Blaire Conrad was untouchable.
I leaned against my locker in the hallway, watching as she flounced by in her tight little pink dress and turned her head, catching my gaze with those frigid ice queen eyes of hers before she spun around in the opposite direction, whispering something into the ear of one of her bimbo minions at her side. The blonde one rotated back toward me and I narrowed my eyes at her in a challenge before she squeaked and leaned into Blaire’s shoulder in a maneuver of solidarity.
I really didn’t have the patience to deal with that shit today. To be honest, I never really had the patience to deal with Blaire’s shit after everything that had happened between us. She’d chosen her path long ago. She’d chosen her popularity over me despite everything I’d done for her.
She’d shown me that she wasn’t worth my time.
I shouldn’t be thinking about her. But I did anyway because, despite it all, I’m still fucking weak for every single goddamn thing about her.
The most popular girl in school. Tall. Slender. Perfect. Totally fucking gorgeous. Not only that, she was the academy’s sole source of hot, juicy gossip. If there was drama, she was involved in it. She was likely behind the whole thing in the first place. She’d been known to organize social media campaigns against her rivals, labeling them as loose or dirty while keeping herself on this clean, perfect little pedestal.
She also surrounded herself with people she called her friends. I called them her minions because their sole job was to gather the information that she could use against anyone trying to take her down. She was ruthless in her ascent to be the queen of Stonewall Academy.
That made her dangerous.
Even so, I still sort of looked out for her from time to time. She didn’t know it, nor did I want her to know, but I was the whole reason she was even here at this school in the first place. I was the reason her family could afford the designer labels in her closet. The Kate Spade purse on her shoulder. The thousands of dollars in jewelry on her body.
That was me. I had done that for her.
I’d given her everything and now I hated what she’d turned into because of it.
I shook my head, trying to focus on something else. Anything else other than the perfect little body of Blaire Conrad. Naked. Tied down on my bed.
Fucking hell. She was like my goddamned kryptonite.
I made myself think of other things by the sheer brute force of will. Like the bottle of whiskey waiting in my closet. Or the new shooting game that I’d preordered months ago that was currently sitting in my mailbox, just waiting for me to fetch it.
After all, it was Friday and I didn’t have to think about classes again till Monday.
The hallway was buzzing with excitement for the weekend. The last period bell had already rung, releasing us from the torment of our last class and everyone was talking about the party at Blaire’s tonight. Her parents were out of town and she had her mansion on the beach all to herself. Her mom and dad knew she did this from time to time and looked the other way. As long as everything was cleaned by the time they got back and nothing too expensive was ruined, they didn’t really care.
Last I knew, her mom even encouraged it. It was almost like she was living vicariously through her daughter and letting her experience all the things that she had never could, being from the projects in Brooklyn and all.
I wasn’t planning on going. I was something of a loner, a reputation that I’d carefully curated around myself to keep anyone from getting close to me. To keep them safe in case shit ever hit the fan and my dad and the family got into a turf war with one of the other big five in New York. It was just something I had to do. I’d accepted that part of me long ago.
I wasn’t meant to have friends, but at the same time I demanded respect.
I kept to myself as I stuffed a few textbooks in my backpack and strode past all the lockers, doing my best to avoid interacting with any of the people in the hallway. Most of them avoided me and moved out of the way as quickly as they could, afraid of the rumors they heard about me. I felt Blaire watching me as I walked by just like she always did before pretending to be lost in thought about what tight little dress she was going to wear to the next major popularity contest in her life.
I didn’t even turn in her direction. She didn’t deserve it.
Whispers turned into a gentle roar, the sound of voices carrying on and bouncing off of the tile floor. I ignored much of it, but a certain male voice carried louder than the others. Maybe it was the mention of her name or the fact that it was the sleazy football quarterback she was dating. Matt Romano, who was known for taking advantage of chicks whenever he could, but my ears perked up right before I turned the corner and passed the entryway to the boys’ locker rooms.
“Did you get the shit for tonight?” Matt whispered, trying to keep his voice low and failing miserably.
“Yeah, man. Some grade-A shit. Guaranteed to get you into Blaire’s pants tonight. Best part? She won’t even remember it tomorrow morning. She’ll wake up sore and confused and without that little v-card she likes to prance around and pretend to have,” Vic replied. I gritted my teeth and swallowed my fury as I came to a stop, nonchalantly leaning against the wall and pretending to check something on my phone.
“It’s about fucking time. I’ve been dating her for almost six months now. I swear she’s been a goddamn dick tease this whole time. Trying to say she was saving herself until she’s sure we’re the real thing, blah blah blah. I’m so sick of the blue balls, man,” Matt complained, and I wanted to punch him square in the nose, but I stayed still and kept quiet. I needed to hear more.
“Yeah. She owes you, man,” Vic agreed.
“So, all I have to do is pour it in her drink then when she isn’t looking?” Matt asked, and it took everything in me to contain myself and not explode my fist right into the side of his head. Instead, I opened up his Instagram and glared at his ugly fucking face, thinking about all the fucked-up things I’d do to him to teach him not to fuck with girls like that.
“Yup. Pour it right in the shaker when you make her that shitty lemon drop drink she really likes. Within the hour, she’ll be spreading her legs for you like a stripper,” Vic said with amusement.
“Good. Tonight will be perfect then,” Matt said coldly.
“Make sure to take pictures. You’re gonna need some proof that you finally had that sweet little pussy all to yourself,” Vic said, and my blood ran cold.
At that moment, my cold fury and icy hate boiled over and I made a decision. I hadn’t planned on going to the party. As a general rule, I never went to these things, but I couldn’t allow something like this to happen to her. I couldn’t allow Matt to do something like that to Blaire. She may be the school’s reigning ice queen and a royal bitch sometimes, but she was innocent, and nothing could justify being hurt like that. I wouldn’t allow Matt to ruin her. As much as I hated her and the person she’d turned into, she didn’t deserve to be drugged and raped by her creepy boyfriend. I’d protect her like I always did. She may have turned her back on me years ago, but every time I tried to do the same to her, I found something about her drawing me back in.
She was my fucking addiction and there wasn’t anything I could do to rid myself of her.
Several hours later, I found myself outside her white house on the beach, listening to the sounds of bass pumping out of the open windows and doors, of people jumping into the rather gratuitous pool even though the ocean was just feet away, and of the raucous laughter and screams coming from the people already far too drunk dancing on the patio upstairs.
Fuck. This was such a bother. Sometimes having to deal with people really grated on my nerves. Especially dumb fucks like these who thought the real concerns in life were who dated who and what you wore to prom. They knew nothing about danger, about life and death and if you would ever see your family again just because someone pissed off someone else and decided to off them just to keep their status in the city.
I took a deep breath and shrugged off my annoyance, wandering inside an open side door into the basement level. Down here, there was a multitude of couples already paired off, slutty senior girls grinding themselves on their boyfriends or whatever flavor of the month they decided to conquer. There was a table of beer pong going with some rather unruly members of the football team and a bunch of the school’s cheerleaders egging them on, promising sexual favors if their favorites won. Gross.
Over in the sitting area in front of a massive seventy-two-inch television, a circle of seniors sat around in a circle, taking shots and playing a game of truth or dare. I rolled my eyes and quickly saw that neither Matt nor Blaire was anywhere down here. Quietly, I made my way up the stairs, toward the center of the party, and maneuvered between kissing couples, dancing chicks and guys circling around the drunker ones like predators going in for the kill.
It was obvious that the rumors were true. Blaire Conrad’s parties were just glorified dens of sex, drugs, and alcohol. So not my scene. This was how the ridiculously rich partied in high school and there was a sudden part of me that was thankful that I was going far away for college from this obnoxious little hellhole.
I searched through the house, trying to find Blaire. I started in the cleared out living room, which had a DJ setup and everything, but she wasn’t there. She wasn’t in any of the bedrooms upstairs either. The more I looked, the more worried I became that I wouldn’t be able to find her, that I was already too late, but I wasn’t going to give up. I’d knock the shit out of Matt if he’d already drugged her. I’d fucking love crushing his nose with my fist. He’d had it coming for a long time.
I had ways to make him disappear. I knew the right kind of people for the job. I had the family.
My father knew I had a soft spot for Blaire. He disapproved, but he’d understand and then he’d have the family carry out what I asked for. Even for the bastard son that he could never publicly claim.
Fuck. Where was she?
Finally, I leaned back on one of the walls and observed the party. Off to the side, I could see into an oversized office with shelving like that of a library covering the walls. It just looked like a single room. Self-contained. No exits. I noticed that a number of the most popular kids went into that room and never came out. It sparked my attention and I moved in closer to the entryway.
I watched as a girl from the cheerleading squad, I forget her name, wandered inside and slid her hand along the mahogany wood of the massive desk at the center of the room. One of the shelves of books clicked and swung open and I watched as she wandered inside and closed it behind her.
Well, that was interesting.
I followed her into the room and mimicked her movements, finding a small button underneath the ledge of the desk. I pressed it softly and the shelving slid open, just like it did for her. I walked inside, lifting my shoulders and striding in like I owned the place.
I could. If I wanted to anyway.
The secret entrance led into a long passageway and then descended a flight of stairs into some sort of secret bar and wine cellar. Maybe it was an old speakeasy of some kind, which would be pretty cool. I continued down the hall until the end, where I heard the laughing of several people I recognized, namely Blaire and her soon to be beaten-up ex-boyfriend.
They still sounded cozy. That wasn’t going to last long.
I paused at the doorway, leaning against the trim as I observed the ‘royal’ elite of Stonewall Academy, all gathered together, drinking, laughing, joking, and just enjoying life.
Sophie Cornwall was doing a line of coke on the glass table. Jenny White was waiting for her turn next. Ralph DeMarco was smoking a joint on the couch.
Blaire was sipping what appeared to be a martini, likely the lemon drop I’d heard Matt and Vic talking about earlier. Almost like a magnet, her eyes lifted toward me then. She was the first to notice my presence, but she didn’t say anything. Not at first.
I saw myriad expressions pass over her features. Longing. Hatred. Ambivalence, but all of them were gone in less than a second as I saw her walls thrown up in my face. Then the ice-cold bitch look took over and she smiled toward me.
“Well, to what do we owe the honor, Col Mason?” she said, her expression frigid.
She moved closer to Matt and threaded her arm around his waist. I don’t know if she was trying to make me jealous, but it was working and only made me want to throttle the guy even more. She was worth so much more than him. She deserved so much better.
“You should sell tickets to this shit show,” I replied just as coldly, my tone combative.
“Sorry. Sold out,” she countered, her lip turning up in a cold smirk.
“I scalped one at the door,” I said.
“Lucky me,” she replied, narrowing her eyes in my direction.
I pushed myself away from the doorframe and sauntered in, sitting next to Ralph in the process. I reached for the joint in his fingers, plucked it from his grasp, and took a long draw before I blew the smoke out of my lungs in a single, smooth motion. Ralph didn’t say anything but smirked and took it back when I handed it to him.
“Thanks, man,” I winked, and he nodded with a grin. Even Matt was smiling. I’d won the guys over, which was incredibly easy just as I expected. Men were simple in that way. Now for the hard part, the girls. I caught Jenny’s eyes and looked her up and down appreciatively with a soft smile.
“You look beautiful tonight, Jenny,” I murmured. “The dark blue suits your eyes.”
She smiled broadly at the compliment, a slight blush coming over her cheeks as I did so. I’d singled out Jenny on purpose. She was the newest insertion into the elite popular clique and by default, one of the minions that served at Blaire’s side with not much in the rewards department. She was pretty, as were all the popular girls, but she lacked something crucial. She didn’t have a boyfriend yet nor had she fucked anyone to cement her status into the elite circle.
Blaire and her clique had always given me a wide berth, not daring to connect themselves with me, but that had also created an aura around me that made me both dangerous and something to pursue. Time and time again, some of her girls had tried. I’d shot them down every time, not wanting to bring my own baggage into their lives. To be with me meant danger for them and it wasn’t something I was willing to put them through. Not when they could end up dead.
That hadn’t stopped me from sleeping with one or two of them though. To stop rumors from spreading, I’d sworn them to secrecy. I’d told them that they’d make their lives miserable by ever declaring that they were with me and that they’d ruin their chances of ever actually getting with me if they did. It had worked. Flawlessly.
I’d never shown any interest in any of them in public. Especially in front of the others. They knew that and had accepted it. They had taken that chance to try to go steady with me, but I’d kept them at a distance. On purpose. Eventually, they got the hint.
I stared at Jenny with appreciation. I could see Blaire out of the side of my eye. She was fuming. Good.
I knew what she was thinking. If anyone got a chance to be with me, it should be her, even if she was dating the academy’s star quarterback.
I held out my hand, offering it to Jenny. She stared at it, almost in disbelief, before glancing at the others. Then she turned back to me and took my proffered fingers in hers. I pulled her into my lap and wound my arms around her.
Blaire’s face turned just a hair redder.
Clearly, I was getting underneath her skin.
“Losers like you don’t belong here,” she said coldly. Fine then. Shots fired. Two could play at that game. I turned back toward her, keeping my expression just as icy as hers.
“Out of hundreds of thousands of little sperm your father shot into your mom, it’s sad to know that you were the result of the fastest one,” I countered, and a collective gasp carried around the room. Her biggest rival Sophie stifled a giggle, covering her mouth and taking a big sip of her drink as she turned away. Nice cover-up, I thought with a smirk.
That was the thing about the most popular and rich. It was a dog-eat-dog world and every single one of them wanted to see the others fall so that they could take their place.
“Being a dick won’t make yours any bigger,” she growled in my direction. She clearly wasn’t used to being insulted. She narrowed her eyes in my direction, practically daring me to continue.
“That’s alright, Blaire. You’ve never seen my dick anyway. The only thing that goes erect when I’m around you is my middle finger,” I replied, flipping her off while I pulled Jenny in closer. She turned her head toward mine and I gripped her chin, lifting her lips to mine.
I kissed her, knowing Blaire was watching. I kissed her even more deeply because of it.
“Fuck off, Col,” she finally replied as I pulled away from Jenny.
“You first, Blaire,” I said while staring into Jenny’s bright green eyes.
And just like that, I’d been accepted into the elite inner circle. Vic offered me a beer and I gladly took it, sipping it and pointedly ignoring Blaire as I did so. The fact that I’d insulted their reigning queen had seemingly cemented me in tighter with the rest of them and I could tell that had made her nervous. I kept a close eye on Matt, watching when he made her drinks, and it wasn’t until several hours later that I saw him reach into his pocket and pull out what looked like a small, clear vial of liquid.
I gritted my teeth and sat back, trying to figure out how to insinuate myself into the mix, until Jenny pulled me to the side, muttering something about doing another line, and I wasn’t able to watch Matt. Less than a minute later, Blaire had a fresh lemon drop in her hand and I silently swore to myself because of it. She clinked her drink with Sophie and downed it then and I gritted my teeth. Double fuck.
Matt started moving in on her, wrapping his arms around her waist and just being generally more handsy than before. He kissed her cheek and she giggled, her eyes a little glassy with tipsiness. Yeah. The fucker definitely put the drug in her drink already and she’d drunk it.
That would make things more difficult.
I kept my eyes on her for the next twenty minutes or so, watching as her responses began to slow and her eyes grew even glassier than before. There was literally zero doubt in my mind that Matt had dumped the drug into her drink, and it was starting to take effect as more time passed.
Eventually, Matt made his move and led her off down another hall, likely down to a bedroom or something where he could carry out the rest of his date rape plan. Fucking asshole. He didn’t know what he had coming.
I chugged the rest of my beer and stood up, sauntering over to the keg and making a show of refilling it. Jenny was doing another line and the rest of the room was distracted, so I took my leave, following down the hall where Blaire and Matt had disappeared.
I heard her shriek as I turned the corner and then I began to move faster. The door wasn’t locked because neither of them thought they were going to be followed. I quietly closed it behind me, only to see Matt’s pale naked white ass staring at me while he tore at Blaire’s clothes. I heard the sound of fabric tearing and I swore I saw red then.
I fucking lost it.
I grabbed the neck of Matt’s stupid pink button-up shirt and yanked him backward. He spun around in shock, but it was already too late for him. My fist was already in motion and in a fraction of a second, connected hard with the side of his head. I was strong and I’d been taught how to fight growing up. Matt hadn’t. I knew how to hit a guy and knock him out in a single blow. Unsurprisingly, his eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped down to the floor, his pants tangled around his ankles. If I wasn’t so angry, I’d probably have laughed at the sight.
Matt had pushed her dress up around her waist and torn off her panties, leaving her bare. She was a beautiful little thing, but this wasn’t how I’d wanted to see her naked for the first time. Quickly, I gripped the hem of her scandalous little gown and covered her back up, giving her back her modesty. That tantalizing glimpse of her gorgeous exposed body would stay with me for a very long time, but she wouldn’t ever know, and I wasn’t ever going to tell her.
She moaned, almost as if she was in pain. Or going to be sick.
I grabbed Blaire’s arm and dragged her into the bathroom on the other side of the room. She was pretty out of it and didn’t fight me, until I grabbed her chin and pressed on the sides of her jaw, forcing her mouth open in the process. With ruthless efficiency, I shoved two fingers in her mouth, and she gagged hard, but I didn’t let up. I had no idea what was in the drugs Matt made her drink, but I needed to get as much of it out of her system as I possibly could right away.
She gagged again and finally pulled away, gripping the toilet as she threw up the contents of her stomach again and again until I was sure there was nothing left. I held her hair out of the way the entire time and gently rubbed her back, trying to comfort her as she began to cry. Finally, when it appeared that she was finished, I filled up a glass with tap water and passed it to her.
She drank it greedily and then I filled it again for her. She closed the toilet lid and flushed it before she leaned back and drank more of the water that I’d given her.
After another five minutes or so, her eyes began to clear, and she glared back at me. Her dress draped oddly on her shoulder, ripped enough so that I saw an enticing view of the tops of her breasts, but she was still mostly covered. She reached for the torn edge and tried to hold it up to cover herself, but it didn’t really make much difference. Eventually, she gave up and let it go, crossing her arms over her chest instead. She pressed her thighs together, likely realizing that she was no longer wearing any panties, and she swallowed nervously.
“Where’s Matt?” she asked timidly.
“Knocked out flat on the floor in the bedroom where I left him,” I answered.
“What happened?” she replied, biting her lip as she looked around. For a moment, I saw her vulnerable. Scared. Unsure. I knelt down to her level and gazed back at her softly.
“Matt poured a drug in your drink. He had planned to take advantage of you tonight. I dragged him off of you before he could and punched him the fuck out,” I answered. She deserved to know the truth. She needed to break up with the fucker.
If being with me wouldn’t put her in danger, I would have kept her for myself. I would have made her mine. But I couldn’t.
“Oh,” she whispered. For several minutes, she gathered herself and I saw her walls begin to rise once more.
“You made me look like a fool in front of everyone,” she said softly, her voice hardening as she spoke.
“You seem to have survived,” I replied dryly, wiping my thumbs across her cheeks and dabbing away the remnants of her tears.
She glared back at me, daggers in her eyes.
“You know I can’t forgive you for it, even if you did drag Matt off of me tonight,” she added, turning away as she pushed herself to her feet.
“I know. Ice queen rules and all,” I countered, raising my eyebrow as I did so.
“God, I feel weird,” she said, pressing her palm to her forehead.
“It’s the drugs. I heard him talking about it at school today, about how he was going to put it in your drink and steal your v-card, how he was going to take pictures of you naked as proof,” I told her, and she stilled.
“I should have known,” she whispered softly, and for the first time in a long time, I saw Blaire Conrad for who she really was, the girl behind the icy walls she built up to protect herself against the rich New Englanders that went to Stonewall Academy. If anything, she was a survivor and, at that moment, I respected her all the more.
She sighed then and picked up a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush. I watched her as she brushed her teeth and cleaned herself up. She put herself together remarkably quickly and when she was done, she pulled her shoulders back. She turned back toward me then, Queen Blaire once again.
“Thank you. For saving me from Matt,” she said, and I nodded. I knew that was hard for her, so I didn’t push any further.
“Tomorrow though, you and I are at war. I can’t have you insulting me in front of my friends. I won’t allow it,” she threatened, and I snorted in response.
“You don’t want to do that,” I warned her.
“Stonewall Academy is my turf. Not yours,” she added, sneering in my direction.
“There’s still plenty of time left in senior year, little girl,” I responded coldly. I saw her shoulders stiffen as I appraised her, and her upper lip lifted in defiance.
“What do you want with Jenny?” she questioned.
“Nothing,” I replied coldly.
“Good. Now get the fuck out of my house,” she added.
“Gladly. See you on Monday,” I replied cheerily, and with that I turned and left the house just the way I came. She didn’t reply but it didn’t really matter.
She was safe, clear-headed and with Matt knocked out on the floor, she’d be able to take care of herself. If Blaire was anything, she was incredibly resilient.
I would also learn though that Blaire Conrad was more than a little vindictive when it came to her position at the academy and that she was far more of a challenge than even I had been prepared for.