Part 10

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Picture of Ash above ^ though you may imagine him however you'd like :)

When I get home, I breathe out a huge sigh of relief as I go up to my room. I was so scared of getting punished for being caught ditching but Daemon made no move to tell Lucien about it. It's strange to think that if Alpha Ferix had caught me doing something like that he would've been beaten black and blue but here I face no repercussions. It makes me feel like a cheat. I know I've been bad and I'm guilty about it, but the fear overpowers the guilt because I can't bring myself to fess up to Lucien.

I'm about to get in the shower when I hear the loud ring of my phone in my pocket. The noise hurts my ears but I don't know how to turn it down. It especially flusters me when it goes off in class. Having never had a phone until now, I still haven't gotten the hang of it.

I look on the screen and see Lylah's name surrounded by a bazillion hearts(she was the one who input her contact info into my phone) and pick the call up. "Hello?"

"Ash! We're so sorry for leaving you!" she exclaims apologetically and I hear Wren in the background saying sorry too. "But Daemon was giving us total 'get the fuck out of here' vibes!"

I let out a small huff of amusement. "It's okay. He didn't get me in trouble or anything,"

"Really? But you said he hated you?"

"Well..." I think for a moment, thinking back to the events at the docks. "He did seem frustrated with me. Definitely wasn't happy."

"Ooh? What did he say?" Lylah asks.

I go over how Daemon scolded me because that area was dangerous and that I had to promise to not do "dumb shit" anymore.

Before I can go on I'm cut off by a high squeal into the phone by both omegas on the other side. I pull the phone away from my ear, startled as I frown at the device that apparently wants me to go deaf.

"Ash, that means he cares about you!"

I nearly laugh at that because that's literally the last thing I was expecting. Daemon? Caring about me? That can't be farther from the truth.

"No, just no, guys. He's just, like, obligated to look after me because of Alpha Lucien,"

"Urghhhh," Lylah groans into the phone. "Ash sweetie I love you but for fucks sake! You don't know that! Why are you so quick to shut down the idea that someone could care for you?"

I start to argue back but the words dry up on my tongue. How can I reply to that? No one has cared for me since I was 10 years old. And now I'm supposed to believe people do care now? My brain just can't accept that. It isn't natural to me.

"I-I don't know." I finally reply. "But Daemon...I'm sure he doesn't. He's hated me from the start."

I hear Lylah's sigh from across the line. "Okay, instead of thinking about his opinion of you, what do you think of him?"

"Daemon? He's uh...scary, I'd say. Intimidating. And he's got all those tattoos, too..."

"And? I think you're forgetting one major detail hun, he's hot as fuck!" Wren's voice exclaims in the background.

"Don't tell me you don't think of running your hands over those tatts, Ash," Lylah adds on.

The forbidden thought flashes through my mind before I can stop it, of running my hands over the muscled expanse of the alpha's arms, tracing the designs of his inked skin with my fingertips. My stomach drops as I realize what I'm imagining and I bury my flaming face in a pillow.

"I take your silence as you telling me you do," I can just hear the smirk in her voice.

"W-what? No!" I deny, "I-I've never thought of something like that! A-at least not until you said it!"

"Forgive her, Ash. She has a habit of corrupting pure minds," Wren says as Lylah laughs maniacally.

"G-god you guys are so horny, I swear," I turn on my side, smiling into the phone.

"Join the club babe,"

*

I'm dead tired the next day at school. What was supposed to be a quick call before my shower turned into a 5-hour-long conversation that had Lucien knocking on my door at 2am and telling me I needed to get to sleep. So then I had to wake up extra early to take my shower in the morning and basically I barely got any sleep.

I'm a zombie half the day and I'm dreading 4th period because that means suffering through an hour of sitting next to Trent. I try to cheer myself up on the way to class by eating a bag of m-n-m's from the school vending machine but any joy that provides is wiped clean away as I walk into biology.

"Alright, class. Head to your desks and take out a pencil. That's all you'll be needing for today,"

I'm confused by what she means until I look at the daily agenda on the whiteboard, which has on it "Chapter 1 Test" printed in big, bold letters. Shoot.

"I hope the study guide I passed out at the end of class yesterday sufficiently prepared you for the test!" Mrs. Padilla says cheerily, clapping her hands together.

I walk to my desk, feeling faint as dread overtakes me. I had no idea there was going to be a test today. I'd been careless yesterday and left class before I'd gotten the study guide and called my friends all night instead of studying. Why are you like this? I chastise myself internally.

I'm going to bomb this test.

*

The next day, Friday, I get my results back. I know it can't be good news when Mrs. Padilla comes over and places my test paper face down on my desk, giving me a disappointed look. Way to be obvious about it lady.

I did, in fact, bomb it. And Trent seems to love that I did. He doesn't miss his chance to  snatch my paper into his hands and look at my score. He laughs when he sees it, announcing not very discreetly that I failed the test. He spends the rest of the class tormenting me about it and making me miserable.

I can't enjoy the rest of my day, even though it's Friday. The red F mark on my paper is imprinted in my mind and hinders my enjoyment of anything. I stuff the test in the bottom of my bag, as if hiding it will erase the bad score.

Guilt overwhelms me at the sight of Lucien waving at me from his car, there to pick me up after school. I trudge to the car, using the excuse of tiredness for why I'm so quiet. He can't tell him.

I'm too scared. Sure, Lucien is nice now. But if I anger him enough? He could flip the switch, just like Alpha Ferix had after my mother died and left him, my stepfather, to look after me. Lucien is gracious enough to do all this for me and all I've done in return is ditch class and fail a test.

Maybe it's not a big deal for carefree people like Lylah or Wren, but it's different for me. I haven't been good like I should be, like I promised myself I would be when I got the lucky chance to start fresh here and not screw it up. But every time I try to confess that I've been bad it's like my throat won't open to get the words out. Because my body remembers the pain of punishment and won't let me.

I go to sleep that night feeling horrible, guilt swirling and making my stomach queasy. Something bad is going to happen...I can feel it.

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