Part 7

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I'm relieved when the bell finally rings and I rush out of the class, wanting to get away from Trent as soon as possible. I see Lylah down the hall at her locker with an omega boy who looks about the same height as me with tan olive skin and a dark braid that streams down his back. Lylah waves me over and introduces the boy as Wren. Wren greets me warmly. He's much more soft-spoken compared to Lylah's loud personality, but with the same amount of sass.

I'm kind of nervous as we walk into the cafeteria full of kids, throngs jostling and bumping the three of us as we male our way to a table.

"So Daemon's driving you to school? Lucky!" Wren exclaims after Lylah gives him the 411.

"No," I shake my head disappointedly, "I think he hates me."

Lylah reaches over the table and gives my hand a squeeze. "That's can't be true Ash. Why would he?"

I can't exactly say that it's because I'm from the enemy pack. "I don't know. He's just annoyed by like, everything I do."

"You can't take it personally, Ash. I mean he's hot and all but those muscles come with a side of serious anger issues."

"All the alphas that have tried to cross him can testify to that," Wren chimes in.

I'm not surprised, but then I remember the way Daemon saved me in the forest. He was gentle and even brought me to a doctor. Of course, that was before he knew I'm from Dark Moon.

"Really? What did he do to them?"

Lylah and Wren share an amused look. "To put it in simple terms, he beat the shit out of them," Lylah replies, stabbing her Apple with a fork.

I gulp, swallowing down dread as I make a mental note to try not to get on Daemon's bad side any more than I already am.

"Well, now everyone seems to think there's something going on between us, Trent included." I continue with a groan.

"Ugh, you met Trent? Trent Williams? He's such a turd," Wren throws me an empathetic look like he's been in a similar situation before.

"Yep, he's in my biology,"

"God I'm sorry Ash. I'll come cuss him out for you if you want." Lylah offers humorously but the look In her eyes tells me she will really do it if I ask.

I smile lightly, scraping my unappetizing food around with my fork. Why is cafeteria food so gross? "It's fine, he said some weird stuff, but that's all. I'm just gonna try to ignore him from now on,"

Lylah shakes her head, drumming her fingers on the table. "Good on you, Ash, embracing the peaceful lifestyle. If I was you I would've kneed him in the balls by now."

"Oh, please do it, girl." Wren begs. "Ensure his egotistical genes can't be passed down,"

We all laugh and finish our lunch. And exchange numbers. It's all new to Ash, joking around with friends and adding contacts to the new phone Lucien bought me. It feels really nice.

Then I go to my 6th period, which is theater. I'm glad for it because I like music but I don't know much about acting. I'll probably just work behind the scenes because I know I'll definitely be too nervous to perform in front of a crowd. And my stutter comes out at the worst of times and embarrasses me.

I'm irked to see that Trent is also in this class. I'm somewhat unhappy that my newfound friends aren't in any of my classes, yet Trent is in two of them. But in the big auditorium, there's plenty of space to hide and evade so Trent doesn't get the chance to bother me.

When I get home from school, courtesy of Lucien because he was free this afternoon, I'm feeling pretty great. Aside from my run-ins with Trent, I didn't have much trouble and even made friends, something I've never had before! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The only thing that hinders it is the underlying anxiety inside of me that gnaws at my conscience. The fear of getting hurt again, of being exposed or Alpha Ferix finding me and worrying if my new friends actually like me.

For as long as I can remember, Alpha Ferix has been successful in tearing down all my self-worth. It makes me view the world through this lens of paranoia that everyone is silently judging me, looking for faults to point out just as my stepfather did.

When I get to my room I flop down on my bed, trying to push the thoughts from my mind. I need a distraction so I turn on the computer on the desk near the window, searching up shows to watch. I avoid anything scary looking, even stuff only rated PG-13. I can't watch any even slightly violent scenes without horrible fear coming over me, the threat of hurt sending me into a panicked state and I'll feel like I'm locked in my own mind. I'll get reminded of the brutal beatings I've endured and how helpless I felt as they happened. How I'd cry and beg for it to stop but the pain would keep raining down. I'd never been granted any mercy.

I try not to recall the painful memories as I continue searching for a suitable show. I settle on a cartoon because I figure it will be less scary. I smile at the cute and colorful characters, giggling at their corny jokes, content as I nibble on some m-n-m's. They've become my new favorites ever since Lucien introduced them to me. The sweet, milk-chocolatey taste in my mouth is literal heaven. I can't even remember the last time I had candy! Crazy.

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