out, and I relax. There’s no way he’d be up for covering the cost for us to go to a sex club.

“Don’t worry, River. I’ll make sure I come prepared,” I say, playing along.

Both York and Zayn make a kind of growling noise that has Clancy and River cackling and my lip twitching with mirth.

“Hey, girl. I’m gonna need you to bring the leash too…” Clancy gives me a quick peck on the cheek then grabs River and runs. Oh my god, she really does love to stir up shit. I shake my head at her as she walks away. She just throws me a kiss over her shoulder. “Love you,” she mouths.

“What?” I ask when I finally make eye contact with York and Zayn.

“Chastity Nightclub, eh?” York asks, cocking his head and dragging his thumb over his bottom lip. Why the fuck is that so sexy? Is there some secret club where boys go to learn sexy stuff like this or do they just go on TikTok and pick up all the lip biting, hair stroking, and eyebrow arching intense shit from there? I take another mouthful of coffee for something to do, because all of a sudden the air has got thick with sexual tension.

“Uh huh, she’s turning twenty and wanted to do something fun.”

Fun? I’ve heard about that nightclub,” Zayn says, toying with his own mug of coffee as he runs his finger around the rim. He smiles, baring his hot as fuck chipped tooth at me. In fact, they’re both looking at me so intently that my cheeks start to heat.

“It’s no big deal, just a few drinks and dancing the night away. You should come.”

“Oh, Titch, you really don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?”

“It is a sex club.”

Zayn grins, looking at York as they both stand. “I’ll bring the handcuffs, you wanna bring your truncheon?”

“What?” I practically spit out my coffee at the look of pure lust in their eyes, not to mention amusement.

“Catch you later, Titch. You better come prepared.”


“Pen, you’re in for a treat.” Zayn winks and they both walk off with stupid grins on their faces, leaving me feeling way too breathless for first thing in the morning. I snatch up my mobile phone from my table and tap out a quick message.

Me: Clancy, I’m going to murder you!!!

In response she sends me a stream of laughing emojis, followed by an eggplant and a purple smiling devil face.

Me: Seriously, your dad got you VIP treatment at a fucking sex club?!

Clancy: My dad is very liberal. Besides, it’s not a sex club per se. They just make use of some very hot, naked dancers and private rooms for, erm… chatting in. Promise it’s just dancing and drinking… Unless of course…

“Oh, my fucking God,” I mutter, and I’m not sure if I’m imagining it, but I swear I can hear Clancy laughing from the other side of the Academy.

Later that night I wake up from a nightmare where Lena is lying lifeless on her bed, deep purple marks ringing her throat. A sob escapes my throat as the remnants of the dream still try to persuade me it was real, but I force myself to rationalise what is and isn’t true.

Lena is safe.

She has guards watching over her every minute of the day.

She. Is. Safe.

Despite that, I send a quick message to Beast, not expecting an answer but getting one anyway.

Beast: Lena is good. Sleep.

It’s past two in the morning and I already know that sleep isn’t going to come. So I get dressed and head down to one of the studios to dance off my restlessness. At night, the Academy is vastly different to the hustle and bustle of a busy day. The corridors are dark and filled with hidden corners where predators could lie in wait. I know feeling this creeped out is just the after effect of my dream still trying to convince me that there’s danger around every turn, so I do my best to ignore the feeling that I’m not the only one sneaking through the halls at night.

Heading into Studio Three, the automatic lights flicker on overhead and I place my mobile in the dock, turning on the music and keeping the sound level low. I stretch through one song, easing out the knots in my muscles, then begin to move to the beat of the next song.

It’s I Can’t Make You Love Me sung by Teddy Swims.

This damn song perfectly suits my mood.

Unrequited love. A broken heart. Loss. Heartache.

It’s all wrapped up in this song. A song I’ve listened to on repeat countless times.

I might have a glimmer of hope knowing that Zayn and York are willing to work through our feelings, but my heart has always been equally divided up into four pieces. Each part belongs to one of the Breakers. I know it won’t ever beat fully again without them all.

And that just isn’t going to happen. I feel the truth of that knowledge like a bludgeon to my heart, it smashes through my chest forcing my knees to the floor.

My head falls forward, my fingertips sliding over the dusty wooden floorboards as tears clog my throat. For a moment, I just allow the music to wash over me, and I’m reminded of Xeno’s cutting words and Dax’s dance. Two men, two pieces of my heart who refuse to let me back in.

I don’t blame them.

I hurt them.

I deserve this pain.

Pressing my palms to the floor, I lift my body slightly and slide my feet outwards slowly into a side split before sweeping them together in front of me. Teddy sings about unrequited love, about not being able to force someone when it comes to love, and that sob in my throat breaks free. I capture it in my hand, cupping my fingers over it as though it’s a living, breathing thing.

I suppose it is in a way.

Over the years my pain has become its own entity, growing within me, suffocating me as it became this monstrous thing. I don’t want to feel that way anymore.

I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to hate. I don’t want to be afraid.

Climbing slowly to my feet, I kick out into a spin. Above me, my cupped hands hold onto that ball of pain I’ve kept buried inside of me. For a long time no one could see it.

I kept it hidden from my sister to protect her.

I kept it hidden from my mother to protect myself.

I kept it hidden from Jeb and my brother to show strength when inside I was breaking.

I kept it hidden from the Breakers to ensure their safety.

Moving across the floor, I dance with my pain held in my hands, wanting so badly to let it go. Every step I take, every turn and leap is edged with a sadness that tries hard to break me.

But something else happens too.

A sense of understanding.

I need to set my pain free and the only way I’m going to be able to do that is by sharing the truth.

I need to tell the Breakers what happened that night.

I need to tell them the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

Then and only then will I be free.

And maybe, just maybe they’ll be set free too.

With that thought in my heart, I open my palms and let the pain go.

I set it free.

Gathering my phone, I leave the studio and walk slowly back to my flat, unaware that someone else had watched my dance, unaware that they’d captured my pain and made it their own.


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